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Thread: I finally finished Dark Messiah

  1. #1

    I finally finished Dark Messiah

    I know, crazy right? Since I was sort of like the game's official fanboy back in the day.

    Blame it on a combination of too much schoolwork / occasional apathy towards games / spending what little free time I have on dromed.

    For the first half of the game I played it as a jack of all, and found it pretty enjoyable. Around the time I got into the spider temple whatchakal place, I found it just so difficult that I put the game down for several months. Every now and then I'd give it another shot. Finally I managed to pull through, and decided to take a straight-out warrior stance after that. Funny thing is, as soon as I got out of that area, even without putting that much more into being a warrior, the game got silly-easy. It was actually more fun though, of course ... my enjoyment level probably tripled with it being silly-easy after being frustrated for so long. But that didn't last... soon it got boring-easy.

    I still didn't play it very much, but I breezed through the rest of the game. It briefly got harder when I returned to the city, which was now on fire but as soon as I got rid of demon lady and was able to use my dragon sword the game was, once again, silly-easy. Note that silly-easy is the good kind of easy. I really never got sick of using my electricity shield to make a fireball throwing necromancer stumble around like a loony tune's character.

    I finished it off on a lazy Saturday afternoon while feeling guilty about not working on another revision of my school-assignment. I did the goodie-two-shoes path all the way, though inspection of the four alternate ending videos afterwards shows that they're all pretty much the same thing but with different voice-overs.

    Oh, and I wish someone had told arkane or ubisoft or whoever decided these things, that an epilogue comes after the main action coming to a conclusion, not leading up to it. I felt a little silly playing an epilogue that happened before the climax.

    Still, if anyone asked me about the game "on the street" so they say, I'd give it the highest of praise and suggest a look, after making it clear to them that this is a fun game about swinging your sword and setting people on fire. I am not going to replay it any time soon (who has time to replay games these days?) or .. ever (the last time I replayed a game was Thief Gold, and by that I mean I played Thief Gold for the first time after playing Thief 1.) so "replayability" is kind of a moot point for me.

    What else to say ... hurrrm... this game is great as a "show off" game.. you know, the thing you load up when someone asks "say, you got any cool games on this thing?" so I will probably keep it installed just for that purpose.

    I can't see myself ever trying out the multiplayer with it.

    One thing that struck me about the level design was how well Arkane did both grand, epic spaces and small, intimate spaces. For every vast hall with a ceiling lost in the mists there was a quaint little bedroom and meal hall, littered with the items of daily life. It's a little touch of "we've got RPGs in our blood" that Arkane slipped through.

    I suppose I'll wrap up with that thought.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: Location
    hey, i too got stuck on the same area. if it wasnt for youtube, i wouldnt have known how to get those things you are suppose to get. :-)

    i thought that arriving to those 4 different endings should have been much more different. the alternative path was too simple i thought. would have ruled to have some different levels for each path or something.

    oh yes, i hated those damn golum like dudes. cant remember their names, been months since i finished it. but they always killed me, damn them all :-)

    but anyway, the game does rule hell.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Minecraft
    It is a fantastic game, and I would recommend that you find the time to replay it. Arcane did a brilliant job of balancing the game so approaching it as a fighter, a thief or a mage will greatly alter the gameplay. It's one of the few games that I've immediately started a new game when I finished it and one of the only a couple of games I have unreserved praise for.

  4. #4
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    I was never able to play it despite far exceeding the system requirements. No patches or anything else ever helped. I was sometimes able to play for up to 10 minutes (including loading time) before the game would ctd.

    Sad really. I so wanted to like this game.

  5. #5
    That sounds alot like what I faced when DM was released, twisty.

    Only thing that solved it was a windows reinstall!

  6. #6
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    I had thought of doing that actually but I've been putting off doing that as I want to upgrade my current system at some stage. I was going to upgrade sooner but I have been able to play all the latest games with all the fruit (apart from FS AA) anyway so I'm not in any rush.

  7. #7
    Indeed, DM is not going anywhere!

    I finally watched the trailers for the game, which I had previously avoided due to fear o spoyl3rs, and now it's got me wanting to play it again! And geeze, they pretty much give away the entire plot, such as it is, in that final, long trailer...

  8. #8
    I read the reviews of this game so didn't get it until it went down in price to 20 bucks and finished it a couple of months ago.

    I'm glad I did, however if I'd paid 50 bucks for it I would have felt I got my moneys worth. Great game and I honestly don't understand all the bad press it got. Maybe it was buggy, but I had no problems with it even on my "dinosaur" of a rig.

    I remember playing that level where you have to chase an imp or something over rooftops near the beginning. If you don't keep up, game over. That was one of the most exhilarating levels in a video game ever for me.

    No, the game isn't deep or anything but a blast to play. I played a strict thief and some of the bosses were tough, but after reading this think I'm going to go through again and try a warrior/mage type char.

  9. #9
    My review on Dark Messiah, spoilers to follow I'm sure:

    Maybe my standards are higher than everyone else's here, but I found that while the gameplay was good and the storyline interesting (although it had a plot twist you could see coming from outer space), it felt extremely repetitive at some points in the game and unpolished throughout the whole thing. Whether this was caused by a rush in development to get the game out or whatever reason, it didn't feel complete. It could have been visually and emotionally gripping if they had put another 6 months into it, and wouldn't have had the piss poor 7/10 rating it got on Metacritic.

    Gameplay I thought was excellent, and props to whoever had the idea at Ubisoft or an indie developer to have a hero that was mage, assassin, archer and warrior in one with the ability to pick what to specialize (or not specialize). I started off specializing in stealth since that's the play style I always like to employ when possible. I personally found stealth to be the hardest method to play since once you got into trouble and were seen you had to be extremely good to kill that well armored guard, but this was balanced out by the fact that you could get instant kills with a back(neck)stab. Then again, undead and ghouls seemed to throw away the concept of stealth and would spot you regardless of how quietly you moved or how dark the shadows were. Eventually I got frustrated with stealth gameplay when every other enemy was an undead that had some type of radar mashed into a cavity or something, so I made a bit of a hybrid warrior/assassin, and this seemed to work out well for me; I could be sneaky and backstab when I wanted and if things got ugly or I wanted to charge in I could do that just as well. I haven't gone the archer or mage route yet but I hear you're more dependant on mana potions as a mage and that archer damage is weak, however what I have played as seems extremely well done.

    What I thought wasn't well done however was an issue of environmental imbalance and the god awful frustration of having to fight 5 ghouls at once (among other hoards of monsters) that refuse to stubbornly die with me hacking and slashing at them with a sword forged from the hardest of metals and infused with a demonic soul thirsty for blood, yet die with the swift kick of a boot into a spike rack. This was one thing 1UP had right, it is Sir Kicksalot Deathboot in the Land of the Conspicuously Placed Spike Rack. It might be because I played on hard but many enemies would refuse to die in the beginning of the game when I was just starting out and I had to impale them 3-4 times while knocked down for them to die, and in later levels...they would also refuse to die when I would hack and slash, not to mention the fact that in two hits I was looking up at the sky with a red overlay around my screen to indicate that I just died from a ghoul bitch-slapping me, one hit if they got a critical. Keep in mind that this is me with 3 levels of Endurance and Shadowsteel Armor, which means I had 90 health (maximum you can get). They seemed to die when I impaled them now but I had upgraded my attributes by this point in the game. Still they would die with a press of the F key into a spike rack in one hit. Heck maybe I should've picked up a spike rack to swing around. I'm all for environmental combat and interaction but god damn Ubisoft you didn't have to make a spike rack or cliff side the only viable and practical means of overtly killing someone.

    The environment wasn't entirely polished as far as visual details went, not so much the texture as it was the placement of objects and layout of areas. Take the temple of the spider, that place didn't look like orcs occupied it and were guarding it, it looked like orcs were standing around waiting for you to kill them. It looked great from the outside when you first walk up to it from the beach (if you disregard the spike racks), but once you peek around outside it seems lifeless. I won't pick apart every level and some were better than others for detail, but overall I get a feel of a very unfinished environment that didn't quite come alive for me.

    Storyline I liked, enjoyed, and I do have to say the voice acting was superb (if not a bit corny sometimes), but the interaction between NPCs was nill. The only real attachment I felt was with Xana, since she was the only real character with development and personality. I felt some empathy for Leana and I felt Arantir's character at the end, but Leanna didn't feel like a partner or even someone I felt truly compelled to protect. Not that character development was bad, but it's that they didn't quite have enough of it. I don't mean just interaction between characters but development in general; notes from Arantir's journal is a possibility, but then again it's hard to say how to fit the characters to the environment since you're always on the move so dialog seems about the only way to go, and they did that well with Xana. Xana was well developed because she was there and would talk with you constantly. She was inside your head all the time, had a very sassy and jealous personality and was very seductive with both exercising your lethality to kill others who were "innocent" and erm...other ways; much of the time I felt justified killing necromancers and orcs once I found out their true motives because of her voice in my ear. I was actually tempted with a lust for power and to free my father just because of her. Looking back on what I just wrote I realize this entire paragraph is about Xana, but that's the effect she had on me. I couldn't write about Leanna or Arantir or Duncan or the Dark Lord like that because the two sentences I wrote pretty much exhausted what I feel about them, which isn't a whole lot.

    Multiplayer I haven't dived into but I'll have to try it out, it looks quite fun and engaging.

    Well I didn't quite mean for this to be an official review, but there you go. I know I'm a few years behind but what the hey. Overall I found the game fun, if not a bit tedious and frustrating when I would have to reload the game trying for the 7th time to keep Duncan alive against a wave of ghouls then saying screw it and let him die, only to die myself repeatedly until I found a ledge where I could shoot a rope arrow and skip the whole combat. It was fun though, there was something primal and satisfying about getting a full adrenaline rush and lopping off the head or limbs of a nearby enemy in slow motion.
    Last edited by Spaztick; 20th Oct 2007 at 04:05.

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