RPGWatch Feature - Black Geyser Review

Myrthos

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After spending close to 80 hours on Black Geyser: Couriers of Darkness, Lackblogger has penned down his experiences with and thoughts on the game.

he quality of the game overall is much better than I was expecting, with lovely surroundings and nice sharp definition (though I have heard it might fall just short of 4k perfection). I found the graphics and design generally to be of a very acceptable (dare I say high) standard that should suit any fan of AA games. While it is not completely feature complete, it certainly is complete in the sense that you can have a full game with it and not be aware that some things are still being sorted out for a future time. The three most notable of these things being sorted out later are: Companion quests and interactions, player strongholds and a rejigged multiclassing system.
More information.
 

HiddenX

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Thank you for the review Lackblogger - I still have to play Black Geyser.
 

SpoonFULL

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Excellent review, to the point and articulate. It clarified many details and inquiries (even small ones) about the game.

This is a must buy for my collection and hope that they will address/implement the future improvements that you mentioned (and loading times).

Thanks again.
 

bluehuffin

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A great review Lackblogger! Gave me plenty of info with which to finally make up my mind to wishlist this.
 

Darkheart

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I will let it gestate for a while longer, but this is a must-play for me, too.
Thanks for the review, Lack!

Btw, having immense fun with Dungeons of Naheulbeuck at the moment. Definitely recommended, if you haven't checked it out yet!
 

lackblogger

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And thanks also to @Myrthos; for taking the time and faff to process it into a full review and a little bit of final editing!

Thanks also should go to @SpoonFULL; who motivated me to do it.

New patches are not very far off, so be sure to keep an eye on news bits or here over the coming days/month.
 

bjon045

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Good effort mate. Although I already have it in my steam library I like reading about it since I won't be playing it for another 6 months or so.
 

TheSHEEEP

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To be perfectly honest, I find the review way too positive, as some of games most glaring issues aren't even mentioned or downplayed:

One thing the review completely leaves out is the absolutely atrocious ability bar.
It's so bad and wastes so much of your time that it made me uninstall the entire game almost on its own, here's a copy-paste of mine from the game's forum:
The standard in games like this is to have one bar (or multiple ones that can be toggled) which can contain all your "usable" skills, items, etc. and you can arrange as you see fit.

However, for some unfathomable reason, here we have this unintuitive odd thing which doesn't really show anything, but has buttons that are very hard to interpret what they stand for, which you need to click on in order to actually show a list of spells. And then spells, internally, have some kind of "favorites" system - but other systems don't?
And then another button to see items.
And then another button to see abilities.
And for some classes, it appears that some abilities are behind one button and others are behind another (I assume because they come from different "sources").
To make matters worse, even on just a 1080p screen, the ability bar is absolutely tiny (width-wise). It could be three times as long and there would still be space left. Why is it so tiny?
You are constantly clicking around like crazy to find the ability or item you are trying to use.
This is one of the worst cases of overengineering I have ever seen in a game UI.
And that post actually found a lot of people had the same qualms with it before it was drowned by other posts with other issues in less than a day…

If you spend most of the time in the already super short battles fighting not the enemy, but the UI, something foul is afoot.

Talking about battles, another issue is that the game is just WAY too easy. You have all these theoretically awesome tools for combat with brewing and buffs and debuffs and abilities and magic… but practically all fights are over in less than 10 seconds with just standard attacks and maybe an occasional spell. All of those additional mechanics seem superfluous.
I was also swimming in gold after barely 8 hours of playtime - I know the player swimming in gold near the mid-end game is par for the course for games of this style, but this fast?!
And that's on the Hard difficulty, I don't even want to know what the lower ones do. Automatic story mode? I find it interesting that the author even had the motivation to play through it completely on normal.
The story isn't bad, but really not THAT intriguing, either.

I also found the class system somewhat lacking.
All wizardly classes are basically the same, with the only difference being a somewhat different spell selection. It's more or less the specialized wizard classes from BG1 - at that point, why not just have one class instead?
You pick "Necromancer" and think "cool! I'll get to have minions!", except you are really just a normal wizard casting normal spells and your "minions" last like a handful of seconds in battle before they unsummon themselves.
There are also no feats that would allow you to customize your class somewhat. Leveling up feels empty, as all you do is add a few % to the same things every single time you level up, and sometimes selecting a spell/ability which then gets marred by you rarely needing those and the UI issues.
Even BG1 had more impact when you could add a dot to proficiencies.
It's not worse than the BG1/2 D&D implementation all in all, but really not better, either. I find that cRPGs of this kind need more meat on their bones nowadays to be interesting.
Fewer, but more distinct classes would have been a much better choice.

Also "Surprisingly, bugs don't play too much of a role in this game." is just flat out wrong.
I'm happy the author didn't have many of them, but a lot of people are having a lot of very serious bugs. For me, for example, the entire screen would occasionally appear in LSD-trip-like colors, which could only be fixed by many reloads - and you know about the loading times already.
Also, just because a bug doesn't cause the game to crash doesn't make it minor. A bug that forces you to reload to fix it is not "minor", either. This is (at least officially) not early access anymore.

I also see the potential in the game, and the devs are actively patching, but the lack of response or communication regarding the real big issues of the game is somewhat discouraging.
 
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Morrandir

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The game does just enough to keep you playing when it's at it's lowest ebb and is good ol' classic riveting stuff when it's at it's best. I never once felt like coming close to uninstalling it, but once or twice wondered if I was in the mood for more today.
This sums up my own impression quite well. I'm about 20 hours in.

Finally again a win for me in the Kickstarter roulette, where my wager was 16 €. (I generously ignore that the game has been 2.5 years late.)
 

Andrew23

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Usually I dont spend much time reading reviews these days, but Im always happy to read reviews from fellow watchers. I bought BG on release on GOG, but didnt have yet time to play it. This review made me looking forward to it even more, thx.
 

wiretripped

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Thanks for the review, Lackblogger. I wishlisted for now.
 

wolfgrimdark

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Nice job on the review Lackblogger, good write up.
 

Philistine

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Nice review Lack. I'll get it eventually, but I didn't find the demo attractive enough to get any time soon.
 

forgottenlor

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Thanks for the review. This was one of those games I backed after being very on the fence about. I'm glad it turned out well, and look forward to give it a try. Not sure if I should play this one or Knights of the Chapel 2 first once I finish Encased.
 

lackblogger

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There's been 2 small 160-odd mega byte patches since I wrote this review. I don't know what they did though.

Thanks to all's kind words. Consider yourselves +1'ed, including @TheSHEEP, having a post being overly-negative is always useful for those needing somewhere to +1 who are in the enraged camp.

However, I will address that post in a separate post, as there's more than one point to discuss there.
 
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