I have had a good time with Animal Crossing so far. Nintendo came very close to making it great but, as they often do, they have fucked up key things that would have pushed it over the line.
Firstly, when you’re in another town the game is not safe. If something goes wrong that time is lost. A tragic error. As long as you have the gate open you are in danger of losing that time because as soon as you open the gate you enter the unstable state. Just a really tragic flaw…
Secondly, the chat system is like Twitter’s quiet cousin. You can’t type more than a few words and there is no log. if you miss a message you have to ask for it again. The keyboard is, unfortunately, a little obtuse. The placement of extra characters is not intuitive. Even though it’s mostly a standard keyboard you will find yourself at a loss for words, quite literally, very often. This error is almost unforgivable. Nintendo is so fucking scared of what creeps might do with their software that everyone is punished. Honestly, their heart is in the right place, but the game needs to be social SO BADLY. it’s the thing that AC has been lacking since day one, game one, and they keep not quite fixing it. And I’ll be honest, I don’t want to use voice chat. I like the voices my head makes up for the people I meet, and I’m sure they don’t want to hear mine, but I’d like to be able to chat like a normal person. if they could just fix that one little thing with an update the functionality of the game would increase SO MUCH. All that said, it could be worse. You can have conversations, it just takes some willpower and time.
Those are really the only big complaints that I have, and they ARE big, but all in all two misses is not so bad. They made it so it’s much harder to run out of stuff to do now. You can gather tidbits pretty much all day long. Storage might end up being a problem, but they are pretty generous with it. It takes effort to fill your storage.
This game might well be as good as Animal Crossing will ever get. Which is not wonderful, but much better than it could have been.
Anyway, enough about that.
The long hall was faintly lit by round baubles stuck at intervals along the walls. The source of their light wasn’t clear, but the sickly glow suggested it was the negative energy of the site itself. Their dim light was perhaps testimony to its waning potency. So much the better as far as Julius was concerned.
Alina led the way for a fair while before Julius’s wits came to him. Her natural leadership made him forget his function.
“Hey, wait!” He exclaimed. “You guys need to get behind me.” The sudden outburst was enough to make the others obey without question. They quickly repositioned themselves behind him and made ready to fight.
“No, no…” He explained waving their weapons down. “There’s nothing around. I just need to be first in case of traps.” Niona laughed.
“You know, I don’t think we ever had a thief who went before the party before.”
“Well you still haven’t.” Julius corrected. “I’m much more like a locksmith. A craftsman.”
“Do you pick pockets?” Alina asked. Julius considered his answer for a moment.
“Yes.” He replied. “But only if they mark is a known jerk. I have standards.”
The party laughed. Truth be told Julius had hardly pick-pocketed at all. He hadn’t grown up in the profession, so to speak. He came to it later so he didn’t go through the various ranks generally associated with being what was commonly called a rogue. Dwelling on that wasn’t doing him any good at the moment though.
The first few levels of the temple were essentially stripped. Other groups, or perhaps event the people who built the structure had removed anything that wasn’t bolted down, or too heavy to lift. Plating had been picked off statues, jewels dug out of eyes, you name it. The easy pickings were gone. Every so often however there was evidence of an unfortunate who had been careless in their robbery. Skeletal remains of various types were scattered about in pockets here and there. Single thieves, groups, large parties, all laid low by cunning traps. The further they went the worse the carnage was and the older the remains. People had clearly survived to tell tales of this place. At least one had been in far enough to relate a very accurate map to someone. Niona relinquished it to his care as they moved briskly through deserted chambers and hallways. At length Regalius made note of something that was beginning to bother each of them.
“Has anyone else noticed that the lower we get the brighter it is?” They had all been thinking it. The sickly glow coming from objects had been increasing steadily. It had gotten so bright by the time Regalius mentioned it that they had doused the torches from a few floors back.
“What do you suppose is lighting everything.” Asked Julius to no one in particualr.
“The source of the problem I expect.” Niona answered. “I think the close we get the easier it is to draw power from it. Who ever built this place must have tapped into it.”
“But why did they put lights at the top when there wasn’t enough power for them to work properly.” Asked Regalius.
“I think there was once.” Niona said, inspecting a glowing bauble. “In fact I think there still is, but something is drawing off enough power that it’s draining the source.”
Julius glanced at Alina, who had remained silent. Her face hardened as she looked around.
“We need to shut this down somehow…” She observed.
Everyone nodded in silent agreement, although exactly how 4 people would shut down a temple that had remained operational for more years than anyone had an accurate count of was anyone’s guess. They pressed on, Julius carefully leading the way, for a good long while before anyone spoke again.
“I don’t think we’re going to be able to do this in a day…” Alina sighed. “These chambers just keep going and going…”
“And we’re running out of map.” Julius added.
“What should we do then?” Asked Niona. “Just camp in the hallway?”
“No, definitely not.” Replied Alina. “We need to seal ourselves in a chamber someplace. A safe one. Can you find one, Julius?” He studied the map for a moment.
“I think so.” He replied. “There seems to be a pattern to the rooms. Every 13th one is basically just an empty room. Or, at least not where they were keeping something worth killing people over.”
“That’ll have to do then.” Alina said, leaning on her mace. “I’m sick of walking.”
After that Julius counted their way to the next 13th room and scanned it for traps. He’d been taking note of the sorts of things that were in the other rooms, but these were always darker and mostly bare. They had already passed several. Each floor had a seemingly random number of rooms, but always at least 13. Depending on how you counted the 13th one was always a clean room. No artificial light, just a room. It couldn’t be a coincidence, but the point of it all was beyond him.
After he was convinced things were safe he motioned everyone inside. Niona lit a torch and they found that the room had a very standard, but also very sturdy, stone door. It was perfectly balanced to swing with ease. Once they moved it into place the door sealed itself. Trying not to look panic stricken Julius checked to make sure they could open it again. It opened up without the slightest snag. He said nothing, but was greatly relieved, and a little disturbed by the convenience. With the door shut the room was completely dark. If not for the torch they would be in total darkness darkness. None of them were keen to have the light extinguished, but the room was too small to leave one burning if it was truly sealed.
Torch in hand Julius marched around the room trying to decide how secure it was. He could just tap the ceiling with the torch if he stretched his arm as far as it could go. It was while checking a corner he noticed that something was moving the flame slightly. Scanning around he noticed small vents where the wall met the roof. He held the torch in front of one for a moment. The flame waved to and fro rhythmically. Air was passing through the space from somewhere. It was a little unsettling that the movement of it resembled breathing, but he thought the other would sleep better not knowing that fact. He desperately wished he didn’t.