Just beat BT4 - Final thoughts and feedback

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Bartmoss
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Just beat BT4 - Final thoughts and feedback

Post by Bartmoss » February 3rd, 2019, 2:51 pm

So, I just beat the game (normal difficulty, blind playthrough) and I hope this is the right place to post some general feedback on the game.

SOME ENDGAME SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW

Before I start: I really do love the game. It's what a 2018 Bard's Tale game should - no, has - to be like. I get that it may not be to everybody's liking, but the complaint that it is "nothing like the original bard's tale games" is nonsense. (No, please don't start yet another discussion about that; I am just saying that, in my opinion, this is a perfectly fine modern interpretation of a Bard's Tale blobber.)

Total playtime (this includes some minor breaks and other downtime) 85 hours, 23 minutes.

Story and world design:
- Not a huge fan of the retcons, but I guess there had to be some changes to tie the series together.
- I really disliked the real world intrusions (shrines to real world people, NPCs who speak French, bard doing an electric guitar riff during character creation)
- The "Sacrifice" choice at the end felt super meaningless because neither character really had any influence on the story or spent a substantial amount of time with the party. I ended up flipping a coin (literally - it came up "Brandenburg Gate" so Fiona had to go). For the choice to matter, both character would have had a chance to be "awesome" in the eyes of the player. Fiona is at least a possible party member, but my main was a custom bard so I didn't keep Fiona around for long.
- Any bard in the party really should also be a viable choice at that point. I mean, it's not like it makes any difference.

Level design:
- Overall really good
- Beautiful landscapes and dungeons
- Special kudos for making old Skara Brae look like, well, old Skara Brae.
- Near the end I was thoroughly sick of push block puzzles. As in the idea of doing even a simple one was physically revolting at that point. A couple less of them would have been better. The other puzzle types did not feel overused. My favorite were the ones where you had to push the pixies around.
- I never found any of the original series artefacts (strifespear etc) despite being reasonably thorough. Not sure if that's by design. Never found any clues about getting into Harkyn's (sp) castle, or the Sentry tower.

Balance:
- Overall very good, some challenging fights but mostly reasonably easy (as it should be on normal mode).
- The final battle felt way too easy and definitely needs to be toughened up a bit. (It was a cakewalk compared to some fights earlier in the game.)

Game/rules/systems design:
- There are many, many skills I never, ever tried because they were too situational and I only have a handful of "mastery" slots. This is a real shame, especially for mages. You could probably add 1 more skill slot to every character without breaking balance. Item-based skills should not subtract from the available slots either.
- Itemization was horrible. Most of the best upgrades were from merchants. Worse, most treasure chests and reward bags had useless junk in them. If I complete a puzzle or defeat a boss, I don't want to be rewarded with 198 copper coins and a handful of rotten food. I guess this might be supposed to be a joke about trash loot in other games, but really, it does harm the gameplay experience quite a bit.
- The crafting system is pretty much completely useless; it adds very little to the game, if anything. I crafted a bunch of items I ran out of, but I could have just as easily bought plenty of them in town had they been available.
- I used the fire horn at the beginning, but did not use a single elven weapon because the game wouldn't tell me what items added would have what effect. If this was changed in a later patch, I never noticed because I didn't revisit them. Consequently, I never used any of the elven shrines.
- I only bothered with the code wheel shrines in situations where I thought they might be needed for progress. I get that the codewheel was a callback to the 80s. It would have been nicer to have an in-game codewheel item. This probably would have been a better use of developer time than the crafting system. ;)

Interface:
- The inventory interface absolutely sucks. Sorry to be so harsh, but the fiddly "made for controller" menus, the lack of sorting, the fact that items don't always auto-stack, it all contributes to a highly annoying item tetris that really has no place in a modern game. It is compounded by not really being able to sell much stuff to merchants because they run out of money quickly.
- Wish the automap was able to show different maps, at least the different levels of the current dungeon. See Legend of Grimrock for an example.

Other:
- The bard in PJ's telling the elves and hobbits about the party's progress was a really nice touch, as was the consistent design (the screen frames etc)
- Loooooved the party banter.
- The music is AMAZINGLY GOOD
- There is a lot of music in the game that is not part of the Soundtrack. (I purchased it on Amazon). Why?
- Speaking of which, why is there no "upgrade to higher tier" option on Steam? I probably would have done that instead of buying the soundtrack on Amazon
- Thanks for adding some essentials like optional "save anywhere" and character respecs in patches
- If you ever do publish DLC, an expansion, or Bard's Tale V, I would likely pre-order those based on the fun I had with Bard's Tale IV.


I think that's about it. Hope this helps & didn't come across too harshly. As I said, I really enjoyed the game.

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thebruce
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Re: Just beat BT4 - Final thoughts and feedback

Post by thebruce » February 5th, 2019, 11:05 am

No, please don't start yet another discussion about that; I am just saying that, in my opinion, this is a perfectly fine modern interpretation of a Bard's Tale blobber.
I'd be careful telling people what not to say, especially if you voice a particularly controversial opinion ;)

Thanks for your feedback, it's great that you enjoyed the game!
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_noblesse_oblige_
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Re: Just beat BT4 - Final thoughts and feedback

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » February 6th, 2019, 4:30 pm

Bartmoss wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 2:51 pm
Before I start: I really do love the game. It's what a 2018 Bard's Tale game should - no, has - to be like. I get that it may not be to everybody's liking, but the complaint that it is "nothing like the original bard's tale games" is nonsense. (No, please don't start yet another discussion about that; I am just saying that, in my opinion, this is a perfectly fine modern interpretation of a Bard's Tale blobber.)
Don't throw grenades if you don't want explosions. Telling people that their complaints are nonsense and then telling them not to respond is not a good way to promote peaceful discussion.

No, a 2018 Bard's Tale absolutely does not have to be like Barrows Deep.
cmibl<enter>

waltc
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Re: Just beat BT4 - Final thoughts and feedback

Post by waltc » February 9th, 2019, 2:37 pm

I love the game, too--but just bear in mind that the upcoming patch is going to fundamentally change the game--or so they say--so like me, you might want to play again!

svdp
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Re: Just beat BT4 - Final thoughts and feedback

Post by svdp » February 10th, 2019, 7:42 am

Well...fundamentally… I wouldn't go that far. The basics will remain the same. Maybe combat will get a bit more difficult, but that's not a bad thing, because now it was a bit too easy, even with the end-bosses.

For the rest, like a more efficient way of handling your inventory, isn't a bad thing, but hardly changing anything to the game-style or mechanics.

I'm not sure of replay-value for starting anew from scratch, but if the DLC comes out, I'm certainly going to play it!

I just wish they let some news out of the croling-update...

demeisen
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Re: Just beat BT4 - Final thoughts and feedback

Post by demeisen » August 14th, 2019, 8:05 am

Bartmoss wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 2:51 pm
So, I just beat the game (normal difficulty, blind playthrough) and I hope this is the right place to post some general feedback on the game.
Thanks for posting your thoughts Bartmoss. I may someday, in the far, distant, uncertain future, be able to play it myself, once it finally comes to all the originally promised platforms :D. In the meantime, it's cool to read stuff like this. A lot of your opinions are similar to what I could imagine myself thinking, so I'm holding some cautious optimism that I'll enjoy it too.

Anyway, I suppose I'll be playing the DC, so the waiting isn't entirely bad. For WL2, I enjoyed the DC a lot but was lukewarm on the original, so maybe BT4 will also see some nice improvements.

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