Nali Cove 2
by Mark Simmons
Site score: 37%
Another map with a fairly credible build, Nali Cove 2
fails to make an impact primarily because it lacks a story and is incredibly short.
The player begins the map marooned in a bare sandy cove. It's not clear where he has come from - the shipwreck in the water, or through cracks in the caves - or what he is doing there, but there is plenty of space to explore and in which to find some hidden items. The cove and water caves are interestingly designed, although blandly lit.
In due course, the player finds himself at the gates of a small Nali monastery, which is where the lighting is at its weakest. Fortunately, things improve once the player gets inside, where rich texture use and warm coloured lighting predominate.
It becomes apparent that the Skaarj have captured the high priest and are holding him prisoner, and it is the high priest that the player now has to save. The few Skaarj that guard him are generally the toughest of the Warrior classes and health is scarce, so the player has to be careful not to take too much damage during the course of the few fiights that the map has to offer.Nali Cove 2
is ultimately anticlimactic. The player finds the high priest, and then the game ends. We are left none the wiser as to who the player is, how he came to be here, or why... but it looked fairly pretty along the way.Gramercy
by Chris Burgess
Site score: 38%
Now, this is more interesting. Gramercy
is infamous primarily for being hugely overscaled, but as well as being large the map also displays an interesting concept, inspired seemingly by Nali Castle
and Bluff Eversmoking
, of an ancient Nali fortress sitting on a rocky crag surrounded by a lake of lava. Not the most hospitable of environments, to be sure, and it's very dark and moody. You have to wonder why the Nali would want to make their home in so bleak a place as this!
There's still not much of a story, although as the player overcomes the defences and makes his way through the mountain pass he follows the journals of a human scout who may have made it through the valley before him. This time, though, the gameplay is interesting enough to make the lack of a story less important. Plenty of z-axis movement is required for the player to make his way through the fortress, ambushed from time to time by Skaarj that lurk in dark corners or dodging boulders thrown by Titans - which, this time, I found it easier not
to try and kill, although there was enough ammo around to make doing so perfectly possible.Gramercy
is not technically well accomplished - it's much larger than it needed to be and the lighting is weak. However, it demonstrates effectively how an ambitious concept and sense of "place" can make a map memorable even when the build quality isn't really up to scratch.
Next up: Uh-oh, it's Zora's Episode 1