[After Action Review] “Sword of the Stars – The Pit”

(Let’s call this “After Action Review”, for reviews of games that aren’t really that fresh any more.)

So, The Pit.
Another RPG-lite Roguelike.

I really didn’t like it.
I tried all the classes, I tried all the difficulty levels and I tried to go as far as I could go.

And after four days of heavy-duty play I have to say that this game has no /soul/. It also has a brutal, possibly game-destroying, RNG.

Both of these combined make for a bland, frustrating experience.

Oh, it starts out fun alright. You start to explore the first few levels and how the three classes differ from each other in stats, skills and item load-outs.

And then, after a few re-starts, you realize that the RNG is just there to fuck you over. At times you can start a floor in a room with a locked door, not having picked up any lock-picks in the floors above, fail the roll to open the door… And end your game right then and there. Because it’s over for you and you have no chance to progress. This can happen before the fifth level down. Even on “Easy”. [EDIT: I’ve been made aware that you can destroy doors. This changes this point, slightly. But it raises another negative point: Doing this deprives you of XP. Which is fair, you failed the roll. But you’re ALSO deprived of XP if you’re unlucky enough to pick up a key. Gaining an apparent advantage should NOT penalize you, in my opinion.]

On the other end of the scale, you can start a game, look through a few loot-containers (and slimes) and find heavy weapons with enough ammo and support items to carry you through the whole game.

There is no consistency at all there.

As to the “soul”-lessness, this is down to how it connects to the SOtS universe. It’s all over the place. It has some of the humour and whimsy of the original SOtS game, but it’s utterly disjointed. The facility you are visiting is a very old Suul’ka science facility. Abandoned for hundreds of years. But still filled with Sol Force rations and crazed Terrans who were used for experimentation. Even though, as par the game, Sol Force has NOT been a star-faring nation for “hundreds of years”, nor have the Suul’ka been abducting humans to experiment on them.

And then there are the journal entries, which are written in a tone utterly disjointed from how the Suul’ka have been portrayed in the lore of SOtS. They’re written (and, in-game, auto-translated probably) as if by a teenage, human, TA who was dealt the job to document some experiment by his asshole-professor. Almost as if the facility was supposed to have been a Terran facility at some point in time, which was then changed during development, without going through the prior text assets.

Compared to SOtS 2 it’s still a better game. It’s workable. It’s feature-complete and it doesn’t contain any game-stopping bugs.

But when I compare it to its two biggest competitors (in my mind at least), it fails horribly.

Those two games are The Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy. An older and a newer game.

What those have which sets them apart from The Pit, is the sense of /progress/. With both of these game, you are constantly rewarded for progressing further into the game. Both games change themselves to adapt to your progress. You unlock new classes, new items, new things to find, changes in story and feel as well as in difficulty; and you change the probability of item drops in-game.

Nothing of this is present in The Pit, which lives solely on it’s three classes and three difficulty settings.

It’s just bland, overly random and, while good looking, not what it could be fidelity wise.

Perhaps “Mind Games” changes this, but as of now?
I really don’t want to spend any more money on this game. The base experience truly put me off.