Thursday, April 17, 2014

April A to Z - O is for Out today! Destiny Quest

Hello all!  I apologise for the lateness of today's post, which is a review of Destiny Quest:  Eye of Winter's Fury.  I got the book earlier in the week, but I haven't managed to finish it all yet, as it is so epic and the combats are very involved (just like the last two Destiny Quest books).  However, I can talk about what I
have seen so far.

Destiny Quest 3 follows the same format and themes as the first two, but I think with the tweaks to the system and the options offered in the quests, it is even better than the previous two books.

All of the things that made Destiny Quest so great are still there:  each combat involves an opponent that takes a different approach to defeating you with their unique combinations of abilities, and so this, combined with the huge number of options given to you by your path (warrior, mage or rogue), career and the numerous items of equipment that you can use (you can equip up to 11 items in various slots such as main weapon, chest item, 2 rings etc.) means that each combat is an absorbing exercise in strategic thinking.  The reward of overcoming your opponents is also enhanced by Michael's method of also rewarding the player by giving them better equipment after most combats.  This adds to the buzz  of victory.  The adventure progresses when you select an area on a map to go to and completing the quest there.  Quests are split up into difficulty, so there is also strategic thinking involved in the order in which you complete your quests.  There are also villages where you can buy better equipment and meet great characters who can give you more quests to go on with the promise of greater rewards.

However, Michael has improved on that in this book.  When I have played Destiny Quest in the past, what I found most satisfying was being able to take a huge chunk of health off my opponent, and also being able to turn a defeat into a victory through prudent use of my abilities.  Playing as a warrior, I have managed to get my speed up to 7 (but usually 8 thanks to my were career path) and my brawn up to 18, allowing combats to go on for enough rounds to be interesting, but not too long.  I think that Michael has thought about his abilities very deeply, as I have found more speed enhancing abilities and many items that could increase my brawn.  All the opponents I have faced have had a speed ranging from 2 below mine to 1 above mine, which makes all combats possible (combat is decided by rolling 2 dice, adding the results to your speed and by comparing the results with your opponent, who has done the same, in the same way as Fighting Fantasy and skill.  This method means that if you face someone with a speed 3 higher than yours, it is almost impossible to win).

Another thing that makes combat more satisfying is the use of death moves.  A death move can be used if you fight multiple opponents.  When you kill one, you can use a death move to improve you chances against the survivors.  I got a good one which allowed me to automatically win the next round as soon as I killed an opponent.  Death moves are great as combats against multiple opponents can be a lot move brutal or they could turn into long slogs of attrition.  However, death moves remove the danger of both of these things happening.

There are more chances to improve your character.  First of all, there are more innate abilities that will stick

withyour character no matter what items they have.  This is good as it introduces some consistency to the character.  Also, items can have abilities added to them with runes and other items, meaning that even if you have all of your slots taken up, you don't have to hang on for a better item to improve.  You can improve the items yourself.  There are also several 'bonus areas' that are there to reward the more thorough player and the options here have a great effect on later events.

There are loads and loads of encounters here, but Michael makes sure that they are all different, keeping the challenges fresh.  Such challenges involve working out a pattern involved with a set of numbers and also a particularly engrossing combat where you are able to lay traps (in the form of magical orbs) out in a corridor for your opponents before they get to you, and it is possible to kill them all if you put the orbs in a certain order.

Enough of the encounters.  There's more.  Just like the other two books, Destiny Quest takes part in a living breathing world that you can travel across and meet its many characters.  The prologue links the characters to both of the first books.  You are Prince Arran, a young sickly prince who has been sent to the northernmost outpost of the kingdom.  You are travelling with someone who was there in the first Shadow War (DQ 1) and you are there to fend off the Wiccans (DQ 2).  However, before the prologue even ends, there is an assassination attempt on you as the church tries to seize the throne.  The Wiccans interrupt, along with the demon that the hero from DQ2 has become, and you manage to flee.  However, you don't survive the harsh weather of the cold north, but, like Destiny Quest, Death is not the end.  You wake up in the northern castle, as a member of the undead (making you immortal) and this is where your real adventure begins.

He's not screaming.  He's just singing really enthusiastically.
Although you are immortal in this book, you do get penalties for dying too many times, so you can't just .throw yourself at monsters until you win.  You have to actually approach encounters with some thought.

At the moment, the castle has fallen, and there does not seem to be other survivors.  I'm currently exploring the north, looking for a way home so that I can get the throne back.  Of course, this being Destiny Quest, where the endings to the heroes so far have made the ending to Diablo look cheerful, I'm not sure that it's quite going to go to plan.  But Michael has three more books to write, so we are yet to see were the story will climax.

In short, buy Destiny Quest 3.  It's the best one so far, and it is going to give you hours of entertainment as you slay your way to greatness.

You can buy Destiny Quest 3:  The Eye of Winter's Fury for £8.57 in paperback form or for £6.64 for the Kindle edition from Amazon.

Michael will be at Collectormania in Milton Keynes on the 16th-18th May and also Nine Worlds Geekfest at the Radisson Heathrow on the 8th-10th August.

1 comment:

  1. Great features in this gamebook system! The story looks also great. Looking forward to check it out!