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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #1476
    Quote Originally Posted by quakis View Post
    And I guess its my turn to contribute. Been doing some other things these past few days, so reviews from me will come slightly slower than usual. Who knows, maybe the opposite will happen. Edit: Forgot to mention, additional Silver/Gold awards will be given out once my archive has grown some more. I do this now for any section on the site.

    Rose Cottage
    Thank you for yet another contribution quakis!

  2. #1477
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Tannar Appreciation Society HQ
    Jason remains one of my favourite authors, I cannot think of a mission he's made that I haven't enjoyed. If you haven't played many of his missions I would highly recommend that you start. The vertical contest entry was just awesome. I don't get to play many missions anymore but I'm so glad I played it.

  3. #1478
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: behind your eyeball
    I'm glad I played it too. It will remain as a good memory for me and I will likely replay it soon.

    I will surely try to play all of his missions in time. In time, because playing them all at once would just be like eating a cake in 10 seconds. (That's the best comparison I could come up with on short notice)

  4. #1479
    Ottoj55's attention to detail, architecture and texture work are staggeringly good. I think I remember him catching a very minor texture misalignment for a mission someone had released or was asking feedback on and thinking 'holy smokes, this guy takes pride in his work'. That and I agree that all of his missions are excellent.

    I have yet to play that last one, so I'm really glad you posted screens to let me know I needed to check it out!

  5. #1480
    Third Time's The Charm By Ottoj55
    Released: 2009
    Vertical Contest Winning Mission

    My apologies for second opinion re-reviewing a mission so quickly (the last review was on the previous page) but this mission struck me as such a quality piece of work that I had to put the words to paper (keyboard?) and let everyone know what a fantastic mission this truly is.

    You find yourself once again in search of a few special items - but you are not the first to try to do so in this particular location.. there have been two before you that have attempted with less than favorable results (Hence the mission title, which I thought was clever) and you aim to not become the third victim in this clumsy thief lineage.

    From the moment the mission starts you have no doubt that this is a creation from Ottoj55 as all the telltale signs are in front of you from the get-go. Incredible looking fire (his attention to detail to fire, candles and torches in particular should be commended) and textures along with rounded arches show you right away that the mission is destined to be a feast for the eyes.

    You'll have a few nifty gadgets at your disposal in this mission - from tranquilizer darts to gas bombs to flammable liquid and more. One thing I always enjoy about this authors missions would have to be all the different ways he gives you to dispatch your foes, should it come to that kind of situation during your sneak-fest. The gas bombs and flammable liquid in particular I found came in quite handy during my playthrough, and I was very happy to see these custom weapon/tool additions.

    The design of the mission is very well done - in some areas you'll see that the author seemed to go out of his way to create a fully functional dungeon and 'castle' type setting. Everything is very realistically done and the scale of the objects and rooms are spot on. You could imagine this mission as a fully functional Hammerite monastery and this adds a tremendous amount to believability and immersion. Arches are most time nearly perfectly rounded - quite a sight in the dark engine - and the custom objects, AI skins, weapons and textures are all great looking and high quality as you'd expect from the authors previous missions.

    The design also lends itself well to the exceptional gameplay. You'll find multiple ways into and out of each part of the structure, and your agility will definitely be tested in this one. Ghosters will rejoice when finding multiple doors/windows into any rooms, and explorers like myself will find plenty of routes as well. You'll hop from window to ledge, you'll find secret areas and items, you'll sneak around the always wonderful Hammerites and you'll have a blast while you do so.

    One thing in particular about the sounds in the mission that stood out to me were the difference in Hammerite voices - the authors readable states that some are from a Hammerite development kit and they are used to great effect here. The different voices are a very welcome change and mixes up the sounds you'll hear quite well. The mission is heavily populated with Hammer brethren lending to quite a bit of chatter flying through the air - and this kept hearing the same lines over and over from becoming stale and boring.

    Small details here and there also added quite a bit to my enjoyment of the mission. Secret objects are hidden just out of sight but not enough to make them impossible to find. Candles will still flicker with flame a time or two immediately after being doused. Loot placement is very intricately done and made finding alot of the loot great fun. Scratch marks on the floor will let you know that there is more to a certain room than meets the eye and many more details that have you thinking "Wow, he really put alot of thought into this" - the mark of a true master mission builder.

    As someone who very much enjoys Hammerite themed mission and exceptional gameplay as well as fantastic visuals - this mission has quickly jumped to the top of my list of favorite mission of all time. Highly recommended!

    Screens: (tried to make sure I didn't recreate and of thor02's shots)



    Very soon in the mission you realize you are in for quite a treat.




    I want whats in the glowy chest, this much is certain.




    Dinner is served.




    Just a hop skip and a jump to that Hammerite.




    Need to brush up on my scripture.




    Multiple routes to everywhere and great gameplay design.




    I'm down here - I need to be up there.




    Lookin' for loot in all the wrong places.

  6. #1481
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: behind your eyeball
    Well written! I myself totally forgot about all those ottoj55 gadgets, since I was shy at using, well, any of it. Just my trusted ol' blackjack.

    I thought they were monks, not just hammerites.

    For me, it was nice to read and compare our reviews, so thank you.

  7. #1482
    The Night Before Christmas By Darkshadow
    Released: 2009

    Just in time for the holiday season we've got The Night Before Christmas - a mission that does an excellent job of getting you into the holiday spirit and roarin' to not only do some good deeds, but to fill up the ol' loot sack while you do so.

    TNBC puts you in the role of the unlikely heir to the responsibilities of father Christmas - you'll need to not only collect the right items to fulfill those duties but you'll need to carry them out as well. I found this to be a clever twist on the 'collect-o-thon' style mission and enjoyed the objectives in a similar way that I enjoyed the bonus good deed objectives in Christine's 'Pirates Ahoy!" mission. You not only get the good feeling of doing something un-dastardly for once, but you'll have alot of fun doing it.

    Gameplay in this mission is classic thief fare and harkens back to missions of the past in the simplicity of the objectives. You'll scale rooftops, use rope arrows, climb into windows, traverse metal piping trying to get into open areas and more - those of you who enjoy more 'classic' feeling thief missions will definitely enjoy this one. Alot of fun gameplay to be had. You'll come in contact with a few different foes - in one area in particular you'll come across a few Hammerites and as a big fan of the faction I always enjoy seeing them in a mission.

    Visually the mission looks pretty good (if a bit boxy at most points) and overall it seems alot of care has gone into making the wintery atmosphere come alive. You'll see ice hanging from the rooftops, snow falling all around you and guards keeping warm by a fire. It would have been nice to see a little more diversity in the boxy architecture, but the mission still looks quite good all things considered.

    There were a few issues here and there with areas being hard to get to (when they really shouldn't have been) and it could have probably done with a little more tweaking in the overall city design, but for the most part the mission is built solidly.

    My main concern with the mission really was the story - in particular the readables. Unfortunately the author didn't seem to enlist the services of a native English speaker to smooth out their texts (I myself would proofread any mission for any author if asked and I know many folks here would do the same) and overall the text is pretty much a mess. Broken English, unreadable sentences and overall lack of textual effort (Putting blah blah blah at various points in your texts for a mission you've spent so much time working on? Why would you do that?) really disappointed me as it seemed like the author had bits of story here and there that would have benefited from a little proofreading and overall would have made the experience much more solid.

    A solid mission that offers fun gameplay and a great atmosphere - if you are in the mood for a winter mission that celebrates the holiday season, this one is definitely going to be right up your alley. As long as you don't mind your missions a little rough around the edges, you'll have a great time. Recommended!

    Screens:



    Its that time of the year again!




    I meant, of course, that its time to get drunk!




    Bustin' out the christmas carols.




    The city watch, or as I like to call them - "Grinches in blue".




    Time to find out what tasks need to be done this evening!




    Snowman makin' time!




    Quite an imposing building!




    This scene actually struck me as more tragic than I think the author meant it to be - this poor fellow is alone guarding a place that is obviously going to see little or no action.. and its the night before Christmas.

  8. #1483
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Hey everyone! It's been a while since I've contributed anything, so without the usual string of lousy excuses, here's my review for "Eclipsed". I pretty much wrote it just to get my creativity flowing again, I'll be back to doing Top Ten lists shortly since that's the new and exciting format everyone is talking about these days (or at least I'm talking about it anyway...to, you know...my cat. Which is admittedly kinda creepy). So yeah, once again, ENJOY!

    Oh yeah, and if you want to read this review with a pretty-spiffy-if-I-do-say-so-myself title card (I made it myself ), it's also up over at Southquarter.

    Eclipsed Review

    You know what I really hate? Being scared. Honestly. Yeah, I know I'm always ranting about how much I love zombies and anything that involves undead creatures ripping things limb from limb, but that's not really scary- that's just awesome. What I hate is being honest-to-God scared out of my mind. That feeling where the hair on the back of your neck stands on end and you're looking over your shoulder every half a second like someone in the witness protection program even though you're just sitting in your room reading and the biggest danger that could possibly befall you is standing up too fast and hitting your head on the ceiling fan (wait...MY GOD I'D BE KILLED!). This is why to date I have beaten none of the Silent Hill games*. This is why when I get to the "dark zone" section of "A Night in Rocksbourg 3" I mute the game and crank up an "all Celine Dion" playlist (I FIND HER MUSIC SOOTHING, SHUT UP). This is why when I saw the movie "Paranormal Activity" I stayed up all night clenching a crucifix. But as much as I can't stand the quivering mass that being truly terrified turns me into, I tend to love the things that manage to bring that feeling on me. This is why I loved Hipbreaker's latest thief 2 FM "Eclipsed": because of it I am now a 24 year old man-baby who is too afraid to walk through his house at night, is convinced he's under attack by demonic forces every time his pets knock over something in the next room, and is probably going to sleep with a light on tonight. THANKS HIPBREAKER!
    *...and once bought and returned one for the purpose of it being too scary, and yes, that did require the simultaneous refunding of my man-card.

    But first, it's time for me to take my shirt off and get sexy with the storyline (or...y'know...talk about it and stuff). It starts with Garrett deciding to head out to the town of Port Aerinth, since supposedly it has great beaches, lots of unguarded homes, and only minor problems with demon invasion. Of course on his way out the keepers stop him with a cryptic warning which he of course shoots down with sarcastic one liners (it strikes me that the keepers might actually get through to him once if they just stopped with the roundabout stuff and were just like "YOU'RE GOING TO GET TORE UP BY A DEMON, MOTHER F---ER!"*). So Garrett goes anyway, but something definitely feels off about this job- and it's not just that demon chewing on his foot...but it is mostly that.
    *Which brings me to the point of this article: Samuel L. Jackson should totally be a Keeper.

    What I think I like most about this mission's story is how much controversy and debate it caused among thief fans. All of it centered around the fact that Garrett isn't really his somber anti-hero self and is more of a...well...a total douchebag, honestly. Okay, starting here, HUGE SPOILER ALERT FOR THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH AND THE NEXT; if all you want to know about the story is what you already read at this point, stop reading now and just skip a couple paragraphs ahead. So basically, at about the halfway point of this mission, Garrett has seen 0 demons (well okay, HALF a demon, tops) and has acquired enough loot to leave the town happily. However, he has read about powerful relics buried underground that are used in some way to keep the demons out of our world, and yeah, sure it would be a good idea to leave them there but have you SEEN how much those things are going for on E-bay?! So he goes underground into a Silent Hill-esque rusty walled demon menagerie and steals these relics only to find, not so surprisingly, that doing so re-released all of the demons on the town. He then skips through town passing out "How to Serve Man" cookbooks to the head demons and opens the town's main gates while yelling out all the names and locations of earth's major cities and how full of fresh meat they are (more or less). When a keeper asks him why he did all this douche-baggery he responds with "BECAUSE I'M A SURVIVOR, NOT A MARTYR. AND YOU'RE A BIG DOODY HEAD! insert childish pouting noise here". Anyway, back to the debate, some people are saying that this doesn't come off as heroic. Go figure, right?!

    I've previously referred to overly selfless characterizations of Garrett as "Saint Garrett". Well this is "Danger Junkie Asshole Garrett", and you know what? I like this guy more. "WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU EVIL EVIL MAN!?" you shout at me, tears streaming down your face as you clutch your homemade Garrett plushie. Why? Because this guy is interesting! This Garrett is in it for the thrills, only he has seen and survived so much, the thrill is starting to wear thin. So he takes on a job that has "guaranteed death and dismemberment" stamped all over it, just for the challenge. A lot of people have complained about the fact that Garrett doesn't just turn back when he accomplishes his loot goal. I thought the reasoning was pretty obvious: he's not in it for the money, he's in it for the danger and he hasn't seen a damn thing yet. To put it frankly, it's not always easy to watch and probably isn't even true to the character that was established in the official Thief games, but this guy has been in hundreds of missions and when was the last time he had a friggen character arch? Exactly. Basically, I really liked it because I'm a bitter person who despises all that is good and cheery and will never, EVER give Bob Cratchet Christmas day off. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go chase some happily playing children off my front lawn.


    Something about this hellish vortex gives me a bad feeling...

    Anyway, three paragraphs of story discussion aside, there's also some gameplay here. CRAZY I KNOW! Eclipsed is a heavily exploration based horror mission. As you all know, half of what makes great horror is build up, and this mission certainly has a whole HELL of a lot of build up. For almost half the mission you don't fight any monsters, however: lights go out by themselves, you see things run by in your peripheral vision, strange sounds echo from nearby rooms that are mostly empty when you investigate. To put it as eloquently as I can, it's pants-crappingly scary. Then the monsters actually do show up, and despite what you may have heard from others, it continues to be pants-crappingly scary. Maybe I say this because I've never been much for horror, or maybe it's the much more reliable reason: everyone else is wrong*. Sure these monsters aren't anything completely unlike what you may have seen before in other games, but they follow the simple rule of "dirty + no face = scary", and who am I to dispute fact? The first time one ran out of the shadows howling at me, I felt something that should have been much lower in my body rise up into my throat.
    *...except anyone who has the power to erase this review from wherever you're reading it. They are not only right, but extremely good looking.

    Still, all the monsters in the world couldn't make up for shoddy level design (well okay, maybe ALL of them could- no one could stop that much synergy). Fortunately, the level design here is top notch and full of the kind of evily creepy moments that get under your skin. There are at least a couple chilling scenes that will stick with you until long after you have beaten it. One area in particular where a man hangs from a noose in a candlelit room while a music box plays is almost beautiful in a disturbing kinda way. Another area with corpses hanging from the ceiling that aren't quite as innate as they appear is awesomely sick and twisted. It's fantastic, but as anyone who has read my reviews knows, I am a master of nitpickery. With that said, at one point during the first half of the mission in order to make further progress you have to pass through a small hole in a wall that's covered by vines and pretty much has to be found by accident since no one who isn't half hawk could see it otherwise. An extremely minor complaint I know, but I had to pick that nit...it was eyeballin' me, YOU ALL SAW IT!

    To wrap things up, I loved this mission. Not only did it admirably perform its job of scaring me out of my friggen' mind, but it offered an interesting take on a pre-established character which I found pretty damn intriguing. It's definitely going to split people, however. It turns a beloved gaming icon into a total jerkwad, and after a fantastic slow-burn setup suddenly starts throwing gobs of monsters at you with little fanfare (they're just kinda like "Yo wassup, we're the bad guys" when at that point you're expecting them to burst through a wall like some herd of demonic Kool Aid men and instantly melt your face off with their incredible terrifying-ness), but it just all worked extremely well for me. My advice is to stop being a big sissy and download it. Now if you will excuse me, I have to finish boarding up my windows to completely demon-proof my house. Never can be too careful.



    This my friends is how you do "moody".


    I, personally, see no reason NOT to follow the trail of blood into the ominous doorway.


    Why do I have a feeling that this monster is going to suddenly get real close, real quick?


    Yes, whatever horrors this hallway holds, surely my moss arrows will save me.


    Oh, and before I go, great reviews SneakyJack! I have to especially comment you on your screenshots- freaking godly as always. I honestly have no idea how you do it man. They are always a blast to read also, of course. Keep cranking them out dude!

    I think next I'm going to (finally) do that Top Ten Favorite Crazy FMs list. And this time I'll do it real quick-like, honest!

  9. #1484
    Great review Mike, and thank you for the kind words! I'm looking forward to any top 10's you may do in the future, I had a blast reading the previous ones. I may do a few of my own in the future but I'll probably have much more obscure subjects like "Top 10 Weapon Shops"

    Edit: Someone asked me via PM if I use dromed to 'stage' my screenshots or what have you and my only answer to that is "Ive never used dromed and wouldn't know where to begin". I loaded it once in the past trying to create my own mission and just about passed out from the complexity - I have tons of respect for those of you that create these missions, trust me. I just try to get the most 'cinematic' angle or scene possible while I'm sneaking around enjoying the mission. Unfortunately that leaves me playing a mission more as a screenshotter than as a player sometimes. I'll come across something completely visually mindblowing and only be thinking "so how would this best show up on the forum?" I think I'm damaged.

  10. #1485
    @The Mike: Funny review, got some chuckles out of me. The 'Dark Zone' in Rocksbourg 3, is probably one of the most scariest moments I've had in a game, I hope DrK keeps this up in the last three.

    @SneakyJack: Getting screenshots for me is a similar story, finding a good angle and location to grab that would present well in a review. Sometimes they come out a bit too dark though and hard to adjust them without looking bad. I get very fustrated when I can't find good places to take screenshots, CoSaS1 is probably a good example where I had a little bit of trouble, and a few for other games.

    Infact, while I'm on the subject - How did you take effective screenshots of Rocksbourg 3 without them appearing too dark? The best example is in the large library; mine for an upcoming review barely shows anything no matter how I tweak them.

  11. #1486
    Quote Originally Posted by quakis View Post
    Infact, while I'm on the subject - How did you take effective screenshots of Rocksbourg 3 without them appearing too dark? The best example is in the large library; mine for an upcoming review barely shows anything no matter how I tweak them.
    One of the biggest problems with answering that question is the all the variables involved. I'm on an older CRT monitor, so automatically I sometimes brighten images too much just to try to get the black levels looking right on my monitor. You also have the video card factor, as I don't know if all video cards take thief screenshots at the same brightness levels (I highly doubt it) so you and I could take the same exact shot of the same mission on two different systems, and when we pop it into photoshop they could be at completely different brightness levels.

    I normally pop the image into photoshop and depending on how bright it is by default (some missions for some reason 'photograph' far better than others as I'm sure you've found on your own) I normally only do two things - play with the sliders for "Brightness" and "Contrast" in photoshops image --> adjust menu. I've found that (I'm on Photoshop CS4 Extended) often times you can crank up the brightness quite a bit while lowering the contrast slightly to achieve maximum results.

    Unfortunately every screenshot is different so you cant just create a photoshop action that auto adjusts them or they will turn out looking like.. well, something bad. I may still do a tutorial on it after I finish a few more reviews I have lined up and a few upcoming features I have planned but tutorials are so much work (ones that require taking this many variables into account) and for me not alot of fun to do so I'll have to get myself motivated for the task

    So long story short - there is no easy way to determine how to get it just bright enough - I normally adjust my shots until things like fire and electric lights begin getting a little 'too bright' and then dial it back just a bit and it seems to work well enough. I think the way Photoshop CS4 handles brightness and contrast differently than in older versions of photoshop makes it far easier to make screens look good. You can see that by looking at my first reviews here and then my newest ones - some of the earlier ones look awful

  12. #1487
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    ......if only The Mike's cat could talk......

  13. #1488
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Fingers View Post
    ......if only The Mike's cat could talk......
    ...If I were to say "he does" would that be concerning?

  14. #1489
    NewDark 64³ Contest Winner
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Locked Inside Dromed
    One of OttoJ's best missions that is less spoken of is A Debt Repaid. To me, that is honestly one of the top 10 missions that I've yet played. I love the intricate design of that level, especially the third lockpick.

    I like those missions where you know the place you have to get to, but you end up having to take a completely round-about way to get there, solving puzzles and crawling all over the map just to get where you need to be. It reminds me of levels like Forgotten Forest 2 and Lord Alan's Factory. Also the OM First City Bank and Trust was alot like that. I remember playing that for the first time and being totally confused as to where to go.

  15. #1490
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinqueecclesiensis HU
    Augustine’s Revenge by bbb

    Brought to you by the creator of Three Crowns, which was reviewed here recently, Augustine’s Revenge is a tremendous city and mansion type mission for Thief: the Dark Project. I do not often call missions tremendous, but here, I must make an exception – not because Augustine’s Revenge is flawless, but rather because it presents a triumph of gameplay and ambience over technology.

    Why do I claim this? Because it is a great Thief mission that is very unlike most other great Thief missions. They – like Saturnine’s recently released Rose Cottage, or Mission X – are heavily customised technological masterpieces that push the Dark Engine beyond all conceivable limits, using textures, sounds and procedures beyond the wildest ambitions of Looking Glass Studios. Augustine’s Revenge is the polar opposite. It is restricted to stock TDP resources, using no custom sounds, textures or objects (take care that you will need Thief Gold or the correct patch to play, though). The level geometry is simple, even simplistic: architecture is a succession of simple shapes; a house is a cube with a prism on the top, a tower is a cylinder with window textures and some basic crenellations, nothing more complex.

    So why ‘tremendous’? Because all the effort that was not spent on visual polish and customisation has been spent instead on building a huge exploration-oriented level that takes hours to finish, and features impeccably designed gameplay. To get to your main objective, a rich lord’s mansion, you will first have to navigate the streets of a city, then take to the rooftops to reach your destination. What starts out as a distinctly small-townish environment with one or two-story buildings shortly becomes a vertigo-inducing sequence of towering construction, where you have to hop from apartment to apartment and from ledge to ledge over immense chasms to progress. All of this is a remarkably smooth experience: the difficulty is just right to challenge but not to intimidate; hidden places are just devilish enough to pose a challenge but not to cause frustration. This is exploration-oriented gameplay as it should be. (Designers, take note: hiding places here are mainly hidden in the environment, not with annoying and hard to locate mini-switches.) Then, after you have had your fill of rooftopping, play moves on to the mansion, where evading tight interlocking patrols and discovering the clues to your ultimate goals are your objective. Again, the setup works: it is almost optimally designed. (Ghosting is possible throughout the mission, although I failed at one point where I had to bash down a barrier to proceed – it seems there might have been another way to my goal, so others may fare better.)

    Then, a few words have to be dedicated to ambience. There have been many attempts to reinvent the look and feel of Thief from the faithful to the utterly unconventional. Augustine’s Revenge is, perhaps, notable for evoking a certain mystique of the City – it is just elegant somehow, and the simple architecture eventually becomes comfortable – instead of fighting against the limitations of 11-years-old technology, the author has used it to capture something iconic, dark and subtle. It may be in the application of the textures and lights and the sharp contrasts of shadow and illumination; it may be in the music, or the way the simple architecture is allusive of dense and complex urban architecture instead of directly simulating it. It is a curious and very non-obvious way to achieve something great, but it works.

    It is unlikely that Augustine’s Revenge will be considered one of the ‘star’ fan missions in Dromed history. Nonetheless, it should be tried and enjoyed, because in a very peculiar way, it is very much their equal.










  16. #1491
    Fantastic review and screens Melan! As clunky as I found Thief 1 to be - after reading your review I may very well Re-install the game just to play this one! I really enjoy your writing style.

  17. #1492
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Wow, really well written review man! Smart almost to the point of being over my head (I actually had to look up what crenelation meant). DUDE...write more! Reading that was extremely interesting.

    By the way, I'm playing this FM also and I completely agree with everything that was said. Excellent...uh...crenelations.

  18. #1493

  19. #1494
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinqueecclesiensis HU
    The downside to writing these reviews is that I rarely have thoughts original enough to make me motivated. On the other hand, I have an old unsubmitted mega-review of sperry's Shadows of Doubt campaign, which is genius for completely different reasons - I may have to dig that up some day and type it up (I wrote that on paper while on a computer-free holiday, completely from memory ).

  20. #1495
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: behind your eyeball

    Reviewing "Augustine's Revenge" by bbb

    ***Note of frustration: ARGH! Melan beat me to it. Oh well, gonna post it anyway, since I wrote it before Melan posted his. Oh well, at least this one will be different. I think it contrasts pretty good. SJ should be excited.***


    Released in late 2009 by bbb for Thief I!

    Augustine's Revenge (download here!)

    The title pretty much tells the story's idea. Many years ago there was a duel between two princes - Augustine and Robert. Robert won, bigtime. Augustine was left with a messed up body and somehow after all these years he decided he wants revenge. By you. Get Robert's stash, expose his affair and get paid by everyone. A dream come true... For a more detailed description read the FM's readme file.


    This is a big city mission, with lots of exploring to do! Be sure to search for climing opportunities as well as rope arrow using. This mission has a fantastic gameplay - open windows in random places in any (though not every) house or ledge and yet still linear enough to not get TOTALLY lost. Actually, the map isn't totally big, but there's a decent amount of gameplay packed in every corner so it never gave player a break from good thieving. It's an adventure that will distract you from life for a good 2 or 3 hours of mixed atmosphere with the game and your thoughts. At least it did so with me.

    One thing that definitely stands out about this mission is that it is Thief I - ergo crazy jumping time! It is the one thing that I just like so much better about Thief I than Thief II. Unfortunately it also means older graphics and other technological degradements. Then again, the author usually prefers to stick with the original textures, so it doesn't make much of a difference.

    The author of this mission loves loot and puts it everywhere, which, as I said, makes the gameplay aspect the winning one. It wasn't all loot though, as there were some (personally I caught 2) messages throughout the map signed by the author himself, which was a nice touch. Some may argue it kills the atmoshpere, but at least I'm taking those messages more as an encouragement to go on. It's like someone wants Garrett to succeed. It's a minor touch, but it's interesting stuff like this that makes a mission memorable.

    I loved the few conversations with some good, appropriate voice acting. The lowest point of this map was the lack of custom resources and mine and author's tastes are different, as I would've liked different background themes. The map uses default textures too, so that in one point brings you closer to the FM, but from another point it's the same, old, boring textures, that you've seen so many times in so many places. I'll be honest though, my problem with the questionable looks on some parts of the city were the choice of textures and lack of design. Since I'm making complaints in this pargraph, I'll add, that I wished for less metal, cause I simply don't like how it sounds. Honestly, soon enough I was starting to look forward to some tile, strangely enough.

    ***Now... what did I miss? Sounds, visuals - check. Story - check. Gameplay - check. Design and architecture... ok, time for those, then.***

    Architecturally (yup, starting with the keyword) this mission checks as good. It stands out in the aspect, that it makes the gameplay vary and some places are just plain interesting. Some places in the early stages of the map got me nostalgic at something for some reason. Maybe it's the seen influence from other old games. Jedi Knight, maybe? Maybe not... Though I did want some more detail into Robert's mansion from outside and the main hall. Throughout the map I managed to climb out of the map several times. It was about as difficult as reaching the author's messages, but a little bit harder.


    Overall, this was a great mission, that probably aimed to give the player a classic Thief experience. And so it did, all classic elements were there. What I missed from this mission was a bit more of a story, some side stories, that would keep you more immersed etc. Hmm, rereading these few sentences makes me realise I've been spoiled by those big titles everyone holds closer than... god? Back on track. I felt that this mission was rushed towards the end and by the end I was more obsessed to simply finish it, which is fine too, because it gave me a distinct satisfaction and no regrets. Please, don't think this mission is not worth playing, as it sure is. I was merely trying to be a bit more harsh towards it then some other FMs.

    For a change, just for the fun of it, I'm gonna share my more important mission stats with you.

    Difficutly: Expert
    Total Time: 2h 11min 56s
    Found 13392 Loot out of 14482
    Locks picked: 18
    Knock Outs: 46


    And now, see the mission for itself!

    *5 minutes in sorting out screens and Thor comes to a strange piece of conclusion - he loves the screens and finds the mission beautiful and doesn't understand why he even complained about it and takes it all back*


    Just to give you the wrong first impression.


    Typical bar. Oh, it really IS a typical bar.


    His lordship's mighty mansion.


    Why hello there, stranger!


    There's a lot of loot stashes around the city. This one I liked best.


    His lordship's basement. One of my favorite places in the map, for some reason. It's probably the textures.


    It's a long way down...


    Another one of my favorite places in the map. Honestly, these sewers got me nostalgic.

  21. #1496
    Great stuff Thor! Thank you for another great contribution

    Your screenshots (in my opinion) are looking much better as well - I can actually tell whats going on in the scene I'm trying to find my Thief: Gold disks wherever they may be - the next step will be fighting with vista to get Thief: Gold running.

    We are nearing the 100k views mark along with the 1500 replies mark and I think that is fantastic for a thread that is all discussion and content and not just hints or a forum game. Well done to everyone and thank you for all of your contributions.

  22. #1497
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    Those are 2 great reviews of Augustine's Revenge - a real feast of exploration reminiscent, in different ways, of such FMs as Greenbay, Keeper Investigations pt 5 & Bad Debts: yep, I really think it's that good!

    Melan - I particularly liked your point about fundamentally absorbing & immersive design / gameplay over polish & customisation; "the basics" are, I feel, still the most important qualities of FMs. However, maybe there's room for both as in your Disorientation

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    ...If I were to say "he does" would that be concerning?
    I think what he said would be much more concerning

  23. #1498
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: behind your eyeball
    Yay, we've stepped over the 100k views milestone and just 3 posts till 1500 replies.

    Generally I agree with the gameplay-over-looks thing, but somehow I just felt different.about it in this one. Like Sticky Fingers, I think it could have done both like in Bad Debts. Still, it's a great mission.

    Thanks for liking my screens, SJ. I generally set the gamma a bit higher (at least for T2, but I guess for T1 too) and photoshopped some brightness altering curves, generally just so the screens looks more "alive". The light sources get brighter, for example. It's just a small and probably unnoticable effect, but I like to think it affects the screenshot quality.

  24. #1499
    +1 to the replies.

    Once I finished up with Augustine's Revenge, I plan to give it, The Hand of Glory and another TDP mission a review. It's a good thing TDP isn't crashing anymore! I can finally start filling up that section of my site - its... empty.

  25. #1500
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post

    What I think I like most about this mission's story is how much controversy and debate it caused among thief fans. All of it centered around the fact that Garrett isn't really his somber anti-hero self and is more of a...well...a total douchebag, honestly. Okay, starting here, HUGE SPOILER ALERT FOR THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH AND THE NEXT; if all you want to know about the story is what you already read at this point, stop reading now and just skip a couple paragraphs ahead. So basically, at about the halfway point of this mission, Garrett has seen 0 demons (well okay, HALF a demon, tops) and has acquired enough loot to leave the town happily. However, he has read about powerful relics buried underground that are used in some way to keep the demons out of our world, and yeah, sure it would be a good idea to leave them there but have you SEEN how much those things are going for on E-bay?! So he goes underground into a Silent Hill-esque rusty walled demon menagerie and steals these relics only to find, not so surprisingly, that doing so re-released all of the demons on the town. He then skips through town passing out "How to Serve Man" cookbooks to the head demons and opens the town's main gates while yelling out all the names and locations of earth's major cities and how full of fresh meat they are (more or less). When a keeper asks him why he did all this douche-baggery he responds with "BECAUSE I'M A SURVIVOR, NOT A MARTYR. AND YOU'RE A BIG DOODY HEAD! insert childish pouting noise here". Anyway, back to the debate, some people are saying that this doesn't come off as heroic. Go figure, right?!

    I've previously referred to overly selfless characterizations of Garrett as "Saint Garrett". Well this is "Danger Junkie Asshole Garrett", and you know what? I like this guy more. "WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU EVIL EVIL MAN!?" you shout at me, tears streaming down your face as you clutch your homemade Garrett plushie. Why? Because this guy is interesting! This Garrett is in it for the thrills, only he has seen and survived so much, the thrill is starting to wear thin. So he takes on a job that has "guaranteed death and dismemberment" stamped all over it, just for the challenge. A lot of people have complained about the fact that Garrett doesn't just turn back when he accomplishes his loot goal. I thought the reasoning was pretty obvious: he's not in it for the money, he's in it for the danger and he hasn't seen a damn thing yet. To put it frankly, it's not always easy to watch and probably isn't even true to the character that was established in the official Thief games, but this guy has been in hundreds of missions and when was the last time he had a friggen character arch? Exactly. Basically, I really liked it because I'm a bitter person who despises all that is good and cheery and will never, EVER give Bob Cratchet Christmas day off. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go chase some happily playing children off my front lawn.

    I had something to say to this, but after I wrote it all down I found out that ttlg logged me out before I hit the "submit reply" button and everything I wrote was lost. So now there's nothing but screams of "YOU *&%$#*@!!!!!" from my end.




    Part of my former reply, though, expressed in me a wish to make sweet love to your reviews if it were physically possible, Mike.
    Last edited by Nightwalker; 23rd Nov 2009 at 11:26.

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