Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«4 »
  • Locked thread
Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012







Of Orcs and Men is a fantasy RPG developed by French game studios Cyanide Studios (Blood Bowl, Game of Thrones) and Spiders Studios (Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripper, Mars: War Logs) which was published by Focus Home Interactive (Trackmania, Wargame, Cities XL) back in 2012.

The game is more or less your bog standard RPG game along the same lines as Divinity and Mass Effect's mechanics but not as long or as expansive in it's story telling. That however, is made up for in it's rather "unique" approach to fantasy tropes when it comes to the main plot.

Despite it's flaws, and it's rather mixed reviews, Of Orcs & Men has a bit of charm that's hard to ignore. You can tell the devs put some love and care into the game, and while it didn't come out as perfect or polished as other games in the genre it still stands out on it's own for trying to do things just a bit differently.

The title of the game is clearly a nod to John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men, and while you may think it's a re-imagination of the story in a fantasy setting, you'd be mistaken. While there are some similarities, such as a George & Lennie type duo as the main characters, the game went a different direction. There is an attempt to tell the story in a rather different way than what we've become accustomed to with RPGs, but overall the game just couldn't pull off the lofty ideas the devs had. It's a shame really because with some more development time it could have pulled it off and been more successful.

About two years after its release, Of Orcs and Men got a prequel called Styx: Master of Shadows which was more of an action stealth game that went over Styx's backstory. That was better received than Of Orcs and Men.



Of Orcs and Men puts the player in control of an Orc and a Goblin who are on a rather harrowing journey. The land they find themselves is is openly hostile to them due to their species, as the Human ran empire has gotten into the habit of exterminating or enslaving all Orcs they can find. The goblins are a different story which we'll find out a bit more details of as the story progresses.

Orcs & Goblins are, traditionally, viewed as the evil horde of creatures that humans, typically the good guys, have to fight against. This trope of fantasy writing is, however, being flipped onto it's head in Of Orcs and Men. It's rather rare that we get to play as a "villain" in any game, let alone a monstrous creature that is perceived to be the bad guy by the rest of the game's universe. This, initially, is why the game is somewhat charming and can stand out just a bit and why I originally purchased it. Who doesn't want to be a big rear end Orc slaying Humans after years of the reverse?

The two main characters are Arkail and Styx.

Arkail is a member of the Orc tribe the Blood Jaws who are a rather well known group of dangerous Orcish warriors. He's also referred to as the Butcher of Bay Harbor due to his actions at the battle of Bay Harbor between the Orcs and the Humans.


Styx is a smart rear end Goblin who has gotten by due to his wits, his propensity to not piss off anyone too much, and his rather unique abilities. He's a well connected guy who uses his connections to help Arkail out along the plot.



This is going to be a video Let's Play, which is a bit different than other RPG LPs out there which tend to be screenshot LPs. Part of this decision is that this game's, albeit flawed, charm is the voice acting of the characters and the inflection & tone of them. This will help you grow to appreciate what the devs were going for in terms of the story.

Updates will be every Tuesday. Since there are difference choices to be made I'll be polling the thread every now and then to find out what we want to do when presented with a choice.

There are also minor dialogue choices that, for the sake of convenience, I'll control as they can help add some backstory and fluff that aren't necessarily plot changing.

As usual, there's going to be a rule about not spoiling the story for others.






















Mekchu fucked around with this message at May 16, 2016 around 03:33

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



Reserved

Thesaya
May 17, 2011

I am a Plant.


This looks like fun so far.

Last Transmission
Aug 10, 2011


I like the concept so far. Seeing the tables turned for once is refreshing.

And I can see why Styx got his own game. Having to think about the best approach to each encounter is much more interesting than just charging in constantly.

Keeshhound
Jan 14, 2010

Mad Duck Swagger


I'm glad to see this; I picked the game up a while back, but even though I thought the setting was pretty cool (despite the somewhat juvenile overeliance on profanity,) but I just couldn't get into the game enough to finish it.

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



Last Transmission posted:

I like the concept so far. Seeing the tables turned for once is refreshing.

And I can see why Styx got his own game. Having to think about the best approach to each encounter is much more interesting than just charging in constantly.

Yeah, Styx's game is more or less Splinter Cell/Assassins Creed 1 in terms of general game mechanics. It's actually pretty fun and might be worth doing an LP of at some point. Haven't finished it though.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.


Grimey Drawer

My, that's a lot of swearing.

edit: Nevermind, I can't read. Looks interesting enough.
How long would you say this is compared to other RPGs on the market?

anilEhilated fucked around with this message at Jun 7, 2015 around 16:31

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



anilEhilated posted:

My, that's a lot of swearing.

edit: Nevermind, I can't read. Looks interesting enough.
How long would you say this is compared to other RPGs on the market?

To date, including the time I've put into this LP, I have 14 hours on it and pretty much did everything I could find on the first play through.

For a comparison I have like 50 hours on Witcher 3, 14 hours on South Park Stick of Truth, 20 hours in KOTOR 2, and so on. It's about middle of the road in length for a game of it's size I guess.

Mekchu fucked around with this message at Jun 7, 2015 around 16:56

Burning Sensation
Sep 2, 2006

Apropos of nothing.


I actually really like this game and managed to complete it, but mostly because of the satisfying combat and not the uh... less-than-stellar story.

One of the oddest things about this game for me is how every character has excellent voice acting, with the exception of one
(it's Arkence, the mage woman you have to rescue), who has possibly the worst voice actress I've ever heard. It's like the daughter of the guy who owns the company who made the game voices her, or something. It's incredibly jarring.

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



There's a bit in the next video of the LP that is pretty atrocious in terms of voice acting.

Mekchu fucked around with this message at Jun 7, 2015 around 20:31

Burning Sensation
Sep 2, 2006

Apropos of nothing.


Unfunny Poster posted:

There's a bit in the next video of the LP that is pretty atrocious in terms of voice acting.

Last time I played this game it was around its initial release date, so my memory is iffy at best, but Arkence just really stood out to me as being utter poo poo, especially given that she's a major character, as opposed to "random bloke #13" or whatever.

Also, I don't know if it's worth even mentioning at this point, but I utterly hate this game's explanation for the origin of its goblins. I barely remember what it even was, really, I just remember that it infuriated me for some reason.

Maybe I'm just a really angry man and I need to chill or something. Guess we'll get there when we get there.

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



Burning Sensation posted:

Last time I played this game it was around its initial release date, so my memory is iffy at best, but Arkence just really stood out to me as being utter poo poo, especially given that she's a major character, as opposed to "random bloke #13" or whatever.

Also, I don't know if it's worth even mentioning at this point, but I utterly hate this game's explanation for the origin of its goblins. I barely remember what it even was, really, I just remember that it infuriated me for some reason.

Maybe I'm just a really angry man and I need to chill or something. Guess we'll get there when we get there.

The upcoming scene will remind you that, sadly, this game wasn't as polished as you'd hope it'd be.

And no, the bit you mentioned second isn't worth talking about just yet.

GladRagKraken
Mar 27, 2010


It's really a shame that the game is so bad, if I'm reading the thread right, when the setup so far is so promising. So we're stuck with the bog standard tough guy with a dark past that's so popular for protagonists, but look at this, the PTSD is given a form that makes the protagonist flawed, instead of a 90s era antihero. He gets flashbacks to a stressful event and freaks out. Even better, there's some gameplay-story resonance, in that if the dude's rage meter gets to high, he flips out and behaves in a way that's actually dangerous and bad and removes control from the player which is an obvious way of signaling the loss of control the character feels, but we've seen a bazillion games where it's just a timer before you can release a super move.

Ironslave
Aug 8, 2006

Corpse runner


Unfunny Poster posted:

Yeah, Styx's game is more or less Splinter Cell/Assassins Creed 1 in terms of general game mechanics. It's actually pretty fun and might be worth doing an LP of at some point. Haven't finished it though.

The writing is also leagues above the writing in this game, in that it doesn't rely on the constant use of "gently caress" to let us know the story is "mature."

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



Ironslave posted:

The writing is also leagues above the writing in this game, in that it doesn't rely on the constant use of "gently caress" to let us know the story is "mature."

Yeah. It's a game that should get an LP (by someone else maybe), but seeing where that story came from is sorta important. Plus I like games that meet the "neat story/game mechanic idea that falls flat" gimmick.

Mekchu fucked around with this message at Jun 8, 2015 around 18:10

Hammurabi
Nov 4, 2009


Echoing what everyone else is saying about the writing. The writing is bad, tries too hard to be "mature" and "edgy", and sounds way too modern imo. You definitely get the sense that the writers just didn't really care that much, which is a shame because the game could've been pretty good.

Keeshhound
Jan 14, 2010

Mad Duck Swagger


Hammurabi posted:

Echoing what everyone else is saying about the writing. The writing is bad, tries too hard to be "mature" and "edgy", and sounds way too modern imo. You definitely get the sense that the writers just didn't really care that much, which is a shame because the game could've been pretty good.

Maybe I'll see something that changes my mind as the LP goes on, but the impression I got from what I did play wasn't that they didn't care, but just that they had no idea how to really inject gravitas into a scene, so they fell back on overuse of profanity as a crutch.

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



You get used to the writing as the game progresses. It's not amazing writing mind you, but its just something you become accustomed to with regards to the game.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.


Grimey Drawer

I don't know, it's pretty refreshing after the typical noble savage depiction fantasy goes for when they're trying to make the orcs good guys. Yeah, the writing could use an editor's touch, but it isn't that much of an offender.

Still, Styx's game just jumped way up in my things to watch out for in the summer sale list; I love stealth games and he seems quite the charming fellow.

Keeshhound
Jan 14, 2010

Mad Duck Swagger


Styx is definitely the standout from what I've played; whoever his voice actor is just knocked it out of the park.

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



I'll try to find the name of the voice actor. He's pretty good in Styx's standalone game.

Zeniel
Oct 18, 2013


Dang someone beat me to LPing this game, ah well I'd have never pulled it off anyway. I really suck at this game and haven't sunk more than an hour into it I think. I just find the combat a little overwhelming and confusing. I find the terrain in the game gets really, really bland really really quickly. I kind of like it in a weird way though. I think Arcanum did a better job of the whole orcs being oppressed thing but this game kind of tackles the whole thing with a nice bit of "what is to be done?" kind of nihilism that I like.

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



Yeah. On an unrelated note I've been playing Styx Master of Shadows on my first playthrough alongside recording this LP. I am really bad at stealth games

Edit - Styx's voice actor is Saul Jephcott.

What other works do you know him from?

Beyond Two Souls
Mars: War Logs
Empire: Total War

Mekchu fucked around with this message at Jun 9, 2015 around 23:44

Zain
Dec 6, 2009

It's only forever, not long at all


Thank you for doing an LP of this. I was going to but like the combat and game felt... wrong in some way.

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



I never had any issues with the combat, save for the cheese stuff I showed off. It's really simple and sorta boring which is strange since that's like 75% of the gameplay. Styx's stealth stuff is where the game shines, and they turned that into it's own game that's actually pretty good.

Anoia
Dec 31, 2003

"Sooner or later, every curse is a prayer."


Oh, hey, this game. I've seen it pop in sale bundles now and then but it never drew me in before.

I can't wait to see the full range of voice acting. Bad voice acting is my favorite, especially when it's juxtaposed against decent stuff.

Zain
Dec 6, 2009

It's only forever, not long at all


Unfunny Poster posted:

Yeah. On an unrelated note I've been playing Styx Master of Shadows on my first playthrough alongside recording this LP. I am really bad at stealth games

Edit - Styx's voice actor is Saul Jephcott.

What other works do you know him from?

Beyond Two Souls
Mars: War Logs
Empire: Total War

Mars: War Logs! I actually really enjoyed that game and even if it was a bit flawed it was still good.

Ironslave
Aug 8, 2006

Corpse runner


Unfunny Poster posted:

Yeah. On an unrelated note I've been playing Styx Master of Shadows on my first playthrough alongside recording this LP. I am really bad at stealth games

Edit - Styx's voice actor is Saul Jephcott.

What other works do you know him from?

Beyond Two Souls
Mars: War Logs
Empire: Total War

Master of Shadows is a pretty rough but pretty fair game. The only real annoyance I had with it was with the dangling/shimmy mechanics. Combat mechanics aren't that hot either, which is a weird thing to complain about in a stealth game, but it's true.

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



Going to try and get updates out on every Monday after this next episode comes out which should be later today.

Mekchu fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2015 around 21:06

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012





In which Styx hits puberty.

Edit - Oh I forgot to mention that we need to vote on whether or not to talk to Oboth.

Just bold your choice and I'll go through the votes on Sunday when I record the next session.

Mekchu fucked around with this message at Jun 11, 2015 around 16:11

MartianAgitator
Apr 30, 2003

Damn Earth! Damn her!

So the writing of the game is really focused on showing the gritty, base and muddy nature of the medieval world and part of that is how crude their language is. I assume in French this comes out much more strongly, and they have Arkail speak without artifice and Styx show some more low cunning in the way he talks. The translation, though, really doesn't have any tone and the writing comes off loose and floppy. The limp use of curse words is just a symptom of this, likely, rather than weak writing originally.

If you want to see a better example of how French writing likes to capture a more realistically motivated, more basically human world, compare any Dragon Age to Dishonored. Dragon Age is supposed to be a dirty, dark, gray world but never really does any of those well - all its "complicated" characters still measure themselves on a (very American, very philosophical) optimism-cynicism scale. When they act poorly, they know they are failing to live up to some moral standard and they freak out; meaning they are never gray, just white then black or vice versa. The NPCs in Dishonored have to deal their own motivations and the fallout from acting on them; meaning, for example, the genius inventor who sells you all your stuff and is sick with "brain fever" also can be caught spying on girls bathing. If you catch him, he's not super repentant and there's no further situation where he can "redeem" himself for such a fall; he just is who he is and you caught him in a mistake. He's sympathetic AND unsympathetic in a more basic and complicated way than "A child is possessed by a demon, do you KILL CHILD Y/N?!?!?!"

I guess this is a really long-winded way of justifying the frequent use of curse words, but the point I want to make here is that the writing is going for a specific tone, one that the translator did not catch or was not fully up to the task of realizing in English in a natural or believable way.

You can also hear the two real bugbears of American voice acting here: poor direction and poor production. In the first video (I think) there's a guard who has a bit of a Southern accent, which, while a strong character choice, is one that any decent voice director would shut down right quick for being way, way out of sync with the world. As for bad production quality, so far every line of dialogue sounds like it was delivered by an actor standing in front of a microphone - it never sounds like it's coming from a place in the world. If you need a clear example of that, you can watch basically any anime DVD (especially Cowboy Bebop) and switch between English and Japanese dialogue. When you hear Japanese, (usually) each line has been worked on by a sound engineer to make it sound like the character is speaking in a real place: a line spoken in a small room sounds different from a line spoken outside. Not so in English. Each line then sounds the same, and very flat, like someone speaking into a close-range microphone in an empty room.

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



If anyone's interested in getting this game or the Styx spinoff, they're both on sale for like $10 each on Steam.

Mekchu fucked around with this message at Jun 11, 2015 around 17:35

Burning Sensation
Sep 2, 2006

Apropos of nothing.


Talk to Oboth because fuuuuuck Sarkyss.

Ignatius M. Meen
May 26, 2011


See Oboth because this is an RPG and he'll show up uninvited if we snub his party.

Keeshhound
Jan 14, 2010

Mad Duck Swagger


I do want to say that I like the animation in this game. Specifically, I think it's a neat character tic that Styx does that thing with his hands whenever he's explaining something.

And gently caress it, might as well check out the sidequest (speak to Oboth.) If nothing else, it's fun to watch Styx in his element.

Keeshhound fucked around with this message at Jun 12, 2015 around 03:18

Mekchu
Apr 10, 2012



So I had a shower thought this morning.

I think the reason why Styx's voice was so bad in that convo with Fox was because that was an early take. Nothing crazy, but then I was thinking how/why they let that bad/early of a character voice acting get into the final product and came to the conclusion that since it was two studios doing the work together they ended up just going "oh (insert name) will double check" and it slipped through the cracks. That's the only egregious voice acting I can recall in the entire game at that level. Some of the characters sound bad, but that was the most prominent one.

Ghost Stromboli
Mar 31, 2011


MartianAgitator posted:

compare any Dragon Age to Dishonored

Bioware in general tends to give the player a very binary choice. They may have gotten a little better at making it more of a choice (possessed baby - don't know if you made that up), but earlier titles like KotOR and Jade Empire gave you Good and Evil. Jade Empire tries to explain its Evil in an interesting way but it's still Good vs Evil, and you devote yourself down one path or the other for the whole game if you're playing the 'optimal' way. KotOR was a little painful at times with its lack of decent choices for good and evil dialogue because the light side choices all sounded naive and the dark side choices were puppy-stomping, over-the-top, dumb, violent remarks that more or less boiled down to, "shut up and eat lead, dirtbag. I'm here for blood."

As for Dishonored, I don't have much time to say everything about it (for the good of us all), but even its 'bad' ending makes sense and isn't hammy or corny in its attempt to portray the darker outcome.

e: Regarding the actual game being played, the whole cheesiness in combat seems less to me like you're abusing the game and more that it's relatively easy to avoid death with the duo going. I'm not sure if that's cheesing the system or the system not being balanced and having to let the player keep reviving the characters over and over. It could be a quick solution to a bigger problem they had. Not having played it myself though, I can't really say for sure. Just looks that way.

Ghost Stromboli fucked around with this message at Jun 12, 2015 around 21:34

Poil
Mar 17, 2007



Possessed child, not possessed baby. Big difference. It's in the first game, part of the main quest.

Keeshhound
Jan 14, 2010

Mad Duck Swagger


Ghost Stromboli posted:

Bioware in general tends to give the player a very binary choice. They may have gotten a little better at making it more of a choice (possessed baby child - don't know if you made that up)

It's literally the crux of one of the four primary quests in Dragon Age: Origins. And like most of Bioware's floundering attempts at moral complexity, there's an easy third option that makes everyone happy and disperses of all moral ambiguity.

That said, at least Dragon Age didn't try to track your moral stance. If you want a worse example of being forced to choose one morality and stick with it through good or ill in Bioware's writing, I'd look at Mass Effect. In ME1, your diplomatic abilities are capped by how Renegade or Paragon you are. So even though it's a step forward in that both meters were tracked separately (unlike in KotOR and Jade Empire, where choosing the "good" option meant you were that much less evil on the morality slider,) you were still pressured to commit pretty heavily to one mentality, rather than approaching each dilemma (such as they were) on their own merits. ME2 is even worse about this, because it just makes your morality score your diplomatic ability. So if you want to threaten someone for a better outcome to a quest, you have to go shake down a kiosk owner first.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Poil
Mar 17, 2007



Yeah I got stuck when I tried to do a renegade ME2 play through. I didn't have enough space rear end in a top hat points to recruit a specific party member and since I hadn't constantly been a jerk to absolutely everyone for no reason I couldn't get enough points.

  • Locked thread
«4 »