OVA review...but incorrect

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Savior of Turtles
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OVA review...but incorrect

Post by Cloud »

I saw this review just today and it surprised me how much the reviewer got wrong. He claims there isnt any ability to handle pokemon trainer or customized transformations. Maybe he ought to have read the book before writing a review?

http://gaiusludusen.blogspot.com.br/201 ... a-rpg.html
Watch this and all will become clear...http://tinyurl.com/m7qr3rq
The Reddest Mage
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Re: OVA review...but incorrect

Post by The Reddest Mage »

I can kind of see where the reviewer is coming from though, as I love OVA but I do agree with some of the cons. Namely that it does lack a lot of Abilities that I think should have been in there. Maybe it's because I had been playing BESM for so long, but I've found that with BESM I rarely needed to make Unique Attributes as most stuff was already covered by a preexisting Attribute. But with OVA, I find I more often have to make Unique Attributes because something isn't covered by the rules as is. That's not a bad thing, mind you, and urges creativity. But some people aren't always comfortable (myself included) with making up new abilities for a system you're new to, as you may be unsure of how balanced or unbalanced the new Ability might be.

Also, some Abilities and Flaws are a little too narrow in their descriptions. Transformation for example. Only being able to transform once or twice per adventure might emulate magical girl and sentai shows well (in which transformations usually just happen once or twice per 23 minute episode). But what about the Transformers, the Super Saiyans from Dragon Ball Z, or even another magical girl warrior like Cutey Honey? There are a lot of cases where transformations aren't as restricted. Similarly, the Ammunition Flaw would immediately make someone think that it is appropriate for guns or bows, but having only 5 shots is way too limited for most ranged weapons since most guns can hold more than five bullets and most quivers would have more than five arrows.

Other Abilities I think could be clearer. The reviewer mentioned that there isn't a way to represent elemental powers, like in Avatar. Well, there are, it's just a matter of assigning your Abilities an Affinity. But seeing as Affinities are only really mentioned in one paragraph at the end of the Perks and Flaws section, it's easy to miss the first time around and not notice at first glance. Maybe that should be at the beginning of the Abilities chapter, so that the reader would know off the bat that if they want to think of their Attack Ability as being pyrokinesis, that's fine.

Though the thing that I mostly agree with about that review is that equipment is really confusing at first in OVA. I know it's to give more options, but having so many Abilities/Weaknesses/Flaws - Gear, Vehicle (Mecha), Focus, Requirement, and Weapon - all being used to represent the same effect is a bit confusing to newcomers, especially since the difference is only mechanical and not narrative. For example, it's been a long time since I used BESM 2nd Edition, but if I recall back then there were two Attributes for equipment: one for special or unusual equipment like magic items or futuristic high technology, and one for everyday, common, ubiquitous equipment that only provided minor usefulness in comparison (like cell phones, bicycles, computers, etc.) These were later combined into just one equipment Attribute in the 3rd Edition to make it even easier. If the varying ways of making equipment in OVA had some narrative difference, such as one method being for signature items that are one-of-a-kind and another being for useful but disposable or easily replaceable items, then it would be easier to understand.

But with OVA, going by both the Sample Characters and the Sample NPCs, weapons are made by taking the Attack Ability and tacking on the Weapon Flaw. Non-weapon equipment (or weapons that provide useful attributes outside of just combat) would be a matter of taking whatever relevant Abilities as usual and adding on the Focus Weakness. Since none of the Sample Characters or NPCs have the Gear Ability for their weapons, armor, special items, etc. I wonder why the Gear Ability is even needed anyway?

Alternatively, the Gear Ability seems to me far more useful than the other methods for making equipment. It seems to make sense that equipment should have its own attributes, so that its bonuses or penalties apply to whomever uses it. Also, making equipment using the Focus Weakness or the Requirement or Weapon Flaws don't allow for Weaknesses attached to the item. Gear however lets you gain both Abilities and Weaknesses from the use of an item, which may be appropriate for cursed magical items or technological equipment that is damaged or malfunctioning. Even with some of the Sample Characters, it seems like Gear would have been a simpler way to make their equipment. For example Natsuki: her Gauntlet's attacks are all represented by the Weapon Flaw. However, her Gauntlet's strength is represented by the Strong Ability with the Focus Weaknesses being attached to the Gauntlet. Essentially she has the Weapon Flaw and the Focus Weakness tied to the same item. Wouldn't it have been easier and make more sense just to build the Gauntlet as Gear with the Attack and Strong Abilities, and balance the cost by adding in perhaps the Bizarre Appearance Flaw since she's walking around with a giant metal claw attached to her hand?

Anyhow, those are just some of my own thoughts and musings on OVA as a system. I love it and it's currently my preferred system to use but it does have some little quirks that I think could use some streamlining in the future.
The Reddest Mage
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Re: OVA review...but incorrect

Post by The Reddest Mage »

To add further to the above regarding equipment, most Abilities, Weaknesses, Perks, and Flaws are named using simple adjectives or nouns, which makes it very easy for a newcomer to the system to look at the Quick List and without even reading the actual descriptions still be able to know what each attribute on the list does, or at least have an idea of it. I love that fact.

So, if someone wanted to choose equipment for their character and were to scan the Quick List, seeing such Abilities as Gear and Vehicle would instantly stand out and make sense as being the Abilities you'd want to have for your character's equipment.

However, thinking of equipment as a Weakness (Focus) or a Flaw (Requirement or Weapon) seems unintuitive to the idea that having equipment is generally an advantage, not a weakness or flaw. If I were looking at that list for the first time, I wouldn't be looking at Weaknesses or Flaws when looking to choose equipment. The Weapon Flaw at least though is named in a way that you would know that it relates to weapons. But Focus wouldn't necessarily stand out as being something I would choose for a useful piece of equipment.

That is, and maybe it's just me, but when I think of something being used as a "Focus" I think of it more as "a focusing point for your spiritual energy" (such as a fortuneteller's crystal ball, a witch's broom, Dumbo's "magic" feather, or even a Hogwart's wizard's wand... something that in and of itself may not have any special properties, and if used by someone else who didn't have any special abilities wouldn't do anything special) rather than an "item [that] may actually generate the Ability itself."

I certainly wouldn't think of Shadowman's powered armor suit as being a "Focus" for his abilities since those abilities aren't his own but instead come from the suit itself and I assume that if someone else got their hands on the suit and were able to put it on they would gain the same abilities too (which is why it seems like it wouldn't have made more sense to build such a suit using Gear).
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Re: OVA review...but incorrect

Post by Clay »

Cloud: I don’t like to pick apart reviews of the game, since everyone’s experience is subjective and it’s not really up to me to tell people how to feel about it. :) But when you encounter something like OVA for the first time, it can be difficult to get into the mode of “Hey, I can use this to represent this.” People are used to looking for “Elemental Control” instead of just thinking “oh, Magic will work for this.” Some people prefer a more exacting approach. I don’t, but whatever blows your hair back, right?

But I have to agree that it seems odd to call out the Pokémon Trainer archetype when the game does in fact have one...

Reddest Mage: That’s exactly why Gear is there. Some people prefer it nice and compartmentalized. That’s okay! I didn’t decide to make any of the characters that way, but if that floats your boat, set it to sail.

“Focus" is an old gaming term dating back to the Hero system (and maybe earlier.) It’s old hat for me, but I can see why a newcomer might not get it at first glance. You could use “Source” or something similar if you prefer.
Chris Brady
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Re: OVA review...but incorrect

Post by Chris Brady »

If the person is promoting bad information about your game, then he's hurting your sales of the game, depending on how many people believe him.
"And now my friends, a Dragon's Toast! To life's little blessings; wars, plagues and all forms of evil. Their presence keeps us alert-- And their absence keeps us grateful!" - T.A. Barron
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