Player Comments on Arakhan's Vengeance
I enjoyed playing Arakhan’s Vengeance. While it had less focus on storytelling, it was supported by great choices, interesting paths, and fun puzzles. It was clear that careful thought was placed into the choices. I liked how your character could branch off into different paths (the death scene with the children and playing cards made me laugh), and I will definitely replay the game for different endings. I also enjoyed how picking up items opened new choices. The world felt well-planned. The story had great grammar and spelling. Although it had quite a few punctuation errors, it didn’t take away the enjoyment. However, one aspect of the game that I felt needed improvement was the writing.
The dialogue was fine. Sometimes, it felt unrealistic (mostly Arakhan’s lines felt very forced). There was good dialogue though, such as Joad’s and Riker’s parts. You did a good job at showing some people’s personalities through their lines, and I felt like you thought about their characters. I liked how you added bits of humor (an example being the bar scene when you hug your right-hand man).
Meanwhile, the writing was simple and got its point across. There were a few somewhat immersive scenes with good descriptions, such as when Arakhan entered the town, saw the destruction, and smelled blood. However, for the most part, I felt that the matter-of-fact description held the story back and caused it to feel bare. It seemed that you often did more telling than showing which made it hard to empathize/connect with Arakhan. I felt like I didn't really get to know him.
For example, when the official messenger told Arakhan what happened to Lyestra, it was meant to be a horrifying moment, but it honestly didn't feel very serious. I felt that more vivid descriptions and a deeper focus on emotions/senses could have enhanced the suspense and tragedy of the news. An example of how it might go is:
. . . at that moment, a (young/old/dark-haired/light-haired) man comes hurtling through the bushes, his (color) cape flying behind him. He stumbles, (color) eyes widening at the sight of you.
You freeze. Your hand falls from your sword. “Adonis?”
“Arakhan!” the man cries, lunging forward and clinging onto your arms. “Thank the gods I’ve found you!” His legs suddenly buckle.
You stumble back from his weight and grab his thin shoulders. “Hey, careful!” you snap.
He trembles against you. Sweat runs down his (pale/tan/dark) skin as he pants, mouth struggling to form words.
“Calm down,” you order, slowly releasing him. “Breathe.”
As Adonis bends over and sucks air into his lungs, questions explode through your mind. Adonis is the official messenger of Lyestra, so it’s not unusual for him to travel around (etc. This is where you can add some background to him, showing why it’s unusual for him to be far out in the woods. For example, where is his horse? Is he dressed appropriately? What does he look like?) He lifts his arm and wipes his forehead against his sleeve. A dark splash of red grabs your attention. You snatch his wrist and stare at the blood seeping through his (insert color) shirt. (END OF EXAMPLE)
In addition, you frequently wrote “you feel/hear/see” or “it appears”, and I felt that it could have been changed so the story feels more immersive. For example, rather than “You feel your heart sink/You feel his hatred wash over you like the tide/He appears to have sustained a nasty cut along his bicep”, it could be, “Your heart sinks/His hatred crashes over you like a tide/Dark blood oozes out from a deep, jagged cut on his bicep.” Or instead of “You are suddenly interrupted by an incredible crashing sound coming from behind you”, it could be:
“Actually, Lodan, about that—”
A sudden crash erupts behind you. (end of example)
At times, I noticed you repeated yourself and could have been more concise. Here are several examples. The first one is when you’re describing the search for goblins. You wrote, “However, you told them you would like to make one last sweep of the area before you return home. You and your men have split up to search the area for any sign of the goblins. You are on your own, in a dense area of the woods. You are searching for any sign that the goblins were here.” I felt like it could have been condensed to: “However, you told them you would like to make one last sweep of the area before you return home, so you have all split up to search for signs of goblins. You are on your own in a dense area of the woods.”
Another example is the description of an arrowhead, which I felt that could’ve been written with fewer sentences. You also kept repeating the word “arrowhead.” I felt that it could have been shortened to something like: “As you stare at the tree, you notice something that had escaped your search before. There is an arrowhead embedded in the trunk of the tree. Someone has snapped off the shaft. You yank it out and notice a small, white feather attached to it. You pull it off and spot a strange symbol painted on it, something you have never seen before. It’s a red, two-headed cobra that fills you with dread.”
Overall, I loved reading the story. I enjoyed the various paths and puzzles, and you clearly worked hard on the choices. Like I said before, I’ll be replaying the story. I only wish it was longer because for how well-planned your world and characters were, the length seemed surprisingly short, like a mini adventure. I felt that the story’s main weakness was the writing. I thought a deeper focus on emotion/the five senses and more detailed descriptions would help the story feel more immersive. I hope you continue writing and submitting more games, and I wish you all the best!
on 4/4/2019 2:12:29 PM with a score of 0
This was a pleasant read; a well-thought out background but with a simple enough storyline to follow. As a matter of fact, the style of this CYOA was more game-like than story-like, with puzzles, little easter eggs and a certain lighthearted tone.
The technical side of your writing was alright; you made very few grammar mistakes and the pace of the story held out well, going straight to the point with very few descriptions. The dialogue was nothing extraordinary but it wasn't bad either. Just a really minor aesthetic bug: the page of Arakhan's return to town appears to be all highlighted in pink if you come back alone from the forest.
One thing I enjoyed about this storygame in particular was its high replayability,and not in the common sense of choosing another path but in that to solve a puzzle or get a certain ending you have to use info from previous gameplays (e.g. the potion to remember the golden box combination). It really makes for an explorable game experience, within its own narrow story borders of course.
The storyline itself was a bit typical although well structured. As Will said, Arakhan wasn't the best guard captain and Larcassio had some caricature-cartoon villain moments, but I didn't struggle to suspend my disbelief for that. I particularly liked the lore, characters and settings in the game; the background, in short. The references to your previous game and to LOTR in the library were funny little snippets, and so were the one-liners spread here and there throughout the story. The tone of the narrative itself, as I already mentioned, was pretty lighthearted and knew how to draw from established character types and situations to quickly convey the story. As a former fencer I also really appreciated the duel with Larcassio, even though I admittedly never used a couple of those parries in my life (it depends on the weapon I guess). It's rare to see real fencing terminology implemented in the combat system of a storygame.
I must say that when I first played through I was a little disappointed by the ending, which left much undiscovered. Then of course I found out the rest when I played again; as I said that's something that I actually liked about this game and it's probably also more realistic. Just keep in mind that people who only bother to play once may not be completely satisfied by what they get, given the imbalance in info acquired between two of the endings and the other three.
Another thing that I feel like pointing out is that the adventure looks a little short-lived compared to the world you have created. The actions and puzzles you can go through help expand the game time, but it gave me the impression of being an adventure chapter of a possibly bigger saga (not necessarily with these same characters). Not to take anything away from your story, I much prefer a well-written medium-lenght adventure than a giant epic that spiralled away from its author; it's just that I think this world you've created has some potential and I wouldn't mind reading another story set in it.
To sum it up, good storygame with a nice paths and puzzle dynamic, not overachieving but well made. I hope to read something else by you in the future.
on 2/19/2019 4:24:56 PM with a score of 0
I really enjoyed that.
The story was well-written and interesting with almost no errors, it was interesting and funny and had some nice variety in the endings. Having said that I don't think Arakhan is very good at his job. Warning: Contains Spoiler Alerts
First he goes wandering off and in his absence the village he is supposed to be protecting is destroyed and the people massacre. Then he splits up his men, sending each of them alone into really dangerous-sounding places. Next he lets the first survivor he encounters (Adonis) go wandering off unprotected on his own even though there is a large army of murderous goblins in the area. Then he manages to lose the key he needs to get out of the village (even though both the goblins and Arakhan himself seemed to have no problem getting into the village, Arakhan having gotten in literally five minutes before), it later transpires he left it with his local barman, presumably after a night of heavy drinking (he also gambles with children in a bar, showing a more relaxed attitude than our modern day law enforcement members). Even his own people don't seem overly-inspired, Joad cheerfully refers to him as "useless and stupid" and "an idiot".
I only point these things out not as a criticism but because they amused me, in fact the whole story was very entertaining, I found the card games and the fencing fight with Larcassion extremely good and the "safety inspection of a siege tower" story hilarious (I also enjoyed the barman's description of the massacre of the majority of his customers as "overkill to the most extreme degree". The characters were particularly well-presented and interesting enough that they could appear in a sequel.
While I have a few minor quibbles (would Larcassion really have paused for a riddling competition at such an inappropriate time?) I found this story very enjoyable and well-written, albeit a little generic in places so I gave it 7/8. I would love to see a sequel or another story with the same sort of setting and characters :)
on 2/19/2019 12:31:21 AM with a score of 0
Super fun. Love these story games.
-- Huckleberry R. Palmer on 8/24/2020 3:01:42 PM with a score of 0
This was really good! I was hooked from the first moment.
To truly enjoy this game, you have to gather as much information as you can, and I loved the puzzles as well! Even the few that I used trial and error for had a key (which I usually figured out right after cheating my way through it, oops). Either way, this is one of the best games I've played!
-- Lia on 5/4/2020 6:55:06 PM with a score of 0
Arakhan's Vengeance was a simple story about a man seeking revenge on the people who attacked his village. Pretty cliche in the setup and story, but overall I really liked the elements in the game. The foreshadowing, the puzzles, riddles, and the way the fight with Larcassio played out nicely. Some of the choices I made feel like they didn't have an impact on the story, or I couldn't see their impact but saving Lodan in the caves or getting the coin from beating the kid in bar seemingly didn't influence the game in any way I could tell. I guess it was random. The ending felt a little bit anticlimactic, but I guess I didn't get the true/good ending. Wish all of the endings wrapped up nicely and were rewarding. Overall a good read.
on 1/10/2020 5:21:57 AM with a score of 0
Finally got to the true ending. Took me several months since I kept getting bored and/or frustrated. I think it’s accurate to say that this game is only slightly more fun than homework. 4/8
on 8/6/2019 4:21:21 AM with a score of 0
I enjoyed this game. I think you did a very good job with foreshadowing, specifically in the library. The potion puzzle was well thought out, not too difficult to be enjoyable or too easy to be trivial. Some parts were only really winnable if you went back a lot, like the duel with the goblin commander, though even that wasn't random and so was somewhat learnable. I think if there had been more duels I would've been better the second time. The part where you pressed symbols to get into the library was completely random though, which I didn't care for. Overall I think this is a good story, and I enjoyed reading it.
-- Zealot on 2/19/2019 10:58:37 AM with a score of 0