Necron's Keep

by Dan Welch profile


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Out of a Possible Zero, January 2, 2011
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)

Whenever I play a game that makes big-time typos (roll playing) and tells me I have scored more than it was possible to score, I know that I'm in for a bad time. Such is the case with Necron's Keep, another game in the long list of games that have never graced a beta-tester's fingertips.

Despite the typo, the game starts well, nearly very well. However, once the intro text is done, you're in a forest missing your sense of direction. That's not very realistic or very entertaining. In fact, it's straight out of the instadeath (TM) school of bad DMing. You remember those DMs, don't you? The sadists who took particular delight in killing off characters that took you months to level? Necron's Keep steals a few ideas from their campaigns.

But wait, there's combat, a true test of any role-playing game. This system seems to be based on the AD&D system, but Necron's Keep informs you of the Actual Die Rolls. Yes. When you attack, you get to read your to hit die roll, the monster's to hit die roll, and the die rolls for the damage! That just doesn't make for a good gaming experience, and decent DMs didn't tell the players about the mechanics anyways. They'd say something like, "The kobold is really staggering now, after your mace connected with his skull."

But that's not the only annoying thing about the combat system. There's the assumption that your character always attacks whatever baddies he finds, which means when you're wounded, you'll soon be dead. That's right. In Necron's Keep, a character with half of his hp gone automatically attacks anything he finds!

Then there other gameplay issues -- for example, not being able to use undo even though the option is provided when you die. When you pick up objects, the game tells you the room from which they were picked up; why that is necessary, I don't know. That along with combat might lead you to think that information overload rules the day. Not so. Most of the information provided is useless or annoying, yet the help is a threadbare affair. What's really happening is a kind of textual anorexia nervosa.

The descriptions are decent (except for one plagiarized from Zork), but the grammar is haphazard at best with typos, misused words, missing punctuation marring the experience. The points and what they do are obscure, the puzzles simple, and the combat, maddening.

All in all, Necron's Keep comes across as half-baked. I'm sure that the author can polish this, and I encourage him to do so; until then, there are just too many typos, bugs, and annoyances to make it worth your while.

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Callust, January 2, 2011 - Reply
To be fair, "roll playing" is a term some people have used for combat-intensive games that focus on stats, combat mechanics, and/or rolling dice (often a lot) over characterization and plot. From the sounds of it, with the emphasis on showing the actual statistics of combat rather than descriptions, roll playing may well be the correct term here.
Horace Torys, January 24, 2011 - Reply
It's "ROLE playing." "Roll" is a typo. Though, perhaps since the actual dice rolls are described, it should be called "roll playing."
Callust, January 29, 2011 - Reply
That's what I meant. I've seen them used as separate terms, just roll playing isn't used as often and refers to a specific kind of roleplaying. Could be a typo anyway, though, but it sounds fitting.
Markoff23, January 3, 2011 - Reply
how do you even get past the first enemy? I mean a treant vs. a level 1 char... silly
AmberShards, January 4, 2011 - Reply
I know. I couldn't. I ran a lot and eventually found the castle.
Wade Clarke, January 4, 2011 - Reply
Ignore the treant for now. You should try to enter the castle - look around in the gate location.

This game obviously has a lot of detail and work in it, especially for a first game, and the latest build already has much better Help and some other tweaks in response to comments from myself, and from Amber's review. But the game is still pretty raw (it's especially low on synonyms) and will prove too trying for most players at this time. If the author keeps up the current revision pace, though, it could become a lot more playable pretty quickly.
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