I got this game, mostly as a piece of weird internet history, and because what I saw online of it made me curious. Also out of some amount of worry that eventually its creator will decide to remove it from all distribution platforms for one reason or another, saying it was only ever meant to be a limited exclusive to True Believers or something.
Various issues and weirdness:
I don't know why he thought it was a good idea to loop sound effects during combat. I know Wizardry did some of that too, but it was more subtle/less annoying. Really don't want to hear the bandits yell "aye-dee-dee-die-derolllll" for the hundredth time. If you want to see what I mean go to half an hour in on this video (not mine).
Adjusting the volume appears to modify your actual Windows main volume, which has got to be some kind of primary software design sin. It also won't remember what it was set to last time the game was launched, so you have to fiddle with it every time if you don't want it to be ear-splitting.
The whole game hitches every time the MIDI music loops. Total freeze of maybe 3-8 frames. I remember this was a problem with early versions of Game Maker, which was why I avoided learning and developing on that platform, since at the time the only option for music was MIDI. Makes me wonder if this game was made with Game Maker circa year 2000.
The game seems to want to empty your entire keyboard input buffer no matter what. If you hold down A or D for a second or two, you'll be spinning in place for a REALLY long time.
When prompted to type, all letters are capitalized, and if you don't remember this and hold shift to capitalize, various letters are skipped entirely. Even when typing someone's proper name, which was represented in text with capitals and lowercase, you need to type it all lowercase (which is then automatically uppercase).
Lots of bizarre little quirks of the engine. If you tab out and do something else and go back, your mouse pointer remains drawn where it was when you tabbed out, and it's not even necessarily cleared when something else is drawn over it, graphic still there when the pop-up closes. And I've constantly got the wrong pointer showing up, hit F5 to get to the save menu and the mouse pointer is stuck as a navigational "back" arrow, and I have to click with the tip of the back of the arrow. That's one thing that I can't believe was deemed acceptable to be left in the release of a game in progress for 20 years. It happens constantly and is a big annoyance until you learn what part of the modified pointer you can click with. I guess it's something you get so used to as normal slightly buggy behavior that you learn to ignore it and forget that first time players are going to struggle.
The interface is impenetrable at first, but you eventually figure out how the game wants you to click on things...can't click the magnifying glass and then the item, you have to pick up the item and then click on the magnifying glass to see stats. But if you want a visual description of an item you need to drag it to the eyeball icon instead.
Every character has a "food" meter but food is not implemented. Apparently it's an old system he thought about including but (wisely) decided against, but kept the meter in to re-use for something else down the line. Just sitting there on the interface not doing anything right now.
There's a lot of behavior that I feel like can't possibly have been intended. Right at the start in the sanctuary is a training computer that can train any of your characters in one of 3 skills, some of which are unique and can't be started out with. I expected this to be a one-time thing, choose the skill and character wisely, but all of your characters can do this over and over again and get to 12 in each skill, and there appears to be no downside to doing this.
Also if you have a bard, you can also get in a fight with one enemy, have your bard "fight" using his starting instrument, and have everyone else hide. Repeat for as long as you like to have the enemy locked in sleep and everyone else training stealth. At the very start of the game you can easily get everyone maxed to level 100 stealth and your bard maxed with 100 music.
And then there's the Little Rosy character you can recruit at the beginning of the game that starts at level 2 with high stats and 30-60 in ALL SKILLS when your own characters are scraping by with 5-10 in a handful of them. She joins you happily and willingly and she's basically a god-tank even though she's a little fairy caster. I can't imagine handing players a character like that and considering the early game balanced.
In spite of all this...the game is pretty good. It's extremely Wizardry 6/7 in so many ways. Down to details like choosing a spell's power by clicking on a die. Or the bard being crazy OP early on with their infinite sleep ability. The writing is good, and has that Wizardry style mix of serious fantasy and absurdity. Lockpicking riddles are great. Atmosphere is nice, bits and pieces of lore all over to discover. There aren't long expanses of nothing, from what I've seen so far, it's pretty packed of stuff to discover.
Originally Posted by Wok
Cleve apologized. Unbelievable.
I don't believe that last bit at all. Things have been broken several times already and I'd hate to get 300 hours into a 600 hour game only to have my saves broken or corrupted. I mean in its earliest updates, he went to fix several minor issues and ended up causing encounters to happen every single step, and then patched that so they happened practically never. If I keep playing I'm probably going to be sticking with version 220.127.116.11, warts and all (the "no encounters" release, but you can still trigger them any time by resting).