|Number of Scenarios:
||Rise of Rome
Defend the fortress from incoming invading armies. Help is on its way, but until then, survive.
The scenario comes as a campaign file, which only has this one level in it. I've also included, of course, the scenario file itself. I realized I misplaced the file in the wrong category, I thought about it wrong, but I cannot seem to update the category now. Oh well.
"Fort Grira" is the second preview of my campaign Renowned Battles in the History of Braavin, the first being Battle of Vengeance, released 4 years ago. I promised a member I would release something new before the campaign, and this is the closest one to finishing, and it has a really really special place in my heart, so I decided to polish it a little and make it public.
It lacks a relevant story and the instruction map is kind of iffy WIP, but it's fully completable.
Fort Grira is an action packed adrenaline rush, in the style of "defend the flag". I've playtested the main "help is arriving" mechanic in all difficulties, and it works. However, to fully enjoy the level as intended, play it on difficulties moderate and up.
I've also included the scenario file, and the AI/PER files used. I always wished I had some sort of reference for making these files, and the resources were always scarce. Maybe there's someone out there whose curiosity I might satisfy.
Until the full campaign is out, I hope you enjoy this release!
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
I never said I would... Oh well, guess I'm doing two reviews in a week then.
Ahh... defense scenarios. I'm confident there's a playerbase out there who comes looking specifically for them. I know I was very fond of the idea when I was younger and messed around quite a bit in the editor trying to make one, and it's surprisingly hard to do well. Much like Luna Lynn's Fresh Lands which I reviewed a couple of years back, this settles for the classic "defend your wonder" approach, as nothing seems to aggro computer players quite like a wonder, even when there's no countdown. Comparisons between the two easily come to mind. The core differences being that Fresh Lands was all about melee units and forced the player to manage an economy behind the defenses, while Fort Grira is dominated by ranged units and gives the player practically infinite resources. As such it focuses a lot less on macro and more on unit control and hitting targets with your catapults. If I have any complaint it is that when facing a unit composition of Heavy Cats, Heleopolis and HCA, Heavy Cats of your own become seem to resolve every situation, and there isn't really any incentive to strive for an army composition of any kind, it's just cats and towers.
My core problem with defense scenarios in AoE is that it always feels hard to maintain a pressing situation for the player. Way too often, I feel like I can settle into a sense of comfort and control at some point after a number of minutes. While the unpredictability and destructivity of HCat hits certainly means you have to be constantly active, I don't find this to be any exception to that rule at length. That said it is a hard type of scenario to balance at its core, and this attempt is not bad by any stretch of the imagination.
If I could speculate a bit on possible improvements to gameplay and balance, I'd say maybe reduce the effectiveness of Catapults on the player's part. Either by giving them a civ which doesn't get FU Hcat, or by somehow limiting their use. Maybe just some melee cav enemies that make you more likely to hit your own walls would be enough, but I could easily imagine this scenario being more challening if you somehow constrained the player's wood stockpile, maybe giving them a distant storage pit for a slow trickle. Of course that becomes more challening to balance in itself, but I also think it could be an improvement to the challenge factor. Striving to keep the architecture set, maybe make the player Minoan and let them rely on Compies as a spammable ranged unit while making siege more valuable. Beyond having FU siege and the cool looking wonder, there's really no need for the player to be Greek specifically.
Hm... nothing really revolutionary, but a nice enough mix of existing ideas. Civ choices are quite clearly thought through, and I thought the use of Choson watch towers as outposts (or "informers" as the scenario opts to call them) to give the player some map awareness was particularly clever. Using the timed army arrival as a means of of busting the player out of the siege also resonates particularly well with me.
Map design: 4.9
AoE 1 terrain rendering at its finest, excellent mixing of green and tan on the map and nice forests. There is absolutely nothing to complain about here, but at the same time it's only just a very well rendered small map. Attention has been paid to every area but at the same time it doesn't really have that "epic centerpiece" that makes the player go "wow". Not that every scenario needs to have that kind of thing and in all it can't detract much from this otherwise excellently crafted map.
Dude, where's the Braavin lore? I loved that shit from 513, where you really felt like you witnessed a small fraction from a well thought out fictional realm. Instructions are short but clear enough for you to know what to expect, hints are pretty useful, and the guy holding the flag in the bitmap image is cool enough to bring the score above average I guess, but really without a story I can't justify this score being a lot higher.