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Hero-U - New game from Lori & Corey Cole

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Yeah, Shadows has issues, but after the bug fixes it's perfectly playable, with good story and the artwork and soundtrack are just stunning. Dragon Fire on the other hand is in every aspect inferior to all the other games in the series. And then there's the old 3D, which was ugly the day it was made and hasn't turned any prettier. Though I've always been critical towards old real time 3D.

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It's a bit hard to top Shadows Of Darkness, albeit even that game would have been much better if the game had been optimized. It seemed like a lot of background sounds and music were missing (there are certain areas in the Dark One's Cave, for instance, where there is nothing save for total silence) and the plot progression seemed jerky.

And, of course, the horrible, game-crippling bugs and crashes. ;) Seriously, the usual timer issues aside, the CD version was damned near unplayable. QA must have been asleep at the proverbial switch that day...

 

Frankly, I didn't like the combat system in QfG4, either. Mostly because it was mouse-based - the earlier games let you use key presses to perform combat actions, but in SoD you had to click on specific portions of the game screen to advance, jump, block, strike, etc. A very bad idea when your combat involves quickly reacting to your opponent's actions - that sense of disconnect, that inability to control my character directly, really grates on me.

 

Though I've always been critical towards old real time 3D.

Seems rather unfair, if you ask me. 3D was uncharted territory for many companies at that point in time - they did the best with what they had, but with the technological limitations of the day and without any precedents to draw from (unlike 2D art, which had been around for a long time), the results were practically guaranteed to be rocky at best. Look at any 3D game of that area and you'll see the same things across the board - the same clunky character models, the same stiff, artificial movements, the same low-res textures and lack of fine details, the same hit detection issues and draw distance problems and all that other good stuff. Yes, it's terrible by today's standards - but back then, it was the best they could do. It's like criticizing the old Sierra AGI games for having poor resolution and a limited color palette - the only reason these seem like a bad thing is because we've had nearly 30 years of technological advancement and skill since then.

 

Dragon Fire on the other hand is in every aspect inferior to all the other games in the series.

Not *every* aspect, at least not IMHO. One thing it did *right* was the inclusion of more side activities and the like - something that the QfG games have traditionally lacked. Things like the combat arena, the Thieves' Guild race for Chief Thief, the option of marriage, and such gave you more to do than simply train your skills and explore the map looking for plot threads to pick up on (which the other games were rather guilty of). In particular, I liked the ending variants - things like

certain characters only appearing in the ending if you save them from the assassin, poisoner, and/or dragon, and the option to reject becoming King and even give a reason why.

 

 

Personally, although I hate to say it, the *worst* QfG is probably QfG2. It did *almost* everything right - 99% success rate - but the *one* thing it did wrong ruins the game: the immutable time limit. The entire game runs on a strict, day-by-day event timer - not unlike the Dead Rising games, you have to be in X place at Y time to perform Z action, Or Else. A good RPG should give you the freedom to dick around all day doing side quests or just exploring and grinding, and QfG 2 simply doesn't let you have that freedom - a huge mistake, considering that QfG in general has strong world-building and lore that *encourages* you to take your time and soak in the game world. Admittedly, QfG5 also had a bit of a timed-mission thing going on, but only *after* the Rites began - until you actually paid the entry fee, you could waste all the time you wanted being unproductive. :P

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I konw my view might be unfair, but that's always been my view of old 3D. When it came came popular in games back in the 90's I always could appreciate the technicality of it, but I rarely did appreciate the aesthetics of it. Many games were, IMO, artisticly butchered because of forced use of 3D (Simon 3D, anyone?) when there just wasn't any particular need for it. From a technical stand, I am well aware the limitations of the 90's, I am a 3D hobbyist myself, and IMO 3D has only recently (meaning during the mid 2000's) turned into a tool that will stand test of time better. Most efforts before that, while some tehcnically necessary, I find unappealing visually.

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Many games were, IMO, artisticly butchered because of forced use of 3D

No argument there - like a lot of multimedia technology advances, 3D was shoehorned into anything and everything because it was 'the new hotness'. Everybody felt like they *had* to have it in their game, or else it would be ignored by customers or derided by competitors as not being bleeding edge enough (probably more the latter than the former). Thus we got a lot of games that just plain didn't warrant 3D, only using it because of executive meddling.

 

Most efforts before that, while some tehcnically necessary, I find unappealing visually.

Oh, absolutely. Technological timeline or not, those were some *fugly* graphics. :D

 

Simon 3D, anyone?

No thanks. Once was more than enough. :wacko:

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I think the first 3D game that actually wowed me with it's graphics was Powerslide (released in 98) I was so happy to find it on GOG. It's kind of like skiing, in a really souped-up car, trying to win fruit by coming in first place.

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Powerslide is actually surprisingly good looking game, though it might have something to do with the fact that it mostly seems to have vehicle models, which are much more forgiving for sharp edges than organic models. And the texturing looks like a top notch job.

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