New Hosted Game! "Love at Elevation" by Steve Wingate

romance
hosted-games
gender-choice
nonbinary-inclusive

#42

I haven’t been able to finish the game due to running into (what I consider to be) a game-breaking bug (which I reported to Abby :slight_smile: ) but I wanted to write my thoughts of my general first impression so far:

  1. I think the prose is the strongest that I’ve read in a CoG/HG game in a long time. The author is obviously a skilled writer and lends a lyricism to the words and writing of the game that’s very satisfying (as well as engaging) to read. I’d read whatever else they put out! (The way chapters ended, especially, was so well-worded, and even the sex scenes were written well.)

  2. This rightfully is and should be a Hosted Game. I say this because the PC’s perspective is much more defined and “preset” than other protagonists of CoG games. Although the PC is a transplant coming from another place to Boulder–possibly to get away from their old relationship or to live in a “kind of” nice place–they automatically and irresistibly have only the hobbies, interests, and lifestyle of a longtime Boulder “hippie.” I thought this was kind of interesting because they just got to the city after packing up in a hurry and leaving their ex, and they can state that they’re only here to find love or to try out someplace new, and they can also state that they feel out-of-place or like the hippie culture is all new to them–but they invariably only have stereotypically-“hippie” outfits, they meditate in their backyard, they can only want to visit the library to read a book on fracking–not because they just like to read. It’s interesting and was definitely something I had to get used to. If people really want to go all in on character customization, this game is probably not for them. (People who want asexual romances, as noted in the beta testing thread, will also probably be disappointed.)

  3. There were times where I felt a lack of control over my choices and personality. This includes what I said above about having a “locked in” personality to start with–there’s really no choice to be skeptical about qigong as a concept, just the instructor’s ability to teach it well–but there were also times that I felt the game committed the biggest sin in IF: presenting a choice to me and then immediately negating it when I chose it.

Example, possible spoilers

Example: I got a sound therapy massage (??) while on a date, and the therapist sternly instructed me not to speak during the session. During the session, I was then presented with a choice, which fell along the lines of:

  • Make a witty joke to my date.
  • Question the therapist on why I’m not allowed to talk.
  • Stay silent.

I chose to stay silent, and immediately the game negated my choice!

“…However, you’re too friendly of a person, so you crack a joke anyway.”

This happened a few different times throughout the game, and it was honestly extremely off-putting to me. I think it’s because I failed a stat check, but I’m not used to stat checks being tied so concretely to personality opposed-pairs (friendly vs. reserved) rather than skills, and it really felt like agency was taken away from me quite a few times.

I also felt that the protagonist/the game questioned my decisions almost constantly, and that was a bit frustrating, too. If I adamantly chose to stay with someone for very definitive reasons (“I want to stick with X because I have eyes only for him” was an option when being flirted with by someone else), the game immediately would say “…however, you find yourself in doubt while the other person is walking away. Did you make the wrong choice? You almost reach out to the other person and stop them. You want to say, ‘Hey! Wait!’ You only just manage to stop yourself short.”

If I made the choice to definitively and with no doubt in my mind stay with the person I’m dating, and express no interest in this other interloper, I find it a bit frustrating that the game somewhat ignores that motivation. It made me feel not in control of the character, and they often had thoughts that did not reflect my choices and play style.

  1. I loved how the relationship with the ex was handled. I’m a bit surprised that people here are saying that the ex wasn’t toxic… Maybe it was because you guys (@Eric_knight and @TheBlast) were nice to the ex from the get-go, so your relationship wasn’t toxic, but from the outset I ADAMANTLY informed my ex that I didn’t want anything to do with them anymore, that it was over, and that they should stop contacting me. To be told that–in no uncertain terms–and then to persist in contacting the person and meddling in their life is very toxic, imo. It shows a lack of respect for the person’s wishes and autonomy. If I say “stop calling me, I’m moving on and I want a new life” and the person keeps calling, sends letters that are manipulative and packages from a friend’s address so I’ll be tricked into opening it–it’s manipulative. I replied to a letter with hostility and told them to stop fucking bothering me, and they sent an email back saying, “I’m glad you got to unload your feelings, you’re a bad person for trying to hurt me but I still love you, I’m such a saint and a victim and you’re always hurting me, hopefully next time we talk you’ll be nicer.” It was absolutely manipulative and blatantly ignoring my wishes. Obviously each to his own, and I’m sure your interactions with the ex were different, but I thought this game portrayed a toxic relationship (and the fear and paranoia that come with it) really, really well. It was incredibly engrossing and one of the reasons why I kept playing the game.

  2. Finally, the pacing was a bit wonky for me. It could be because I poured all my efforts into pursuing a single person, but it felt like there was a lot of repetition or stagnation, like we would have an awkward rough patch, I would select “we should talk about this,” we wouldn’t talk about it, and sometime later the other person would say “we should talk about this,” and there was just a bit of circular conversation going on. I also felt the beginning started out quite slowly, and there were almost a bit too many choices that didn’t seem to matter in the long-term: the game was asking what we thought about marijuana legalization, homelessness, mental illness, etc., and it began to bog the pace down for me a bit.

All in all, this was an engaging and interesting game for the time that I was able to play it (still have to wait for the bug to be fixed), but it did have its share of issues in my opinion!


#43

Yes, but it was supposed to be CoG. IIRC it was meant to kick off the Heart’s Choice label.

On one hand it’s good to see that HC will thus prolly provide better than this. But…


#44

You recall incorrectly. It was never meant to “kick off” the HC label.


#45

I didn’t mean COG as some sort of label of company who produce it but as type of game.


#46

Though a lot of people were under the impression it seems


#47

Then say “CSG” for ChoiceScript Game.


#48

I would say it’s an ok game.
I don’t really like that so much is set for the MC, personality, interests etc. The hippie theme is not my cup of tea.
I played it one time and got the impression that the writing style is indeed good but with a few flaws like “a warm ball of warmth”.
But these little things are more about my tastes than the actual quality of the game.
So the real problems for me are the pace of the relationship with the RO which is too fast for me and the feeling that some of my choices got ignored. For example (if I recall correctly) I got the choice to say if I like Boulder early on in the game and I said something along the lines of “yes, but…” the second time it got asked later in the game and I said “yes its great” but the RO still complained that I don’t even like Boulder. For me, stuff like that is really annoying and it wasn’t the only time I felt like my choices are the incorrect ones.
Overall not a bad game but kind of different from the usual games that uses “blank” MCs.


#49

I was quite excited to try a dating-focused CSG, so I leapt into this right away.

My first go around, I went for Keysha, and I was impressed by how it was - she seemed like a real person, and I felt like I was going through actual relationship problems with her. It felt realistic to me, and the thing she called out my character for fit.

However, as I went through each RO, I was disappointed by how similar they were. All of them took you to the Half Mary, where they all talked the same way about their father. They also all had some vague past with each other - Keysha had something with Ray, Ray had something with JJ, JJ had something with Keysha - on my third playthrough it became absurd to me that all three of these characters stole relationships from the other. All of them took you to the bandshell. All of them took you to The Cork, where all of them had a family member working. All of them made the same Motown joke. All of them had that yak-breath exchange. All of them got terse in the car the same way. Etc, etc, etc.

I thought that all these things before were unique to Keysha, but in actuality these were things that every RO did. It ended up being that each RO felt more or less the same. The differences were mainly cosmetic - I wanted more depth on, for example, JJ’s wandering eye and Ray’s balancing athletic life with normal life. Given how the game had relatively few ROs, I thought that there would be uniqueness to each.

I did however enjoy my first playthrough a lot - if I had stuck with just that and not replayed, I would have come away much more positively on the game.


#50

I wanted to say the same exact thing! In my first playthrough I went for Kayshawn and it was so good, I really liked his route and the complexity of our relationship (even though he complained that I was too sexual, my reaction was: WhAT? Are you being serious? We banged only TWO times! That scene was so random haha)

I was so excited to start a new game and try the other romances, but then when I romanced Ray, he had the same storyline :sob: and at The Cork I was literally praying “please tell me that the family member has at least a different name! Please!” But no, same restaurant, same family member and same story. I facepalmed so hard :sob:

And another thing I found so confusing, when romancing Ray, I was so annoyed that he had the same story as the others, so I decided to get back with my ex IN THE LAST TWO CHAPTERS. NOW, Ray and my mc had a lot of arguments, but at the end they decided that their relationship was good and they loved each other, but in the last chapter when I choose to get back with Luis, Ray kinda disappeared? My mc forgot him instantly? Everything was so fast like "Ray now I can really say that I love yo- OH LUIS, please come here in Boulder! Yes are you coming? I will always love you! THE END. Excuse me and Ray? No drama? Okaay

Overall it was a good game (mostly on the first playthrough), and 3,99$ is SUPER CHEAP, so I can say that I’m happy with my purchase. :heartbeat::heartbeat:


#51

I think for the Ex 's interpretation in this story is vary… depend on personal perception, most importantly we didn’t exactly get a clear picture of what happen in during the break up and we never actual experience the past love relationship with the Ex… i meant most of us were assuming the Ex is just a fictional character where if the story presume her / him as Toxic, so the Ex must be toxic, we just didn’t imagine that the MC and the Ex really shared something in the past … the story did predetermine that MC is given a choice of missing the Ex and feel sorrow about the break up , hence there should be something emotional in the past…

In addition, is it really true in real life that we could simply forget the past relationship like in a game ? If not, then when MC was reluctant to make the first reconcilation move out of pride, it is only perceived the Ex was a better person when he/she at least tried to repair a broken bridge with a humble attitude, the Ex did it in a calm manner with affection… that i will definitely salute her courage :slight_smile: like you mention, MC was given a choice to reject the Ex harshly even after the Ex tried to make a reconcilation move … Now if this happen to me after i tried to make the first reconcilation move, i most definitely will back down and won’t bother with the MC again but am i supposed to be toxic ? I think i will chuckle with a sad grin when MC tell people that i am the toxic one… Lol :-):joy:

But for the story , the Ex… Louisa for my case didn’t give up on our relationship and she did all those little things even if i turn her down… for me, i just feel that she cherish more and truthful to our past relationship as compare to i… and in a scene she did reveal MC constantly shut her up during a conversation … hence for her efforts trying to repair a relationship up to this extreme … MC may still reject her since that is MC’s choice … however , the Ex shouldn’t be regard as Toxic, she/he may be stubborn but i can only pity and feel sorry the the Ex for continously trying to forgive someone who never appreciate them :slight_smile:


#52

I think the ex is going to be YMMV for a lot of people. For me, they came off as being toxic but still sympathetic. They valued the MC and isn’t that bad of a person (the MC certainly is pretty flawed, too). However, regardless of how nice they are, constantly making reconcialiatory gestures when those are unwanted, repeatedly, is toxic to me and is actually a little creepy. There’s a point where reconcialatory gestures are desirable. A person uprooting their life and walking away is past that point.

To their credit, I feel like they deserve to know why in a calm conversation. And clearly one person’s ‘not giving up on an important relationship’ is another person’s ‘not knowing when to quit’, and deciding which is which is central to their conflict with the MC.

I think how they came off will also depend a lot on how you interacted with them. Did the MC truly shut them up a lot (in which case they were toxic to each other) or were they gaslighting the MC? It’s really difficult to tell.


#53

There should be more games like this from CoG! This one I haven’t yet read. But I think it looks interesting :wink:


#55

I’ve vacationed to Boulder several times and I can assure you it’s a beautiful and awesome city.


#56

At first I was really enjoying this one, but as it progressed my enthusiasm dwindled. There’s a moment you are hiking, and come across a family rock climbing. They are talking about wanting to move back to the city. When prompted to decide how you feel about the place, all 3 choices are a variation of not wanting to be there. My MC seemed to like it just before that, I guess the MC has to want to leave.

When Rae shows up to talk about the relationship, you automatically shut the door “making it clear she isn’t welcome inside.” Which was odd seeing as how the previous date was just fine… The descriptions of places, and such are very good. There just seems to be an omnipresent push to always self doubt (you’re not being honest with yourself) as an example, even when you select a definitive mindset choice. Another instance of this, my MC has a 76% friendliness, and yet when asked to decide how I feel about the place & its people. All the choices imply I’m reclusive, and shut off…

Then regardless of how well the previous day was. It seems to shit on you the next, without an influence from the player. You even chew out your coworker friend, simply because it’s gloomy out? Which confused me, as the weather doesn’t effect my mood much, nor do you get to choose how the MC feels about crappy days.

Also, in chapter 9 I made plans with JJ. Yet it never happens, and doesn’t even get brought up one way or the other… Instead you go hiking ignoring that there even was a date, and just go right to chapter 10(a moment to myself) which is messed up. Since you don’t have much, or any interactions with the characters in 8 or 9.

I enjoyed some of the characters, but ultimately… they couldn’t keep me into it. Oh well I suppose, just had to put this out there.


#57

Is the issue with sex unavoidable? I did a playthrough with Ray as my RO and I actively chose not to have sex with him and he noticed that I wasn’t into sex at all so I did another playthrough and we had sex ONCE and he told me I’m only interested in sex. What do you want from me Ray?! Is there no middle ground for this?


#58

Was that the first time the game gave a chance to do that?
I tend to pass up on the first opportunity and have sex with the ROs the second time I visit them. And they complain about me not being interested enough in sex.


#59

That’s another main reason why i think the Ex isn’t toxic , Louisa never complains anything at all … if i am not mistaken the conversation with the Ex had been enhanced in the latest update , which make Louisa the more sweeter, the sweetest of them all is the skype chat where she tell me she bought a flight ticket to come to colorado :wink:


#60

I disagree with you. Even when I was doing her route she didn’t seem nice at all. I know she might be rightfully angry at the MC we can’t be sure about that. But if she is angry then she could had just moved on instead of bothering the MC with things what seemed manipulative to me. For example when she used the MCs friend to send the MC the bathrobe with the letter and when the MC called her then just cutting the talk short bc she was “seeing someone”. If she was seeing someone then why even bother with sending that package to the MC? It feelt more like she was only saying that to make the MC jealous.
Edit: buying the flight ticket was just another manipulative move imo. With this she made sure that even if the MC rejects going to visit her she can play the victim at the end and she can guilt trip the MC.


#61

Well… my feeling towards the Ex is totally different from you, the first interaction was when i came out from shower, which the conversation is enhanced further after update… i never experience she ever angry at all, all the while she was calm and listening :-):thinking:

The bathrobe scene was cute for my opinion, and i had to admire her innovative intelligent :-):joy:

As of the scene of seeing someone, if you read the conversation carefully , she did said she was socialise with other people, because she couldn’t continue to cry over the break up… but those who loves her , understand 47% of her laugh is to hide her sadness , that means she did meet someone to mend her wound … not entirely happy at meeting them… then she asks are we those who loves her… sort of asking us whether we understand her feeling :slight_smile:


#62

So… To sum it up: What seems a manipulative lie to me that seems an affectionate confession to you?
Wow, it’s kinda surprising how differently we can interpret things.