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About the Story
Battle Norse raiders, ghosts, and changelings to save medieval England! But beware, if the elves can capture the Book you hold, the world will end.
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: January 11, 2019
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: ChoiceScript
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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 2
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I've noticed that most Choicescript games' quality matches up pretty well with the total and number of ratings on the omnibus app, with most of the lower-scored ones ending up being confusing or dissappointing.
This game proved the exception for me. While it had problems, especially near the start, I ended up enjoying it quite a bit especially the ending.
In this game, you play as a monk/scholar in 1000 AD who is entrusted with a book of marvelous prophecy called the Chronicon Apocalypticon. At the same time, you discover a disembodied hand running around. You embark on a quest to save (or destroy) England, meeting many weird characters and discovering the magical side of the world (with undead, elves, dragons, etc.)
The NPCs all are very different from each other and creative. They include a beekeeper and his special bee helper, a Joan-of-Arc type woman, a conflicted nun, a bard, and others.
I enjoyed the fact that 'being good at reading' is a superpower in this game. At least, it's a skill that can be used to save the world.
Overall, the main characteristics it has with other less popular CoG titles is its weaker/confusing stats and it's lack of flexibility when it comes to romances (there are romances, but gender of ROs is fixed and many will only specific types of romance or none at all).
By 'weak stats' I mean that I ended the game with almost all skills at 50%, one in the 60's and two in the 50's. This can cause a lot of problems, such as trying to figure out if you just screwed up your stats royally, or figuring out what's enough to pass challenges. My personal analogy for stat growth is that it's like walking speed in a 3d game: really low stat boosts are like having a character move at 1/10 of normal speed.
By 'confusing' stats, I mean that it can be really hard to figure out which stats are which; for instance, the game frequently asked me if I would do things myself or work as a team, but I cannot identify any skill that that corresponds to. On the other hand, there are many tracked stats that I can't for the life of me tell how they apply in the game.
Many people in reviews for this game mention difficulty with stat checks, which I think is a result of the above issues.
So that's a lot of time spent on the weaknesses. The good thing is that the game is at its worst at the beginning and only gets better with time. The final chapter was great, on par (in my opinion) with Heroes of Myth, another excellent Choicescript game. The actual last page was one of the best I've seen (in my playthrough).
As the game progresses, you can figure out the author's signposts for the stats. It's usually the simplest possible: he mentions the name of the stat in the choice.
As the game goes on, there are many factions you can choose between and many ways to influence the world. The choices are great. The whole game story was really compelling for me, better than most of the games I've played in the last few weeks.
I think this game most appealed to me because of my love for reading and my enjoyment of monastical, historical, and/or fae-based narratives with a bizarre cast of characters, as well as my patience for puzzling stats. If that sounds like you, you'll probably enjoy this game.
I feel like this game was made personally for me. Centering around a monastic scribe who's thrust into a mission to investigate a potentially demonic book, Chronicon Apocalyptica hits on all my obscure interests and makes them actually quite compelling in terms of game play and narrative. Even if you're not personally fascinating by illuminated manuscripts and medieval history and lore, I'd recommend this game -- though having interests in those areas makes this one a must play!
The game reads like a work of medieval literature itself, akin to Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'history,' which mixes in lore, mythology, magic, and religion alongside historical events. From the beginning, when the player character encounters a disembodied 'tremulous' hand that's scurrying around the abbey, this game is full of wonders and strangeness. The main quest of the game revolves around investigating a string of strange phenomena reported in the aforementioned demonic book that sees the player character face ghosts, witches, dragons, and faerie. Like many works of medieval literature, the game is somewhat episodic, though the episodes follow a main throughline and add up to a satisfying conclusion.
The story itself is wonderfully weird and quite well written, but the game play complements the story and really makes the whole thing cohere nicely. The game puts you in the head of a monastic scribe, and you approach the various challenges in the game very much as a scholar. There are different ways to investigate the events and oddities recorded in the Book -- through archival research, intuition, or systematically analyzing patterns -- but all these avenues are steeped in a scholarly mode of attention. There's some swordplay and fighting, though it's mostly the non-player characters who are engaged in this action. The player character is a scholar through and through, and the ways they can approach challenges as a scholar are robust and interesting to think through. The game encourages the player to engage with the game text as scholar, and this close attention is rewarded -- quite explicitly, too, with such fantastic in-game achievements as "Archived: Your book is deposited in the royal archives. (30 points)"
This scholarly way of attacking problems is carried out well in the game: the game always outlines clear choices for how different decision points, representing different ways of approaching the problem at hand, and consequences follow from cogently from different choices made. However, I did not think these scholarly skills were well represented in the various stats tracked in the game. I've found the stats in other Choice of Games to be very responsive to different choices and reflective of my own understanding of how I'm shaping the character toward different tendencies, but I never really understood how the stats were functioning in this game. I also found the achievements very unevenly distributed throughout the game -- I earned a couple early on, and then earned a bunch toward the end of the game but missed out on many during the middle part of the game. This could have been a result of my own poor play, but it seemed like there were fewer opportunities for achievements during the meat of the game itself.
Despite these minor quibbles, I found the game very delightful and an overall great experience. I don't know if I would recommend this as some one's first Choice of Games title since the achievements and stats are kind of funky, but I'd recommend this to anyone familiar with choice-based games who also happens to be interested in medieval weirdness.
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