Alder's Blood: Overview
It just so happens that I have to describe many recent releases according to a hackneyed scheme: such and such a game meets such and such. You’ll excuse me, but it ’s better to do without Alder's Blood without any extra preferences so that readers are immediately interested in it: here you can simultaneously see the features of Darkest Dungeon , and XCOM , and even Bloodborne . But what ultimately came of this?
Since Darkest Dungeon and Bloodborne , it is clear that the action of Alder's Blood takes place in a very gloomy world, and we play for monster hunters. Moreover, they themselves are not really people, but the offspring of the situation that led to the disaster. People killed God - and after that his defiled flesh and blood, scattered throughout the world, began to give rise to Darkness, which poisons everything around and creates monsters.
At this moment, various clans of hunters appeared. They are very sensitive to darkness and are able to smell monsters. But they themselves are vulnerable to it: the more hunters fight and kill, the faster they weaken and eventually go crazy. Therefore, it is better to sacrifice them in advance in order to transfer some of the strength to the new ones.
Yes, yes, everything is very harsh and adult. In the appropriate style and very cool painted - reminds noir comics in the spirit of “Hellboy”, “Lucifer”, “Sandman” and “Sin City”, and if we talk about games, The Blind Prophet . And the story is also very interesting and gloomy.
At the same time, leaders of different factions start to contact us - scientists, military, businessmen and rulers who shed light on the situation, conduct their own searches for a recipe for salvation, but they necessarily want something from us and, as a rule, hide something - well, for example that are members of a secret society that conducted bloody occult rituals. Some even flew off the coils and are ready to take revenge on the monsters, sacrificing thousands of soldiers.
We begin to work for factions, raising our reputation in a particular group - we have to complete tasks for it, look for missing patrols and important artifacts, investigate monster attacks on villages, help with provisioning, and so on. At the same time, keep our eyes open and each time we come across new secrets and skeletons in the closets. In general, history is catchy.
If everything is fine with the plot, atmosphere and style in Alder's Blood , then the situation with the gameplay itself is not so clear. It would seem that all the components of success are in place: pumping, turn-based battles, survival elements (we spend provisions on moving around the map and keeping hunters) and the opportunity to set up a camp at any time, where someone will guard, someone will have a rest, licking wounds, and someone - to extract resources or craft equipment.
But if you look closely, you will find several strange solutions. Take, for example, the mechanics of sacrifice by hunters. The level of darkness here is constantly growing, even in battle, which increases the power of monsters. And after each mission, the level of “corruption”, the infection of hunters, is growing. But, as I already said, using weapons, killing monsters or taking damage, they themselves become weaker - their characteristics drop, they begin to see and run worse, recover more slowly on halt, their endurance level decreases, slots are removed from inventory and etc.
It seems to be an amusing mechanic reminiscent of Darkest Dungeon , but in Alder's Blood it is almost impossible to cure these disabled people. And almost everything becomes so very quickly. Therefore, the rotation is very high - you do not have time to get used to someone, pump it, and the character is already on the verge of insanity, and his weaknesses outweigh all the advantages. The sacrificed makes stronger the chosen newcomer, and new recruits have to be hired constantly. That is, in all of this, of course, there is something - this situation fits into the gloomy atmosphere of desperate and doomed survival. But from the point of view of gameplay, this is a controversial mechanic that does not allow you to properly feel the return on pumping characters.
From here follows the second ambiguous solution. This seemingly tactical RPG, where you can find, buy or make a bunch of knives and firearms, actually punishes us for trying to fight and use the whole arsenal. If this is done, then the hunters will weaken faster and turn into sacrificial goats. Therefore, there are few missions directly to destroy someone in Alder's Blood - basically we need to find, take, study something, and in such situations it is better, more effective (but not more effective) to act “on the stealth”, hiding in tall grass and trying evade enemies.
In the process, you can not only throw stones to distract opponents, but also use sound traps to throw nets that paralyze one move (to escape). Moreover, you need to develop the sixth sense in order to quickly detect monsters, and monitor the direction of the wind, which drives the smell of your wards - monsters are able to smell it. And besides, they hear perfectly (even as you reload weapons). Among the opponents there are also very unpleasant and unusual creatures that act as security cameras, which, if they fall into their field of view, raise an alarm.
Naturally, in almost every mission you have to kill someone if the enemy is really getting in the way and does not allow himself to get around. And the farther into the forest, the more opponents on the map, the stronger and more difficult to hide. Especially considering the fact that stamina is actively spent on all active actions and on moving outside the zone accessible in your turn - if it drops to zero, the ward will be immobilized for one move.
The tasks themselves are very monotonous - basically, "Get from point A to point B, and then to the place of evacuation." There are very few more or less interesting situations and conditions when, for example, you need to free people from the cells or when Darkness constantly gives rise to new monsters behind your back. So it turns out that they don’t really have a chance to fight, and stealth, with all the interesting mechanics (I'm talking about wind and smell in the first place), turns out to be quite boring. There are, of course, exceptions, but I repeat, they are much less than we would like.
The mechanics of survival have not been brought to mind. Food can be easily and in large quantities obtained by setting up a camp in the city. The chances that someone will attack in the process are zero - at least three or four days or the whole week sleep, get and stock up on resources. And, as a rule, no one really urges us. And our wards at a halt eat little, especially if you have studied talents that reduce the need for food.
As a result, there is no need to take care of food - it is not clear why they introduced this mechanics at all. So they ask for some restrictions and penalties for a long rest. Yes, and craft looks for the most part superfluous - many items can be obtained as a reward or bought, since there are usually no problems with money. Mostly they need to be spent on hiring new hunters, but many youths are cheap, up to 200 coins, and their characteristics are not much different from those that are ready to work for 800 or 1,000. Yes, the latter initially have better equipment, but, I repeat, Already in the middle of the passage it is quite easy to get, buy or make almost everything you need.
Initially, I was determined to put Alder's Blood “Commendable” - an interesting story, concept, style and rich atmosphere immediately catch my eye. But by our standards, a game where everything is fine with the plot and style, but there are many questions for the gameplay, is, of course, “Prohodnyak”. Just do not think that in this case it is a bad assessment and the call not to play. On the contrary, Alder's Blood at least deserves attention. Simply, not all the gameplay decisions of the authors suited me. It is possible that someone will like to hide from enemies according to one scheme and constantly change their wards. Well, or it will not become a critical obstacle to the denouement of this gloomy and intriguing story.
Pros: fascinating plot; interesting setting; saturated atmosphere; gorgeous comic picture; atmospheric music.
Cons: many gameplay decisions look controversial; monotonous missions; elements of survival seem to be sewn for show.
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