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Proteus Effect

Rook's Story feels unfinished to me.

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I picked up Griftlands on monday and I've been engrossing myself every since. This game is a satisfying mix of great deck building card battlers, rogue-like challenge courses, and a Telltale-esque consequence driven adventures. I love the art style and evolving character arcs of both the main characters and their interactions with the supporting cast of a story. 

Sal's revenge story felt maybe a little straightforward, but Kashio was strong and in charge in the first day of the story, and her menacing aura just begged me to want to punch her in the face. It was also a blast to watch Fssh's and Sal's relationship blossom, and both Oolo and Nadan have some surprising depth. All in all, there was a lot of brilliant dialog making these characters come to life. Even if the plot was a little flat to begin with, the tension rose steadily through the game and the climactic fight with Kashio was satisfying and cathartic. The game is probably a little easy for a rogue-like, but it makes the story flow better so I'll forgive that aspect. 

Whatever problems there may be in Sal's opening are not there in Rook's. His story is oozing with tension from the first step into the Grout Bog on. The ensuing cat and mouse game that you play through is a video game masterpiece (except the parasites, the game would honestly be better without them). Each quest provides a conflicting moral dilemma of people in a desperate struggle for a better life (or to keep their better life), and that's multiplied by your double agent persona which can explore many different options each quest. Do you murder and sabotage? Do you try to keep your hands clean? The first three days of the story are jam-packed with intrigue and shameless fun. 

From there the story stumbles over itself a bit. In weird maneuver, one of the leaders (depending on a couple things), after initially blowing off the intel, decides they want to spontaneously trudge through the bog towards the "secret macguffin" that the boggers have. The leader is there with you but doesn't do anything. I think this was supposed to be a Sopranos style "take Sal out on the boat" kind of scene, but there's just maybe some dialogue missing to get that point and it doesn't come off that way at all.

After a couple easy battles and uninteresting side missions, the tension in this scene has completely fallen flat. In a just as rushed and uninspired moment, the other leader shows up and you fight one of them. Neither leader here is particularly interesting to fight. They both feel like throw away mobs. Then, after you murdered their enemy, the leader you chose to side with questions you and you either go in there with them or you kill them too. 

The game rewards you for suffering through this bit of contrived storytelling with a last Boss that is a return to form and honestly a blast. It doesn't really make sense that this should be the logical end of his story, but it's a very satisfying deck-building challenge.

Conclusion:

I just think there's a lack of payout with the time you spend working between the two factions to just force an "off the map" conclusion like this. I guess that the coded messages that Rook was receiving was supposed to represent the main point of the campaign, and that both Fellemo and Kalandra were being used, but it's hard to care about a faceless unknown messenger. The Rise and the Spark Barons are the primary ventures invested in and the last boss should be a representation of that investment. The boggers feel like a distraction at best.  

A Few Simple Suggestions;

- The person you take into the bog should always be the one you've screwed over more. While you're in the bog, that person should accuse you of being a backstabber while you're surrounded by enemies, instead of after you finished their dirty work. 

- Before you head out to the swamp with the disfavored leader, you should have a chat with the favored leader. That person should tell you to follow them into the swamp and that they're going to ambush them later. 

A More Complicated One;

- I really think you could do to add a 5th day. IMO, Instead of the conclusion happening before the bog temple, the favored leader comes in after you fight the bog monster and betrays you, stealing the macguffin to either liberate the bog (Kalandra) or control it (Fellemo). Rook would pass out and wake up in the bogger village. There'd be a few quests and then he'd make his way back to the bog to finish the mess he started. 

 

 

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Khorvic    2

After some runs I feel that the shovel is vastly inferior to the List of Names. Is it just me?

It was also a huge confusion when I couldn't refuse to work for the first leader I visited. I just wanted to hear both out but currently the game doesn't allow you to. Of course, later that becomes irrelevant, but still it feels not in sync with the rest of the game.

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pacovf    915

Funny thing, I think the Shovel is vastly better than Blacklist, unless the latter has been buffed while I wasn’t looking.

I was also meh about not being able to back out of helping one or the other leader after talking to them for the first time (unlike the first mission of D2). You’re right that ultimately it doesn’t really matter.

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I think both are amazing imo. I think the shovel is better because the combo of having Stem and Blacklist can really make your negotiation deck heavy early on, where-as the shovel costs 1 and has amazing results from the get-go. By the end of game, blacklist is hitting people for 20-30 and it's still a powerhouse though. 

If you take Blacklist, remove the negotiation parasite first health upgrade you find.

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