So I just completed a run on normal through the hack thus far, and I have to say- tremendous work. There is a lot of quality and care put into this, and I look forward to the future of this project.
Having said that, I’ve got a bullet points here as far as good and bad
- Objective variety: I like how each chapter is approached slightly differently and has their own hook. Beyond even that not every map is sieze, they all even have their own approach to the maps. In particular I dig the paralogue where you are not only rushing for villages on a (admittedly generous) turn count, you also have to strategize with only two characters with fairly limited kit
- Plot: The story, the writing, and motivation are all great spins on a very IS style plot. I like the novelty of the bandits only being a sub-plot after the ball gets rolling on the main storyline, the threads to pull you into the magical portion of the story are well planted and lead in interesting directions, and the current cliffhanger leaves me looking forward to the next chunk of story
+Map Design: I can not give you enough praise for design in each chapter. Every map had a good feel and hook, invited creative play, and was balanced for both offensive and defensive play, as well as thinking on your toes. My only real gripe is that treasure and gear progression feels somewhat sparse, but that’s it’s own point overall
+/- Characters and Classes - I’m conflicted on this one. On the one hand, every character feels unique, and indeed, no two characters on your side share a class (with one exception) and stand apart enough in growths, design, and stats to make each character usable. Having said that, some feel more usable then others. Both caden and liaden more or less obsolete Winifred, unless you just prefer female sniper bases and the cain/abel seems fairly stacked in favor of the cain (vergil) this time around, with great base defense and solid axes in an enemy roster less balanced toward swords. Kudos for side-stepping the Jaigen pretty neatly. I walked away ending up liking Joseph and Miles, and am curious to see how everyone plays closer to endgame
-Loot and gear progression: to give credit, the vendor/armories are placed at appropriate points in progression, and much of the gear and gems gained thus far are excellent additions and well timed. Giving the lord a magic sword instead of a rapier is actually fairly clever and further differentiates leah and boone as to how they can address fights. I only consider this a negative because
- there is no opportunity for promotion- I understand this is a design decision, and perhaps you aren’t yet ready with class balance or progression yet to pen that can of worms, and the one promotion item feels appropriate in timing in both plot and gameplay (it seemed naturally appropriate to give it to caden, as my highest level character and a symbolic gesture of him taking the throne [spoilers]). Beyond that one chance, with a decent variety of choices, there are still roughly 10 characters that don’t get a chance to mix things up or get buffs to stats that need a boost
- Magic weapons vs res - this isn’t a hard critism against magic. I like the shining bow, and having a magic sword early opens up a lot of tactical opportunities, but neither seem especially well balanced against roughly 60% of what your army stands up against; ironically, this seems to swing both ways, to an extent, as the number of dark mages and their triangle advantage against every mage you get, as well as the relative might of thunder mages asgainst everyone but Joseph, makes near every enemy mage a landmine you play around
- misc- there seems to be too few chests, with underwhelming loot, knives feel underpowered compared to swords, and the lack of any gear above C rank hurts the later third-sh of the game
All and all, I enjoyed this hack thuroughly. If Lael were a light magic user to counter dark mages, that would help mitigate the relative power of dark mages. Otherwise, Great maps I love, a good cast of heroes, and a solid plot that leaves me wanting more. Great work!