Defender of the Crown (1986)

Info

Genre Period Developer Publisher Theme
Turn-based strategy, Action Vintage (pre 1990) Cinemaware Cinemaware Middle Ages, Norman rule in England, Robin Hood, Feudalism

Defender of the Crown is a very old turn based strategy game with combat elements. It had grand visions and was a superb success during it’s time, but has aged considerably since then. You play the role of a county ruler in England during the high medieval ages, atthe time of legends like Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, and the historic English hero of the crusades, King Richard, the Lionheart. You have to defeat other county rulers and control enough counties in order to bring stability to the English crown and win the game.

Game Assessment

Complexity Matrix 

Complexity Parameters Values (0, 0.5, 1)
Control Scheme 0: Simple
Complexity 1: Complex (Territory and army management)
Story 0.5: There is no real story, but kind of a campaign
Lore 1.: Historic setting with lore of legends and romantic novels
Immersion 1: Role-play level
Difficulty 1: High
Learning Curve 1: High
Total Score 5.5/7: Heavyweight game 

Satisfaction Matrix

Needs Satisfaction Score (0-3)
Analytical 2: Moderately met
Creative 0: Not met
Mastery 2: Moderately met
Destructive 0: Not met
Entertainment 1: Slightly met
Pace 0: Not met
Horror 0: Not met
Total Score 5/21: Moderate Game

Game Review

TL;DR A game that has not aged well inspite of its innovation and brilliance. Do not waste time unless you want to abuse yourself with deep sense of frustration.

Pros

  • I failed to see any except grand visions without execution

Cons

  • Age
  • Graphics
  • Obscure combat mechanism
  • Mainly age

Game rejected. Could not bring myself to finish this.

Purpose – Study

Gameplay – The game has not aged well. It is not a purely strategy game. In order to gather funds you need to take part in combat and the combat gameplay is clunky, unpredictable, and simply difficult to grasp. Thus, the game is basically rendered unplayable.

Graphics – Has not aged well, but for it’s time, can be considered pretty good.

Performance – Can run on a walnut.

Entertainment – I found nil, though it promises romantic novel genre of entertainment like Robin Hood and Ivanhoe.

Plot (if applicable) – There is just a campaign.

Replay value – Theoretically high, but practically nil.

Immersion – Theoretically should be immersive.

Overall it titillates you with promises of good enjoyment, but fails to deliver due to myriad of problems.

Gothic (2001)

Info

Genre Period Developer Publisher Theme
RPG, Action adventure, Open world, Sandbox Modern (2001 -2010) Piranha Bytes Xicat Interactive

Nordic Games (at present)

Medieval, Fantasy, Magic

Gothic is one of the best RPG games ever created in terms of its story, progression, interactive environment, immersion, vast open world, and satisfactory combat system. It is also one of the hardest games out there with a very steep learning curve. In this game you start as a mere mortal human with no special skills or abilities. You work and slog your way up the ranks and soon become strong and powerful. You are thrown in as prisoner in a penal colony where everyone is held captive within a magical barrier, even the mages who originally were responsible for creating the barrier due to a malfunction during the invocation process. Soon after this disaster the prisoners inside the camp got rid off the guards inside and took charge of the place. They negotiated with the King of the realm outside the barrier and agreed to send the precious mineral magic ore in exchange for resources, food, drinks, and women. However some sects of the prisoners did not agree with this system and worked towards escape plans involving collapse of the barrier. This caused the formation of three different camps inside the colony with different goals and ideals. You have to join any one of them and proceed in order to find a way to make the escape plans work. In the course of gameplay you will hunt monsters, roam a vast open world, gather herbs and foods, learn magic if you want, fight with mighty orc warriors, and unearth an ancient mystery among several other activities. If you are a RPG fan, you simply must not miss this title!

Game Assessment

Complexity Matrix 

Complexity Parameters Values (0, 0.5, 1)
Control Scheme 0.5: Moderate complexity, but can take time to get used to
Complexity 1: Complex (inventory, trading items)
Story 1: There is a story (a very good one)
Lore 0.5: Gothic series
Immersion 1.0: Very immersive roleplay
Difficulty 1.0: It is difficult
Learning Curve 1.0: Very steep
Total Score 6/7: Heavyweight game 

Satisfaction Matrix

Needs Satisfaction Score (0-3)
Analytical 2: Moderately met (map reading, combat tactics, trading, puzzles etc.)
Creative 0: Not met
Mastery 3: Well met
Destructive 2: Moderately met
Entertainment 3: Well met
Pace 2: Moderately met
Horror 1: Slightly met
Total Score 13/21: Good Game

Game Review

TL;DR One of the best ever third person action-adventure RPGs which is also one of the hardest and most immersive. A must have for hardcore RPG fans.

Pros

  • Weapons, spells, and loot
  • Robust progression system
  • Hardcore RPG features
  • Tactical combat and trickery
  • Immersive
  • Good story
  • Vast open world
  • High level of freedom

Cons

  • Difficulty
  • Steep learning curve
  • Weird control scheme
  • Difficult and clunky combat
  • Clunky camera movement

Game completed.

Game-time 71 hrs.

Purpose – Entertainment and Challenge

Gameplay – If you can get used to the strange control scheme, and the difficult combat mechanism, gameplay is very solid in every other respect. Hardcore RPG elements, unforgiving, and tight. You must save frequently, and in different slots in order to brave the difficulties as well as the occasional bugs.

Graphics – Good for its time.

Performance – Good.

Entertainment – Very good story. Vibrant NPCs, with unique personalities, full voice-over dialogues. Humor, sarcasm. All things considered, a very entertaining package.

Plot (if applicable) –Good plot.

Replay value – There is good replay value, as you have three different factions to choose, as well as three different character types namely warrior, ranger, and mage.

Immersion – One of the most immersive RPGs. Day-night cycles and weather. NPC routines. Interactive environment and objects. Cooking, forging weapons, hunting, smoking weed and many other fully animated activities.

Overall it is a solid, meaty, and memorable experience which you will cherish for a long time.