Any buzz on Harbinger?

My ears always perk up when I hear about sci-fi-themed RPG’s, even if they are Diablo clones. Any word on this one?

Beta review

As I have mentioned already, the game’s resolution is fixed at 800x600. This makes Harbringer look OK but won’t leave you breathless. The colors were mostly acid - the picture is dominated by blue, green and red colors. As for environment, the game designers tried their best to add detail but in the end, everything’s surrounded by ship’s walls. Characters and monsters look decent, and the character models accurately reflect equipment changes. Special effects are present and fit the game well, although they are nothing to write home about.

Sound exists and it doesn’t distract from the game - that’s all I can say. Blaster shots sound the way we are used to, mechanical Gladiator’s steps reverbrate through ships’ corridors, in short, everything’s fine.

In conclusion, I’d say the game looks solid. It won’t become the next best thing but will satisfy the fans of Action/RPG genre, as there are no fatal errors here and the gameplay is rich and entertaining. The best thing I can say is that I stopped playing Gothic for Harbringer, and did not regret it. The three days I spent with this beta version passed fast as I explored the world, encountered new monsters, improved my character and acquired better items - a fairly typical activity for such games, but fun none the less.

This is “my” game, so I’ve got about a billion words for ya, Gord’. 8) Whatcha wanna know?

First off, know that while you will be reminded of Diablo in spirit, I think you’ll pleasantly find that Harbinger is certainly not a clone. Aside from the (very cool) storyline, there’s enough different stuff here to help the game stand on it’s own.

And BTW… the retail version will ship with a high-res mode (1024x768), although I still prefer playing at the native 800x600.

Anything I can help ya with? ;)

Just a comment on the name… I couldn’t figure out why people were talking about DS9:Harbinger again all of a sudden. :-)

Anything I can help ya with?

Oh I dunno. Mainly “will it be good?” but I think I already have your opinion on that point. :wink:

How much depth is in the story, how deep are the RPG elements, are there subquests, how many hours of play?

Is it all set on a spaceship? (One of my favorite games, Paradroid, had a great spaceship setting. So did another, Project Firestart, come to think of it…)

I hope we see more sci-fi RPG’s in the future. And of the non-nuclear-wasteland variety, by the way. Two of my favorite games (Space Rogue and Mars Saga) fall into that category.

The story is pretty deep. Not just a basic “you’re the last remaining member of your tribe, now go avenge your family” Action/RPG here. The main storyline for all three characters is the same (there’s something afoot on Harbinger and the current power base is shifting), but each character has different subquests and underlying stories. You’ll find things out about the other characters as you play. Kinda cool how it’s done, actually.

As for the RPG side, if you’re heavy into that aspect, you might not be satisfied with Harbinger. It’s an Action/RPG, with heavy emphasis on combat. For example, there are only 4 skills to level up on: Ranged Combat, Melee Combat, Gadgetry and Life. Pretty basic stuff compared to some of the more traditional RPG games. Personally, I like a little bit of RPG with my Action, so this suits me just fine.

Gameplay should be about 25 hours per character, and you’ll wanna play as all three because a) the story is different and b) the gameplay is quite different too.

Not bad for $30, IIMSS. ;)

Is it all set on a spaceship? (One of my favorite games, Paradroid, had a great spaceship setting. So did another, Project Firestart, come to think of it…)

Nope.

Most of it is, but there’s a good chunk that takes place planetside. In all, there’s 7 different tilesets, so even though a lot of the game takes place aboard Harbinger, the environments are changing a lot.

I hope we see more sci-fi RPG’s in the future. And of the non-nuclear-wasteland variety, by the way. Two of my favorite games (Space Rogue and Mars Saga) fall into that category.

I agree. I’ve had enough orcs and goblins and +12 Swords of Virtue.

Oh, and feel free to check out the website. There’s links to all the previews/interviews, as well as a trailer or two and tons of screenshots (although the screens don’t do justice).

I just have one question - why does Steve A. look like he’s been on the business end of a fist too many times to number?

Is this game as deep as Diablo 1 singleplayer? If so, I’m sold. Though even in an action isometric rpg I still like a little more depth with character development. The amount of items sounds cool, but then again in Dungeon Siege the lack of character depth made me rue the day… or something.

etc

Diablo 1 singleplayer was deep? :shock:

They must have put the wrong CD in my box. :D

LOL!

Actually, I think it’s just the fact that when this pic was taken, Steve probably hadn’t slept in about 3 or 4 days. :P

Those pics were taken for a “final 48 hours before Gold” interview on GameSpy.

You’re asking me for an opinion here, 'cuz this isn’t the kind of answer where I could point to some data to support my point.

Let me answer this way… I didn’t enjoy Diablo. But, I finished Diablo II. Not necessarily because I was really enjoying myself, but because I was compelled to continue playing. Diablo II was an excellent game. I played Dungeon Siege, and once I got past the pretty pictures, I realized that it was totally boring. I quit in the Goblin mines (like many others I know!).

With Harbinger, I played it through to the end with two characters. Now, I edited the script, so I didn’t need to play to see how the story turned out. I played it through twice because it is fun. :D

The characters are really well developed through the story.

I went and perused the website at some length and this is beginning to look like a very interesting game to me. It’s kind of a historical oddity that despite the massive popularity of Diablo, the number and quality of clones it has spawned (especially in terms of mainstream US titles) is quite poor. Oh sure, there’ve been some clones but compared to say Doom or C&C, the number of clones is pitiful, and most importantly, most have been pretty weak as games. Some (cough* Throne of Darknes cough) have been outright crap. I think many clones made the mistake of thinking they had to surpass or outdo Diablo by adding something, be it more RPG (Divine Divinity) a party (Throne, Prince of Quin, etc), a fighting game combat system (that weird one with the resurrected guy), or the self-playing system of Dungeon Siege.

What most of those games got wrong about Diablo was that one of Diablo’s great strengths was its simplicity and elegance. Diablo was not simplistic in the sense of being lacking in depth, overly easy, or silly and shallow. Diablo was simple in the sense of mathematical elegance - the very simple mechanics allowed for a surprisingly deep gameplay experience (no, not in the hardcore grognard sense, but in a gaming sense). Its not like Diablo was the deepest game going, but it was a lot deeper than its brutally simple surface would make you think. By keeping all the extraneous crap out of the way of the gamer, Diablo let you get right down to the core gaming goodness of its sub-genre: beating the crap of monsters in interesting ways, levelling your hero up to godhood, and getting phat lewt. (Hey its not rocket science but I love it :) ).

Harbinger looks like it might be simple in the good Diablo way (as opposed to the boring Dungeon Siege way). My big question at this point is, what is the actual combat gameplay like? Gladguy has said combat is the game’s major focus, so what is it like? I noticed that all characters have both melee and ranged options. Why is it? Is the combat fast and arcade like, more slow and methodical (like say Baldur’s Gate) or somewhere in between like Diablo I ? Is combat about mouse clicking, key stroking, or what? Is it about using the right buttons at the right time or is it more positional? Is combat something that features a lot of repetition or a lot of variation? What kind of tactics are involved?

Hey thats a lot of questions but I am very interested. Gladguy if you can help answer some of those, I would appreciate it :).

Dan

Gladguy, shoot an email to [email protected]

Danke

I think many clones made the mistake of thinking they had to surpass or outdo Diablo by adding something, be it more RPG (Divine Divinity)

In the case of DD I can’t call this a mistake, as I consider DD a far better game than Diablo. But maybe it was a mistake commercially, dunno. There’s also Darkstone, but really I don’t see it as a Diablo clone – more like a neat little 3D roguelike with its own take on RPG history.

Playing Diablo 1 on the harder levels (after winning it) was much more challenging than Diablo 2 ever was. Even though it did have basic character development… it was the item management/hunt that kept it deep. I mean I remember the days at the town center having inventory specifically ordered for different levels… man, Diablo 1 was cool. I would die for a bigger bigger Diablo 1 but with the same exact mechanics… well maybe a few more character development options ala Diablo 2. Also Diablo 1’s pace wasn;t as frantic as Diablo 2…

It is odd that there hasn’t been NEARLY as much Diablo clones. There have been a few good ones like Darkstone and I DID like Throne of Darkness for what it was. and even Darkstone is closer to Diablo 1 than Diablo 2 was… at least in gameplay stuff… imo.

Anyway I’m tempted to get Harbinger, but I may hold off til I read some impressions. A sci-fi Diablo knockoff would be cool… in a PSO sorta way.

I still think there’s room for a first person Diablo clone… or Diablo first peson gameplay. That hasn’t been done I think. PSO was close. I guess it would have to be primarily ranged weapons… being that first person works best with guns n stuff. Anyway,…

etc

Oh yeah Divine Divinity rocked.

etc

Hmm, no answer on the details of Harbinger combat. I guess my biggest question is how fast paced is it? Equal to Diablo 1? Faster like D2? Slower like BG?

Anyone? Bueller?

Dan

Hey, gimme a chance, willya? ;) There’s 5 hours between your two posts!!

Anyways, the combat pacing in Harbinger is, IIRC, similar to D2. It’s relatively simple stuff: put your cursor on the bad guy and click. If you’re far away, left click for ranged weapons. If you’re closer, right click for melee. The thing is, there’s a bunch of little tweaks that change the dynamic. Your ranged weapon (generally) runs on energy. Fire wildly, or in the presence of an energy sink, and your weapon’s energy will deplete, leaving you only with a melee option. Also, different enemies are susceptible to different attack types (plasma, electricity, EMP, disruption), and different weapons can switch ranged attack type on the fly. You can also swap in “mod chips” to add attack modifiers (maybe you need more plasma power, so you swap in a +3 plasma chip). The chips can be swapped in and out as required for combat. Then there’s the gadgets your character can equip to add a level of strategy/tactics to combat.

Mostly, you’ll use luring techniques to draw the baddies – turning and shooting as you try to avoid their attacks. Some enemies will lead you, firing not where you are, but where you will be. Some enemies have flanking AI, so they’ll swarm you and attempt to box you in. Most enemies have environmental awareness so they try to corner you against a wall or obstacle. If you place mines and they see you do it, they’ll shoot out the mine.

Does this help? 8)

I’m headed off to Hawaii next week and this game sounds like the right one to install on my laptop for casual play. I’ll pick it up this week.