[FE8] [Complete] The Dark Amulet v1.4 (04/09/2024)

The man! The legend! The myth! Nah but seriously, he is amazing. I just hope his pairing with Julia is cannon.

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Ohhh Shorn, Hilda, Fenix and Alexias are my choices!

Hey coming back to this as I have been thinking about it a lot. While Harlan is one of my favorite characters I don’t actually think he needs much more screen time. I loved his character archetype (capable, dry humored, mysterious) and thought you did that well at the start. He also had a fantastic arc. As much as I hate to say it I feel like Sir Harlan’s story has been told quite well already.

I loved Ruslan, non-humanoid characters add variety. I encourage including another in the future. KAROO

I thought the Rivkah-Hadima A rank support gave an awesome teaser. I would loooove to delve into their future plans :slight_smile:

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Hi Vorgus – I heard good things about TDA and gave it a spin last night. I ripped through the first eight chapters. Overall I think this is a solid effort and you should be proud.

The writing starts to really pick up in Ch5 and I think you do a good job of writing tight character interactions and leaving breadcrumbs as the narrative unfolds. I appreciate the emphasis so far on the economic impact of closing the mines leading to banditry and how this is tied into the Incident. It’s subtle, but well-executed setup that I look forward to seeing play out. My only critiques of the writing so far are 1) how quickly the ch9 change of heart happens with Fenix (would’ve like to see more here to make it feel earned) and 2) how almost every female character has to talk about a guy or is flirty – this happened way too much that it feels like a trend. Rivkah has romantic past with Dwalt, Miley/Galen, Sheila calling Edric handsome – it’s a lot and a bit disappointing to see so many female characters give away screentime to complimenting the men. This is fine once in a while, but it’s happened enough that I couldn’t help but notice this trend.

Most of my feedback so far is really around gameplay + visuals. I get that this was likely a solo effort, but now that the hack is [complete], I think it’d elevate the quality a ton if you invested in creating custom map palettes, switching out some vanilla tracks, and changing the battle screen, status screen, and menu palettes to give the hack its own unique flavor and flair. Right now it still looks a bit too much like FE8 to my liking and I think the hack suffers for it. Given the quality of the writing, I think this could go a long way to strengthening the hack’s appeal.

Take my gameplay critiques with a grain of salt (we all have different tolerance for different things), but after playing on Difficult, the challenge I am having is that the hack feels a bit too easy – especially with the volume of enemies and the EXP formula.

It’s really easy to snowball in TDA and it makes the maps a bit of a snooze. Most of my deaths come from “suffering from success” where I take too much damage ORKO’ing things on EP or getting crit by a random killer weapon I don’t have a good counter for. Enemy quality is poor and volume is high, and with the vanilla EXP formula and generally low unit count, it’s really easy to get to a high level quickly and outscale the enemy badly.

I do realize it’s a lot to ask to suggest cutting the EXP formula or reducing the volume of reinforcements, but I think doing both would help make the game a bit more challenging and fun. Most importantly, reducing the density would help the maps flow a bit better and stop the player from getting stuck in place.

With reinforcements, it felt like there were always one or two turns too many and I ended up getting stuck in place a lot just waiting to cut through the enemies. Every map started to feel the same outside of the cutscene-ish ones (The Julia intro map + the ch9 escape), because I engage w/ the enemy the same way each time, there’s a huge volume of enemies, and there isn’t significant difficulty so matchups don’t matter very much.

I recognize this is a lot, but my feedback is really granular and I don’t want you to think I dislike the project – it’s rare I can play through hacks without getting annoyed and dropping them. Being eight chapters in and wanting to keep going is a good sign (at least for me lol), so kudos on the good work and I hope you continue to make updates. Will share more as I get further along.

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Hey Pandan - thanks so much for your comment and feedback!

I actually learned about FE rom hacks from watching Mekkah play Vision Quest a few years ago, and then downloading Vision Quest and playing it myself inspired me to try and make my own hack, so hearing from you and knowing you’ve played my hack is a surreal, very awesome full circle moment! :smiley:

I also watched all of your FE game design videos on YouTube! They’re great and I wish there were more of them! :slight_smile:

I appreciate all of your feedback. I’m working TDA’s sequel right now, but I might switch gears and do a bit of a pass at TDA to fix a few things, like you noted. A custom status screen and battlescreen shouldn’t be too hard to create / edit from the Repo. Plus I can adjust enemy growth rates so they keep up a bit more with powerful player units in the midgame. Some snowballing is by design, I’ll admit. TDA isn’t the hardest hack out there - it can be tough here and there, but it’s not meant to be ‘lunatic intensity’ difficult.

As for the character writing, I take your point, but I won’t be changing anything there. The men fawn over the women as much as the women fawn over the men (Sheila being the flirt-happy though often unsuccessful exception; she’s a bit absurd for comedic purposes). I like romantic pairings / supports and maybe it shows up a bit too often in the main narrative. I think I’ve toned it down a bit in the in-development sequel.

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Part of the reason I love your hack is because it’s clearly not meant to be too difficult. I think so many hacks in the hack community just try and make themselves so hard where it alienates the players who aren’t looking for hair pulling experiences. I love putting in work and creating one man armies. But I don’t go in looking for it to be super hard I be here for the characters, story and supports especially romantic ones even more when they LGBTQ (rare to find that in a lord). But I agree Vision Quest is really the hack that made me get into playing hacks seriously. I played Last Promise but Vision Quest got me addicted to them and seeing the potential for how great they can be so we should always listen to pandan the great lol

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Very cool – glad to hear that they were helpful!

For sure, I don’t think the hack needs to be lunatic difficulty or anything close to it, but I definitely felt at times like I was just taking EXP from reinforcements vs. needing to think critically about how I approach.

That’s fair! I know Dwalt has been like this so far too. My main point here is that while most of the men get plot-focused screentime, most of the women characters do not so their time spent fawning over the men stands out more.

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Edric: “Oh no, we are completely outmatched! There’s no way Forness can hold out against Zeddard’s overwhelming forces! We have to abandon the fight!”

Forness:


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Classic Forness with his perception of reality completely warped.

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Yeah, Zeddard’s forces. Plural.

Just the man himself is another story, clearly.

Forness might be a little less ridiculously strong in the next update :rofl:

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I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure my Hilda can solo a small nation by this point. Honestly, the only reason Edric’s around is to give her Iron Lances when they break.

Although I guess she isn’t immune to castle-engulfing fire, so good on Royce for thinking with his head. :thinking:

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No, no.
This is funny. Keep it, I say, keep it!

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