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Demonheart

Dark fantasy romance, lots of dialog choices. · By Rolling Crown

Please let me ramble about this great game! (spoilers)

A topic by Mistral created Aug 19, 2018 Views: 1,331 Replies: 4
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I am a sucker for well-crafted characters and plot lines, therefore Demonheart in both forms hits the spot for me perfectly. In roleplay, combat usually bores me and I play mostly to immerse myself in a story. So as a roleplayer that is hard to please, let me just say: Chapeau, Madame Author. Chapeau indeed.

Demonheart first caught my eye when I dusted off Neverwinter Nights and searched for promising storymods, and was surprised and delighted to find such an exquisitely crafted and complex story and quickly became enchanted by the visual novel. Really, this storylover-fangirl-heart of mine felt funny for days now. I hope it’s okay if I leave my thoughts about both the visual novel and the module here. Please believe me when I say that I love both, since there will be comparison of both of them in the rather verbose musings below – when critiquing, I just loved the other approach a bit more.

It is amazing how much artwork and voice acting (kudos to the voice actors) can define a character – for example: Ari, due to her character design, has an exotic air about her that is difficult to express through written dialogue only and makes her, quire frankly, appealing and interesting. Sir Brash seemed more restrained and a tiny, tiny, tiny (really tiny) bit less trigger-happy in the visual novel, which together with the excellent voice acting made him more sympathetic. Furthermore, his motives and background where explained earlier in the story in comparison to the mod, which made it hard inplay to hold a grudge.

As an aside note: I do value my privacy when stabbing Brash like a vengeful Valkyrie (and then stab him some more for good measure) when given the chance. Having a witness in the demonspawn feels a bit weird. It’s just my preference to have my inplay roaring rampages of revenge in private and without an audience ;-)

I did notice that the visual novel made an effort to immerse the player early in the setting by going into more detail of the protagonist’s life and especially her relationship with orchid. That worked fantastically and is definitely an improvement compared to the nwn mod. However, I also noticed that the supposedly good characters (Mark, also known as target practice), Fisher and Jasper went out of their way to be selfish douchebags – Mark was just cold and opportunistic, Fisher is – sit venia verbo – batshit insane and manipulative as hell, while Jasper, apparently one of the nicest blokes around, only had his own interests of dating Bright at heart while ignoring her grief, confusion and general hopeless and desperate situation. Not the best time to make a move, buddy.

At first, I was a bit disappointed in Raze in the visual novel, until I finally realized what a delicate web of deception had been woven by the author. The nwn module had its own appeal in that matter: It took its time to build the suspense, only let Raze appear very sparingly and was generally more built on mystique. The key bonding scene (the protagonist’s dreamscape, which I adore as a scene) was playing when I was well in the game and showed a sophisticated, pragmatic, condescending and ruthless Raze, but also one that was vulnerable, curious and hungry for approval. He also seemed strangely enough very respectful of the person and privacy of the protagonist, and his immature and possessive outbursts were only shown at the very end of the game, when there was a definite impact (and some “competition” for affection he so craved). In comparison, the visual novel is less subtle about character design, but more comprehensive. Personally, I like the subtle approach with the slow and deliberate build-up better, but I can see the appeal of the very grounded way the visual novel approached this character. I don’t know which one is better, to be honest, but both work well.

As for the storyline – I suspect that the visual novel and nwn module have different story arcs – I can say that both worked well – especially the visual novel has fast and comfortable pacing and makes excellent use of the possibility to just jump from distance to distance without delay as the story progressed. I think the lack of combat and character creation (as in a skillset) made this feel less like accomplishments, but then again, this story works well without.

All in all, I like the nwn module, while unfinished, slightly better because it felt more immersive and gritty while I appreciated the slow buildup in just about every character design, while I am awed of the artwork and composition of the visual novel. Thank you, dear author, for this experience. I hope my disorganized ramblings didn’t offend and conveyed my appreciation appropriately. I also apologize for any mistakes made, since English is not my first language.

Developer

Thank you for your review :)
I'm hoping to make the next game with more rpg-like elements similar to the modules.

(2 edits)

I am a bit late to the party on the VN, had just downloaded it about one week ago, and fell madly in love with it. Now, it's important to mention that I first became familiar with it on the NWN1 format, and had played that long ago. I must say I was majorly disappointed to see the module series dropped in favor of a visual novel format at the time, mainly because I was not really all that familiar with what VN's were, and I guess I just didn't really want to explore a new format, being as I had long ago been spoiled by the NWN1 game engine itself. However....that was then. This is now. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the visual novel! In some ways, it's even better than the module series, it being a more cohesive, tight, well-crafted, not to mention FINISHED story, as opposed to the modules which are incomplete. And the art and graphics are fab. My hesitation or reluctance to try something new in the gaming department is what kept me from playing the VN when it first came out 2ish years ago. Or whenever the final release date for Chapter 5 was, I forgets. But I am so glad I decided to "forge a new path ahead" and get out of that comfort zone. And I was not disappointed, quite the opposite actually. I DL'd the game on JastUSA dot com, not steam or itch dot io. I would like the Dev's Coffee main menu add-on, but not sure I can get it, since I didn't purchase the game from Steam. Ah, well. No big loss. The main thing is the game itself. Granted the stories are different, despite taking place in the same universe/setting, depending on whether one is talking about the NWN1 module series, or the VN format. Both have their good points/merits to them. Though I do have to say the VN is probably the better format for the story being told here. Even if I didn't think so at first, given my initial hesitation.


While I wouldn't mind seeing some adult/mature content in the sequel, and the VN itself, I also have to say the overall story doesn't really need it - though it does add more grit to the general dark and twisted atmosphere of it all. I think it all boils down to what kind of tone or mood you are looking for. Though a patch is always great if you want to go for a lighter tone for the "main game" like the VN did. And I'd definitely buy the patch too, but would first play the game without it, just to compare/contrast the differences.


As for the sequel, while I understand you can take the successive story anyway you like, I do have a couple critiques. I hope you will consider them, but ultimately, its your call what you choose to do in the end. Your game, your decision. Mainly the whole Ari sub-plot.... I would think that if one were given the choice to have other instances happen with that character, whether she backstabs Bright in the Infernal Lair, or whether she is killed by Imposter Raze being thrown into the flames, it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense for her to still be around considered "canon-compliant", if there are other ways it could have gone. Which there were. This goes for any major decision made by the MC, and how each person decided to play Bright as their character. If Ari is meant to be in the sequel, then there should not have been those other 2 paths, as it limits the different types of Brights one could play, and can successfully carry over to the sequel without one having to draw 'The Fates' card from the Deck of Many Things (metaphorically speaking of course). If you know what I mean by that D&D reference. That, and any other paths where something may have occurred differently should be honored, which it seems like you did to some extent already, based on what I've read elsewhere. But if something is meant to be particular to the plot, it would be helpful to know what that is, or allow us the option to say this happened instead. I mean this with the greatest respect possible, as I know you've put a ton of work into this series, the dedication of it all being evident to anyone who cares to take note of such. I am sure I am not the only one who feels blessed to be gifted with this excellent and compellingly well-written story, as it is a real gem amongst rocks, and I can't emphasize that enough. Besides those little critiques in regards to Ari and other details of that nature, everything else I would have to say is pure praise. Though I do hope you decide to continue the module series in some future year. But I can understand if that ship has long since sailed. It would also be nice to see how both completed stories compare to one another, but perhaps I am asking too much. But I will give my thoughts/opinions on this all the same.


I do have one question though. While it may be an obvious answer, I am going to ask all the same. In the mod series, is the "Raze" we are talking to also an imposter or was that a different plot point intended for this VN only? I would think there would be no difference, as that would be a pretty major thing to change, but I'd still like to know. Since we were never officially given an answer to this in the NWN modules.


Kudos to you for taking the time to make this game and its overall setting/universe. I am most definitely a fan, being completely hooked on what will happen next and everything that has happened thus far. I also would LOVE to see a wiki for this series as well. ADWR has one, so why not Demonheart too? Just a thought. Good luck on all that you do, and may your muse provide you with ever-flowing ideas and inspiration for your games (both Demonheart and any other games you decide to create).

Developer

Thank you for your feedback :)

To answer the question about Raze, there was supposed to be a similar plot twist with him in the NWN modules, only by then he was supposed to have saved the main character from trouble quite a few times, making the choice to betray him more difficult.

Thanks for the answer. Looking forward to the sequel when it comes out!