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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #876
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    Out of the air? I've never heard one's arse called that before.

    I normally use 1.4-1.5 for typical shots, but if it's a shot of a particularly dark area I've gone as high as 1.9-2.0 before. It does wash it out, but sometimes you have to do that to make details visible.

  2. #877
    Registered: May 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by jiansonz View Post
    About fog: I immediately think of one particular mission where fog is even more important than in Raid in Washout Central: Swamped. It´s a rather small mission, and part of the thrill is that the fog makes it seem much bigger than it is (because it´s harder to find landmarks, to know where you are and how the areas are connected).
    Don't know if I've gotten to that one yet and I know I haven't played it with fog, so I'm definitely going to check it out.

  3. #878
    Registered: Jul 2008
    SneakyJack, sorry this has been so long in coming (since you are continually asking others to post reviews) but I've had too many things on my plate lately. Finally got around to one. Here ya go:

    Off the Record By Yandros
    Released: 2008

    What is the story?: You recently met with an informant, who was told by a guard that works in the City Hall Annex that there is a case file on you being kept there. Sounds like a little trip to the Annex is in order, to make sure that your case file gets 'lost'... that way if you're ever unlucky enough to get caught by the bulldogs, none of your past sins can be held against you. You pry open a window in the basement and slip inside...

    How does it play?: This mission is really a lot of fun to play. It is fairly short, fairly small and fairly simple but it is also very well-designed and laid out. You start off the mission in the basement and have to work your way up several floors while looking for several key pieces of info. Along the way you will get additional objectives. There is an optional ghosting objective with an onscreen message to let you know when you’ve failed. There is one area you are forced to ghost (though not on Normal) but not only is it not too difficult, it is one of the highlights of the mission. Yandros designed his AI patrols with exceptional care and this plays a large part in creating both the challenge and the fun in the mission. But don’t worry, there are very few AI. And no more are needed in such a small, well-designed map.

    How does it look?: It looks great! The lighting in particular is striking and creates just the right atmosphere. You really do feel like you are in an office building late at night. The architecture is pleasing, the décor is tasteful, the use of objects is understated and perfectly sufficient. There are one or two spots you just want to hang out in.

    How does it sound?: The sound is a highlight of the mission. The ambient music is lovely but Yandros wisely toned it down considerably within the mission itself. This may be key to your success because you will need, at times, to rely on hearing guards. The room brushing is flawless and allows the use of sound to be a central factor in game play. It is also worth turning out the lights to hear the guards’ comments.

    So what is the verdict?: This mission is a lot of fun to play, no matter what your play style is, but it is pure delight to ghost, with some cleverly crafted situations that add to the thrill without frustration. It is fun even when not ghosting but since you have to ghost one area anyway (though not on Normal), I highly recommend ghosting this mission entirely. Even those new to ghosting should enjoy it. Just the right balance between challenge and thrill.

    Check this one out if you enjoy: Small, indoor missions and classic thiefy game play.

    Screens: Sorry these are not quite up to SneakyJack’s standard. I don’t have Photoshop installed on this machine and had to use Gimp which isn’t as comprehensive. Perhaps SneakyJack can take some better ones when he gets around to playing the mission himself (notice I didn’t say “if”).

    If only my computer could do it justice.

    The new kid on the block.

    Looks like blackjack to me! (no, the other kind)

    Maybe I'll stop in for some light reading. (Don't worry, it only looks like tile!)

    I'll take door number 3, Monty.
    Last edited by Tannar; 14th May 2009 at 00:49.

  4. #879
    Registered: May 2008
    Yes! Fantastic review Tannar and I know you said that you were worried that the screens wouldn't 'do justice' but I found them brilliant! Your review was a great read and a very pleasant surprise.

    I do hope you do many more in the future, I like your writing style.

    I just noticed it had been about 10 days since my last entry so I'm thankful you reviewed a mission to help fill the gap as well - after I finish the photoshop tutorial for screenshots I'll get back to adding many more missions!

    Thanks again, it is appreciated and I definitely look forward to seeing more entries from you in the future if you get the time.

  5. #880
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    Thanks so much for the review, Tannar! I appreciate the kind comments, and feel free to add some constructive criticism if you ever feel the need. That goes for anyone reviewing my missions. I'm glad you liked the sound, I pride myself on getting that part right in every mission, large or small.

    One minor correction, however. Regarding the one AI you can't knockout - on Normal, you can. So for those who just hate ghosting, there ya go. But as you said, dancing in and out of the rooms without getting surprised to get all the loot on that floor is probably the best part of the mission gameplay-wise. And did you notice the patrols are random? (Except for the newbie)

  6. #881
    Registered: Jul 2008
    You are quite welcome Yandros and thank you for creating such an enjoyable mission! Don't worry, if I have any contructive criticisms to make I won't hesitate but frankly, I found nothing to criticize here. This mission is a small gem.

    Thanks for the correction. I should have thought to check but never really think about playing on Normal. And I did notice the random nature of his patrol - kinda hard not too! He almost got me more than once! But that was a great addition to the fun.

    EDIT: I corrected the ghosting bit in the review.

    Thanks SneakyJack, it was fun to do. I look forward to your next round of reviews too!
    Last edited by Tannar; 14th May 2009 at 02:10.

  7. #882
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Siberia, Russia
    Good review, Tannar!

  8. #883
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Thank you clearing.

  9. #884
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    I figure it's about time I add to this thread with a review of my own. Unfortunately the combination of how late at night it was when I wrote it and how overexcited I was about the season finale of "Lost" led to me being a little delirious and the result is a bit...odd. I'm not sure if it really qualifies as a review but I think it's entertaining enough to merit posting it here. ENJOY.


    Long ago I promised in this FMs forum thread that I would review it, and being the predictably lazy bastard that I am, I never got around to it. Why am I doing it now when everyone already knows it's phenomenal and absolutely worth the download? Why!? Why did Columbus sail across the sea to discover America when everyone told him it was suicide? Why did Louis and Clark explore whatever it was that they explored that made them so famous (I'm sure I'll get around to wikipedia-ing that before I post this...)?? Why? WHY!? Because I'm an asshole- that's why.

    "The Seven Sisters" is of course the sequel to "Rowena's Curse", which was created by the FM making hive mind that calls itself both "Lady Rowena" and "Eshaktaar" but is actually a single highly advanced being with pure awesome coursing through its veins (Eshaktaar being the creator of "Ominous Bequest" and "Broken Triad", two missions which are extremely close concept-wise to Lady Rowena's missions yet were created at exactly the same time eliminating the possibility of one of them influencing the other. Maybe the idea of them being a singular giant pulsating brain in a jar hooked up to several computers running DromEd is a bit of a stretch, but I'm not ready to take off my tinfoil hat just yet). Actually it's more of a follow-up to "Rowena's Curse" than a full out sequel, the story of the previous FM only influencing this one in minor ways. The story here is a tale about a happy marriage and the zombies that tear it apart. That's what I like about Lady Rowena, she gives the ladies their romantic subplot and us guys she gives the zombies, gore, and one-liner spewing robots on motorcycles.

    Actually, while I'm on the subject of the story, this is a perfect time to discuss my one and only problem with this mission. The characterization of Garrett. Now first of all, I'm all for FM authors re-interpreting Garrett a bit to match their writing style, but if you don't stay true to the heart and soul of the character you might as well just change the main character's name (this is an easy fix that for some reason not many authors think of). Garrett in the original games was a total dick who only was saving the world because his own ass was on the line. In "The Seven Sisters" Garrett is a big huggable softy with a heart of gold that believes in the healing powers of love and probably owns "The Notebook" on DVD and sobs into a tissue at the end of the movie while shouting "GO TO HIM!" at the screen. Saving your friend Basso because he is an old reliable accomplice is one thing, and I could totally swallow that when it happened- on the other hand, having an objective appear that tells me to let someone know that they're loved is totally another thing. Why would Garrett care?! Why would he risk zombies eating the area in and around his face just to play love connection!? Why must you threaten my masculinity by putting me in dangerously close proximity to emotions!? But GOD if it wasn't adorable when I reunited that baby burrick with its owner...but that's COMPLETELY different!

    As far as issues with this FM go, that's about all I can think of. I'd nitpick but this FM is completely nit-less and any attempted picking of said nits would be fruitless. The level design is absolutely gorgeous to the point where you could mash the "print screen" key the entire time you're playing it and end up with about 4,000 worthy desktop backgrounds. Not only that but the levels are built in such a way that it plays as good as it looks. I didn't even mind the occasional too brightly lit street full of patrolling guards. We Thief players are getting too damn good at this, I like it when an FM actually tempts us to use the tools we have at our disposal (even if it means ruining our perfect ghost and subsequently being exiled from our hometowns, having our children's children look at us in disgrace while we sit huddled under a tree for shelter while the rain beats down around us, all the time wondering what life would have been like if we hadn't used that moss arrow).

    Actually I just thought of another problem. There are a couple doorways in the mission with metallic frames around them, but soft flooring on either side, so of course sneaking isn't on your mind until you walk through them and CLANK! everyone is unsheathing their swords and giving you that "You'd best quickload before our terrible fight AI kicks in and things get awkward" look. I'm not happy that I had to make myself look like an ass for bringing up something so inane but this is cheap. That, however, is about the last possible problem I think I can come up with. I'm pushing my whineiness about as far it can go and I swear I just can't think of anything else to cry know what that means, get out your hymnbook because I'm about to sing some more praises.

    The game has 4 missions (It almost seems like I should have gotten to this earlier in the review?), one is an introduction which is uneventful but pretty, the other two are basically the same town mission split into two parts called nights one and two, and the last is something completely different I wouldn't spoil here (I'll just say get ready for some HARDCORE NUDITY). The idea of exploring the same level twice might sound tedious, but missions two and three really feel completely original, and stand on their own surprisingly well. Most buildings are explored only on one specific night, meaning that other than the main streets, you aren't just going through the same old places again on the next mission. Night One does a great job of teasing you as far as what's in store in the next mission by giving you only one lockpick which means that doors you can only half pick you will have to come back to on the next night. Unlocking those doors on the following night results in much giddy giggling followed by a whole lot of nervously wondering if anyone heard you. In short, there's a whole lot of gameplay here, and it's all brilliantly planned out and fun.

    So, is "The Seven Sisters" worth downloading? As I said in the second sentence which you all probably got to before you stopped reading, yes. Is it one of the greatest FMs of all time? Definitely. Is it THE greatest FM of all time? I'm not so sure...but if it and "Ominous Bequest" and "Calendra's Legacy" had a cage match, it would certainly be the one holding the foldable chair.

    So there you have it, my "The Seven Sisters" reviewy thing. If you actually read it thank you, and I'm so sorry.

  10. #885
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in review!

    (And I'd love to know what you were on...)

  11. #886
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Well I for one found that very entertaining. Funny and on the mark.

  12. #887
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    Loved it, The Mike - excellent.

    And I also enjoyed the Off the Record review which Tannar has now challenged me to ghost. I loved it on normal - I'll reserve judgement on ghosting it till I've succeeded . . . or failed!

  13. #888
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Thanks for the kind words everyone, it's nice to start writing again after not doing it for so long. It was actually a lot of fun so I think I'll write up another. I'm currently playing "Night in Rocksbourg 3: Ink and Dust" for a second time so I'll probably do that one next. Maybe I'll even throw in some screenshots if I can figure out the required witchcraft necessary for doing so...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Fingers View Post review!

    (And I'd love to know what you were on...)
    I am high on life sir.

  14. #889
    Registered: May 2008
    Great contribution Mike, it was a fantastic read! I hope that you do many more in the future.

    As far as the screenshot thing you mentioned having to figure out, I'm working on a tutorial (stealing the few minutes a day that I can right now!) that I hope to have done within the next day or two and posted so that may help you out. Thanks again for taking the time to write all that out for us - and please, post many more!

  15. #890
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    Haha, The Mike, vastly entertaining. Also...
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    Garrett in the original games was a total dick who only was saving the world because his own ass was on the line.
    An astute observation, although he already started to go soft and mushy in Thief 2. In TDP, though - self-serving bastard all the way.

  16. #891
    Bear in mind, though, if he was completely a self-serving bastard and not a bit of a softy deep down, he'd be a villain, not just an anti-hero.
    Plus, a lot of the motivations he has for doing things in Seven Sisters has some element of self-servingness in it: stopping the zombie plague overall is in his best interest too, 'cause otherwise the world would be overrun by the evil of the Seven Sisters. (as for reuniting the baby burrick with its owner--she pays Garrett a reward for doing so.)

    As a sidenote, even though I'm a lady I don't care if something has a romantic subplot. . in fact I doubt most of us double-X chromosomes do, just so long as there's a good story with interesting character development. That's what's most important, at least to me.

  17. #892
    I'm a male, and I love the romantic subplots in Lady Rowena's FMs

    The first time I played Seven Sisters I didn't know Ophelia was supposed to run back on her own, so I KO'd her and brought her back, and when the objective didn't complete I started to get a terrible feeling that I had killed her somehow... I felt so gut-wrenchingly terrible that I reloaded an earlier hard-save from quite a ways back just so I could get her back safe

    and I'm a man. Go 'head and laugh but I <3 Rowena forever for giving me the opportunity to be the romantic sap I am in her missions

  18. #893
    Don't feel ashamed! Emotion is what makes us human.

  19. #894
    Registered: Feb 2009
    Location: Situation's changed, Tom.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvone View Post
    Go 'head and laugh but I <3 Rowena forever for giving me the opportunity to be the romantic sap I am in her missions
    There's nothing weird about that. I'm also a man, but I love the romantic subplots at the Seven Sisters and Rowena's curse. I wish FM authors would make such bonus objectives more often...

  20. #895
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Taffer View Post
    Don't feel ashamed! Emotion is what makes us human.
    If you replace the word "human" with the word "sissies" I completely agree.

    I'm of course just kidding, please don't hit me. I'm surprisingly frail...

  21. #896
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    Quote Originally Posted by pvone View Post
    and I'm a man. Go 'head and laugh but I <3 Rowena forever for giving me the opportunity to be the romantic sap I am in her missions
    Quote Originally Posted by PotatoGuy View Post
    I'm also a man, but I love the romantic subplots at the Seven Sisters and Rowena's curse. I wish FM authors would make such bonus objectives more often...
    Then you guys are gonna like DCE, its central plot is full of romantic sap, never mind the subplots.

    The Mike is not allowed to play it, either.
    Death's Cold Embrace - Info and screenshots

  22. #897
    Registered: May 2008
    Death's Cold Embrace: A Thief 2 campaign due in 2010
    2010? Damn dromed for being such a time consuming process!

    It looks fantastic though - reminds me of Christine's missions, and to me that is a GREAT thing. Very much looking forward to it.

  23. #898
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    Realistically, yes. Moghedian and I had hoped to release it late this year, but that plan required the Act 1 missions to be in beta test... in April.

  24. #899
    Yandros, I loved what you did with DP2 so I'm sure DCE will be amazing Can't wait to play!

  25. #900
    Me too! It seems like there's so many awesome FMs coming out. . .but months and months away from now!
    *suffering withdrawl*

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