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Rogues, March 14, 2022
General Recommendation: I definitely recommend this game. It’s one of the few games on this site that is truly epic in its scope, and provides a wide variety of different gameplay experiences, including many that readers probably haven’t been exposed to in other games.
Preview: After fleeing your hometown, what will you do to make a name for yourself as a rogue in your new city?
Whereas the strength of many of EndMaster’s other works, like Eternal or Necromancer, lies in the epicness of the plot and circumstances, this game draws its strength from its protagonist’s humble origins. While the Eternal and Necromancer have been born destined for greatness, the Rogue is a pickpocket running from a backwater village to escape local trouble. There is no guarantee he will ever amount to anything historic, and indeed, on many pathes he does not.
In many pathes, particularly the Klyton ones, you play simply as a rogue trying to make your way in the world. Though in many stories only making history is rewarded with an official epilogue, in this game you can get an epilogue for much more simple intimate things; such as settling down with your family, or reopening the family inn, or returning home after years abroad. You can also get epilogues for modest success in your career as a rogue, such as in epilogue 3. With this wide variety in possible epilogues, the story provides the player with a lot more flexibility than many similar games.
Of course, this contrast also serves to make the pathes where the Rogue does achieve historic greatness all the more awing. The player can truly appreciate the extent to which he has pulled himself up form his bootstraps and made a name for himself, as they know how easily things could have gone differently.
The tonal difference between the pathes in the city of Holgard and the rest of the story is notable. While the entire story is well written and plotted, there’s an extra layer of complexity and edge to the Holgard city pathes that makes them feel much more gritty and real.
It’s interesting how many of the Rogue’s epilogues allow him to be unsatisfied. In Ending 2, Zal has died and he has no direction. In Ending 6, he’s living a fairly hollow existence. In the middle of the Holgard path, he reminisces about how he’s not enjoying his success and things have gotten overly complicated. This works well, as it shows that mere success isn’t enough for him to feel satisfied, and it makes the endings where he achieves real happiness more meaningful.
The Rogue is definitly an antihero, though how much depends on which pathes you take. In some pathes (such as endings 1, 5, and 12) he keeps a relatively moral outlook and eventually leaves his life of crime. In other endings the opposite happens, such as him running a thriving slave trade in ending 9. EndMaster has always been skilled at writing characters who are morally lax but still engaging and likeable, and this story is no exception. It takes skill to have a character do the things the Rogue has done and remain sympathetic, but it’s done quite well.
The setting’s various fantastic religions are handled very well, with each taking the focus on some branches and affecting the plot. For the most part this lurks in the background on the Klyton arcs, with Virgil representing the Joachimites, and occasional references to Yag. This lets relgion be familiar to the reader when it takes center stage on the Holgard pathes. The story also does a good job representing polytheism in a realistic dnd-like way. Many written fantasy works fail to capture the diverse and patchwork feel that role playing games tend to have surrounding their pantheons. With the 4-5 major gods involved in the plot, Rogues creates a gallery of gods that have the depth to support a variety of storylines without overwhelming the player with names. The factional interactions between the gods creates a tense and suspenseful atmosphere in the Holgard arcs, in addition to the worldbuilding they provide.
Tom’s inclusion is a nice callback to Innkeeper, and the role he plays fits well with what we know of his character.
Zalmora’s inclusion as a major player across two arcs lets the reader see her from a variety of different angles. As an older and more experienced thief, she serves as a contrast to both the Rogue and the Rogue’s other potential love interests. She can be seen as the Rogue’s “default” love interest; a human rogue who is very similar to him in a lot of ways. All the Rogue’s other love interests are different than him in some major way, and these differences stand out more when compared to Zalmora.
I like Vaughn. He seems to be one of the Rogue’s more well-balanced associates, and provides stability to the Crimson Talons arcs.
Virgil’s inclusion on the various Klyton pathes is a good way of tying them together. He takes a more hands-on role in the path with Mara, but still not quite center stage.
I like Yvette, but I’m not especially happy with the way her arc turned out. We have an intriguing character, a budding angel-blooded mage who’s just coming into her own who then does… nothing. She marries the Rogue, has kids, and never learns about his shady past. It would have been interesting to see how her own skills and abilities could interact with the Rogue’s but they never intersect.
Franklin is a fun character. Angellic characters are often tough to potray in a balanced way, but Franklin seems well-rounded, and his attitude towards his daughter and son in law seems reasonable.
The idea of the Rogue adopting a daughter is a very fun one, and while Mara is still a child, she brings the story in interesting directions. I found the turn towards romance disappointing, however. The age gap and power dynamic differences are too severe for them ever to have a truly equal relationship, and by including attraction into their relationship, the story sacrifices the more interesting parental feelings she evoked in the Rogue.
Tych’s role is a more interesting one, as he’s never quite trustworthy, but ends up working with the Rogue at times. Their final interaction where he calls him blivik is well done.
Isabella is very well characterized. From her first scene it’s clear who she is, and her aloof nature fits well with the vampiric archetype. The Rogue’s relationship with Isabella tracks his journey towards becoming a true vampire. It’s also interesting to see her gradually grow to like or dislike him depending on whether the player is on track for epilogue 6 or 7. She only opens up and becomes a reasonable partner for the Rogue when he makes specific choices.
Ghoul Lisa and Lisa are pretty much completely different people, with ghoul Lisa being barely even sentient. Ghoul Lisa is important only in the influence she has on the Rogue, and despite her lack of sentience, she drives him towards purpose and a goal. I’d be curious to learn how Lisa will react when the Rogue eventually becomes powerful enough to turn her fully into a vampire, given what we learn about her personality on alternate pathes. Lisa as a human is more interesting. It’s good to see where Lisa winds up after the Rogue was detained for a year, and it’s also good to see that she’s doing alright for herself, knowing that she doesn’t have as much luck in other branches. Lisa is an interesting character as a concept, but we never have a chance to see her take initiative for herself, all her development happens when she’s been forced apart from the Rogue.
Heather fits the “asshole wizard” too, but in an entirely different way than Ral. She’s much more organized, much more subtle, and proportionally much more dangerous. No matter what branch you’re on she’s generally bad news, but interestingly, in some of the Rogue’s earlier interactions with her, she can show an altrustic side that later doesn’t show as much, with her increasing bitterness and lack of morality
Warts is my favorite character. Though he isn’t a major player at any point, he remains consistently one of the Rogue’s only real trustworthy allies. Seeing how their relationship changes and doesn’t change over the years really brigns into perspective the other changes in the Rogue’s life. On the road to epilogue 10, he’s pretty much the only real friend the Rogue makes that he doesn’t betray in some way. It’s nice to see him gain acceptance from his people and have a happy life settled with his family.
I like the balance of Garrick’s character. As Sneaks says, he’s a fairly good boss as far as rogues go, but it’s clear that spending lots of time repressing his feelings with a succubus over the years has taken its toll on his mental stability. He’s a sympathetic character in this way, but it doesn’t prevent him from being a compelling antagonistic force when his goals eventually clash with the Rogue.
It’s interesting to see the changes in Sneak’s character from when the Rogue meets him in the Holgard path, to when he runs into him later on the Klyton pathes. On the Holgard pathes, he seems to play a similar role to Vaughn, being a steady voice of reason and a friend to the Rogue. I was always disappointed that you have no choice but to betray him, and I’m glad there are other pathes where you can end up being friends.
Tanya is handled quite well. She’s a delicately balanced character, initially rejecting her demonic bloodline, and late rembracing it. Having her feelings for the Rogue be purely subsumed by this goal would be unsatisfying, but allowing them to have a successful relationship would be equally unsatisfying. Tanya IS a succubus, and the idea that she could maintain a balanced relationship with the Rogue while becoming fully demonic is unrealistic. What happens with them instead is much more satisfying. I tend to be hesitant of the trope where the main character wears down his object of affection over time, as there’s often no clear reason why the woman eventually changes her mind about him. I don’t have that problem with the relationship with Tanya. Her initial hesitation is more out of wanting to protect herself and others than genuine dislike, and she grows closer t othe Rogue as he’s one of the few people to actually see her as a person. Tanya’s life has largely been dominated by outside influences, such as her demonic heritage, and Garrick’s involvement with the Guild (though this was largely unintentional). When the Rogue is able to resist and accept the risk of her demonic nature enough to care about her and her own personal interests, it’s believable that her feelings towards him would change. It would be interesting to learn what happens to her on the pathes where she never meets the Rogue, and if she ever becomes a full succubus regardless.
Vera is certainly an… interesting character. Oddly enough, despite her somewhat fanatical devotion to the Rogue, she’s one of his few partners who genuinely stands up to him. His relationship with her mirrors his relationship with Tanya; both are attracted to the other, but unwilling to enter a relationship due to not wanting to endanger them. In the rogue nation path, Vera and the Rogue are able to overcome the obstacles to their relationship, while Tanya and the Rogue are not. Vera’s assertiveness makes her likeable, but her pro-slavery attitudes prevent me from really liking her or approving of the relationship. She’s one of the most morally loose characters the Rogue associates with.
Annah is annoying, but in an endearing sort of way, and her relationship with the protagonist is entertaining. Seeing her relationship develop with the protagonist over the years helps frame his own journey. Her importance to her pathes contrasted with her disappearance on the other 10 makes her presence key to the arcs she does participating, and it’s fun to see the influence she has on her plotlines.
I also have some notes on the gods in this story, as the depth of the religious worldbuilding really adds a lot:
Yag has a bunch of fun details, appropriately enough, such as the focus on dice, the lack of a strong desire for active devotion, and the go-with-the-flow nature of his priests surrounding their fates. His personality feels relaxed, and appropriate for a luck trickster god.
There are a number of obvious similarities between Dendrin and Fel, to the point that one might suspect a relation between them. The tendency of the Felians to work in the background is fun, and leads to some interesting plotlines.
It’s nice to see a knowledge/magic god of dubious ethical standards. Dorna is clearly one of the more dangerous gods, because of her power, the attitude of her followers, and her subtlety. I found myself trusting the alliance with her even less than the alliance with Fel.
Karn is the least involved in the plot, but his presence is still important to round out the city’s pantheon.
I like that the Joachimites can very easily take on a purely antagonistic role towards innocents despite being a religion dedicated to holiness and light. It’s also god that we get to see various different sides of the Joachimites, between Virgil and the interactions on the Holgard path.
Neroth fills the role of a typical darkness god, and he fills it well. As a more one-dimensional antagonist, he works well as one of the first antagonistic forces the Rogue faces on the Holgard path, and later steps aside to allow the Rogue to face more complex antagonists.
-Obviously, setting this story as a sequel to Innkeeper immediately ties the player into the world. The reader already has a basic feel for the setting and some of the characters, which gives the story a sort of head start on characterization.
-I enjoyed the Holgard Rogue’s Guild pathes most the first time I played this, so I’ll be saving those for last.
-It can be tough to write fight scenes in a way that is both quick and accurate, but the confrontation with Klint is bot well-paced and descriptive.
-Lol, “It’s not the size of the weapon, it’s how you use it.” -“Yes dear, you keep telling yourself that.”
-Seems odd that the hanging cages are considered a mercy.
-I’m enjoying the contrast in tone between the pathes where the Rogue makes his way alone, and the ones with Annah. Appropriately, there’s a much more casual feel, and a lighter tone. It makes a good contrast with the other pathes.
-The protagonist pretending to have a pistol is amusing, especially considering he actually does have one on the Holgard path.
-I appreciate the comedic dynamic she and the protagonist have, as well as the skill it takes to balance it. This type of bickering can be easy to write in a way that puts the reader off, but EndMaster balances it quite well.
-Virgil being mentioned before he’s seen, as well as his first introduction, characterizes him efficiently.
-Klint’s father’s appearance is done well. It’s logical and foreshadowed but not made obvious, and surprises the reader.
-The narrtaor beaking up with Annah is good for their relationship. Annah developing her own support system makes her a much more equal partner for the Rogue, and allows her to be characterized in ways that a relationship wouldn’t have given room for.
-Annah’s repeating that in different situations the narrator would probably get along with Jenny suggests to me that she appears in other branches.
-Ah, it’s always annoying when you can tell a drink is drugged but can’t choose not to drink it.
-I suspected that Tom or Dave might be running the Talons, and I’m pleased that that’s the case. It’s a nice callback to Innkeeper.
-The Rogue’s thriftiness is a fun character trait for him that gives the opportunity for character driven scenes and relationships. I’ve always found paranoia endearing in characters.
-The references to Yag rolling the dice are a nice worldbuilding element.
-Nice Innkeeper reference with Flameflower’s appearance.
-I like how Checkers plays a small but continued role throughout the story. Checkers helps to ground Annah’s development.
-The sequence with Flameflower and the bandits is done well in a way that shows the seriousness and tragedy of the situation without overplaying it.
-It’s quite amusing that the Rogue has somehow ended up being looked up to by a gang of teenagers.
-Annah’s had some excellent character development. She’s changed a lot, growing in competence and realizing she’s more morally loose, but the changes all seem believeable, and take her character in interesting directions.
-I like that what’s happening in Jicol is followed up on in more than one path. It’s interesting to see what the Syndicate is doing in Jicol without the narrator having already dealt with them in Holgard.
-It’s also an interesting contrast that in the Annah pathes the narrator is very wary of gangs, but ends up leading one in the Holgard path and some of hte Klyton pathes. It shows the difference between his character in the arcs.
-The scene with the Innkeeper is done quite well. His limited appearance on the other pathes makes him showing up here all the more impactful. He’s acting in character with what we know of him from Innkeeper, while still having changed and grown in a reasonable way since that story.
-The Inkeeper’s interaction with his son is quite touching. It’s clear that he wants him to step up and still cares deeply about him after all this time. I like how the Rogue’s ongoing thriftiness is now used as a point in his being a father. Their conversations on the way back to Klyton really go to show both what has changed in the past twenty years, and what hasn’t.
-Ending each major branch with the sister’s return is an excellent narrative decision. It ties the story back together to the beginning, and gives a logical in-universe reason for the reader to look back on the story and reflect. It also helps to highlight the difference between the Rogue’s situation in each of the epilogues.
-I like the use of technology in this world. Like in Innkeeper, there is technological advancement, but it has yet to reach the general public, and is similar to magic currently in its use and availiability. It works well with the tone of the setting.
-Ending 11 is fun. It’s amusing that after all the trouble with them in other branches you can have a positive relationship with the Ebony Claw Syndicate, and the idea of being a crime family is both fun and oddly wholesome.
-It’s a little annoying that choosing to leave the Syndicate is the only way to successfully join them.
-The detour in the Delantium Kingdom does a good job of establishing the riskiness of dealing with the Ebony Claw Syndicate.
-Having pathes in Klyton both with and without Annah is a good way to show the significance of her presence. The silence and simplicity of the journey to klyton without her there does a good job of showing both the advantages and drawbacks of her company.
-Tom’s appearance being brushed over on the Annah path is also a nice detail, and a good way to show differences, and the references to different Crimson Talons members in Annah’s arcs also makes meeting the characters in person in the Klyton path more interesting.
-It’s interesting that in the Klyton path you run into Zalmora much sooner than on the Annah path.
-It’s interesting that all of the drugs are named after colors.
-The scene with the wanted poster for the Grinning Man does a good job setting the scene.
-It’s nice to see the Rogue interacting with both orgainzed crime, disorganized crime, and disorganized organized crime. With the Thieves’ Guild he’s part of a competent organization trying to fit into it. With the Crimson Talons he’s one of the more competent members trying to salvage the group. And he also has the opportunity to be a solo thief in Klyton. The differences between these pathes show how the player’s decisions have affected his character and provides a wide variety of different plotlines.
-I like that Jake uses the word “Bloody” for his group, regardless of which one it is.
-All the references to Innkeeper on the Klyton path are fun. I’m pleased to see more of Scales, I always thought he was an intriguing character.
-Mr. Reynold’s concern for Olaf’s welfare & wife is a good character detail.
-I find it interesting how the Rogue’s relationship with Zalmora is different when they’re part of the Crimson Talons and when they’re independent. They seem to get along more casually as independent associates than in a formal organized system.
-Man, Madeline is nuts. EDIT: Not surprised to learn she’s part succubus, I was getting suspicious when the Rogue mentioned the dreams he’d been having.
-Not sure why we’re trying to assassintate the Governor of Hessla. Seems counterproductive.
-Amusing that in the 3rd epilogue you can have a positive relationship with Mr. Reynolds, despite all the conflict he causes in alternate branches. It’s also interesting that the Rogue runs a legitimate business in this epilogue.
-It’s interesting that the relationship with Zalmora doesn’t work out in many branches. It makes sense given what we know of their personalities, and I tend to like when stories show relationships ending in realistic ways. In the epilogue where they do end up together, the number of epilogues where they don’t makes it feel more earned, and shows clearly the circumstances that allowed it to happen.
-Zalmora’s marriage proposal is quite amusing.
-I like the attention given to the side characters, like Junior, the Ogrefling.
-Epilogue 2 is allowed to be both a “Victory”, due to being one of the epilogues, and a failure, due to the nature of the Rogue’s circumstances. The sister’s visit and their shared journey towards Teckleville gives the ending a sense of hopefulness and continuity, the Rogue’s life is not over. More than the other epilogues, this one feels like the beginning of a story rather than the ending, in a good way.
-The side adventure with the pirates is entertaining. Side adventures like this one and the one with Madeline give the story more depth.
-Wendy’s appearance is done well.
-This game devotes a lot of attention to death endings and side pathes, which is nice. In many cases, these dead ends have multiple pages and options.
-The parallels between the Rogue’s situation with and without Annah as a freelancer in Klyton are good.
-Dr. Gossey’s appearance is an entertaining surprise.
-I like that qweepas appear across multiple branches.
-Pretty pathetic that you can’t do anything to protect Elena. If this is going to be representative of this path, I don’t have much respect for the Rogue here. Also it’s pretty weird that he names his qweepa after her.
-It’s interesting that the Rogue is less thrifty on the path without Annah. Perhaps his reluctance to spend was more of a reaction to her spending habits than an inborn trait.
-The various tasks the Rogue ends up doing on the independent Klyton path remind me a little of parts of Legend.
-Virgil’s continued appearances across the various pathes is a good bit of continuity, and it helps set up his character for the point where he begins taking a more active role in the plot.
-The fact that the Rogue not being a rapist makes him a catch to Ola says a lot about Gix.
-I like that the Rogue can end up being involved inthe massacre on Rifiv’s ship that he later hears about in the other pirate path.
-It’s nice that we get a chance to see a bit of how magic works in this world on the branch with Yvette, for the most part magic has only been a background element.
-I think Yvette can do better than the Rogue. He’s lied to her, pushed at her boundaries, and they’ve spent all of one trip in each other’s company.
-I like Mara so far, and I like the impact she’s having on the Rogue. He’s probably not the best influence on her, but certainly better than what we’ve heard of the Klyton orphanages.
-Sneaks’s appearance in Jicol on multiple different branches is nice.
-I wish you have the choice not to enter a relationship with Mara. The power dynamics feel wrong and the age gap is too big. I liked their relationship better when it was purely paternal.
-It’s nice that you can end up on either side of Mr. Reynolds’ political campaign.
-Honestly, I don’t think the Rogue should have ended up with Yvette. He’s lying to her and he has no intention of stopping. I like her and I like Trinity as characters, but it doesn’t feel deserved.
-The difference between the Klyton and Holgard pathes is made immediately apparent with the death of the merchant. In Klyton, you can afford to pet the dog every now and then and keep your head clean, Holgard will afford the player no such luxury. On these pathes, it is a burtally kill or be brutally killed world. The fact that the Rogue has now killed three people is addressed but not dwelled on, which shows how life is treated more casually here.
-It’s clear from the Rogue’s conversation with the wizard that he’s scared and unnerved.
-Lol, “Did you just magically enslave me?” “I hate when it’s put like that.”
-The references to Legend on the path with Ral are entertaining. It’s also nice to see more about how magic works in this world on this path.
-The tone of the path with Ral does a good job of showing the Rogue’s situation. He’s stuck and frustrated, and this comes across well in his narration and the attitude of others.
-The use of the word “Plivik” is clever, as is Tych’s characterization in general.
-The beginning of the path with Ral has an interesting episodic feel that’s quite different from the rest of the game.
-The wazia is a well-imagined fantasy creature, not sure if it was made up for this game or not.
-“Sounds very similar to plivik.” “Sometimes in our culture the two are interchangeable.” This is another good character moment for Tych and the Rogue, and the sprite culture at large.
-Lol “You have a pet manticore?” “Sure, doesn’t everyone?”
-While the religious faction war is the focus of the story in the Holgard city pathes, it’s nice to see it affecting the plot on the vampire path. It’s also nice to see Heather interacting with the Rogue in different contexts.
-It’s too bad there’s no path that follows the Rogue when he chooses not to go to Isabella for help with his condition and instead leaves the area. It’s an intriguing situation for him, with a lot of possibility.
-One strength of this path is the way in which the narrator slowly grows away from being a rogue. It starts with his service to Ral, then his cold condition, then his vampirism. The change happens slowly enough that it’s believeable, and opens plotlines rather than shutting them.
-Fittingly, the Rogue’s first and foremost challenge as a vampire is boredom. My dude needs a hobby. He should take up fishing or crocheting or the trumpet or something.
-The plotline involving Heather and the religious war does a good job showing the Rogue’s aimlessness. He’s not doing this because he cares, he just doesn’t have anything better to do than let himself be used by Heather. Fittingly, it doesn’t end well for him.
-I like that the Joachimites appear in both the Holgard and Klyton branches. For the most part, those two pathes are fairly disconnected.
-It’s interesting that on the path where the Rogue dominates a village he’s able to correctly identify the power imbalances in his relationship with Isabella. The Rogue enters relationships with power imbalances in many other pathes (such as with Mara), but doesn’t seem aware of the issues, despite having a much firmer grip on morality.
-Green Eye’s character is interesting, and provides an unusual challenge for the Rogue.
-I like the doppelganger. She adds interesting possibilities to the plotline, and is a unique character.
-It fits that the Rogue never winds up properly happy on the path with the ghoul villages. It doesn’t fit with what he wants out of life, it doesn’t challenge him in ways that matter, and he has no real friends. It’s good that this path shows that despite his power, these endings aren’t necessarily positive. The ending with Isabella, by contrast, shows the importance of companionship to the Rogue’s genuine happiness.
-The vampire pathes just don’t really do it for me, for a couple reasons. The Rogue is more interesting when his moral code is a bit tighter, and when his journey towards power is more gradual and self-driven. In the vampire arcs, he’s thrust into power without ever really earning it, and predictably uses it without having a full appreciation for it. Another factor may be that choosing to deviate from the vampire pathes’ main plots often leads to “your life as a Rogue is over” endings. The path with Lisa is slightly more engaging, as the Rogue has a clear purpose he’s trying to achieve. I also found the earlier parts more engaging, before he is turned into a vampire.
-The theme of freedom surrounding the pathes with Ral is interesting, particularly since the Rogue never really achieves it in most of the pathes. He remains bound to Lisa on the ghoul path, bound to Isabella on the second path, and in no case manages to avoid becoming a vampire.
-Lol, “Poor depressed vampire wallowing about how nobody understands his pain. Why the hell is it that half of all you vampires are like this?”
-Ending 8 is oddly wholesome, with the Rogue committed to making things right with Lisa despite everything that’s happened. It’s nice to see him still upholding his obligation to fix his mistakes despite other changes to his moral code.
-I like all the variety between the different gangs. The ECS, Thieves’ Guild, Crimson Talons, and Black Hooks each have their own unique character.
-I’m usually irritated by transcribed accents, but Warts’ speech patterns are subtle and understandable enough that they’re not irritating.
-Lol, “Thank Yag we got outta there when we did.” “Thank ME we got out when we did.”
-The tone of the Holgrad pathes is done quite well. Whereas the Klyton pathes have a casual and relaxed atmosphere, in Holgard, there’s a constant sense that everything is slowly coming to a boil. This sense of unease is especially pervasive in the earlier parts of the arc, where the Rogue is still learning how he fits into the city’s political structure. Oddly, despite this, he seems to “fit” more with Holgard that with Klyton or Ral; the city is a dangerous place, but he’s a dangerous man, and this city is where he fits in most naturally.
-The Rogue’s initial relationship with Tanya is refreshing, as his other love interests are the ones interested in him for the most part. It’s realistic that not everyone the Rogue is interested in would immediately throw themselves at him. The Rogue’s behavior towards her is a little pushier than I’d like, but it’s forgivable since he’s under demonic influence.
-The mini adventure with time travel is an interesting detour, and makes me wonder what caused it to be included in the narrative. Though certainly entertaining, it’s wholly disconnected from the rest of the story, making me wonder if there were plans to flesh this out into a full branch. It bears some similarities to the alternate universe plots of SSS in tone.
-The interaction with Naji is oddly wholesome considering the circumstances.
-The background information on Neroth from the Rogue’s first burglary is helpful when he becomes more important later on.
-Lol, “I obviously don’t have that much influence if you’re able to keep a secret like that from me.” “Um, well I did just confess to you.” “Oh right. Shit.”
-It’s interesting that the politics in Holgard initially remain in the background to the Rogue’s story. References are made to the Baron, and later the Baroness, but the Rogue doesn’t become directly involved in city-wide politics, or the religious war, until later.
-The sequence where the Rogue is recalling how the people’s he’s slept with have died is presented well.
-I like that the Rogue is morally against slavery, I just wish it was due to a genuine moral code rather than his unresolved issues surrounding Tanya. It feels like a major blow to his character when he later abandons this code in the path with Vera.
-Yinen’s identity as the inquisitor is an interesting detail, but it fits well with what he’s told us of his history. Even though the plotline isn’t explored in depth, it’s intriguing.
-The Rogue’s killing of his sexual partners on the Holgard path is one way to show the effect dating a succubus has had on him. His eventually getting over it on the Vera path shows his release of Tanya, and his inability to do so on the hero path shows how he’s never able to let her go.
-The plot surrounding Kol is a good way to round off the rogue nation branch. After all the large-scale confrontations on the branch, a more intimate family-based challenge wraps up the story nicely.
-The way Heather develops in the hero path is logical given what we know of her ambitions and actions on other pathes.
-I like the irony of the “hero” path having the Rogue take some of his most immoral actions.
-The sequence with Tanya at the end of the hero path is excellently written. The Rogue is not a nice person (understatement of the year), particularly not on this path. Neither is Tanya. However, they are both capable of love, and uniquely equipped to overlook each other’s faults (as Tanya says “you really don’t judge, do you?”). Their reunion illustrates both their feelings for each other, and why these feelings can never be reciprocated. It provides a satisfying conclusion to the relationship within the scope of the story, managing to be genuinely touching despite the extreme circumstances.
There’s a number of typos and proofread issues, but not many actual grammatical issues.
Mastery of Language
There seems to be an improvement in language use in this story compared to some of EndMaster’s previous ones. The comedic pacing of the sentences seems better and more thought-out. The dialogue in general is well-paced. There are still a few sentence structuring issues.
This story also does a good job intermixing description and summary with dialogue, which is good since it covers such a large expanse of time.
Very good for a story of this length, there are 12 full epilogues. There’s a lot of variety here.
Player Options/fair choice
Pretty good for fair choice. The consequences of actions tend to be well foreshadowed. There are exceptions, of course.
As far as player options goes, there’s only so much you can do there in a game of this length. There are a number of places where the Rogue makes major decisions without consulting the player, or decisions that should logically lead to major pathes end with “your life as a rogue is over”. The game states up front that it is more story-focused, however, and it would be unreasonable to expect otherwise in a game this long and complex.
The decisions that split the game into different branches tend to be representative of the true decision being made, and make it clear to the player what effect their choice will have on their gameplay. The one glaring exception to this is choosing how to avoid an orgy, which leads to a major split in the game’s branches based on a pretty random decision by the player.
I got ending 9 (Rogue Nation) the first time I played this game, and then played through the rest of the Holgard pathes. After exploring the others, I came to the conclusion that Rogue Nation was probably the best ending, just wish it could be without the slavery.
I have spent at least seven hours reading and reviewing this game today alone, and that was just for the final two pathes (9 and 10). I’ve been spending hours on this for days. My finger aches from clicking the little blue buttons. Worth it.
On to the next one!
CONCLUSION: An epic storygame that lives up to its high reputation.