Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

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Tawmis
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Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

Post by Tawmis » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:51 am

This thread is for the Moebius Discussion and Help Thread.

REMEMBER! If you're giving clues or discussing something that may be a spoiler - please use the SPOILER tags!

For example

EDIT: Merged the thread I had in GK with DPX's.
Last edited by Tawmis on Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: EDIT: Merged the thread I had in GK with DPX's.

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Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

Post by DeadPoolX » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:54 pm

Maia and I both finished Moebius: Empire Rising and we're both disappointed. I won't speak for her issues with the game, but I'll elaborate on mine.

Probably the single greatest weakness this game has is its graphics, most of which look like they belong in the early-to-mid 2000s, rather than 2014.

The character models are simplistic and include odd issues, such as unusually high armpits, and very thin arms and legs. This is very evident in Malachi's character model, which is a shame because he's the game's main protagonist.

The characters also move awkwardly, walking in an odd fashion at times. If you have a 120Hz monitor, the characters will apparently "spaz out" and the only solution is reducing the hertz range to 60.

Other features of the character models -- like hair or clothing -- are very, very poorly done. Hair is completely static and looks gelled together. That's somewhat excusable, but what isn't is the clothing. It doesn't wrap, fold or animated with the characters. Sometimes there's clipping issues with the clothing as well.

One glaringly obvious problem was with the Italian detective early on in the game. While he was speaking he was waving his hand around and you could see the inside of his suit sleeve was a solid object. In other words, instead of seeing his arm and the suit's cuff, you saw a solid low-res block, where his hand was perched (slightly hovering) and waving about.

Lip-synching was off (but to be fair, there are some AAA games that are guilty of this too), but what was worse was that the characters made odd facial expressions when speaking. Gretchen in particular looked like she was snarling when she spoke.

Going beyond the models themselves, the texture work was horrendous. Cars looked like plastic toys (and very cheap ones at that!), skin looked flat and pasty, while clothing was bland and mottled.

Extra effects, like shadows and anti-aliasing, sort of existed, but weren't done right. I say "sort of" because although the options menu allowed for 8x AA, it apparently didn't work. Nearly every edge and angle in the game was jagged. As for shadows, they were either placed oddly (making characters look like they were hovering above the floor, such as the case with Malachi and Gretchen in the antiques store) or blotchy and pixelated, usually during cutscenes.

Given that the game was 2.5D, you'd think the backgrounds would at least be done well, and in some cases they were. Unfortunately, there were several instances of backgrounds or environments looking low-res and pixelated or almost sketch-like. Regardless, the fact that the backgrounds bounced back and forth between good and bad was jarring.

I didn't care for most of the voice acting in the game. With the exception of Malachi's voice actor, the voice actors seemed either very inexperienced or just bad at their job. Many times I noticed the voice acting to be stilted and awkward.

The actual music was quite good. I usually turn off music in games because it annoys the hell out of me, but I left it on in this one. That says a lot about the music, at least from my perspective.

The game's interface was easy to use, so I had no problem with it. I also liked the fact I could save whenever and wherever I wanted. That's a feature that's sorely lacking in far too many games today.

The mini-game (for lack of a better term) where you figure someone's personality and mindset out while using Malachi wasn't too bad overall. The only problem I ran into with it was that sometimes the logic behind choosing why this person or that person looked or dressed a certain way seemed flawed and dated.

Most of the puzzles were pretty good, with only a few situations necessitating the player to suspend their disbelief. One such instance was when Malachi needed to obtain a VIP pass. How he acquired it was ridiculous (for real life, although not in an Adventure game), but that was more or less an unusual case.

One puzzle I absolutely hated was right at the end. In fact, most reviewers disliked it as well. At the end of the game, there is an underground maze. The problem with it is that, without any warning, there's suddenly a time limit imposed on the player and there are no indicating markers telling you which way to go. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the game where time meant nothing and the previous underground maze sequences (yes, you have to do it three times!) gave you markers and clues to use to guide you.

The problem is that if you don't make it to the right area to trigger a cutscene quick enough, you'll die no matter what you do. Granted, this doesn't make you go back that far to redo it, so it's not like the old "forgot to pick up a 1x1 pixel item at the beginning of the game" scenario where you were totally screwed, but it's still poor game design nonetheless.


The storyline isn't bad, but it feels unfinished. I don't mean because they're planning on a sequel, but because it seems like POS ran out of time and rushed it out the door. Some of the concepts in the story are a little flaky and difficult to understand, at least given the descriptions in the game itself. For most of the game it feels like you're just on a person hunt, which while interesting in of itself, doesn't do much as a story.

I'll be honest, I didn't like Malachi very much. Although he grew on me somewhat as time went on, he still seemed like an egotistical, self-important asshole. I know Gabe was a bit of an ass too, but he also had some charm to his character. Malachi lacks any of that.

The main supporting character, David Walker, is friendlier and more interesting. I'm sure that's on purpose in order to make him a good counterbalance for Malachi's personality.

As it stands right now, I don't think M:ER is worth the $29.99 price it's listed for on Steam, GOG, and POS's own website. If Maia hadn't received an extra Steam key because she was a Kickstarter backer, I probably wouldn't have played it. Maybe I'd have bought it if the game was on sale for 75% off or more.

As I wrote in my Steam review, I wouldn't recommend this game unless you're a die-hard Adventure gamer, love Jane Jensen's stories, and you can ignore the many technical flaws it has.

I'm quite sad this is the case, because this game could've been great for Jane, but I think her first problem was going with Phoenix Online Studios. I don't feel like they have the experience or the know-how to properly make a game.

I don't know if POS is the developer she's using for the GK1 remake, but if it is, I hope they're using a different engine or at least know how to fix it up. I want to see a GK game that looks like it was developed in 2013/2014, not 2000.
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Re: Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

Post by Collector » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:19 pm

I had heard this about the animation. Some had noted that the animation was worse than TSL. Someone had noted that Datadog had done animation for TSL, but not Moebius.

POS is doing the GK remake, but the released screenshots do look pretty damn good, even if the PoV is too much overhead for my tastes. It is probably still too early in development to see any examples or trailers to see what the animation will look like.
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Re: Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

Post by BBP » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:01 am

Very sad to hear about that... I'm worried that, combined with the limbo dancing animation of LSL Reloaded, the whole kickstarting adventure revival of 2012 is dying.
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Re: Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

Post by Collector » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:41 am

What The 2 Guys have released so far looks pretty good.
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Re: Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

Post by DeadPoolX » Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:06 pm

I wish I thought Hero-U would turn out good, but based on the demo (which, admittedly, was more of a pre-alpha test than anything) the game looks and plays terribly.

What really ticked me off was that I backed that game on Kickstarter based on what I saw advertised. They used a cartoony, highly stylized form of graphics, which I liked and promised the game was to be more of an RPG than anything else.

Then, without warning, they change the entire look and feel of it. It's going to be more Adventure than RPG. Worse, the graphics were changed to something the Coles claimed was more "realistic" but actually looks like bargain basement crap. Seriously, it looks worse than a lot of Flash games.

I feel like a bait-and-switch was pulled on me. I paid for what was promised at the beginning of their Kickstarter, not what they've turned it into later on.
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Re: Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

Post by Collector » Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:15 pm

I liked the balance between adventure and RPG that the original 4 QfGs had. I, too was turned off by the graphics. I will grant that there is only so much that can be done with small budgets, but below a certain point I think it can do more damage to the genre than help it. Still I'll reserve judgement until after its release.
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Re: Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

Post by Tawmis » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:36 am

DeadPoolX wrote: Then, without warning, they change the entire look and feel of it. It's going to be more Adventure than RPG. Worse, the graphics were changed to something the Coles claimed was more "realistic" but actually looks like bargain basement crap. Seriously, it looks worse than a lot of Flash games.
It reminds me of Minecraft, which (believe it or not) I have never played. Just seen a ton of images for it that people have posted.

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Re: Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

Post by DeadPoolX » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:10 am

Tawmis wrote:
DeadPoolX wrote: Then, without warning, they change the entire look and feel of it. It's going to be more Adventure than RPG. Worse, the graphics were changed to something the Coles claimed was more "realistic" but actually looks like bargain basement crap. Seriously, it looks worse than a lot of Flash games.
It reminds me of Minecraft, which (believe it or not) I have never played. Just seen a ton of images for it that people have posted.
How does Hero-U remind you of Minecraft? They look completely different (and obviously the gameplay is entirely different too).
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Re: Moebius: Empire Rising discussion thread

Post by Tawmis » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:43 am

DeadPoolX wrote:
Tawmis wrote:
DeadPoolX wrote: Then, without warning, they change the entire look and feel of it. It's going to be more Adventure than RPG. Worse, the graphics were changed to something the Coles claimed was more "realistic" but actually looks like bargain basement crap. Seriously, it looks worse than a lot of Flash games.
It reminds me of Minecraft, which (believe it or not) I have never played. Just seen a ton of images for it that people have posted.
How does Hero-U remind you of Minecraft? They look completely different (and obviously the gameplay is entirely different too).
Because the character looks blocky.
However, I just checked the Hero-U teaser (been a long time since I have looked at any of the Kickstarters) I guess I was just remembering this dissected image.

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