OK, I have to admit: I liked Gilfor's Tales before and even recommended it to others, but without noticing many of the issues that came up over this last week. It should be noted, however, that many of them seemed to have happened since the last time I played and are the result of some sort of server change or update. I wish I knew more but the developer team seems to be about as communicative as a pet rock, even going so far as to finally apologize to their fans on Facebook. One fan replied "It's been a year guys..." What is this, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes? (Ba dum kssh!)
So, yes, this game has many flaws. Many. I'll tell you all about them in a minute, but it's important to note that after I streamed it live (check the embedded video) I gave it more time and the game did seem to open up and become more fun. It helped that things started to make more sense, but of course how I arrived upon the answers was pretty silly in itself.
Click past the cut and check it out!
I wish I could explain the lore and setting to you, but as with many games from my past I couldn't tell you if I wanted to. Sure, I bet there were some great stories or cutscene texts featured in the game, but if it didn't catch my eye then it just didn't. Ryzom, for example, caught my eye from the first or second time I played it. I took time to read up on the lore and ask the community about it because the game was so different and wonderful. If there's something cool going on with the story of Gilfor's Tales, I wouldn't know. Go kill this, protect that...so far it's been nothing exciting. Remember, the main rule of this column is to jump into a game and tell you what I experienced, not what I found, researched, wrote down and compiled. Compiling is boring and for me, sucks the life out of playing a game.
Basically you play a dude who hangs with another dude who happens to be an NPC. You can add other dudes or ladies to your party or you can play with other players. There are non-instanced towns that act as adventure hubs, but combat takes part in instanced dungeons or maps. I don't mind this at all, and it's a very common design these days. Heck, instances and zones have existed for a long, long time. They stopped offending me years ago.
The combat is turn-based, which is the initial thrill I got from this game. I love a good turn-based game, especially if the turns have no time limits on them. I don't want to be rushed. It's not as though I am an idiot and cannot make any type of decision within a short amount of time, but the true fun in turn-based combat comes from scratching your chin and thinking about the move you are going to make. Also, you can discuss it with your teammates and really get into some deep strategy. Truly, though, it's just fun to pretend you're smarter than you are. At least it's fun for me...in a turn-based game I get to pretend I am some sort of scheming general.
So, the combat in Gilfor's Tales is actually pretty cool. It has been a bit repetitious, but I enjoy tackling enemies with my axe-wielding dwarf and spell-slinging human. The problems in this game really stem from the fact that it hasn't been translated well, and the person who designed the UI forgot to make it, you know, easy to understand. It took me until nearly the last day of my time with the game (I generally play my selections Saturday through Friday) to figure out that I could instantly transport to a quest location. As luck would have it, once I finished the quests they stayed on my quest tracker and I wasn't sure if I had truly finished them or not.
At one point I couldn't even get one of the darned NPCs to buy the junk out of my inventory. I clicked on everything I could, but he just wouldn't accept the transaction and kept telling me that I didn't have enough gold to buy his items, even though I wasn't buying a thing. Another glitch, I thought, and later found an NPC that did buy my junk. I still have a frying pan in my backpack that is bound to my character that no NPC will buy... so it sits and takes up very precious bag space.
I eventually was able to group up with another player. It wasn't much more exciting than soloing, and in fact was a little annoying. The game continually locked up or paused for long periods, and then eventually I had to leave. As with many things in the game, I felt punished for playing. That's a very odd feeling, especially when you consider that video games are supposed to be -- oh, I don't know -- fun.
I chatted with a few other members of the community and found outside message boards that mentioned the game. All in all, hanging around other players of this game feels a bit like being in a pack of drunks while trying to assemble a shelving unit from Ikea. We all know it will be cool, but where is that damned funny looking wrench?! We're all confused. Are the developers real people? Have they fallen asleep at their keyboards? Do they know they made a game and released it? The saddest question of all: do they know they made a potentially really, really cool game?
In the end, Gilfor's Tales needs a lot of work. It's not huge stuff, but it all adds up to a lot. I could see a great game coming out of the mess that I played this week, but until then I will continue to keep an ear out for news and nothing more. I hate to sound like an EVE player, but it's sort of sad to see such a nice looking game go to waste.
Next week I am jamming on some Star Legends! Join me in the game, (if you can) my character's name is Beauhindman.
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Each week, Rise and Shiny asks you to download and try a different free-to-play, indie or unusual game, chosen by me, Beau Hindman. I welcome any suggestions for games -- drop me a note in the comments or email! You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Raptr!