早在 Telltale Games 因章节性冒险游戏（episodic adventure game） 而出名的数年前，一个名为 Digital Tome 的小工作室就创造了《围攻阿瓦隆（Siege of Avalon）》，一部分成六个章节讲述的“章节性电脑游戏小说”。
Years before Telltale Games became famous for its episodic adventure games, a small studio called Digital Tome created Siege of Avalon, an “Episodic Computer Game Novel” told in six chapters.
The game is set in a generic fantasy world, but under unusual circumstances: you're trapped inside a massive castle under siege. And despite being an Action RPG, the focus here is on the characters and story. Or at least that was the initial concept.
然而战斗是游戏最糟糕的部分。除敌人 AI 奇差，寻路系统不存在，运气过于重要等因素外，平衡问题也很严重，比如弓箭手伤害过高。玩家之后可以招募 2 个 AI 控制的队友，但他们同样愚蠢，而且很容易死——还不能复活！因此，过关通常需要各种邪道打法，以及很多次读档。
游戏有一些成就感很足的时刻，例如潜入敌人营地侦查，刷稀有装备和一些支线任务，但这些内容被淹没在无数次令人沮丧的战斗和读档中。最糟糕的是，最初遭到围攻的紧张感很快就会消失，而 NPC 后期会变成没有感情的发任务机器。
《围攻阿瓦隆》想法不错，但明显的缺陷和重心问题使得玩家很难买单。何况人们当时并不习惯章节性游戏，更不用说在网上购买它们。而且，《围攻阿瓦隆》第一章刚出没多久，《暗黑破坏神 2（Diabolo II）》就发售了——这显然对销量没有帮助。
As you start the game, you'll choose between three classes: Fighter, Scout and Magician. Instead of levelling up, you earn training points which can be used to increase stats and skills or spent with trainers to purchase spells and special passive bonuses.
The first chapter starts slowly, but is intriguing. As a lowly peasant trying to learn the fate of your brother, you'll explore the castle, meet its many inhabitants and trade favours until you're given some answers, enemies appear and the killing begins.
Combat, however, is the game's worst part. Enemies are mindless, path-finding is non-existent, luck is far too important and there are huge balance issues, such as archers dealing absurd amounts of damage. You can later recruit up to two AI-controlled companions, but they are equally stupid and easily killed – permanently! As such, combat is usually won by employing cheesy tactics and many, many reloads.
This wouldn't be such a big problem in a storyfocused game, but, after a good start, Siege of Avalon loses its bearing and becomes a combat-focused title. Chapter 2 is just a dull dungeon crawl inside a cave, Chapter 3, 4 and 5 are optional and focus on one class playstyle each (but aren't exclusive) while Chapter 6 is the final showdown. They're all mostly just combat.
There are satisfying moments, such as sneaking into the enemy's camp to spy, hunting rare gear and a few branching quests, but it's all buried under hours of frustrating combat and excessive backtracking. Worst yet, the initial tension of living under siege quickly vanishes and NPCs become soulless quest-givers.
Siege of Avalon's concept was great, but its glaring flaws and lack of focus made it a hard sell, especially at a time when people still weren't used to episodic games – or buying them online. And it surely didn't help that Diablo II came out right after SoA's first chapter.
1 译者注：章节性游戏的内容分段发售（和网游的版本更新类似），每一章的长度通常较传统游戏更短，但更新更为频繁。不同章节不一定在剧情上连贯，但一般有着相同的设定、角色或主题。由于发售成本更低，资金回收更快，章节性游戏正在受到越来越多的开发者青睐，但也存在容易烂尾、盗版等问题。代表游戏有《奇异人生》，《我的世界：故事模式》（以及 Telltale Games 绝大多数游戏）等等。