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Epic fantasy in Choicescript w/ army simulator and tons of characters, December 22, 2020
This game reminds me of nothing more than picking up some epic fantasy series like Wheel of Time or Thomas Covenant, one of those books that has a huge scope, intricate backstory, and tons of characters. It's a different feel than standalone fiction, and I haven't found a new series like that in a while.
Seeing it in Choicescript is great. This is a very large game. I remember thinking "Wow, this game is gigantic, took me a long time to play," and then realizing that I was just near the end of Chapter 2 (out of 4).
It's split into four chapters:
In Chapter 1, you establish your backstory and much of the worldbuilding and start your rebellion.
Chapter 2 is a long chapter spread out over weeks where you try to survive over a difficult winter. I had a very hard time with this, as I wanted to not steal, but it meant letting people die. Really good tradeoff in goals here, love to see this kind of interactivity.
Chapter 3 involves meeting a diverse group of people and discovering problems in your midst.
And Chapter 4 is the climactic battle, from planning to execution to aftermath.
This game has many ways to fail, but mercifully has a 'redo this chapter button', which I was glad for when I died on my first run through Chapter 4.
Playing the first chapter will let you know right away if this is your kind of game or not. What I love about this game is how the stats are completely just there to show the game remembers you, and passing or failing stat checks is less about solving a puzzle or getting rewarded/punished and more about building a story based on your choices.
Relationships occupy a lot of the game. There are characters with great depth who can never be seen if you just kill them off bat. All of the main characters show up enough that they get meaningful development and you know exactly what kind of things might offend them or please them, and they frequently are in conflict so you can't get everything you want but still feel good about your choices.
I liked this game, but fair warning it does take a long time to play. The author intends on writing 4 more books but it stands well on its own, especially when compared with other good Choicescript games that are essentially '1-shot' TTRPG adventures. I liked those too, but this is more like a whole campaign with solid backstory.