Blighted Isle

by Eric Eve profile

Historical Fantasy

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Number of Reviews: 5
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1-5 of 5

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A True Adventure, January 13, 2022
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Adventure

A loyal seaman of His King's Fleet, thrown off his ship in a terrible storm, thrown off his ship and into an indefinite time on an indefinite island.

What comes next, for the protagonist as well as the player, is adventure at its best: an unknown island full of apparently normal characters who always have something more to say than you would expect, and many clues as to why this island is not quite what it seems to be at first glance.

First, let me point out some negatives:
-There's a bug whenever you try to take something big through a narrow passage. A simple error message would have been disconcerting enough in a game as polished as this one, but a screen-and-a-half of detailed error-analysis took me out of the game enough to take a small break and pretend it never happened.
-It's frustrating that the game not only provides the option, but actively guides the player into making promises she's unable to keep. I spent many, many turns on trying to get back to the south-side to help my favourit NPC. This was made even worse when I found an object that could supposedly cut through rock, and then it didn't. Despite my unleashing all my powers of experimentation and SAVE-retry-RESTORE on it.

With those frustrations out of the way, let me continue to the amazing game Blighted Isle really is.

I tend to pay a lot of attention to the use of space, the connection of locations,the sense of a bigger world. Blighted Isle takes place on an island, which gives it a natural boundary. It's enclosed by water (obviously...) which is then encircled by a mysterious fog. There are a good number of hilltops to look out over the rest of the land. These facts together already make for a nice mix of claustrophobic (the barriers) and wide-open (the inlands). Append to that the promise of the land beyond, and the first part of the game is masterpiece of balancing the player's need to finding out every single thing there is to know against the story's drive to get to the North.

I cannot praise Blighted Isle enough for its characters. I refuse to call them NPCs. NPC, despite its obvious technical definition, draws images of cardboard and plastic. The Personages in Blighted Isle are much more than that. To experience the game/story to its fullest, you must ask them about anything that seems relevant to their backstory. Some responses moved me to tears. Good writing, that is...

But then, this personal form of writing loveable characters can also fall to bits. A young lady asking me if I Love her, or merely Like her, while we are crossing a plateau in between an unknown and possibly dangerous mountainous landscape seems a bit out of place...

Some of the puzzles flow naturally out of the conversations with the different NPCs. There are a few fetch-quests, some of which I could not (frustratingly) finish because they are tied to certain characters.
Other puzzles are quite common-sense, which can present an extra difficulty in an adventure game. (We're not used to normal-day-physics...)

The most important impression I got from playing Blighted Isle is "Adventure".
Not as a descendant of the original ADVENT, but as an interactive version of the children's books of Astrid Lindgren and Thea Beckman.

A real adventure.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Well-crafted, big fantasy game with weird dating sim vibe on the side, February 3, 2016

This fantasy game was a lot of fun. You are washed up on an island after a big storm, and you slowly have to piece what happened together. The game purposely leads you to thinking one thing, then gives you a bit of a fakeout (or doesn't, depending on your point of view).

There are a dozen or more NPCs, and there are a great deal of sidequests. Most of the game can be skipped on a good walkthrough (or at least a good chunk of it).

The weird part was the fact that all single woman in the game are written as gorgeous and interested in your character, with you getting the pick of them. Now, dating simulation in general isn't a horrible idea, but one when character's description is that "The word 'buxom' was invented for her', it gets pretty lame. Fortunately, you can avoid anything you don't like.

This is a big, rich world, with a very large map. I only needed hints 2 or 3 times. On one puzzle, though, the whole puzzle revolved around examining an item only mentioned once in the middle of a room description that was one of dozens of room descriptions of no importance, so I don't think I would ever have solved it on my own, because I was skimming the descriptions by then.

3 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Great NPC interaction, August 16, 2009
by DallasBrianK (DFW Area)
Related reviews: Strong NPC

Loved the NPC characters. Excellect descriptions of rooms, geographic locations. Numerous options to try different "paths" to the eventual conclusion. Satisfying adventure with opportunities for replay.

FYI - male players might try to kiss a few ladies.

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
Sea and Fog, Polish and Dubious Politics, July 24, 2009
by perching path (near Philadelphia, PA, US)

After waking up waterlogged (but thankfully not stricken with amnesia) on the titular uncharted island, your soldier protagonist is gradually introduced to the local personalities and their various conflicting opinions. As you explore the large and evocatively described landscape, you're free to act on the wishes of whomever you choose to trust.

While there are mechanical puzzles, interaction with NPCs forms the bulk of the plot. The dialogue system, which suggests topics when necessary but generally allows for free interaction, often facilitated impressively smooth conversations. I applaud Eve both for allowing me to be polite to those of my interlocutors who deserved it, and for making a world real enough that I felt to urge to.

The game's hands-off, character-driven approach to guiding your actions has its downsides, of course: it's quite possible to finish the game leaving major plot lines hanging. For similar reasons, I ended up accompanied by a character whose rationale for sticking with me was never really established. It seems to me that fully experiencing what Blighted Isle offers depends a bit too much on the player's completism and too little on in-game motivations.

These flaws aside, my opinion of Blighted Isle was overwhelmingly positive until the endgame. Take this next spoiler tag seriously- I'm going to reveal a couple of big twists. (Spoiler - click to show)The ending I reached involved my saving Winston Churchill's life on the orders of King Arthur. By which I mean saving a racist warmonger of questionable competence because an absolute monarch told me to. Yeah, the protagonist might well be up for that. I'd built up sympathy for him by that point, though, and felt a bit betrayed (not to mention deprived of a satisfying conclusion). On the plus side, the Arthurian, time-bending reality of the island was very well-foreshadowed.

In the end, I found Blighted Isle an impressive application of writing and programming skill to slightly unworthy material. I would recommend trying it: its successes are numerous and its failures are interesting.

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful:
Satisfying and Fascinating, July 3, 2008
by Rose (New Zealand)

I first noticed this game on a Recommended List, and played it the afternoon after. What I want to know now is why this game didn't make a bigger splash when it was released -- it's fantastic! (Note: This is an updated version of a review written 30/06/08. When I first wrote the review, I'd only reached one of the endings.)

The plotline is deceptively simple: you, Lieutenant James Corby, RN (who is nicely characterized) are washed up on an island in the Bay of Biscay that technically isn't supposed to exist. As time goes on, things get stranger and stranger until you are forced to make a decision about your loyalties and future. There are multiple endings and many different priorities you can pursue.

I was forced to draw a map, something I usually hate, but somehow I didn't mind. The geography is realistic and easy to visualize once you have it on paper (although it's sometimes a little under-described). Although the geography is expansive, it's logical; and a nice GO TO command quarters the difficulties of navigating it. Not once did I get lost, which is unusual for me.

The NPCs were well-developed, and the conversation system was fantastic (though occasionally unwieldy when trying to say something specific). You may find it helpful to list the characters and their motivations, as the cast is large and almost everyone has a different opinion/agenda. With regards to romance, it was quite sweet.

So far I've only mentioned what I like. What didn't I like? Surprisingly, quite a lot. I seriously disliked (Spoiler - click to show)Meg, one of the possible love interests. I used to dislike Inalda too, but having finished the game with her as my companion she's grown on me. I extra-seriously disliked (Spoiler - click to show)losing all my possessions in the marsh. I know it's supposed to be 'no going back now' and all that, but I still hated it. UPDATE: A related problem I hated was when Julia made me drop all my stuff. Mean girl. I don't know why I forgave her. Most important, the island simply didn't feel 19th century. This may have been intentional ((Spoiler - click to show)end the game by reaching the White Tower and you'll see what I mean) but if it is supposed to feel like it belongs to the wrong time period, then why doesn't the game make it more obvious instead of it simply being my personal gut feeling? Of course, my obsession with historical literature may have made me over-picky in this regard. (And why can't you call the ladies 'Miss'? Eg. >X MISS TRELAWNEY returns the annoying 'You see no miss trelawney here.' If the PC is supposed to be 19th century, let him use the manners of the day!)

Despite the flaws (which I am probably over-dramatizing) I had more fun with this game than I have with any since Jigsaw. It's worth a good go; highly recommended.

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