84 people found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 18.7 hrs on record
Posted: Sep 3, 2017 @ 9:57pm
Updated: Sep 3, 2017 @ 10:05pm

I feel bad not recommending this game. It's not careless or disrespectful of the audience. There's a lot of value with 2 branching campaigns. Unit variety is nice, upgrade options for units (who stay with you mission to mission) is varied and interesting. The story itself is not well written but it is original as are the characters.

It's an indie game with basic production value, no animation and fairly bad art. But that's not why I'm not recommending it, I've played long enough to not care, especially for a turn based strategy game.

The reason I'm not recommending it is because the turn based strategy part is awfully shallow. I'm used to certain basic things - zones of control, modifiers for range and cover, line of sight, fog of war, penalties for being surrounded, etc. etc. This has none of them. On top of that units move slowly and just can't get around each other (and can't move again after moving even a tiny bit). During most fights you'll just shuffle your back units around ineffectually, trying to move them past other units with massive bases that you can't get through.

Maybe some people would like the design decisions that went behind this game. You can read the full review[oldgrizzledgamers.com] just in case. I did not enjoy the game and found it to be a long, boring slog.
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Developer response:
Les  [developer] Posted: Dec 20, 2018 @ 1:58am
Note:
Midnight is commenting on any negative review here trying to stir troubles. He will soon start 'supporting you' in this review soon in hope to bring more toxicity. He already damaged release of this game and ultimately he's the reason why this game is 24.99 USD and not the original 19.99 USD (as we need to break even at least).

1) Movement - Zone of Control are not needed and this game works very well without them. I coded that already and it was not working (and causing lots of issues for AI), thus the code is commented out.

Shielding mechanics is implemented as a move cut-off, for example:
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=815534993

There is also Segmented Move perk (e.g. Knights, Harpies, Hellbats, Driders, and so on) which allows to go around blocker and attack unit behind it. But this is exception and those units are carefully balanced.

Moreover, if you are really insisting on having Segmented Move on every unit, there is a checkbox in Experimental Options. Go and check for yourself - it breaks the balance of game.

We are listening to community (which is evidenced in the number of patches we push), but this mechanics just doesn't make sense here. I don't understand the fixation of some people on this feature and trying to force it across multiple posts.

2) Unit cannot attack after move as it will be very easy to exploit. Example is archer that moves and shots at slow zombie. Or an archer that move towards your line and one-shot your mage in one turn.

3) Easy Difficulty - if you play on Easy, the games tend to be... well, easy.

AI is dumbed down on Easy - it will just run into you, won't stick in formation and many of better tactics/spells are disabled. I often had to tune difficulty down as our tester is super-hardcode.

If game is still too easy - there are 4 difficulties to select from (even during campaign). Death Seeker I couldn't win game myself.

Edit: there is now a convoluted algorithm that will increase difficulty if player is ahead of difficulty curve. Still experimental.

4) Zone of control/Disengage rule - no needed thanks to wall-shield mechanics. After you disengage you expose your back to backstab attacks. That's why you can't turn after move.

5) Cover/Range rules - most of combat happens in melee. Ranged units are for snipping mages. Any range rules would make it unnecessarily complex.

6) Line of Sight/Fog of War - this is tabletop tactic game with perfect information, not exploring game. You see everything and you are sure AI doesn't cheat.

7) Unit Accuracy - you were probably aiming at Skeletons that have Projectiles Resistance. There are many resistances and vulnerabilities - please open the unit details and check all attributes.

8) Surround Rules - there is backstab for that. I have tried flanking but it didn't work.

9) Random crates - the ones with loot are marked with question mark. Also, some crates have random monsters poping out just for fun.

10) Non-self healing dryad - game has potions, which can be used to heal dryad. Some heroes are squishy as it forces cooperation with other units - that is what game is about. Not every hero is a tank.

Edit: Heroes got +1 HP in the latest update. Also dryad can move and capture plant (before that she had to stay still for one turn).

Edit2: I have added several healing potions to those early levels. Also, there is an option to re-equip items just before battle.

11) Items interface - actually, I agree on that one. It could be more user-friendly.
Items were added late in game and then they there were much simpler to use. Maybe rag-doll will do - I have to think about it, especially that in AOF4 we will have four-arm hero (4 weapons?).

12) Complexity - it's complex system. almost 200 unit types and close to 400 spells, skills, attributes, resistances, vulnerabilities, etc. Plus some hidden stuff and levels.

On top of that there is a variety of items that can be used upgrade health, defense and also give other attributes. You just have to spend time to explore and discover it all. I am surprised that after 18 hrs of play reviewer haven't seen it.

Edit: we have just released racial animosity system - your units will get morale bonuses/penalties based on team composition.

13) Bad Art/Low Resolution - technology we have used is outdated and was not upgraded to support high dpi on Windows (works beautifully on Mac with Retina). That's why I am re-coding it with OpenGL. Our graphics guru is slowly improving all portraits we have from previous games and recent ones are really good. It takes time to redraw over 200 units.

Edit:
Tokens are done by order and the only purchased art are icons. Art during story is not exactly Mona Lisa, but it's quite decent IMO:
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1164586833
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1164584667
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1164585768



TL;DR
Reviewer demands game to be something like 90s X-Com or Panzer General. He doesn't enjoy non-mainstream and novel kind of gameplay.

This is game about melee and magic. Smart positioning is the key here and your heroes will die if surrounded. Ranged units are secondary and that's why there are no cover rules and no line of sight. Build a shield-wall, keep ranged and support behind and throw occasional fireball into crowd. That's how this game is played:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjBu6dZXMZg

Regardless of what some people say, this game as well as others in the series are continuously updated:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/431700/announcements/
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84 Comments
pasa Aug 13, 2018 @ 10:53am 
Godd review, Gulp. Well, and not nice to see a Dev geting angry about a fair and helping review -- especially when the main points of concern are carried over from the previous 2 versions, without any progress.

I'm honestly baffled, ZOC and related stuff is really with us since forever. I.e even floppy-disk games like Savage Frontier and Buck Rogers had them at the time. The computers got like a million times faster since, so claiming drag on the AI is something fishy.

It's okay, we see that there is audience for dumbed down combat systems, maybe more than for sophisticated ones, but how about being forward with it and let the buyer chose.
Clemency Jul 2, 2018 @ 2:41am 
I don't think the reviewer has been in any way humilated. That Galp got so much attentinon here can be seen as a compliment to the power of his writing. The only accusation against him that has any weight is that he was a little heavy handed with this review.

Overwise you make a strong case Midnight old buddy. Still, considering the provocation and overall context, IMO the dev is still awesome .

I guess it might seem unfair that the dev is well regarded by so many gamers despite all the below? Ok, yet the world has many much more consequential injustices. You're obvoiusly talented at marshalling and presenting evidence. Maybe better than some professionals I've seen in the policy making world. A shame to see such talent squandered in attacking a helpful and hard working dev!
Clemency Jul 1, 2018 @ 3:20am 
Some bizarre perspectives being posted here.

The dev of this game is a man of rare honour and honesty. And maybe the most helpful dev on all of steam. Honest to a fault if anything – if he handled negative reviews based on the PR playbook, like most devs do, he'd sell slightly more games. (Though to be fair, allmost all the sales damage here was obviously done by a professional quality negative with over harsh wording landing on a game only a few days after release.)

The dev is no cash grabber, he puts his heart and soul in his games. Any with artistic sensitivity can see this, its why many of us love his games so much. So yeah, the dev does sometimes get a little passionate when responding to what he sees as unfair, thoughtless, or trolling type criticism.

Might even be a good thing for negative reviewers to get some honest feedback on the harm their nonsense can do. Of course, that only applies to the relatively decent ones. Almost impossible to change a hater or a troll!
Clemency Jul 1, 2018 @ 3:17am 
'Negative reviews are universally honest' – don't make us laugh!

While some negative reviews may be honest , a great many are made by haters. Any fool knows this. On average, a negative review is less likely to be honest than a positive. Even Amazon has been known to mass delete negative reviews when they suspect they're the product of a hate campaign.
Bogor Represent! Jun 30, 2018 @ 4:43pm 
There's one universal truth to reading reviews: 'Read the negative ones, as they're honest.', which leads to the startling realisation that the positive reviews possess a certain level of dishonesty, to be determined by the reader. How this is true for Steam reviews can be ascertained by the mere fact that most positive reviews are excusing a title in lieu of endorsing them.
So, I always ignore the positive reviews as they tell me nothing, but reading the negative reviews tell me all I need to know. To illustrate, many of my beloved games I bought off the back of negative reviews. One man's trash is another man's treasure and nowhere is this more true than in gaming.
That said, this developer is a wet and rotting carpet, discarded in a swampy ditch by people who couldn't care less. I will not buy anything from him, even if it would see him fed for one day. Some people are just not worth it.
Daggerz Jun 29, 2018 @ 3:23am 
TL;DR Dev is shiny on the surface but shady underneath.

I always like to view both the positive and negative before purchasing and obviously anything with 100 comments deserves a closer look.

I decided to see if this review was a one-off by looking over the neg reviews in the other Age of Fear titles and it seems this dev likes to tamper with neg reviews (flagging them, asking reviewers to modify or remove them, making accusations against neg reviewers, deleting comments in hindsight, etc).

@dev By messing with so many of the negative reviews you've made it virtually impossible to trust ANY review of your games as we don't know how much you've skewed things. Lacking that sort of trust is an automatic "NO" from me, even though it's currently on sale.
Tuchanka Jun 28, 2018 @ 4:32pm 
I saw the developer's note on various other reviews and got curious so I came to find this review and even read the whole thing. Either very immature or shady af for the developer to act this way. On some level I even feel for them because I know it's not easy being an indie dev and it's hurtful for anyone to have their work negatively rated, but messing with reviews in any way is a huge NO.

Negative reviews like this are very useful for people like me, who are interested in some types of games, but have been burned before by games with high reviews that end up completely unenjoyable because of certain things or mechanics.

But regardless of any of that, the developer's claim that somehow someone's review or actions made them increase the price of their game is laughable and makes me seriously question the real motives behind anything they may say.
Goofbal Jun 1, 2018 @ 4:39am 
It's been a while since this thread saw some action! How is everyone?? Things are well here. The kids are off school so the house will be in a state of anarchy until September, ha.

Anyway,
@Midnight: Your post wasn't clear to me at first that you're referencing this game. When I saw your image I thought it was for a review elsewhere and you were just being punitive by crossposting it here. Then I realized Lester updated this thread!

But I can't say I blame him for trying to defend himself, being an indie dev working on a passion project is hard work and the pay sucks. I would have chosen a more tactful approach however. Still, being undiplomatic defending your hard work is not the worst sin in the world. Take the high road here and remember whoever else worked on this project with him probably grinds their teeth to dust every time he says something out loud.
Repairman_Jack Jan 1, 2018 @ 9:15pm 
Was just getting ready to buy this, given the overall excellent review percentage. Then, popped over here to read a few of the actual reviews, and found this one. Nothing wrong with this review whatsoever. Also, it doesn't matter when this review dropped... all those claiming that the timing matters are mistaken. A person that bought the game is entiltled to post a review whenever they want... that right comes along with the purchase price.

Finally, based on the Dev's response... no way I am supporting this guy. Movin on.
Arzurag Dec 23, 2017 @ 12:14am 
I did read all the comments and I wouldn´t support such developer.
Even after taking a look in the forums it doesn´t seem like the dev wants his game improved so, perhaps the next game in the series proves humble behavior.