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By the Seventh Book vs. Shadowiii
By the Seventh Book I tried saying that to my dad, but he just got mad.
Uncommon
Download: 195 KB
V.S.
Shadowiii
Play Time: 0 hours and 30 minutes
Review # 37 for Shadowiii I tried saying that to my dad, but he just got mad.
Them's Fightin' Words
    "By the Seventh Book" is Uncommon's really late entree to the Human Day contest. If I recall, that linguistics game won the contest, and it was a pretty good game. However, it's too bad Uncommon didn't release this one for the contest, because if he did I'm sure it would've scored in the top three.

"By the Seventh Book" is an OHR-Movie, with a few unique mini-games placed here and there to allow the player for some interaction. The story is told with wonderful skill (which is good, considering it is an OHR movie). Also, there are techniques used (the screen slash and the NPC animations come to mind) that really make this game shine. In terms of an OHR movie, it rivals Neke. However, unlike Neke, "By the Seventh Book" has a much more interesting story, as well as better visuals.
Graphics
    Overall, Uncommon does a decent job with graphics. Though they aren't the best ever seen, they are certainly well done and polished. Some look better then others, but Uncommon manages to avoid large blocks of color most of the time. The grass tile is really neat too. :D Overall, they dont' really add to the story, but they certainly don't degrade from it, which is what matters (as the story takes priority over graphics in this case).

NPCs: Uncommon's trademark "big head" style. It works well. Unlike Orbituaries, where the appearance looked somewhat comical, it actually managed to look suprisingly serious for this game. I was genuinly impressed by the majority of the NPC animations (the "pulling the spear out" and "fading in" for example). Also, the fact that npc kinda "wiggled" when they spoke made following the plot a lot easier.

Tilemaps: These were the worst of the bunch but, again, graphics aren't the main point of this game. They look fine and fit as suitable background, so they do their job. I'd have liked to see less solid blocks of color in some places, but the game is short so you can't really see enough to have major gripes when the game ends. :P A huge leap up from Magnus, I might add.

Hero/Battle Graphics: There is only one battle, and it's in a unique npc-driven battle engine so...not much to say. The battle looks really nice though. Also, the save point (though the game didn't really need one...) shows the hero picture, which also looked really good (quite good actually :P).

 
Storyline
    Story

"By the Seventh Book" is a story that I'm guessing is based off of the French Inquisition. The basic premise is that the two main characters, Sylvester and Geoffrey, are inquisitors for the church. According to the Seventh Book, the church has the right (in the name of God) to kill those who oppose their divine authority (without the killers having the sin of murder on their heads). However (potential spoilers), Sylvester discovers that there may be a potential flaw in the Seventh Book, and asks a friend to re-translate it for him. On the other side of the coin, Geoffrey is a "good" inquisitor who loves to kill heretics, and this lust for blood eventually gets him into trouble.

There are a few plotholes or at least some things that could have been smoothed out. (potential spoilers) The ending makes it seem like many have discovered that the Seventh Book's translation has been changed for the personal benefit of the church. However, the game only contains one example (the scene at the beginning). It might have helped build the conspiricy if there had been another person who is caught by the inqusition who said the same thing.

Other then that, the story is interesting and ends perfectly (though not exactly as I suspected). It is also told very well.

Dialogue

Uncommon does a great job with dialogue in all his games. Even Orbituaries, which was pretty lousy, had interesting dialouge (the main character's conversation in school was a riot). Uncy's Magnus remake also had interesting dialogue. Seventh Book is no exception. Uncommon pulls out his pen (which, I'm guessing, is a feather quill pen in some big ol' bottle of ink) and writes us some great lines. The text also has italics (which is a fantastic idea and should be part of the OHR default font) to emphasize certain points, which makes the dialogue that much better. Overall, excellent storytelling. Keep it up, the dialogue is interesting to follow, which is exactly what it should be.
 
Gameplay
    The game doesn't really have much gameplay, besides a large collection of minigames that help advance the plot. Overall, these mini-games are enjoyable, and the fact that how you do in them effects the plots later on is neat too. There's a dancing minigame (which I am just awful at), a minigame where you try to perswade people (usually to humerous results), a "racing" game (you'll see :P) and a final unique fight that involve hitting different areas and countering from said areas.

Overall, the gameplay is really just filler, but it was nice that Uncommon didn't use the custom engine (it made the game feel less RPGish and more real...uh...ish).
 
  Battle
    One battle, and its pretty hard. You'll probably die the first time, because the battle is mainly based on guessing if you don't know what counters what. Basically you have a few seconds (indicated by a bar over your opponent's head) to choose where to strike (upper, middle, or low). Then you see what results. I died a lot at this. Meh. :P  
  Map Design
    The maps are pretty linear...but you never walk around in them so it isn't really a bother.  
  Balance
    Overall, some minigames were harder then others. The "rallying the villiagers" minigame is simple the second time, though you may be somewhat lost the first time. The "raceing" minigame is a breeze (you mash z then x over and over to sprint). Dancing is HARD (for me, anyway, because I never got the timing down even though I played the blasted thing at least ten times). Fighting is also hard, but cool. Overall, you won't be frustrated, but there isnt' really any feeling of accomplishment after winning said minigames.  
Music
    There is none. This is very bad. The game would work infinitly better with music (though not Final Fantasy, PLEASE). Baroque or Romantic classical would work beautifully, as well as maybe some hymns. Instead, we get dead silence. Ah, well.  
Enjoyment
    This is actually one of my favorite OHR games, though the novelty wears off after playing through three or four times. Overall, it was a great experience, and it was an entertaining way to spend fifteen to twenty minutes. The story isn't subtle in its accusations (that is, people with strong Catholic or Protostent backgrounds may find parts of the game offensive), but it is subtle enough for it to be enjoyed by ME. It makes no direct attacks against the actual doctrine of said religions, rather, it focues on the practices which are now-a-days abhorred. Overall, a great "history" lesson, as well as a great story overall. I would have liked to seen it be longer (the game leaves a lot open, but its good that way), but it works out fine as it is.  
Final Blows
    Overall? My choice for Human Day Winner '03. The graphics could use some polishing, and it could use some music, but other then that it makes a great short story game. If you enjoyed Neke, you'll love this one (unless you enjoyed Neke because Neke was, well, nude...in which case you can probably find some good pr0n for your perverted self on the internet). The story is fast paced and the dialogue sharp, and the mini-games keep the game entertaining. Overall, a great experience I can recommend to anyone.
And sortly after hitting

And sortly after hitting "enter", I died. ARGH! :P
Final Scores
Graphics: 6.5/10.0
A bit better then Magnus 17. However, Uncommon, PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM THOSE SOLID BLOCKS OF COLOR.
Storyline: 9.5/10.0
Excellent storytelling here. Though it seemed to be missing a few parts, overall it was excellent. Story: 4.5 Dialogue: 5.0
Gameplay: 7/10.0
There wasn't much, but the minigames were very thought out and worked wonderfully. There were also no script errors, which was fantastic. ^_^;;
Music: 1/10.0
There was none. PUT MUSIC IN RIGHT NOW, PLEASE.
Enjoyment: 8/10.0
Great game. One of my favorites. Fun, with a great story and memoriable characters. Keep up the good work, Uncommon.
Overall Grade: B+
Final Thoughts
    My choice for the best game in the Human Day Contest '03. Don't judge it harshly because its a contest game...this game tells a great story and it tells it well.  


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