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Under the Radar Reviews-SEP '22 [Arc: 1481: The Tannhauser Gate]


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It’s that time again…

J8RHU9yXNCxN1zeMZj3vkBIQ-ASHvZJfT__pcNAuiiA5PKdGQFe9TqfvZ0x01oVNsN-nM84T6dh2jSiAFAf9r11dOS3ei7t5e3-9MNuZjQ7kBZxbAwAODWaRmaLyQGf792AROBg6uAJoJXMeAQ1Vyip69lg6K92P9CK4qsDd1O9REOQROUAIfNTs

 

Time for ol’ Josh to hit the slopes! (and such). Today, we-

p4POXxoO7A-rlLOhN5Qi_i7MK3I3VW8YHEVUgwkT2g5_wBMEPrzYTR4ObF2s1FjpDrLnlw4tBmnqyeQnaYX7JcPoTPuf8y-wyrSIT3FfnEmeWPNw9I_M0Fo_ebnNdyBvebG5x9DoCZUBZWiQgjdvI55ZNcShSfJ9qiW1tmb5-QCBEfOsQ1XlUFhV

HEY! STOP TRYING TO HORN IN ON MY ACT-...er, never mind.

 

So, searching “my level” and SFMA, I happen upon a name I haven’t seen, with an arc meant for an origin not mine:

Ii3kLPTJK0rzsiw0LrJNrwAtdDLCHIKrmJjyDlKVMq9IaaQGR-dF0w5nBo67c-gnNU4Wq4ykkJycEgUpe09rCscb5LGWNteXg6vnKU-AcNRSRLqe39VncE1mL_TEbDHNnekD2JcGv5CI71Y_y_F8UMlm8mf5UPcENR-6s6ySZIz0zT72FVXeMl69

pZuuuqqgAmD4ZofjSY0dHUWfL7XYYB-ojJHGWgdGEnK0olcnfAaK_YCkw2osZd2lq3Y-581fQPcdHiVQzc-yR4c-0V_Gf-nch9Ynb30EyoGoifj8rCL0ahStP9gtOx0pyHOqZgnv4pCnSRK46sGsNNYhFXaI6sIvNL60QZ5ZUQlkQt_6y1G-fDMl

Wrong origin. Dark energy. Certain death. Yeah. This has Josh written all over it (or maybe partially written on it, like a little scribble on its shoulder or somethin’).

 

IN WE GO!

 

So, there are some considerations:

83sXp_-lySBgIT629q1vwcgmETT7kNHT6e4xgHfGG3Dwvrba77ckL37zznUTNKeSVsM2iY3_qGXPGhIo9ZaX-Lq5w8X6CkC60brCkEUJ6sqRNUZk3EmOPe-zcQxnfVodTW9qPxIrvbgYuUrzADO623G-Sl2dLOy8mL9yDufoH2Rh8veJlN0Wee7a 

Hey…I have zero aura, and no magic. Unless I fart. Then I have the aura…sorta.

 

And no, I’m not intimidated at all by this person:

ux_oe7wrMFAUnzN_HysuGJs0iEVrL4DM6y5OgJCNHSB7TSgXcIP2BetXk7b_ZLM4iyDHdyrtjEcOzE-QMAQBAJSb4ydfbv0BHGHc2uliEN2V_nZ-bz7e-b7Uzw2EUtwFG-Qm94EJ-uVURhnPR2VyeM32p5RfUw1792x4vogQdKPnHRB4dSsz9LFt

The eyes…the EYES!

 

So, big ol’ tower with 300 floors is leaking energy. This makes me the plumber, and…

qcic-DjqmydLzFNbnHRJEoL0EO6VyratIRN6YuBg_AvXEWW1phUeVObfaL9WQhO_pM6DeUcTM85vH7YL_Tcu79zCnvVcaxDdhc8EaXuHszg7lJByZTVfAd3NrybjgvAp6-7u5XXPpwAilVMcdSxdwsWTpL_3W_gQcvJbNjVIf-3WN1313XXXeFjD

I’d say this is a clog.

 

Looks like a custom and some reskinned Vahz, Ghosts and, is that a Coralax I see?

nIn1isKjU8bH3fFYPeSWyocpCudqZ2iE1h0sTkbI2VXVXPzwM2DwpRidTrOrS0Pv1_UDfPunoQ7qvwy2ml1WpbhLEyya0fGmyTjdPIAAf3X-9VV55-ddxQSZbrzz16pnNROpv3sE3GkeKkhcLBTuuhsBih8wdn3GMHidLVpPiF2IdIlmOAzPdfmv

Nice! I like it.

 

Later...

bMaBWaV-0ePVsnW3zy2frJjo1Zo5-4NKmM9liFkKADnrGO2mKMw7XfIZscpxVW3xpEV-c6ZbaPk6zUMJZQwjI3GlHysd3zrB7vKls3n5taF6XLFuH0WfEE3NE5XJbvP3ldQ1FZW4dpqQ-mMKoQf1UPIyFRjH7hUFeweiVrzuQqT2wDthYo0YqEoj

See that? That is a PERFECT Destroy Object(s) spawn. 3 Objectives all lined up. If this was planned, it’s awesome. It’s still great even if it’s luck, but if testing showed this is consistent, then bravo.

 

One great thing about running arcs if you’re into design is checking out how other folks handle things like clues. This is one I hadn’t thought of:

GyQdJBHeT9vIJr4srz_z9ZqRmO-YVFsbwo8qh9Tg7A9MfFOaIiPYT9qyH3zTzpMh2lcfDY_5wvcc1TzfyThwpO83MfeeYpxSurqkaf09CqH2cy5MxYQ-BOEAyJ8qIwrm3T-gG5K7UQteFFMTgHIHh63P8AWRvWORDotMPwnL9xwlFQOO0KAscdhw

I number mine by Mish-Clue# (ex: 1-1, 1-2 and so on). This is an economical way of grouping by mish without having to worry about slotting the clues in order on the design screen. Very interesting.

 

So take out the 3 obelisks in one room, find a clue, then move on to find the 4th obelisk. At this point I’m thinking, Awwwww…it’d been nice if it were 3…(sniff)

 

M1 wrapped up neatly. A purple light whisks me to my bedroom in 1975. Or back to the contact. Who can say?:-)

 

Okay, my first suggestion. When indicating action vs. dialogue, as we see here:

FVjb5lr67tDlNlzjnPeYRNSN3a0XOwDQLHk36f0mMjopl410DajkmhGNZQ6Enak2Tymp3A9HmP-c5TsvbLNuiXWayrpla-E21peV1ExRzW1GxjqEhmtXCqlEKWWH1zEaaCBid3IsUi17w1WaXgUtoIPjxdE0CBwY8e-uG7oPq3as_E2tdjqhRU2zTQ

I’d go with a different color font (I like to use orange for this, but it really doesn’t matter as long as it’s consistent). Other option: italics (I use that, too). FYI: this thing is clean as a whistle as far as editing goes. Bravo.

 

Second thing is this, of which I am including just a snippet:

ub0Z-zfDMa-0LAe68my6QIXQMkT-OPQmcjjimTo_6enxJs9Bauj7baDJ4yjTmliooz-45Y8z8PvSGqXca-byau8TdFPPg4nzh9rn0zn5KqUdnMRrgl0QfI08Y7EB__8EuFKUo1KlBz0eBv8SQoPp8KrceVEii7CkQfGgGYeQhmdSEj_WCELcvuTj2w

This is a mish end clue that summarizes everything I did in M1. I don’t know if this will be an ongoing feature of this arc. If so, I strongly advise against it. Something like this would be GREAT for the badge summary, which I think has 3000 characters. But this big thing just adds redundant info to the clues screen.

 

W_nZY1wgZ2outwu1IUOd39SDeEAz451qG2sErSUUO1FxNTPBwWb3PstUXQtFSzFU3mhk4NOyse-Vrc3T5XRXjXPmGsB4f358lbdezPpFjPHq7CUc4V_w0c4Crhw4DMgqu_xMkj43RAyjf0tdgPfmI3uduImt_FT0oQIzFCd-7irQOJYZxuEQkRhMrw

Dat’s a LOTTA clue-age, maestro.

 

M2 BOOK SEARCH! OFF WE GO!

 

So, We’re TP’ed in via a portal, so:

01S8qKH5UzGcI6bKMzWaRehH8uUS0eMY8d0bR0vfpPaDvW5uc8O2LWRQKfG6Zqg5tBmRvjqasmCH1JXr2qzB-10jxGauh1sKKgaMddQ-kzsWOYdnC0aC-fC9PdaUowUEakpzwIdm_DYeRs9qMLdzPpnwXqI69Y2vF8AOXnfqfw16ITzSmIkEHT3o_w

Well..they wuzn’t lyin’, bro…(translation: nice map choice)

 

Another situation where 3 of 4 objectives in the same room.

ZtF1qYl1HR8H8bM2iAouKsWCW9qzXJKdfpY9H8VGogkyHmf_NWj9P59cDf8zGpfAOT-koc_6qqFyFJu1H37KMyHTrIzhq-i97oE8tQVAkD6Q-iSZw-ZknlZ_qD-pI53nFWUZif8VB1bNMVu9OjdobwYysM3hAQDsTRsUxYXBcFFlnAwyhZAWOBLgdA

This is nice. But it also makes me wonder if we needed 4 to accomplish the same goal.

 

After the clickies, I have a boss fight:

O6c-2Cyt3pgXeOBM3egEyrrttDJ1THo3FSiCSd_4aKZgV7RwuSZWRzW17tlV9P9V-jQHGwfeF5aOXSVPixa1_lB9rQY2kMreCc3vmNW5vbB5TZDjDpLcneO0juWYMJ7o8aH5Ho6u_Be6glpUjMvM2rbyPdTgbG4oQr3ReT3OW9zm08GDodkuuPcmxA

Um...no. Josh Jones just doesn’t listen, bro!

 

Out we go! In the debrief/brief, we get this tidbit:

IYnwZQaGXFwxQnP89HYqQwIMfmup_E94Lltzg_24SgtnXklJBQSGiTjGV6XzWJhUaf6TYCfz9JrJxrvk2LXcMfYq4nYVcdmwWyyJy9wj_HfSws6hwEkFbNfgrnxKnqLmYgXlD1NKl5Q97uhELMBFFupgaT9NXReQaLYpAb6Wr2f5vtP2jwSiLjqmtg

What YOU find odd…(by the way, is that a bad thing? Josh don’t know. I mean…he doesn’t listen…)

 

M3:

So, off we go:

6w81KMbUG0n56upzJMBx49fDY21PR-amC7a1w0TEouvACW6IX7WsrcOlVzy5pcgz-FewcqUXTaxbfwKlPMSOLAm4Uq-JgQdpsgih3IeHeXVwMpq0aWlBctzOAd23CN1u9liOQKITfGKDmutSqroMpqt-PMQZBB7LRRcXiwakEjEFE7zg0k_IgCrWLg

Okay, this doesn’t sound creepy at all (is that a misplaced Kevin Bacon I see?).

 

Once in this place of everybody’s memories, we find:

5sAmRdh_HoxGf1rJuFsE5SUag7nos74_IEW4BDS1nBFY7yjSPmS_BCbvNq2C5Uukz4oRwqakfbvnimllQMJVQGxv7GuY4YUQtVPDV0CGT1cX2-o77P2Sb6TlcYfk58H0L0SjqEnmvADrxWXep34CRz11YpQmtWnuSBU54dw8Gvs_VuhLCHITlOxwxg

Memory? Pretty sure this is happening now, bruh.

 

We pick up a friend with some nice togs:

w-30TW5dFXDBpAq9GS7D-7nhYYQNW6Emq1Eg04hYqQcL0jAO_5yWpXYgUkjsbTWlt9obE17MV1T1ssLcvb0if77Ug2B_b6sL9X-CHCKOgiM5XkMViSCAB5S0oytNKUBV6Diw0ZvKcPu4cHWVT6mFKy9l0JJX3mH4tpPHx4soJXn8hWC_3GszPwhLTA

 

NOTE: In M3, the mish numbering system works a bit clunky. We have some consecutive clues related to the main mish goal that group together on the page, but spawn above a previous clue, making them appear out of order. This is where number or coloration might be helpful. 

 

NOTE: I love this map. However, it’s definitely one that sends you running back and forth when it’s loaded down with objectives. Not necessarily a bad thing, since the map is rather small. But we do have to hop up and down levels, so it seems farther to go.

 

After several back and forths to various shades of Mr. Tanny, we get some interesting customs:

-4DrNksMy_3x6ccSWQhY5xkG8lmim1E29DdVW4OmW7-Z6VNZWjqmO46u2nw04Zrt_Ws0YTXgilWybPCSbbHuQDNsWjziHdLGbYkvVjv2ySPyojggzxobMO0oajFTSdrwy4a7gZcKB4-h6U4IsNLQZBm9rJphSVxv-enCIsSrobl0CfXgT5Z_4ZVjeg

Rocks…you’re throwing rocks at me…I hate you… (seriously…Josh and boulders have a bad history).

 

DONE! ONWARD!

 

M4: 

Time to stop a ritual. Might be dangerous. I mean there are many clues. Like this one:

3_JvxKn6wELi5XCejeuJKvSuH3KwU46h96FvYeuZHdAy-O8uvYijpBolVIN9BK3wTno9Z6HypwNK5kGwbYcz_zHaRbKrvi8GksHBeiinYm7V1CeNBAHvjwrmikoK7BPTy410EEN0En_ZSiXbGDjsaeJ7r4KQ1wdP1j2OzE5unJMM0JxKrP0v2UbQBQ

Sooo red and creepy in here…

 

And then this:

ZRltMfXrbbfUOVCSeDt6KAkmLK1Ml07I6JikHOEvXxPnmBRVbo51INZ1dJnCtBX_qRXNbngF3azg7F3ALjQozRO0AzWGW-ofSU_ZX8Ax0KT-JZ1lpmvqLYwX359CYRd0xAXddU1A_nQDhSpH5zSxqtCn9joxV7VFEmF_8C14klHxApJoqahTP0RRWA

Free the crew of the Enterprise! NOW! Oh, wait...you're NOT Apollo?

 

M4 has a couple nice boss battles. Map has it’s issues. My ally dropped into that big pit and I was just too lazy to go back and get her. Thankfully handled the boss by myself thanks to jousting and a couple Insps.

 

Finale time! 

 

And I finally find a typo:

waMRH0sUjc1a8MGYsS2iBnLa_yTIC5cd5Z-wN_A-Ng4A6LFJoYB0I3_dw9EjGd4yx-0CeaWHRXhYKZAPd7_Mjmzv6Za_6uEvbHayC7AJ6NikoZmMUqQ-eDWzBfb9OAZIsGJcsOEzYAY3oA4daoiJdWsNQWj37tYSGcjKpHFZ2uPzlPaX-KqsmDNCcQ

There is no escaping the dreaded tyyypo!:-)

 

Okay, no idea what this map is:

YjS907AG9EdR5CbGTbiBmR4c5jqUh0EjmERldzCH3AcuavQwjdfxsfGrj3Flc8By5HAW4UZYJtP6pax10ca_BcSCvV4CayOM5rPCuUMJ_4nzcG9xksBaY5yUUDfcHF5AjanksGpAggkNcUUhZPO6aWHhK5cy833eXqcqMKyRC1UsWmIgzHGls3dhQw

But I LIKE it!

 

So, grab my paladin buddy, then off to destroy stuff, etc., then this:

VdLtcBSkz3nt0jWwDLfK5UrzLNNv9tWh4eyNRdaqbdw_T9N1IW4fivqCgUKUjaVJk5v6ayTE7MLUuR2qdBGCK3jwlYX1AbOcKvuXoKUI2lvvnoiaSwxX0kvgEHTkuFW231CCREhF8GTxvPZrzH61ySvJ_rxCERK_juDWudTPcBErI7mS507M4pbqcA

Fuuuuuuudge…right in the middle of a pain crystal. And usu you can’t shoot an object until you engage a guard so..yeah…

 

Speaking of that:

w-uhQXDupszkCDtmqyF8xzTQspSSoQErYEwhIzHScHvthrX21wDGUMc7V6q065AZw5WRCky1JNIp_gUpUJMlI8Rv1bonLLEq6H-yf3fQUm6ehWrCBSIvz5SM-r6As13KeTOof_So1YJ6k7P3JRzKGhTEqhN8B7juZROihLufP4pQ3vZ_4JnOL57Efg

My Pally friend is a masochist…

 

Okay, so I think I finally recognize this map. Think it’s the one where Manti kills Sister P? Anyway, shades of old stuff:

WPn3ZG-KlEy6wu40jhvZMhEYyGFrzXy7WG78Ei6jxSkhiAu9K8FlCjjZ1YqlCvmr0HdNLtyDxOgV1nxM5hA2OzS6IxZVfrPay9zLJ3Y7KkxnXDms7E5pLponb1l30jAKIKpSaXwQC7r_NLER-wcXzsrqvNB1VNCtdxU_VY69CniFNXRaHkZX3P64hw

Got an ally waiting…

 

Speaking of allies and waiting:

9lFoCD21Xq6-jBn1L5jK0TfljvJFd5S2ojqtlTjSctBWkxzblecQu1MMPmKaWU99scaPe5QT4OxlcPFvceG9iO0BKSLOPzjs0Ab9NB4k9i8B_5DQRWBlYDOWu9cWVWksUwVY5DXixxexudBnsvh2x7jVUENjc6XS_YTHE35LiN8B8n11uQM1-4C9tA

You can hop in ANY time, lady!

 

NOTE: I think all allies are set to passive. In this case, the melee ally almost has to have enemies led to her. As far as Aisynia, above, I can’t tell if she’s set to passive or has non-combat abilities. She did mention being able to do a spell. Anyway, this is why I tend to set my allies (the ones who can fight) to aggressive. I’d rather see them engage than stare at the player (bear in mind, this behavior may have nothing to do with the design choices. You never know with AE.).

 

Speaking of allies (again): Reen the Paladin withered away at the red crystal. Her sacrifice is noted (and exceedingly questioned).:-)

 

So, Boss fight coming up. And we’re in that magic zone:

-AG9uFg4LYruWiXH5RfmrsbquJyyOvf4JFDApoHrRa-yYIIZbIifxjgMZaPcc10K1VLW0xVCtRwwkjEjzh-NqFIU2FALWSJazAPE1rExXqKo-B_jHwlrk-pdML1EbUnuuZ5OYQpmej6U0DXOgBnCtsND9N-0MsA-dCdMxj90my11pi6F0R2rgmGUZw

Super buff a-comin’!

 

Boss fight requires one big DEF Insp and some jousting. Right after boss goes down, we level, free a hot chick, and: 

uuWq-UvynwSXDAS28iFFJnUupzl5kZhjlT4C6RmkARSDwRhbUso4FK9Jwoep-AditU4jT6cPBviBqiCIhPdsX-uDevdIz-HODHe19a7VXoE4MWUirsdhJIIPDjzNUmBkn_DFQaMAH4qL3GzAwW8sFM3lTCKU6IaS1u_2q34OtrKnEViKqkdt2SAoFQ

It’s a good…feeling. A really good feeling…:-)


 

So, what about this fine arc?

 

Good stuff:

*Clean, clean, clean. Care and consideration have been taken with every step. Wish mine would be that clean.

*An interesting mix of enemies. I like seeing how typical enemies synergize outside their usual groups.

*Atmosphere: In map choices and some creepy, archaic sounding names Like Malesh’Kor (which probably means Heart of Evil, or Bad Sandwich Maker)

*Big Bosses were memorable, because they were not overused. I think I had 1 red boss (Orion) and some Oranges. That’s about right for my L12 Sent (not L13, muthas!).

*Reen hit HARD (when she hit).

 

Tweaks:

*It is Clue heavy, and I mean heavy. All of them are well-written, spelling out the details of the deeper story. Whether this is a tweak or not depends on whether the player likes clues. If so, this may not be an issue at all.

*Mission end summaries: These are not needed. They eat up a lot of space in the Clues stream, and tell us what we already know. Put them in the badge (reward) verbiage at mission’s end. 

*Runaround mish: there’s a lot of back and forth in M3. I like that map, but maybe we need a bigger map to keep the player moving forward instead of back and forth.

*Allies: Passive settings make Reen less likely to engage unless the player/she is hit with an atack first. Aisynia did not engage at all, which leads me to believe she’s set to non-combat. If so, I’m not sure why she’s there. I’d set Reen to aggressive, since she’s melee. Aisynia needs to be looked at. If she’s not there to help combat, she needs to be set to no follow and have a reason to remain behind. Or give her a camera to record my stylin’.:-)

 

OVERALL: 5/5 Giving this a 5 despite the tweaks. It’s just a really well-done, self-contained arc. It’s loaded with lore, uses evocative maps (which look really good on my new system):-) 

 

Play this if: 

*You’re magic-origin.

*You enjoy a rich, detailed story.

*You want a well-crafted experience, rendered with great detail and love for the subject.

 

Don’t play if:

*You’re not a clue reader. Because you’ll miss everything, buddy.

 

That’s it for now. Happy fall, everyone!

 

Yours in AE story-ishness,

Crane


 

Looking for SFMA content over multiple arcs? Search for the following under "cranebump."

Ordinary People [3 parts] Investigation of a series of thefts leads you deep into a vengeful plot that threatens all of Paragon City. Will you and Kings Row's "ordinary" heroes be able to stop it? Leviathan [5 parts] The  assassination of a local politician with national aspirations sets off a media frenzy among everyone's favorite reactionary network, NewsAnon. Among their targets? You. The Cage Series [3 parts]: The Iron Widow is back! Or...is she? Your vigilante philosophy is put to the test in this tale of shifting loyalties and outright deceit. The Port Oakes TF [2 parts] Enos Childs is calling on Villains like you to join his glorious quest to drive Arachnos out of the Rogue Isles.  The Bleed [3 parts]: Your investigation of arcane fissures in IP leads you to uncover a 100-year old secret shrouded in magic, blood, and betrayal. One Shots:  Of Guns and Asa Ronan; The Tenuous State of Grace; Garden of the Will; Gravity; The Book of Bond's; The Lost Girls; Injustice Systems; Wednesday’s Wyverns; Of ‘Dine and Men; Dark Legacy; Shadow and Silver

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