Posted 21 November 2005 to rec.games.int-fiction
I really enjoyed Vespers. Well written, well programmed, and with many little details, it deserved to win. However, I think it is quite easy to misunderstand the game.
First of all, there have been some comments regarding the religious elements of the game that I want to comment on, namely this sort of thing:
You could sure tell the guy who made it isnt religious...
I think comments like this are uncalled for. The game does not judge religion in general in any way nor does it explicitly state the authors views on it. If anything, its actually a positive view on religion (the game lets you be good!). If it ever seems the game reflects poorly on religion, it's because you're sinning left and right playing it.
To be honest though, sinning left and right is exactly what you should do when you first play this game. I don't think its a big spoiler to say that the morality of your actions in a religions game typically have consequences, and Vespers is no exception. However, if you try to be "good" from the start you will inevitably fall pray to your own IF instincts and sin without knowing it and later wonder why you're being punished.
If you have finished the "evil" ending first, the game falls into perspective and you can not only deduce how to play "good" but the game will no longer feel so gloomy as you have more information on what is happening around you. You can then restart and enjoy being saintly.
This is generally the regime when playing any moral-choices game. Remembering the Thief series, the easy difficulty lets you murder and be downright atrocious, but when you try the hardest difficulty you're forbidden from murder. Thus new players will learn the game while playing "evil" and later can challenge themselves by playing "good".
The only trouble with Vespers is you don't know you are playing morality-choices game, and the choice of good or evil is left open from the start. New players choosing to start off "good" will become confused without resorting to the hints menu.
So my advice is, bad then be good. Enjoy this fine piece of IF. :)
*** BUGS (PUZZLE SPOILER) ***
As kind of a side note, I noticed a number of non-fatal bugs in the game. These may be frotz (Debian 2.43) bugs, but here they are anyway...
I think this one's self-explanatory. :)
Which do you mean, that, that, that, that or that?
Needs a line break.
Charity is a virtue, but Brother Constantin isn't interested.
Knocking on open doors?
You open the bedroom door.
"Hurry up, father!" Another knock.
Doesn't seem to affect gameplay at all, but...
[** Programming error: Cecilia (object number 432) has no property woken to read **]
"He did not escape: someone freed him."
Brother Matteo kept paper made out of bound grain?
Fitting the bar between the cracks in the flooring, you pry the flagstone up. Itcomes out easily.
Where it lay, in a slight hollow in the soil, are a few sheafs of paper.
Drogo lies in a crumpled heap upon the floor.
He slaps away your fingers.
Also, attempting to "look up" anything results in two blank lines (from the Church next to the bible if that makes any difference).
This article copyright © 2005, Risujin