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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

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Eschalon: Book 1 Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamebanshee recently posted an in depth review of Basilisk Games RPG, Eschalon: Book I. Inspired by classics of the RPG genre, Book I challenges players to uncover the mysterious past of their character while exploring dangerous outdoor environments and treacherous dungeon depths. Gamebanshee gave the game a score of 7.6 out of 10.

From the review:

Combat in Eschalon: Book I is simple, straightforward, and effective. There are no GURPS-style attacks on individual body parts, or scaled attacks that bring with them various chances of accuracy, damage, and possible defense. You use a weapon (one of two you can keep ready and switch between with a click), and youíre told if your attack succeeded, or failed. If it did damage, you find out how much. I donít have any problem with this simplicity, which was the standard back in the days of third person, turn-based RPGs (always allowing for a few exceptions, like Origin Systemsí clumsy but fascinating Knights of Legend). Especially as Basilisk has placed some sneakily effective strategic elements that can influence battleósuch as the occasional portcullis that can be sent crashing down on the bodies of your enemies, or powerful, friendly NPCs that you can lure attackers back to. Too bad there arenít more, because each outside battle area and every dungeon eventually becomes monotonous. Too many attacks are simple, direct combat situations with one type of enemy, in very similar surroundings. You end up killing two, three or four of that creature, sleeping to regain lost health and mana, killing again, and sleeping again, with few physical puzzles and none that require thought.

Enemies are well chosen and varied throughout the game, but exhibit only moderately effective AI. Some will move back and forth one square on the other side of a fence while you fill them full of arrows, until they die. Archers donít scamper away when you approach them with a melee weapon drawn. There are no signs of enemies supporting one another with spells, as happened to such striking effect in Wizardry 8. Each dungeon is logically and cleverly designed according to a specific purpose, with various areas that make sense in context: so you wonít expect to find a library in an ordinary mine. All dungeons are also single level, but the fixed rewards you find (as opposed to the randomized ones) are not out of keeping with what you might figure on acquiring, given the level of difficulty.

To read the rest of the review head over to the site at the link below.

Gamebanshee: Eschalon Book I Review
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book I
Buy Eschalon: Book I

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