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Pros and Cons of Bone

posted by Anonymous on - last edited - Viewed by 5.1K 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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    Well, Syberia and Syberia 2 attracted many female players, and these games were not easy. They were really adventure games, with objects to pick up, combine and use. Bone, as someone said it is more a semi-interactive fiction than an adventure game. I was expecting a LucasArts-style adventure game, and I guess I was expecting too much :( .
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    Syberia 2 was slightly more difficult than Syberia 1, but they artificially stretched the game by putting in more boring machinery-based puzzles (which I don't like).
    I don't think that the puzzles in Syberia 1 were so much harder than Bone's ones.
    The problem is that Syberia gives the player more freedom of movement and many locations, scattering the necessary objects through them, whereas too often Bone gives you the items and/or infos you need ALL IN THE SAME LOCATION. Sometimes the game even blocks you from getting back to previous locations.
    I don't want harder puzzles, I want more freedom and interactivity! I like mini-games, because they are a clever way to avoid inventory-based puzzles (when these could feel forced in the flow of the story) and they don't require action skills. The "escaping from the rat creatures" puzzle/minigame was brilliant and felt totally story-based, which is the real MAIN quality of a Lucasarts adventure game.
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    You’re right about the minigames in LEC games. My favorite being the insult sword fighting.
    As you said, a game with 100% inventory puzzles would be boring. But take the spitting contest in MI2 : It is a mini game, but you need some thinking in order to succeed, and you need some stuff you pick up in other locations. This adds to the interest of the game and makes it last longer. I remember when I was about 14 and playing the LEC adventure games, I used to get stuck days at puzzles. We were several friends playing, and at school we were talking about our discoveries, like “I’ve found a way to spit at a longer distance, but it is still not enough” etc. And when you were stuck, you still had a big area you could visit, and spend time talking with the many NPC (trying all the stupid lines of dialogue), those were the best moment of the games.
    Unfortunately, you cannot do that with bone, because
    1) you are never stuck for a long time due to the low difficulty of puzzles
    2) But if you are, you can not spend time traveling around and talking with the NPC, because your liberty is limited to a very small area. That is why I agree with the term semi-interactive fiction to describe Bone. I liked it, though, but was a little bit deceived.
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    Hi all,

    Just wanted to share my experience with you after completing the first Bone game from Telltale.

    First of all, thanks to the staff at Telltale for getting this game out so quickly! Anyways, here are my impressions.

    General Pros
    The Bone license is great.
    Good, wholesome family fun.
    No blood, guts or twitchy action sequences (except for the locust/rat monster sequences).

    Specific Pros
    Ted minigame - lots of fun, i need to go back and play that one.
    Bone expressions - the little eyebrows are great
    Voice acting and artwork - scenery and most characters really got me into the game.

    Specific Cons
    Thorn character model felt incomplete - could be because of limited room for more complex textures?

    The dinner table conversation made me YAWN...Thorn's responses just felt really flat.

    Running sequence minigame - whew, that was a bummer - the control
    scheme was rough - i wanted to throw my mouse across the room! please allow control with a keyboard in the future :-)

    length/price ratio - more puzzles please, more ted like minigames - I just put down a 20 dollar bill, please give me a 5-7 hour game. OR, give me a chance to buy a bunch of episodes for a slight discount.

    Overall, I think Telltale has done a good job with this first release. My expectations for part 2 are much higher now. I've noticed that the staff is reading and responding to many of the comments. I hope many of the criticisms will be addressed before the next Bone game is released.

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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.

    I think Gran'ma Ben's voice wasn't good. She didn't scream once! I always imagined her like the little old lady in Tweety Bird cartoons, that starts going crazy on Sylvester as soon as she finds out the wrong-doings..!! There was no cool shot of Gran'ma Ben fighting the rat creatures, screaming at the top of her lungs...!

    I really hope Lucius is going to be cool.

    I really hope you bring more character cards out for each new game to promote the new people ... or just after release ( to promote demo downloads) so that you don't give away the characters before if you don't want to to. People could choose to play the new Throw Me A Bone game or just play the game and find out the new characters that way.

    I REALLY didn't like Thorn much at all. She looked funny, not as intelligent as I thought - her face was funny.

    Also the voice acting was way too Texan ...

    She needs a clear, eloquent accent .. not so nasally!! She is a someone very special after all *read the book!!* .. she sounded way too much like Gran'ma Ben - to the voice actor, nothing personal, but I want someone else!!!!! I know it's the same person btw. Gran'ma Ben didn't sound...'crotchety' at all.. 'crabby'.. I don't know the word. Just not OLD enough really!! Need a smoker's voice, or something...
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    Although the game itself was beautiful, there are quite a few things I didn't like.

    The episode was too damn short. Most of the puzzles were too easy and obvious. The running... ugh, the running. The running could have been summed up in a more elaborate cutscene to immerse the players in the story rather than take thier focus away by making them deal with jumping over rocks and trees, especially if they don't have the greatest mouse in the world. The small download is great, but if that means loss of quality, I'm all against it. I'd rather have something tangible and 100% quality. The sound seemed rather scratchy at times, and other times it was cut before it got to finish.

    The animation, however, was excellent. It made interesting characters, such as the Rat Creatures, more interesting. The revolving camera angles were a nice touch, also. Now if there was a way to mix the charm and wit of Sam & Max, the environment and aura of Monkey Island, and the goofy goodness of DOTT, we'd have ourselves a instant classic.

    I'm only critical because I care. :D You've shown what you can do, and I only see things getting better.
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    I was fairly pleased with the game, overall. Much of it was quite well done (I've been saying that adventure games needed to use cinematography the way this one does for years), but there are also a lot of issues, some niggling, some major. People seem nearly unanimous about what things in the game made them happy and unhappy, so I won't repeat them here, at the risk of diluting the main emphasis of this post.

    But there are two very important things that adventure games are going to need to do if they're going to appeal to the mass market. One of them is described in detail here:

    These early blog postings are the things that made me fall in love with Telltale for the first time. So why does Bone not at follow the philosophy that posting describes? Instead of having characters push the story forward, we get an obtrusive in-game hint system. Now, I'm not saying that the puzzles were particularly hard... But you shouldn't be able to get stuck enough to *need* a hint system, no matter how green a player you are. The game should realize that you're stuck, take you by the hand, and help you through. Failure should not be an option.

    And that goes double for the action sequences. It doesn't make any sense for my character to die -- and then suddenly jump thirty seconds back in time. Over and over again. Either you shouldn't be able to lose at action sequences (the suspense should be kept up -- it should *look* like you're always about to die, but it should never actually happen) -- or, if you lose, you should face the consequences of that loss.

    So that's the first thing -- eliminate the possibility of failure, without eliminating suspense, and leave the hidden-ink hint books back in the 1980s where they belong.

    The second thing is sort of related to the first, and that's making failure interesting. In a linear, narrative adventure game, it's inevitable that you're going to do something wrong at some point -- where by "wrong," I mean something that doesn't help solve the puzzle or move the story along. Now, if you keep doing things that are wrong, as mentioned above, the game should notice and send a character to come and help you figure out what to do. But what about before that, when you're still experimenting?

    For example, say I've retrieved an ear of corn from a corn barrel. Say that I've then decided that I don't really want this piece of corn anymore, so I click on the barrel to put it back. Fone Bone's response to this should absolutely not be anything along the lines of "I can't use these things together." He can put the corn back into the barrel. He can tell me *why* he doesn't want to put the corn back into the barrel -- I don't expect complete agency over a character in an Adventure, so having Fone refuse to do something is perfectly acceptable, assuming he gives me a good reason. He can even go into a song and dance number about barrels of corn. My point is that interesting things should happen, no matter what you do, or the game degenerates into something little better than a Jigsaw puzzle.

    Of course, all this stuff would require a great deal more in terms of animation and voice assets, and how you'd fit all that into a reasonable download size is beyond me -- but figuring all that out is your jobs; I'm just the consumer. :-)

    At any rate, thank you for making this game. I'm a big fan of Bone and a big fan of the Adventure genre, and you seem to be doing a great job at capturing the spirit of both, so far. Looking forward to your next one; hopefully you'll get all the kinks worked out, as time goes by.
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    I don't agree with you YMH. The best adventure games are IMHO the ones that are so darn hard that you become sleepless for months, crying because it feels impossible. The puzzles could be logical, but still mad hard. Monkey Island II was a good one! (as an example, I thought Curse of Monkey Island was waaay too easy, but it was ok since it was very fun and well done).

    I don't want adventure games to help me. Not the slightest. But I suppose I'm hardcore or something.
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    Exactly. And games can't afford to target hardcore Adventure fans because... well, there aren't any, anymore. At least not very many.

    What I personally am looking for is an interactive, character-heavy, story-driven immersive experience. I want to forget myself and get lost in a virtual world for a couple of hours. And while I do want to be challenged, I don't want to be frustrated -- frustration breaks the illusion.

    Bone only frustrated me in a few places, but I can easily see that turning off someone who hasn't played an adventure game before. For an adventure game to become truely mass market, people are going to have to not be able to get stuck. And to keep people from getting stuck without breaking the immersion, whatever help the game gives them can't come from the UI in the form of a tip; it has to come from the game world.
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    I agree with Algotsson.
    Besides, I don't think that mass market and adventure games go together.

    I don't want the game to help me and take me by the hand and give me the solution. (I want a game, not a movie). I would become very frustrated if as soon as I am bloked at a puzzle, a character would show up and help me. I want to use my brain, even if it takes days. What makes adventure games interesting is that you can even play without a computer. Well, virtually play I mean. Indeed, if you are stuck at an evil puzzle, you can think about it on your way to work, in the bus or in the train, and then test your ides when you get back home hoping to progress slightly.
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