Bards Tale IV announced


#451

Made some nice progress over the weekend.

Petty much cleared the entire Baedish Lowlands map. In doing so, I replaced Fiona in my party with the Paladin Bryan of Dorn. Having two front line fighters has made combat vs. the Paladins and Ogre things so much easier. I do miss the extra Bard buffs, and I’d given Fiona the “Wine Pairing” skill, which doubles the health that food restores. I need to give Markus, my original Bard, that skill ASAP.

I also gained the level needed on my main character to give him the Vanguard arch type, which comes with the ability to wield two-handed weapons in your main hand. This means I’m now swinging a 2-H sword with double stacks of Rend, which pretty much obliterates enemy armor on contact, while still using my tower shield which makes me very difficult to damage without enemy rend. Combined with the increased damage output from having Bryan join the party, I was able to take out the three ogre things guarding the Caravan key, take out the Paladin camp to get the Fatherite artifact AND go back and finish the tough fight at the top of the Sentry Tower to get the spear reward there.

I’m now swimming in excellent gear, around 5000GP and all my characters are Lvl 15 or so. I need to tie up a couple of remaining loose ends, and it’s off to the Forest of Inshriach!


#452

I have played a bunch of this. I really like this game. It is a weird mix, certainly a ton of puzzles. I am just past the second story beat.

Combat is both fun and visually interesting; the puzzles are mostly common sense; the environments are fine. Plenty of min/maxing with gear and skills. Finally I have a soft spot for scots. Music is great. Took me awhile to get into this (not least of all it played like a dog on a leash on my old cpu) but once I did I really have liked it.

There are a LOT of game systems in it though. Maybe too many. I will continue on but we shall see… I ultimately enjoyed the puzzley part I just went through.

And Slainte? 5k gold? wow.


#453

I agree with you now Kray Kray as I have progressed.


#454

Ok so I have been progressing and – let knock out some usual points:

Exploration? Oddly interesting.

Combat? Wow actually very good!

Puzzles? I am NOT a puzzles girl… but … they are mostly common sense.

Atmosphere? Really very good. If you don’t hate scots.

Loot? You know I am just getting into some of the deeper loot modes (elven weapons) but it seems pretty good progression-wise.

Crafting and gold? balanced so far.

All in all - I am sorta surprised


#455

Careful, you’re going to sell me a copy at this rate.

How’s it run? I’m a little worried about it getting along with my antique system.


#456

it runs fine on my brand new cpu (“work expense”) BUT = I think it won’t run well on an older one. Not sure where the hang up is. It might have gotten performance patched.


#457

Launch day version had some performance issues, but it’s since been markedly improved. You’ll still see occasional hitching in some areas, which seems quite common, but it’s not an FPS so it’s only slightly irritating.


#458

What are your specs? It wasn’t worth a go on my 6 year old i3, but my 3 year old i5 it plays just fine on. I can’t have everything cranked up, but it looks good enough.


#459

It runs brilliantly on mostly High settings on my ancient Athlon II X4 with a 4GB 1050Ti GPU. It seems like the optimization patches they put out post-release moved some of the burden off the CPU and onto the GPU, as I had hitching and framerate issues prior to those, and significantly less after the patches.

So if your PC is kinda old, but your GPU is more recent, you’ll probably be fine with Bard’s Tale IV.


#460

Fine, I’ll re-install and try it out again. At launch it was a slide show for me.


#461

I agree with all your assessments. We seem to be having a very similar experience with the game.

  • I too find the exploration aspect oddly interesting, even though it seems like it’s on rails (definitely not open world) there are enough nooks and crannies and secrets to find and explore that it’s still satisfying.
  • Combat took me a while to warm to, but now I enjoy the strategic layer to finding the right combos to do max damage.
  • I also am not a puzzles girl, er, I mean guy, and yet despite there being A LOT of puzzles in the game, none of them are terribly complicated and the variety of puzzle types keeps getting larger as I progress, which keeps it interesting.
  • I’m totally into the atmosphere, from the entertaining accents on most of the voice work to the absolutely beautiful soundtrack, much of it in Gaelic.

I’m glad you are enjoying the game.

Last night I explored much of the Forest of Inshriach, a twisting maze of paths, bridges and encounters. And puzzles, so many puzzles. In addition to the move-the-stone-cubes and fairy stone puzzles, the forest introduces Celtic knot puzzles. The smaller ones are pretty simple, but the larger ones require some thought as you can only spin one piece at a time. Nothing show stopping though, and I made significant progress, meeting the leader of the forest people and opening up the 6th and final party member slot when one of her fighters joined my party. I also learned the song that clears thorny vines from pathways…so it looks like I’ll eventually be heading back into Baedish Lowlands and Skara Brae to uncover the last secrets hidden behind the thorny vines in those areas.

For now though, it’s off to meet the protector of the forest and kill a bunch of corrupted forest people along the way. I also still haven’t quite figured out what all the stone columns, both corrupted and non-corrupted, are for. I assume I will learn that after passing the test with the protector.


#462

Yes Slainte agree with you, though you are further along. I wish I had that plant song!

Combat here reminds me of some game I just can’t recall it … obviously, any party-based first person rpg but there is a gimmicky (in a good way) feeling to it. For example there can be a lot of movement in combat by your own characters in the formation, while conversely, your characters can effect movement of the enemies. Lots of tactics maximizing combat. My practitioner is getting particularly deadly but man those rogues are good …


#463

You’re going to overtake me shortly, at this rate! I’ve figured out what the stone columns are for, but solving them all is slightly fiddly to be honest. The Celtic knot puzzles had me going “oh no!” but in fact they’re all simple. I think that’s summed up most of the puzzles really, I despair at what looks like a complex puzzle but in fact it turns out of be quite straightforward. Which is good, because it makes me feel smart.


#464

I figured out fairy mushrooms. I think. Well I progressed a bit. Kray I agree most of the puzzles look like they are super “sweet Moses why oh why” and then they turn out (with a little thinking) to be “I am a bloody genius.”

Let’s hope it remains that way…


#465

Spent hours this weekend wandering the Forest of Inshriach. I saved the Fichti forest goddess, slew many invaders and other vile creatures, and solved enough puzzles to fill an entire brain teasers activity book. I also finally figured out what the deal is between the geodes, the stone columns and the Skyhenge. My advice for those who come after me, seek out ALL the geodes and sketch them (in game, not IRL). It won’t pay off immediately, you’ll need to do A LOT of work on the main quest first, but when that’s done and you can use your sketches…it’s loot city! I now have multiple Elven Weapons, many with very powerful effects, and they’re equipped throughout my party for maximum effect.

Even after all that, when it seems like I should be done with the forest, I’ve discovered multiple areas accessed from the forest that need exploration and quest completion. I’m going to be here for quite some time still.

I did return to the guild in SB Below to advance my characters and make the rounds of vendors to sell stuff. One issue I ran into, vendors never “forget” what you’ve sold them, so eventually they run out of available space to accept your sales, even if they have money. Luckily there are more vendors in the Fichti village, so I was able to sell off my prodigious haul of weapons and armor and still have around 7500GP even after blowing a couple thousand on some upgraded armor bits for my party.

I used the vine clearing song while in SB Below to explore that little area behind the guild. I think the devs must have intended you to get the vine song a lot earlier in the game, because the encounters behind the vines in SB Below were all trivially green to me. The loot wasn’t bad, and the areas were pretty cool looking, so it was still worthwhile to explore, it just seems like I should have done so a lot sooner. On the other hand, I’ve been exploring every little alcove, every secret and doing every quest in all the areas I pass through, so I’m probably over-leveled for where I’m at in the story now (all my party are Level 18 for the most part).


#466

Yes, I went back and cleared the vine in SB Below just about as soon as I got it. The encounters were still green or low level yellow, but I love those metroidvania elements. Hopefully you found the little easter eggs when you peer through certain windows.

With the geode patterns, I just photographed them with my phone, then it was just a case of going through them one-by-one. I still can’t do one of them (at least) that needs the top gem, because I haven’t got it. Wait, maybe I do have it and I’ve forgotten that I have it! It’s hard keeping track sometimes.

I’ve also receive a giant pile of epic weapons and you know what? I haven’t used any of them yet. The fights are still at the moderately challenging level, and I feel that using all that tasty loot will make it trivially easy. I know that’s a bit crazy, but yeah. Perhaps I should dial the difficulty up to Hard again!

I’ve now finished Iwon Rheg which was a lot of fun, and heading to the next area. I needed a break last week from the game for several days, but I’m back in the saddle as it were. I still haven’t figured out any of those elven shrines yet! (maybe with this new haul of Elven weapons, one of them will click).


#467

There are two vine locations (that I found) in SB Below, and I cleared both of them. Totally love peering through the windows at the weird little scenes you can find all over SB Below. My favorite has to be the tea party (which was in one of the vine areas). =) Nice idea using your phone to help with the geode constellation maps. I used my tablet and called up a Steam discussion post that had all of them (though I did actually go around and collect them all in my Lore inventory too).

I’m becoming increasingly annoyed with both the Elven Shrines and the Code Wheel Shrines. I’ve discovered 7 or 8 Elven weapons to this point, and not one of them actually works in any of the half dozen or more shrines I’ve discovered. With the Code Wheel Shrines, I’ve completed about half of the ones I’ve found, but they usually require at least one element I haven’t found or can’t craft yet. Basically, this means if you want to do either type of shrine you’re looking at a lot of backtracking through areas you’ve already cleared when you finally do find/make/loot the required element/weapon. That’s just sloppy design. There is no reason the elements for Code Wheel Shrines can’t be linked to your progression to that point. Sure, they could require some scouring of the local vendors, or clearing an area to find a stash with a rare element, but you shouldn’t have to travel 3 or 4 areas away from a shrine to find the items needed for it. Same with Elven weapons, no reason they couldn’t be discovered in the region or two following the discovery of their corresponding shrine.

I think at this point I have cleared all of SB Below. I need to revisit Baedish Lowlands to clear the vine-blocked areas, and I’ll be done with it as well. Forest of Inshriach is cleared, and I’m ready to move on to either the next main story area (Sulfur Springs / Iwon Rheg) or try for the Destiny Wand (the Wand of Peace quest) in the Lodge of the Siambra Dhu.

One thing I haven’t been able to figure out. In SB Below, at various places marked by a glowing green symbol on the wall, there are blocks/buttons than can be pushed to be “Activated” and “Deactivated”. Doing so seems to have zero effect on anything nearby, so I assume these are a meta-puzzle that has to be activated throughout SB Below to then open some further secret area…maybe the impassable gate with all the evil looking glowing symbols behind it?


#468

Yes, exactly.


#469

Ohhh…now I am intrigued. Wish I was home so I could play now. =)


#470

There’s currently a massive patch going in with a lot of legacy / retro options, grid-based movement, turning off UI elements, a pile of bug fixes. There’s also save anywhere now, the sacrifice being that the save totems now can’t be consumed for xp. Actually that sucks, I enjoyed that decision of whether to use it as a save point or get a bit more xp, particularly early on where it made more of a difference. Those save totems are everywhere so my initial skepticism about the lack of save anywhere was basically moot, but I guess they are trying to bring people back who rage refunded at the idea.