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[u1] Custom Map Review: "Priest Saviour" by Michael "Condor" Eber

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User avatar Delacroix
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Subject: [u1] Custom Map Review: "Priest Saviour" by Michael "Condor" Eber

Post Posted: 13 Nov 2013, 23:06

Map Title: Priest Saviour
Map Author: Michael "Condor" Eber
Reviewer: Delacroix
Review Score: 29%
Tagline: Good storyline, brought down by basic visuals

Main Review:

Condor's work, like many reviewed herein, comes from the early days of Unreal SP mapping, specifically from September 1998. It is his first and while the level contains a variety of typical beginner errors and the setting is at times confusing, it remains an enjoyable oldschool romp if nothing else.

Unfortunately even though the author has specifically stated that only the first few rooms of the map look like they were his first rooms after all, the visuals aren't appealing at all, with several notable moments: the small waterfall at the beginning, the infirmary and the chief engineer's office. Everything apart from these is plagued by either misaligned, stretched or wrongfully placed textures. Despite the "mine" being revealed as a top-secret research facility with an objective of creating a time portal, there is evidence of neither purpose in the build. The already mentioned infirmary, the chief engineer's office and the monastery are the only locales that actually look as if they had served the purpose that is implied but otherwise... it's an ancient-looking dungeon with some technical decorations to spice things up. The concept is there... in translator messages and in the readme, so on "paper", so to speak but the construction does not fulfill it even by a long shot.


The guardposts.

As far as the audio layer is concerned... there's little of it, but it's there. Human screams indicate the horrors that await the imprisoned workers in the facility but aside from a basic cell block nothing else is shown - not the construction site for the portal (which is nonsensically stacked in a monastery's basement with the Nali priest around despite all storyline elements indicating that the priest is captured and the portal - still being worked on. The music sometimes fits, sometimes it doesn't (like Erosion for example, it is played in the worst moment possible), but in any case, the transition between the tracks is too sharp. At one point Erosion is playing, and then - BOOM! Another track suddenly replaces it. It came off to me as an annoyance - and again, it's quite the sad case because on one hand we have sparingly but properly used ambient sounds, on the other - music that doesn't always fit the scene and switched so drastically it can seriously irritate.


The infirmary.

The story is the best thing in the entire map. While saving a Nali priest and doing something about the time machine isn't necessarily unique, it certainly beats the repetitive I-Am-Prisoner-849-Clone-I-Must-Escape-The-Planet formula - and it's quite well developed, to boot. Translator messages (with little typos present) build up the feeling of suspense with the player entering what they think is a mine and discovering that the facility has a much more sinister purpose - but this clashes with the uninspiring architecture that does not reflect the story fully, nor does it any justice.


The monastery.

As far as gameplay goes, it's regular shoot-me-walk-past-me Unreal fare. It is pretty well balanced, not too easy, not too tough and at times the monsters will try to attack the player cohesively, so there are some patrol points and similar items present. At times the player will be required to do something to open up a door or two but nothing else besides that. On a side note, one of the doors seems broken and might lock itself behind you, forcing you to use the "ghost" cheat. The author should've fixed at least that if nothing else.

Summary:

It's a basic construct with little redeeming value. The storyline is good and well-developed and the gameplay, while a tad flawed, gets the job done (with the exception of the infirmary back door that can get jammed behind you due to a bug) but there are very few parts of the level that can be visually appealing if you're famished or something... and the sound layer has just as many cons as pros. Still, for a first try in the editor, it's no tragedy and if you don't have any better maps to play through, give this one a whirl.

BUILD (50%)
Architecture 3
Texturing 3
Lighting 3
Sound 3
Technical Execution 3

CAST (50%)
Conceptual Grandness 2
Story Construction 5
Story Implementation 4
Gameplay Awe 3
Gameplay Balance 4

Total Score: 29%

Download Links:

savior.zip - Dropbox

* TorchFlameFix by Shivaxi recommended.
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User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Subject: Priest Saviour

Post Posted: 28 Nov 2013, 23:30

review: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3204
The review mentioned that is was relatively short so I just managed to fit it in into my evening schedule.

With a total score of 29%, I wasn't expecting much but I was surpised (twice). For one, I had played this years ago (at least more than 5 years ago), and it was resting safely and forgotten in my vault.
And secondly, (for me) it's much better than the lowly 29% seem to imply. Yet the points that I would give extra (compared to the review) would only increase the score with maximum 4% (so I can't really find fault with the review).

Even with the faults in the map, there's the fun factor and the couple of ideas that were worked out in the map which give it an edge. One example is a room in which a weapon and ammo can be seen through glass. The way to get there is quite simple but I wouldn't be surpised if most players won't find it . Another example is a bridge one has to cross (with a surprise).

This bridge section has a problem though (unless I missed something).
[spoiler]At the end of the bridge, jump to the left, at the end of the ledge there is cave with a reward, then return to the end of the ledge ; but I can't make the jump to get back onto the path so I'm stuck there. Also, I fell down but had so much health and armor that I didn't die, and got stuck down there with no exit.[/spoiler]

As for gameplay, on 227 ? difficulty=5 this felt good, a couple of surprises which reduce player's health but nothing life-threatening, yet it never becomes boringly easy (nor mediocre).
Perhaps it's just me, but I really like this map.

PS My main reason for posting this is to emphasise that a score is nothing more than a number and that using a cut-off point to decide on whether to play a map, could be your loss.

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Subject: Re: [u1] Custom Map Review: "Priest Saviour" by Michael "Condor" Eber

Post Posted: 29 Nov 2013, 18:50

Merged salsaSkaarj's new thread into this one... not sure why it was posted separately! Double checked the posting permissions on this forum just to be sure people can comment.
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User avatar salsaSkaarj
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Subject: Re: [u1] Custom Map Review: "Priest Saviour" by Michael "Condor" Eber

Post Posted: 01 Dec 2013, 11:53

ividyon wrote:Merged salsaSkaarj's new thread into this one... not sure why it was posted separately! Double checked the posting permissions on this forum just to be sure people can comment.

First of all, apologies for posting in the wrong section.

Posting permissions wasn't the problem. The problem was/is that this (sub)forum is for Reviews and based on the description in
General Gameplay
For gameplay advice and broader discussion of single-player Unreal including custom maps, mods and mutations that alter the game.

my post seemed (seems) to fit in there, certainly not in Project Presentation or in Upcoming Maps Page (nor in Multiplayers, etc...). (it wasn't a review by far anyway).

I really don't see why a post about a reviewed map should be treated any differently than a post about a non-reviewed map. Had I posted a couple of days earlier it couldn't have gone into the Custom Maps part anyway.

Let me make this clear, I'm not trying to backseat drive or anything but am (still) generally confused about where some posts should go. To me it seems logical to have (one) topic (only) about each map(pack) (excluding the MOTWs for which I fully understand the need for a separate section) and to have that topic linked to in the review.

I recently posted about The lower Shrine of Nakesh viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3125
Should this also be merged with the review then?

BTW some time ago there was a topic about this same confusion (unfortunately I can't seem to find it anymore), so I guess this post should be moved to that topic (because it certainly doesn't fit in this topic). :oops:

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Subject: Re: [u1] Custom Map Review: "Priest Saviour" by Michael "Condor" Eber

Post Posted: 01 Dec 2013, 13:24

Nakesh review is different as it's already found in the USP main website. This one is still forum only where you can quickly comment on it without opening another thread.

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Subject: Re: [u1] Custom Map Review: "Priest Saviour" by Michael "Condor" Eber

Post Posted: 01 Dec 2013, 16:31

salsaSkaarj wrote:I really don't see why a post about a reviewed map should be treated any differently than a post about a non-reviewed map. Had I posted a couple of days earlier it couldn't have gone into the Custom Maps part anyway.


Well, it's pretty simple; you were specifically referring to things said in the review in your post, so why not just append it after the review itself, if the opportunity already presents itself (due to the temporary forum solution for reviews)?

salsaSkaarj wrote:Let me make this clear, I'm not trying to backseat drive or anything but am (still) generally confused about where some posts should go. To me it seems logical to have (one) topic (only) about each map(pack) (excluding the MOTWs for which I fully understand the need for a separate section) and to have that topic linked to in the review.

I recently posted about The lower Shrine of Nakesh http://www.unrealsp.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3125
Should this also be merged with the review then?

BTW some time ago there was a topic about this same confusion (unfortunately I can't seem to find it anymore), so I guess this post should be moved to that topic (because it certainly doesn't fit in this topic). :oops:


On the new site there will be a comment section for every review, so that post would've likely found itself in there instead, if it was already done by this point. This temporary forum will be removed and, since there will be a comment section, one may as well comment on map packs in their respective reviews, because why not? If a map pack has no review yet, it would, of course, make sense to discuss it in General Gameplay, and I'm not going to lock future discussion threads on reviewed maps that pop up after the update, either... your topic, with all its references to this review, just made sense to be merged in here, that's all.
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