The Lost Crown review.

Posted by: Tomer

The Lost Crown review. - 07/27/08 05:58 PM

Hello smile.
Finished the lost crown a few hours ago, and decided to sit down and try to summerize my impressions of the game.

Overall - I (*drums*).... didn't like the game.
I won't say there weren't enjoyable parts - of course there were. But there were also so many parts which were somewhat exhausting, tiresom. There were some features to the game I have never encountered before - and here I mean some horrible features.
I'll start with the good.
- The atmosphere. Splendid. Totally spooky, a very haunting atmosphere. The graphics are good (though the animations are definitely not, but that does not belong to the good), and the way the scenes are coloured is very original (and beautiful) for a computer game, at least.
- The story. Complex, Heavy, interwined, like any good adventure. It's rich with characters, and much of it feels authentic. It does lose, in my eyes, some of it's build up potential towards the ending, but genrally - it's good.
- Sounds/Music (not including voice acting!!!) - Gorgeous. If the graphics weren't enough to get you spooked up - the sound effects will cause just that; From mysterious whispers through the back of your neck, to horrible sounds of knocking doors and creeking windows - this game could be enjoyable just by wondering a bit in some scenes, and listening in to the ambience created.
puzzles: Well, that really depends how you like them. Most are inventory based, some are logic-based but tend to be rather easy. I personally like brain-breakers, but I know many here don't, so I stick puzzles in the good zone.

Now, it seems I've touched all the important things, and gave them good remarks. If I would have heard of a game which has a good plot, good graphics, nice puzzles and a wonderful atmosphere - I would've jumped on the offer.
Surprisingly, the few bad features I'm about to describe were enough to get me totally dissapointed with this game. They just made the adventure feel tiresom, exahusting, and mostly, it made you get out of the bubble Jonathan Bokes worked so hard on creating, the bubble of immersion, rolling your eyes.

So, without further delay: The bad.
- The characters.
With perhaps a few exceptions, the characters are plain, dumb and boring. The merely serve as a tool to reveal the plot, while Nigel (the heroine) serves as the marker for the player. They act very plainly, much like a child would act, only without the passion and the charm a child might have. Nigel is terrible, in my opinion. The questions he decides to ask, and the way he asked them, always made me feel how I would act so differently. Sometimes, obvious things would happen, and he would relate to them as "mysteries", saying remarks like "What Is That" or "Has someone been here" (yes, these repeat a million times, but I'll talk about this phenomenon later in detail).
I find it pathetic when the player understands something that's drawn out obvious in the game, and the character "doesn't get it". Worse then that, you can't, as a player, make your character "understand", which makes it even more irritating.
Lucy, Nigel's sidekick, is nicer in a way, yet she still lack realy character.
The only figures I found somewhat intruiging are Nanny Noah, and perhaps prof. oogle as well.

- One cannot skip text or scenes if one desperately wants to.
Don't get me wrong - I'm the last person to skip on anything without seeing/hearing it once, maybe even twice. But this game forces you to endure some of the most tiring dialougs, if you dare to try and exauhst a conversation line you're not sure you've used so far, or maybe wanting to check if something had changed. Also, there are places where Nigel keeps saying those annoying remarks (they might sound nice, at first, but when you hear it for the 1000'th time, it starts to get annoying), and since it is impossible to skip these, and since for some reason the game didn't trigger these remarks off after the first time the player hears them - you just need to take a deep breath, boil some coffee, and return to, hopefully, a game. A good example, although it might sound negligible, is the remark you hear every time you enter to harbour cottage. Nigel, from day 1 to day 5, keeps saying "Home Sweet Home, for the time being", EVERY time you enter. I bet I entered this house at least 40 times throughout the game. that's 40 times hearing "Home Sweet Home, for the time being". If it's not the waste of time that bothered me - it's the fact that it made the game look so bad, suddenly, tasteless, and unreal.

- The voice acting of Nigel voice acting, in my opinion, is terrible. For some reason, this guy uses commas and periods in the most unrelavent cases. His voice acting is very unrealistic, very slow. The creators must have thought it adds to the "nightmarish-slowish" feel of the game. But what it really does, is making the game lose it's realism, and tiring the player, waiting for Nigel to finish a line that he shoul've finished eons ago.
Others are ok, mostly - nothing exceptional or vice versa.

- The most terrible feature of the game: The repetetive use and recycling of voice clips.
"What is that"
"Am I alone in this place"
"Is that a crown? Yes, definitely a crown!"
Actually, at a certain point, it feels like all the text you hear has been said at a certain point, throughout one part of the game, or another.
I'm not talking here about a few examples. Here, I'm talking about the whole game. It's redicoulous - it looks as if they recorded a bunch of sentences, say a hundered, and then, in every scene, they mix the sentences so it would sound somewhat relavent to the theme. It terrible. I could not stand that. It looked so unrealistic. It absorbed every bit of immersion I had towards the game.
I don't know if anybody else experienced that feeling, but it totally, most definitely, ruined my experience. I have never encountered such a problem. Yes, I guess some games do contain the same "wording" in two different parts, but firstly, there are always, at the most, a few examples, and secondly, they are usually placed "far" from eachother. Here - every scene is just a repeat of the last scene, with different background.

So - that's my impression. I was dissapointed, cause I saw really good remarks on the game.
Well, it might be better than the average game nowadays, but I'm sorry, it just doesn't cut it for me.

I would recommend it if you like chilly games, and if you find the "bad's" I've listed above insignificant. A warning, however: I'm not sure I have been able to describe the feeling I had from these flaws, especially the last one. So watch it smile

Hope you enjoyed the review. Would like to hear impression, or get smashed with eggs thrown at me. smile

Tomer.
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 07/27/08 06:11 PM

Tomer, I can see you gave this a good deal of thought. Sounds like it has a great story but that the dialogue repetition ruined it for you????
Posted by: Becky

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 07/27/08 09:14 PM

Hi Tomer -- an interesting response, which has made me wonder about my own reaction. I hear repeated responses to clicking on things so often in adventure games, that I seldom think twice about it, (or thrice, etc. etc.) even though it is rather annoying.

The game I remember that had a multitude of responses was Tony Tough and the Night of Roasted Moths. As soon as I realized that there were different responses to clicking on items, I cycled through all of them, snickering the whole way, by clicking on the same item about 30 times. Then, of course, I'd ruined any surprise by hearing the responses later when clicking on items. lol
Posted by: Tomer

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 07/28/08 10:40 AM

Looney, as I've said, it sounds funny I know, but it did actually harm my experience.

A contra to this would be the gabriel knight seiries- especially 1 and 3, in which you can examine sooo many things, the screens are rich with things - and every tiny pixle makes gabe/grace say a different thing! It's amazing!
For example: In the church in Gabriel knight 3, gabriel/grace has a comment (and usually a funny/interesting one!) to say about every tiny thing you as a player notice.
In the lost crown, at the caves on Saxton's shore, there are lots of Graffities. I think Nigel has about 2 sentences to say about every graffity he sees in the game. Either "Symbolic images or ancient Graffity?", or "Some sea monster", lol. Seriously. I just don't understand why they enabled you as a player to click on 20 of these, in the caves alone (and there are lots outside too!), just to hear the same response over and over.
Posted by: chrissie

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 08/02/08 02:26 PM

Thanks Tomer for your impressions of the game. I completely agree with all the good things you said & I don't completely disagree with all the bad you mentioned but for the most part I didn't mind. The real disappointment for me came after playing this very long & immersive game to it's conclusion, to find on reaching it that there was no tie-up of the overall 'plot'. mad
Posted by: Phoebe

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 08/02/08 05:58 PM

Thanks for the review Tomer

Love Maria hearts
Posted by: Leeana

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 08/04/08 02:49 PM

Thank You Tomer for the very informative summary of the Lost Crown Im debateing whether to buy it or not smile wave Thank You it was an excellent review bravo

I bought the game its not half bad just cant shake the "Nothing Ventured sick ..." thing out of my head lol

Posted by: NMgameguy

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 08/12/08 02:04 PM

I rather enjoyed the game. I know the character repeated the same phrases but alot of adventure games do that, the worst would have to be Delaware St. John games. This game, crazy as it sounds was sort of a little vacation, exploring a small village, shops, beach, ect...Also finding little suprises. I think I called the Cat Watch hot line and put the blame on the missing cats on the one Nanny's dog. I have read reviews and alot point out about Nigel sliding as he walked, come on, I think thats taking it a little over the edge. And I loved that the game wasn't a graphics processor hog and I ran it below the reqirements listed. My superfast computer died so I gave it a go on a computer with 32mg video card and running Windows 2000 and it ran with out any problems, except for a patch. It was a great little game, wasnt really a Ghost Hunting, more like treasure hunting but that didnt harm my gaming.
Now the major problem I did have was really one thing. It was when Nigel entered the place he rented. He would hang up his coat and say, "Home Sweet Home....." and you would have to move again just to move into the living room. I just wished that when you entered the house that you would be standing in the living room with out out the whole hanging up the coat and phrase scene. I had trouble with a few of the puzzles and managed to work thru them with glances at the walkthrough.

It was a nice little getaway, sort of a vacation to a little harbour town.
Posted by: Benedict

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 08/13/08 01:35 AM

Somehow I have the strangest feeling that Jonathan made the most artistically eccentric design decision to deliberately publish the game in this unpolished form so that it has the feel of an Independent Developer game. There are so many quirks and eccentricities in the overall design! Tomer says that the characters don't have depth. To me, they all sound psychotic. What "mentally sound" NPC would talk to the main character like the way they do in this game and what "mentally sound" main character would behave/ talk/ "moonwalk" everywhere like Nigel? The game feels like the "circus of fools" segment in Sanitarium where nothing and nobody is normal.

To sum up my overall impression of the game in one word, this game is "weird". It is so "weird" that everybody has to play it to experience just what a "weird" thing it is.
Posted by: Tomer

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 08/14/08 03:09 AM

Benedict, it's a nice interpetation, but what seemed to you as an artistic voice acting, seemed to me as bad voice acting smile
You may be right, especially regarding the strange way everybody were speaking, slow and monotonious.
Posted by: Benedict

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 08/15/08 02:37 AM

Another possible logical explanation for the unpolished nature of this games could be simply, Jonathan ran out of time and had to rush the game out before ironing out all the quirks. The game industry often rush games out to meet a deadline then provide technical support to deal with the bugs. We would never know unless we ask Jonathan himself. Did he talk about this game on any forum or blog? We could even persuade him to fix all the weird and annoying things, such as inability to skip dialogue, in this game with a patch.
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 08/22/08 01:35 AM

Benedict
It had nothing to do with running out of time. The game in spite of critical reviews that claimed "masterpiece" was it's own worst enemy as the voice acting destroyed the immersion into the so called spooky atmosphere. How so? When as Tomer so adequately described, I will quote his astute review, "The atmosphere. Splendid. Totally spooky, a very haunting atmosphere. Sounds/Music (not including voice acting!!!) - Gorgeous. If the graphics weren't enough to get you spooked up - the sound effects will cause just that; From mysterious whispers through the back of your neck, to horrible sounds of knocking doors and creeking windows - this game could be enjoyable just by wondering a bit in some scenes, and listening in to the ambience created."

Tomer missed this by not having added this line. When the voice acting is so bland, so lacking in emotion the listener is led to believe the character is either totally stupid or completely out of touch of his surroundings. In other words he is not smart enough to know this is supposed to be scary. Either that or Nigel is the only one who understands this is a comedy. The tragic non effected voice acting completely destroys the atmosphere. I kept expecting to see Monty Python to pop out from the fen or fly in on the wings of a crow.

I was going to write a review of this sham but that would require finishing it. As I am struggling at the half way point through this trying to ignore the sophomoric voice acting, the badly implemented camcorder, that's another story, there is a strong likelihood the uninstall key will be struck rather soon.

All i could do with a review is hammer the several serious issues Tomer was kind enough to overlook. That's rather pointless. If this game is a masterpiece with it's glaring holes then gaming is in serious trouble.
Posted by: Benedict

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 08/24/08 09:38 PM

Is it possible to play with the voices switched off? I could read the subtitles and enjoy the ambient sound.
Posted by: Tomer

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/01/08 07:00 PM

Oldmariner - hi. I could not agree more: "If this game is a masterpiece with it's glaring holes then gaming is in serious trouble. ".
However, what are the serious issues I overlooked? smile The thing is, I don't really get all the points I want to write about listed, and when I develop a certain issue, I tend to forget others. I remember I also didn't want to make the review too long so I decided I bashed the game enough, and that I oughta finish it. smile

Benedict, I don't think that's possible, and I would *certainly* not recommend you play without sound at all. Not only, as I've mentioned, is the soundtrack really good and immersing, but it also serves as entratainment while Nigel slowly crawls from one place to another and repeats the 10 sentences he knows to repeat.

Ugh. I'm desperate for a really, really immersive, rich, real, and deep game. I'm tired of hearing characters speak and thinking "man, that's so unrealistic".
I just finished Dead Reefs today (going to check the review written here now), and while I found this game a bit better than the lost crown, I still found too many gaps in the most basic, important things, an adventure must consist, many of which are similar to gaps found in the lost crown. Mostly surrounding the characters, and their "3-dimentionality" (more accurately, their lack of 3-dimentionality).

Posted by: Ameno

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/07/08 05:43 AM

Tomer,
yea you right the animation and character's voices ruins the game.
But how the cats walks it realy is funny.
Posted by: Jenny100

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/07/08 05:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Tomer
- The voice acting of Nigel voice acting, in my opinion, is terrible. For some reason, this guy uses commas and periods in the most unrelavent cases. His voice acting is very unrealistic, very slow.

You know there may be an ingame reason for it, as was brought up in one of the threads about this game in the Discussion forum
Click to reveal..
The whole world of Saxton may be a simulation in a computer, created out of old black-and-white photos. This explains the "tears" in the graphics near the churches -- the tears that look like the edge of a torn photograph. So the Nigel character may not be human, but only be an AI or avatar. Have you ever phoned up a "time and temperature" service on your telephone, where the times and temperatures are recorded separately from the main message? Or have you ever endured one of those automated phone menus? Ever notice how the speech breaks up when it's reading information back to you (especially when asking confirmation of something you told it? Does it remind you of the way Nigel talks?

This was Jonathan Boakes' first 3rd person game, so maybe Nigel's walking animation was the best he could do. But I have a hard time accepting that Nigel's blatantly odd speech patterns weren't a deliberate clue about his true nature.

For some reason the idea that you're playing as a computer simulation within a game instead of as a human character within a game doesn't occur to many people.
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/07/08 07:00 PM

Jenny100, I love that idea. I know there have been console games that flirted with that. When I finally play it, I'm going to keep that in mind wave
Posted by: Tomer

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/09/08 10:57 AM

This theory has been suggested before in this thread, and I responded that it could be it.
Many of the shortcomings I've mentioned regarding this game could be "excused" using this "theory". However, I must admit that I am a very open minded gamer and very fond of the term "artistic liscense". I adore originallity and I love it when games aspire to be special in all means. And still, the fact is I found this element in the game disturbing and tiring at the very least. Even if I were to play it knowingly of the theory suggested, I would still feel it is tiring more than anything.
Have you guys ever seen a David Lynch film? Maybe even his last one (I think) - Inland empire? The fact is I do love his works, but I just couldn't stand the last movie. It was simply toooooo exhausting. I never fall asleep in films and I did on that one. So, what I'm saying is, that it might be true that Jonathan wanted to create this nightmarish-slowish atmosphere, but it simply feels missed in the game, mostly because:
1) Many players don't actually feel it (at least not voice-acting wise)
2) It is very tiring and exhausting.

Posted by: oldmariner

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/10/08 02:08 PM

Jenny that may be true about the simulation idea speculated on.I had not previously heard that theory. However, even if it is true the effect still wrecked the game. Why I say that is because the character's affect both in banal tone of voice and physical reactions to events failed to generate any indication the character was the least bit concerned or cared.

Any story be it movie, book or game requires an interest in the characters. This apathetic approach clearly spoke to me that Niles had no interest in what was happening. If he did not care why should I? If he generated no amount of surprise, apprehension or fear why should I react in kind? A few simple inflections might have changed that. Instead we got voice acting that was abysmal. Perhaps if the creator of the story showed some awareness of this I would have finished the game instead of getting completely frustrated with it. Perhaps I would have considered his clever twist proposed in the above theory. This theory would have resonated and I could applaud it. But as the presentation undermined the game causing frustration and anger with the player, the author's unique twist completely failed.

So many things were done right and this game could have been a masterpiece, however, for me it goes into the pile of failures.

Tomer, you are correct. The "nightmarish-slowish atmosphere" utterly failed because Niles did not convey any sense of a nightmare or pending doom. Niles came off as a bored uninterested tourist waiting for the tour guide to lead him to the next scripted event.
Posted by: Tomer

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/10/08 06:03 PM

Originally Posted By: oldmariner

...
Any story be it movie, book or game requires an interest in the characters. This apathetic approach clearly spoke to me that Niles had no interest in what was happening. If he did not care why should I? If he generated no amount of surprise, apprehension or fear why should I react in kind?...


Although we share the same feeling towards the game, oldmariner, I still feel this statement isn't exactly accurate.
How would you, as a creator of a game, would build a character which would both reflect the eerie and bizarre sense of the game, but would also provoke interest and motivation in the player? Jonathan didn't want (according to the "theory") to disconnect Nigel from the whole atmosphere there. He wanted him to be a part of it. And that's creative, and hard. We're so used to get characters which are "against" the world they are in, and we as their spirits immediately sympathize with them. That's easy. It's hard to get the player to act as someone he doesn't really appreciate, or sympathizes with.
It's easier to do this in a movie. We're talking about a few hours. I believe that these days, a movie doesn't have to consist a character which would be easy to sympathize with. A movie these days can (luckily) afford to be highly creative and not to "feed" the viewers with the convenience of a realistic, humane character.
If you wish as a creator to manifest Such a vibe of an "avatar", or some kind of half ghost, half man (men? man? smile ), nouns such as apathy automatically jump to mind. I understand that the figure of Nigel was a "classical" way to build such a character.
I'm just saying that perhaps the medium of adventure gaming isn't ready for that yet. People still see games as games mostly. When a game becomes too tiring, people dismiss it, albeit it may consist the most profound, artistic ideas.


Posted by: oldmariner

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/10/08 11:05 PM

As you say Tomer, "Jonathan didn't want (according to the "theory") to disconnect Nigel from the whole atmosphere there. He wanted him to be a part of it. And that's creative, and hard. We're so used to get characters which are "against" the world they are in, and we as their spirits immediately sympathize with them."

I think it comes back to transmitting the feel of the character and story to the audience. The writer must connect to a reader, viewer or as in this case player. The supposition or theory is Mr Boakes may have added an unusual twist illustrated in Jenny's thread. No spoiler here. If in fact the creator intended this I agree he is to be applauded.

But as Mr Boakes only managed to infuriate me with his disaffected character I was not around at the end to draw any conclusions. The idea presented above only works if the writer draws in the player. I submit he failed because I could care less about a character with no affect. If Niles did not care why should I? That was my point about the awful voice acting. If you infuriate players and drive them away before delivering the punch line the writer failed.

It is not that Adventure Games are not ready for this yet. I think they may be but you need a connection between character and player and Boakes never made that connection.
Posted by: Tomer

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/11/08 05:37 AM

I just feel that movies, for example, can afford to be much more experimental and much less easy to experience than games, much like the painting can. Don't you agree?
I mean, these days, I can pretty much paint or draw whatever I want, and as long as I define it as art, I would probably have audience for it. I can also film falling dishes smashing in the kitchen for 15 minutes and call it an artistic movie, and I would probably have audience for it. I'm not thiking low of these things, and of course I'm exaggerating, but generally, you see much more experimenting in movies than in games. This high level of freedom is very distinct from the artistic level of freedom we see in games.

However, I do agree that since both you and I need to *read* this theory on posts like this and then think "oh, now that sounds different", then the author indeed "fail" (at least in our case). No matter what, or how experimental the work is, one who experiences it must feel a sense of curiousity, of wanting more, of facination, at the very least. I'm not even talking of "enjoynment" per se anymore.... but these basic qualities drifted in the wind somewhere in the middle of the game and left me wanting to finish it....

Funny how most people probably didn't even bother thinking about why Nigel speaks strange etc... (you must admit that this theory isn't exactly obvious), and weren't really bothered by it, while I found it terrible. More terrible than that, I found the whole repetetive use of the same sentences in every scene (which could also be explained with this theory).

To sum it up - I think realizing that Jonathan maybe wanted to create this atmosphere does change my attidute towards the game a bit (I appreciate it a bit more), but I still wouldn't want to replay it (and I do replay games I like).


Posted by: Jenny100

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/11/08 07:24 PM

Originally Posted By: oldmariner
But as Mr Boakes only managed to infuriate me with his disaffected character I was not around at the end to draw any conclusions. The idea presented above only works if the writer draws in the player. I submit he failed because I could care less about a character with no affect.

I can't say I "cared" much about Nigel either. But I rarely "care" about characters in adventure games anyway. Most of them just aren't "real" enough for me to see them as anything other than objects to be pushed around the screen. "If" Jonathan Boakes "failed," I'd say it was because
Click to reveal..
people didn't pick up on the fact that Nigel was not a real person in the game -- and ascribed his speech to an atrocious job of voice acting. In fact, perhaps Nigel didn't sound mechanical enough. If he had, maybe more people would have realized his odd speech was deliberate, and started thinking about a reason for it.


Quote:
If Niles did not care why should I? That was my point about the awful voice acting. If you infuriate players and drive them away before delivering the punch line the writer failed.

I'll agree with your last sentence there, but not the first. There may have been a reason Nigel sounded the way he did, but he was still annoying. (I'd give the same argument against action sequences in a game. They may "make sense" to the plot in some way, but I still hate them and don't want them in my games.) As for your first sentence,
Click to reveal..
surely you don't expect a mere avatar to "care" or show empathy -- or do you? Jonathan Boakes was trying to give you a clue about Nigel's nature with his speech mannerisms. There are a few other clues about Saxton's nature in the game, but how many of them relate to Nigel? How would you have done it?


Quote:
It is not that Adventure Games are not ready for this yet. I think they may be but you need a connection between character and player and Boakes never made that connection.

The strength of The Lost Crown is in the story, not the characters. The story itself is a puzzle. Unfortunately a lot of adventure game players did not pick up on the clues that Jonathan Boakes left. Even so, most adventure gamers seem to enjoy The Lost Crown despite its problems.

How many adventure games have you played where the character isn't a stereotype of some sort?

Originally Posted By: Tomer
Funny how most people probably didn't even bother thinking about why Nigel speaks strange etc... (you must admit that this theory isn't exactly obvious), and weren't really bothered by it, while I found it terrible.

I was bothered by it. It wasn't until after I finished the game that I read Ivinia's theories and realized the reason for it. I also wondered about the tears near the churches and the rusty spot when it rained, though again I didn't realize the reason for them until I read Ivinia's comments.

Quote:
To sum it up - I think realizing that Jonathan maybe wanted to create this atmosphere does change my attidute towards the game a bit (I appreciate it a bit more), but I still wouldn't want to replay it (and I do replay games I like).

I can understand that, and feel much the same -- more because of the slowness of getting around than because of Nigel's speech patterns.
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/11/08 11:56 PM

Just to clarify as to why I reacted this was

Quote:
The strength of The Lost Crown is in the story, not the characters. The story itself is a puzzle. Unfortunately a lot of adventure game players did not pick up on the clues that Jonathan Boakes left. Even so, most adventure gamers seem to enjoy The Lost Crown despite its problems.

How many adventure games have you played where the character isn't a stereotype of some sort?


I regard the characters in the story as part of the story. How they perceive what is unfolding is vital to the story. The story is built around a conflict that effects people. It can be built around many possible themes but it always comes down to how a character or characters resolve the issues. We all knew that April was confused and concerned about the events in Newport though she did not know what was going on. April's voice, facial expression and body movements all revealed her confusion and concern. That helped sell the story. We could see and feel the tension. With Niles none of that existed. There was no concern, no tension and NO CARING! Therefore if Niles shows no concern it conveys the message there is nothing here to concern me. How can you present a horror story when no one shows any fear?

Yes there are many cases of characters being a stereotype. That is a limitation of story telling. There are just so many types of character and plots. It is virtually impossible to create a theme and characters that have not been done before.

Click to reveal..
surely you don't expect a mere avatar to "care" or show empathy -- or do you? Jonathan Boakes was trying to give you a clue about Nigel's nature with his speech mannerisms. There are a few other clues about Saxton's nature in the game, but how many of them relate to Nigel? How would you have done it?


How would I have done it? Good question, I don't know but then I did not create this mess, Boakes did. He has to give us a reason to continue. Perhaps have the clown jump or flinch once in a while. Perhaps show some surprise. I don't know I only know he failed to sell it.

Click to reveal..
This falls squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Boakes. No I do not expect a mere avatar to "care" or show empathy.
But I do expect more than a few obscure hints to sell that idea. What I witnessed was a horror game character who did not believe there was any danger. A character who was completely unaffected by events around him and displayed the affect of a bored bystander.

You said "The strength of The Lost Crown is in the story, not the characters."

My response is, you cannot have a story without characters. If your character development is so thin that they have no emotion, no concern about events or the world around him, no inflection in their voice, no hint of surprise, disgust, excitement or fear then as a writer you fail to create any investment from your audience. He is asking me as a player to invest thirty hours without giving me any reason to hang around. The punch line may have been original but he failed to sell it because of weak character development. No you can't have a horror story without showing some emotion. Masterpiece? No a long way from it.

I'm not trying to be difficult here I'm just stating why I felt this was a bad game. There are plenty of authors in all forms of media that have turned their story upside down and surprised you at the end. The common element was they all fleshed out interesting characters the player, viewer or reader invested in on many levels. I firmly believe that Boakes failed in this most important area.
Posted by: Jenny100

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/12/08 11:22 AM

In general I might agree about the importance of characters to a story. However there have been some cases where I've enjoyed a game despite not liking the character. With The Lost Crown, I didn't care much about Nigel one way or the other. With Black Mirror I absolutely despised Samuel. Yet I enjoyed both games overall. I enjoyed the mystery and the atmosphere and (at least up to a point) the story -- even though the story in Black Mirror fell apart at the end and The Lost Crown left many questions unanswered.

Considering that most people who've played The Lost Crown enjoyed it (even listing it among their favorite games of the year), I'd say you're wrong about the necessity of a character you can empathize with. What you say may be true for you, but it clearly doesn't apply to everyone. And I don't think you can call it a "bad" game. Flawed yes, but it has a lot more going for it than you are giving it credit for or it wouldn't have so many fans.
Posted by: Benedict

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 09/25/08 12:13 AM

Wow... This is turning into a debate, proposition versus opposition. Let us not get too serious, ok? After all, gaming is meant to be entertainment, not parliament.
Posted by: ron.etti

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 10/15/08 11:17 AM

Tomer if i would write a review it would be just like yours.
You have said it much better then i could have.THANKs
ron.....
Posted by: Tomer

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 10/18/08 01:36 PM

Thanks Ron :-)
Posted by: HeavenlyJoy

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 10/26/08 01:33 AM

I was thinking it would be interesting to list
the things in Games, that are important to different Gamers
I Imagine this has been done before.

I am not disagreeing with anything you have said,
but HONESTLY, I didnt see the Characters that way,
or the Voice acting,

Truth is, I think I may be a bit tone deaf LOL

I was thinking also before reading this thread, and also
reading many reviews, how much I have heard about Voice acting
and realizing, if I had a scale of 1 to 10, would problably
give it a 1 or 2,

Maybe that is why I reacted so differently to The Lost Crown than others, smile

I did find your post interesting, and maybe like any Good Critic.
I need to develope my eye, or EAR smile

Marcia
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: The Lost Crown review. - 10/26/08 11:48 AM

HeavenlyJoy, it is interesting and yes, it has been done before but that doesn't mean it can't be done again.

We are all so different in the elements that are important to us and also in what we consider good, bad, indifferent, etc wave