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Reviewers wanted

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User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Post Posted: 03 Jun 2009, 21:34

Hellscrag wrote:
Scoring for One Day seems generous to me, particularly in respect of architecture, lighting and possibly story, but in fairness it's been a long while since I played the pack.


I always use scores relative to the level or pack I'm reviewing and how well they fullfill those requirements in the course of the game. You could say the same about a great many packs on this site, like Shrakitha. Shrak has a ten for architecture. Does it have as good architecture as other packs with a ten for archi? Probably not. But in Shrakitha it's used to the height of its potential.

I have to look at a map like that. Besides, after I computated my scores for One Day and discovered that they added up to 80, and I considered if I rated it too highly. But then I decided that I didn't. It earned the points I gave it, in my opinion. I also figure that we don't have enough cream of the crop reviews for classic packs, and some of that has to do with other reviews I've done (packs like Illhaven didn't...I felt...hold up as well as they used to). I didn't get that impression with One Day. It was solid then and it's solid now.
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User avatar Buff Skeleton
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Post Posted: 03 Jun 2009, 21:54

Good reviews Proph. I didn't play Morene but One Day always felt right about 80 to me, and that was a pretty good score. Maybe a little lower, like 75 or so, would have been spot on, but still, pretty accurate. I didn't think the story was anything too memorable and the build was only OK in some places, but everything else about it is great and it stuck with me. I can remember most of the pack quite well because it's all so unique.

User avatar Hellscrag
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Post Posted: 03 Jun 2009, 23:00

Fair enough Prophet - who am I to argue!
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User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 00:11

Waffnuffly wrote:Good reviews Proph. I didn't play Morene but One Day always felt right about 80 to me, and that was a pretty good score. Maybe a little lower, like 75 or so, would have been spot on, but still, pretty accurate. I didn't think the story was anything too memorable and the build was only OK in some places, but everything else about it is great and it stuck with me. I can remember most of the pack quite well because it's all so unique.


I think all reviewers are allowed a 5 to 10 percent preference fudge factor on general principle :o . As for the story, I would not go so far as to say that it was particularly amazing. But it was consistent from the first map to the last and managed to maintain itself every step of the way. What I mean is, I was involved from beginning to end and never felt like I was just walking around killing badguys. Consistency goes a long way, and I guess the way the narration was handled just struck a cord with me :)
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User avatar Buff Skeleton
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 00:39

I'm going to go replay this pack right now, especially since Turboman said that the whole thing evidently takes place in one giant Ziggurat (which I never noticed). Going to see how it shapes up to my memory!

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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 01:02

So cool you had to review One Day. Finishing Zero Black's re-review and it's shaping pretty nicely :wink:
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User avatar Buff Skeleton
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 03:19

OK, having replayed this, I definitely don't agree with my original appraisal and the new score. I think it deserves much lower, somewhere in the 40-50 range, tops. The gameplay is OK throughout, but there are still a lot of bad design decisions, like encountering a Skaarj and a Brute at the same time on a narrow ledge where, if you dodge off, a Skaarj Berserker has spawned on the ground below you. Without the flak cannon, it's really hard to survive that encounter unscathed.

The story is mostly nonexistent and more or less kind of a joke. The translator messages are all poorly written and there isn't much of an explanation for why everything is the way it is.

That Stone Titan is really obnoxious in the night map and, from outside, is really easy to kill, but it takes forever with your weak arsenal. The build also doesn't look very good in most places. Geometry is very very basic and textures are often poorly chosen and very often misaligned or poorly scaled. The dimly lit flames don't help any either.

The build is often to a standard that the Unreal AI doesn't handle well, either. There's a lot of ways to make Skaarj constantly dodge into a corner where you can easily ASMD combo them, or you can make them dodge off into the water where shooting them from land is much easier.

The ending was awkward, slow, uneventful, and made little sense. You could even die from the titans throwing shit at you!

Overall, it's not terrible, but it's definitely not that good. 80 is waaaaay too high by our current standards for this, as far as I'm concerned. There's no story execution besides like 4 or 5 translator messages, the gameplay isn't very ambitious, the design and build is mediocre, and the whole thing is really short.

Oh and that GOD DAMNED LIFT in the first gameplay map that goes up at 5,000 miles per hour when you walk across it. I just want to cross it, not go back up god damnit! There's nothing up there I need anymore! There were also a handful of minor BSP errors I saw and some cases where interesting geometric experiments fell flat, like using the low-poly spheres as pillar ornaments. They just don't look good. There was also one where only a handful of faces were lit and the rest of it was invisible, which looked really ridiculous. It was probably meant to appear broken, but it just was jarring.

What I DID like was the conceptual grandness and the returning to prior locations aspect, which I thought was well done. There was also a lot of nice foreshadowing and nonlinearity in the maps, so you could often choose which route to take to engage the map. But that doesn't really make it worth playing more than once every few years, only as often as you forget it and want to remember what it was you experienced. Looks like I wasn't so spot-on after all when I said most of the pack was memorable, because a lot of the stuff I "remembered" in this map was actually from RTNP's Velora temple! That and I mostly remembered the hilights of this pack and not much of the weaker areas or the gameplay.

I do wonder if Chris Burgess made any other maps, either for this engine or another. His level design skills might not be super strong here, but there IS that unique imagination at work that makes this pack so remarkable for reasons that aren't always clear. I think that's what One Day really has going for it - conceptual grandness. But it's not as fleshed out as it could be, which is a shame, because the environment in this pack was what I found most interesting. If he honed his skills, I'm sure he could have made something really really cool.

User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 03:39

What can I say? I think most of what you said was a gross exaggeration. The AI doesn't have any problems here that it doesn't have in Unreal. I never got rocked to death during the ending cinematic, but I can imagine if I had that would be awkward. If this map is a 40-50% range than all the map's that I've reviewed in that range deserve to be in 10-20%, imo.

I think it's important to remember that most of the community maps released for Unreal tend to age horribly. Video games get the short end of the stick when it comes to reviews because game reviews typically only reflect the "here and now". It's not like with films, where they can age with dignity. Video games are like female celebrities; they're not allowed to get old. And I tend to reject this way of thinking. It's why I scoff at gamer mags that review "retro" games. I think if you're gonna go down that route then you should only adjust your scrutiny in terms of how time may have blinded you to a game's short comings. So for me, it's not about nostalgia. I think my other reviews of other classic community maps here can attest to that.

I genuinely think this map is worth the score I gave it for all the reasons I described. One Day may not be perfect...but if you really want to find faults with it you better be prepared to find faults with all the community packs released for Unreal....and apply those same faults to the mother game itself. There are parts of Unreal and RTNP that are no better textured or lit than anything in One Day, but we use them as our litmus test for our schema.
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User avatar Buff Skeleton
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 04:29

I see where you're coming from and understand completely, which is why I was so surprised this pack didn't hold up as well as I thought it would. I know games don't age well, and I never thought this pack had outstanding visuals, but now with more experience with the engine and a better understanding of the do's and don't's of level design (in both the Unreal engine and in general), from personal experience in the design process AND from a player's perspective after playing lots of games, I think I can safely say that I was not exaggerating.

I DID enjoy it still, but not as much as I had before, as now I was much more able to see all the faults I didn't pick up on before, stuff I wasn't really able to get a good sense of since I didn't have the mapping experience and design experience to judge them by.

Look at other old map packs like The Elder. That was a fairly good pack for its time and scope, and the reviews still are fairly accurate. But that pack also had much better story, construction, etc. Even if it wasn't great, it was definitely better than One Day. Giving The Elder a lower score than One Day doesn't really make sense, as far as I'm concerned. And believe me, I see all the flaws in Unreal itself. That is no perfect 10, not by any standards. ;) Still very very good, but not perfect as I used to think. And that's not just because it's gotten old.

Look at Blood, for example, if you've ever played that game. Fantastic level design. For its time, it looked great, and it STILL looks great in a lot of ways despite being an ancient low-poly sprite-based game with limited 3D environments (like Doom). Despite its age, its maps still play well and have great balance and innovation, and the design of its levels is believable and realistic for the most part. When you play through the haunted hotel, for example, it really looks and feels like what a haunted hotel should look and feel like despite being low-poly.

One Day doesn't get points off for being old or low-poly or underdetailed. I don't think the build holds up because I can simply see that, aesthetically, it just really isn't that great. The best parts, visually, were the town that you couldn't directly access and the castle in the final playable map. But even those aren't particularly fantastically built, and with more experience from mapping and playing games, I can get a better sense of what's wrong about them.

My gameplay assessment definitely doesn't have to do with age, because as far as I'm concerned, gameplay doesn't age if it's done right. Unreal's gameplay is still as fun as it was when I first played it. Although I'm better at the game now and need a difficulty-boosting mutator like Limbo to still feel challenged, the core gameplay is the same, and it's still good. I've done a lot of gameplay design; I've spent years and years editing and testing and experimenting with gameplay concepts in EXU, all while playing lots of different games in the mean time and seeing what's good and what's bad. I'm not like a gameplay guru or anything, but I definitely have a much stronger grasp of what makes good gameplay now than I did when I first played One Day, and now I can see that One Day's gameplay has NOT really held up that well. It's not bad, and it's still fun enough to run through, but not more than once in a few years or so. There's virtually no replay value in it aside from nostalgia, and there ARE a number of gameplay design choices that are sub-optimal.

Anyway, I guess our opinions will continue to differ, but don't assume that my appraisal is lower simply because I let the game age. I take that into account when I go back and play old games; sometimes they age poorly, and sometimes they only age poorly in one aspect, like graphics, which aren't as important, like with Deus Ex. The game looks pretty bad now, but the gameplay is still totally awesome and the story is one of the best you can find in a video game, still. That game has aged well despite the visuals. Some games, like C&C Red Alert 1, aged poorly on the gameplay side, but not so much on the visuals. Replaying that game, I can see how poorly balanced it is and how it's really not that much fun anymore.

User avatar jackrabbit
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 04:49

For me, "The Elder" seemed to be way too linear and downright boring (for the most part). One Day is not boring one bit.. I just replayed it (as you did) and loved every second of re-playing that pack. I love when I get lost inside the temple of One Day and you get that feeling that your never going to get out. This is something that is very rare for a custom campaign. I think ultimately, the temple is why One Day is getting that high score which it deserves (keep in mind, the bulk of the gameplay takes place inside that awesome temple). Superior map layouts made up for the lack of detail. One Day is short, yes, but like Prophet said before.. you cannot judge a small scale pack with a larger campaign. I couldn't agree more.. and 8/10 is the perfect score for this beauty. Chris Burgess knew what the hell was going on.. and its a shame we don't see more of him today.

User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 04:55

Waffnuffly wrote:Anyway, I guess our opinions will continue to differ, but don't assume that my appraisal is lower simply because I let the game age.


Nah, I wouldn't say that or anything. You're entitled to your opinion, and I actually think it would be good if you perhaps made use of USP's second opinion review (I understand what's like to disagree strongly to something, which is why I had to offer one for MMAN's review of Nali Chronics). There's always someone who finds a review lower or higher than they think it should be, myself included. Generally I find I'm more critical of custom SP packs/maps than I am likely to thoroughly enjoy them. But One Day works for me.

I can honestly say that I like One Day better than the Elder, but that's me.
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User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 09:34

One Day has been many days ago (probably 2 years) since I've replayed it but I am 100% sure it's on my list of the 10 best map(packs) (just checked and yes, why did I even have doubts).

While reading the new review more and more memories came back and made me want to replay immediately (unfortunatly no time now). I can't say anything about misaligned textures or BSP holes but if there were any, I probably didn't notice them 'cause I was caught up in the atmosphere. At the time it didn't strike me as overly difficult (but I probably played on Medium) and I did replay it a couple of times.

Seeing the new review and comparing it with the old, there's not really much difference on the whole. And considering it ended 9th in the Eurovision, whether the score is 1% higher or lower than that of another map(pack) is unimportant.

I think it's clear that this is definately a keeper.

User avatar Semfry
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 11:55

Mister_Prophet wrote:I can honestly say that I like One Day better than the Elder, but that's me.


I also agree with One Day being better than The Elder, then again, The Elder never seemed to do too much for me in comparison to other maps from that era (not that I dislike it either).

User avatar UBerserker
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 13:39

All I remember from The Elder was the terrible final fight against an overload of Skaarj.
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User avatar Shivaxi
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Post Posted: 04 Jun 2009, 21:15

Waffnuffly wrote:OK, having replayed this, I definitely don't agree with my original appraisal and the new score. I think it deserves much lower, somewhere in the 40-50 range, tops.


At least someone agrees with me :P
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Waffnuffly: If there is any purpose for the god damned ocean, it is for us to eat it.
Jet_v4.3.5: I want to be Lincoln and kick Satan's ass. Emancipate and Proclimate on his ass.

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