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HotU Review: Lands of Lore

Posted at 18:42 on March 7th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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Original version from Home of the Underdogs:

Quote:
Westwood's Lands of Lore: Throne of Chaos is sequel in spirit to acclaimed Eye of The Beholder 2, but surpasses its AD&D predecessor in every way. The game broke new grounds with astounding graphics, great soundtrack, intuitive user interface, great spell effects and plot development, and last but not least, excellent automap.

Lands of Lore begin with an intriguing, albeit cliche, premise that is no less dynamic than those in Eye of The Beholder series. While consulting with Geron his counselor, King Richard of Gladstone received an alarming news: after countless futile attempts, Scotia the mad sorceress finally obtained the nether mask, a magical artifact that grants the wearer the power to change into any form. He immediately entrusts to his champion (you, of course) and the task of destroying Scotia once and for all. Westwood eschews traditional RPG character creation in favor of simple statistics, but for the most part, it works. You can choose from 4 characters depending on your preference in weapons/magic balance.

Rarely has an RPG -- or any game for that matter-- been able to entice the player into its world as quickly as Lands of Lore. I remember playing the game for the first time, exploring Gladstone Keep and the forest beyond, collecting all sorts of neat items, battling well-drawn monsters, casting a few spells with amazing effects, seeing my character gain a few levels, annotating the best automap I've ever seen, watching amazing plot development through in-game cutscenes... the next thing I knew, the sun had come up. The game had kept me playing for 6 hours straight-- I can't think of a better recommendation than this :)

Lands of Lore remains to this day one of the most accessible RPGs that stand the test of time, with the power to convert even the most ardent RPG dissenters into hapless addicts. It may not be original or even revolutionary, but it is definitely a flawless execution. The CD-ROM version features the voice of Patrick Stewart as King Richard, along with other multimedia enhancements that make the game even more atmospheric than the floppy version. As a game design, it is a role model; as a game, it is simply a must-have.


German translation:

Quote:
Westwoods Lands of Lore: Throne of Chaos ist der geistige Nachfolger des vielgepriesenen Eye of the Beholder 2, allerdings übertrifft es seinen AD&D Vorgänger in jeder Hinsicht. Das Spiel beschreitet neue Wege mit erstaunlicher Grafik, tollem Soundtrack, intuitiver Benutzeroberfläche, großartigen Zaubereffekten, gekonnt entfaltender Handlung und, nicht zuletzt, einer hervorragenden Automap.

Lands of Lore geht von einer spannenden, wenn auch klischeehaften, Ausgangslage aus, die ebenso mitreissend wie jene der Eye of the Beholder Serie ist. Während einer Besprechung mit seinem Berater Geron erhält König Richard von Gladstone beunruhigende Neuigkeiten: Nach zahllosen fruchtlosen Versuchen, ist es der verrückten Hexe Scotia letztlich gelungen die Niedere Maske zu bekommen, ein magisches Artefakt, welches dem Träger die Fähigkeit verleiht sich in beliebige Formen zu verwandeln. Unverzüglich vertraut er sich seinem Champion (natürlich der Spieler) an und beauftragt ihn Scotia ein für allemal zu vernichten. Westwood meidet die für Rollenspiele übliche Charaktererstellung zugunsten von schlichteren Werten, was aber größtenteils hinhaut. Man kann zwischen vier Charakteren wählen, je nachdem welche Gewichtung von Waffen/Magie man bevorzugt.

Selten fesselt ein Rollenspiel (oder wenn wir schon dabei sind irgendein Spiel) seine Spieler so schnell in seine Welt wie Lands of Lore. Ich erinnere mich an das erste mal Spielen, die Festung von Gladstone und den dahinterliegendem Wald erforschen, allerlei nette Gegenständen sammeln, die beste Automap, die mir je untergekommen ist, mit Notizen versehen, das Fortlaufen der verblüffenden Handlung in den Zwischensequenzen verfolgen... ehe ich mich versah, war die Sonne aufgegangen. Das Spiel hatte mich für 6 Stunden am Stück am Spielen gehalten. Ich kann mir keine bessere Empfehlung als diese vorstellen. :)

Bis heute bewährt sich Lands of Lore als eines der zugänglichsten Rollenspiele, mit der Fähigkeit sogar die hartnäckigsten Rollenspiel-Gegner zu hoffnungslos Süchtigen zu bekehren. Mag sein, dass es weder originell oder gar revolutionär ist, dennoch ist es definitv saubere Arbeit. Die CD-Rom Version bietet Patrick Stewart als König Richard, zusammen mit anderen Multimedia-Ergänzungen, die das Spiel noch atmosphärischer machen als die Disketten-Version. Das Spieledesign ist vorbildlich; Das Spiel selbst, einfach ein Muss.


The original HotU rating was 9.18 (with 1779 votes) which I would translate either as a close 6/6 or a well-earned 5/6 in TGOD ratings.
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Posted at 10:16 on March 8th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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About the rating: Are you just using the public vote as a basis? Because as I pointed out in the other thread, that's very unreliable (because almost all games have a very high rating, even 'real dogs'). The question is: Do you think the reviewer would have given the game a 6? Or a 5? Or something entirely different?
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Posted at 22:19 on March 8th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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So far I had only considered the public vote, which is admittetly extremely unreliable. I'll correct that. For this game I think the reviewer would still have given the game at least 5/6 points. The only negative aspect he mentions is the unorigniality, all else is praise to the addictively making game-design... just take a look at the last sentence ;).

I think "excellent game, a 'must-have'" (5/6) fits quite well. Just reading the review it doesn't sound like "pure genius", but just a little bit more than simply a very good game.

What's your opinion?
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Posted at 09:35 on March 9th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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I think it's hard. The review is extremely enthusiastic, but then, many games by Underdogs (who is/was a woman by the way) are. You said 5, so I put that (but I certainly wouldn't have protested if you had said 6) - the review is online. Thanks!

A general remark (I've already done it for this one, it's just meant for the future): It would be a great service to me if you could try to transfer any markup found in the original text as well. For example, Underdogs used to write all game titles found in reviews in bold. The aequivalent on TGOD would be to put those in italics.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 09:44 on March 9th, 2010
Posted at 11:57 on March 9th, 2010 | Quote | IP | Edit | Delete
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Lands of Lore is one of the best PC Dungeon Crawlers, so I can see why somebody would give it five or six. Personally, it's too linear, and I give six to games I can play again anytime and have fun, but as said, it's good enough for any of those values, as this is a very subjective matter.
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