we tried a variety of graphics options, and settled on
running 1024x768x32bit with "high" detail on a
P3-500, 256 MB Ram, TNT1 system. Seems pretty smooth
in this configuration. 32-bit
color causes some hiccupping in the game when a monster
dies and disappears in a puff of smoke, but that's all the
slow-down we saw. There are tons of graphic options
ranging from number of shadows to number of mip-maps.
(We've added a screenshot of the graphics tweaking options
menu on the next page)
Very nice looking engine. Lighting/shadow effects are quite
impressive with candles/torches having their own light sourcing
(leading to multiple shadows). The models are fairly well
detailed, although I think their hands look rather
"club"-ish. All characters are well
animated. Cristof's cape moves with the wind and the model
shows exactly what he is holding. A nice touch was when I jumped
into first- person mode and the whole view moves ever so slightly
because of the character's breathing (I am anxious to see if this
stops after he becomes a vampire.)
Very nice soundtrack for the Dark Ages time period. Sound
effects are also nice. There are a variety of 3d sound
effect choices available.
I first tried EAX and this caused everything to become very
echoey, even outside (note that I am only using 2 speakers +
subwoofer). I remember having the same problem with
PS:T. I switched back to the default "Miles 2 speaker
positional audio" that seems to work pretty good. Voice
acting is good.
NON-CONFIGURABLE controls, this really bugs me, I like to
reconfigure stuff to a layout I like.. Most everything can be done with
the mouse, but there is a 2 page list of keyboard shortcuts in the
manual. Moving the mouse to the edges of the screen causes
the view to rotate. The same can be done by holding down the
X or Numpad-5 keys and moving the mouse. Holding down Z puts
you in a temporary first person view to get a look around (think
Tomb Raider). My biggest gripe with the controls is that the
mouse control is non-inverted when moving the camera around.
This drives me nuts being a FPS player. There is no option
to turn inverted-mouse on. It's not a huge deal in this
game, but worth mentioning. Almost all actions are performed
with left/right clicking with modifier (ctrl, shift, alt) buttons. For example, left
clicking on a monster will swing at it, shift-clicking on it will
perform a secondary attack.
Reminds me very much of Diablo. There are different panels
that can come up- character stats (C), inventory (I), etc and a
key that can clear them all (backspace) - sound familiar?
The inventory screen looks almost like a carbon copy. There
are 5 quick-slots for potions and the like. One nice feature
is that if you use a potion, another will replace it in the slot
if you have a duplicate item. There are also some quick
slots to use disciplines vampire powers) later in the game.
Clicking on any location will take you there, and moving the
pointer to the edges of the screen rotates. Honestly the control scheme
took a few minutes to get used to, but it is growing on me.
Seems to have an action/RPG feel. After starting the game I
ran around to a few locations in town talking to people (most of
the town is scenery at this point, with only certain locations
that you can actually go into). There are a few stores where
you can buy any of a number of items (well, look at, since you
don't start with much money), Another tribute to Diablo:
barrels that break open and contain items.
After the initial setup I went to the games first major area: some
mines infested with baddies that needs to be cleared out.
This dungeon seems to be fairly sizable albeit quite linear.
I have just reached the 3rd level. There hasn't been a whole lot of variety in stuff to
kill yet, but that doesn't surprise me at this point in the
game. I should point out that the mines are VERY dark.
I equipped Christof with a torch and this did not help much. In a brightly lit room (as it is
daytime right now, heh), a lot of detail was hard to make
out. I cranked the gamma which helped somewhat. I'm
looking forward to playing this evening in proper lighting.
Combat is pretty straightforward. Clicking (and holding ala
Diablo 2) on an enemy causes repeated swings until the critter
dies. Creatures seem to be fond of trying to gang up on
you. Shift-clicking causes a secondary attack. Ghouls
often drop some money, and I've found a few different weapons
already scattered in the mines.
A special note should be made about the save system. I
guarantee that people will complain about the implementation of
this. The first area (Prague), has exactly one save-spot
that I've found so far, and that's in the bedroom at the
convent. There is a crucifix there that you can click on to
save. The game auto-saves everytime a new "area"
is loaded. For example, the city has a few different areas,
and traveling between them saves the game. Similarly, each
level of the dungeon has a save spot. I have abused this
once already, running back to the entry hallway to the 2nd dungeon
level to manually save my game. I don't mind it all that
much, as it DOES add "tension" to the game, but I hate
not having the choice. (Attention developers; All
games should be done like Soldier of Fortune for a save system).
Overall the game has been quite fun and interesting so far.
I know I'm still in the "setup" for the real game, so I
expect this part to be rather linear. There hasn't been much
choice in what to do, or even very many conversation options, but I expect this to change after the
We created a new game to test out the
storyteller mode, loaded a preset area that had nothing in
it. The Storyteller interface has a lot to it and took me a
few minutes to figure out. Basically you still have a
character in the game and you can drop objects/people/whatever at
the spot you're standing. You can also move a disembodied
storyteller head (really!) to anywhere you can see, and insert
objects there. Just to play around I dropped in a few NPCs
(a bartender and some named character), a boat, and some
bats. I was able to possess (take control of) one of the
bats and move him around. This looks like it has much
potential for gamemaster-run games. When you possess
someone, all of your speech even appears to come right from that
Looks good. No where near as much detail as Torment, and a
bit action-oriented so far. I really like the engine and
style of the game. The story even seems pretty good so far.
As mentioned earlier, the interface took a little getting used to,
but I'm getting the hang of it..
Graphics, Voice Acting is okay. Storyteller mode is really impressive!
movement takes awhile to get used to, A few bugs in the
game. Saved Game is limited - They say this will be
corrected in a patch that is currently under development.