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Finished Nightmare and Game Review
Finally cranked through the difficulties and I like the game overall, most of the bugs I encountered in .999 seem to have been taken care of. I do still sometimes see the 'overhealth' bug where my champs' max health starts to multiply repeatedly. I detailed that as best I could in a past post, linked below. Still not sure what causes it. I did a fair amount of saving and reloading, so that could have contributed.

  • Late game: The game gets quite tedious at the end and I find myself extremely overpowered even in Nightmare. There's not much for me to do but grind and wait for the boss. I've always been a sucker for optional content that challenges dedicated players more than the main story. It's not huge fun steamrolling everything on Auto Simulation for the last 2-3 trimesters and then the game ending abruptly after an easy boss fight. He has a shit ton of HP, but with AP potions you can kill him before he blinks. An endless optional feature could be nice, something after the last boss that scales infinitely to test the strength of the party, and it being a continuous fight would exhaust the party's items as wellFame in the end is boring, although I guess it's what contributes to high score? In the end I'm generally triple everyone else's fame, even if I spend 2-3 SP per turn stealing gold from other agencies.
  • Replayability isn't great, there's no score bonus for higher difficulties, and there's no reward that you can carry into new games for winning at higher levels. You just do the same grind and hope to accumulate more quests quicker and more efficiently than in the last game. Again, optional but difficult rewards to reach throughout the game could be something to attempt for dedicated players. Challenges that disappear if not done in the earlier game or something. I'd love some optional challenges or achievements
  • Autosim: For overpowered parties, I'd love a faster way to spam through all the lower level quests that I'm grinding through in this game. The 5% chance of getting a wound at all times is fine with me, it's just monotonous to have to roll the dice every time when I know it's a guarantee that in the second half of the game my party will crush 90% of the quests no question. I like the feature where the party phones you to say you're not needed, and I think that should pop up before you're even given an option to Autosim or Skillroll through it. On a related note, I very rarely found a need to scout quests. Scout points are the most valuable resource in the game and I found it best to just be careful and stock up on items and game saves. Maybe I'll need it more if I ever try an Ironman.
  • Unique accessories are a great addition, although I feel like they should scale better in the later quests. The order in which you get the most powerful ones doesn't seem to make sense, (40% fire damage first?!) it devalues the ones you get later on.
  • Selling or marking junk: I wish there were a method for selling or marking junk when you receive it from quests. It is very tedious sifting through 95% of the items that I know will be sold. If there were a way to sell an item upon receiving it, or even a way to sort it into a junk category to be sold, this would make it much easier on the strategic players.
  • Enchanting cost (rerolling item attributes) seems to be irrationally random. I see the list as ascending in price from top to bottom, but the attributes themselves show up in random orders, especially on unique accessories, making a pesky 10% physical resistance cost 3x as much to reroll as a 20% Fire Damage or a +2 AP Regen. I understand some traits being more expensive than others to reroll, but that aim doesn't seem to have been achieved here.
  • Alchemist: Very cool, but suuuuper overpowered. I will also say I think the traits are far too cheap. I'm able to max out all 20 of my characters with the best 5-8 traits by the end of the game, and I've nothing left to do but steamroll the remainder of the game. All you need to do is hire level 1, 4-5 star recruits with Scholar and then buy all the rest of their traits later depending on how you want to spec them.
  • Prestige classes seem to be a feature that was done in a hurry. The majority of the prestige classes don't synergize into anything even remotely useful. I find it's a mostly useless feature. Although some of the skills were interesting, I didn't find any to be more practical than the standard skills offered. Often times the stat loss in reaching the requirements for a Prestige Class would leave you hurting worse than if you'd just specced your recruit into their desired stats in the first place. Many rebranded skills that hardly even seem better than their original's, e.g. Bard's attack boost vs. Supreme Coach attack boost. The skill tooltips for powerups are also inconsistent, making it confusing to tell whether they're any different from their identical regular class counterparts, there are many, but "+1 skill duration" as opposed to "Increases duration of the skill by 1" comes to mind. Many tooltips are worded differently for no reason, making it confusing, and you can't even tell what a skill does by hovering over it most of the time in Prestige classes.

My strategy was drafting a Scholar with an Electric, Fire, or Ice single-target skill, then reclassing them into Mage classes for Arcana, and Agility classes for Initiative, and simply making sure they had one multi target as well as single target skill in the same element. Then just cramming them with Gifted/Scholar/Expertise/Skillful/Willful/Quick makes them insanely strong. In each party I'd have 1-2 damage dealers like that, and 2 support champs whose only job was to Command and Sing, and if needed to weaken or stun the enemy. Agility is their only concern besides having the right skills.
I liked Proficient Combatants at first, but I think they're not optimal in the end. Or maybe I just found it faster to spam all-cast damage spells in the end.

In the end my main was doing 2k Lightning Bolts unbuffed per 3 energy, that and 1k Caltrops (again, unbuffed) easily steamrolled any enemy in the game.

Scholars are the most valuable, since you can buy traits in the late game, and Scholar is the only one that you need from level 1 in order to get the maximum reward from. Most other traits you can plug in later game and reap the full benefits.

Anyways, I loved the game, you probably milked a solid 60+ hours out of me. Could have been a lot better, and I don't see myself playing it much in the future. Maybe once more for a high score attempt or for an Ironman mode, but I'm really not looking forward to the same old grind.

Although there's plenty of room for improvement, it's a great game and well worth the money. Hope it was a worthwhile project for you creators. I know there can't be a lot of motivation to keep a game updated or to even patch in new content in the age of "Free-to-Play" pay-bait games, so I appreciate any and all standalone games with mods who continue to patch and update their own. You guys seem to be a relatively small operation as well, which makes me appreciate you even more.

Keep up the good work, dudes. I'll keep an eye out on steam for future updates  on this game or future projects of yours.

P.S. Here are my high scores if anyone's interested, the top one was done on Hard difficulty. I didn't end up noticing if there was any real difference between Hard and Nightmare, is there one? I'll maybe try and break 200k some other day when I have energy for the grind.
[Image: Scores.png]
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Thank you so much for taking your time to give us detailed feedback like that. It super useful.

You also make some good points. To be completely honest with you I understand that after ripping through the main content there might not be much more for a player like you.

Like you said, we are indeed a small studio. We are 3 co-founders and the team went up to 4 guys during the peak of development. We had to make hard decisions as to where we allocate our limited resources and time. It is also noteworthy that Epic Manager is our first commercial release. We have learned a ton during this process and can grow from there to make better, bigger, more engaging games.

Nonetheless, like you said, for 18$ it think a good 60+ hours of game time is fair.

Again, thanks a lot for reaching out to us and for supporting our game.

You can follow us on Facebook here:
and on Twitter here: @WeAreManaVoid

Cheers! Big Grin
Frank "Lalight" Lalumière
ManaVoid Entertainment Dev Team
[+] 1 user Likes Frank's post
[+] 1 user Likes Frank's post

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