Odium is a hardcore strategic RPG for the PC. It includes some puzzles as well. It's a fun game, but some parts of the game are difficult. The beginning is relatively difficult because you have so little equipment and don't know how to play. Towards the end, the game gets easier because you have so much firepower.
Early on, the main difficulty is in finding sufficient equipment and using it effectively. The first time I played the game, I hoarded my ammo and used melee weapons. This caused me to run out of healing items. The second time I played the game, I was more evenhanded and ran out of ammo. However, I only ran out of ammo because I missed some of the ammo boxes. I went back and found all these obscure boxes, and all was well.
In "peace" mode, you wander around like in any other isometric RPG. Battles are at particular locations on the map, and you'll have to fight whenever you go there. Some battles occur only after using a particular object in the environment. In-game movies are displayed at certain times too.
Combat is the main part of the game. That's primarily what this critique is about.
The game is relatively bug-free and needs no patch. For me, the game crashes in the battle against the 2 incubi whenever I kill one of them and the next one starts to move. Other than that, I encountered no bugs. Fortunately, I didn't have to beat the incubi to beat the game.
This game is quite short and has a stupid ending.
Combat is split into turns. You always move first in each turn. and the computer moves afterwards. Each of your characters can move and act. You can move them and have them act in any order. You can have a character move, act, and then move again so long as you don't use up all of your character's walk range. When you're done moving all your characters, you click on the end turn button.
Characters get one action per turn, but they can give as many items as they want. Some enemies get more than one action per turn.
The possible actions (other than give) are: attack, defend, heal (using an item), open a box, and push (you can push crates around).
If you shoot a gas barrel, it will explode, damaging any enemy next to it.
In this game, increasing accuracy up to 100 is most important. This prevents wasting ammo and helps kills the enemies faster. Calmness is relatively useless because becoming Enraged isn't such a bad thing. HP is useless because you can't raise it enough to matter. Luck is nice to have because it increased you chances of inflicting more damage. Counter Attack is almost as good but not quite. There is, however, one boss who you can only hit with counter attacks. As such, it would be good to have one character with a really high counter attack ability.
These are conditions caused by special attacks. Some enemies are immune to some kinds of conditions.
The "On Fire" and "Poisoned" status conditions are exactly the same, though some characters are immune to one type or the other. Similarly, "Frozen" and "Tranquilized" are almost the same except for how being frozen puts out fires. All of those 4 conditions are relatively common in RPGs.
The "Flammable" condition is semi-unique. The only similar thing I've encountered in other games is enemies who explode upon being hit. Though this is a cool condition, it's relatively useful compared to the others.
The "Attracted" condition is comparable to the paralyzing conditions in effectiveness. The difference is that weapon that causes this condition affects all enemies it once. It is a little bit original though. Fear conditions in games like Neverwinter Nights are similar.
The "Enraged" condition is just a run-of-the-mill "Beserk" condition. The instructions manual seems to imply that it's a disadvantage, but it doesn't seem to matter much.
When you obtain a new weapon, you need to try it out to see how it works. Alternatively, you could learn about the weapons by reading one of the following: the instructions, this critique, or a walkthrough to find out about the weapons. The issue is that various weapons have various effects and work in different ways, and it's not always clear exactly what they do.
There are several categories of weapons.
Muscle-powered weapons: These weapons are anything simple melee weapons. Examples: Axe, Bat, Bayonet.
Thrown Weapons: These weapons are thrown. Throwing one uses it up, but you usually find more than one. Examples: Bottle of Vodka, Grenade, Throwing Knife.
Weapons that use Ammunition: These weapons use up 1 bullet (or rocket, etc.) when used. Examples: Napalm Launcher, Pistol, Tranquilizer Gun.
Battery-powered: These weapons must recharge after being used, at which point they can be used again. List of all: Energy Blaster, Flamethrower, Ion Rifle, Liquid Nitrogen Thrower, Shocker.
One-shot weapons: These weapons can each only be used once but are really great. List of all: Missile, Lightning Strike, Energy Beam.
Droppable: These weapons are dropped on the ground to have an effect. The attracting device can be reused as many times as desired. Time bombs can be used once each. List of all: Attracting Device, Time Bomb.
Matches: These can be used as melee weapons to set flammable enemies on fire.
The following status conditions are caused by the following weapons. Other weapons just inflict damage:
The Attracting Device makes the game easy simply because it affects all enemies at once and affects them until they're hit. Only enemies who are immune stand a chance. It imbalances the game considerably. When the Attracting Device doesn't work, freezing or tranquilizing enemies renders them harmless. Burning or poisoning them makes them die sooner.
Time bombs are slightly different from the other weapons in the game. They lie on the ground harmlessly for 2 minutes. After that, they explode, damaging anyone nearby.
Odium contains several semi-unique status conditions, and does alot of things in different ways. It is worth keeping Odium in mind when designing an rpg system.
Copyright (C) 2007 Steven Fletcher. All rights reserved.