Empyrean Post-Release Thread


#1

Continuing the discussion from Empyrean, Beta, Stats, etc:

Talk about the game, characters, plot, hints, whatever related to Empyrean here; talk about beta issues in the new thread:


#2

I was really excited for this one, because I’ve played a bunch of CoG titles and I follow the author on Twitter (on his Hex a Day account) so it was kind of a fun surprise to find out he’d written one.

After playing through it, I didn’t like it at all. I’ll try to articulate why!

The prose is fantastic, and the setting is interesting enough - obvs there are multiple factions vying for control of this city, whose motivations are all sympathetic to some degree. So in my first playthrough I thought I’d try to play a Leadership and Nerves-focused character, who’d try to keep the city from tearing itself apart.

In actual execution, though, this didn’t work at all. Many of the choices were labeled stuff like “I’m a skilled enough pilot that…” or “I’m good enough with a gun/sword that I can…” and I never knew how skilled I was as a pilot or a shot. I knew I was nervy, but did that mean I’d do well in a swordfight? It seems like the author did this on purpose, to obscure the outcome of choices a little bit. but in practice it was frustrating to not know how to play to my character’s strengths.

The upshot of this was that I got a bad outcome at the end of every chapter. And despite trying to be a peacemaker through the whole game, I couldn’t unite the Revolutionaries and the Whatevers at the end of the game to fight the main bad guy, and despite always making choices to benefit the city I couldn’t convince the brain at the end to spare the city, so it felt like my actions had no effect whatsoever on the outcome. I would much rather have just read a short story written by this guy, because he’s a good author, but I’m frustrated by his game design choices because I have no idea what I should have done to get the outcome I thought I was aiming for, or whether that would even have been possible.


#3

[spoiler] To unite the two factions you’d have to have a high leadership stat 70+, I think, to convince both the Rebels and the Combines.

Also, it’s good to act as an intermediate between them, as well trying to keep intact the city’s industry and grandeur.

For the piloting, it’s finesse, whilst for swordfighting is vigour that determines how good you are.

I think, for the Electric Brain, you have to have either or both high leadership or sensitivity. However, you can merge with it and change its thoughts about expansion, depending on your choices in the game.
[/spoiler]


#4

Your response is unrelated to my criticisms, buddy.

I think I had a leadership of above 70 by the end of the game, so whatever, but regardless - from my POV, I was choosing the “leadership” options at every opportunity, and it still wasn’t enough to get my chosen outcome at the end of the game. As for your second point, again, that’s what I was trying to do.

Regarding your third point, again, my criticism is that this was unclear. There’s no indication anywhere in-game that this is the case. Why is a character with high “vigor” a better swordsman than a person with high “finesse”? If anything, the latter is more intuitive.

Regarding your fourth point, I have no idea what your point is here. My criticism was that I’d spent the whole game conserving/improving the city, and at the end of the game the brain wasn’t impressed enough with the city to preserve it, so all those choices seemed like wasted effort.

I think the miscommunication here might be that I’m saying “These are the choices I made, and their outcome wasn’t what I expected” and your response is “The outcomes you’re seeking are technically possible”. I’m sure you’re correct, but I’m not a dumb person, and on my playthrough I didn’t get anywhere near the outcome I hoped for. Hence my criticisms.


#5

Yeah, a lot of people, including myself haven’t had the best time with this game mainly because of the weird way stats are set up and checked.

As for the unification at the end, the game tracks 2 hidden statistics which are rev_char and com_char. Which are basically the attitudes of the two factions. I don’t remember what choices you have to do to make them high and keep them high, because I totally cheated when I started getting frustrated with the game. Just encourage both factions and don’t do anything to actively damage them I suppose.

#I think I can convince the Combines and revolutionaries to unite and defeat Quon Bex for good.
*if ( com_char > 55 ) and ( rev_char > 65 )

Leadership doesn’t even factor into it.


#7

I agree, you don’t really get an opportunity to play as pro-government for most of the game, but I can understand why it was done. If you had a choice between revolution/government the author would have had to write 2 branches for the whole game which would have ballooned the word count. That said, I wish it was done a bit more tactfully. Like maybe if we’re pro-government we’re blackmailed into helping the revolution instead. We could have had more opportunities to express anti-revolution views too.

Aside from the stats problem I also disliked the ending, or more specifically, the lack of one. I believe that every game should have an epilogue to reflect back on your choices and how they affected the world. It makes your choices that much more meaningful. Don’t know if this was the case for all endings, but the ending where the city is taken over by the brain is very short and vague. I understand wanting to keep it a bit ambiguous, especially for that ending, but it just feels so lazy and unfulfilling leaving it on 1 paragraph. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when a game just suddenly ends like that.


#8

I was so heartbroken when I tried to go head-to-head with Ironface and wound up having my broken body cradled by Wesh amidst the wreckage of the Empyrean. I tried to raise my skill as a pilot, but nothing seemed to work so I focused on building my relationship with Wesh, and I got what I consider to be the best ending.


#9

Wesh is my wifu. Nuff said.


#10

Sorry about that.

At first I was a bit confused by the stat system, but later on you’ll get used to it, especially if you play it a few times.

Anyways, I am more for trying to play the game, so I was trying to explain, from my point of view how it worked for me for the unification.

However, as I can see somebody explained why it might have not worked for you, a few posts “later”. :slight_smile:

Regardless, good luck at finding a solution.


#11

I love Wesh :heart: :blush:


#12

Yeah, i really understand how demanding it would’ve been to write a whole different take on the events from the opposite pov, and like u said maybe being actually blackmailed would’ve made me feel better about helping them even though i’m pro gov.

But, what i think is that the author at least shouldn’t give me the choice to insult the revolution and tell them how much i don’t care about their fate for it to end up useless afterwards, i would be much more understanding of not having the choice rather than having it and then feeling like an idiot for choosing it since i’ll do what they want anyway.

Another preferable path would’ve been to spy on the revolution for The AAG or the Combine, at least then i’d have a logical reason to keep helping them even though i don’t believe in what they stand for, and i don’t think that would’ve called for a lot of branching (correct me if i’m wrong, i know exactly zilch about coding😝)


#13

I really did enjoy the game. I liked playing the rebellious (in the sense of following your father’s rules), headstrong pilot, and I liked how unique each love interest was. I also liked the atmosphere and setting of the game. I had read the author’s interview before the game was released, and the BTAS meets Metropolis setting is beautiful and unique.

I didn’t run into any problem until my second playthrough. The stats I was trying to roll didn’t seem to want to go together, and my goal of playing a kind strong person who wanted to reform the system without the use of rebels was impossible. There didn’t seem to be a way to disagree with the rebels without being some sort of self-interested jerk. Maybe I should have realized that I would HAVE to follow the rebels since the game is “Rebel against your dad!!!” But I dunno. I just would have liked to have more illusions of choice in the game.


#14

The problem is gameplay and if you follow any other rute from rebellion strong pilot Stats get weird and game starts to have continuity issues. and problem with text checks. Storytelling is wonderful.


#15

Yeah, i really did enjoy the game despite all the things that are wrong (from my pov) with it.
The story telling is amazing, the love interests are really different from each other which widens the experience, the underground tech world is really fascinating with all it’s small creatures and undiscovered places, that’s why it’s so frustrating to find something that reduces my enjoyment of an otherwise great game.


#16

It took me a while, but I actually learned to really enjoy it. The stats were indeed odd at first, but then I learned at which intervals I needed to manipulate them in order to get the results I wanted. I actually ended up playing a rebellious leader with nerves of steel and exceptional finesse. Those are all over the spectrum, but if you try it’s not that hard. I really liked it and Strephon is bae xD


#17

This might be the one case where writer should actually ask for coder.
Story is wonderfull.
BUT The stats and stuff. it makes me wanna facepalm.
Im Just IT newbie and i feel like yelling. so here is that :smile:


#18

I dont know how rest of the game but so far it really reminds me of anime Code Geass. I´d really like to know if author take some inspiration in it or if it is just coincidence.


#19

I really liked this. I didn’t have quite the same issues that a lot of players had here but I also sacrifice things when I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out.

The characters are all so charming, Strephon especially was constantly making me laugh with these little quirks he’d have throughout the different scenes. I ended up merging Wesh with the electric brain and bringing the rebellions provincial government into power. The ending felt satisfying with just enough sacrifice to get there. By far the best choice of title I’ve played in a long time, and looking forward to playing it again :slight_smile:


#20

I’ve done about twenty quick runthroughs of the game checking out different combinations of stats and how to keep some of them high. I think by now I’ve figured out how to do most things except on how to keep the Empyrean from crashing at the end. Has anyone else figured it out? Is it just a matter of having a stat really high, or is there something else you need to do?

Two other things:

I don’t know if trying to use the oscillator to improve the Empyrean does anything. It doesn’t seem to immediately increase the score. Instead it’s apparently carried away but I don’t think I remember it coming back.

And trying to stab the Silverback after analizing it for weaknesses has the game claim I’m too wounded to try it even if I’m totally uninjured.


#21

I totally understand why they didn’t allow you to do that. “It” meaning be pro gov’t Now that I’m writing my own game I’m sitting here with the prologue over 200 “story lines” if you will thinking, dear god how will I do it. So I kinda get why they didn’t add that.