Feedback

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Offline Lord Zimoa

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Feedback
« on: October 11, 2009, 11:52:46 AM »
Here some first players feedback:
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The application file is 1.17 GB. I agree that the downloader is surprisingly slow, compared to the Gamersgate one and others. 8 euro's for extended download service is also quite a lot compared to, say, Matrix.
 
That aside, the download went smoothly and the installation was no problem.
 
The manual is very limited, which is not a bad thing per se, but it could be expanded. I had to puzzle for a while before I figured out how to move troops during deployment. Click and drag also isn't ideal, I would prefer being able to place the unit a la the PG series. As in: I pick a hex and the unit appears, the units don't start on the map.
 
As to the gameplay: I'm pleasantly surprised. Very pleasantly surprised, to be honest. I thought it would be fairly RTS like, but it's more like pausable hex based WEGO, which is nice.
 
The upgrade system for equipment is nice too, although in the early stages most of the weapon options you get will simply be improved versions of weapons you can already purchase, but there are already signs that will change soon, and I'm only a few missions in.
 
The skill system is logical for the period: units can become proficient in using various kinds of weapons, or can learn special attacks or moves that give them an advantage in melee for example. Your units gain experience as they fight, and get varying amounts of skill points when they level up. Most skills simply give a statistics bonus, like Attack +2, to show how that skill will impact the performance of the unit.
 
It's all quite clear, although the "wheel" type menu takes some getting used to. Basically, when in the army management screen your units are placed in a wheel. You can select units and when you double click the unit icon, you go to another wheel with options like "armour/mount", "attack skills", "weapon", "shield/missile" and so on. Those icons take you to another wheel with the actual skills and upgrades. It's quite clear when you get used to it.
 
I like the re-enactment movies in the briefings for the important missions, they give the game a lot of atmosphere, and thus far they're not cheesy or repetitive.
 
The quality of the AI is difficult to judge at this point, as all the scenarios thus far have had enemy units placed on certain points of the map, which more or less means they'll come in waves. I haven't fought a larger set piece battle yet where the AI could show its prowess.
 
I have around 15 squads in my army now. Initially I intended to limit my army in size as it would mean the fewer units would each get more experience, but the scenarios do require a fairly substantial force in most cases. There's also a "raid the countryside" scenario which you can repeat as often as you like to gain 100 gold each time and get some experience for your units. "Powerleving" isn't going to happen, as you're facing peasants (who all flee the field after a few volleys by longbowmen are aimed at them, butchering the "receiving end" of the volley) and a grand total of 2 squads of light infantrymen with no shields and basics weapons. Units can gain a few levels in that map, but after that you'll have to fight the major battles in order to progress and unlock new equipment.
 
The only issue I have currently is that the controls are not always responsive, as in: when I order a unit to move somewhere, sometimes the unit will acknowledge the order but won't actually move as no waypoint is placed. That's a very small problem as the battle pauses as soon as you click, it just means you have to stay focussed at what you're doing. The manual states that the instant-pause when you click is an aid to players with slower responses, but it actually makes the game a lot better in my opinion, as it gives it more of a wargame feel. Besides, we all hate clickfests over here I believe, so pausable combat can only be a good thing in this case.
 
All in all, after a few hours of gaming, I feel that thus far my money was well spend on the purchase.
 
I would like to add that this is, in some ways, a niche game and you have to be able to enjoy hex and semi-turn based strategy, with many customization options for the player. As I enjoy Panzer General, many of its spin-offs, and enjoy turn based strategy, this is the game for me. I'll try to post more impressions and perhaps an AAR tomorrow.

Its essentially turn based, you need to issue orders to your troops for them to move. As soon as you begin to issue an order the game progress is paused, you can click the unit and then click the area you want the unit to move to, or you can right click the enemy you want the unit to attack, a waypoint and path will be displayed. You can give the unit multi-waypoints if you want to path its progress more tightly. There are also behaviours you can set up, aggressive, defensive, or passive. So if they meet an enemy on the way to the waypoint, then depending on the behaviour set, they are likely to attack, defend themselves or move on by. When the pause is lifted (by pressing the space bar) then all units move at the same time, event he enemy, along their order paths.


The map can be zoomed in and out, rotated, and you can scour the whole of the map. There are areas with differing terrain, and some scenarios include capture points, or strongholds to take. The thing to understand with the game, is that the map is divided into unit sized square shaped chunks. So not hex, but squares. A single unit can be surround at four points, although all 8 points can be taken around the square, and units seem to be able to attack in any direction from the square they are on, dependant upon their range. I've had archers fire volleys or arrows over Stronghold walls at troops on the diagonal, so its not a rigid 2d tile based calculation for attacks and defense.

The cards are like slight boosters that you can place on your troops. You select the card and right click on the troop and its effects are applied to that unit. Like an increase in Attack+2, or Rally the unit to gain some morale back.

Graphically its very nice to watch close up. The animations are a bit stiff in places, but they look impressive at the ground level, although units tend to be full of clones of the same type. The zoomed out view is ok, you can certainly see whats up ahead, and the terrain conditions you have to be wary of. The troops look very small at max zoom, but when you pause, they are coloured for you, so you can easily make out where your troops are, and where the enemy is. The zoom from max to close is a long zoom, and can take quite a few strokes of the mousewheel to get down to the action. I'd prefer two presets, max and close that you could just flick between. But there is a number of gradations you can zoom in to, to encompass all the troops in the current skirmish for you to anticipate enemy movement changes.

There is morale and fatigue measures, and if morale drops too low the unit will rout. As far as I know there is no supply model. But there are scenarios where capturing a certain structure or unit rewards you with money, to purchase more troops, or equipment.

As far as I can tell, there is no higher level strategy played out on the campaign map, other than selecting which battles to play through. Theres no miniature moving or economic grand strategy going on at this level at all (unless I've missed something).


My guess is the graphics will look better on a PC tweaked up to the max. From what I remember, you can max shadows and textures. But I don't think we're talking Empire Total War level of graphics.

I'm very pleased with the game, with its Slitherine usual of RPG army building elements thrown in to a decent boardgame like strategy wargame. The History Channel snippets of video footage do add to the ambience of the game, and the wheel based unit upgrade menu is a little jarring at first, coming from previous Slitherine titles. Down close, it looks like the older Total War series, but it plays a lot more like a traditional hex based wargame with orders being given, and then turns playing out simultaneously.

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Offline Lord Zimoa

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Re: Feedback
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2009, 10:18:00 AM »
Guys,


When you have feedback, see bugs, have suggestions, comments, questions or simply want to have more info please try and go to our official support forum.

It is easier for us to keep track of things, as we watch it closely.

We have a policy to really try and listen to our public and customers and value any feedback, negative or positive, as it will only help to improve our games.

We will keep patching, supporting and improving our games as long as there is interest.

So I invite people come and post here:

http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=19


Cheers,

Tim aka LZ

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Offline Lord Zimoa

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Re: Feedback
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 11:19:07 AM »
Some cool fan screenshots and feedback, thanks to Destraex. :wink:

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This game keeps me coming back. I just love collecting the armour and weapons while customising my units and colours.
I just fought the battle of Poiters and earned as a result lances and  half plate/half mail.
 
This game is just great when you have a spare 15minutes for a quick battle or just a bit of time upgrading your army skills etc in the army manager.
 
Shiny Half Plate... mmmmmmm

I think one of the reasons i like this game so much is that the men really do look like what you would expect historically.

Those Frenchies were everywhere! Next time I will be playing a campaign in blood mode..... so I will be more worried about losing good men.












Cheers,

Tim aka LZ