Player Comments on The Liar
A quite good first endeavor into writing IF that shows a lot of promise.
For example, I enjoyed the wide variety of paths, mainly that it ranged from being a slaver to being forced into slavery yourself. Also, the writing itself is quite solid.
My main points of feedback would be how (and now I am going to quote the contest thread) to add more meat on these bones. For example, as it stands, the slaver path feels like an amputated stump of what it is supposed to be, a clear sacrifice you've made to finish it on time.
But from the start, I felt that large sections of the story were also extremely zoomed out, lacking the immediacy and description required to ground the perspective. Moreover, there were a lot of things briefly mentioned and forgotten again. While you shouldn't blindly follow the thought behind Chekhov's gun, it does illustrate that simply throwing everything at the reader without it being in some way relevant to the story throws him off. Now I do get this sounds as vague as what I am trying to give feedback on.
So let me give some example questions I was left with after quickly rereading a branch. What happened in those three years between choosing to go back home and arriving? Why did you want to go back home? What kind of being was Hart, and why did he age so rapidly, handing his legacy over to you? Who are the others that he trained? What happened in those three months that completely broke you and your brethren to immediately charge your fellow humans and continue to die for the orcs? What kind of war is it? How did orcs get so huge they are wielding entire armies? What kind of kingdom are we fighting against?
While not all questions should be completely answered, the hinting and description that start to answer them do let the plot shine.
on 2/2/2021 1:49:29 PM with a score of 0
It's an ok story, and was good enough that I read it through. I'm a little hard-pressed to say it was a good story overall, but it's certainly good for a first attempt and I'd suggest considering some of the following thoughts in case they help with the next. I know the author wanted to write more, so probably given enough time, the story would've had more polish.
It looked like the story was going to circle back to Hart's death since it seemed mysterious, but never did. The main character didn't have many thoughts revealed in the story, so when they said they weren't averse to slavery, rape and murder in a job, it caught me by surprise. They were a former homeowner in a steady town and the journey with Hart didn't include any details to make me think they'd have such a mindset.
The writing itself was a bit sloppy specifically with tense shifting and comma splices, sometimes causing me to re-read things. I'd suggest a little bit more editing and maybe a quick review of Gower's writing article. I guess the largest problem is curt story details. Many deaths and events are afforded very brief descriptions. Another small point: the "time passes..." links would have me think years are passing by, though I believe one of them was only 2 or 3 days.
I look forward to seeing how you'll improve and future stories you write. :)
on 1/30/2021 12:18:58 AM with a score of 0
I read this story after reading your reflection on the forums, so I'll keep that in mind for this review.
The writing itself wasn't bad at all, and it definitely kept up a fitting tone. Hart's stories are written in a way that makes the reader feel adventurous. The rest of the story is in a darker tone. The biggest issue with the writing is that there are random tense changes that really disrupt the flow of the writing. Something will flip from present to past-tense, and in a few cases this happens from sentence to sentence. This is something you should really proofread for, and make sure that you know which tense you want to write in.
Onto the story itself, so beware of spoilers:
There's a serious disconnect between the "Liar" and the rest of the story. He gives you this inspiration, and there's nothing that really fits it. He also turns out to be some weird entity that's not human, and gives you some cryptic words/advice that's never elaborated upon. This is something that I feel should've been removed, because it's clearly something you wanted as a plot point that gets elaborated on in a longer story, but you ran out of time to write about it here. If Hart had just been a delusional bard, it would make more sense with the rest of the plot.
I also couldn't find any "satisfying" ending. I know it's a Dark Fantasy story, but nonetheless, just dying shouldn't be the end of the story. There's no way you can follow in Hart's footsteps, and I don't think coming back to this village even makes sense for the story. Almost every path you take ends with death, and the one path I found that doesn't end with death ends with a really uncharacteristic "and you live detached from society forever". I think that part of this issue is that no matter what thread you pick, there's not much of a plot there. You can become a slaver, or try to fight slavers. There's no real depth here, it doesn't connect with the beginning at all (in my opinion) There's also this weird disconnect between different arcs on your combat skills that you learned from Hart. On one page you impress everyone with your expert swordsmanship, but on another you get defeated by the same guard captain that you impress in the other arc.
I'm sorry that this is getting kind of rambling, because this story isn't bad. I just feel like the beginning and the rest of the story are two different stories. You should be adventuring through the dark world, slowly getting weathered down by the evils of men that Hart described, instead of just sitting in the same village that you started in. There are different messages that each of those ideas can carry, and each of those stories can be good, but as it stands, it's neither of those. I know you were rushed because this is a contest entry, so I would suggest you rewrite this story, because the foundation is really solid! You also actually finished a story, so good on you for not being banished to the Shame Pit.
on 1/29/2021 12:14:27 PM with a score of 0
There were some punctuation errors, but the story was good and there was more than I expected here from looking at the word count, and quite a bit of branching.
Being sold to the orcs was interesting, but I'd have liked to see more detail in how they gave you and the others Stockholm Syndrome so easily.
on 3/2/2021 8:52:17 PM with a score of 0
Well, this is interesting. What’s here is written with plenty of care and detail. I mean this in the way that characters are described, and how events do play out. So for that reason, this story is one that I found myself thinking of positively when my eyes had reached the end-game page.
I can’t however, help but think that there’s a bit of potential that’s been left at the floor. In the path in which there seems to be a great battle that’s going to take place, there’s not much in terms of surviving it very long. But I suppose one could call it artistic in a way. You’re a common soldier, maybe even less so as you’re told that you’re expendable, and that suddenly becoming a hero on the battlefield isn’t really expected.
So when I saw that, I simply took a quiet peaceful life with no drama or action to be had. It wasn’t a choice I really regretted, although part of me was hoping that there was more incentive and ways that the story could pull me back into it to make me regret.
I wouldn’t mind a story with longer branching to be had, but for a first effort, this is certainly not a bad story-game by any means.
on 2/16/2021 4:11:48 PM with a score of 0
— gkhj on 2/10/2021 4:19:20 PM with a score of 0
This was an odd one. The first two pages were interesting, but as it progressed the story started to shift towards the ending you eventually receive. Interesting and odd, yet cool.
on 1/30/2021 7:01:54 PM with a score of 0
While the plot didn't feel neatly placed together, the writing itself kept me reading. A few constructive comments:
-If a character is named Hart, you should probably avoid naming one of the next characters you meet as Bart. Dave felt a little out of place for the fantasy setting too.
-Note which adverbs you are using. In the miller path, "gingerly" is used to describe your movement two pages in a row.
-The phrase "dripping with derision" stuck out to me as something an edgy teen would say on open night mic at the local freeform poetry club. It's over the top, in my opinion.
Not a bad first showing. Congrats on surviving your first contest. It only gets better from here.
on 1/30/2021 11:22:56 AM with a score of 0
[This review contains minor spoilers]
There were defintely things I liked about this game. For example, I thought the opening of the game was certainly interesting and well written. The characters are given their own voices and personalities. There are also multiple endings.
However, I think that the choice and consequence side was a bit lacking. For example, I was really hoping for an oppertunity to take the job at the end, then betray the miller at the last moment, or something along those lines, rather than just a simple "agree/disagree" choice. I think at the very least, it would have helped this game to have the option to be a bit more treacherous to some of the less savoury characters. 5/8
on 1/29/2021 9:27:45 AM with a score of 0