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Pros and Cons of Bone

posted by Anonymous on - last edited - Viewed by 5K users
I thought it would be a good idea to write what we liked about Bone..and what we didn't like..

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    I actually thought Ben was good in both design and voice, but Thorn is horrible in both. Yeah, the fact that she's one of the less cartoony-looking characters obviously makes things hard, but her current design and animation are horrible. The face looks downright creepy, and every animation is really stilted (I winced every time she got a closeup during the dinner conversation). She needs to be given a new model in future episodes.

    As for voices, they were mostly better than I thought they would be. The ones that don't need improving at all are Smiley, Phoney, Ted, the Dragon, the Rat Creatures and Kingdok, and one of the possums (The one with a voice somewhere in the middle; the other two have a deeper and lighter voice, and both were annoying.). Ted's Brother and Ben have fitting voices, but sounded kind of lifeless. Fone and Thorn, on the other hand, just sound terrible. This is VERY bad considering that they're the two central characters. I got used to the sound of Fone's voice over time, but he doesn't sound just sort of lifeless; he barely has any emotion at all. Compare that to the comics, where he's bursting with curiousity and energy. Thorn also has a weird-sounding voice and a lack of emotion in her acting that, when combined with the model complaints mentioned above, completely ruins her character compared to the comic. I vote that the current voice for the female characters continues to play Ben, but when you get enough money you should hire a new girl for Thorn. Fone's voice actor should either be assigned to a future character or just plain replaced.

    Concerning minigames, I enjoyed the one with Ted and the rat creature chase. The locust chase wasn't challenging at all, and both possum games felt like a chore.

    So what DID I like? Quite a bit, actually. The animation on characters besides Thorn is for the most part really good, particularly the Bones in the opening and closing sequences. Also, the second half of the game, starting from where you get to the farm, is a lot more fun than the first. The puzzles actually take a little thinking, and things aren't as spoon-fed and linear. Being able to decide what chore to do first for Fone is a nice touch (I don't know if you can decide what to do first for Phoney), and I'd like it if future installments let you decide what order to do things in. Really, as mentioned, the game needs more freedom; look at classic adventure games. You're able to look at the scenery and get funny comments about it from your character. It may not sound like much, but it really adds to the atmosphere.

    I also think the "dialogue tree" idea shows a lot of promise, judging by the dinner conversation. I can't think of a good way to expand upon it, so keep on trying new stuff with it. (I might as well mention, though, that I ended up hearing some conversations twice by selecting certain questions. This was kind of annoying.)

    And if you want us to report graphical glitches, I encountered two: When Fone falls off the cliff at the beginning, instead of a smooth fall down, his model ran down diagonally through the cliff to a certain point in the air, got in the falling position, flew back up, then fell back down. Also, when I selected the yawn option in the dinner, Fone's silverware continued to move as if he was holding it, even though he was leaning back with his arms outstretched.

    I have faith in you guys, and I did get a lot of enjoyment out of this. But a lot of other people are bashing this game to hell, and stuff does need to be worked on in order for future installments to get a warmer reception. If this means delays, so be it. Just work out the kinks. I'll be there to the end to support you guys and your products.

    6/10 (Would be a 7 if not for the voice and graphical problems)
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    So I sit down and start playing the short Bone demo yesterday, and as soon as I finish I buy the thing. Sure, the puzzles aren't as hard as some adventure games, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a real live adventure game. The world has not seen its ilk in many an age, and while Bone certainly isn't the best of the genre, it's a solid entry that in my mind really could revitalize the point and click genre.

    The dialogue system in particular was excellent, though as has been mentioned, it would be nice if some of the other characters would react to your conversation.

    Voice acting wise, I liked all the vocalizations, especially the dragon. I had to turn down the music volume a bit so I could hear him better though.

    Unfortunately, it was short. I beat it in a couple hours, and sadly the next 'issue' isn't out already. I'm fairly sure that I'll be picking up the new one when it's done.

    I think you guys did a great job, especially for your first real effort as a developer. You've got an excellent handle on the adventure genre, which is what I was hoping would be the case. Good luck on the new editions, and here's hoping that the new Sam and Max is just as good (or even better).
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    Pros: Great Fun
    Cons: Want More

    Simple, eh? I'll go into a bit more detail, but I won't be armchair designing on this one, filling the post with lots of mostly useless verbiage in an attempt to give my ramblings some sense of validity. Bearing that in mind, I'll probably just babble. Enjoy!

    The game is great, hands down. Yeah, Grandma Ben reminded me a lot of the early Sierra "talkies" when Bob, Programmer #12 would lend his voice to the dialogue. (Of course, had this been one of those early Sierra talkies, Bob's voice would have been dressed up in a thick and horrible accent in a vain attempt to mask his lack of voice talent, but that's neither here nor there.) Still, it was passable and I didn't mind it much. That's probably my biggest gripe, and it's not much.

    The animation was terrific. Back in the olden days of the adventure genre's glory days, the reward for completing any significant puzzle or plot element was a simple bit of extra animation and now we're treated to such rewards constantly, so that's a big plus. Also, the attention to the camera during cut-scenes was very much appreciated as most games don't bother with changing angles, cutting, or moving the camera in the slightest. Movies figured this out years ago, and I'm happy that TellTale is ahead of the curve on this one versus the rest of the industry.

    The art was charming and visually interesting, so that's a win as well. A bit more life could be added into the scenes without changing the flavor of the art direction by just adding a little more animation, I think. Have some of the plants and grass sway in the wind, that sort of thing.

    Now for the, well I guess there isn't any. Was is too short? Of course it was, but isn't that the case with anything good? Vacations end too quickly, great books are read through entirely too fast, etc... I guess it's that whole relativity concept I keep hearing about these days. Time flies when you're having fun, sort of thing...don't you wish it was the other way around?

    I guess you could add some more puzzles next time around and certainly more interactions; after all, the hint button is right there for people who get stuck. Challenge things up a bit, but by all means keep the puzzles logical and making sense.

    Anyway, keep up the great work and keep the games coming. I'm exceedingly happy that TellTale will be bringing us the next Sam and Max game, but I do worry a bit that development on both titles (Sam and Max and future episodes of Bone) may slow each down in coming. I wouldn't want the company to expand its employee base beyond its means just to compensate, however, so I'll wait patiently. Work hard, work well, work long if you have to - just make things great and we'll all love you.
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    Okay, I've finished it and here's my review:

    The first thing I noticed was how well-done the characters were. The models produce a believable facsimile of every character in the comic book without looking overdone. The voice-acting that accompanies the characters is consistently good.

    The atmosphere is pleasing. The objects in it are well-rendered and numerous, but not so many as to clutter the screen. However, there was a general lack of interactivity that was disappointing. In the adventure games I grew up on (namely King's Quest, Gabriel Knight, Quest for Glory) almost everything in the environment could be examined. Some things in this environment were also examinable, but not enough.

    Speaking of the environment, the puzzles were too few. There were only two traditional puzzles in the game: Fone Bone in search of water and firewood and Phoney Bone in search of turnips and apples. The other puzzles were less traditional puzzles. They were innovative and entertaining, however.

    Of these puzzles, the difficulty was, in general, too low. This may be justified by the game's "difficulty rating", however, part of what plays into difficulty is complexity. Overall, the puzzles were fairly simple and straightforward.

    This leads us to my other negative point: the game was too short. I bought it and beat it in the same afternoon. While $20 buys a shorter game, it's easily much less than half as long as the $40 adventure title of the 90s. Part of this is that there's less plot to cover. However, another part of this is that the plot is covered too strictly. You're artists, use more artistic license!

    The high-point of the vignette, for me, was the turnip/apple/water/firewood series of quests. They got me reminiscing my earlier adventure game experiences. Those kinds of puzzles serve to help tell the story, entertain players and, importantly, delay gratification. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers isn't particularly long, either, but the extensive use of puzzles prolongs the game. Frustrating? Sometimes. In general, it's fun. The first time I played Gabriel Knight I also beat it in one uninterrupted gaming stretch: a 12 hour one.

    To a certain extent, brevity is always a problem in the adventure genre. However, more, harder and more complex puzzles help solve this problem. There are many opportunities to work this into the game. The dream sequence could have been a puzzle. Further, it's okay to deviate from the story somewhat in order to add more puzzles and challenges.

    By increasing the interactivity of the world and strengthening the puzzle/challenge makeup, the core of the game can match the strong aesthetics. Bone is delivered extremely richly and is an ideal platform for an adventure experience.

    My rating: I don't give ratings. They encourage people to just skip to the end to read the rating. Yeah, people like you. YOU. The one reading this instead of the review. Get back to the top and start over, newbie.
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    I really liked it. I thought the price and length was fair for the type of game.


    I think the biggest pro is the conversation system. In my 25 years of playing adventure games, I've never seen a multicharacter conversation system work as well.

    Ofcourse the graphics, sound, and everything were good too.

    The controls automatically select what action I wanted. While I can see that this makes the game very accessable to new players, there were times where I felt the game was on auto pilot.

    I have to wait 5 months till the next episode. :(
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    Bone was okay, but it lacked quite a bit:

    1.It's too short. I finished the game in under 2 hours, which isn't quite worth the $20 charged.

    2. The game world is graphically bland. I don't expect cutting edge stuff, but Bone really borders on the unimaginative. The models and animations are done very well, but the settings feel dated to me.

    3. Too much reliance on mini games. One of the reasons why Bone is so easy are the mini games and the lack of inventory logic puzzles. There's barely any inventory usage or revisiting areas. The game world, though based on the comic, is too small.

    4. Not enough is done. The comic actually is more informative and atmospheric. Games allow us to move beyond the game world, which Bone doesn't do much of.

    I like the premise and I want to keep supporting TT both for good adventure games and the Sam & Max game. But Bone falls seriously short in terms of storytelling and adventure game mechanics.
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    What i found with bone was also kind of mixed. The good is the gameplay and the story which so far in seems to be really good. The characters are excellent especially the dragon and fone and phoney are both excellent leads for a game. Most of the graphics are excellent, solid and looks right to what it is. The music is nice too, not too distracting but making the world have a feel of it should.

    On the flip side, forcing the game in 800x600 is a crime, i can understand being indie and not having the focus on graphics, but selectable resolutions please, that low res on my monitor is an injustice to the game. Still on graphics the human characters are kind of dissapointing graphically, with noticeable defects and ridges, where the dragon for instance is smooth and solid, but at least the animation is rock solid, infact, cheery and humbling. The voice quality is the lowest point of the game, i can understand keeping the file size down but the sample rate is an abomination to the actors doing a great job behind it, maybe have a hi and low sampled versions of the voice's, your voice sources are probably of high quality.

    Anyway, its great to see the team responding to these posts and i really feel peoples view are getting heard which is another plus, im definitly going to follow this series to its finale and any other telltale adventure games, hopefully you will in the future have access/afford higher end projects, but untill then, keep up the good work guys!
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    What do you think a higher resolution would have brought to the game? None of the textures were high resolution, and with FSAA there's no aliasing.

    Realistically, all a higher resolution would get you in such a game as this is the mere knowledge that you're running in a high rez, with no real visual indication of that fact.

    In other words, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Well, unless your monitor has a really bad low rez display with scan lines and such, but let's hope not.
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    I get scanlines on 1024x768 let alone 800x600, plus the higher the resolution the clearer things will generally look, the aliasing on mine is also quite bad.

    But i suppose this is the start of a (hopefully) long road of tell tale games and so with it all taken in mind and the price point im not that botherd about it, just niggles
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    I like the characters, but there isn't enough background on some of them in the game.

    I really like how some of the 3d effects are used, especially with panning around. The walk along the dark cliff was interesting.

    Inventory is a little off, there doesn't seem to be a way to use inventory items on one another. But it's simplistic and fun regardless.


    Introduction was a little confusing, I've never read boneville so it was all new to me, but I got quickly over it.

    Worst part:
    Activation system for the game. A nightmare for me. I got in once, and played most of the way through. Now it thinks its a demo again. Attempted to reactivate with the user/pass and now it thinks my hardware is different. God forbid I would want to take it on a laptop on a trip. Please come up with a better way to release the content. The way it is now about kills it for me.
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