The 7th Continent Review - Panpipes and Woven Baskets

by: No Pun Included

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[11.21]
awakening in a strange land F ker knows that he has been cursed he probably did something bad to deserve that but he doesn't want to be cursed so he'll bumble around trying to find a way to reverse it however in a land as mystifying as this it may be impossible for him to find his location [Music] seeking to discover his way and with no map he must trace roots and navigate terrain otherwise he might die naked alone and afraid although he has no idea whatsoever about local values or customs he attempts to trade this isn't greatly successful nor is his ability to blend in in fact he looks like a pillock precious resources such as wood can be a bugger to find f ker must scavenge all he can carry this hunger overcomes him he hunts out a local delicacy putting his presumptions aside he must eat what they eat otherwise he'll starve which is slightly worse than possibly contracting dysentery [Music] [Applause] horrible afters I'm getting the boss home hey hey you stop what you're doing for pay attention because this isn't just any Johnny cardboard we're talking about seventh continent deserves your attention you're single to having to YouTube maybe even full screaming and actually listening let me say this now so that it sinks in of all the games that have been or will be in 2017 none are so ambitious or inventive or unique a 7th continent actually scratch that because this isn't a game it's an idea a mad fever vision printed onto cardstock we're in an absurd reality against all odds this game exists and the punchline is that this absurd reality is our reality because the designers of seventh continent didn't just want to deliver a euro game to your doorstep or a legacy game or pick up and deliver game no they wanted to deliver a whole freakin continent nothing less this is not the seventh continent this is just a small island your first steps into it a vision of things to come it's a bit like the Isle of Wight but with a bit less cows and a bit more to do in seven continent you'll be playing a board game version of a choose your own adventure game where everything you can do is depicted on the artwork you visually see what you can do and then some symbols denote actions that you can take and then when you take the action whether they you succeed or lose you'll be instructed to take another card and then you look at that card and things will happen from here on onwards we're only going to be showing you this island because we don't want to spoil things because part of the charm of the seven continent is discovering what the continent is for yourself and now just imagine that the Isle of Wight was mandatory as the starting place for entering and understanding Britain wouldn't things be different in fact I've never seen any game work as hard I'd simply not telling you what it is you're going to be doing this manual right here teaches you about 50% of all the roles in the game and it is hopes that you'll pick things up as you go along because of its relatively simple yet alien feeling system we've seen similar ambition earlier in the year in this war of mine but whereas that game made you stop in your tracks banging your head against the insistence of not teaching you what you need to know to progress in seven continent weirdly it just works well then what are you actually going to be doing I'm the friend I've got no good answer for you apart from that you're gonna be exploring actually that's not quite true within the rules of the game you will be cursed and you will fiddle your way around this massive continent attempting to try and lift it like some sort of curse fiddler the curse that you choose will give you some clues as to how to lift it and give you a starting location and off you go and from there on all you have to really do is look each card forming an exploratory dustier of places you've been and things you've seen and each white square with a pictogram and it will depict the actions you can take and there's so many actions that there's a whole cardboard slab of things that you can do but that's not it because there's even some more peculiar ones like where you've eaten fruit because you're super hungry but actually it looks okay but it's actually not okay but then you can't find any kind of porcelain in the forest or jungle that you're in and that's a real problem in the game seven continent is a game that delivers about 80% of the information you need to know via images symbols and sometimes hidden objects instead of telling you what things are it lets you observe and then of course the immediate inclination you have is to verbalize what you see to other people what you end up with is a game that doesn't just force the narrative onto you via text blurbs but instead gently nudges you towards looking and discussing what you see and that is so much more powerful the more you play the more you geographically understand where you are what to do and how to get about to give you an idea a perspective of its size and scope if this starter island this Isle of Wight takes up a small portion of my table then ain't I continent is going to take up my living room floor perhaps even more and it's full of mountains and snow escapes and jungles and mysterious dungeons and temples and deserts and crustaceans and spiders and snakes it's Australia on steroids and talking of crustaceans the food card is particularly funny in this game because it says meat / crustacean and just makes me think there's such a thing as a vegetable crustacean either way you're getting crabs you could say that it's too big but lots of little great things come out of its size some of the encounters are scary but not in an obvious way like playing killer bunnies with all the expansion smush together scary more like what's this little thing here what what should I take that out that kind of scary it's like a sense of disquiet like seeing a tiny little bit of raisin just poking out of a bagel you might opt to go there hike up your pants or according to the wind and find that I'm not gonna spoil it for you or you may tentatively step away from it and because of the sheer scope of this game never discover what that thing was or it may come up in an entirely different playthrough it's like the same continent but looking at it through a different lens that to me right there is the representation of mystery in a board game aha danger much like licking a melted battery your curiosity is fraught with peril because after all you are still a human being and as such you need to eat sleep poop take an occasional selfie and post it on Twitter and someone to tell you that it's going to be alright it is it will be alright each time you want to form an action you dip into the action day much like dipping a soldier into an egg and sometimes you get too much joke sometimes you get just the right amount of yolk or sometimes your yolk get the yolk to weigh as you trip up the egg cup with your solder and now the yolk is all over the table at times the game will tell you to draw lots of cards but you don't need any successes or draw as many cards as you like but you need for example two successes or draw the exact amount of cards and get the exact amount of six that it wants with no room for maneuver at all basically your chance of succeeding is based on how many cards you're drawing and how many successes you need and fortunately there's a handy table in the rulebook and if you care about that then there's an illustration of what you are it's okay I care about that too but the trick is once you've gone through this whole deck then you're out of willpower and your poor little brave soldier might not be around for so much longer if you get enough stars or successes then success you get to draw a card at this gigantic deck picking just the right one and revealing something like a new piece of land or a cool item or maybe even something to do with the law of the island like the history the culture flora fauna which is an immensely satisfying Pavlovian ward also known as I get the draw a card the trick is though these cards that I was talking about earlier the action cards you remember how I said that if you run out of them you run out of willpower or you starve or you get been to death by cliff rocks then it turns out that that analogy could not be more apt because these cards also represent ideas that your character can have and you only get to keep one of them just one because we wouldn't want you getting ideas now these then go into your hand where they'll sit until you inevitably excite that they're rubbish ideas and you better off getting some new ideas and then you'll draw some panpipes because they're just just a better idea on there and they're also an item meaning you can draw more cards to build them getting more ideas that you can then later building to more items and on and on it goes until you have so many items that you can't handle all of it and you'll just stack them all up together into one ooh BRR item this is where the game gets a bit weird because combining a meat steak together with a shovel within the rules of the game is completely fine in fact this item stacking becomes so peculiar that we've discovered that the woven basket is actually the most broken overpowered item in the game still once you get past the ludonarrative dissonance you realize that it complements the game nicely and lets you have the best of both worlds forcing you to send potential items away but at the same time letting you keep the best of them and sometimes it doesn't really matter that you've barely found an opportunity to play your panpipes they're nice and you want to keep them and you've gotten good at buying them [Music]


[637.57]
you didn't really think I could play this did you the initial curse titled the voracious goddess is recommended as the starting curse and it took us approximately 25 hours to complete I site approximately because unfortunately after about 15 hours of playing the game we decided to stop and just look through the rest of it and I'll explain why in just a second but let me get back to that the subsequent curses only took us about three hours to complete each and a significantly shorter but don't be afraid of the whole twenty five hour thing you're not meant to play the game in one go and in fact we wouldn't recommend anyone trying and we wouldn't recommend playing it for longer than three hours in fact just to complement that there's a fantastic safe system that lets you pack the game in just mere minutes and it takes just as long to set it back up regardless the game's length is a problem now I don't want it to be a problem I want to love this game also very much but not only is it a problem it is a kernel a seed that blossoms into a cataclysmic redwood of problems I can't help but feel that for all its cleverness seven continent has this one fatal flaw and that is the length of the initial adventure and the fact that the subsequent adventures are much shorter I get what it's trying to do is trying to teach you the continents so that in the subsequent adventures you have that knowledge armed but sadly I feel like a much more sensible design approach would have been to teach you a little bit of the confidence or continent in short adventures first and then let the players have the globe-trotting adventure that they always wanted if they wanted but this is not where we end the intrinsic problem with large open worlds is that they're large and consequently they have to have stuff to fill them the larger they are the more interesting stuff you have to have going on otherwise you end up with repetitive boring vast boring planes and whilst go in itself is an excellent marketing trick commentary thing let's do this thing if this is big this is really big so big that you'll forget you're even playing again but somewhere down the line the magic has got to wear off and then what do we have suddenly we have a guy with a not particularly interesting story stretched out so thin it's bound to give you a wedgie and what the games do when they have a not particularly interesting story that's right they rely on cheap tricks to its credit it is doing essentially the same thing that choose your own adventure books do and in that regard it is faithful to the source material it's just that I always argue that those same cheap tricks don't work as well in games but I have to admit that even at its most mundane seven continents still manages to astonish you with its cleverness and a truly open design because there are always so many ways you can approach a given objective that freedom is given to you it's just a shame that that freedom is stretched pretty thin and can sometimes lead you on a five hour long red herring not to double down on some very harsh criticism but the story that it does have certainly has some very strange ideas again not to spoil things but you will be playing basic run-of-the-mill Explorer characters made up Explorer characters or to drastically juxtapose them Victor Frankenstein who for some reason in the artwork is depicted as Frankenstein's monster but yet within the context of the game is still Victor and you think if if you think that that is particularly silly wait till you hear this good old hewlett-packard Lovecraft makes his way into the game and I have no problem with embracing Lovecraft's fiction but only have a serious problem with embracing Lovecraft as a playable character look I get what's going on here it is ascend of an homage to Pulp Fiction the genre that this game is clearly married to but I don't buy Lovecraft as heroic in fact I would love for you to list some of to Royal qualities struggling here let me give you a helping hand forget for a moment that the man was wrongly racist not only that but he was a shut-in he married only because his mother made him he was afraid of women and large bodies of water basically everything he didn't understand hence the fear of the unknown I feel like making him a playable character and therefore bestowing heroics onto him is a seriously misguided faux pas for all its vastness and grandiose scope so that the continent feels empty less of a world and more of an large open space strung together with puzzles except those puzzles never really feel intricate or challenging more like trying to learn information and then applying that information that you have learned it's like moving to your student town and then drinking for two days straight until you realize that actually you need some proper sustenance and cannot carry on like this and then it's a do or die quest to find the local Iceland and whilst some students have inevitably perished that way each subsequent trip to Iceland feels less of an escapade and more of a chore there's only so long you can ride on a sense of wonder and getting from one place to the other through swetha the empty territory can feel long and drawn-out you'll be thinking to yourself why can't I go back to that time when I was drinking myself stupid for two days straight but then you realize that that is not what life is all about that is not where you will find joy honestly there is no one in this world that wanted to like the seventh continent more than I did not only was i enamoured by the idea of its scope but as a reviewer you should see so many things that are more of the same and this this holds so much potential has so many ideas its loin rub linking laden with things that make my heart sing and for the first five hours or so it did make my heart sing it's just that the more I potted about the more I realized that all I was doing was pottering about and finding out more details about my quest sorry curse felt tedious and inspired because just like any other Lovecraftian story base game you just get the same punch list punch line except it takes 24 hours to get there what wouldn't I give to be able to recommend seven continent and you know what I almost feel like I can maybe the game is worth getting for this just those first five hours of riveting exploration and maybe maybe you're not the sort of person who cares if there's a lot of story there maybe you're happy to just have those little bits tidbits of the game stringing you along maybe you're in it for the sense of discovering an entirely unique and perfectly working system of delivering a game experience maybe I'm wrong and maybe I'm right but this game this game got me wrong and it hung me high and dry if you enjoyed this video then subscribe oh no yes okay so we need to tell you something very very important our dear friend John from a channel called actual oh this is so perfectly synchronized is having a 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The 7th Continent is a mammoth game asking you to explore an entire continent over a span of many hours and multiple play sessions. Is it worth your investment? That's what our review is for. Support our friend Jon on Patreon - https://patreon.com/actualol

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