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8 Stars IFReview Rating Vespers

IFReviewed by James Mitchelhi on 2006-10-16 05:33 

Game Profile

Author
Jason Devlin

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Inform6

Release Year
2005

IFR Overall Rating
8 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator

I have few notes for this game. The reason for this is not that there was nothing worth noting, but that I was having far too much fun to bother. My initial hopes were high after reading the ABOUT text. This game had betatesters and there were no obvious errors in the introduction. And it seemed as if there was going to be a story line. I was right to have high hopes. This game is the best I've played yet.

The writing is excellent and conveys the sense of isolation and incipient madness flawlessly. The way that descriptions change throughout the game is very nicely done. The implementation is mostly well done, although there are one or two places where it could have been better (the commands necessary for riding the horse are one example, the verb used for killing Ignatius in the cellar is another), more seriously I completely missed the prybar, but I'd already looked at the walkthrough to find out how to trip the intruder, so I knew it was there. Oh, and searching Droggo after he's dead leads to him swatting your hand away.

These are fairly minor complaints though. Other authors could learn a lot. Every room is necessary. The conversation system is appropriate for the game. This is how to put depth into IF.

I was impressed to find out there are multiple endings. I didn't have time to go back and see them after I'd completed the game (I got the "evil" ending, which was nice). I'm assuming that the hints change based upon this.

One slight problem is the risk of instadeath in places, but this is a design issue and the appropriate player response is to type "undo" and try again. I'm not convinced this is an entirely successful technique, but it works to an extent I suppose.

One point deducted for the bugs, one point deducted for the reliance on undo. Giving Vespers a grand total of 8 points and congratulations to the author for producing a quality piece of work.

Vespers Awards

    1st place on the 2005 Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (11th Edition).
    1st place Miss Congeniality on the 2005 Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (11th Edition).
    Best Game on the 2005 Xyzzy Awards.
    Best Writing on the 2005 Xyzzy Awards.
    Best Setting on the 2005 Xyzzy Awards.
    Best NPCs on the 2005 Xyzzy Awards.

James Mitchelhi Profile

IFReviewer Rating
3 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

Name James Mitchelhi
Gender Male

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