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Review: Revelations Part 1

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User avatar Mister_Prophet
Red Nemesis Leader Red Nemesis Leader
Posts: 2867
Joined: 11 Nov 2007, 23:30
Location: Long Island, New York

Subject: Review: Revelations Part 1

Post Posted: 10 Dec 2013, 23:29

Thank you sir, may I have another

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Revelations Part 1 by RediscoveryX is a single level release that's a bit different than your typical Unreal Adventure. You play as a no-name operative in some elite task force that specializes in alien activity following a war between Human and Skaarj. While players have heard the gist of similar mission parameters before they usually expect these sorts of levels to present them with a bug hunt or some other kind of infiltration with guns blazing. Revelations Part 1 instead charges our plucky hero, lovingly referred to as Private Jenkins by me in the absence of an assigned identity, with the kind of infiltration mission we don't normally see attempted in Unreal levels. In place of a point-here-and-shoot-directly-at-face scenario we have a covert rescue operation.

A corporation is up to no good, trafficking and experimenting on Na Pali creatures. Somehow a Nali has gotten transferred to one of their labs along with mantas, gasbags, and other critters from the planet we all know. Even a Titan is held in one of the storage cells (improbably, perhaps). Your missions sounds simple on paper; get in, find the Nali, save the Nali. But here's the tricky part. You are arriving under the guise of a smuggler towing a pupae, you have no weapons, and the facility is manned by four UMS Marines serving as a security force. The Marines have flak cannons and machine guns. You step out of your ship in Vortex Rikers fashion with twelve health. The only weapon you can confiscate from the entire building is an unguarded dispersion pistol. Beyond that, a single health pack can fully heal you in a medlab and you can procure a flashlight and a universal translator in other rooms, the latter being the most important pickup in the entire level since all the critical hints are stored in suggestively informative journal entries.


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This is the kind of level where the first playthrough will present the player with several moments of pause as they consider their options. The two biggest threats are met early as you try to circumvent a duo of patrolling Marines. They meet you at the entrance amicably as though you were a mere visitor but turn lethal the second they catch you trying to snoop around. Visual cues are key, as little is put into the level for no reason. If you see a green light, it means something. If you see a warning signpost, it means something. I mentioned that a dispersion pistol can be located, but trying to tap into your inner gung-ho at the prospect of having something you can shoot will either get you killed or cause you to fail your mission. If you see a log book then you should read it, as nearly every log entry contains some crucial hint necessary to beating the map, unless you'd prefer to take your chances and learn by dying.

Story is fairly simple. The logs provided are written better than the storyline provided by the readme, which is a plus, but there is little more to go on besides the musings of corporate scumbags and the woes of one unlucky security guy. There is about as much depth in the synopsis I have provided in this review as there is in the map, but the story does the job it needs to do and the notable use of necessary log entries in relation to the gameplay is refreshing. The very title suggests that this is the first chapter in a larger story. Proof of episodic intent is apparent after the ending sequence scrolls with a message saying "To be Continued..." though of the date of this review in the swan song of 2013, Revelations Part 1 has not yielded any sequels since its release in 2009.


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The level is not a looker, perhaps, and while some bits can be generally dull other sections are a bit more interesting. This is aided by sparse use of custom textures at key moments and a few rooms do stand out with nicely applied modern appeal. The lighting is fairly basic and I can say little more than it was there. In situations with simplistic level design good lighting can go a long way and Revelations Part 1 does not benefit from the scheme employed. Sound is a bit different, as the several bonus files are provided for music and the general application of audio cues are as important as the translator logs in terms of knowing what to do and where to go. This is probably the map's biggest strength, as music events and the general sound application really hit all the marks that needed to be struck. A custom song plays during a surprise encounter and does exactly what newly heard music needs to do; Fill the player with a sudden moment of pause and alarm.

For such an uncommon take on Unreal gameplay I would have expected more bugs, but there is precious little I can detail here for possible glitches. The Nali, once freed, will follow Private Jenkins all the way to the map's exit, though our native friend can sometimes get tripped up on his pathing. At one point I had to run through the level to find him after he lost me near a vent opening. You'll also want to draw him onto lifts with some care before hitting switches. There was also a point where you can backtrack through a narrow door but the door seemed like it only opened from one side. This might not actually be a bug, but it was inconvenient given that I had to ride slow elevators in order to return to the opposite side.

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Replayability might be the map's biggest flaw, since there is little reason to play it more than once or twice. A player who knows what to do will realize how short the level actually is. The provided Zip folders are loaded with custom files, most of which designated for the RMusicPlayer. Asgard's custom RTNP Marine packages are used to good effect also, but there is just so little to actually experience. There is one really clever sequence of note regarding an angry Titan and a security door that made me grin when it worked. But it's brief, and at best replays will be helpful tools for budding mappers to see how above average technical execution looks for complicated event use. I'm reminded of a stop motion film I made with a pal of mine when I was 13, where we spent a whole day on one painstaking scene which yielded about ten seconds worth of animation. Cool animation, but ten seconds of it. The first thrill will excite for the differences, but I expect more seasoned players will get antsy if they can't circle strafe something with a rocket launcher for too long.

BUILD (50%)

CAST (50%)

Architecture 5 Conceptual Grandness 5
Texturing 6 Story Construction 5
Lighting 4 Story Implementation 5
Sound 8 Gameplay Awe 5
Technical Execution 8 Gameplay Balance 6

Rating: 57%
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User avatar Sat42
Skaarj Warlord Skaarj Warlord
Posts: 717
Joined: 14 Jul 2013, 16:42
Contact:

Subject: Re: Review: Revelations Part 1

Post Posted: 02 Apr 2016, 19:32

I had meant to drop by this thread to praise this map, since last summer actually.

I believe the review is spot on, objectively.

Revelations Part 1 is rather short but sweet man, what a pleasant surprise this was when I discovered it last year (somewhere in "Project Presentation")! The custom stuff and the original scripted sequences are what stand out of course, and have actually given me ideas.
Looking back, the map did, in fact, get some well-deserved attention when it was released - someone even commented that the author "successfully created the best Unreal singleplayer rescue mission to date" and that's saying something.
It's the sort of SP adventure that has a bigger impact on me than a perhaps better looking map that only tamely imitates the basic Unreal formula.
A great map.
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

User avatar salsaSkaarj
Gilded Claw Gilded Claw
Posts: 1682
Joined: 21 Apr 2009, 21:54
Location: on the prowl

Subject: Re: Review: Revelations Part 1

Post Posted: 04 Apr 2016, 19:08

OMG I had completely forgotten this one.
Replay value may not be very high but I do remember liking the concept of the map and thinking that it would be good to let it rest and play it again after a year or more.
That time has come.


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