Sunday, September 4, 2011

Review: Heart of the South I - Kaer Mulden

What is her deal?
My Vote: 8 (Fair, solid yet unremarkable...but with a lot of potential)
My character: lv. 1 fighter, did not reach level 2 by end.

I'm a sucker for anything Planescape.  Or even planescapeish.  This module, while not set in the planes or the City of Doors, and while never referencing the Lady of Pain, does a great job in the early goings of evoking the feel of Planescape: Torment.  Flaws and all, P:T is still among the better games I've ever played, and from a story and atmosphere standpoint is second to none.  You begin this module with absolutely nothing, and all the equipment and supplies you find throughout the adventure are below the quality of what you typically start with as a NWN1 character.  There are quirky characters who seem to want nothing more than to manipulate you for their own sick larks, there is poverty, and there is a feeling of desperation in this module that is difficult to experience.

Unfortunately, beyond the atmosphere, the execution is poor.  The story is very open ended, which is fine.  But it does lead to one feeling rather lost at times, and while exploring randomly I happened upon a key event in the module that lead to what would be the next chapter.  Combat is extremely difficult, and pretty frequent, so I have no idea why it's rated as combat light in the description.  My fighter was hopelessly outclassed, and I ended up using a spoiler to figure out how to get a henchman to proceed in the module.  Even then, I ended up dying frequently.  In desperation, I started respawning...and discovered that there is no penalty for it.  So, I ended up respawning every other encounter until I finally finished the thing.  It was ridiculous.  I think a dex-oriented fighter type might do ok here (?), but otherwise I'd recommend starting around level 3 or so.

It felt like the author had a very clear vision for the world he wanted to create.  But when it came to the actual module, it just didn't come together.  The story is mostly non-existent, combat is way over the top, and you never have the slightest clue as to what is going on.  I enjoyed some aspects of this module, but I can't give it a solid recommendation.

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