Massive Chalice Preview: I’m no better than the Cadence

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Throughout Massive Chalice, players are repeatedly told of the Cadence’s evil. It’s a demonic presence, corrupting everything, and the next 300 years must be spent doing everything possible to stem its waves of destruction. The Massive Chalice, tells me the foe will never stop generating and unleashing its pawns upon the kingdom in this war.

It’s a tactic Double Fine, in a stroke of brilliance, requires a player to mimic. War is hell, and we have to do things we don’t like. While this means the Cadence is constantly gathering and sending foes into my kingdom to hopefully tear down this bastion of society, I’m forced to do the same to save it.

I’m allowed no sentimental attachment. Though taking inspiration from Fire Emblem, the heroes and heroines aren’t lovable and memorable figures. They’re my pawns as much as the Cadence’s creatures are its. Just as the enemy sends its troops into battle, I spend years preparing to do the same with my own. The Cadence is an immortal, immoral figure. Yet, so is my queen as she works to keep heroes around long enough for the Massive Chalice to prepare the ultimate assault.

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In a way, I feel like the greater monster. The Cadence and its creations are intelligent enough fighters, but lack the spark that makes us human. On the other hand, my character is supposed to be some heralded figurehead, yet has no compuctions about forcing people into marriage or sending those with undesirable qualities off as cannon fodder, knowing it wouldn’t really be all that bad if they died in battle. The Massive Chalice outright tells me that all marriages are ones of convenience, with love being a happy coincidence.

It’s especially difficult in battle. It’s possible to sort through the heroes and heroines available, seeing all their highlights and flaws. I’ve learned all too quickly that it seems the negative aspects are more easily inherited. Those with too many issues are on the front line. When I see the sort of enemy that will group together for stronger attacks or rush up and explode, these unfortunate men and women will be sent to face them head on. Let them take the hits, losing experience with each attack and possibly dying, so those with better genes and dispositions can swoop in for the glory of the kill. It all works so easily, pointing and clicking to direct them where to go, switching turn orders, and doing everything possible to keep the chosen few alive.

I didn’t have the luxury to feel bad about what I had done. I accepted the ramifications. My first Massive Chalice playthrough ended in failure. I didn’t pay attention to heroes personalities and traits, didn’t research the right equipments, and saw too many good men and women fall to their deaths. Sentimentality will hurt a player here. Using someone you think looks good will bring about a downfall.

Especially since I know when I did die, it was all my fault. It wasn’t because Double Fine created a game that was too difficult or unbalanced. I didn’t pay attention. My decisions were poor. Characters for assaults were chosen because I liked the way they looked, visually, and had a weakness for the powerful alchemist class. The only time I did succeed was when I allowed myself to sink to the Cadence’s level.

Which, I believe makes Massive Chalice a stronger game, even at this early stage. After all, it is still an Early Access title, with content left to be added by Double Fine. Yet, the fact that it makes me question the morality of my own decisions so quickly, and leaves me eagerly waiting future playthroughs in hopes of greater successes, is encouraging. I believe this could be the start of something good, and all indications thus far suggest investing in this Kickstarter was money well spent.

Site [Massive Chalice]

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