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About the Story
It has been 100 years since the vile legions of Necroth were defeated. 100 years of years of peace and harmony. But a shadow grows in the frozen north, and dark forces assemble in the wilds and on the roads. Has the tyrant once again risen up to blight the land with his crimes? In this time of wind and chaos, only one thing is certain: justice must be done. Thanks to Kris Dikeman for playtesting.
76th Place - 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2020)
IFComp 2020 Review: Quest for the Sword of Justice by Damon L. Wakes
...JRPGs are not exactly a cutting-edge target. As a parody, it's like throwing darts at a brick wall. Does that mean it's unfunny? It does not. There's comedic gold sprinkled about in them thar' 2D tilesets. Just wander around, examine everything and talk to everyone to uncover it.
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Number of Reviews: 9
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Your enjoyment of QftSoJ will come down to two things: 1) how forgiving are you of RPG Maker games in IFComp (Iím fine either way, though it doesnít seem like the engineís strengths are well-suited for the competition); and 2) are you in the market for a solidly-done but not especially groundbreaking JRPG satire (in space-year 2020, I gotta say Ė eh, not really?)
As with Equal-librium, this is a short game with only one real gag, so itís impossible to discuss without blowing the punch-line. So you might as well go play it, itíll take five minutes. Iíll keep busy here thinking about CRPG tropes that have and havenít been sent up. Letís see, thereís the slay-foozle plot, the companions whoíll defend you to the death five minutes after your first meeting, the economy-ruining hoards of magical items and gold you obtain after a couple hours of low-danger grinding, the way the world levels up alongside your character until you hit the town where every random guard is 60th level, the endless fetch-quests with either disproportionately meager or disproportionately lavish rewardsÖ all thatís pretty well-plowed ground, I think. Itís pretty hard to think of something that hasnít been the butt of lots and lots of jokes!
OK, weíre back, and now that we know QftSoJ takes aim at the adventurer-who-takes-everything-that-isnít-nailed-down-because-an-old-man-told-him-he-was-the-chosen-one trope, perhaps you too can relate to the sense of ennui in the first paragraph above. This is a pretty good take on the genre, but to say itís hoary is an insult to octogenarians. The joke is well constructed: while the absence of any introductory text setting up your task I think is a misstep, itís pretty clear that youíre supposed to think you need to gather equipment before getting out of town (and that youíll specifically need a sword to clear some foliage for one of the villagers). The backstory the old man spouts is just the sort of generic JRPG guff that makes the playerís eyes roll without reading it closely enough to realize itís loony. And thereís a bit of reactivity at the trial depending on your previous actions, as well as your legal strategy, making it worth a replay to see the different outcomes (of course youíre doomed no matter what).
But even the greatest amount of craft has a hard time making a five-minute joke game all that memorable. And I personally found the setup funnier than the actual writing and jokes (with one or two exceptions: the protagonist being named ďAdonis OrcbaneĒ is 80% of the way to being a great gag, and the guard arresting you with a ďYouíre nicked, Sonny Jim!Ē got a chortle out of me). If itís your first time encountering this sort of thing, I could see QftSoJ being a hoot Ė but itís hard for me to believe thatís true for many folks!
Growing up on JRPGs and being a huge fan of the Dragon Quest series, I was excited when I loaded this one up. For sure it really stretches the bounds of interactive fiction, but here there's no hand-eye coordination necessary and there's plenty of text, so it works.
Quest for the Sword of Justice is a brief send-up of the genre, poking fun at the same things that most everyone has been poking fun at for thirty years now. The jokes still work, especially the more subtle ones you can discover just by examining the most random of things in your environment (like other people's meals!). However, I wish there was more to it and both possible endings annoyed me more than made me laugh, especially since they contradict each other.
If you're a fan of JRPGs you will probably find this amusing for ten minutes. If you've never played one, the jokes probably won't land as well.
This is an RPG Maker game. Its goal seems to be to take genre conventions and turn them on their head.
I guess the real question is, does it succeed? Iím not too concerned about the format, as very little happens in the game outside of the text boxes and the playerís choices. At least in my playthroughs, it always ended after one specific action.
I feel like this is old ground. I swear Zelda games have made the same kind of point going back to the first Game Boy game, and so have many other RPGs (I swear the Soul Blazer trilogy does this at least once). The concluding segment reminded me (in a good way of Chrono Trigger).
It just seems a bit silly. And there are tons of pop culture references, including to Adventure Time and Lord of the Rings. So I just consider it a bit of fun. If anyone finds a Ďcorrect pathí that doesnít lead to the main bad ending, let me know!
+Polish: I didn't find any errors.
+Descriptiveness: There were several funny lines.
-Interactivity: I didn't enjoy slowly clicking through interactions with tons of items, but I also didn't want to miss anything.
-Emotional impact: I kept waiting for the payoff.
+Would I play again? I am interested in finding a better ending.
The definition for IF is broad enough to cover a lot of games. Yet, if it is broad enough to cover this piece, nearly every RPG with a storyline told in written dialogue and that allows for a measure of interactivity would be IF. I'm for a broad definition, but at a certain point the term IF ceases to be useful.
The game seems to be a very short parody of RPG conventions. Shockingly, what is customary behavior in games can be seen differently in real life. Most players will do a first playthrough, (Spoiler - click to show)following the established expectations. Then, after learning from that first experience, try it again. (Spoiler - click to show)But will find this ending ain't any more satisfying.
Unless there's something I overlooked, there's nothing really new in this work. Many other games deal with this in their own way. Even serious games may give a humorous or self-aware response when a player tries a conventional action that conflicts with the type of realism the designer is trying to establish.
For anyone interested in how game designers can mess around with genre conventions, it may be worth the short amount of time it would take for a couple plays. But anyone looking to just play some IF will likely be disappointed with this work.
Quest for the Sword of Justice is a surprising little game that subverted my expectations at every turn. Although, maybe that's just because I haven't played enough self-aware RPGs.
Right off the bat, as an RPGMaker game, it wasnít what I expected to see in IFComp at all. But then, it also cheerfully ignores many of the salient features of its own engine, eschewing the traditional RPG experience in favor of something a bit different. The thing is, (Spoiler - click to show)the game comes with all the trappings you'd expect: skills/attributes, an XP system, an inventory system, etc., all seemingly included with combat in mind. But there isn't any combat and all that stuff is pure window-dressing. By subverting the expected mechanics of an RPG, Quest for the Sword of Justice cleverly weaves an element of parody into the structure of the game itself.
This is employed in service to the overarching story, which also is basically a comic endeavor. The author does a great job of setting up certain expectations with apparent seriousness, only to proceed to smash those expectations into tiny bits for humorous effect.
Itís a short game and a light read, but I found it successful in (what I think is) its main goal of being good for a laugh or two. There are at least a couple different endings to find, and both of the ones I got were amusing.