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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #2026
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    Ah, that was friday I think. I got a little inspired so decided to optimise it as much as I could, so there ya go. Hopefully gonna post a new review or two sometime soon and hopefully in a new page (I feel so sorry for this poor page *pats it on the back*).

    Funny you mention sleep and zombies... Feeling like one myself now after a bit unlucky 4,5 hours of sleep.

    Edit: Oh, already a new page. Drat. That's 1 post wasted.

  2. #2027
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    More very entertaining reviews - & screens - there, Thor Been so long since I played T2X, I'd forgotton how good the architecture & lighting are.

    Yeah, poor ol' page 81 - damn near bursting at the seams!

  3. #2028
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Down Among Dead Men pt. 1/2 (T2X mission 7)

    81st page may have been spammed thoroughly with screenshots, so it is my challenge to over-spam the last page with the new and improved page. Also, I want more reviews from The Mike and the others. Reading Mike's screenshot comments (reading text walls is also funny, but living in a cave doesn't pay off in the meaning of understanding referenced jokes etc., so there I mostly ask myself "What the hell am I reading? And yet I want more!") makes me burst out laughing.

    This is possibly the biggest mission of the whole campaign. Maybe not! Open for discussion.

    So! What missions with classic enemies have we had so far?
    City Watch - check.
    Random thugs - check.
    Hammerites - check.
    Undead - unit not recognized; execute protocol "Run For Your Lives"

    This mission, as always, is an awesome achievement by the T2X devs proving how variety, upgrades and classics go well hand in hand. There's everything:

    - Stained glass - it's in a lot of places and it looks glorious.


    - Dusky morning - I'm used to playing missions, especially undead, when it's a dark night, so the gloomy looking sky + the whole place being mountained in makes a good impact on atmosphere. (Am I being too analytical? Maybe.)


    - Upgraded zombies - parts coming off them one by one, as you backstab them more and more, spewing gass. Beheaded zombie is my personal favorite. He's pretty harmless and rather cute.

    This guy still has his head, but look at the cute spine holding his upper body.

    - Generally upgraded look with keeping the most classic of textures like the orange grass or whatever it is that I like so much as an outside ground texture. Uh, here it is! (in closer detail seen in the previous scren of spine zombie)



    Haven't had a wall of text yet and I feel slightly obligated to have one.
    I'll start by talking about story. That's easy cause there's not much of it except a lost hammerite expedition that lost while a single girl beat them, so while doing that, you also laugh ath (typo, but I think I'll leave this one in, sounds just hammerite enough) their dead corpses.
    The puzzles are fairly classic and to an experienced player not all that hard, but to a newbie they might provide some frustration. Depends mostly on how carefully the player's reading the clues I guess.
    But what makes this mission the hardest imho is the maze-like layout. On a quick explore dash on your first attempt you are bound to feel lost. Maybe not. But I even felt a little lost at times on this (3rd) playthrough. Oh, speaking of which, when I first played the campaign, this was the mission I got stuck on (don't remember if I told this exciting fact before). Speaking of personal achievements, I don't exactly remember the stats, but I missed 50-200 loot, like in most other missions. I also didn't ghost it, as I just walked the tile over and over at the slightly frustrating circle shaped crypts, but it turns out I could probably have done that all the way through the mission. They're pretty harmless, I tell ya. Also, I somehow missed a bone of two of the Mausoleus (hah, what a reference :>) character. I got the skull and 2 bones, but I missed something. Weird, did better on my last playthrough.

    Good, I think that wall's height should be sufficient. More screens!

    Some bits of story was told quite successfully through apparition scenes.

    Shhhh. It's an emotional moment for the family. Also - dick move, Mausoleus.


    Garrett would flip, were he to see these things again. (And toss a one liner like "Oh not these guys again!")


    Hello Basmus! (I swear I didn't tear open the tomb and vandalise it just you show off how cool it looks. I swear!)


    Aha, the infamous Mausoleum! *shifty eyes*

    The nicest tribute to LGS I've seen.

    R.I.P.


    Muhaha, may I get a medal for making the most depressing ending to a review yet?

    No? Okay, but if I make this a 2-parter?
    Last edited by Thor; 23rd Aug 2010 at 06:49. Reason: stealing Mike's [b][/b] brilliance on screenshot commentary to hopefully make it funnier or otherwise emotionall stronger :>

  4. #2029
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Down Among Dead Men pt. 2/2 (T2X mission 7)

    2 parts. I've done this only once before with Rust Belt prison. Hah, a year has already almost passed.
    This part's gonna be more funnyshots than moneyshots. (See wut I did thar? The rhymes... they rhyme!)
    Granted, I wrote both reviews in advance, cause I don't like much time intervals between my parts... Although I haven't even started playing the next mission and don't think I will today, so I don't know when to expect the next review.

    This mission has always seemed somewhat special to me. It marks the point in T2X where's it's halfway done. And it's full'a undead... Okay I'll stfu. :P

    I guess I don't have much else to say, so let's get right down to the business.


    Down we go do part 2!


    Way to start a mission!

    Holes in the wall... Multiple of those in this mission. Clever way to make a sneak-peak of what you'll experience in the future. Stained glass... yum, I am already motivated to go further just to see what's it all about!


    Seriously, who would bury someone with arrows in their chest?



    Uuuu! What is that shiny piece of art? Why - it's an element catalyst crystal! Who would've known.


    T2X - creepy flying items and apparitions.

    Some poor bloke chained upside down to a wall.

    Hey, bud, are ya feelin' down?


    Who the f**k are you? I think I'm gonna incinerate you, if you don't mind.

    Lovely how varied the ways of playing the mission were. I even had to use 3 moss arrows in a single room just to get 3 pieces of loot! That was exciting, cause I never use moss arrows on the ground.

    He doesn't even know he's looking at me, that funny little weirdo.

    At long last, congratz to my 600 pictures uploaded on photobucket. :> Not really, but thought it's a nice coincidence.

    Get in the bag... *Loses some temper after the Orb flying around the room avoiding Zaya* C'mon, GET IN THE BAG YOU STUPID ORB!
    Last edited by Thor; 23rd Aug 2010 at 06:48. Reason: stealing Mike's [b][/b] brilliance on screenshot commentary to hopefully make it funnier or otherwise emotionall stronger :>

  5. #2030
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    To make a quick comment before I post a review - I've played most of the missions released for TDM's Vertical contest recently and for the most part they are a lot of fun. These missions really take advantage of TDM's solid mantling and physics and everyone that has the ability to play TDM missions really needs to give these a try. Now would be a great time to jump into The Dark Mod if you have not already - these missions are finally hitting that stride of Thief-style gameplay that we all love.

    That being said:

    Somewhere Above The City By Grayman
    Released: August 2010 For The Dark Mod

    Lately we've been blessed by multiple strong entries into the quickly growing library of fan missions available for The Dark Mod and though the quality is steadily shooting upwards this mission was definitely a standout for me during my recent playthrough of missions for TDM's Summer Vertical contest. The vertical contest has seemed to bring out the best in the authors as far as gameplay and nearly every one of them is a treat to play through and finish.

    Somewhere above the city (like most of the vertical contest missions) has you starting at a lower level and making your way to the tip top of the mission to retrieve an item along with some other interesting objectives along the way. You'll meet a formidable foe that you'll need to deal with and you'll experience some exiting things along the way.

    For the first time in a Dark Mod mission that I've played I see the use of scripted events that do a lot to enhance the storytelling aspect of the mission rather than just to go for cheap scares or fright moments. There are a few instances that feel like you're just about to catch up to the person you seek and something extraordinary happens that sets you on a different path than the one you expected. The feeling of 'anything can happen' adds so much depth and immersion to this mission that it's hard to say what my favorite part of the mission was. I do know that at one point I felt like I was chasing a cartoon villain with lots of tricks up his sleeve and the moment I realized this put a giant smile on my face.

    Neat scripting tricks aside - the rest of the mission is incredibly well done. From the visual flare of multi colored mushrooms lighting your way and the liberal use of chains and other lesser seen objects to the audible splendor of dripping water or one of the many other sounds used to add immense atmosphere during the mission - it seems as if the contest build time regulations didn't stop Grayman from going all out on the details.

    Busted walls with bricks laying about, water pouring in from an opening in a rooftop only to collect into a puddle that also happens to be electrified and many more small scenes within the large mission work to tell a more complete story than we're usually used to within a fan mission's visuals. Sure a destroyed room looks great, but when the author goes out of their way like the author did here it takes it to another level. I'm a sucker for a scene that in itself tells a story without the need of text or explanation and there are alot of them here.

    One particular aspect that I enjoyed was the use of thunder and lightning to add atmosphere and tension. Atmosphere in that every lightning flash would bring with it the brilliant sound of thunder - but tension in that the lightning brightens the entire room at some points with a guard alerting flash if you're not hidden well out of it's way. It was this seemingly random light flash that added alot of fun when sneaking around the few AI in the mission. There was always the feeling of dread that at any point you could be discovered. Nothing like some good ol' pants shittingly startling moments when the lightning flashes and suddenly the AI comes charging toward you. I've come to find that with the right setup and enemy doesn't have to be undead to be really frightening.

    I also need to give credit to the author for outlining the missions main goal through voice acting for the guard at the beginning. It was alot of fun to listen to this bitter, drunken bastard rattle off his plan to get back at his employer only to read the note next to him (that says the same thing) and realize that this guard had just laid out the basic objectives for the mission during his inebriated rant. Very creative and I hope authors in the future take creative routes like this in delivering what we're supposed to do rather than just on the pre-mission objectives screen.

    Some of The Dark Mod's seemingly random bugs have been plaguing different bits of this mission from what I've read in their forum and I have to say that in my two playthroughs I had nothing unusual happen at all. Everything worked as intended and I finished the mission both times without any of them popping up. Things if this nature must be system specific I'd guess.

    To find many negatives with this mission one would have to go out of their way to nitpick really - a few rooms could have been more heavily decorated or have something interesting in them and there could have been a little more variation in the AI and amount of them but these are all decisions that were most likely made to ease performance issues over a wide array of system configurations. My playthrough was silky smooth, so if that was the case then well done.

    A visually impressive mission with some custom sound work, great atmosphere, tons of inspired scenery and visual storytelling and excited scripted events - what else could we as for? Fun, of course! And on the basis of wanting to sneak, mantle, rope arrow and steal - not many missions do it better. Simply put, this mission is a ton of fun.

    Screens: (You may want to look away now if you are the butthurt-about-being-spoilery type)





    I loved the look of the chains holding up a track running over a path below. Some of the chains were climbable and that makes them even more awesome.





    Once you see the opening to the mine you know that you are in for something different. The author really took the tried and true "mines are boring" formula and turned it onto its head. Not only did the mine areas look great, but they were fun to figure out as well.





    I loved all the branching paths in the mine and how they looked just out of reach to get to but you could still see through the boards to the path ahead.





    This fella was having a really bad day and you'll discover why when you reach this area.





    Vertical Contest indeed. Some areas were extremely vertical.





    The property owner hired Kool Aid Man to do his masonry work from what I gathered.





    Tons of multi level areas and they are all accessible. Gameplay is king. Long live the king!





    I loved the half finished floors in some areas with boards sitting near the unfinished parts - you really felt like you were walking around a building that was still a work in progress.

  6. #2031
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Also a few bonus screenshots to illustrate the impressive weather effects in the mission with the lightning in particular:





    The clocktower itself was beautifully done:



    But looked particularly impressive lit up by the lightning:


  7. #2032
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    This double review is about the last two missions in the Keeper Investigations campaign because SneakyJack has already reviewed missions 1-3 in this very thread (check the first page for them).

    Mission name: Keeper Investigations, part 4: Tanis Station
    Mission author: intruder

    The story: After the incident in the previous mission you find yourself stranded on an unknown secret island. Basically you have to find a way back home to the City.

    The mission: Very quickly you find you're not alone on the island. Who are these people? What is their history and how did they get here? And what the heck is going on here?! Your mission starts with very few objectives - like finding a means of transportation out of the island - but very soon you start getting more and more things to do, some optional bonus objectives and some mandatory info gathering.

    The gameplay: There are plenty of both guards and civilians around. On every objective a strict no-kill objective is enforced. No contact with the natives is also on the to-do list. So on higher difficulties this is an all-out ghosting mission. Nevertheless, this is an absolutely top-notch mission you have to play! The mission starts out so unassuming, as though all you have to do is to just find a boat somewhere and row yourself back to the City. But the mission expands into a massive exploration-type sneaker where every readable - and there's a lot of fascinating stuff to read - is important to piece the island’s secrets together.

    The setting: You start out on the inside of the underwater supply vessel and then move out to the beach of a mysterious island. I admit that my first thought on the beach with the loud gravel was a flashback to Pirates ahoy! "Snakes! Where are those cursed snakes hiding?! Where are my broadheads?!" Once I got past that, however, I explored caves, shipyards, laboratories, docks... The place is huge! You'll see some things you've never seen before on a Thief mission - weird things... The change in settings is so subtle you won’t even notice you’re somewhere completely different and new until you see something that stops you in your tracks.

    The music: I absolutely must mention this section! The music here is freakin' amazing! I didn't really pay attention to the music on the beach at the beginning. But when you get to the station... Prepare yourself for some awesome tunes! Not quite as eerie as the Bonehoard, but memorable still, believe me. Beautiful choices for music that relate deeply to the strangeness of the entire situation as the truth of the island and its inhabitants begin to unravel. You have to hear in situ, so to speak, to believe it.

    The screenies:


    Coming down to the Caves.



    Living well down in the Caves… Must get drafty and damp…



    Doesn’t this look eerily familiar…?



    Fish tanks…? What the…?



    That’s one big… ship.



    Small submarines…? What will these guys think of next? Middle-sized submarines?



    All aboard. Going up. Next floor: Enemies and secrets.



    Another familiar scene: The underground base of some freaky strange people.



    They must be avid readers.



    Well, well, what’s this? Something ancient…



    … And something new and improved.



    Paging agents Mulder and Scully!



    Review continues in the next post – unless someone manages to grab it before me…

  8. #2033
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    Continuing from above...

    Mission name: Keeper Investigations, part 5: Returning Home
    Mission author: intruder

    The story: After the mysterious island you find yourself back in the City. Your fence, Cody, has arranged a job for you since you’re in dire need of cash – again. You need to meet him in his apartment to find out more about the job.

    The mission: You start out with a great view of the City high up. By the time you’re done you will have visited a lot of places – and finished a lot of objectives. In the beginning once you get to Cody’s apartment you find out about the job: Find three items in three distinct locations around town. The mission will test your sneaking skills and your ability to spot small things, like open windows far away or below your roof-top route. But the mission will also test your puzzle-solving skills and your courage with zombies and haunts.

    The gameplay: This is a rooftop mission a la Life of the Party. Sure, there are specific places you must go in order to complete the mission, but there are so many hidden rooms, open windows, ledges and pipes to climb, etc. that you’ll be busy for a while. A lot of these little places and small details expand into bonus objectives and larger explorations. You’ll totally have fun with this! A great final mission for a great campaign! You’ll do all those things that make Thief great: climb, swim, sneak, jump, crawl…

    Interesting little detail: You’re not forbidden to go down to the streets – which I thought was a nice change of pace since I fell down a couple of times – but be forewarned: There are a lot of both standing guards and wandering patrols, not to mention civilians. But on a positive note: One time I actually fell down and ended up looking in a place where I normally wouldn’t have gotten to – and found a reward! So, always look everywhere, as a rule.

    The music: Man, I totally have to bring this section to the foreground! The music in the City and on the rooftops, that’s great – but… There are three places where the music really stands out. The first is
    spoiler:
    a secret place in the Lost City style
    with an adventurous music as you step over the threshold… The effect was breathtaking! Ran back up the stairs waiting for the arrival of some huge monster right at my heels… Well, the second was the cemetery music: Unnerving… I could hear whispers nearby and screams from afar. I was literally scared still, I froze. When music alone does that – in a fog-covered cemetery, no less! – you know you’re in for something special! The third place is
    spoiler:
    the hidden lair of a multiple murderer stalking the City
    : By the Builder, the horrible screeching, the rumble, the loudness, the fast pace… I tried to go in three times! Always doubled back… Amazing work, intruder! Couldn’t give praise high enough.

    The screenies:


    The City never looked so appealing, as Garrett would say.



    Does this look safe? Does it? Really?!



    The City underneath the City.



    So many fires… So few water arrows…



    Forbidden books make the best reading.



    The Museum of the Arts. Fancy…



    Is this a museum or a mausoleum? Hmm…



    Keepers! Can’t live with them – can’t kill them.



    That’s some sick s**t right there!



    Gloomy – and perfectly safe, right? Right…? Guys…? *Gasp* Help…



    And that's all (s)he wrote this time.

  9. #2034
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Great reviews Summer! Your screenshots are great as well. You don't have to skip missions that have been reviewed already - it's always good to get different opinions on the same mission to compare how different players felt about the mission.

  10. #2035
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2007
    Location: Germany
    I second that: great reviews and I'm glad that you seem to like my missions
    The music in part 4 was mostly taken from Homeworld (my 2nd favourite game next to Thief). I think you should find plenty of its music on youtube.

  11. #2036
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    In all honesty it's hard to find many authors that do pure Thief style gameplay as well as you do, Intruder. Your recent contest mission was a great example - you know how to make a mission that is a ton of fun to play.

  12. #2037
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Wow, there's been a lot of reviews in this thread since I've mysteriously disappeared. Really entertaining stuff Sneaky, Summer and Thor! I need to get around to reviewing Dark Mod missions, everyone's doin' it at this point...I'm in severe danger of not being able to sit at the cool kids lunch table anymore.

    Anywho, as per the usual, I feel like a huge jerk because I promised this review a long time ago (to Haplo over PMs). So I apologize about that first of all, SORRY HAP- hope you enjoy it anyway. If it makes you feel better, you can hit me really hard. Just let me close my eyes first, NOT IN THE FACE!

    For everyone else: since everyone has been doing so much work to keep this thread alive and I've just been slacking, I feel like I should do a little something extra this time. With that in mind, I've included a "special feature" sorta thing at the end of the review. It's not really much of anything, but it's a little extra entertainment from me to you, as my way of saying "sorry for being a lazy douche". So yeah, the review:

    Shadows in Our Blood

    Every now and then something will come around that can be wrapped up pretty profoundly with only a few words. When I finished the latest Thief 2 FM by Haplo entitled "Shadows in Our Blood", my first thought as I stared at the mission complete screen pretty much summed up everything: "Wow" I thought, "...that was f***ed up." Of course, I meant that as a compliment. Trust me when I say, if you don't want any spoilers, that's pretty much all you need to know about this FM and whether or not it will appeal to you. It is SERIOUSLY...F-WORDED...UP, in the best possible way. But I guess wrapping things up here would be sort of a cop out, so if you want to know more, please follow me to the next paragraph downward. I promise things will only get mildly f-ed up*.
    *And in case you were wondering, "f**ked up" is going to be the recurring phrase that binds this review together. So if you chose a review from this thread at random to read aloud at a dinner for the elderly, I deeply apologize.

    The mission's storyline has you playing as Garrett just after the "Eavesdropping" mission in the original game, when Garrett is just starting to realize the mechanists might be less "morally gray annoyances" and more "crazy mace wielding religious zealots led by a Bond villian". Recently Tohid, a politician known for speaking out against the mechanists, has mysteriously disappeared, and then later (and also mysteriously), reappeared as one of their most ardent followers fond of Mechanical Beast plushie dolls and obnoxious "I'm on Team Karras" T-shirts. Naturally, a politician going on vacation and drastically changing his views on serious issues seems prrRREETty ODD to Garrett, who doesn't get out much and never watches C-SPAN. He decides to go to the local police headquarters and investigate- and what he finds there is a place that is the very definition of LUGUBRIOUS*.
    *That's right thesaurus.com, I just took your challenge and used that word in a sentence. That'll teach you to step to me, BEYOTCH.

    The first half of this FM is pretty par for the course break-in mission fare. Of course, the whole time you have this feeling that something sinister is simmering just below the surface. And then you find the secret door in the prison area, and the trajectory of the F-word begins to spike heavily in an upwards direction. Let me tell you, as FM players, f***ed up is nothing new to us. We've played Rocksbourg 3 for God's sake. Without being melodramatic, let me just say THIS SHIT IS WORSE. Maybe not when it comes to sheer horror factor, but when it comes down to making you feel just plain uncomfortable, this mission takes the cake*. I was actually squirming in my computer chair wincing as I watched the goings on in the mission's second half. A video game that can honest-to-God scare me I admire, one that actually creates a physical feeling of revulsion and makes me feel like I need to take a shower immediately just because I played it- that represents a twisted kind of genius.
    *And what it does to the cake you don't even wanna know. HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE THINGS.

    But while you're busy being scarred for life, there's also a whole lot of legitimate gameplay here. Naturally, being as Haplo is the mastermind behind all this, the best part of it is the puzzles. As I've come to expect from this author, the puzzles are fantastic. They force you to use your inventory items in clever ways, learn your surroundings, pay attention to the environment, and plan clever battle strategies to take out the more taxing opponents. The only annoying chink in the armor is a tiny hidden switch puzzle that is PURE EVIL. I mean GOOD...LORD. I realize you want to hide your secret areas Haplo, but please have mercy on the eyes of your players- my eyelids are still throbbing from more squinting than they were built to endure. And then this secret area leads to a book full of references to real life people in the Thief community, and I'm not in it?! Son, I am disappoint. Besides that though, I loved the puzzles. My favorite has to be the one based around how to pick up, and then subsequently cool off, a pair of red hot wire cutters; I figured out that fire is hot and that wet stuff makes fire less hot all by myself- take THAT chemistry professor who failed me after I burned my eyebrows off with a Bunsen burner!


    All black and white? These hidden torture chambers have gotten so art-house lately...

    Visually, this mission is extremely clever. About halfway through the mission it switches from full-color to an almost entirely black and white color scheme, kind of like a reverse "Wizard of Oz" with less whimsy and more nightmarish torture*. The whole black and white thing has been done before, but the way the world in the torture chamber is devoid of color as if all hope and cheer has been drained out of the world is a brilliant touch (at least I think that's the mindset behind the color change, I'm about as much a philosopher as I am a....um...fire breathing dinosaur**). As far as actual level design goes, I've whined about Haplo's levels being a bit too "square" in the past, and while that problem isn't completely rectified here, the level is well detailed and the texture choices are well-made. I don't mind square rooms as long as they aren't big and empty, which there is thankfully none of here. I think I might have even seen a circle, which in the dark engine is like coming upon a whole field full of frolicking sasquatch.
    *-but roughly the same amount of flying monkeys.
    **Which is too bad because I can think of like 10 ways right off the top of my head that being a fire-breathing dinosaur would make my life better.


    In wrapping things up, I really have to give credit where it's due: Haplo is getting better with every new mission he releases, and his missions started out above average to begin with! This guy is one of the best game designers currently making FMs, and I really hope this isn't the last one he does. While I wouldn't say I personally prefer this one to his last mission, "Insanity's Crescendo", it does represent a step forward in visual design and it further solidifies this author as the preeminent puzzle creator in the Thief community. It's also REALLY f***ed up if I haven't mentioned that yet. It's definitely worth playing, even if you do find yourself cringing through most of it- being deeply disturbed builds character! ...Or gives you odd nervous twitches or something, I forget. One of those things.

    And now SCREENSHOTS, none of them upped in that previously mentioned way:


    A colorful and happy room (except for the desk...the desk is going through some things).


    A colorless and sad room (except for that clock, that clock is doing just swell).


    Hey, there's no "blue" authorized at this point! Take your technicolor sorcery elsewhere!


    Do you get that this mission is gloomy yet? Because it really freaking is.


    AND NOW, the other thing:

    Lately I've been messing with my review format trying to come up with ways to make them a little more exciting for me to write. The idea of doing a video review struck me as the most interesting, so that's probably what I'll be trying next (maybe even a video top 10 list if I want to get WILD AND CRAZY). So I downloaded this program called "fraps" which I guess is what all the kids are using these days to capture gaming videos and was screwing around with it most of yesterday. Most of what I recorded is just random gameplay videos with me doing a running commentary as I was playing. I'm still getting a feel for all the technical stuff: compression, recording quality, the optimal in-game settings (especially brightness since everything I recorded yesterday is dark as hell). Also I need a good audio/video editing program. Can anyone recommend something cheap and easy to use?

    But anyway, some of my random goofing off in-game as I tested out fraps turned out to be pretty entertaining, especially my misadventures during a couple recording sessions while I was playing "Captain of the Guard". I edited some of this footage together with "Windows Movie Maker", which is this extremely bare-bones editing program that comes with Vista. The video that follows is the result of about 10 minutes of editing and being way too entertained by WMM's animated scene transition effects.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyZhY3Bf9EE
    It's really dark and bad quality, but watching the highlights of me failing hard on two seperate occasions is pretty entertaining. All of the color commentary is by me on my headset mic as I was actually playing. Yes, I'm really that much of a jerk to NPCs all the time.
    Last edited by The Mike; 10th Sep 2010 at 00:41.

  13. #2038
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Hey everyone! I'm bumping the thread, but disguising it under the flimsy pretense of having a random somewhat relevant question to ask of all of you- aren't I a clever shifty bastard!

    So yeah, over the last couple days I was thinking about how I might do a video review, and I'm trying to decide between a few possible methods. I'd like to know what sounds the most interesting...
    1. "Normal" video review format: Pretty much what you would expect from the concept. Reels of gaming footage with my sweet sing-songy voice overlayed on top of it criticizing stuff. The plus side of this is that it looks relatively professional and I'll have had a review prepared and written down beforehand, so it will (in theory) be a lot more coherent. The downside is that I'll have to buy (or if I can find a good free one, download) and learn how to use a decent editing program before I attempt this. And I'm really leaning towards downloading free software, because when I checked the price of a certain popular editing program on Amazon earlier, I found it was 700 (!!!!!!OMFG!!!!) dollars.
    2. My crazy experimental method: I really enjoy recording myself playing and improvising observational humor (and so far I have a couple of Youtube comments that lead me to believe at least a couple other people in the community like this too [thanks by the way Yandros, randomtaffer, and possibly Brethren]). My other idea for video reviews is to just write some brief notes, and then play the mission while discussing my points and making random observations as I play. This will also present authors with the rare ability to possibly see a reviewer get stabbed to death while criticizing their work. The other plus side: I can start immediately as I won't need any advanced editing software.
    3. Some kind of combination of the two: <---Exactly that. I read off a prepared review over gameplay footage while occasionally cutting to me playing the game and being my usual sarcastic asshole self in-game. This would have to be really carefully edited to not come off as extremely incoherent, nonetheless, it's what I'm leading towards.

    So what do you guys think?

    ...also BUMP.

  14. #2039
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    The mission's storyline has you playing as Garrett just after the "Eavesdropping" mission in the original game, when Garrett is just starting to realize the mechanists might be less "morally gray annoyances" and more "crazy mace wielding religious zealots led by a Bond villian". Recently Tohid, a politician known for speaking out against the mechanists, has mysteriously disappeared, and then later (and also mysteriously), reappeared as one of their most ardent followers fond of Mechanical Beast plushie dolls and obnoxious "I'm on Team Karras" T-shirts. Naturally, a politician going on vacation and drastically changing his views on serious issues seems prrRREETty ODD to Garrett, who doesn't get out much and never watches C-SPAN. He decides to go to the local police headquarters and investigate- and what he finds there is a place that is the very definition of LUGUBRIOUS*.
    *That's right thesaurus.com, I just took your challenge and used that word in a sentence. That'll teach you to step to me, BEYOTCH.
    The part about team-Karras t-shirts actually had me laughing so hard I near fell off my seat!

    On a side note, not being American I guess these political propaganda channels you get are really entertainment central...

    As for the video, I totally enjoyed it! Sometimes you get boring people talking while playing boringly - that's pretty boring. You weren't boring, Mike - so please do more video reviews. Your crazy experimental method is certainly the one we'll all enjoy the most, but hey, it's your call. I'll ogle at it regardless of the format. We want more! We want more!

    Summer

  15. #2040
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Quote Originally Posted by Summer View Post
    On a side note, not being American I guess these political propaganda channels you get are really entertainment central...
    You know, it honestly didn't occur to me at all that not everyone has the same channel listing as I do over here. Like most Americans, I forget on a regular basis that the United States is not the direct center of the universe. Glad to see Twilight T-shirts are just as obnoxious in other parts of the world though.

    As for the video, I totally enjoyed it! Sometimes you get boring people talking while playing boringly - that's pretty boring. You weren't boring, Mike - so please do more video reviews. Your crazy experimental method is certainly the one we'll all enjoy the most, but hey, it's your call. I'll ogle at it regardless of the format. We want more! We want more!
    Hey, thanks alot! The more I think about it, the more I think I prefer the second option as well. And not just because I'm too lazy to learn how to edit properly. But mostly that.

  16. #2041
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: Full on Kevel's mom
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    Glad to see Twilight T-shirts are just as obnoxious in other parts of the world though.
    Come on now, Mike. I know you're for team Edward.

  17. #2042
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: The Inverted Manse
    Thanks for another great review Mike, I enjoyed reading it as much as you 'enjoyed' playing the mission!

    Did you know in this mission there are 236 blood stains (over 20% of the total object count), each one carefully placed and oriented?

    Some of the stuff that went in there were the ideas I had for The Acid Trip, but didn't have enough skills to achieve them back then.

  18. #2043
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    Game: Thief 1. FM title: Woodkey Resthouse.

    Review: This is a small mission. You will not find sprawling scenery nor huge buildings here. That said, Woodkey Resthouse is definitely worth a play or two. Though it may be simple, the ambiance in the mission was enjoyable. I especially like the location where you start and the custom music that plays. There is a locked door... and I wonder... just wonder if there is anything behind it? That is where the guitar music is coming from.

    The plot goes as follows. You've been given a free night's stay at this rest house, but the owner wants you to steal something from a mansion that is not far off through the woods. So, off you go. Simple plot: straight to the point without a lot of back-story or anything like that (not that that's a bad thing).

    The only bugs I noticed in the mission are the old "void of no sound" that plagued some Thief 1 FMs. Sometimes a guard can sneak right up on you, because he sounds further away than he really is.

    "A little stroll through the forest."


    "The small library." Be on the look-out for secrets here.

    Last edited by lost_soul; 13th Sep 2010 at 01:30.

  19. #2044
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Moscow
    God, how I miss TTDP/TG missions.

  20. #2045
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    Báthory campaign (v. 1.2, 10.10.2010) by Sensut

    Right off the start I have to say that this is by far one of the best T2 campaigns ever! The three years Sensut spent on these certainly shows. This is an example of a campaign where gameplay, appearance, music and story come together perfectly. YOU MUST PLAY THIS CAMPAIGN!

    The story: This campaign is composed of 7 missions, two of which are the prologue and the epilogue. All are full-sized missions. This campaign is a half-true and half-fiction story about the Hungarian historical Countess Elizabeth Bathory – who was accused of torturing and killing hundreds of young women to bathe in their blood for youth and beauty. This campaign toys with the idea that things didn’t exactly happen like that.

    The missions: Along the campaign you play as three different characters: In the prologue and epilogue you are Gellert the thief and in between you are first Elizabeth Bathory herself and then her maid Katalin. All three have unique equipment and weapons, but they play like regular thieves and sneaks, so there is no real difficulty in assuming a different character. All of them have strong ties to the story so it makes sense to step into their shoes.

    The prologue and the epilogue tell the tale of Gellert the thief on a city mission to find some evidence written personally by Elizabeth Bathory and later to get rewarded for helping Elizabeth.

    Blood and Ice is the first mission after the prologue. You take the role of Elizabeth Bathory as the victim of a vast and complex conspiracy. Her story begins in Sarvar where she is held as a prisoner. She must escape her cell to perform various acts of sabotage and start figuring out what is really going on. Still, she can’t escape far as she has to return to her cell.

    The next mission, All Souls’ Day, shows Elizabeth being allowed out of her captivity for a religious festival for some prayer and such. This is when she starts learning more about the conspiracy to take everything she owns. Surprises aplenty on this mission!

    The next mission, Menial Faithfulness, takes a new direction by introducing a new player character: Katalin, Elizabeth’s most trusted maid. This a relatively small city mission where Katalin must take care of some business for Elizabeth and to figure out a way into the fortress of Mehadia.

    It is in Mehadia where the next mission, Pagan Fear, takes place. Here Katalin learns more about the conspiracy against Elizabeth Bathory. There is a sinister plot here involving some black magic artifacts and a dark pagan ritual. Katalin must prevent the conspirators from benefiting from Elizabeth’s demise and taking over the kingdom. This is quite an original new direction to take with the storyline and the places to visit, all breathtaking.

    In the Fallen, the next mission and the last one before the epilogue, you resume the role of Elizabeth, but all is not as it was before. You have become something… different. This will affect your focus (no loot gathering here) and restrict certain gameplay aspects (for example, interaction with holy objects). Here Elizabeth is at the heart of the conspiracy against her and she’s on a mission of revenge – with some interesting new equipment and fascinating new voice acting. Also, some special arrangements are made here for those who remained loyal to her during her hardships – a nice little twist on the otherwise all-out vengeance theme.

    The gameplay: This campaign plays smooth as silk (I personally had a problem with T2 crashing on the All Souls’ Day mission around 1h 25min mark, so I couldn’t play it to the end, but it is most likely a bad DL – since no-one else seems to have had any problems – so I’ll DL and play it again; I tell you this so you won’t wonder why I have fewer pictures of that particular mission – and HUGE thanks to Sensut for his replies about my problem ). In every other respect this campaign plays truly excellently.

    You have multiple entry and exit points, movement is virtually unrestricted, the settings are complex and fascinating to the point of stunning. Apart from not being allowed to kill civilians you have an almost free range to do what you want. Some missions have other restrictions due to the character you play, but they won’t interfere with gameplay.

    Most of the missions take place in cities and castles so realistically designed they are an absolute pleasure to explore. The first missions have very detailed maps, for the last ones you either have no maps or you have to find them. When I say each one of the 7 missions is huge is accurate: The castles and fortresses have everything between sewers and towers. The layouts are logical and make sense which makes exploration of every nook and cranny totally fun. Although castles are the most predominant environment, they are all different enough so that it doesn’t become repetitive or dull. I personally love castles! Still, there are other places, too, for example Ottoman tent camps, abandoned salt mines, etc.

    New objectives come into play as you progress in each mission. The hardest ones are optional which is good (some loot objectives are hard to complete, so be forewarned). The new objectives are mostly related to advancements in the story. Still, taking notes about the people mentioned in the various notes, diaries and letters can help keep the conspiracy story better in check – or check out the real history here for kicks.

    The visuals / appearance: Visually Sensut has upgraded this formerly shorter series of independent missions and made this a veritable feast for the eyes. The cutscenes and the load and save screens are all superb quality, stunning art work. The places you visit are realistic, yet complex and beautiful. The color palette is more than just gray tones, for example the epilogue takes place during the daytime and the guard uniforms are colorful and bright. I could add a number of high-praise adjectives here, but I’ll let the pictures below this review speak for themselves.

    The music / sounds: The soundtracks and the sounds of the player characters, guards, nobles, etc. is really where the ambience of these missions kicks in. Old voices are being used in new ways, for example in the form of the mysterious hooded figures who aid Elizabeth for their own reasons. New custom voices and sounds add to the excellence of this campaign, for example the Hungarian language spoken by Elizabeth Bathory in the Fallen mission. The music changes with the environments and gives just the right amount of tension and anxiety needed, like the howling wolves and screaming hawks as well as some excellent, ominous drumming. Scary stuff!

    Overall impression:
    This campaign has a constant horror feel to it – even though you won’t actually even meet any undead, except once for about five minutes. Still, the underlying conspiracy theme keeps things strongly in the tense department. If you’re not a fan of the horror genre, don’t worry, this is still the one for you: There are no monsters apart from a few spiders and only a couple of undead you can avoid. All Thief fans owe it to themselves to play this through – you won’t regret it! I personally had to play every day to get my fix and to find out more and more about what happened.

    Favorite moment:
    Just check the first pic of Menial Faithfulness: Does that not spark your imagination? No other words are necessary.

    Still, my favorite moment was in Blood and Ice when I first took out my map. When I figured out where I was on it, a little corner of a cell somewhere, I realized just how much exploring will be ahead of me. Ahh, the anticipation…

    I’m hijacking a few posts to get the full spectrum of screenshots visible – although I did leave a lot behind.


    Pictures:

    Prologue














    Blood and Ice














    Pics continuing below!

  21. #2046
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    Pictures from the Bathory campaign continue:

    All Souls’ Day










    Menial Faithfulness










    Pagan Fear










    Pics continuing below!

  22. #2047
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    Pictures from the Bathory campaign continue:

    Pagan Fear






    Fallen
















    Epilogue








    Well, that’s all this time, folks.

  23. #2048
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    Quote Originally Posted by Summer View Post
    This campaign is a half-true and half-fiction story about the Hungarian historical Countess Elizabeth Bathory – who was accused of torturing and killing hundreds of young women to bathe in their blood for youth and beauty. This campaign toys with the idea that things didn’t exactly happen like that.
    That's a pretty safe idea, since the Báthory affair was a politically motivated withc trial, where the accusing party had a strong material interest in destroying the countess and the best evidence was confession extracted under torture. The charges were, for all intents and purposes, a fabrication. Granted, the romantic version of legend or the FM reconstruction is better fiction than the ugly stuff high nobility could get into for land and power.

    Good review, BTW!

  24. #2049
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    Quote Originally Posted by Melan View Post
    Good review, BTW!
    Thanks, Melan

    I didn't want to take a stance on the accuracy of history or Elizabeth's story since I don't know the case by heart like Sensut seems to. So, I tried to take a neutral tone.

  25. #2050
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    This campaign is only a sample from the real Bathory story, what nobody knows until today in fact. There are assumptions only, inferences through the chronicles of other historical personalities what is the big omission of the local history. But the legends are born so and I may claim to be lucky one that I live in the cradle of the two big legends, Bathory and Dracula. I visited all their ancient monuments from Snagov to Cachtice and I tried to immortalize this experience actually by these 2 campaigns. But it's only a game made for entertainment yet if it lies on real bases, and an answer in one to the numberless foolish movies and a games which ones were made about them.

    Thanks Summer for the review, I hope so others see it so.

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