Woohoo! After months of waiting, the next quest in the epic sixth age storyline has come out! And it is awesome!
After helping Saradomin and Zaros out in the last few quests in the series, now Zamorak gets a turn to shine. Played right, this new quest is about the length of the Saradomin one, though a little more difficult in some places.
WORD OF WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
Yeah, I know. After a few litmus tests, I found out I actually hate spoilers more than the average person. However, given the considerably low leveled requirements for this quest, I imagine you'll have already gotten it done by now. If not, and you don't like getting quests spoiled, I advise you do the sixth age storyline as soon as you can, because it's going to become what everybody in the lore forum is talking about these days. So no excuses!
So, let's go over all the features!
STORY: 9 / 10
It's the continuation of the biggest and more epic quest series the game has to offer. First, you meet with a God. I'll let you digest that a bit. Next, he tasks you to assemble a team of considerably powerful characters you have dealt with in the past, many of them as bosses. Yeah, give that a think-over. You are then tasked with working together with said individuals to attempt to steal the most powerful object on the planet; one you have first-hand experienced the power of twice and, upon touching it, became overwhelmingly powerful yourself. Yes. And to finish it off, you get the opportunity to deal a personal blow to a God of your choosing.
Doesn't get more epic than that. Only reason it doesn't get a perfect 10 is because, like many other quests of this calibre... it was just so darn SHORT! Darn it, I wanted more! I'm greedy for epic, yo!
CHARACTERS: Nomad / 10
What's funny is that they had no intention of bringing Nomad back after Nomad's Requiem. Somebody just thought it would be a mean prank on the player afterwards, so they threw it in, and suddenly everybody screamed for another debut. And boy, did we get it. Nomad hype, yo.
But seriously, he was simply icing on the cake. All the other characters were familiar in one way or another if you played through as much story as possible. Even another of the characters from the novels made it in this quest, and I'd say his portrayal is quite accurate.
Best thing about all the characters was rather than simply throw them in the team, you had a chance to get to know them before making the heist. Not only did you get a rather generous amount to chat about when they were brought to the base, but each one also had a bit of a story behind what they were doing when you initially found them. Sometimes you even had to put the main quest on hold to help them out in a simple manner. This not only served as an excellent means of bringing out their character and giving them a little more back-story to boot, but it also helped players who first met these characters through this quest find out what they were like.
Even during the quest, their somewhat-unique personalities (I sensed an ego amongst every one of them) went at each other. Everyone acknowledged each other and worked in formation; some more than others.
To summarize, the characters were very well done. They had a lot to them, and their personalities shone throughout the heist. Excellent work there!
But man, if only there was voice acting.
GAMEPLAY: 8 / 10
I'm going to base this one mostly off the stealth section, as that was the most unique gameplay experience of the quest.
Evading the penguin guards in Some Like It Cold, stealthing the garden keepers for some sq'irks, and dodging the trolls for some goutweed showed me, several times, how difficult it can be for a game like Runescape to incorporate a sneaking and detection system. I mean, you're not going to be able to get anything like the guards in Ocarina of Time or anything, but there are still expectations. If an enemy sees you or you walk into a searchlight, you are captured. Plain and simple.
The programmers here fulfilled these expectations to the best of their ability. Sure, there are times where you can run across the room in broad daylight to avoid detection, or the enemy immediately spots your foot dart away as they start to turn toward you.
Alas, this version of stealth felt a little bit weak. Especially with the wights. Yeah, they're brainless undead minions and all, but when I attempt to assassinate them by somersaulting right at their legs while they face me, stride around them a full 180 degrees, and whack them while they're trying to figure out what to have for lunch, I have to call for a yellow card right there. And this wasn't just one; this was how I got rid of half of them. Seriously, I rolled right in their view-zone, which is the first time I've ever seen them incorporate that mechanic (many thanks, it made the stealth much more fun), and so long as I hit "assassinate" just in time, nothing happened. No idea how I didn't get caught.
The shadows were also a bit weak. Rolling around those a bit, I had no idea what part of the shadows actually detected you. Was it the whole thing, or just the middle? Couldn't tell. And there was one point where the shadow moved so tightly that if I didn't get a little gutsy and somehow manage to roll straight through it somehow, I would've deemed the manoeuvre impossible. I think it's the middle of the shadow, as the edges didn't seem to catch me, but because the shadow was so blocky, it was very difficult to tell.
The masks was solid, though. Three sight-pulses and you go. Simple and sneaky. Felt kind of awkward standing right at the edge of the sight zone, wondering why they couldn't see me when I stood right out in the open, but at least they worked out almost flawlessly.
What saved this was the rolling system. THAT made the whole stealth experience right. Yeah, you can call it annoying. I did at first. But after looking at it from another angle, this made me stop and plot out a path, position myself, and time my movements rather than simply brute-force my way through with a well-timed run. I enjoyed it very much because it took a lot more effort to do and it was much more rewarding once I made it through and my manoeuvre worked!
Opening the final gate was also fun. Took a couple of tries (couldn't read the text half the time because I had to switch Nomad, and that threw me off...)
And after the final boss was over... yeah, that was half of the points right there. So very much worth it. I won't talk about it. Do this quest. Just do it.
AUDIO: 6 / 10
World Wakes didn't have any voice acting. It was the greatest quest of its time, and this was its one and only flaw. Props to the stealth section soundtrack; that fit very well. The final boss song, though... I'll give it a meh. The audio team has done better, and when a standard has been set so high, it's difficult to meet it without pulling out all the stops. No doubt their main focus is quest number 200. That promises to have some very epic scores.
You guys have trouble getting voice acting, then why not let us players do a bit? Hold some contests, or get in touch with some famous twitch streamers or something. Plenty of good voice-acting players out there who would love a chance to get their voice in-game! Yeah, I know. Legality issues and all that. Why must that always stop us from creating something awesome?
GRAPHICS: 8 / 10
Half the quest was going around the world to already existing areas here and there, save for a couple of new spots. Zamorak's base, however, is very well thought up, though it does lack bedding and kitchenware. Of course, it's more a meeting room than anything, but you'd think the God of Chaos wasn't above catering?
Sliske's base is also up there on appealing. The cave part appeared to be a reuse of the Queen Black Dragon quest caves, but the stealth area and the gate were very well done. Followed Sliske's sort of personal taste to the letter. He wasn't really one for uber-fancy backdrops and gold-trimmed glory. Just a few props here and there for a setting, and you have a lair.
The final gate itself sealed the deal. A beautiful golden barrier that could only be opened through some very crafty measures that involved the efforts of several people. Interesting that Sliske would attempt to force the whole crew to work together all at once rather than try to drive each other apart from one another through trickery and pride-poking. Didn't seem like him at all. Nevertheless, it was a heck of an obstacle, and it made this quest what it is: a full and proper break-in.
TOTAL SCORE: Fun / 10
So yeah. Best quest of the series so far, not counting World Wakes and Fate of the Gods (I mean come on, how can you compare?). I highly recommend players do that quest as soon as they can, as well as play through the storyline if they haven't done so yet. It tells an exciting story that has a very potentially exciting ending. The hardest part is the waiting. Always the waiting. Please don't disappoint, folks at Jagex! You've got a very good thing going!
Until next time,
This was originally posted as an Informer Runescape