So I just played through Clockwork last night and overall I am very impressed with how it was executed. I have no intention of playing it again or with using it as a home, because well, Legacy… yeah. But all in all I have many many props for the author’s overall design and execution, but be aware, spoilers ahead.
- Beautifully re textured blue palace elements. The interior of the clockwork mansion was very gorgeous and reminiscent of Lovecraft-esc 20’s-40’s supernatural thriller/investigation style games you would play in the 90’s, which I always enjoyed.
- Amazing custom assets: The “gilded” characters, and in particular the transport terminal entrance ring which rotated around and had a glowing light behind it shining through the die cut metal icon on the holds; that I thought was fantastic
- Innovative creepy features: The entire tunnel network leading to the mansion has some neat things like skulls that rotated to watch you, neat camera effects and a creepy stalker ghost you couldn’t do much about. I did appreciate that it was merely a creep out aspect and did little damage to you, but it was creepy enough that you always wanted to keep your distance. The fact it floated limpy at you was very silent-hill esc.
- Really neat immersive storage system and item transfer system which made sense for the setting. A central depository could be filled up with items and you select where you wanted to send them, which was neat.
- Intro title: After stepping out of the tunnel system which served as an intro to the mod, actual 3D text floats in the air above the mansion when you first come into view of it. I was rather impressed with this. A bit immersion breaking yes, but as this mod is a “world away from skyrim” type mod, I can overlook that, and it was executed very well.
- Impressive dungeon interiors. The look and feel was great, but the size and scope was not, which I’ll cover shortly. I loved the look of the places when I first arrived in them. Clutter was great and very well done, had excellent lighting and sound effects and background music. Overall I was quite impressed.
- There are two NPC’s in the mansion that serve as quest hub/hook NPC’s, and EVERY single stage sends you to the wrong one, so that they can comment on something needlessly and then direct you to the other NPC. I found this oddly unnecessary since in most cases other than a couple, the initial NPC doesn’t really have any useful insight quest wise or story wise really.
- Quests: The whole quest in general was pretty neat, however I REALLY think that since the dungeons had loud speakers in places, I wish that the NPC’s had sent you on an initial quest to find a device that would allow you to communicate back to them because the dungeon was MASSIVE, and I mean MASSIVE. Like it makes Blackreach look like Riverwood big, and the quest arc made you enter and leave and return 3 separate times, where if you had a means to tap into the speaker system and talk to the NPC’s remotely, you could have cut two of those trips out.
- Unless you have an external storage method like a bottomless storage spell, bag of holding, ayleid waystone, etc. There is too much you need to carry and too much general enchanted gear loot to carry back. Now you could obviously drop the stuff off after each trip back in the quest, but again, I wish the back and forth was mitigated by some other story element.
- Dungeons were unnecessarily expansive and repetitive. I really liked the execution over all but if the sub section sizes were cut down by 1/3 or 1/2 it would have been more enjoyable than searching dozens upon dozens of similar or identical rooms where all that was different was the clutter and decor. The main chamber was awesome and huge and that was fine, but for all the sections to lead to other super large areas that were repetitive in design was a little much for me. I was tempted a couple times in the back and forth to use TCL.
- No real challenges/puzzles. You fight handfuls of new Animonculi which will eventually regenerate themselves which was cool, but beyond that you didn’t have any clues to have to decipher, puzzles to solve, or any real navigational challenges other than navigating through a huge space. The nature of the mod really lent itself to needing a few custom puzzles and I would have loved to have seen what the author would have come up with given their skill with the scripting and animation system exhibited in several elements of the mod.
All in all I give Clockwork a big thumbs up but it has some issues and is specialized enough that it isn’t a “must have” mod, but I would definitely consider using it as a player home for a dwemer-centric character.