It's already over :o

 
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Nillo
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Joined: 25 Jul 2008
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Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:34 pm    Post subject: It's already over :o Reply with quote
And I already wish there was more. I mean, I never got to find out the truth about what fate awaited my heroes. Did all their relatives die in the aftermath? Just who was Enshadu in the past? I could ask so many questions...

For some reason I think the ending of TSE1 left me more satisfied. Maybe it's because it didn't give the player as much information about the characters. Or maybe it's because in TSE2, there is still a sense of trouble in the air as it ends. The world may be in ruins, and there may be Rakari still alive and seeking vengeance.

For what it's worth, I took a picture of the statistics screen in the end. Thanks for that, by the way. I love these silly stats. Smile Here it is:

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/7426/penultimafu6.png

I'm probably going to give it another try soon with three different characters and a higher, locked difficulty level. But I'll pause a while and clear my head. This was a lot of fun, and a lot to think about!
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Mark Pay
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Joined: 09 Aug 2006
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Location: Margate, UK

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks Nillo! I really appreciate your enthusiasm for the game and I'm so glad that you have enjoyed it.

The ending was not an easy one to write, and Josh has done a wonderful job composing the music for it.
I didn't think that it would be appropriate to have a happy ending like the first game. So this one is a little tragic, but full of possibilities.

I considered revealing more about Enshadu and even having him take the mask off, but as in so many cases I felt that any reveal would be ultimately disappointing, and that the mystery would be more fun.

I was really happy with how the stats screen worked out! I think that it's a good way to end the game.

It's worth noting that all of the cutscenes that don't occur on a combat or town level don't actually add to the game timer. That combined with any deaths probably makes the total play time a couple of hours longer.
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FallenAngel
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Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Finished just now as well.

You know, when you can lean back and feel like you just accomplished something after beating a game and you get this sense of fulfillment, then you just played a darn good game.
Doesn't happen often for me nowadays, but I'm glad TSE2 did it for me.

Here's my statistics screen


I find it particularly interesting that Nillo had the exact same party, but drastically different skill usage charts. He didn't even use Smoke Screen(my most used skill), Enpowder, Summon Sprite and Staggering Blow once, rather relying on over thousand Hack's Razz.


Favourite Character(Personality): Kaltos
Favourite Character(Appearance): Enshadu
Favourite Class: Priest
Favourite Boss(Strategy): Ick Thelloth
Favourite Boss(Appearance): Batiste
Favourite NPC: Jaques
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Nillo
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Joined: 25 Jul 2008
Posts: 68
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hack slaughtered most of the enemies I encountered - against monsters that were resistant to piercing I charged it up before attacking, but it still did the job. Smile Charlotte acted as the main defensive character with Powder Imps to block enemy damage, while Enshadu was mostly a liability and only situationally useful. I set him to just attack with magical damage and ignored the rest.

Kaltos was my favorite both in appearance and personality. The way he pulls out the sword and puts on his helmet at the start of battle is so undeniably badass, although I admit that Enshadu has a certain charm.
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Nillo
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Joined: 25 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
On the subject of storyline again, I am a bit confused about the attacks on Porto Vale and the other cities. They were clearly done to incite a war between the nations. It is hinted that this is because humans have grown too many for the Rakari to control, so they need to be decreased in number. However it turns out that Batiste is behind the attacks, and he wants to eradicate the Rakari. Why then did he turn the nations against each other?
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TwiTerror
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Joined: 17 Aug 2006
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The two nations were pitted against eachother to cause chaos and generally distract the Rakari - their delayed absence during the attacks made it much easier for the foes to gain access to the World Eye and easier to attack them as a whole.
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Mark Pay
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's great to see people's stats screens! Thanks for your summary FallenAngel.


The war that Batiste starts serves several purposes:

- As Josh says, it distracts the Rakari as they are forced to try and stop it. It distracts everyone else too - for example Batiste wouldn't have been able to get in and out of Longreach otherwise.

- It severely weakens Lereftain. Batiste wants independence for his country and revenge for their oppression. He doesn't know exactly what the World Eye is capable of until he reaches it, only that the Rakari want to keep people away from it.
Crippling Lereftain helps to free Amara regardless of what he can achieve with the World Eye.
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Brickman
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Joined: 13 Aug 2008
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
There seems to be some magnetic attraction to Kaltos, Charlotte and Enshadu as first parties, despite not being the defaults. I guess we're all just manipulable rebels. Me too.

I forgot to take a screenshot (grr), but I saved it as text; rather than clutter this up I'll link to where I posted it in the other topic. I played very defensively most of the time, which surprisingly didn't actually hurt me during the avalanche part but might have been part of why I barely scraped through the western ascent. There's several bosses who I can hardly imagine trying to face without brace (Ick Thelloth and the vampire being the most extreme cases). I mostly ignored smokescreen because I didn't like it--how on earth do you people put up with a defensive skill whose duration isn't even as long as it'll take to regain the energy for the next one, which doesn't guarantee success and which can screw up your attacks as a bonus? Plus, Charlotte was too busy being my main damage output, backed up by Kaltos most of the time when he wasn't playing meatsheild. Enshadu was hard to place; there were an awful lot of battles where I had no idea what I wanted to do with him. His attack didn't seem as potent as the others, probably a punishment for not having to worry about his weapon level and sprite summon felt lacking (I honestly didn't bother with it most of the time). He did a good deal of healing, and aura casting whenever it would do any good.

If I had to pick a hardest boss, it'd be Ick Thelloth, easily. Even with my excellent strategy of only ever attacking if he was targeting Kaltos and he was braced, his offense was absurd--half the attacks couldn't be defended against with anything except healing and brace if you were lucky, and the other half would flatten your party if you didn't devote turns to defending against them. Enshadu could get no healing for himself and was way over his head trying to stack auroras against the magic attack AND keep the other two's health up, Charlotte had the misfortune of lacking both good armor and a chi shield to defend against the ground surge attack (though fortify, even mostly unleveled, helped tremendously), and Kaltos's brace was no use against the magic attack either. Damn absolute damage couldn't even be dodged.

I liked the final boss; specifically, the fact that you took the effort to reward EVERY skill in at least one part of it. First the defensive waiting game that really, really, REALLY should've had a timer since I found myself wondering if I was doing something wrong at one point because it was taking so long. Aurora, smokescreen, chi and of course healing skills unite. Then comes phase one, where he's very strong against magic (but weak to ethereal) and has an extremely low-defense power orb on either side which you more or less have to destroy first with lucky shot, thunderstrike, swordfaith or aim high. Then comes giant Batiste, with has huge damage reduction that demands charged attacks and a weakness to magic, but also has cronies on either side with the same negligable defense, and then once you dust that off the final phase where he has no defense or allies at all but does such a frightening amount of damage per attack that you need powder imps, dodge or brace just to survive more than one as you blast him the rest of the way to smithereens. Very well-done.

Anyways, comments on the plot:

I was very, very, VERY impressed with the attention paid to the characters themselves. In the first game you had the illusion of diffent characters, but it stretched beyond personality archetypes to the point where they were completely interchangable, except each had a single conversation and item or skill point bonus related to their origins and three different hostages were used. Here, massive attention was paid to making each unique. I can tell that right now even without a second playthrough--I sincerely doubt that the guardsman is secretly a voluntarily brainwashed ex-murderer, or that Pyan-Pau will fall in love with Mericious. There's even the boss battle in chapter eight that's different for each character, and areas where one specific character will get an emotional status effect. It's kind of ironic that there are not, however, any battles, items or skill point bonuses which only occur for one character.

As soon as attention was paid to her disagreeing with the plan, I decided that Shara was going to be revealed as either evil or Isabelle's mother. Yeah, score one for me.

I liked General Hardcastle, but was deathly afraid that he was gonna turn out to be a villain, simply because he had the face and the introduction that typically accompany military-style villains. Luckily, I was wrong.

Kaltos offering Isabelle a gun--now you're just teasing us.

Zerau could not have made it more obvious that he was gonna blow up the plane if he'd tried. "Thank you, this trip to the bathroom is quite urgent, I assure you". A fun character overall.

I admit to being creeped out by the thing with the Crone and the pilgrims--not what I expected (though I did think the pilgrims being evil was too obvious to be the truth). Was it intentional how similar they looked to the Serpentine Acolytes?

It's sort of depressing how the happy part of the game, porto vale, was immediately devastated as soon as you leave, with everyone who you'd interacted with there dead. Well no, on second thought, they said a third of everyone did escape. But it was certainly a buzzkill that after the talk about how he'd take his defeat as an excuse to become twice as strong and his prediction that he'd meet us again Urtat wasn't even alive two hours later. Also, kinda ironic that you in effect saved the life of those thugs who attack you right before the end of the chapter, since they're ferried out of the city just in time. Speaking of which, was it intentional that the military-guy's declaration that "noone gets in or out, not even the Rakari" was so blatantly ignored, to show how powerless the humans were, or just an oversight?

You get no points for guessing the Rakari are evil long before it officially comes out. I was actually AMAZED that you don't end up fighting them near the end, as I expected right from their first appearance on camera--I suppose, given what we learn near the end, doing so would've been suicide.

My warning bells all sounded when I first saw Batiste, but I grew to like him so much as soon as he started speaking that I completely forgot to even suspect him of being evil, definitely had by chapter seven, and just figured he was supposed to look cool.

I liked Clay13. When Batiste turned evil, I at first was expecting to end up fighting Clay before the game was through, but one more conversation with him and I was convinced that he'd be an ally against the final boss instead. Nope, dead by then. Shame, this means we never get to see him in action.

I was surprised that when Batiste rescued them from the Keepers the party didn't immediately reveal to him the important and shocking truth they'd learned at the institute just before being knocked out. You'd think after all that getting that vital information into the hands of the parliamentarians to help end the war would be their first priority, even before hunting the keepers.

Shara's battle sprite was, to be honest, quite ugly, or at least out of place during the conversations in which it was used. By the way: NEVER name three characters the same thing with one non-first letter different again. Grr. Actually, kind of odd that the one Clay thought was nicest was the one with, from what little we saw, the most violent personality.

Darak's part was. . . interesting. Sort of turned the plot on its head one last time. What's really interesting is that he philosphises on how important freedom is and he leads you to help you kill a mind-control monster, yet he gladly helps you stop the plot to overthrow the mind-controlling Rakari without even thinking about it, nor do the party hesitate despite agreeing with him. The price is just too high.

The hallucinations part was really cool.

Interesting how the ending sort of contrasts the first game's: There, the final boss was a distraction until the villain could use the world-altering machine but ultimately the heroes end up using it to not change the world, here, the final boss is the villain USING the machine to change the world and the heroes never get a chance to touch it.

Plot hole of the century: Where'd Isabelle get a tank? No really, where'd Isabelle get a tank?

So now that we've finished it, the grand question: Was this world at some point created by the Spirit Engine from the first game, and is the World Eye itself related to the Engine? Be honest here.
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Mark Pay
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's great to read such a detailed analysis Brickman. Thanks for sharing it!

Quote:
There seems to be some magnetic attraction to Kaltos, Charlotte and Enshadu as first parties, despite not being the defaults. I guess we're all just manipulable rebels. Me too.


I kind of suspected it might happen. I think they seem to be the 'cool kids'. Very Happy

Quote:
I liked the final boss; specifically, the fact that you took the effort to reward EVERY skill in at least one part of it. First the defensive waiting game that really, really, REALLY should've had a timer since I found myself wondering if I was doing something wrong at one point because it was taking so long. Aurora, smokescreen, chi and of course healing skills unite. Then comes phase one, where he's very strong against magic (but weak to ethereal) and has an extremely low-defense power orb on either side which you more or less have to destroy first with lucky shot, thunderstrike, swordfaith or aim high. Then comes giant Batiste, with has huge damage reduction that demands charged attacks and a weakness to magic, but also has cronies on either side with the same negligable defense, and then once you dust that off the final phase where he has no defense or allies at all but does such a frightening amount of damage per attack that you need powder imps, dodge or brace just to survive more than one as you blast him the rest of the way to smithereens. Very well-done.


I'm glad that this worked out. I remember in the first game, people got to the end boss and skills like Life Drain didn't work at all, and that was disappointing.
I'd originally wanted to make the giant Batiste huge, but a mixture of game mechanic awkwardness, the work required and potential sprite-draw slowdown put an end to that idea.
I was torn on whether to display the starting timer. Like the energy bar, I found the 'comeoncomeoncome!' waiting game to have some appeal.

Quote:
I was very, very, VERY impressed with the attention paid to the characters themselves. In the first game you had the illusion of diffent characters, but it stretched beyond personality archetypes to the point where they were completely interchangable, except each had a single conversation and item or skill point bonus related to their origins and three different hostages were used. Here, massive attention was paid to making each unique. I can tell that right now even without a second playthrough--I sincerely doubt that the guardsman is secretly a voluntarily brainwashed ex-murderer, or that Pyan-Pau will fall in love with Mericious. There's even the boss battle in chapter eight that's different for each character, and areas where one specific character will get an emotional status effect. It's kind of ironic that there are not, however, any battles, items or skill point bonuses which only occur for one character.


A lot of effort was put into character-specific cutscenes and dialogue. I hope and believe that it's worked well enough to make them unique characters.
There is also one character-specific battle, and a couple of items that are character specific.

Quote:
I liked General Hardcastle, but was deathly afraid that he was gonna turn out to be a villain, simply because he had the face and the introduction that typically accompany military-style villains. Luckily, I was wrong.


I wanted to avoid making the military villainous ( ditto with the church), since it seemed like one cliche that was easy to dodge. The Lereftese army gets portrayed in a rather good light I think, though Grace's back story casts a rather different light on their past behaviour ( and Hardcastle too by inclusion I suppose ).

Quote:
Zerau could not have made it more obvious that he was gonna blow up the plane if he'd tried. "Thank you, this trip to the bathroom is quite urgent, I assure you". A fun character overall.


Hehe. Very Happy Yeah, for a spy I suppose he's not exactly subtle sometimes. He was loads of fun to write and probably one of my favourite NPCs.

Quote:
I admit to being creeped out by the thing with the Crone and the pilgrims--not what I expected (though I did think the pilgrims being evil was too obvious to be the truth). Was it intentional how similar they looked to the Serpentine Acolytes?


Not really intentional. Come to think of it, they do have similar colour robes, don't they? I suppose red and purple seem like the next best choice after black.

Quote:
It's sort of depressing how the happy part of the game, porto vale, was immediately devastated as soon as you leave, with everyone who you'd interacted with there dead. Well no, on second thought, they said a third of everyone did escape. But it was certainly a buzzkill that after the talk about how he'd take his defeat as an excuse to become twice as strong and his prediction that he'd meet us again Urtat wasn't even alive two hours later. Also, kinda ironic that you in effect saved the life of those thugs who attack you right before the end of the chapter, since they're ferried out of the city just in time. Speaking of which, was it intentional that the military-guy's declaration that "noone gets in or out, not even the Rakari" was so blatantly ignored, to show how powerless the humans were, or just an oversight?


That's a good point. They do get saved, don't they? Surprised
Governor Banks was refering to the Inspectorate, which is an organisation often mentioned but only occasionally seen in Chapter 4.
They were supposed to be a sort of 'thought police', run by the Rakari with the aid of numerous human agents.
Banks almost certainly meant the human inspectors. The Rakari wouldn't have paid any notice to his orders.

Quote:
You get no points for guessing the Rakari are evil long before it officially comes out. I was actually AMAZED that you don't end up fighting them near the end, as I expected right from their first appearance on camera--I suppose, given what we learn near the end, doing so would've been suicide.


Yeah, being able to fight them would not have made much sense. They're not really evil so much as amoral, but the party still really has no way to resist them.
Quite how Batiste and company managed to dodge them for so long is an interesting issue, and there never really seemed like an appropriate point in the game to stop and rationalise it.

Quote:
My warning bells all sounded when I first saw Batiste, but I grew to like him so much as soon as he started speaking that I completely forgot to even suspect him of being evil, definitely had by chapter seven, and just figured he was supposed to look cool.


It was difficult to decide how far to go to obscure his villainy. While the party has little reason to distrust him in their world, his character design and entourage are likely to mark him as the bad guy to the experienced RPG player.
It felt difficult to hide this without deliberately 'cheating' the player's perceptions.

In the end I'm glad to hear that your suspicions of him were softened by his dialogue. He does honestly believe that he's doing the right thing.

Quote:
I was surprised that when Batiste rescued them from the Keepers the party didn't immediately reveal to him the important and shocking truth they'd learned at the institute just before being knocked out. You'd think after all that getting that vital information into the hands of the parliamentarians to help end the war would be their first priority, even before hunting the keepers.


That's a good point. Jaques does tell them not to trust anyone in authority though, and not talk to them until they have proof. They still don't have any (though they know now where to find it), and they probably wanted to wait until they could address a group of parliamentarians under better circumstances.

Quote:
Shara's battle sprite was, to be honest, quite ugly, or at least out of place during the conversations in which it was used. By the way: NEVER name three characters the same thing with one non-first letter different again. Grr. Actually, kind of odd that the one Clay thought was nicest was the one with, from what little we saw, the most violent personality.


I think it could have been better, yes. I was worn out by the time I got to the assets for Chapter 9, and I feel some of them suffered for it.
Even I can't remember which triplet is which. Smile I had a little slip of paper which identified them by their hair-dos.

Quote:
Darak's part was. . . interesting. Sort of turned the plot on its head one last time. What's really interesting is that he philosphises on how important freedom is and he leads you to help you kill a mind-control monster, yet he gladly helps you stop the plot to overthrow the mind-controlling Rakari without even thinking about it, nor do the party hesitate despite agreeing with him. The price is just too high.


Rationalising the party's decision to try and stop Batiste was an interesting problem.
A player, with their own beliefs and meta-knowledge may disgaree, and that makes for an awkward situation in an entirely linear narrative.
In the end, the characters make their own choices and decide that the orwellian dictatorship they've grown up in is preferrable to the mass-destruction and anarchy Batiste appears to be planning.

Darak gets no dialogue for the first 2/3 of Chapter 9. There seemed little opportunity for him to speak that wouldn't have been redundant ( and raised questions from other characters about what the heck he is )
He's an observer until the World Eye, at which point it becomes clear to everyone that Batiste has become genuinely mad.

Quote:
Plot hole of the century: Where'd Isabelle get a tank? No really, where'd Isabelle get a tank?


Very Happy It's meant to be a left-over automaton, like Clay and the Hand from Chapter 2.

Quote:
So now that we've finished it, the grand question: Was this world at some point created by the Spirit Engine from the first game, and is the World Eye itself related to the Engine? Be honest here.


No. Although it could have been.

Phew! Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed post and I hope that I've written enough to give it the response that it deserves. Do let me know if you have any more feedback.
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