It’s nice that Funcom have given this game a new lease of life, it was always a flawed gem, with some of the most immersive storytelling and fun puzzling in any game ever, combined with a clunky combat system.
Nice to see both features present and correct in this iteration. :) It’s quite amazing that they’ve managed to work on the combat system and it still feels clunky. For me, it has something to do with the pace of the animations combined with sluggish responsiveness somehow. Not that I like the super-fast animations of some of the more Asian-style combat, but something inbetween (e.g. Cryptic’s Dungeons & Dragons, or Warframe - they just “sit” better in terms of pacing and fluidity for me).
It’s fun to revisit the story, and it’s still amusing that regardless of how ancient the graphics are, the conversations still have great voice acting and loads of character, with the overall writing and concepts being really very good for a videogame.
I guess the streamlining of the mechanics of the combat system is ok, but I am disappoint that yet again another attempt at “freeform” ability design has sort of failed (the last big one I remember being a shame it didn’t work was Champions Online). There was something very fun about discovering interesting combinations, but one thinks that surely the devs must have foreseen all, and these things get discovered pretty quickly by players anyway, so then the system becomes somewhat optimized by the players after all, so the devs might as well not have bothered.
What is the problem with that type of game design? Is it that you can have either freeform or “character” but not both (i.e. you have to make things generic and switchable in terms of numbers, or you have to have carefully balanced bunches of numbers with uniquely characterful abilities, in which case it can’t be freeform?)
I can’t help but think something more conditional would work better for freeform (i.e. a system where the mob is “aware” of what the player can do and tailors its own abilities more precisely to the player’s) but then I guess you’d have another problem of unclarity for the player as to how to build - or maybe (with an online game) too much complexity in the calculations for fast enough combat? Dunno, but I’ve always felt more contextual awareness would be a good thing - surely such a system could be translated for the player so it can be made comprehensible in some way to aid character/class building?