2 out of 3 people found this review helpfulwrite a review of this game
read more reviews by Elliott Wu
SummaryGreat concept, faulty execution
The GoodThe game allowed you to come in as a fresh character, and is one of the first Chinese RPGs to allow divergent storylines as well open world exploration.
It is also one of the first to leverage upon the considerable body of work written by Jin Yong himself, which is a treasure trove for video game material. It was for it's time, one of the most comprehensive and expansive game when it came to scale.
The BadUnfortunately, when you have this much material to work with, making sure everything hangs together becomes quite difficult, and this game is a textbook example of that.
A lot of the characters, while do not share a storyline necessarily, come from the same clan or do in fact share some affiliation with other characters in the game and do in fact occupy the same universe. But that level of interaction was never thought through. It is hard to say whether this is because the game was trying to be faithful to the source material and thus made no attempt to fill in the spaces left between the bodies of work or if it's simply out of sloppiness. But the effects are on full display when two characters of the same clan but different storylines have absolutely no dialogue with each other.
Secondly, random encounters were removed. While this by itself is not necessarily a bad thing, (frankly, it was a welcomed change) the way the level up system was constructed meant that it was extremely difficult to actually reach proficiency with a lot of the skills you acquire in the game. (especially those you get late in the game) Combine this with poor difficulty control and gauging and the lack of a mechanism to help you catch up, you end up getting severely punished by the exploration aspect. Often times, you find yourself in situations where you can't advance the storyline simply because you don't stand a prayer of a chance against ANY of the enemies that are thrown before you. (there's an in game bug that let's you get around this a bit though... One of the temples in the game has enemies that will respawn over and over again until you've finished another event that closes this)
And the difficulty, oh my god, the difficulty. At the early stages of the game, a lot of the enemies will decimate you, but if you managed to get the right combination of skills together and level those up enough, the entire game suddenly becomes a breeze and you can cut your way through the rest of the game with ease.
All in all, it's a great concept, but it's execution from a game design stand point is just all over the place.