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Review: Gramercy

Project Information

  • Title: Gramercy
  • Author: Chris Burgess
  • Platform: Unreal
  • Category: Single Map
  • Review Score: 38%

Main Review

Overscaled

This level involves you exploring some mountain outpost, following the trail of a scout to try and reach a mountain valley, the scout logs are good enough, although it develops little in terms of story, there is also a group of people you find who have killed each other, this is nice but adds nothing to the story. It also uses some comedy messages (like the "gotcha!" one near the end) that break the atmosphere a bit, and should have been in eastereggs instead.

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The author says in the readme that this map is overscaled at times; It certainly is, unfortunately not the "cool" kind of scale, but the "walk a minute to get anywhere" kind of scale. The architecture is good enough, but there are some odd cuts in the walls, that, while intentional, are completely flat so look more like BSP cuts. I did think the open air design of the outpost was quite interesting.

The textures used fit the level well and I didn't notice any that were too out of place, they are also scaled decently in the large areas. But the alignment of the rock that the outpost sits on is pretty ugly in places. The lighting is sourced, although it looked like the author placed the sources AFTER placing the lighting, which makes it look like it is not coming from the sources. The outside lighting was also inconsitent, in that some areas of lava were pitch black. And the lighting shining into some areas through those earlier mentioned cuts is too bright for the nighttime skybox. The light colour of some of the torches used was violent red, which didn't fit them too well.

There were some sounds used, although in a pretty basic way. The music was "Nali" at the start but changed to "Eversmoke" later, "Nali" is used for such a short period it would have been better off being silence and the start and only having "Eversmoke", there is also silence when you read the logs of the people who killed each other, which seemed a bit pointless too.

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The gameplay is fit well to each difficulty, perhaps too much; On easy both a Titan AND Giantgasbag fight is omitted, although some items are removed to balance it a bit. There are some slight puzzles (involving shooting chains), and there is a minor secret that requires a little observation and curiousity to get. The size of the areas makes most of the fights pretty easy, including the Titan and Giantgasbag, although automag and rifle ammo (your main sniper weapons) is well rationed, meaning you have to go more close up at some points. There was maybe too much flakcannon ammo though (which makes it pretty easy). Also, some Mercenaries were used when the aliens were mentioned as Skaarj, which lowers the score for Story Construction.

The concept is good, and the fortress itself is decently scaled and the open air plan is interesting, although things like the odd cuts in the walls to let you see the fortress from the first large room show that it probably wasn't too well planned.

Summary

This map is certainly worth playing, although there is nothing too special about it.
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.34%
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.5
TexturingUse of textures in the level. Technically speaking, alignment and scaling. Choice of textures, and quality of any custom textures used.5 Story ConstructionBacking story & progression via translator, subplots, and script of voice acting where applicable. Logical choice of opposition.2
LightingLighting of the level: does it look cool? Use of light colour and other effects, and sourcing of lighting (no light out of nowhere).3 Story ImplementationProgression of the written story via the events of the level, and performance of voice actors where applicable.2
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.3 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.5 Gameplay BalanceBalance of weapons and items to creatures, including difficulty settings. Most importantly, fun factor.5
Final Verdict: Below average
Score: 38%

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