A Courier's Tale

by SJ Griffin profile

RPG
2014

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- NJ (Ontario), June 11, 2016

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Couriering in an intriguing city (pity implementation lacks punch), March 15, 2016
by verityvirtue (London)

Based on the Vanguard Trilogy by the same author, you play a newbie bike messenger working as one of the cogs in the premier courier company, Packet. One of the perks of working here is meeting the legendary Sorcha Blades... which, of course, is what happens when she needs a decoy messenger.

This game is a moderately branching story which takes the PC through an expansive setting, reminiscent of China Miéville or Emily Short's City of Secrets, and gives the sense of an extensively mapped-out city. Neighbourhoods are given characters of their own; distinct communities live in different parts of the city. The story attempts to illustrate a dangerous city running amok with criminals and secret dangers, in a city so starved of resources that fresh fruit is a minor luxury, but nothing really affects the PC directly. The story structure is simple; clearly, the focus is on the writing itself.

The writing itself, however, is not terribly polished; there are typos and missing punctuation marks, there are missing words, there could be more paragraph breaks to let the text breathe. As a spinoff from the source material, I guess it's no surprise that it ended just as it was getting interesting! If it was expanded to elaborate on the hook mentioned in the last part of the game, and polished a lot more, I think it would make for very interesting reading.


Great setting with good story, July 7, 2014

The characters are great(Spoiler - click to show), though I feel like the party at the end was a bit out of character; I guess the characters needed to warm to the protagonist quickly for the story to fully introduce the Vanguard. The setting is great too, though I think it was best described sparsely as part of the narrative; the passages about the Ministries got quite lengthy. (Spoiler - click to show)Also the cyclic paths around the Ministries could have been better implemented; you didn't need to hear the whole description again each time you came across a particular ministry.

Sometimes it's not entirely clear why you are doing things.(Spoiler - click to show) like sneaking past the tent in the theatre; I assumed that the people in the tent were the targets of the delivery, since there was an insignia on the door and on the tent. Sometimes there were things I felt it was obviously a good idea to do but couldn't. (Spoiler - click to show)Like taking that skull-and-crossbones sticker straight off your bike straight away! (But this is inevitable in any game I guess.) Also it is nice to be given more information about choices you are making; if there are two options and one's a dead end, it's nice to feel like you're making a decision rather than essentially flipping a coin.

Overall it provides a good introduction to a compelling setting, and if that was is its aim then it's a great success.

(Spoiler - click to show)Oh, and a "bug report": in the passage where you meet up with Sorcha and Casino, I got the passages for both the scenario where I'd had a snack and the very beginning of the story, and for if I hadn't, on the same screen. I don't know how you're keeping track of such things, but if this wasn't just the result of me doing something loopy, there may be a problem with a the way a variable or something is written.



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