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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #1751
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Quote Originally Posted by SneakyJack View Post
    The whole "its free!" thing doesn't help authors get better or replace the hours we wasted playing a poor mission that could have been much better with some good tips from players.
    I might not have been clear enough in my original post on this particular point. I don't think "It's free!" should be an excuse used to dissuade criticism (and honestly, I can't STAND that mindset). I do think it should remove the need to get super heated and pissed off over not enjoying something, though. It's not like you wasted money on it or something. I guess that you could get pretty frustrated about wasting "time" on it...but...I can't really relate. Personally, when I'm playing FMs, I'm basically wasting time anyway. I've never once thought "GOD, I'VE BEEN STUCK IN THIS FM FOR A HALF HOUR, I could have spent that time filing taxes!!". When I don't enjoy an FM, I just quit out of it. It's an easy fix, really.

  2. #1752
    Registered: May 2008
    Fair point of course - but playing a fan mission like the one we're discussing (with the way its designed) is purposefully somewhat of a time-sink in the first place. You can't disagree that with a few different gameplay decisions the missions could have been just as fun and much less of a time wasting key hunt with little direction.

    Sitting down to play a four hour mission is one thing - but sitting down to play a four hour mission that should have been a two hour mission but extended the play time through design tactics and frustrating gameplay is another.

    There are those of us out there who have very limited fan mission play time and we want to devote it to getting through a long list of missions we still need to play - and while we're wasting six to eight hours running in circles on a confusing mission with poor direction we could be enjoying three to five other fan missions that are laid out much better.

    Its not about being thankless, its about being practical with how we spend what few hours we have to enjoy the game. But sure, we could just quit as you said... but a mission that seems like it has so much to offer like King's Story is summed up like you mentioned in your review - you want to see what it has to offer but you are tired of being beaten like a dime store hooker.

    It only hits you because it loves you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scott8688 View Post
    Originally Posted by zappen
    ("I was one of the testers. And I admit, I needed some hints from the author. So what? ")

    I guess this goes to show you even a tester isnt as smart as the rest of us can be at times. Though it is very FRUSTRATING to know that this kind of level could start out with a diffuculty that isnt so easy to figure out.

    I come on here looking for hints and clues for FMs when I get stuck, and here is a tester stating that the FM isnt so easy and HE needed help My confidence in FMs is so at a low point.

    Dont get me wrong, I love playing FMs and have been playing them for many many years, asking for very little help mostly because everyone has played it and has gotten stuck at most of the times the same point, place or nearest to it at one time or another.

    I feel almost like Unlikeable cat at this moment now. This FM is so so frustrating, even with a hint somewhere on here to go LEFT? Gee, I must be blind or stupid, really now.

    I really enjoy playing FMs and will keep doing so, but when it gets to a point where even a better tester is so smug about is gets kind of sad to comment.

    Even I am stuck and here I have been playing Thief since the first demo came out those many years ago.

    Now I wont ask for help, since it has been pointed out even a tester went to the FM author for help. I will put it on the back burner and wait for others to come out.

    Thanks Zappen, you have really brightened my day up, and for all those people who dont see the solutions as easily as you do.

  3. #1753
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    I admit that FMs can be frustrating at times for many of the reasons you listed, and everyone is definitely entitled to share their aggravations on the forum. My original point though was if you chose to do this, you should be civil about it. This was made by a person after all, not a mindless level creating automaton.

    And on a less debate-ish note, when are you finishing your review SneakyJack? I've been not so patiently waiting for it ever since I posted mine. I thought you would put it up immediately after like some crazy one-two punch of reviewiness, but it didn't go down that way. I AM DISPLEASED.

  4. #1754
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Siberia, Russia
    SneakyJack, what about interview with Zontik?

  5. #1755
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    I can see how someone can arrive at UC's conclusions, but here is one thing: Zontik's missions have consistently been among the hardest, most tricky challenges designed for Thief (others include Fidcal's Night Watch, Reversing the Order in KotP and some others). Do we need missions that challenge the best players with the most devious puzzles? I think there is a use for them. The problem is -- everyone is playing every mission these days, and what is a cakewalk for some will be a problem for others, and what is a problem for the first group will be a nightmare for the second. I haven't played King's Story yet, though (I set it aside for a longer weekend when I am at my full thieving powers ), so take this for what it's worth.

  6. #1756
    Registered: May 2005
    Undoubtedly KS is the hardest mission of ever which I met I walked 3 hours around in a few rooms without finding any clues or keys, then finally gave up and watched the solution here in the spoilers. But the castle itself is amazing and somehow feels good to walk between the walls. I have not finished yet so far, probably this will be my longest gameplay in a FM .

  7. #1757
    Registered: May 2006
    Location: Russia
    I think Unkillable Cat was provoked by myself (and my FM) to express negative emotions, so no injuries.
    BTW, there is an option to finish this FM fast without many additional puzzles. If everything you want is to have a quick guide tour over the castle, just take a crown.
    And there is no surprize that some areas are closed from tourists. If you visit real Neuschwanstein, you'll see what I mean.

  8. #1758
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: cesspool
    Honestly, only the missions comparable with King's Story level of sophistication, attention to details, and hardness really interest me now.

    Uniform FMs with uniform straightforward puzzles and secrets, a sneaking for the sake of it, and virtually no challenges for a Thief player with 5+ years experience tired me long ago. So, I basically ignore an FM if I see it's not for me (majority of cases, it's understandable because only really experienced fan can create sophisticated and difficult mission with professional design).

    Missions like CL, CC, Mission X, Sepulchre of the Sinistral and now KS breathe the new life in the FM scene, even though they happen so rarely. So, I'd say there definitely is a place for difficult, sophisticated FMs not for everyone (no elistism, just unbearable difficulty for many novices or not attentive/insistent enough taffers), they are in cruel deficiency.

  9. #1759

  10. #1760
    Registered: May 2008
    Great review quakis! Honest and informative.

    Also thanks for your review Mike - It was a great read and was very funny.

  11. #1761
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Siberia, Russia
    A wonderful read

    I can't see cogs...

  12. #1762
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: UK
    Quote Originally Posted by clearing View Post
    I can't see cogs...
    About that...

  13. #1763
    Registered: May 2008
    King's Story By Zontik
    Released: April 2010

    Going into this review I knew quite a few things. First and foremost - this mission more than likely split the Thief fan mission player base down the middle on opinion. Secondly, this mission has been reviewed a few times already in this very thread - and lastly I knew that my view was going to be a bit different than the majority that played and enjoyed this mission. The abusive girlfriend example I was going to use and had written before this was posted (and during my frustration cool down period) had already been used by Mike (and probably to much better effect) to my dismay, so I'll try to find a different but still potent example to toss into my review over the previous story that I scratched out in seething hatred while throwing darts at a board with Mike's face on it.

    Just kidding, Mike. It was actually a picture of the Wolf King on the board and I was wearing a blindfold. Great minds think alike, and I was too lazy to get my review up before yours. A well deserved beating, I suppose.

    As a bit of setup I need to throw in here - after Zontik had gifted the forum with preview shots of his four-years-in-the-making castle mission I was completely blown away. I knew that there would be somewhat of a long wait, but I knew that I had to play this mission. I was hoping against hope that with those nearly identical-to-the-photos screenshots would also bring with them equally fun gameplay - as all too often mission authors go for style over substance. All sizzle and no steak, as it were. Also please make note of my attempt to church-up and fancy my writing by the use of words-linked-by-hyphens. Classy and sophisticated, no?

    So years went by (translated: weeks - I can't believe this mission came out as fast as it did after the screens were posted) and I had forgotten about this beast-in-waiting until the release thread was posted. Oh lucky day indeed! We were all in for a treat, and I couldn't wait to get my grubby little mitts on the mission to give it a spin.

    What happened next I could not have imagined - and instead of give away the result before you even read the review, I'll instead invite you to witness my decent into madness as I direct quote the notes that I took in real time while playing the mission - notes written down seconds after the events mentioned took place. Think of it as a dive into the deep end of my mind seconds before all the water was drained out of the pool.

    I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible - but if you are wanting EVERYTHING in the mission to be a complete surprise I can't guarantee you'll particularly enjoy where we're about to venture, and you should probably play it at least a bit before you read on. Without further jaw wagging (keyboard typing) I present to you:

    Diary Of Madness: Getting Lost In King's Story - Mission 1

    Our story begins after an excellent briefing movie (complete with subtitles, so you know its artsy!) in a dusty fog filled canyon sprinkled with rainbows and kittens and seemingly painted by god in a single rock texture giving the feel that either it was an off day for the almighty or someone pissed off Bob Ross by hiding every happy little tree in his entire palette and leaving him only with huge grumpy rocks. The briefing screen already told us that we're in for a linear and limited experience and has slapped us on the hands and told us to get to school using the quick route and not to dilly dally around with 'exploration' and 'fun'.

    "Screw it!" Bob exclaimed as he thrust his brush over the canyons, giving everything the same look and making navigating the area and passing the inane boundaries without fail much more difficult than nature had intended. "But Jack!" you say. "How difficult could it be to navigate an entire level where one area looks nearly identical to the next without any direction or real hint as to what the proper route is?"

    No clue where to go, and I've failed nearly half a dozen times now with no idea where the correct path is to proceed. I guess I'll just run around until I find the area that causes no game over screen. Oh, through they tiny crack in a random corner - of course!
    My answer to you, first and foremost - is not to talk without first raising your hand and waiting for your name to be called. This is not a Roman forum - you do not speak out of turn whilst someone is trying to tell you a story. And to answer your question, absolutely harder than it ever should have been. Hop on the wrong rock and it's back to load screen land. One false step while using The Dark Engine's horrible mantling mechanics and it's a one way ticket to death via jagged rock junction.

    Damn Dark Engine mantling! I'm going to load up The Dark Mod out of spite just to mantle the hell out of everything.
    The worst crime committed against the sanctity of fun in the first mission is not just the lack of clear direction that leads to hours of running around in circles with thumb firmly planted in ass - it is much moreso the lack of anything interesting to see and do while doing so. So much of the entire first mission feels like gameplay-hour padding and filler that the author could have dropped us right in front of castle Wallenstein and we would have been much better off for it. I also question the use of the "wolf eye" replacement for the light gem and EKG meter style health bar - they not only took some getting used to, but also foreshadowed a transformation hours (and a mission) before it occurred - making an already telegraphed twist even more transparent and obvious. Use of the standard light gem and health shields in the first mission and then the swap to the alternate ones during the second mission would have made more sense - even waiting until the events near the end of the second mission would have been a better use of the custom assets.

    During my travels in the land-o-granite and pain I found myself lost or taking the wrong route far too many times - and it lead to many bouts with boredom and wanting to ctrl-alt-shift-delete my way into the castle and into the next mission. The aim of a mission is obviously never frustrating the player to the point of giving up, but I'll be damned if this mission didn't give it the ol' college try.

    Well I've jumped and taken damage near this damn tree for what seems like a half hour now - there has to be another way across. Logic would assume the broken sword means something, but my mind is so filled with rage at this point I feel like jumping to an untimely death instead of being able to work this puzzle out. (At this point I flipped out and started swinging my sword wildly as if being attacked by bees - and accidentally whacked the tree and triggered the bridge)
    Once you finally tire of skipping rocks and staring and the blank blue sky - you'll finally bumble your way to an area that raises more questions than answers. An early mission sighting lets you know that you are in for more than meets the eye - yet even Optimus Prime would have trouble tackling the barrage of question marks that arise after seeing a fairly exciting (and majestically scored) cutscene that will instantly confuse and bewilder a fair ninety percent of all players that are experiencing it their first time through. You hope upon hopes that everything will be explained - and continue to trudge forward.

    What the hell just happened? You know what, nevermind. Just keep going.
    Once castle huff-and-puff-and-blow-your-patience-down is reached you are met with more 'interesting' gameplay decisions than you can shake a stick at. If steps are not taken in the correct order you'll find yourself cursing Zeus himself as he hurls lightning bolts toward your loot sack in the form of cameras pointed your way as you tackle a ridiculous self re-setting locking mechanism on your way into the castle. At this point your patience is most likely all but used up and I question the sanity of anyone daring to try to frustrate a legion of fans known for their skill at sneaking and killing without being noticed with such a terrible mechanism.

    Congratulations! You've made it into the castle and survived.. err.. completed the first mission. Here is your "atta boy/girl!" pat on the back, and lets continue to mission 2.

    King's Story - Mission 1 Summary:

    While at first visually striking and interesting given the use of fog and other effects to mask the very linear and plain gameplay design - the mask quickly slips off and leads to much frustration as we're only told "stay on a specific track, but I'm not going to tell you what it is!" and led to fail repeatedly before figuring out through trial and error which roads are alright to use to proceed. Half a dozen re-loads could have been saved by simple visual clues or texture changes allowing us to better find our way around.

    The technical effects used were nice - and the camvator cutscene sequence (while exciting) was a bit confusing and set the tone for the style of mission to come. Only the last quarter of the mission seemed to contain any purpose at all - and the three quarters before felt like filler and fuel for frustration leading only to the reveal of the great looking castle. Why not drop us at the bottom of a small hill and then make it a short climb to the reveal? The same effect is achieved without all the thumb twiddling and time wasting.

    Special mention should go to the loading screen, progress bar and cursor in the menu - a great touch that really added to the production value and mood of the mission. The exterior of the castle was beautifully done and creeping along ledges was fairly exciting and felt dangerous - it's just a shame that it could have been a much shorter and more pleasing set up mission than the drawn out filler-fest we were presented with.

    A WARNING: Some of these screens could be considered spoilers. If You have not yet played the mission - don't scroll any further and do so before continuing on. Otherwise, don't gripe. Also - apologies if any similar shots are repeated that other folks used in their reviews, there are only so many good screenshot areas in missions like this.

    The use of fog and weather are well done in the mission - they do a good job in masking the fact that very few rock textures were used.

    A rainbow and a far off figure.

    A kingly figure surveys the canyon. He is supposed to disappear - and he did when I had fog turned off my first time through.. but with fog turned on he remained. Oh well, it was nice to have some company in the valley o' despair.

    What was that??

    A much needed scenery change - unfortunately there was even less to see in the cave areas.

    The castle exterior looks great - and being able to pull off buildings in this scale from far away with little to no slowdown in The Dark Engine must have taken quite a bit of technical trickery.

    Nearly at the castle - here or right outside of here would have been a terrific starting point.

  14. #1764
    Registered: May 2008
    Diary Of Madness: Getting Lost In King's Story - Mission 2

    Because mission 2 is far more complex and varied in objectives than mission one - sticking to the story format is much more difficult without giving away key plot points and spoilers - so I'll do the best that I can to relay the player experience that I had keeping these things in mind. Also know up front that I played through the mission on the lowest difficulty setting - so you may notice things I mention seemingly out of order or I may not mention some puzzles at all, as I may not have encountered them.

    The mission begins directly inside the front gate - and a key thing most players will notice right away is the extreme slow down that most systems will experience in the first few seconds of play. A simple save, reboot and reload will most likely solve this problem for most systems - so don't let the slideshow-like frame rate scare you off or cause you to give up on the mission.

    Give that honor to the frustration and vagueness of the gameplay to come.

    The mission blew me away visually. I found myself impressed by the size and scope of it all, from the absolutely huge castle down to the small details - the mouse in a cage spinning away happily on his wheel in the engineer's room, for example.
    Immediately upon starting forward toward the castle your eyes will be stuffed to the brim with a visual feast of which few missions have been able to reach - this very well may be the best looking mission created for Thief 2 at the time of this review. More than one mission in the past few years has raised or outright shattered the bar for mission complexity and visual bang - Broken Triad, Rose Cottage and Mission X to name a few - but Zontik once again raises that bar into the stratosphere with King's Story's architecture, objects and textures.

    Painstakingly crafted to mimic the real thing - this mission was meant to (and succeeds in) feeling as if it takes place inside a real location. Crisp textures line the floors, ceilings and walls. Flowers and other ornamental decorations add regal feel and splendor to the surroundings. Grandiose beds and expensive looking furniture fill the rooms. Light pours in through partially covered and curtained windows. No detail is left ignored - and as with the real castle, no 'expense' was spared. This mission truly is a stunning visual achievement.

    One can only imagine what kind of experience it was to live somewhere like this back in ye' olden days.
    I had mentioned in my review of the previous mission how the fog and weather effects had served as somewhat of a mask to hide the shallow gameplay of the mission itself - and here all of the extravagant visuals at first do a brilliant job of hiding the underlying difficulties and overly slow pacing of mission 2. Right from the start we're in full key-hunt mode - as there are very few locks that can be picked, and complicated explanations for obtaining new ways to get around and to unlock doors quickly become commonplace.

    All the sudden this place is feeling less like a guided tour and more like a direct escort to the dungeon.
    You'll often wander into a room with three or four doors only to have all but one locked up tight with no idea how to free the other three routes for exploration.

    The unfortunate result of the mission devolving into a typical over-complicated keyhunt is the promise that it shows you in the beginning - nearly dangling a "free to explore a real life castle!" carrot in front of you while you run the keyhunt treadmill. Soon the player ends up feeling fairly deflated and questioning whether or not to continue forward, and if the experience is really worth the frustration and confusion.

    If I get noticed trying to jump onto this god damn balcony one more time I'm going to throw my monitor out a window. Alright, last try - MOTHER F
    Compounding the keyhunt problems are the overall pacing (which I briefly mentioned before) and vague directions for the player. Little to no clues are given for each and every puzzle - and many of the puzzles assume that the player is going to understand the very few oddly worded hints that are given.

    Why in the world does only the guy with the yellow hat have an English voice actor?
    In one puzzle, for example - you're given a poem of sorts as a clue to a sequence where you're required to step on certain animal diagrams on a floor. Simple enough, right? Not so fast, tafferoonie - this floor has a mind of its own. Not only will it be very, very picky about where you stand actually registering, but it will activate at seemingly random intervals as well.

    Alright, that door closing so quickly after solving that long and drawn out floor puzzle is more of a dick move than the resetting lock.
    Many of the puzzles in the castle seem to have their own "quirks" that cause them to act unexpectedly or in some cases not act at all - and it only adds to the frustration problems. Other quirks are just results of questionable gameplay design - in the first minute of my initial mission playthrough I had to reload because of a blackjack hit somehow registering a metal CLANG! noise from far above the stable-boy that I was attempting to knock out. How I managed to hit something on the ceiling that I was not even near is anyone's guess.

    How in the hell? I didn't even know that metal light was there until I whacked the damn thing.
    You'll venture further and further into the castle collecting keys and receiving less and less hints on how to proceed - and along the way you'll witness scripted camvator cutscene sequences that further the story. During my playthrough I welcomed these scenes less because they were entertaining and moreso because it means I actually made something happen. For a misison that makes you work very hard for each and every little bone you are thrown - these cutscenes felt MONUMENTAL. You may find yourself spiking your keyboard into your office room carpet and doing an end zone dance as if you just scored a touchdown after every one. Or a goal if your football is played with a round ball instead of an oblong one.

    I must have quite a few superhuman abilities - I've just watched an event happen from completely across the castle without me anywhere near. Hmmm, maybe I should check out the brides bedroom with my super vision.. for.. you know.. erm - scientific purposes.
    So you've done alot of this, you've done alot of that and you're finally making some progress through the castle. You've found an item that helps with the pitter patter of your little feet and are well on your way to gathering a huge pile of KABONGED victims in a dark corner when !POW! - mission failed. It is not to be so, fool - you've just blackjacked one of the King's many guests. Unfortunately, there is no real indication of who is who. Be it an man in a random guest room that you CAN knock out or a woman staring out a window in upper floor that you can't - you may slam your head into your desk or come close to an act equally as embarassing. There is never any real explanation on who you should watch out for and who is fair game. The best method as far as I could see is to save before each knockout and pray to whatever god you find amusing that this person is just a member of the staff.

    At this point I wish the non-ko'able NPC's were wearing "Don't knock me out, asshole" sashes. At least then I'd feel a little less like my intelligence was insulted.
    You've conquered the keyhunt, sent most of the living souls in the castle packing on a one way trip to sleepyland, solved a few mysteries and you're finally making some headway. There are one or two areas in the castle where you'll be tasked with making a few moral decisions that can quickly determine the outcome of the mission or prolong it - and these bits were actually pretty good. You can choose to help or hinder yourself in real time at one point and I found it particularly creative.

    After what I've been through for the last couple hours - watching guards tear me to shreds felt more like a mercy kill than a disappointment.
    Eventually you'll find yourself in the lower level of the castle and you'll witness some extraordinary events that are particularly well done and very cinematic. The tail end of the mission is also the most interesting and exciting, and the ending (depending on which one you get out of the many) should satisfy those that have stuck with it until the end. Consider yourself warned, however - if you're more of a free spirited thief and less challenge oriented - you may not make it that far.

    King's Story - Mission 2 Summary:

    Beautifully built, decorated and visualized - this is probably as close as we'll ever get to being inside a real castle in a Thief 2 mission. Filled to the brim with detail on an epic scale, you aren't going to see many missions ever look better than this one.

    The challenge level is extremely high even on the lowest difficulties, and with it comes many frustrations and overly complicated objectives. Add in vague, nearly unexplained puzzles and objectives and a backtracking keyhunt nightmare and you'll be hard pressed to play this mission more than one time through should you be more the free exploring and adventure type. The mission keeps you on a very linear feeling path throughout (most likely because of the complicated scripting and story) and by the end of the journey you may find yourself glad that its over without the desire to discover things you missed or watch the alternate endings. The oddest thing about the difficulty level in this mission is that all the difficulty comes through poor puzzle and gameplay design decisions. Not once did I ever feel in danger of being discovered (partially because the placement of hiding spots and shadows are excellently done) or was I noticed while knocking out the entire staff and guard - it was simply the feeling of being lost with having no idea what to do next that caused it to be tough. This made it feel as if I was fighting against the mission creator, and not against Anger and his shenanigans.

    On the plus side there are many strong points to the mission other than just incredible visuals. Audibly the mission is very well done with good use of changing music for the different areas of the castle that are neither intrusive nor distracting. There was alot of voice acting - though that I can't review as I don't understand the language and have no way of knowing the quality. There are some rather funny sound effects (in the stable for example) as well.

    There are many secrets to be found and the story is passable - many more clues and background on the story would have fleshed out the narrative of the mission and eased much of the frustration. The scripted conversations and cutscene sequences were entertaining and at some points also humorous - very welcome resting points after all of the running and hunting. Loot placement is sometimes very sneaky - check inside those suits of armor and other strange areas for the few bits you've missed.

    A beautiful but ultimately very linear and supremely challenging mission - if you like a tough, unrelenting keyhunt style experience this one will be right up your alley. If you are more of a story driven free range adventure thief who likes fast and loose gameplay - this mission may pound you into submission.

    Apologies for writing a beast of a book instead of a review - Its long, rambling, at most points vague and at some points nonsensical. Though visually the screenshots are appealing, the text probably has your mind running in circles and feeling as if you may have wasted your time reading it all. I'm sure you get where I'm going with this. I guess I can leave this as evidence as the last sane bit of text that I submitted to the web *puts noose around neck* before this mission caused me to huff and to puff and to *falls off chair*

    A WARNING: Some of these screens could be considered spoilers. If You have not yet played the mission - don't scroll any further and do so before continuing on. Otherwise, don't gripe. Also - apologies if any similar shots are repeated that other folks used in their reviews, there are only so many good screenshot areas in missions like this.

    Welcome to Operation Wolf. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to run around aimlessly for six hours whilst not going completely and utterly batshit insane. Good luck, soldier.

    You may have seen this room in screenshots before - so, well - see it again.

    A Kingly bedroom indeed!

    I enjoyed the atmospheric nature of this rooms decor.

    Waiting for a rousing performance of "Land Of Confusion" By Genesis.

    Brilliant use of light effects throughout the mission.

    Don't mind the guard that looks like he's waiting for a hug - he's just upset that I cheated to get this screenshot.

    The entire castle staff gather around for directions as to what the hell even they are supposed to do next.
    Last edited by SneakyJack; 13th Apr 2010 at 20:06.

  15. #1765
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Siberia, Russia
    I am enjoying any reviews. Thanks, SneakyJack.
    And agreed with 242:
    Quote Originally Posted by 242 View Post
    Just finished.

    Simply put, this FM is on par with Calendra's Legacy, period.
    Zontik just became a legendary FM maker on par with Purah, congrats . Fully professional work, and one of the very best from relatively small number of professional quality FMs.
    It's now in my top 5, and that says a lot because my top 5 stayed the same for years.
    It's now CL, CC, KS, MX, and Broken Triad.

    SO many things happen in this mission, so many details, technical and design achievements I'll probably list the things that impressed me, but later. And of course, it's VERY interesting/involving to play.

    This is quite difficult FM (wasn't too difficult for me however), but people, you owe to try and solve it yourself, with as little outside help as possible. Don't be hasty, don't comply with your urge to ask for help ASAP if you stuck, don't try to finish it in one day, you'll be glad, take your time and play or rather experience it. It's epic, after all, FMs of such scope and quality appear only once in several years.

    And now my stats:

    9:30:19 (but I think no less than 20-25 hours in reality, as I tried various ways and approaches)
    2790 / 3333 loot (erm.... I was meticulous, as least I thought so)
    8/13 secrets
    8 knockouts

    Re-play will surely occur

    PS: Don't forget to check the Credits video.

    PPS: A fly in the ointment - there definitely is a memory leak in the 2nd mission. It loads slower and slower and uses HD more and more the longer you play. I had to exit the game and re-start it again quite often to return it to normal.
    Last edited by clearing; 13th Apr 2010 at 23:14.

  16. #1766
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    That was easily my favorite review you've ever done SneakyJack! It was incredibly entertaining! Despite how long it was, I think I read it in just over a minute- I really devoured it, great read! You mentioned a few things I forgot to talk about as well. Not mentioning that rapidly closing door that there's no way to ever open again after the animal picture puzzle was a major oversight on my part- GAH, IT'S KILLIN' ME!
    One side note/brief observation: I noticed a few of my own mannerisms creeping into your reviewing style (the words-strung-together-by-dashes thing and posing questions directly to the reader as if they asked only to scold them for no apparent reason shortly after). That combined with the fact that you were originally going to open with the exact same analogy I had come up with makes me think that my reviews might have had an effect on you- somehow, you've attached to the exact same wavelength I'm on, God help you. A word of advise: alcohol, it helps.

    Oh, and quakis, really enjoyed your take on it too! There are so many different opinions on this mission, and they're all so vastly different, reading them all has been awesome. As far as I know, you're the only other person to mention that bizarre cut scene transition I referred too in my review. I thought everyone would be talking about that, but for a while it seemed like I was the only one who found it odd. It made me start wondering if I was missing something....did Garrett ALWAYS have the ability to fly? Was I not paying enough attention to the cut scenes in the original games? I never really got the "super hero" vibe from him.

    And thanks SneakyJack, Tannar and especially Zontik (since as I said, I always like to hear from the mission authors themselves) for commenting on my review. I always really appreciate that.

  17. #1767
    Registered: May 2008
    Its not so much that I've ever been much different or had a different writing style than you - its just that I've kept most of my personality to myself due to the messages I'd get whenever I posted a review that wasn't outright kisses and gifts of chocolate. The posing a question thing I've done long ago off and on - but I'm sure the scolding the reader thing creeped into my subconscious after reading a few of yours. Well, that and perhaps its a Fight Club style freakout where we discover that we're both personalities of the same poster. The entire thing was written during a period of great agitation and frustration, so I'm sure it shows. Apologies if you felt I was aping your style, definitely not the case. The things I contribute to other communities I've visted have always sounded how my last review sounded, but other communities aren't nearly as knee jerk about what is posted. I've been thinking alot lately about how touchy people get about things 'round these parts - and after a while I got irritated and stopped worrying about pleasing everyone. I had no idea you used the dashes between words thing, I've always found it ridiculous how many I use so I figured I'd crack on myself a bit there. I decided to stop worrying about using a universal and harmless tone and just start writing how I'd normally write. That or retire from reviewing missions altogether. Either way, it is what it is.
    Last edited by SneakyJack; 14th Apr 2010 at 00:14.

  18. #1768
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Haha, no man, I didn't at all mean it as "YO, YOU'RE STEALIN' MY ACT"- I just meant that it seems like us reviewers are starting to have an effect on each other. It's perfectly natural at this point...I mean, how many of each others reviews have we all read now that we're on page 72 of this thread? I guarantee there's some SneakyJack-isms in my reviews on occasion....

  19. #1769
    Registered: May 2008
    From now on I'm going to start adding red asterisks to my reviews. Take that, Mike!

  20. #1770
    Registered: May 2006
    Location: Russia
    SneakyJack, do YOU want feedback?
    Here is mine.
    Reading your review was not any easier for me as playing my FM for you. Your English is like a rainbow, some words I couldn't find even in the dictionary...
    Looks like you have been writting this all the time I have been building.
    How emotional! How impressive!
    If I am fired today for reading your review during the working time, it will be your guilty only - I just couldn't stop reading.
    In short - thanks, it was excellent. And the best advertisement I could imagine.

  21. #1771
    Registered: May 2008
    Thanks, I think?

  22. #1772
    Registered: May 2006
    Location: Russia
    The only thing I completely disagree is term 'keyhunt'.
    First - you have to find a way to enter castle from the yard. On Allegro you may use key, on others you can't.
    Second - after that about 60% of the area is opened for you to explore. You need ONE key to proceed (and you have a direct clue where to get it).
    Third - you need Tower key to go down (just take it on Allegro!), and fourth - Valet's key to open the rest.
    That's all. There are also Anger's key, Chapel key, Stable key - you shouldn't have any troubles getting them. Should I count King's personal key or Top tower key?
    I don't think 3 or 4 keys can be called 'exceed keyhunt'. Even Doom had 3.

  23. #1773
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Siberia, Russia
    SneakyJack really tries genuinely to write a good review, but some of things are completely incorrect.
    SneakyJack, you've finished King's Story? You've played a mission a sufficient number of times in order to be able to fairly judge it? You've agreed to play King's Story, you've got an obligation to play the game more times than you might otherwise.
    There's a greater obligation of reviewers to strive for correctness.
    Last edited by clearing; 14th Apr 2010 at 07:11.

  24. #1774
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    I don't think there is an extra obligation, clearing. I have written most of my reviews fresh after playing a mission. As long as the approach is fair, it should not be a problem.

  25. #1775
    Registered: Jul 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by clearing View Post
    You've agreed to play King's Story, you've got an obligation to play the game more times than you might otherwise.
    Why? Do movie reviewers have an obligation to watch the movie several times before writing a review? Do book reviewers have to read the book several times?

    Playing a FM more than once may reveal things you missed on your first playthrough (and even that isn't ALWAYS the case), but if you've played it too many times, you may no longer be able to see the wood from the trees: A certain part of the mission may feel easy, or at least not too difficult, if you've done it so many times you can do it in your sleep, while someone playing it for the first time might see it as an exercise in frustration.

    And I don't think it would be fair to dismiss criticisms by saying "after six playthroughs, it won't bother you at all", when the fact is that many - if not most - players aren't going to finish it six times anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by clearing View Post
    some of things are completely incorrect.
    Such as?
    Last edited by Jah; 14th Apr 2010 at 08:21.

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