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Pros and Cons of Bone

posted by Anonymous on - last edited - Viewed by 2.9K users

I thought it would be a good idea to write what we liked about Bone..and what we didn't like..

B-)

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  • I agree with a number of comments on other forums that the demo segment is too short to draw in (some) people unfamiliar with Bone. The desert section is quite bland graphically too, so what little people see in the demo isn't as lovely as the next few sections. There's no real introduction of the characters and no story advancement. I think some people are left a little underwhelmed at this point and that will cause many not to stump up for the rest of the game, and hense the rest of the series.

    I'd recommend that the demo should extend to the river crossing. that way you'd meet several new characters (good and bad), take control of one of them, and navigate the lovely torchlit rock formation area, plus see the vista across the forest plus experience a bit of the graphically pretty forest (I hope none of the bits just mentioned could be thought of as spoilers - it's all in the screenshots & trailer anyway).

    What I do like - I think it's amazing what's being packed into a 75MB download. I managed it ok yesterday on a 56k dialup modem. I especially love that I'm playing the game at the same time as the rest of the world. Psychonauts, for example, still hasn't made it to shop shelves in this country.

    The 3-person conversations are neat and sound very natural. I think the animations are cute, just what I'd expect. Graphically, it's superb for a 75MB download.

    But most of all I love the fact that the core of my favourite team from LucasArts are back, making & selling games, trying something new with the 'smaller episodic style' and cutting out the publishers from the loop entirely. And that coupled with the Sam & max news has me very excited for the future.

    I guess one other downside will be having to wait several months for the next chapter once I finish Out From Boneville.

  • Personally, I thought the game was... good. Not excellent but certainly far above average.

    I've never read any of the books but I don't think that Fone Bone is a really good character. Phoney Bone on the other hand is quite probably one of my favourite characters ever now. There's something compelling about watching him stump about and being a complete and utter bastard is a new Adventure game character type which I really quite like.

    The graphics are very nice, except for the actual normal looking people. Simple, yet very nicely done.

    The mini-games are mostly okay. Although I'm none too pleased about the running thing. The second time I had to do it my computer suddenly decided to minimize the game and spend forever to do nothing in particular. Then the game didn't maximize again and i hadn't saved for about an hour. I suppose this wasn't really anything to do with the actual game though.

    Overall I think it's a pretty good game, yet it doesn't give me that special tingly feeling I get inside whenever I play a really good game.

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    Anonymous

    I'm downloading the game right now at work (UNICEF Uganda ;) ) so I haven't played it yet. However, having just last week read the wonderful and massive Bone 1 volume edition, I can tell you that the first chapter (or episode) is by far the least interesting and exciting of the series... I really hope they keep it up with the series and complete the entire story arc because it really becomes amazing, magical, grand and epic. I really fell in love with the characters, the world and the story and was really sad to see it end. It really creates a wonderful, somehow believable alternate reality. I'm really glad Telltale chose the Bone licence... there's so much built into it already and so many possibilities. I also really hope the game inspires Jeff Smith to write more Bone stories, or stories specifically for the electronic medium.
    Alright, the game is almost finished downloading... now I have to fiind a bathroom in which to hide with my laptop and headphones for a few hours so nobody will know I'm slacking off on the job B-)
    Chris

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    Anonymous

    Hi all!

    I really enjoyed this game.

    The adventure style of gaming has an under-served market. Bone really capitalizes on the strengths of this genre by combining raw talent with an enthralling story. Its serialized business model and family-friendly content suggest a very bright future for Telltale Games.

    The following are my pros and cons for Out of Boneville.

    -------- SPOILER ALERT (puzzle solution revealed below!) --------

    Pros:
    [list]
    [*]Models & textures are very good!
    [*]Animation is good - Very expressive gestures!
    [*]Music is good
    [*]SFX are good
    [*]Voice acting is good (especially the possums!)
    [*]Puzzle to Story ratio (pacing) is good
    [*]Dialog writing is creative - I like the interactive story-telling
    [/list]

    Cons:
    [list]
    [*]Control
    [list]
    [*]Sometimes VERY hard to find the right place to click to move the character or pick up an item.
    [*]The apple tree has multiple locations onto which one can click to display an "success-like" animation. It seems unfair to require the user to click on the apples as opposed to the apple tree.
    [*]Window Control - It is very easy to exit the game when running dual monitors. Mouse movement should be restricted to the game while it is active.
    [*]Chase sequences - Arrow key control would make these sections much easier.
    [*]Walking speed - A walking speed setting would be great! Another option is double-click a location to run to it.
    [*]Skippable dialog - It would be nice to have the ability to skip sections of dialog.
    [/list]
    [*]Voice recording (not acting) - Audio levels are too low for Dragon & sometimes Gran'ma. One option is to automatically lower/mute the background music level during dialog.
    [*]Lip-sycing needs work
    [*]More jokes during dialog would be nice
    [/list]
    -------- END SPOILER ALERT --------

    Telltale, thanks for all of your hard work! I had a lot of fun playing Out of Boneville and look forward to the next installment!

    -Matt

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    Anonymous

    the only thing I didn't like about the game was the female voices. Thorn sounded creepy, and Grandma Ben's voice didn't fit very well. I was imagining more of an Agnus Skinner sound to it. But other than my voice nitpicking, great jorb Telltale! I was surprised at how good the music was. Hope to see more from you guys soon. :D

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    Anonymous

    Not only walking speed, but MOUSE SPEED!!!

    1. Mouse speed - too slow / laggy. Should be customisable.

    2. In the top corners (right and left), and sometimes on the extreme left hand side of the screen, the mouse will change to windows default. Clicking here at any time switches the window back to Windows.

    3. Game doesn't like alt-tab / switching, coming back from this messes up the cursor and has it switch between Windows default and the Bone cursor if you move it fast enough.

    4. On / off switch for the hint '?' on the button right corner...it's a newbies way, so it should be auto-enabled, but there really should be an option to turn it off. I really don't like having the icon there... makes me think about getting hints...and I don't want any!!

    5. 'Just stand up will ya' said by Fone Bone to Smiley Bone in the demo when asking about the thing under Smiley, the audio clips at the end.

    _________

    Finished the demo in the 70 MB version, now just have to DL the 50 MB version so IT ACTIVATES AND I CAN PLAY THE REST!!!

    Hrmph!!!

    I know that the new version was whipped up very quickly, but in future could you bring out a patch as well?

    That's all I've found so far, I'll keep on the hunt when I get into the full game...

    apart from these few small things I have to say EXCELLENT JOB.. I love Bone and adventure games and it is great to see both together!!

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    Anonymous

    I'd like to share some of my thoughts about Out from Boneville. I'll begin with an introduction of myself, my familiarity with Bone and adventure games (for context), then present what I feel are the pros and cons of Out from Boneville, and finish with general thoughts and conclusions.

    Introduction: I'm 27 now and have been playing adventure games since I was about six or so (Zyll was first. then King's Quest III). I played through all the classic Sierra and Lucasarts game and still have "Day of the Tentacle" and "Sam and Max" permanantly installed on all my computers (and my modded XBOX), which I play through SCUMMVM. My favorite adventure games ever are Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max, Grim Fandango and Quest for Glory II (I can hardly wait for the ADG Interactive remake!).
    I first heard of Telltale in the aftermath of Sam and Max: Freelance Police being cancelled, and I have been following their development as a company almost daily since their website was put on-line. Of course I desperately hoped they would aquire the licence to Sam and Max (which they now have) and that would by their principal project. When they announced they would be working on Bone I was a bit disappointed, but also excited to explore a new world I'd not yet visited. I ordered the 1-volume volume of Bone and, over the course of reading it, absolutely fell in love with it... such a magical, whimsical, wonderful world full of characters with real human emotions and problems, and a collection of not one but many lead characters, all of which I could empathize and became emotionally attached to. I was very, very happy indeed that Telltale would be making Bone. I had, several months earlier, bought Telltales Texas Hold'em and the thing I was most impressed with was the extent to which the characters were able to convey convincing emotion and character. The animation system, though simple, worked surprisingly well, and I looked forward to seeing that same emotional versatility in action with Bone. Well, now I've played through Bone twice and I'd like to share some of my thoughts. I welcome disagreement and criticism, as long as they are well intentioned.

    - The animation - I really think Telltale did a superb job with the character animation, with a few exceptions. The range of emotions, expressions and movements that the characters display is just superb and very convincing. I often felt like I was watching real people (or... somethings?). Likewise the character models are very, very good. I particularly thought the rat creatures were fantastically done. The sole exception was Thorn. I simply didn't think that Thorn really looked a lot like the character in the comic and certainly didn't capture her spirit. Particularly strange were here eyes, the way her mouth moves when she speaks, and also her voice (I'll address the voice later). I think Telltale should put a bit more work into bringing Thorn's character closer to that invisioned in the comic. I was really, really pleased with the rat creatures in their entirity. Another thing that worked very, very well was the eye-brows on the Bones. Good work Telltale.

    - Voices - Generally I liked the voices, with a few exceptions. The Bones were all fine. The rat creatures were superb. The dragon was spot on. Ted the Bug was... well, that's what Ted the Bug sounds like. The only characters I had any real problems with were Grandma Ben and Thorn, which, I realize having read the end credits, are voiced by the same person. It's really hard for me to place why Thorn's voice doesn't work for me. First, I don't think it sounded quite young enough. Thorn is quite young in the book (somewhere between 16 and 20, I would guess), after all. She also didn't sound kind enough to me. Thorn, in the book, is exceptionally kind and caring, with a bit of a stubborn streak and a lot of resolve when she thinks something is not right. She is also very gentle towards Bone in particular, and very sensitive... I would like to hear more of that in her voice and see it in the face and animation of her character. Grandma Ben is also a bit problematic to me, though not to the same extent. The problem is that Grandma Ben doesn't sound like she's an old grandmother. Instead she sounds like a younger woman pretending to be an old grandmother, which is in fact the case. These problems with the voices of both Thorn and Grandma Ben could, in many ways, be alleviated quite simply - by hiring voice actors who are the actual age of the characters. How hard would it be to find an old Grandmother to act as Ben and a teenage girl to be Thorn? Please consider it for the next episode.

    - Music - All around fantastic and exceptionally well suited for the game. Very well done Telltale! The only suggestion I'd make is to add a bit longer clips, as the music does become repetitive fairly quickly, and the repetition can make even very good music obnoxious.

    - The controls - I thought the control scheme was very nice, intuitive, easy to use and elegant. I did miss, however, having the opportunity to interact with objects in more varied ways. I wonder if there is a way we could retain the elegance and intuitive nature of the interface while adding more possibility for experimentation and play?

    - The camera- The camera angles and how it moves, are just right. Very well done indeed.

    - The dialogue - The dialogue, and the system it uses, was very well done. I understand that Telltale is trying very hard to remain faithful to the original Bone book, and I appreciate them offering dialogue that didn't appear in the books, but it would be fun and add a lot to the game if there was a wider range of choices. As it stands all of the dialogue is almost completely inline with the book, and every choice leads, eventually to the same eventual conclusion, which leads to a point I'll write more about later, that of linearity and choice. In terms of dialogue, I'd really love to be able to say things aren't so completely in line with what the characters said in the book.. to experiment with being mean, being wacky, being greedy, being forceful, being honest, lying, and seeing the consequences. Knight of the Old Republic, more than probably any game I've ever played, did this perfectly and I think that's a huge part of why it was so succesful. Of course, Bone needs to remain faithful to the story, but at least allow us the pleasure of testing the response from characters to various approaches, even if it doesn't directly effect the end outcome of the conversation. I also really liked the three-way conversation in Bone, but I think they could be exploited a bit more. Choosing to say one thing to one character didn't have a whole lot of effect on what could be said to the other character. Likewise, in (I think) almost all cases of three way conversation the lead character gets the chance to talk to address someone and after doing so the character that was addressed responds and then the lead character gets to choose who to talk to again. I can't recall many cases (except with the possum kids and the rat creatures) in which A address B and C responds or both B and C respond. There's a bit of room for further exploration of the possibilites of this dialogue system and the dialogue itself.

    - The mini-games -
    This is the point I need to come down hard on. The mini-games are simply not fun. I know Telltale wanted to make the game accessable by not making puzzles that are too difficult or don't make sense within the story itself, but these puzzles are not only not fun at all, but are also not at all challenging and have zero replay value.The mini-games are a miss on all counts. A while back Heather Logas wrote a blog-entry about fun in games. I invite her, and Telltale, to reexamine that entry and take to heart what she said. The core of any game should be fun and if that fun is absent even the best story will leave the game player unfilfilled. So think about how the games can be truly fun, and consider also that because there is a built in hint system that a certain amount of real challenge and puzzle can be included, with the hint system available for those who don't want to deal with it. As for me, the two running and jumping sequences were just plain frustrating, as was the sequence trying to escape the rat creatures (all of which repeat from the beginning, ad nauseaum, exactly the same until they are completed, with no variety, change, replayability or option to skip them altogether). Remember... fun is number one!

    - The art - Good and satisfying, though not spectacular in any sense. I'll take it as it is, but it could use a little spucing up. I'm glad it was very true to the original illustrations, with the already noted exception of Thorn, who was simply not quite on target.

    - General playability - The game itself is very easily playable and works intuitively, unfortunately the entire world itself, with the possible exception of the dialogue (though there is room for improvement) is lacking in opportunities for fun. Most scene having almost no clickable objects, and even then the options for interacting with the objects are extremely limited. Please Telltale, let us PLAY in this beautiful world you and Jeff Smith have created. Make everything, or almost everything, a potential toy, with game and the world being a giant, wonderful, magical box full of the funnest toys around. The fact that almost nothing in the Out from Boneville world can be interacted with, and even less can be played with, is a huge mistake and seems diametrically opposed to what I thought was Telltale's philosophy. It also means that the game ends up having almost no replayability whatsoever. This is a serious problem, especially for a game that is so short. If the storyline of the game is going to be short, then there at least needs to be lots of toys to play with within it to extend it's enjoyability.
    This leads me to the issue of linearity. I know Out from Boneville is following the story of the graphic novel, but does it have to do so so slavishly, to the extent of disallowing any surprises, options, choices, exploration or consequences? What results from the current format is, essentially, a clickable version of the comic, which to me is simply not satisfying and not worth the money when, for a little bit more, I can go and buy the entire 1000 page complete graphic novel and enjoy the story that way. So not only is the game one of the most oppressively linear I've ever played, allowed basically no real choices whatsoever, but in following the original book it doesn't add any real extras to what happens in the book, nor does it maintain those in the book, but it actually strips some of them out. If this game is going to be fun for those who have read the book then ideally it should offer additional experiences to those contained in the book, or at the very least contain all those in the book. Stripping them out while not replacing them with alternatives is really short-changing the gamer.

    Length of the game - The game is simply far too short. It ends as soon as any interest has begun to develop. I think this is a real shame, especially for those new to the series who will finish the episode with little reason to buy the next episode. Of course those of us who have read the book know that this is partly a weakness of Jeff Smith's original story - Out from Boneville is in itself the least compelling chapter of the Bone graphic novels, with the story becoming more and more interesting and exciting. However, as much as we'd like to, we can't use that as an excuse - the reality is that the original comic book cost a few dollars per issue, so there was some possibility that one would buy the second issue without much reservation, even having been not completely contented by the first, but in the case of the game we really don't have that luxury. The gamer has invested $20 in something that was very short, had very little fun in it, has no replayability, and doesn't really have much of a compelling story. Even for me, who knows and loves the Bone story, the game was far too short and lacked enough fun and replayability for me to be excited about a second episode or very willing to pay another $20 for a similar experience. . I would be really surprised if most gamers buy the second episode based on the first.

    Conclusions - Telltale, a company I desperately want to love and see succeed, has done so on many level, and has proved that they can create a magical world faithful to Jeff Smith's original vision, but they have also failed on a level that, if not addressed succesfully, could end unhappily. Telltale needs, first and foremost, to remember that games are meant to be FUN. If a game isn't fun then it isn't a game. Telltale has managed to convincingly recreate a world born in Jeff Smith's imagination, but they haven't been able to make it fun and the end result is, essentially, a clickable comic book. Unfortunately, for most adventure gamers, including myself, a clickable comic book, especially of this length and price, is simply not enough. I commend Telltale on their achievement in recreating the Bone world so beautifull, but I also strongly encourage them to spend some serious time thinking deeply about their game-creation philosophy and how they can make Bone the most FUN it can possibly be. If I see evidence that Telltale has made progress on fun and length of the game then I will most certainly buy the next Bone game, but if the next game follows the same model I'm sorry to say that, despite how desperately I want to see Telltale succeed, I will spend my $20 elsewhere.

    You've got character, story, beauty and imagination already but remember Telltale - fun, replayability, choices, consequences, exploration, discovery, inventiveness, interaction, and options are the gems of gaming - without these things than even the most beautiful world will not be satisfying as a game.

    Telltale, I know you can do this right. You've got the very best game designers in the world and some of the best creative material to work. I have faith in you.

    In sincere appreciation, gratitude, respect and hopefulness,

    Chris

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    Anonymous

    [quote]Length of the game - The game is simply far too short. It ends as soon as any interest has begun to develop. I think this is a real shame, especially for those new to the series who will finish the episode with little reason to buy the next episode. (...) I would be really surprised if most gamers buy the second episode based on the first. [/quote]

    Well, acutally I will ;) I haven't read the books, but this story and world DOES have captured me!

    I also DID like Bone as a game experience and thought it WAS fun! Of course, it cannot be compared to other adventures, it isn't challenging at all. But I still liked most "mini-games", and thought they were quite special. (For example the hide and seek sequence or getting the bug to the other side of the river...)

    But I have to admit that the game really is too short. I would have loved to go on for a while. Indeed, the length/price relation is at the limit of being acceptable... either the game should have been longer, or cheaper.

    But that won't keep me from buying part two. I LOVED the general atmosphere of this game. Good job, Telltale!

    Cheers,
    LGH

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    Anonymous

    First off, let me say that, for the most part, Bone was great. I really enjoyed what there was of it. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough.

    I'd say the shortness of the game was a huge drawback. For $20, I wasn't expecting a full-length adventure, but, having played all the classic Lucasarts games and spending several hours at a time talking to characters and figuring out puzzles, I was disappointed. In fact, I couldn't believe it was over already. When the credits started rolling, I kept expecting a Curse of Monkey Island-type fake.

    I know Telltale isn't Lucasarts. They shouldn't try to be. But still. This game needed to be a ten-hour game. I think it only took me three hours or so. The repitition of areas was one of the problems. I haven't read Out from Boneville, so I don't have any special love for the characters or desire to see it adapted faithfully. As an aspiring writer myself I respect the hell out of Telltale for being so faithful (so I've heard). But there needed to be more puzzles (there were only, what, five?).

    It just felt rushed. I wished they would've taken more time to flesh it out.

    I was super-impressed with the eyebrow system, though. The way they would spring up out of nowhere (just like in a real drawing) was very well done. The voice acting was great and Smiley Bone was especially good (and I agree that the possums were great, too). The animation was fantastic. The graphics were perfect (I once saw a poster of Bone on the Dragon Stair, and what was in the game looked EXACTLY the same). What puzzles there were way too easy, but the gag about the termites was wonderful.

    I don't know. There needed to be more to do. More options with the interface, more conversations. More environments. More puzzles, definitely. Just more. I know more is coming, but I don't want to end up paying $180 for 9 volumes of Bone games when they could've split it into 3 full-fledged $40 games.

    I kinda feel ripped-off. But not really. I'll continue to support Telltale. But if Sam and Max isn't a real game...

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    Anonymous

    Thanks Everyone for the support and comments.

    Chris thank you for your insightful and helpful criticisms.
    Be well in Uganda and we will take this all to heart.

    On another note, I am very curious if you share your love of games with the local people in any way?

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