The Dink Network

Pilgrim's Quest

April 4th, 2021
Score : 8.9 good
Jester He/Him Australia
You feed the madness, and it feeds on you. 
Pilgrim's Quest was a dmod that I played quite a few years ago but never completed, at that time I didn't feel like a review would have been fair since I didn't take the time to complete the Dmod. Having recently played it again, on a live stream, I feel a review is justified now.

There seems to be a precedence set that this dmod should be regarded as "the best" based on past reviews and opinions, and even if you look at some forum threads in the past, it seems those who dare suggest this dmod isn't worlds above anything else usually end up in a debate with other people about their opinion. Because of this, it would have almost tempted me not to share many of my dismays I personally feel detracted from an enjoyable gaming experience while playing through this Dmod. However, due to the fact that I played it on live stream, and other people joined me for this play through experience, and my frustrations were shared by them (sometimes with them mentioning the frustrating elements before I could vocalize them), I would be the fakest dinker on Earth if I didn't reflect that here.

I'll agree Pilgrim's quest is indeed "one of the best", the new content is miles above 90% of other dmods released on the DN. This includes the stunning new graphics, sound effects and cinematic sequences (although I was told in my stream that I missed one of the cinematics because the Dmod glitched out and skipped it). It can't be denied that this new content is satisfying and well executed, while also fitting the "Dink" style, which can be difficult to do. There were also impressive new spells, and boating(which makes use of the water area of Dink rather than it just being something to look at). Very impressive indeed.

The story is compelling, although I felt disconnected from it times due to some of the frustrating obstacles that the player is required to overcome in order to progress at all. At some parts, it almost feels like extremely cryptic puzzles/tasks were used to try and create the illusion of challenge, when in reality, these tasks didn't make sense the way they were set up. It's not that I don't enjoy a "hard as nails" task now and then, but it better make sense, or you've lost me. In addition to this issue, there are at least a few times when the dialogue would lead you to believe that you have accomplished what should be required to advance, or it would throw you off completely, leaving you wandering around aimlessly trying to figure out what you've missed, only to return to talk to someone/something as a last resort and find out that the way you needed to progress the story doesn't make sense with the information the game gave you or you were supposed to trigger an action that was never explained, and so is not something you would expect to do, since it's a new "rule" in the game mechanics (such as actually *throwing* the poison in the well).

There are many previous reviews that claim this Dmod is bug free or only has a couple of bugs. I'm not sure if other reviewers were somehow distracted by the shiny new content and missed any bugs they came across or if I'm just unlucky, but I encountered several bugs. There were a few times on stream where I had to close down the game and restart it, sometimes losing a lot of progress because the author didn't fix some common bugs that resulted in Dink staying frozen after a freeze() command. Normal conversations were executed correctly, yes, but that was with the assumption the procedure would not get interrupted by the sprite being hit while mid-conversation, resulting in it never returning to that point in the script, leaving Dink frozen forever. This is fixable as an author, and it didn't just happen one time. Also, there were a few hardness bugs I found, where I got stuck in cliffs or water and couldn't get out. Now I wish I could say I was nitpicking here, but I was running a casual game play stream. I.e: I wasn't actively seeking out bugs. Taking that into account, there were probably more bugs I didn't find.

Music was used exceptionally. I remember many times throughout the play through where I would say "wow, this is very fitting for this scenario", and it would even get me in the intended mood of the scene and focused on the task at hand, that was until I was pulled out of it by an annoying riddle I had to solve or some other strange challenge. Alas, I can't criticize the sound or music use in this Dmod.

In conclusion, this Dmod did indeed have many impressive elements, however ever too often it seems we review these files from a "dmodder" or "author" perspective. If I was to review this objectively, from a player's perspective who is playing it casually for the gaming experience, I cannot simply base its score on the graphics, music, sounds and spells. This is not a graphics pack, or spell pack, or whatever - it's a dmod. As a Dmod I can't rate it higher than what I would rate other dmods that have given me an overall more enjoyable gaming experience, even if it has more new features. This Dmod is definitely one I feel everyone should try, but I also feel it's not everyone's "cup of tea", and I believe many people would get frustrated due to the many points I raised in this review and give up. In fact, I know of at least a few people who have indeed stopped playing at some of the frustrating parts I was referring to.

The features alone, released as a content pack, of course would be an easy 9.5+.
A dmod as a whole, objectively viewing it as a gaming experience, without biased or comparison to other Dmods on the DN, and based on this play through experience - 8.9.