L.B. Jeffries is the pseudonym of Kirk Battle. After retiring from video game writing in 2010 he began writing fiction. He is currently working on historical fiction set in the American South. You can find a free podcast reading of his latest work Cthulhu in the Deep South. His other work is available on Amazon.
Conceptually the series was always a modernized take of the morality horror films of the '70s and '80s, modern in this case being a combination of the rhetoric of Fight Club alongside video game elements.
On paper, a simplified tactical RPG probably sounds like a good idea. Games like Pokemon have shown that the formula can deliver to younger audiences. The reason that Dawn of Heroes bombs is that it doesn’t really pay attention to what the player wants to do in this type of game.
L.B. Jeffries bids adieu to the Moving Pixels audience, but before he goes, he has a few words to share about writing game criticism, noting that "the difference between a critical analysis and a game FAQ is that somebody who has never played the game can still gain something from good analysis."
"If you grew up thinking that the stage/arena show is what live music is supposed to be, it’s jarring to be confronted with a band playing two feet in front of you, running into you, spitting in your face, hitting you with their instruments."
When an author constructs an entire world, they tend to want to show it off as much as possible and provide explanations to game players. That's when games get stuck, especially if borrowing from sci-fi or fantasy literature.
What benefit is there to having terminal consequences in an adventure game? Adventure games always succumb to the issue of having an interface where you can theoretically do anything and having it confined to a space where you can only do what the designer allows.
The moral of Shiren the Wanderer is one of the few that only a game can truly teach; aspects of the story, new locations, items, and characters all have far more emotional resonance if we have to struggle for them.