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Bliss vs. Shadowiii
Bliss A difficult battle if you don't have a well thought-out plan.
Camdog
Download: 208 KB
V.S.
Shadowiii
Play Time: 1 hours and 30 minutes
Review # 49 for Shadowiii A difficult battle if you don't have a well thought-out plan.
Them's Fightin' Words
    *Follow-up Review: September 21st, 2004*

In my previous review I mentioned a few things. First, that I felt the gameplay was poor. Second, that the story was great, and had a really surprising ending. Third, that the music wasn't original, Well, the review was inaccurate in two major parts. After actually getting down, reading the manual, and playing the game serious I found that the gameplay is (though difficult), quite good. I actually enjoy it more now playing it on this "hard mode" then opening the file and cheating. As for the second part, turns out the music is totally original. Oops. So, my first review had two completely inaccurate areas (gameplay and music), which I will now rewrite. I'll also put up-to-date comments in other areas.
Graphics
    Graphics are what really mess up this game, to be honest. This game could use some beautiful graphics. It if had that, it would be simply fantastic. As it is, the graphics do the job, but they look...bad. Quite bad, in fact. Though there are a few that look decent (characters who bleed, for example), they still are bland and quite poor. I am tempted to open the file and redraw the graphics just to see how much better the game would be (I might even do that at some point), but it is Camdog's property so...

The important thing, though, is to not be lead away because the graphics are bad. I know that it's hard to play a game with bad graphics, but this one really is worth playing through. It is quite unique in terms of OHR games, and I'd hate for a player to miss out on it simply because the graphics weren't beautiful.
 
Storyline
    I've said a LOT in the original review about story (ok, not much, honestly) but it really is a great story. I still find the ending twist entertaining, and almost all of the dialogue fits the game perfectly. There aren't very many text boxes, but for what there is it works out quite well. The game is entertaining enough even to play over, just so you get the ending portion again.

As I said in my original review, you could play this game just for the story. I still stand by it. Heck, I'm still re-playing it for the story.
 
Gameplay
    Ok, here is where I totally change lanes from my original review. In my original review, I was foolish and attempted to play the game like a run-of-the-mill OHR-RPG. I'm warning you to do your best to avoid my mistake. The battles are actually quite balanced (just difficult). Spells and items aren't just there so you can use them on a whim, you have to decide when and how to use them. Equipment works the same way. Some alters your attack, other your magic, and you have to decide which works best for you. The game has a lot of "you get one decision, and we aren't telling you which one is better" choices, which means you'll have to think for yourself (which some people might perceive as "hard"). This is totally different from most RPGs I've played. This game presents you with VERY limited resources, and you'll have to devise a strategy to survive. One would argue it's more "realistic" then other RPGs, because your guy isn't really a super-human with unlimited magical power. But enough said, you get the point.

Another great thing was the map puzzles. Granted, the flowerpot/window one was difficult because of graphics, but many of the puzzles are very fun and unique. It certainly breaks away from the standard OHR puzzles.

Finally, READ THE MANUAL. You can't beat the game without reading it, believe me.
 
  Battle
    As stated above, my original analysis of the battles was totally off. They are, in fact, very fun. So fun that they are even worth a replay just to see how many different techniques you can devise to beat the game. It basically works somewhat like this. You have a huge variety of spells, but you have limited resources. You can only cure a few times, cast spells a few times, etc. before you run out of magic (which is bad) and will have to use a potion (granted you were lucky enough to find one). The battles are tough, especially the first playthrough (even if you read the manual, it'll be hard to determine which spells to pick when). However, after you use all the spells at least once you'll probably have the general idea as to which spells do what.

And the spells! There are so many, yet they are a great selection. You have various attack spells, ranging from a chance at instant death to a single, somewhat weak attack, to an attack that hurts all enemies but costs a lot of magic. The great part is that they attacks never kill anything in one hit. They aren't overpowering in the slightest. Healing spells are tricky, too. You have a weaker, less magic consuming one. Then you have the powerful, magic eating one. Which to choose? Or do you heal at all? Finally, you have a lot of power-up magic skills. These things you'll find yourself using a lot. You basically have to decide what type of fighter you are: a magic user, or a melee character. Then you'll use powerups accordingly.

Overall, very well done. I'm a bit sad I missed it the first time (and cheated, thus resulting in an inaccurate review). The battles are great fun, and perfectly balanced. They really are fun to play, and are unique in a way I haven't seen in OHR (or even commercial games) recently.
 
  Map Design
    Great puzzles. Really, quite original. From the "cause a distraction" puzzle, to roof jumping, to the unique improvement to the "Push the NPC" puzzle, the map puzzles are great. The maps themselves are very linear, but then again, this isn't an RPG, it's a short story in RPG format.  
  Balance
    I pretty much covered this. The only downside is the final boss has a LOT of hit points, but if you use your power-ups correctly you should be able to kill him in a decent amount of time. Just remember that battles in this game are LONG, so you'll need to think to finish them (don't just hold the space bar, unless you like to die before even leaving the dungeon).  
Music
    I must say, I was genuinely impressed by the music in Bliss. The opening/closing song is especially good. In fact, it's better then good, it's perfect. It sets the mood for the game wonderfully. The fact that there aren't enough tunes (that is, some music is reused) is probably the only downside. However, they ARE all original, and the all sound quite good. Keep up the good work, you are a great composer, Camdog.  
Enjoyment
    I am still enjoying this game, even after re-reviewing it almost a year later (or maybe just six months...I can't remember how long it has been). The point is, I'm still playing this game a long time after it seems everyone has forgotten it. It is one of my favorite games on the OHR to date. I love short story OHR games (By the Seventh Book, Bliss, I Made Dis, and I enjoyed making The Seventh Day), and this one ranks up there with the best of them. I've probably replayed this game more then any other OHR game (though Ends of the Earth 2 would be pretty close), simply because the gameplay is unique every time you play it. It's loads of fun. I just wish those graphics were better...  
Final Blows
    A great game, and I like it even better now that I've figured out the battles. Overall, I really recommend this game. It is defiantly in my Top 5 list of OHR favorites (it might even be #1), and I'm sure after playing it you'll see why. The game has a terrific story, really unique and fun battles, and a rockiní soundtrack. The graphics take away from the experience, sure, but you really shouldn't judge it by it's graphics. Overall? Get it! It's great fun. Just be sure to not play it as you'd play Final Fantasy VII, or whatever.
Really the only bug in the game. Just be sure when you

Really the only bug in the game. Just be sure when you "roof jump" that you aren't lined up with the door of the opposite building.
Final Scores
Graphics: 4/10.0
To quote my old review. "There is nothing horribly bad about these graphics. They are not ripped, and actually look decent. However, they do take away from the feel of the game, especially the hero and enemy graphics. But graphics haven't, and will never make a game, so this is still acceptable." As an add-on, they really aren't aging well, Camdog. You should consider redrawing them (or asking someone to redraw them for you...hint hint. ^_^)
Storyline: 10/10.0
"Words cannot describe how good this story is. In truth, it isn't the story that is wonderful, but the fact that it is done on an OHR game (and done well for that matter). This game is worth the download for the story, I can say that much." Also, it doesn't get old. Because it is paired with the gameplay it is even better. The dialogue is also quite sharp (though it may appear corny at first, it really turns out to fit the game quite well), full of hidden, subtle meanings that eventully lead to the suprise ending. Story: 5/5 Dialogue: 5/5
Gameplay: 9.5/10.0
A bit hard to pick up (which is why it lost half a point). Those used to run-of-the-mill OHR-RPGs will have serious problems with this game. However, once you get it, you'll find out it really is loads of fun, and the possibilities are endless.
Music: 9.5/10.0
It's all original. That's bonus points right there. The opening theme ROCKS. There really aren't ENOUGH songs, but it still works out great. The gameplay is actually quite enhanced with the added tunes, so I'd suggest playing it with the sound on if that is even a remote possibility.
Enjoyment: 10/10.0
I'm still playing it, and I am known to state that I am growing bored of the default OHR battle engine. It just goes to show that someone with skill can use the battle engine everyone makes boring games off of, and make something unique. Pair it with the amazingly well-done short story and great music, and we have a winner. As I said, I'm still playing it. It's great fun.
Overall Grade: A+
Final Thoughts
    A great game, and so far it hasn't gotten old. The battles are unique and fun, the story rocks your face off, and the soundtrack is very nice. The only downer is the graphics, but we don't judge games by graphics here, right?

Get it. Highly recommended.
 


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