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Review: Heart of Chizra

Project Information

  • Title: Heart of Chizra
  • Author: Raven
  • Platform: Unreal Tournament
  • Category: Single Map
  • Review Score: 42%

Main Review

Probably the shortest SP map I've ever played

Those who know Raven and have had the honor of working with the guy on projects know that he's an amazing programmer, and has contributed healthy rations of work for various teams all throughout the old engine community. But what some people may not know is that he also made a singleplayer map once called Heart of Chizra.

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Look, I'm gonna be blunt about this. What you are about to read will be my shortest review here at UnrealSP.org... ever. That's not out of slight to Raven or as a consequence of laziness. This map is really... that... short. You view a quick intro movie where you hear (but not see) a fellow bite it to the talons of a Skaarj. The scream itself is custom, as are the cams Raven set up for the intro/extro. But that's about all the "out-of-the-norm" stuff you'll see in this short trek (and swim) through a Chizra environment. Visuals, sounds, and all the trimmings are basically on par with Unreal and can't be faulted in doing the standard look very well. But yeah, Chizra is Chizra.

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The gameplay consists of fighting a few monsters (A pair of devil fish, a pair of tentacles, a pair of Krall, and one Skaarj Berserker) with one of the two weapons you'll find (Dispersion Pistol or Automag) and then finding a crystal to open a door, followed by the exit. The story is told by intro text monologues from your character and glyph messages. You're the last of your group (whoever they were, and how many had to die before you were left by your lonesome is not mentioned) and begin inside a temple, where you are led to believe... judging by the hole in the ceiling and your starting health of 12... that you've fallen in here. There's a crystal inside the place and you need to find it. That's it. Oh wait, no, there's also some gravity anomalies between rooms via Warp Zones.

Summary

Probably the shortest SP map I've ever played, besides The Darkening. For a brief map the build is good, there's a plot (though thin), lighting is adequate, and the map is tracked appropriately. Okay, I'm really squeezing the length of this one out. It scores out of reflex, but know that there is no way to judge the length of content beyond Conceptual Grandness and Gameplay Awe, both of which are are low because the map ends before it hardly gets started. The story is cliche and terse, but it gets average marks for implementation because it has a beginning, middle, and end (marking it higher on plot than the first two Zora Episodes I've reviewed, go figure). Make more maps Raven! And longer next time please.
Review Scores
BuildThe combined value representing the technical quality of the level's construction.52% CastThe combined value representing the imagination and reasoning behind the level's conceptualization and design.32%
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.2
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).5 Story ImplementationProgression of the written story via the events of the level, and performance of voice actors where applicable.5
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.5 Gameplay AweQuality of scripted sequences, originality and staging of combats. Maps that force the player to "learn by dying" will be penalised.2
Technical ExecutionTechnical soundness of the level, i.e. no visual glitches, no random deaths or other gameplay bugs, and a good framerate.6 Gameplay BalanceBalance of weapons and items to creatures, including difficulty settings. Most importantly, fun factor.5
Final Verdict: Average
Score: 42%

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