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A hidden gem of a game for people into books and fae, February 13, 2021
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.
- mifga (Brooklyn, NY), October 22, 2020
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