Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Early Impressions
Stray Gods came a little bit out of nowhere for me. The first I heard about it was from Jaedia during the last NextFest. I wouldn’t go ahead and say that Musicals are really my ‘thing’. I can’t think of anything that would get me to go see one in theatre.
…But I do enjoy it when a show throws in the odd musical episode.
The latest one of these I’ve seen was from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and the earliest one I recall seeing myself was probably in one of the later seasons of Buffy (if not actually the final season?).
My expectations for these things are never really that high though. I don’t expect singing excellence, or to borrow from yesterday’s topic, a ‘banger’.
Still- going in for a game on the concept where that pre-existing attachment to the characters doesn’t exist is probably on the odd side for me. Honestly, I didn’t give it a great deal of thought. Didn’t go looking for in-depth reviews. Just picked it up on a whim, and, so far, I’m glad I did.
Stray Gods certainly leans toward being more of a visual novel than a game. You make a singular character-defining choice at the beginning of the game that leans your playthrough’s iteration of grace toward a particular personality trait and approach the world. This choice unlocks certain other conversation options (and naturally, locks off the others) but does not lock you off making those stylistic choices within the game’s musical numbers.
At first, that did strike me as a little odd — but I’ve come to appreciate it as I’ve gone through.
It makes perfect sense that just because your personality might lean one way or another, that you cannot recognise when another tact might be better suited to the situation at hand.
Sometimes a more insightful, intellectual angle might make the most appropriate response, or you might require a more aggressive and in-your-face style. Even within the context of a single number, I might change up the approach from verse to verse.
I’ve not completed the game yet. How Long to Beat suggests I have several hours more ahead of me yet. I realised during Act 2 there is no ‘time limit’ in the sense that you do not have to pick and choose which locales to visit on a given ‘day’. The day will not end until you’ve done everything you might wish to.
Typically there will be one or more ‘optional’ conversation targets you can head back to in order to debrief with between events, but the big things — you can essentially plan to do them all.
At least… I am reasonably confident of that. Hah.
It’s possible if you hit them in a certain order that may not be true.
Either way, it’s clear that the length of the game and the choices available are intended to have you derive extended value from the game for repeated playthroughs. I’ve seen several key points in the story where you could alter the outcome of something rather significant.
Now- I do still think you’ll end up in generally the same place regardless (although of course, I haven’t been there yet, so could be mistaken). But there are achievements scattered along the way to guide where these possible changes of course may be possible.
Still quite the whimsical choice for me. But I don’t regret it. If I was to level one ‘complaint’, it would be that the voices are such big deals (in the VO world, at least), with the likes of Laura Bailey, Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson) that it can actually be a little jarring hearing them in this context initially. Hah.