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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #2676
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: thiefgold.com

    Turning the Tables

    Turning the Tables, by Thiefs Pawn is a fairly simple but very enjoyable mansion mission for Thief 1. You start off in the garden of a local lord, Bifford, who just tried to have you killed (you managed to kill Skeller, the assassin he sent), and now your job is to kill Bifford and dump both bodies in his vault as a way of framing your assassin. In Easy, you also have a loot objective, but on Hard you're not allowed to steal anything so the frame may stick (and you have to ghost). On Expert you can't steal anything from the mansion, but there is a particular area (only accessible in this difficulty) which you can rob at will. The construction of the level is mostly simple but well made - there's a really cool maze in the yard (which could drive you nuts!); the ambiance and sound are flawless. A small bug I noticed recently is sometimes the guards just stand there a few seconds before they attack you (though I'm not sure if it's a recent thing with Newdark, it had been a few years since I last played it). Overall though I really enjoyed it, it's an ideal classic Thief experience














  2. #2677
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: thiefgold.com

    Turning the Tables
















  3. #2678
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    Thanks, Azaran. I know I've played this but it must have been a long time ago as I don't recognise it at all.

    Added to the OP.

  4. #2679
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2015
    Played Geller's Pride a few days ago, and I waited to get a clear view of what I thought of it before posting here.

    Download here, for those curious: http://thiefmissions.com/m/Gpride

    Geller's Pride is pretty much a mission for Thief: Gold set up in the style of mansion missions with a huge exterior area like say Bafford's Manor or Ramirez's mansion. It has a huge city area, a sprawling sewer network under it, some side places to go, and the mansion itself.



    A section of the city. Not much more to see here.

    I initially liked the idea of starting outside in a city section, where I was free to roam, but I quickly found that it was a bit bloated for my tastes. There were some odd places, like the one house where you break into the front room and can't go any further, and there wasn't much to actually do there, besides visiting one inn. I had the same problem with the sewers too, they seemed too huge and provided very little benefit. The fact that there is a key important for an Expert objective there just makes it worse.



    A cute little fountain, outside the main street.

    Thankfully, the mission gets better at the mansion itself. The mansion has several ways of being infiltrated, and while it seems very well guarded, it's actually rather easy to get in. Inside, the design is surprisingly focused and compact. The aesthetics are a neat mix between the grand colours and stoic structures of Bafford's Manor, the spartan, utilitarian arrangement of Ramirez's mansion's rooms, and the floral designs and fragmented stained glass of Constantine's manor. The mansion also succeeds in giving the feeling of being a well guarded location without having incredibly tough AI placement. The guard density is for the most part alright, though there are some blind spots in the lower floors. The most problem I had was honestly with the marble hall at the ground floor, which had two guards patrolling it at regular intervals, but not much clues to identify when they were approaching.



    A cozy bedroom in the mansion. Note Constantine's stained glass on the windows.

    The secret room is an abrupt change of pace, and so is the puzzle there, but they both give off the feel of being a completely different area from the rest of the environment, which makes it feel like a hidden area you're infiltrating, though the secret itself is hidden with a predictable sliding bookcase.

    Geller's Pride is a mission that takes some risks, and has a few of them pay off, like the blend of several mansion's architecture stylings, the secret being different in tone from the rest of the level, and others which don't, like the placement of keys in long empty areas like sewers, locking out treasure behind a box that requires a lot of backtracking to open, and heavy lighting in the first floor rooms. Also, was there anything special about the alarms? There was a tip which said they were different from regular alarms, but they aren't.



    The secret area. Now that's different!

    I would say that this is a very engaging mission, and it even looks fine, which is surprising for a mission released in 2001.

    Oh, and thanks for mentioning it in a thread in TTLG, Melan.
    Last edited by Dev_Anj; 26th Jan 2015 at 01:32.

  5. #2680
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    Very nice review, Dev_Anj, thank you. It's great to have another reviewer since some of our most prolific writers have rather fallen by the wayside (looking at you The Mike, Thor, Taters, amongst others - it's no good lurking, I can see you.) Although you won't get many replies, I can assure you that people do read these and I hope you'll be able to do some more when you have time.

    Adding to the OP.

  6. #2681
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    Agreed, it's great having someone else writing reviews here. I for one read every review posted in this thread. TheMike's are hilarious, but few and far between.

  7. #2682
    Master Builder 2018
    Registered: Jul 2008
    I also enjoyed the reviews, Dev_Anj and Azaran. Thanks for taking the time to add them!

  8. #2683
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by nickie View Post
    Very nice review, Dev_Anj, thank you. It's great to have another reviewer since some of our most prolific writers have rather fallen by the wayside (looking at you The Mike, Thor, Taters, amongst others - it's no good lurking, I can see you.) Although you won't get many replies, I can assure you that people do read these and I hope you'll be able to do some more when you have time.

    Adding to the OP.
    Most welcome! Yeah, I do miss The Mike's reviews, I really liked his sense of humour. I hope he comes back. What would bring him back? Hmm.... maybe making him do a review of Thief 4? Now that would be something!

  9. #2684
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: Full on Kevel's mom
    Great to have you, Dev_Anj. Mike will be back I'm sure. Especially with all the missions that will be coming out.

  10. #2685
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2015
    I've played a few of the Japanese missions, and I just thought up an interesting observation about them.

    The Japanese missions, mostly the ones by JIS atleast, seem less like levels with full fledged themes and more like ROM hacks. This is to say that they focus on providing mechanical challenges, and in the process sacrifice coherence. Stuff like walking around on small pipes, using a corpse to break your fall, killing a person with only one arrow, fighting normal people dying as zombies with infinite holy water and fire arrows, using infinite mines to attack enemies and so on. Some of these are interesting, atleast from a gameplay perspective, and some others get annoying, especially when the engine wasn't built around it(travelling on many small pipes would be a good example of that). In short, I feel they are enjoyable to a degree, but they're also often too incoherent and lack the feel of exploring and sneaking through lived in places.

    What do the others here think of them?

  11. #2686
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    To my eternal shame, I've yet to play any but I don't know why. It's a sad lack in my thieving experience but I don't seem to have much playing time these days.

  12. #2687
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2012
    Play them......Play them ALL

    The Japanese missions, although bizarre and sometimes utterly frustrating (you can't understand the objectives even when written in English) some of them are the most memorable missions out there.

    Amida is probably the most well known, and its a mess as most of the objectives do not tick off, loot is unavailable and you can't finish the mission.....but still it is SO worth playing just because its do 'leftfield'.

    Makiko is so incredibly hard as you have to kill Aunty Wong and although you have infinite weapons at your disposal so does everyone else, and most are impossible to kill...has anyone ever managed to finish this mission ?.....don't let that stop you trying, its a ball.

    Hell Chapter 2...a rather fantastic key hunt mission...seriously tough and utterly confusing, but for those who like a really good challenge.....essential playing

    Elevator Mission T1 and Elevator Mission T2
    2 completely different missions, both some of the toughest FMs ever made, you can not play these without admiring JIS, even though you may also hate him

    UFO....probably the most normal of all JIS's missions

    Hammer and Garrett...a sprawling mansion, with little to do but to find your way to the end, a bit boring but enjoyable all the same

    Mineshock....great fun for silly people

    The range of missions by JIS and a few other Japanese authors is stunning, and even if they do not fit the usual model of Thief, I for one am so glad that these guys made these missions....they have made the Thief World all the more richer and more rewarding. So thank you
    Last edited by fortuni; 29th Jul 2017 at 01:36.

  13. #2688
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2011
    Location: Trapped in Constantine's couch
    Quote Originally Posted by fortuni View Post
    Play them......Play them ALL

    The Japanese missions, although bizarre and sometimes utterly frustrating (you can't understand the objectives even when written in English) some of them are the most memorable missions out there.
    I just played Yakuza this morning, it was quite strange and flabbergasting. The fact that it was VERY difficult to sneak past the guards, and even servant type AIs, made me search for routes less traveled. I spent about 20 minutes trying various strategies, but the place Garrett has to sneak into is well guarded. I never did make it into the second floor while remaining undetected. Many restarts later, when I finally found Yakuza, I checked my stats to find that it had only taken me 3 minutes.
    Needless to say, I really don't need to write a full review on that one. If anyone wants to read some funny objectives and see some interesting breaking and entering set-ups, check out Yakuza.

  14. #2689
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2011
    Location: Trapped in Constantine's couch
    The Wickerman – MaJiC(Mark Cole)
    Released – December 12, 2001
    Game – Thief 2


    Hello, it's been quite awhile since I posted a review/reaction to a fan mission. I did play a bit of the original Thief 2 this past month and wanted to play some more FMs, so this is what I ended up playing. Having just watched a Nostalgia Critic review of The Wicker Man film with Nicolas Cage, I stumbled upon this mission and was intrigued. I found while playing that there is little in common with the film, but there was definitely a wicker man involved. The mission objectives involve destroying the wicker man and rescuing a child along with her doll, and don't forget the choice piece of loot from the Priest! They must also be exposed to the city guards so that they can be stopped from their sacrificial ceremonies.
    I started in a cramped cave, the sounds of a spider lurking about were my first warnings that I had somehow found my way into a spider hole.

    It was a bit frustrating here to kill the spider somewhere it would not impede me from escaping the cave. His web was also in the way, but I took care of that with a slash of my sword. This was all well and good until I found it difficult to squeeze my way through, I managed to wriggle out (past the maddeningly tightly wrought cave entrance). A wicker man cultist walked around checking the shadows, they must be expecting me or someone to rescue the girl.

    Given a blackjack and sword, with no limitations on killing, I was able to knock out each guard and stow their bodies in the wicker man. I had plans for these guys.

    I found a fire arrow and a powder-keg; no doubt these were meant for engulfing the wicker man in flames.

    This is a very small scale mission and I wonder if it was ever part of a "build the smallest functional mission" contest? I think it took me about 20 minutes or so on this one. I never did get a screenshot of my stats at the end. Funny story there, I forgot to take the picture on the first go round, but when I tried to complete the mission for the second time I was unable to walk through the cave entrance.
    Edit: In retrospect, I did find "The Wickerman" to be well-built for such a small mission and the actual wickerman in the mission was an interesting construction with a great explosive effect. Nice original work with character skins, there were even different skins for each denomination of the cult. The only problem I had, with entering the cave with Reina, was mentioned here as well. Sorry to belabor the point, but I really do think this was a successful mission given that it was mainly constructed with about 8 dodecahedra.
    Last edited by Sycamoyr; 4th Mar 2015 at 19:38.

  15. #2690
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2011
    Location: Trapped in Constantine's couch
    Hello,
    Before it's been too long and I forget about it, could I get an add to the OP for my "The Wickerman" review?
    Sorry if it just wasn't good enough. I really wish I could step up my game on reviews, but I barely have time for even short missions in that respect.

  16. #2691
    Master Builder 2018
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Done. And don't apologize, your reviews are always good and always welcome!

  17. #2692
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    Sorry, Sycamoyr, my fault - if I don't do something more or less straight away, I forget.

  18. #2693
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2012
    Location: Slovenia
    I have a few problems with fan missions.

    1. Determined path
    A lot of missions pretty much determine what your path will be. By this i mean theres only 1 path from A to B. A perfect mission in my oppinion should have no point/room in mission that cannot be accessed by 2 or more paths. Different players have different playstyles. For me it always breaks my mood when i have to break my roleplay rules (Knocking out, moving right in front of guard despite him not seeing me) Make every Room accessable through 2 or more paths and have different access points for different playstyles.

    2. Lack of overview, landmarks
    I dont enjoy being the Indiana Jones cracking up my brain to get the feel of the place. Either put in strong landmarks or have a player at one point view the part of city to come. That gives player information, and then the geografical mapping in the head are smooth and enjoyable.

    3. Lack of information
    Partially covered in point 2 but it goes beyond structures. I dont like searching for a key in a mega-sized mission knowing i have no hints available.

    4. Heavy loot goals
    Mission can be hard without having to pick most of the stuff. This problem even appears in my favorite mission series Rocksbourg, where in the first mission, i have to break my roleplay rules to get enough loot. I might have mixed stuff up making this incorrect.

    5. Too many must-do objectives
    As mentioned i dont like failing loot objectives. Having them optional is great. I enjoy having 1 must do objective and then a whole bunch of optional ones. It gives the freedom this game is all about (in my opinion)

    6*. My way of playing and good experiance
    I play my on style of thieving (I asume like many of you) i call RolePlay Thieving.
    In it i dont pretent do be Garrett or a master of any sorts. Its just me. Regular mortal.
    I use the supreme ghosting rules where possible and i add a bit on top. I avoid any position i'd avoid IRL.
    *Standing next to a guard (he doesnt see you, but IRL he should notice you) as an example.

    Many fms dont allow me to play this way.
    One FM that allows me to play this way is: Rocksbourg: A new Beggining.
    With few exceptions. Getting the red key (in water canal) is a bust for me, aswell as 2 servants in front of the mad mans house. Too aware. The loot goal is too high imo.

  19. #2694
    Master Builder 2018
    Registered: Jul 2008
    It's always interesting to see how other people play, so thanks for that. I agree with some of the things you say, with a few exceptions.

    1. Determined Path: I think all of us prefer to have no determined path when playing games, and Thief does this better than any other game imo. And of course, FMs vary in how well they manage to accomplish this. But I think it's taking things too far to want there to be at least 2 entrances into every room. I get your point, and I agree with it for the most part, but there are at least two reasons why this isn't desirable for me. For one thing, it isn't realistic. Are there two ways in and out of every room in your house? Secondly, authors need to use restrictive space at times to further the mission in many ways. For example, to create tension. If you can just waltz through a mission always having a way out of dangerous or risky situations, then where is the tension. And with no tension, there is no fun. Of course tension can be created in other ways as well, but why give up this method? Having a world that can be navigated in numerous ways is essential, yes, but being put in situations where you don't have an easy path is also necessary in my opinion.

    2. Lack of overview, landmarks: Again, I agree with you for the most part, with a bit of exception. I think this one comes down more to taste than anything else. Some people really like being dropped in the middle of nowhere, with no landmarks and just a map (at best). They really like exploring with no idea of where they are going and what lies around the next corner. Personally, I like it both ways. I appreciate a mission that gives me a clear idea of my surroundings, but sometimes I really like the raw, clueless exploring. That's one of the greatest aspects of Thief. Again, we're talking mainly personal tastes here.

    3. Lack of information: I agree. I don't like missions with no clues as to what to do next, what you need to find or how to go about it. They don't need to be written clues, but there needs to be some way for the player to figure out how to proceed. I'm perfectly happy having to figure out things from really minimal info (in fact I prefer it) so long as it's meaningful info. But making people search high and low for a red key that is laying in the middle of a red carpet in some random room in a 50 room mansion with no clue as to its whereabouts is not my idea of fun either.

    4. Heavy loot goals: I have no real problem with this, though my personal preference is like yours. I'd rather they either didn't exist or were optional.

    5. Too many must-do objectives: No problem with this. The more the merrier. Bring it. On the flip side, some of the best missions I've played had just one goal that took hours to complete.

  20. #2695
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2011
    Location: Trapped in Constantine's couch
    1 & 2. Determined Path / Lack of overview, landmarks: I agree to some extent that progression is often a determined path, though there are definitely exceptions. I dislike being railroaded, and sometimes a linear way of progression becomes more “guided” than having a functional map. Many of my favorite Thief: The Dark Project OMs had maps that were an utter joke; take “Down in the Bonehoard” or “The Lost City” for example (i.e. a circle with the word “cave” written in the center creates a certain ambiguity). It was more of a challenge to find things like keys hidden behind beds and such in Constantine’s manor.
    It is rather nice to find secret entrances/exits, and usually one is more beneficial in certain respects than another. For instance, when I saw the guys from Otherside Entertainment (of TTLG yore) playing Thief after many years and they enter Bafford’s throne room area from a secret banner covered entry which I never before knew about. It did make it a bit more interesting as I had thought there was only one way into the throne room.

    3. Lack of information: This is where I definitely agree with you neux; it feels like a colossal waste of time to wander aimlessly looking for something with absolutely no direction or clue as to a general idea of where the item is located. This is especially true when it’s a key hunt. I can’t count how many missions I’ve played where I think I might have found a secret area, but there is nothing there of consequence.

    4. Heavy loot goals: This would certainly be a good thing to make high loot goals reasonable if not optional. It’s not a simple case of FMs only; I always had that problem while playing expert level in “The Haunted Cathedral”.

    5. Too many must-do objectives: I have to agree with Tannar on this one, especially objectives which either expand the story or present a challenge in some way. If the mission has many exciting mission objectives, I am more than happy to set out to accomplish each and every one. Heck, even if the objective results in a joke or funny scene then it’s worth it for me!

    Also, thanks for the encouragement on my reviews!

  21. #2696
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2015

    Just for fun, I decided to check how some locations in the first mission of Bathory look like with the Necro Age mod. Here are the results.

    The NecroAge screenshots are below the original ones.















  22. #2697
    Master Builder 2018
    Registered: Jul 2008
    It may be different when viewed in game, but in the screenshots the differences are subtle. At least to me. And I think I tend to prefer the original. Which do you like better?

  23. #2698
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2015
    I like the NecroAge textures because I think they make the mission look a little more sinister and provide more contrast. Of course, it barely has any effect on this mission since most of the stuff is custom resources, but I wanted to show how well that texture pack blends in with fan missions that use a lot of custom resources.

  24. #2699
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2012
    I so much more prefer NecroAge....recently replayed Mansion of Chaos, by Sharga which I always thought was rather hard on the eyes with its bright textures..it just did not look right, something to do with the clash between bright texture and the more subdued textures of walls and floors, but with NecroAge the whole mission just comes to life. It works perfectly

  25. #2700
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA, Earth
    The more custom content a fan mission has, the less likely I am to use Necroage. It also depends on the feel of the mission. A more upbeat, daytime mission might not benefit as much as a dark, gritty Rocksbourg-styled map. In the screens above I hardly see a difference, besides the health bar and light gem...
    Klatremus' Supreme Thief Site - Walkthroughs, Loot Lists & Ghost Reports
    Let's Supreme Ghost Thief - YouTube Channel with Thief Let's Plays

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