Joe Dever's Lone Wolf HD Remastered (PC) Review

By Athanasios 28.02.2016

Review for Joe Dever

Those born in the '80s will surely remember the Gamebook trend, with said pieces of literature giving the opportunity to choose the path that the protagonist would follow, in effect creating the storyline while reading through it. Written by Joe Dever, the Lone Wolf series was amongst the most successful of that era, which resulted in it paying a visit to Planet Videogames. After a long absence, the franchise returned to the industry in an episodic format, and, initially, only for mobiles, up until Joe Dever's Lone Wolf HD Remastered bundled all four separate titles into a single package, beautified it, and sent it to the PC.

Similar to visual novels, Lone Wolf HD Remastered requires reading through at least two pages of text before having the opportunity to interact. Luckily, the writing is of very good quality; immersive enough without being too pretentious and/or full of unnecessary and boring filler. Furthermore, the accompanying, soothing music, gives the right atmosphere, and makes up for the lack of an actual narrator. As for the setting, taking part between the third and fourth Lone Wolf Gamebooks, this tells the story of the last Kai Lord, a fierce warrior tasked with guarding his region from the evil Darklords.

Dealing with some local problems concerning a raid by the goblin-like Giaks, instead of a thrilling epic, the plot isn't something special. What makes everything stand out, however, is the fact that the spectator will be the one that will choose each step. Creating a character means selecting from an assortment of various skills, with the vast majority of them being available for usage in the various "crossroads," physical or moral. Lock-pick the chest or bash it with a weapon? Sneak by an enemy party or weaken it through magic? Help Leanne (Wolf's oh-so-boring sidekick) or go on with the main mission? It's all up to the one pushing all the buttons.

Screenshot for Joe Dever's Lone Wolf HD Remastered on PC

While this create-your-adventure mechanic is, undoubtedly, the best feature, it is also where the first major flaw resides. For starters, apart from a locked chest or a minor character interaction, choosing an alternative path to follow rarely has an actual impact on the plot. Additionally, any build can actually do anything. When being blocked by a door, for example, it's possible to unlock it, bash it open, or even use magic on it, but rarely do these options lead to a different outcome - and even when they do, it's usually something subtle, like a small HP/MP decrease.

Those few occasions where all available choices fall into the moral grey, or the few times where choosing the wrong path would lead to serious trouble, are the absolute best of the whole experience, but, unfortunately, there are some issues with balance. For every one exciting step, there are at least 10 mediocre ones, ultimately killing the "choose-your-own-path" atmosphere of the adventure. Why? Two reasons: first, following a certain route isn't really a matter of skill, since, besides a simplistic Quick-Time Event (QTE) "challenge" (that smells of 'mobile' from a mile away), there's no thinking involved; and, secondly: Too. Many. Battles.

Screenshot for Joe Dever's Lone Wolf HD Remastered on PC

An encounter in a videogame with lots of reading should be interesting, right? Well, in the first couple of chapters, getting to fight monsters pleasantly puts the storyline on hold. Furthermore, the actual confrontations are quite entertaining themselves, featuring an easy-to-grasp Active Time Battle system, with Wolf being able to attack/defend by choosing amongst six techniques (three for each held weapon), use various magic tricks, throw daggers or shoot bolts, and even use a badass magic sword that does major damage.

Sadly, after a couple of chapters (and especially in the final two Acts), encounters begin to happen way, way too often. This is a very serious problem; not because there are only a few enemies and the action becomes repetitive, but, mainly, because it crashes the backbone of Lone Wolf into billion pieces. What's that? The chance to experience this quest as an adventure that involves choice and consequence, with said choices being able to affect the actual battlefield.

Screenshot for Joe Dever's Lone Wolf HD Remastered on PC

In other words, and since this is very plot-heavy, encounters should be less, but at the same time feel important; for example, it would be best if battles happen after failed attempts at doing certain things, like choosing the right path or opening a door, but that's not what happens here. What happens is that, sometimes, the player will get to choose doing something before a fight, like shooting some bolts from afar, stunning a group of baddies with magic, or even putting them on fire. Exciting? It would be if it would actually change things more dramatically.

There's another problem with the extremely high encounter rate, though, and that's how, after 10 battles or so, it becomes pretty obvious that there are a couple of serious flaws here, making fights as annoying as they are monotonous. The main reason is - once again - the lack of balance, with behind-the-system dice rolls that leave Wolf on the claws of enemies that are very hard to parry/evade, no matter how high dexterity is, and occasions where the he gets attacked four times in a row and loses tons of HP, despite putting all points in strength and defence.

Screenshot for Joe Dever's Lone Wolf HD Remastered on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Joe Dever's Lone Wolf HD Remastered would be a million times better if only it had embraced its true potential. The concept of being able to make hundreds of choices that change the way the story will unfold is a magnificent one, but the execution leaves much to be desired, with decisions that rarely have an actual impact on things, and an overreliance on monotonous and replay value-killing enemy encounters that feel strategic at first, but show their numerous flaws the more one plays.

Developer

Forge Reply

Publisher

BulkyPix

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Nayu, Ofisil, Sasari

There are 3 members online at the moment.