Monday, 5 September 2016
The Great Whale Road (Steam) - Preview
The Great Whale Road has released into Early Access, meaning the game is still in development and may change over time. The devs have said "We have been working on The Great Whale Road for over a year now, and we don't want to complete the game without your feedback" on the Steam Store page for the game.
I am a big fan of the Early Access/Game Preview programs, as it allows us to watch a game progress. The problem with these sometimes is that if you're a really early adopter there isn't always much of a game to play. This was my experience with The Great Whale Road (so far!) I played it for a number of hours over a few days but it ultimately felt like a very empty, unfinished experience. It certainly has potential but at the moment it is very barebones. There are a lot of areas in this game that you can't help but compare to others and The Great Whale Road never comes off favourably. The game shows a lot of promise as long as they listen to their fans advice on how they can improve certain features.
The Great Whale road is basically a text based story which sees you set off on an adventure to find out what happened to your people. You play the game through the seasons, so have different concerns for each one and times that are better for growing food etc. This sounds more involved than it actually turns out to be, but I'm sure it will be made better before the full release. You get given focus points to place into certain training or attributed for your people, like diplomacy, husbandry and warriors etc. Putting all of your points into diplomacy didn't seem to make much difference if I'm honest, but again maybe that's something that will be finetuned before the game is fully released. The art style is the biggest stand out for this game at the minute - it is truly beautiful to look at. I encountered a lot of bugs, some that completely crashed my game, resulting in an entire season being lost. Other bugs included my advisors details not being loaded so I could see none of the text - even the choices I could make.
Battling in The Great Whale Road is via a RNG card system. I have to admit to often finding RNG incredibly frustrating, as I'm sure many do. In this game it was incredibly frustrating as the only person who needs to be killed for a battle to be won is the leader of either side. They enter the board first and from there it is completely random whether you ever get another one of your men onto the battlefield. This meant that there were a number of occasions where the enemy team had four men on the board and I just had my leader, cornered. I find it difficult to accept losing battles just because I had such crappy luck, I like to lose because I wasn't good enough, not because luck wasn't on my side!
Overall, I think The Great Whale Road shows a lot of promise. If you want to support the dev from the off go grab it now, but honestly I'd advise waiting for maybe the next update when hopefully the game will have fixed some of these issues.