Reviews for Canopy: Manufactured Womb Note: Hints included in some reviews. You have been warned.Below are some reviewer's comments which we thought might help you decide on whether or not you'd like to play the scenario. This page is not a list of all the reviews the scenario received, only those that had thoughful and/or useful comments to make.
Comments:Innovative, interesting, challenging.
One problem with high-level scenarios is that high-level parties differ greatly from one another, so enemies, particularly bosses, cannot be set to have very specific weaknesses. Combat thus becomes a boring matter of pounding away at a creature with a massive number of hit points.
Canopy gets around this problem by providing the party with customized spells. Thus, combat becomes tactically challenging once again, as bosses in particular can be given specific strengths and weaknesses. This makes the various set-piece battles a joy to play.
Canopy also tries to get around the 'illusion of choice' problem. An RPG is an interactive environment, but only so many possibilities can be catered for by a scenario designer. TM has loaded Canopy with cutscenes, and placed the burden of (apparent) choice as much as possible on the antagonists, leaving the player with a very linear plotline.
In some instances this can be annoying, particularly for rebellious players who like to make up their own mind about things. Nevertheless, allowing for branching plotlines takes time, which would have no doubt taken away from some of the more fun technical aspects of the scenario.
Its always going to be a trade-off, and though us players can say on which side of the line we would rather stand, it is TM's scenario, so in this case, the choice falls to him.
Comments:When I started the scenario, I couldn't stop. I played it almost nonstop from beginning to end. On the up side, there were a lot of excellent items to find, like new armor and such. I especially liked the summoning gems. That was a genius idea. The story line is pretty easy to follow, and it's impossible to get lost or stuck. However, it's a very challenging scenario, and it's possible to spend hours trying to find a way to beat the bosses. At first I hated that, but now that I think about it, it's a good thing. This is what I'd like to see more of.
It should not be rated Everyone, due to some questionable phrases and words. I gave it a high rating because the story line is deep -- there may be underlying themes you'll find in different movies (Does Emery kind of resemble the Architect of the Matrix?). I didn't give it a perfect 5 because of the "questionable material" and because Canopy is such a tiny place. I like to explore.
Warning: Do not go anywhere without many energy potions. And save room in your backpack for those really awesome items. One level in the scenario is especially packed with goodies.
Comments:Canopy was an excellent scenario. I enjoyed playing it a huge amount.
The cut scenes and animations throughout were all excellent and added to the story. I especially liked the animation with Emery. The mass destruction of Leader's troops by Spiegelbrecher was a cool effect.
The characterization-- General Trahison, General Moerder, Leader, Emery, Spiegelbrecher, and others were all well done and easy to understand. Leader was the strongest character in the scenario. The one which felt most complete. The other characters were straightforward cutouts or archetypes.
The philosophy was well done and did not detract from the story. It was expository not explanatory which made it much better than Roses of Reckoning and Emerald Mountain. Also you were more of a direct participant in the cut scenes and animations. Using a Wagnerian style or operatic motifs made the scenario interesting. I did not find the religious allusions overwhelming.
The fights were well done. I especially liked the Tiger Lair and the Third Level of Fortress Grenze. The only fight which I did not care for were the bugbear fights. There was a strong strategic element in some of the fights because of the use of objects with special spells.
There were numerous unique items throughout the scenario. The reward for finding all of the mithril was excellent. The items fit well with their locations. The illusionary rod was a neat item. I thought the use of the term for some of the items-- Miracle was a little bit odd.
The two side quests added to the scenario and did not detract.
There were a number of new effects which were added to the game: 1) The ability to blow up inanimate objects-- it was fun blowing up the stone in the bugbear area. 2) Having pitched battles with some creatures on your side. 3) Needing special items to kill some creatures. I liked all three of these-- hopefully they will be added to future scenarios.
I did not like having too many red herrings throughout the scenario. There were a number of areas which were unexplorable-- you couldn't visit Yggdrasil, nor could you go into the basement in the inn or the main fortress, or enter a secret area in the bugbear lair.
Pretty much all of the areas in the game felt polished and finished. The only area which was a little off was the student quarters and old school training area in Zephirium. These could have been a bit better. The Zephirium Inn was well done. I look forward to the next scenario in the series-- it could have been made clearer there was going to be a sequel.
Comments:This scenario is among the most complex yet made, and by far at the greatest difficulty level. The use of cutscenes was in my opinion both good and bad in that they were well made, but there were also very many of them; more than I cared for. Also the story line had som ecomplexty to it but the player was not allowed to make any choices, which was dissapointing. Also, I don't know if in the 3 times I've played it I've just missed some things or not, but it was slightly frustrating not to fully understand what is going on in the scenario. The special spells were interesting and showed a good deal of thought to come up with creative new ideas. I did not, however, approve at all of the party's spell skills being edited. Though it looks like no mistakes were made, the potential is there, and I just don't think that the scenario designer should go altering the player's party; it would be prefferrable if the designer was able to make the scenario so that it functions well regardless of the party's specific capabilities.
Comments: Well, first I have to admit...
Although I - unlike, surprisingly for me, many others - didn't think TM showed awfully much potential in Roses of Reckoning and Emerald Mountain, but here he really has done a brilliant job. But there are still numerable things I don't like.
I'll start with the good things about the scenario.
1. It is the longest scenario for BoA so far, and also meant for parties that have finished DwtD. This will certainly please those of us who like to stick with one party, not create new ones for every scenario.
2. It is also technically superior to the others, and the numerous new spells and abilities it features are very interesting. Since they are so powerful and necessary to defeat foes, they generally designate the tactics for a party in almost every bigger fight. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but the abilities are still cool.
3. And finally, it has a well-developed plot that is based on a philosophical theme. (This is a TM scenario, after all.)
Next - cons.
1. One of the primary drawbacks in TM scenarios - the outdoors!!!! Everything is so miniature, almost like it was a map where you simply click on the place you want to reach. There is nothing to explore, no secrets to stumble upon. Nothing.
2. You really have little choices in the scenario, and even those are small. Nothing you can do possibly adjusts the storyline. It's really like : "IT IS INEVITABLE, MR. ANDERSON." You get killed in the end, and you can't avoid that because the scenario tells you what YOU WANT TO DO. I would really like to see a TM scenario with a branching storyline. Because of this lack of flexibility, I still really cant compare Canopy to the original 4 scenarios. But that isn't the point.
All in all, it is a good scenario with interesting features, and I prefer it to Perfect Forest. So 4.3 it is.
Comments:awesome job, good rewards, nice movies/animation in movies. neat story line and the ability to blow things up. i love the boss fights. custom spells and wands are probably the best part. tiger lair well done. awesome and majestic cities, towns, lairs. quests well thought out. nice pick up line.
Comments:The story seems intriguing, the setting is imaginatively though sparsely constructed, and the scripting is clever. But the strategic situations were so absurdly cheesy that I just couldn't feel bad about cheating to get through them, and eventually lost interest. If my dungeon master ever pulled situations like these, I wouldn't talk to him again for a long time.
Comments:(Longer review at Lyceum's CSR.)
COMBAT: The scenario really divides into two halves. The combat in the first half is mostly filler (kinda monotonous); in the second, it's mostly boss fights. The boss fights were difficult, but not fun. I found myself having fun only a few times in combat.
PLOT: In the first half, the plot mostly makes sense but is not particularly compelling. In the second, the plot makes little sense and everyone suddenly turns into a TM philosobabbler. I'm pretty sure I understood some of it, and it was disappointingly uninteresting. The writing is coarse all the way through, which detracts from whatever meaning it might have.
BALANCE: Item balance was generous, but not excessive. The combats are more or less at the same difficulty level -- well, the boss fights are much, much harder, but they're all much harder, so it's sort of okay, and they gradually ramp up in difficulty as you go on, which is fine. Smoothness, however, is definitely lacking. The action starts and stops at jolting rates.
POLISH: Mis-spellings, improper usages, and bugs are present to a saddening degree. Each of these tears down the scenario bit by bit. At a dramatic moment in the scenario, a bad guy says a complete non sequitur, and it kills the suspense.
OVERALL: Good at times, really bad at other times, technically advanced, but not in the right ways in the right places. It played as though TM really wanted to make a BoA scenario that felt like a BoE scenario, and I don't like that. I'm conflicted about a final rating, because honestly I liked Emerald Mountain more, but this scenario does so much more than EM but lacks on so much of a grander scale because of it. (Heck, I liked "Cresent" Valley more, so my tastes are questionable.)
I can appreciate the effort that went into it, but I can't say I enjoyed it much.
Comments:Excellent scenario - the combat setups were uniquely challenging, and the plot and dialogue were interesting and well done. Furthermore, the graphics were good and it made excellent use of new features in the engine (cutscenes and summoning items especially.) The only drawback was its complete linearity. There were pretty much no choices that could be made which would effect the flow of the story.
Hated the scenario, nothing to do except what the author forces the player to do (very linear). Not only that, but the author forces the characters to adopt his philosophical point of view. As I disagree strongly with his philosophy this made "playing" the scenario unbearable.
Some interesting coding with respect to equipment and especially the spells, but the game is designed to force a party to use specific spells in a certain fashion, limiting the ways one can succeed in the scenario.
Might as well create a robot player, sit back and watch the robot play the scenario for all I got out of it. Time was better served wathcing a movie.
Comments:Very, very well-constructed scenario. Much attention to detail. I did not personally particularly like the extra spells that the writer created, but I can appreciate the effort and skill that went into them. The plot is complex, and well-written. I found the ending to be somewhat anticlimactic, but thought inspiring. The custom graphics are well-done, especially on the character end, though I feel that the summoning spell item graphics are a bit corny. I would not call it a must-play, but I believe it to be a good scenario for would-be scenario writers to experience and be taught.