Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thea: The Awakening (Impressions 25+ hours)

On rare occasions, I play a game that presses all my buttons (in a good way).

Often, it's hard to explain why. I know it when I play it, though. It's a game that I want to be playing constantly. I'm thinking about strategies when I'm not playing. I want to stay up very late and play.

Space Rangers 2 was one of those games--vast, deep, and quite odd in its own way. It took a hold on me that I don't think has been duplicated since then (2006).

Until now.

I can't stop playing this game. It's vast, deep, and odd, just like Space Rangers 2, with crafting, a big tech tree, unique combat, a huge number of items, and even some text-based encounters.

Let's look at a few of the details, and I took all these screenshots from the game's Steam page, because I'm lazy.

First off, the world view, and as you can see, it's quite an attractive game.

At different day/night/season phases, heavy mist moves in, obscuring your view. Snow dapples the ground. It's very, very pleasing.

Here's the combat screen:

In one sense, it's conventional turn-based card combat. What makes it interesting, though, is that combat can take many forms: fighting, hunting, tactics, social, or sickness. And every character in your party has strengths and weaknesses in the various forms of combat. Putting all these variables together into a strong party is both fascinating and complex.

Different types of combat have serious advantages, too. If you attack another party, one of the possible combat forms (if your characters have enough skill) is hunting, and in hunting, your party members lose no health points whether they win or lose.

You might also try a social resolution, which is one of my favorites. If you fail, though, you'll have to defend yourself in a conventional battle.

All of these choices give you a ton of combat options, as long as you're the attacker. If you're attacked, though, you usually have to fight, which means that no matter your artful conversational skills, you better still be able to swing a sword.

If you get tired of combat, there's an auto-resolution button, too.

Tomorrow we'll look at the tech tree and the crafting options, with the weapons/armor/items and the text encounters on Thursday. I think.

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