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Tomorrow 9.22 (9.8/8.8)

#1 User is offline   BainIhrno Icon

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 10:28 PM

Tomorrow is by Alcritas.
"Let us see what this new day brings." -Temas, Areni

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#2 Stareye

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:45 PM

Technically brilliant with an excellent storyline. Combat is a bit on the tough side, but the essence spells provide ways to make it easier. Some areas did little to advance the storyline, but this is a minor complaint at best. The movie at the end is tops. Not for the inexperienced player, but overall an excellent scenario.

9.6

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#3 ???

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:46 PM

(WildKarrdeSmuggler)

I think this scenario perhaps better than any other, exemplifies the progress that has been made in BoE programming. While it may not be the most technically advanced scenario, it definitely displays the best application of programming techniques. I can't think of any reason to give it anything less than a 9.8.
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#4 ???

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:46 PM

(Sboto)

9.1

Alcritas has had some sensible things to say about the power of spare, uncluttered town design. Somewhere in the middle of Tomorrow, I began to wish he'd expand the lesson to include plot structure as well. This Arc contraption is closing in fast on the place where epic meets jumble sale. So as long as you love neatly marking your score card while watching the game, you'll have a fine time in the latest episode. It is, after all, an Alcritas franchise, and he has the business down to a science, which may or may not be good in the long run, though so far, the formula has yet to go stale.

That does mean you won't do anything you haven't already done in an earlier installment. This one plays like Falling Stars as An Apology: a runaway train of a linear storyline that deposits you in a Big Battles of Attrition endgame. Since it's less annoying getting dragged by the nose according to Alcritas' arbitrary will than it is wandering about guessing after its dictates, I found Tomorrow to be a better time than FS. Along the scenario's headlong way, you'll pass through the usual way-stations: special spells (with a new wrinkle or two), teleporters (with their attendant inventory-management headaches -- #*&$(@ unstackable crystals), and so on. All very clean and nifty. And the rhythms of the story vary nicely, moving back and forth from suspense to sudden shocks of blood and loss to some blessedly fast-paced "puzzles." The last are especially good: knit into the action, intuitive, subtle -- tactical challenges rather than tests of your capacity to command the occult properties of packing containers, flooring ceramics and interior treatments.

But then, the jumble sale. At some point in this scenario, you may run into a nasty little fellow who summons copies of himself. Mediocre small unit commanders like me will soon discover the fun of fighting generic reproductions of abstracted evil by the indistinguishable roomful. That is what Alcritas' larger story, at least as it plays out in Tomorrow, is starting to feel like. It isn't just that I can no longer remember what makes one Big Bad different from another or who should or should not be loyal to whom or which noble soul has sacrificed or suffered what; it's that this scenario couldn't care less whether I cared to remember. It doesn't even make one care that all heroic struggle proves futile or, at best, Pyrrhic in the face of the tectonic rending of the world. The only motive it asked of me was the grim desire to stay alive until I reached the next Narrative Dump Node. An Apology had a brilliant device for turning this sense that you don't properly fit in the grand history you're part of into a weirdly engrossing experience; Tomorrow doesn't. I wonder, then, whether I would have enjoyed it more had I not played the previous offerings. Despite the readme's warning, it might actually work better as a free-standing scenario: the larger plot would recede to a murmur, and the amazingly imaginative and well-crafted elements of the immediate scene would show themselves the more memorably.

But if keeping your dogeared Who's Who in Nordakar up-to-date is your thing, then ignore my slightly low score. And as always, one picks nits in Alcritas productions because one will of course play the next one as soon as it is uploaded, with the reasonable expectation that it should top everything so far known.
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#5 miluk

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:47 PM

9.2

I find the story very compelling (if that's the right word), as I did in Falling Stars and previous scenarios. In the whole "arc", there are, and have been, many characters and events and the story has become very complicated - and sometimes it takes a very long time to read one dialogue and understand it - but it usually doesn't annoy me at all. One reason is that in the last few scenarios I've played from the series, the plot has been compact. It's very compact in this scenario too, and it's fast-paced; also, no unnecessary running around in circles, no "empty space" that serves no purpose and there's always a clear goal.

However, the combat is way too tough. sad.gif I got frustrated many times and quit. I had extreme difficulties even with the "make game easier" setting. What makes it more difficult is that it's impossible to use the special spells in combat. I realize others may find the battles less annoying (or even difficult enough to be fun!), but for me, they were too difficult to be fun.

Otherwise, playing the scenario was fun. I was only a little annoyed by the poetic little monster (and only because it brought to mind a clichd psycho killer character from various horror movies). The atmosphere is strong. Again. Custom graphics, the ways to tell about various situations to player, compactness etc. create it.

Maybe I'll replay it one day with an enhanced level 50 party.
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#6 Terrors Martyr

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:47 PM

This scenario is not An Apology, and there's not an apology here for my review.

First, the good things- Wickermann. Wow- the best "real" villain I've seen thusfar. Most villains tend to hide in the cover of darkness or are really personified, especially in Blades. Alcritas reversed this paradigm, even if the villain he made was a horror movie stereotype. Dramatic song lyrics were used, but nowhere near as egregious as Brett's pop song abuses in Quintessence- and forgivable, because they're coming from the mouth of a madman.

Essence spells. I was frustrated that I couldn't use them during combat, but Alcritas effectively countered much of this with the "automatic" effects of Essence Shield and Juggernaut (you didn't get it? Pshaw! Clearly you didn't search the Rakshasic teleportal station well enough). Note that this isn't the first time that special spells by the party have been used, but this is by far their best useage to date (again- this says little, but nevertheless).

Of course, the plot stays strong enough. The concept is a very interesting one, and not cliched to the best of my knowledge. People who keep Sboto's "Who's Who in Nordakar" card will enjoy this story, but unlike Echoes, Alcritas keeps the characters limited enough that people who aren't intimate with his scenarios will still be able to find some stability while playing them. Treats for Alcritas fans abound- The Sage's identity is strongly hinted at, as is the nature of Cornell, and other interesting tidbits. Raven's actions (I won't spoil it for you...!) on the other hand seems a bit off-kilter, but anything besides being a basic NPC would, considering how little development was achieved with her.

Kudos for using the chest system! Al made Yada Yada 2, and actually used what he made well within his scenario. It's not the biggest invention ever, but it's neat.

The scenario moved swiftly, had enough variety, and was compact enough to work well. Alcritas said that he adds one unique moment to each dungeon, and for the most part, he proved it here, with exceptions being the two "walk-through" sections of ruins. The downsides? Well, there are a few.

Combat was mostly dull, except for the final fight. Cornell should have probably had more tricks up his sleeve (running away aside), other than summoning more masses of hitpoints and abilities to complement his own. It was a bit boring. Fighting Lysander in the very beginning of the scenario, apart from being rushed (although much moreso in the first beta!), was equally monotonous. Fortunately, Alcritas kept combat to a minimum. Nevertheless, it felt newbie-ish at points.

A few odd points- I found a bug where if one attacks Wickerman in the campsite, the party cannot leave the campsite through the north. The south is still accessible so the party doesn't LOSE the scenario over a bug, but this should still be adressed. There were a few odd uses of the word effect (when affect should have been used). Not much in general. Although admittedly, it was too easy to miss speaking with Jenkins, Krug, Diomed and Silnos in the beginning- if you play, be sure to do so.

Some of the outdoors seemed unfrilled, and the placement of caves seemed a bit convenient. For example, the party travels through a one-way tunnel up to a cold storage area. After beating the dungeon, the party follows the tunnel into a portal outpost- keeping in mind that there are no other ruins along the way, or even signs thereof. After those ruins, the party follows the one-way path into more ruins. From there, the path continues into even more ruins. The set of ruins seemed set up so that there would be no real ruins except for the ones encountered by the party. Unless I'm imagining things, I remember complaining to this to Alcritas. Bah.

The ending sequence was fairly amazing, and would be near the same level as Foreshadows if it were to be released as an independent film. I had a problem with the film's methods- for some reason, it was incredulously slow on my machine. I assume this error was subjective to myself only, I'll let it slide unless I hear other people complaining about it.

Overall? Definitely play this scenario. It won't take your breath away like An Apology, it's not Al's best work, and it's not the greatest thing you ever play (unless, of course, you only play this scenario). Nevertheless, it's an impressive work worthy of the expectations held on any designer, including Al. 8.9

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#7 ???

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:48 PM

(Khoth)

9.5

I don't have much to add to what other people have said, but I thought the wickerman was one of the best villains I've come across, until he started summoning his friends. I think he was much more sinister somehow when there was only one.
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#8 S M Adventurer

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:48 PM

It is a very good scenario. The plot is very unique and well-designed. The custom graphics of the allies are also well done. Node sequences and special spells are awesome. I also really liked the ending.

Rating: 9.5
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#9 ???

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:49 PM

(Creator)

Okay, let's go right from the start.

The intro sequence is way cool, though largely my own invention through relentless beta comments, so I may be slightly biased. The one flaw I would point out is that the player is not given enough time to adjust to a situation before a new one is dumped on him. You don't have enough time to get used to the fact that you're about to attack a supply convoy before you're involved in gatting Lysander. You aren't given time to get used to the idea that you're on your own before your friends appear. But still, a great way to start a scenario.

Then comes the Story Set-Up. Lotsa text here, but it comes off fairly well. We've had a big action intro, now it's time to take a breath, establish what sort of scenario this is going to be, wander around a little, talk, prepare, and plunge into it.

Then we wander through a bunch of mostly empty ruins. These are simply an opportunity gone begging. Here we have two structures laid over the top of each other, both were home to intensely powerful beings, and almost nothing is done with it! I'd love to see a part where you had to use a trap from Cyrantheus' lair to destroy a trap from the Rakshasi lair to advance. There's so many possibilities here, and hardly any are used.

Oh yes, Wickerman. Cool. His menace grows at a nice, slow, steady pace. You're always wondering what he's going to do next. Great stuff.

Then you get your first real Alcritas moment, trying to cross a chasm with a rope. Stunned me the first time I saw it.

Shortly after comes another Alcritas moment. No one, anywhere, in any medium, handles exposition as well as Alcritas. Most designers would struggle to avoid making it long-winded and boring. IK makes you wish it wouldn't stop.

So now our second plotline has well and truly kicked in, and your mission becomes much more important. You have two goals and you need to do the one thing to achieve them both. The stakes have been raised.

Appropriately, Wickerman re-enters, and starts causing problems in clever ways, making smart-alec comments while he's at it.

Then the teleporters. Liked them personally, and it's easy to skip them if you don't. I just wanted the two Amber Hearts to give me something a bit more special.

The passage with Wickerman singing was nice - you feel he's going to do something really nasty at any moment. I actually miss the "I AM GOING TO PULL YOU DOWN!" from an earlier beta.

Okay, we're getting close to our goal, and the time has come to take on Cyrantheus' apprentice. Belt up, take a few breaths, and here we go.

It's a nice fight, with a good "Holy shit!" moment when he calls in his helpers. Not the best thing Alcritas has done, but it fits with the story, and it's good enough to stop me from complaining.

Then the insect/gems level. Though it had almost nothing to do with either plotline, it was completely justified within the story, and provided a break between Cornell and Wickerman. Not sure about the Narnia reference, though.

Finally, we take on Wickerman. And this is the worst part of the scenario. It's not that the fight is too hard or too bland or anything (though you could argue that it is), it's that it's the wrong fight for this character. Once you've established a clever, sneaky character that takes advantage of being on his homeground and never takes you on face to face, you DO NOT go and finish him off with a straight out Big Bad Boss fight. This would be much better if Wickerman fought with cunning instead of brawn. Such a good character deserved a better send-off.

But hey, you beat him. And then you come into Cyrantheus' library place, and Alcritas commits another rare error. He builds you up too high. When that nice "This is the answer to all your problems!" text comes up, you remember that you're in an Alcritas scenario. You can tell that a lot of bad stuff is about to happen.

And then it does, in very spectacular fashion, providing one of the best endings to a scenario ever.

Quite possibly the best story in Blades to date. Still lacking in a few areas of gameplay, though. All the same, a great scenario. I'll probably parody it at some point.

EDIT: Having replayed it a few more times, I am deeply impressed by the depth of this scenario. In particular, the fact that the ending sequence is different depending on which NPCs survive the intro battle is really great - enough for me to up my score a bit. 9.6
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#10 ???

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:50 PM

(Zippy)

Excellent - 9.6

Atmosphere was superb. I didn't like the bit with the Rakshasi trap but no following traps, though. A scenario like this is either a gauntlet or something close to a movie - chose one. The trap should be gotten rid of.

The teleportal station was cool, but I thought that having to use the teleportals to get stuff sort of detracted from the mood, plus the logic was a little cheesy. (Your party would have to be stupid to try it out.) I would have preferred having to use Move Mountains to clear away rubble, and perhaps True Sight to find secret passages and stuff. The teleportal would have been good in a different scenario, though.

The special spells... Wow, those were awesome. (It's a shame they wouldn't work with stackable gems.) I've always like the idea of spells requiring ingredients - makes things a little more interesting. (Now why did Jeff Vogel do that for Mindduel, but not for things as powerful as Major Blessing and Avatar?) Soulsword rocked. Mental Empowerment should have restored more essence and cost more HP/SP and less Mage Lore, perhaps using Do Damage instead of Affect Health nodes. Juggernaut was a bit too powerful, though. It shouldn't have restored SP. Mass repel... I think that shouldn't have required any ingredients, and should have required SP and maybe a small amount of HP. Still, though, I liked the new special spell system. And I loved Essence Shield - that probably saved my behind a few times.

The battles... The first battle was good, but should have had more special spells, and maybe Lysander summoning some help. It was definitely too easy with AM clouds.

The battle with Cornell was almost impossible without essence spells. Cornell himself wasn't that bad, but those Dark Guardians are ten times worse than Seraphim. Those things are just bloody horrible. Still, a pretty cool battle, though the purpose of the room in which it occured was very ambiguous. There could at least have been a dining table in the middle or something.

The battle with Wickerman... Bahh. Too easy. Way too easy. If you get in the right position, you can bombard him with Ravage Spirit spells, and have him down before you can blink. Wickerman did try to maintain an advantage - the conveyor belt and all - but I don't think that was quite enough. How about having him use a special spell to summon, say, a couple of Malice Demons behind you? Perhaps having a spell that drains your essence at the beginning of the fight? An AM cloud, or perhaps an equivalent that makes you temporarily unable to use essence spells? Also, why was the conveyor belt there at all? Needs some thinking out.

Now, speaking of Wickerman, I thought he was a really cool bad guy, though his giggle-complex could be gotten rid of. Believe it or not, I actually liked the cheesy BoE "laughter" sound effect, though - the insect-like buzzing noise was really kind of creepy. Also, the think where you have to kill the "original" was cool. (Wow... cruelty to demons... that's something I haven't seen in many scenarios.)

The end scene... Wow. Holy crap. That was just amazing. The movie was incredibly cool, especially the fight between Sajon and Anthalon. (Man, Sajon's really changed... He didn't take a single spell from Anthalon! Though it seemed he had to hit Anthalon with the same spell twice before realizing it was ineffective and switching to a different one...) Just one question... Executioners aren't that powerful, so why did Silnos summon them against that Seraphim? Also, I think Jenkins should have been able to hold out longer. And Gemini shouldn't have been the one to flee - she seems to be the sort who would fight to the death.

Other stuff: I though Eleosto was way cool, though the name reminded me unpleasantly of the hideous substance called Olestra. All the different Sages were interesting. I didn't like the well actually requiring a coin, though (Hey, it's a dream!) - I happened to have negative gold one time. (Man... now there's a bug that needs fixing.)

This scenario's atmosphere, though, is what makes it great. I'm not sure what, but there's definitely something creepy about it, even if it does require a little suspension of deisbelief.
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#11 Sarachim

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:50 PM

9.2
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#12 Magoicochea

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:50 PM

9.0
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#13 Rosycat

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:51 PM

9.1
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#14 Thuryl

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:51 PM

8.9
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#15 ???

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:51 PM

(Bruce)

Very good scenario. But plot linear, some parts are tedious as you trudge through a cave/dungeon or narrow path with nothing to do. I presume it is to develop atmosphere, which I felt it did but it did not draw me in enough - and so it was also somewhat tedious. The special spells (especially Juggernaut and Soulsword) were great for enjoyability. Tedious was all the Sages to talk to. I cant say I am greatly enthralled by The Arc Storyline, but then I havent been enthralled greatly by any Exile or BoE mythology/history. Few fights but they are all challenging and momentous. The movie at the end is excellent, although I felt the dead versions of various creatures were not that discernible (e.g. Silnos and one of the Seraphims?). Stupendous treasure is Cornells Ring - but beware at the end you do not lose it when there is an equipment drop.
I preferred the size and fun of Falling Stars and so I rate this less than that at 9.
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#16 ???

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:52 PM

(Drakefyre)

Very good scenario. Some problems that keep it from being great. One of them was the combat. Good god, can we have a boss under 1000 HP? And some that aren't immune to everything with super-powerful armor? The battles were the least fun part of the scenario, along with Cold Storage. I happened to enjoy the puzzle in the very first Rakshasi ruin very much, and the locked chests were fun. Non-stacking potions and gems made the game very hard on my singleton, as I had to drop all sorts of wands and potions to carry things.

The use of sound effects was brilliant, among the best ever. The Wickerman was devilishly good up until the end, where his je ne sais quoi was severely diminished. The essence spells were stolen from RiB (but I don't mind, it's just vindication of a good idea!), as was Raven and Ralkan's little cutscene on the ledge. The ending cutscene was brilliant, but somewhat sad at the same time. Not surprising, though.

I thought that the concept of the two overlapping buildings could have been fleshed out more, and it excited me beyond belief when hearing about the mission. Unfortunately, the actual implementation was disappointing. Still, the nodework and graphics were excellent, and the story moved quickly enough. Eleosto was a nice touch, although I still don't know what I was supposed to wish for with the well.

Overall, the scenario was very good, but it felt like a disappointment after An Apology and Redemption and the buildup from the meeting after the Lysander fight. The Cornell fight was, in my opinion, one of the most awful boss fights I've encountered in BoE. Sage wouldn't even let me run away! My singleton was not prepared for any of the fights, and definitely could have used a superweapon (the Essence Halberd from Quint was not enough!) or two.

8.8
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#17 Gizmo

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:52 PM

Since I didn't play this in order(as the readme recommends), I'm sure I missed a lot in the meaning of the storyline, but the dialogues still did a good enough job to give me a sense of who I was and who other people were. Overall, an enjoyable scenario.

The combats did seem too lengthy while the rest of the scenario sped by. Some battles took me hours (no joke) while the spelunking was done in minutes.

The town designs of the intertwined areas were well thought out and most impressive, yet not all towns were given as much thought and it showed. Numerous huge amounts of gold were left to find but no places to buy anything. The room of the last battle with Wickerman was quite unimaginative... except for that whole floor turns to conveyor belt thing, but it was a minor plus for an otherwise bland room.

The sounds were used very well in this scenario. Everything, except the birds(which slowed down gameplay), lifted the game to a higher quality.

And, finally, I must express my amazement for the final sequence. It went above and beyond and legues past what I even thought was possible. And it worked very well within the scenario where Ugantan Nightmare left people wondering who was who and what was what.

That said: technically mind-boggeling, almost bug free, good use of custom graphics, original storyline though it is only a small part of the whole story.

9.2
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#18 Lazarus

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:53 PM

One of my major problems with this scenario is its setting. The beginning seemed very promising; you are promptly placed in a large battle where you ambush Lysander-- which seemed exactly like the kind of hit and run tactics that the failing alliance would resort to. But instead of continuing on with the story of the party and it's allies efforts to resist the UNL, the party is suddenly sent on a quest to find some artifact that is hidden away in a vast system of ruins. The ruins felt distant from the events of the war, and the only thing even loosely connecting them was the presence of Cornell. We have a totally new villain that comes out of nowhere (I mean, the wickerman is cool and all, but Al had so many baddies he could have thrown at us that the inclusion of this brand new villain felt pretty random.) We went from shaping events in a massive and responsive world (well maybe the massiveness was a bit of an illusion, but it worked) to a standard artifact quest. Kind of disappointing.

Fights were egregriously hard, but at least it wasn't dungeon crawling. Moments like Eleosto and the final sequence were amazing, but the ruin crawling was subpar IMO.

-9.2- This scenario benefits quite a bit from the greatness of the rest of the Arc.
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#19 User is offline   BainIhrno Icon

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 03:10 PM

Replayed it recently.

While I thought the scenario was good, I thought it was one of the weaker installments in the Arc series. Honestly, I thought the combat was ridiculous. This is one of the scenarios I'm still unable to get through without a god party. I'm still trying to find a party which can play it so its a challenge but not ridiculous.

On the other hand, it had a very good story, and was technically brilliant. The ending was great, both the conclusion and the movie, and I really enjoyed walking the ledges. The feeling of having rocks thrown at you while inches away from the abyss was extremely well done.

Overall, very good, but could be better.

9
"Let us see what this new day brings." -Temas, Areni

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My Movies - Arguing will not change my opinions.
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