PC Gamer review of 1.1

By on December 20, 2010 8:18:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

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December 20, 2010 9:39:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Even if all the mechanics worked perfectly (they still don’t), it is hard to care about what happens to Kraxis or Capitar or Alderaan or Narnia or whatever.

LOL.  That's why either the in-game story telling needs to drastically improve (call me skeptical that this approach will ever really work), or it's fantasy tropes to the rescue!

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December 20, 2010 9:53:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

pretty fair, generally.

have been abusing the volcano spell myself recently. you know that casting it on an enemy city doesn't even count as a declaration of war?!?!

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December 20, 2010 10:05:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Very spot on review.

Although in general I don't really care about lore in a game, so the "bland world" isn't something I feel is missing for me personally, but I can see how it detracts from the full experience for other players.

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December 20, 2010 10:07:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Pretty much what people say on here.

 

I suspect from reading the article that he is one of the people here....

 

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December 20, 2010 10:41:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good article. I like it.

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December 20, 2010 11:17:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A fair assessment if a little overly harsh.  The one thing they don't say is that despite the problems, Elemental is still a blast to play.

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December 21, 2010 1:16:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds pretty much spot on.  PCG's reviews/previews/articles/ect have been excellent as of late.

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December 21, 2010 2:01:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,
Very spot on review.

Although in general I don't really care about lore in a game, so the "bland world" isn't something I feel is missing for me personally, but I can see how it detracts from the full experience for other players.

 

I would totally agree with you (I kinda do) except for the fact that I played the campaign. If I had heard beforehand how bad it was, I would have skipped it and played the single player skirmishes. But I had to start on the campaign, and I can honestly say that is the worst campaign/story/presentation I have seen since the early Nintendo days. Boy, some of those Nintendo games were bad. I could go on forever about the story mode, but I won't. So, I only really care about lore and story and such if I played it and it was really good, or it was really bad. And this falls in the latter category.

But good article, it's nice that some people are going back and revisiting the game, because it IS getting better. It just has a long way to go.

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December 21, 2010 2:32:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would totally agree with you (I kinda do) except for the fact that I played the campaign. If I had heard beforehand how bad it was, I would have skipped it and played the single player skirmishes. But I had to start on the campaign, and I can honestly say that is the worst campaign/story/presentation I have seen since the early Nintendo days. Boy, some of those Nintendo games were bad. I could go on forever about the story mode, but I won't. So, I only really care about lore and story and such if I played it and it was really good, or it was really bad. And this falls in the latter category.

Yeah, I think that it's just in SD's nature to be heavily focused on the sandbox game. I get the feeling that the campaign was included due to a sense of obligation more than anything else. It's not really fun. It's not really challenging. It's kind of instructive as to how to play the game.

I look at it as a tutorial which can be skipped if you're willing to read the manual/forums to discover the general game mechanics.

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December 21, 2010 5:31:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Stuie_acs,

Even if all the mechanics worked perfectly (they still don’t), it is hard to care about what happens to Kraxis or Capitar or Alderaan or Narnia or whatever.

LOL.  That's why either the in-game story telling needs to drastically improve (call me skeptical that this approach will ever really work), or it's fantasy tropes to the rescue!

 

Eh. To an extent part of the problem is just that Elemental isn't an established setting. Not only do they have to make it neat, they gotta invest people into it. That's a very tall order. By example, imagine Civilization only without the historical trappings. Yeah, it'd be the same game but it'd lose some of that flavor that makes it civ. Since we all have some passing familarity with Gandhi and George Washington, Civ immediately becomes familiar on a level.

 

But do know what Capitar is? Not really. And we're not likely to be inclined to learn much just to play a game and 'get into it'. More so, Elemental is a post-Apocalyptic fantasy world... a far cry from the standard fantasy conventions (setting particulars not withstanding at that). Elemental, perhaps, needs to be much more forceful with what it is. We see these fantastic battles and unit portait backgrounds that are hardly reflected in the in-game art. People generally are very generic. Do I really have any interest in Vaenia when, inevitably, I simply part him in a city and ignore him for the rest of the game?

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December 21, 2010 5:48:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Someone at PC Gamer must be friends with someone at Stardock to get re-reviewed so quickly

 

Game still has a long way to come but 1.1 was a great step in the right direction. I know I'll get my money's worth eventually and then some. Heck we already got promised free expansions.

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December 21, 2010 5:57:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting sagittary,
But do know what Capitar is? Not really. And we're not likely to be inclined to learn much just to play a game and 'get into it'. More so, Elemental is a post-Apocalyptic fantasy world... a far cry from the standard fantasy conventions (setting particulars not withstanding at that). Elemental, perhaps, needs to be much more forceful with what it is. We see these fantastic battles and unit portait backgrounds that are hardly reflected in the in-game art. People generally are very generic. Do I really have any interest in Vaenia when, inevitably, I simply part him in a city and ignore him for the rest of the game?

 

 

Having read the lore and being a writer/artist myself, I quite like the idea of the setting and the promise of it.   Standard fantasy is overdone and just bland these days, and I like the ideas being thrown around with Elemental's setting.

 

I think, however, that two things are really necessary.    The first is this lore needs to be more visually confident about what it is.    When the book, Destiny's Embers, talk about Urxen being big and hulking, they need to be hulking in the game, as opposed to merely stocky grey humans.   Their character models--those of all the fallen--need to be pushed to further anatomical extremes, to emphasize just how warped from normal people they are.   Their architecture, tech trees, weapons, and even attire need some love to make them all feel bolder.    The same needs to go for the human nations.   I don't merely mean mechanical differences (That will eventually come); I mean a legitimate stylistic pass, as if not merely state "this isn't standard fantasy", but to shout it.   There are some legitimately cool things going on here, and I don't think Brad needs to give in and incorporate more "mainstream" bits just to make people understand it.   People need to understand it by merit of the game's presentation.

 

The second is the lore and story itself needs to be communicated in the game better.   The campaign just doesn't do it.  I understand that this is hard in what amounts to a 4x strategy game, but there need to be more direct references to lore, and a better integration of how this works both mechanically in the game and how the story is presented to the players.   Gaming is, by its very definition, a compelling medium to tell a story, because the player has the possibility of being more emotionally involved with the characters and the setting by merit of being able to interact with it.   Elemental needs to capitalize on this in whatever ways it can.

 

 

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December 21, 2010 6:17:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tempestwrath,

Quoting sagittary, reply 10But do know what Capitar is? Not really. And we're not likely to be inclined to learn much just to play a game and 'get into it'. More so, Elemental is a post-Apocalyptic fantasy world... a far cry from the standard fantasy conventions (setting particulars not withstanding at that). Elemental, perhaps, needs to be much more forceful with what it is. We see these fantastic battles and unit portait backgrounds that are hardly reflected in the in-game art. People generally are very generic. Do I really have any interest in Vaenia when, inevitably, I simply part him in a city and ignore him for the rest of the game?
 

 

Having read the lore and being a writer/artist myself, I quite like the idea of the setting and the promise of it.   Standard fantasy is overdone and just bland these days, and I like the ideas being thrown around with Elemental's setting.

 

I think, however, that two things are really necessary.    The first is this lore needs to be more visually confident about what it is.    When the book, Destiny's Embers, talk about Urxen being big and hulking, they need to be hulking in the game, as opposed to merely stocky grey humans.   Their character models--those of all the fallen--need to be pushed to further anatomical extremes, to emphasize just how warped from normal people they are.   Their architecture, tech trees, weapons, and even attire need some love to make them all feel bolder.    The same needs to go for the human nations.   I don't merely mean mechanical differences (That will eventually come); I mean a legitimate stylistic pass, as if not merely state "this isn't standard fantasy", but to shout it.   There are some legitimately cool things going on here, and I don't think Brad needs to give in and incorporate more "mainstream" bits just to make people understand it.   People need to understand it by merit of the game's presentation.

 

The second is the lore and story itself needs to be communicated in the game better.   The campaign just doesn't do it.  I understand that this is hard in what amounts to a 4x strategy game, but there need to be more direct references to lore, and a better integration of how this works both mechanically in the game and how the story is presented to the players.   Gaming is, by its very definition, a compelling medium to tell a story, because the player has the possibility of being more emotionally involved with the characters and the setting by merit of being able to interact with it.   Elemental needs to capitalize on this in whatever ways it can.

 

 

 

Well said!

+1

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December 21, 2010 6:25:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Very good and honest review, I agree.

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December 22, 2010 11:48:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds fair to me.

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December 22, 2010 3:38:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would have to almost entirely agree with this article.  I wish someone would have gave me advice not to buy this game in its current state.

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December 22, 2010 3:45:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tempestwrath,
...The second is the lore and story itself needs to be communicated in the game better.
Agreed.

The lore -- world destroyed and we rebuild it -- is compelling, but doesn't come thru in the game very well.  The game as done in the original beta had more lore to it, but lore elements kept being removed or diluted during beta -- such as the entire world being 'destroyed' and needing essence to be revitalized (by placing a city which cost essence if it was in a destroyed-land area, and we could see the land gradually being restored) --  while the lore didn't change.  So as beta went on the game more and more of the lore was lost.

Hopefully they'll start bringing it back in, as otherwise the game has lost a bit of its lustre.

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December 23, 2010 3:11:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

   I also agree that it was a fair review.  Even though elemental has lots of problems it has

improved so much since the 1.0 version.  I feel in 6 to 9 months it will be really good.  I have 

waited years for a new fantasy based strategy game so I can wait few more months.

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December 25, 2010 10:05:21 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Mtn_Man,
A fair assessment if a little overly harsh.  The one thing they don't say is that despite the problems, Elemental is still a blast to play.

Presumably that is because Troy does not find Elemental a blast to play and, as such, has no reason to state it.

A good example of how opinions differ - you feel that Troy's assessment is a bit overly harsh and that the game is a blast to play, I feel that his assessment is a bit too generous and that the game is a complete dud to play. Fortunately the world has room for both of us.

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