Heaven's Vault - Catch All

The next game from Inkle Studios (the developer of 80 Day) is out, and it's an archaeology and translation game backed by really robust narrative technology.

I'm about five hours into Heaven's Vault at this point, and at this point I can definitely say that the way the narrative flows is quite different from what you might expect from an adventure game. There's a forward momentum to all of your choices. I don't know yet how much your choices might change things, but I'm pretty sure, based on what I've seen so far, that some of the encounters I've had could have turned out radically different.

Anyone else playing it?

Looks amazing. I remember hearing about the language bit before.

Man, I can't stand the character art though. That style never works for me and I don't know why.

garion333 wrote:

Looks amazing. I remember hearing about the language bit before.

Man, I can't stand the character art though. That style never works for me and I don't know why.

I took to it right away but I can see how it could take getting used to for some people.

i've picked it up but i want to try to focus on one game at a time and i'm still working through Pathway, but it certainly looks right up my alley!

Just started it, and it’s very tasty. Inkle really knows their way around a story.

Man, this thing really flew under the radar, didn't it? Doesn't really do a great job of introducing itself, but once it takes off it's amazing.

Yeah, i finished it just recently and it'll for sure be on the next GOTY list for me. REALLY liked it. Apparently it benefits from multiple play-throughs, but i'll save that for another day.

I'm curious what you UK types thought about the main character's voice acting. Whatever regional accent that was seemed really overembellished to me as a USian. Kind of like a slightly less extra take on the Warhammer orcs?

Finished. What a great little romp. The gameplay in itself was pretty solid, but the characterization was really good in itself. Aliya was really strongly written. Even though you made very different choices with what she was doing and who she was, her personality was still consistent with those choices.

Final choice:

Spoiler:

I did not "vault". Didn't seem to be a good reason to? I was missing a fair number of translations though, so maybe I didn't completely understand what was going to happen.

As I understand it, there was a "loop", but that loop was about this ship jumping from one nebula to the next and recreating these worlds every time. But then everyone in the old world was left behind to die of dehydration/starvation? Didn't seem like much of a proposition to me.

I was sure that I was going to get to a point where the faded animation style was revealed to be showing something integral about the world. Never found it. I think I have to conclude that it was the best way to hide a limited budget.

It's not clear to me if giving Huang items to archive is ever a good idea. I eventually gave him a few trinkets because I was literally being accosted in the streets by random professors. Think you should probably just keep everything around, particularly if you haven't solved an inscription.

The sailing could have been a little more consequential. It's a neat mechanic that doesn't really do anything other than finding the occasional ruin. Once you realize that your ship can't be damaged or destroyed, it's kind of superficial. Great visuals though.

Seemed like there were a few bugs here and there. A couple of times, events didn't seem to fire when they should, and objects that I'd picked up weren't there. Later in the game, Aliya would respond as if she'd translated something when what I'd been able to put together was largely gobbledgygook. Nothing showstopping, but I wish they'd had a touch more money to run some of that stuff down.

It's really amazing how little attention this game has gotten. There some big name games reviewers for whom this is right down their alley, and who don't seem to have heard anything about this. Some of it maybe that the game takes a little bit to get going, and the available demo is not very good at all. Some of it may be marketing. Dunno. Hopefully it's got a long tail, though.

pyxistyx wrote:

Yeah, i finished it just recently and it'll for sure be on the next GOTY list for me. REALLY liked it. Apparently it benefits from multiple play-throughs, but i'll save that for another day.

Agree with this word-for-word.

I've done a bit of reading up on the game after finishing it. It turns out I may have missed some pretty big things, possibly. Or I just took a very different path. It does make me a little more eager for a second run though.

I was a little disappointed that some choices I made didn't have much of an impact on anything. One in particular, which I've also subsequently read a review where they did the same thing, I thought was going to be pretty important. But after about a quarter of the way through, it was never mentioned again. It was especially disappointing when it seemed like minor decisions were remembered and relatively consequential.

kazooka wrote:

I'm curious what you UK types thought about the main character's voice acting. Whatever regional accent that was seemed really overembellished to me as a USian. Kind of like a slightly less extra take on the Warhammer orcs?

Here's an interview with the voice actress. To my ear, it's close to her natural voice.

yep, that's an entirely authentic London(?) area accent.

For anyone who's interested - there's a limited edition Heaven's Vault novelisation, written by Jon Ingold, in the works. DM their twitter with your email address to get in on it, if you wish.