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Review: Beer from Outer Space

Project Information

  • Title: Beer from Outer Space
  • Author: Max Bucher
  • Platform: Unreal
  • Category: Small Campaign
  • Review Score: 33%

Main Review

Beer From Outer Space has a lot of great concepts, but it's too frustrating to call fun

On one hand, Beer From Outer Space was an interesting pack to play through, with a lot of great ideas. On the other hand, there are a lot of problems that really drag it down. Beer From Outer Space is made up of nine maps, four of which are playable. It needs Unreal4Ever in order to run properly, and has its own batch file and menu. There are no difficulty options.

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The introduction doesn't tell us much. A hitchhiker (the player) gets dropped off by a road, and then walks to the nearest bar. There, he has a confrontation with two humans, a gasbag, and a mercenary. They chase him away, and the intro ends. The description in the Readme says that aliens brought their beer to earth; that's pretty much the only plot there is. It's safe to assume that the player doesn't like alien beer, because he arms himself and goes on a killing spree. There are a lot of pointless messages that don't explain anything, and don't add much to the pack. The main enemies of the pack are gasbags and bots, although the mercenaries play a big part in it as well. Most other map packs have a lot more enemy variety, that's for sure.

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Most of the time, architecture is inconsistent. Sometimes it's awful, and other times, it's pretty good. The first playable map is confusing, because it's hard to tell where the author intends you to go. The second and third maps seem almost maze-like, and a lot of the time, they're pretty tough to navigate. Texturing, likewise, is either great, or downright bad. One thing about Beer From Outer Space is that it has a lot of small details that could have had a much greater effect if the rest of the pack had been better. There are a lot of destroyable objects in the back: beer bottles, trucks, windows, and barrels are almost always breakable. There are even light switches that you can turn on and off. Lighting isn't bad, but it's much better in the last set of maps than it is in the first two. The skyboxes are poorly done; they end up looking stretched most of the time.

Ambient Sounds are used to decent effect, although there are times when the author loops oneshot sounds that should be used in Dynamic Ambient Sounds instead. There are custom hit sounds when the player gets injured, too. Usually, when the player gets hurt, he says things like, "Ima barbecue your asses with molasses" or "Holy shit". It's a good gesture, but it gets pretty annoying after a while. There's no background music, but the author's band played the song in the introduction.

As far as BSP goes, it was a complete disaster in the first two maps. There were also a lot of areas where the player would be completely trapped. Cheats don't work, so there's a lot of reloading involved. All of the technical problems aren't enough to impact the gameplay, which is so easy that getting stuck doesn't make a difference. There was no point where I had to reload because I got killed; every time I had to reload, it was because I got stuck somewhere.

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The last map is probably the best of the lot. It takes place on a high-speed train, a setting that I thought was only ever in Xidia Gold. It's a great map, and there's clever use of the shotgun involved. The train was completely custom made, and the author did a really good job of it.

Summary

Beer From Outer Space has a stereotypical 'redneck' theme. There are a lot of explosions, beer, and posters of scantily clad women all over the place. It had a lot of potential, but I just can't take it seriously as a map pack. It has all the qualities of a joke pack, but there was a lot of work put into it. There are a lot of technical problems, and it doesn't feel very polished. However, its interesting details and unique setting make it memorable.
Review Scores
BuildThe combined value representing the technical quality of the level's construction.42% CastThe combined value representing the imagination and reasoning behind the level's conceptualization and design.24%
ArchitectureImagination, realism and detail of structures used in the design of the level.5 Conceptual GrandnessScale, imagination, awe & originality of design and layout, physical foreshadowing of future areas.7
TexturingUse of textures in the level. Technically speaking, alignment and scaling. Choice of textures, and quality of any custom textures used.4 Story ConstructionBacking story & progression via translator, subplots, and script of voice acting where applicable. Logical choice of opposition.0
LightingLighting of the level: does it look cool? Use of light colour and other effects, and sourcing of lighting (no light out of nowhere).5 Story ImplementationProgression of the written story via the events of the level, and performance of voice actors where applicable.0
SoundUse of ambient sounds and event sounds to give the level atmosphere, and the quality of any custom sounds. Appropriate use of music and silence to complement the atmosphere.4 Gameplay AweQuality of scripted sequences, originality and staging of combats. Maps that force the player to "learn by dying" will be penalised.3
Technical ExecutionTechnical soundness of the level, i.e. no visual glitches, no random deaths or other gameplay bugs, and a good framerate.3 Gameplay BalanceBalance of weapons and items to creatures, including difficulty settings. Most importantly, fun factor.2
Final Verdict: Below average
Score: 33%

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