Everyday I Write The: Eschalon: Book II

By Kieron Gillen on May 19th, 2010 at 11:31 am.

Having defeated Paul, John, George and Ringo converged to wreck bloody revenge.

I wasn’t going to post about this, thinking it a book. And we’re a game site, and don’t do self-indulgent things like talking about books or linking to pop music, so it’s no use. Thankfully, Schaulustiger was here to explain that Eschalon: Book II it’s actual an Indie RPG sequel to 2007′s Eschalon: Book I. Which I also had disregarded as being another book. I’m useless, me. It’s an old-school solo RPG, stat heavy and enormous. Or so sez Schaulustiger. You can get the demo here and – if it tickles your kobold-fancies – you can buy it for twenty-five dollars here. Or thirty-five if you want a DVD. AND VIDEO FOLLOWS…

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39 Comments »

  1. Chaz says:

    Wow that is old school isn’t it. There’ll be no teaching tricks to pet dogs in this RPG.

  2. Schaulustiger says:

    That was quick, Kieron!

    I encourage everyone with a memory of the classic RPGs (Ultima, Might & Magic) to at least try the demo. It sure looks a bit dated but the graphics are well-crafted and, especially at night, ooze alot of atmosphere.

    I myself could never quite get into the Spiderweb games but found Book I to be a particularly entertaining experience. I’m no through Book II yet, but so far it has improved its predecessor in a lot of areas. It’s quite certainly hard and you’ll maybe find out after one or two hours that your first character just sucks. Hell, if you want you can even turn on the hunger/thirst mode, which requires you to regularly find food and water in order to survive, making you think about supplies before exploring that cave.

    Combat may seem a bit simple at first if you’re used to the skill-button-smashing of newer RPGs but it really shines once you understand the underlying stats. And make no mistake, stats are of utmost importance here and their variety provides quite some replay value.

  3. Dean says:

    “And we’re a game site, and don’t do self-indulgent things like talking about books or linking to pop music”

    Success!

  4. The Great Wayne says:

    Dunno why, but this video got me wanting to play The Immortal all over again. Damn worms.

  5. Al3xand3r says:

    I’ve played through the demo 3 times (well it doesn’t end but you do run out of things to do since it’s in a limited area with about only a handful of quests and about 100 enemies in the wilderness) and quite enjoy it so far, with about 3 hours playtime each go.

    I liked Book I but it certainly felt like it overstayed its welcome (even though it wasn’t long) and got progressively worse in terms of plot and character progression but this sequel seems to be far more open (you can go anywhere do anything from the start, or choose to try and follow the plot via the quests) and will hopefully be a better game overall.

    From what I’ve seen you don’t need to have completed the first to get it, it explains what happened in roughly 2 paragraphs when talking to a certain NPC and you really don’t need more details to go on.

    Anyway, I liked experimenting with different skills. At least in the beginning you need to specialise a lot, or be a half assed jack of all trades which won’t be very effective at all. So I played as a ranger-type dude, then a thief, and then a paladin-esque class. The playing experience was quite different though the quests played out the same way (you do have a couple of different options for each, and you could also just kill everyone as you see fit I guess, you can attack any NPC if you ca nhandle them).

    There are only a few archetypes to choose from really, but all they do is give you a couple extra stat points and a free skill point in a particular skill, you can use all the rest to make a completely customised take on that archetype. Also while it seems old school what with it being completely turn based and all it’s a bit (but not too) simplistic and the interface is very intuitive and modern for the most part so nobody should have trouble with it regardless of expectations.

    I’m currently wondering if I should buy it now based on how promising the beginning seems compared to the first game, or wait for a special deal to avoid feeling like it wasn’t worth it if it gets worse over time.

  6. Mr Labbes says:

    I don’t think I know any books which actually have “book” in the title. Lots of fantasy sagas have a word which replaces “book” like “law” or “day” or whateverk, but it seems it’s a bit out of fashion to call the first book the first book. Huh.
    At least TV seasons are still called “seasons”.

    • user@example.com says:

      There’s an annoying trend to stick “A NOVEL” on some of them, though.

    • Morph says:

      @Mr Labbes

      ‘The Book Thief’ springs to mind.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      Ironically, I never go to a “book” store to buy “books”.

      I always tell people I’m going to the “chronicle” store to buy some “sagas”.

      Regards,
      Corporate Dog

    • Saiko Kila says:

      There are some TV sagas which have books instead of seasons, for example Rich Man, Poor Man, or North and South or a bit fresher The Last Hairbender. I think if you want to emphasize the sagability of saga you should add “Book” for better effect.

  7. Binni says:

    I thought Eschalon I was a very nice looking game, I just love simple 2D graphics. It just lacked story. I wish Spiderweb Software games had as nice graphics as these games, because they have better stories.

  8. Al3xand3r says:

    Don’t care about graphics (which are nothing that great in eschalon, especially in characters), wish the spiderweb games were as fluid and intuitive though.

    • Jesse says:

      The next game they’re working on is supposed to be all-new: a new story, a new setting, and new assets. Someone else here must know more about it than me…?

  9. RuySan says:

    I loved the first one. The combat could have much more depth, but otherwise it was excellent. It had one thing that modern RPG’s don’t, excellent level design (I’m looking at you Dragon Age and your boring dungeons) and the story was pleasant as well, as where some choices and consequences.

    It’s also available on impulse. I have to buy it when i’m out of games to play

  10. Snall says:

    Anyone know if the balance issues in the first one are worked out? Magic in end game was VERY BAD FOR YOU if you didn’t specialize very carefully. And I’m always a mage first…

  11. Tei says:

    Humm…. I like what I see.

    - Is turn based, but you don’t know is turn based, till you check the stats.
    - The graphics are soo old school, I am tempted to say is a direct successor Nethack, but looks really smooth.
    - PERKS!.. actually, not exactly, but almost. Also CURSES!.. yes, you can eat something that give you a curse.

    I am playing the demo, and is one of these demos that feel like a full game.

    Problems:
    - Theres ONE resolution.

    Also, about the powder barrels… theres a way to put then on fire?

  12. Al3xand3r says:

    Use any ranged weapon on them. Even if you don’t have a skill on it which means you get a penalty a few stones should do the trick, or a better thrown weapon if you want to do it in less rounds. You can also carry them in your inventory and place them wherever you want with a right click but they’re pretty heavy, and if you get a curse on top you’ll be encumbered in no time. Unless you meant you wanted to light them up THEN drop them, then no, I don’t think that’s possible. They’re pretty overpowered as it is.

    Has anyone found a way to quickly break the dragoneid or whatever nest? EVen exploding barrels didn’t do the trick, I ended up using hand to hand combat and a ton of rounds, rests inbetween (I was unskilled so lost HP every hit), and so on and so forth until it was finally destroyed. With my paladin that is. I got lucky with my thief character who was using thrown weapons and the blacksmith had some powerful molotov style stuff that did the trick (as well as an exploding barrel).

    I guess characters who can craft stuff on their own (or are skilled in unarmed so they can smash stuff even if it takes long) wil be more versatile in such situations, on the other hand you lose combat skill points to invest in crafting.

    • Schaulustiger says:

      Regarding the nest: the barrels plus a few sword strikes did the job for me. I figure you could also use the explosive oil that the weaponsmith sells.

  13. Al3xand3r says:

    Also I recommend getting the foraging skill from a book the tavern keeper may sell. It baiscally makes reagent items every time you rest, so it’s either a bit of free money for characters who don’t craft, or materials for potions etc for those who do. Seems useful, will make it less of a pain to get repair or cure money and what not, or at least make money to buy food with to make up for the hunger raised during resting.

  14. phlebas says:

    That reminds me. Any news on Age of Decadence?

  15. Al3xand3r says:

    Not if you’ve played the combat demo. I liked the combat system but everything else needs tons of work yet to feel polished and complete.Especially the camera angles and how it moves, which shouldn’t be that hard considering it’s not party based either…

  16. Clovis says:

    At first I thought the first screenie showed the PC ready to battle some very shiny rhinoceroses. Then I was not sure what they were, and then I read the tool tip.

  17. J. Santo says:

    Is this like Jagged Alliance 2 in a fantasy setting? If so I’m all over it…

  18. Dan says:

    This game is so old school, the menus feature the Baldur’s Gate font.

    I will try the demo for sure!

  19. TeeJay says:

    train-spotting time:

    The Legend of Kyrandia Book One
    The Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate
    The Legend of Kyrandia Book Three: Malcolm’s Revenge

    (fantasy point and click adventure games)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Kyrandia

    also: “Might and Magic: Book I”

  20. Mario Figueiredo says:

    The first on was brilliant. A very well done homage to old school RPG games with better visuals. This one is brilliant too. Follows the exact same formula and deals with some of the criticism (particularly walking speed) of the first one while introducing some new features (I particularly enjoy weather effects).

    It’s an old school RPG done for the benefit of anyone who remembers fondly those games or eventually finds that they would too have loved those games had they played them back then. There’s a demo, so there’s no excuse except for those of you who may simply not want to try it out.

    Thomas Riegsecke has done a brilliant job introducing a more modern look and character depth into old school RPGs. Conversely, Jeff Vogel at Spiderweb software offer richer stories while sacrificing visuals and your character depth. This is all eventually about what these guys do best. It would be great if one day we would see them both work together. But until then, I personally think both games and both styles are exceedingly well done. And both are deserving of our money.

    • Lilliput King says:

      What do you mean by character depth?

      In terms of stats or story significance?

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      You’re right. I just wrote that on a whim and didn’t bother proof-reading.

      I mean essentially character development. Eschalon offers more depth in their system, allowing for exploration of all sorts of builds. Spiderweb equivalent (Avernum) is less rich. Character development is less flexible despite the wide array of options. You’ll just feel forced by the game to go into one direction.

      Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Eschalon benefits from being a single player character adventure. So there has to be more depth to its character development. Whereas Avernum is party-based. One could argue the depth and number of choices are spread out through the entire party and I wouldn’t argue… much.

    • phlebas says:

      Eschalon offers more depth in their system, allowing for exploration of all sorts of builds.
      Aha. So you mean stats?

  21. postmanX3 says:

    I loved Eschalon Book I, but didn’t know Book II was so close to release. I have no money left to spend for quite some time… stop releasing so many good games in a short period of time, you accursed developers!

  22. Vinraith says:

    Hurrah for old school RPG’s. Between these and Spiderweb’s stuff, I should be able to get my fix for a good long time.

  23. Wes says:

    BRB, Elvis Costello is waiting.

  24. MWoody says:

    My buying point: on Steam for $20.

  25. Al3xand3r says:

    It’s on sale on impulse. Bought.

    http://impulsedriven.com/eschalonbookii

  26. Gvaz says:

    I wish it was on steam, maybe have a double pack or something going on. I know he needs to eat but $25 is kinda steep i think.