I messed around with the beta a couple of weeks ago and it was a bit too grindy for me. Or I could also just be terrible at it. I could barely afford to keep my ship afloat, much less upgrade it to explore further. I’m going to give it another try once it’s out anyway because the writing is still really good.
As far as I can tell with each death the world resets itself. There are at least a couple of quests/stories that are timed by your number of visits and then a trigger happens. Those timers/triggers are reset when you die and have an heir. Oh and the map is randomized too.
I’ve certainly played $20 or so and have not come close to completing one of the main goals.
So I’m liking this a lot. You can save and load, if you want, though if you beat the game without you get some kind of achievement. I haven’t so far, but we’ll see. There’s a lot of Fallen London cruft, particularly in the interface and all the cryptic little boxes that appear when you do things (Your Shaved The Abominable Constable Is: 4"), but the feeling of sailing out into the dark is great, the sense of danger and discovery is delicious, and the writing engaging. Thumbs up so far.
I wasn’t expecting them to be using that exact same narrative system for this, and I guess I’m a little disappointed because I think it’s more confusing than informative. I got used to it in Fallen London after awhile, but having been away from that for awhile, I just don’t know what to make of some of the tooltips on the cards, like "Something Something is ". That’s it. I’m seeing a lot of cards referring to values that are just blank. (I can give better examples tomorrow when I play again; maybe someone can help me make sense of that.)
Anyway, the writing is tremendous as always and I’m itching to see what I can discover.