Impressions of the Beta

Talk about anything related to Ghost of a Tale here.
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Original backer
Original backer
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:42 am

After the long wait since the Indiegogo campaign, the beta release of Ghost of a Tale is finally upon us, and as a backer, I've been playing it myself, and felt like I should relay my thoughts on my experiences here. But I am very sad to say, that so far I have found the game pretty disappointing.

My first major problem is an issue with the major mechanical focus of the game. Initially, when the game was shown for the crowdfunding campaign it was presented as a small-scale Zelda-like action adventure game, with a variety of different things to do. But as development went on, there seemed to be a larger focus on stealth, something which wasn't emphasised in the original campaign at all. This was something that concerned me, as someone who doesn't enjoy stealth games. But through brief contact with the developer through comments and the like, I was told that stealth would only be a single part of a wider variety of mechanics in the game. Yet upon playing the beta, it's clear that the game is almost entirely stealth. There's very little else to the game's mechanics, except for very basic fetch-quests, which are related to something else I'll get on to later.

The narrow focus on stealth isn't necessarily the worst part of this problem either. That I can put down to personal taste, but there are other aspects to this problem which I think are more universal. The stealth mechanics seem completely trivial and simple. There's almost no depth to the stealth system at all, since all you have to deal with is the awareness of nearby enemies though sneaking and hiding. But these mechanics, and the basic tools you have like bottles and such, are more or less totally redundant anyway, since the enemies are so slow that you don't actually need to hide from them at all. It doesn't matter if you get detected over and over, because you can just run past enemies until they're out of sight. Maybe that's an intentional design choice, but it's one that I didn't find enjoyable, and which makes the whole mechanical focus of the game pointless.

Another big problem I have is with the visuals of the game. While the aesthetic is brilliant, with a gorgeous and well-realised world dense with detail, I found it pretty inscrutable when it came to conveyance of things relevant to gameplay. As I mentioned earlier with the fetch-quests, this can be a big problem, since it's very hard to see key objects that might need attention. Most times when I found an object that I needed for a quest, it was because the UI prompt to pick it up appeared. I rarely notice the object itself until after the prompt shows up. This makes it really hard and quite tedious to complete these quests, as usually I'm just running around the place aimlessly until a UI prompt shows up that I somehow missed before. The nighttime lighting is also an issue with this kind of thing. Obviously, it's meant to be moody and atmospheric, but it's just far too dark at night. It's almost impossible to see anything, and any light source you can carry with you is far too feeble to make any kind of useful illumination.

Not everything about the game has been a disappointment though. As I mentioned, the game is gorgeous, conveyance problems aside, with a wonderful rich world, and great character animations (for the ones that are finished at least). I was impressed by the depth of the lore too, and how much effort has obviously gone in to world-building. I didn't want to read too much of it as to not spoil myself for the finally completed game, but I read enough to whet my appetite and see that there's clearly something worth digging in to there.

So those are my thoughts. I'm not trying to be mean or step all over anyone's hard work. There's clearly a lot of passion that's gone in to the game, but these are my honest impressions, and if they can help improve the game at all, then I would want them to. I also don't expect that the game can or should completely change to suit my own personal taste. I know that games change a lot during development, and I respect that the developer can make the game they want to. I don't feel bad at having "lost" any money I put in to this thing. I just hope my criticism can be taken as is, and the developers can create something that they're happy with in the end. I'll probably check back in with the game at a later date to see how things develop too.
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2016 6:05 am

I wouldn't go into a relatively cheap indie rodent rpg with big expectations, certainly as it's made by 1 guy.

The fact that 96% of steam reviews were positive, was because most people didn't know the game when they bought it and were very positively surprised, despite its shortcomings.

I'm not arguing your points, I think they're accurate and I understand you're certainly not onesidedly negative here..... But for instance, no matter how good a diner is, it's a bit unfair to review it as if reviewing a 3 Michelin star restaurant.

Personally I had never heard of GoaT till Steam put it in my queue of suggested games this week. I got it, played it, loved it, wrote a positive Steam review. Then I came here a wrote an extensive bug report and added a suggestion or two, with the intention to contribute to this game being ready for the big day of its official release.
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