Posted 23 February 2006 - 10:56 PM
It's intriguing that Jeff ditched the six characters from Exile when remaking it into Avernum. Granted, all the way through Exile 2 I had an absolutely worthless lockpicker/archer that constantly died. But it was still fun not to be forced so rigidly into specializing a whole 50% of your party off the bat to be your mage/priest (and the other two, most likely, your pole weapon user and your melee weapon user). The other side effect was that you felt like more of a band.
SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR EXILE 2
I remember looking out over an Empire assault squad that had around 30 enemies and hunkering down for an epic showdown. In Avernum 4, it's serious by game standards if you have to fight a wave of seven chitrachs and even then you better have spelled up, wedged yourself in a bottleneck, and dedicated at least one of your characters to constantly healing, removing poison, etc. Larger bodies of enemies in the Exile games also allowed for larger area attack spells (Divine Thud, anyone? Firestorm?), and the top-down perspective made it simple to visualize the field (how many times in Avernum 4 did you accidentally click on your character to "wait" in combat when you meant to move directly northwest? How many times did you just miss that other enemy with your area attack spell?). I know that fighting the Haaki in Exile 3 that had totally demolished the famous Tower of the Magi was more emotional and angry a moment than any of the big fights from Avernum 4, and that climbing soaking wet with no food, no gold, hardly any hp or spell points, and all your items used or useless only to be ambushed by the first group of vahnati you see in Exile 2 trumped any of the twists in Av.4, like the betrayal of the vahnati in the Castle, etc.
Still, I played all the way through, didn't I? I love Spiderweb's work and think that Jeff has distinguished himself in a niche that few thought existed—fairly literate shareware.