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Unreal Gold

Review: Traveling in Time: Medieval

A step back from Xellos in almost every aspect

Project information

Traveling in Time: Medieval
Nikola -(DOG)- Genyo
Unreal Gold
Single Map

Main review

As time would eventually show, Nikola will get us used to fairly regular releases in her name. Traveling in Time: Medieval is her third SP/Cooperative outing, the first in 2015. And, in multiple aspects, it seems like a step back from Xellos in almost every aspect. Let us analyze why that is.

Promising Outskirts.

The player starts out in an area that could very well be one of Wasserburg Eusebius' more obscure secrets, at least it resembles one of that location's libraries, only significantly smaller. Upon arming themselves, their only option to progress forward is via a bunch of energy beams serving as a portal. Judging from the map's title, it is a time portal, plunging us into the Medieval Age. We are provided with a translator - as it will be demonstrated in due time, it sees barely any action.

Fields are a nice detail.

The medieval town we are transported to feels... underwhelming. Gone is Nikola's Vividy-like grandioseness, while at the same time she borrows his knack at inadequate, too dark lighting. While one would expect a town (skytown themed, and with skytown's music) at night to be fairly dark, I was happy to see a searchlight fairly early because it became so much more visible than without. The progress is simple: firstly, the player needs to access one of the guard towers to find a lever that opens the town's main gate, then they have two choices - either turn back and go down the stairs, or continue on, down the other spiral staircase, opening the other guard tower from within. Either way seems fine. There is a bit to explore too, in the form of two small buildings, one of which contains the Combat Assault Rifle. It might be prudent to pick it up early, as it, along with the Minigun, will make quick work of the skeleton crew that defends the towers. That's right: there are only a couple Krall plus some pests defending the crucial lever that can open the town these guys clearly don't want you in. This is a problem of the entire level to be honest: there is too little opposition. The areas feel almost empty. There are no patrols outdoors, only three or four snipers and a bunch of insects. Krall are either holed up indoors, in small numbers, or were dealt with before entering the town. I can be a fan of slow burn and some tension between encounters but unfortunately, in this aspect Medieval does not deliver. There's barely any population even on Unreal difficulty and barely any challenge. The snipers may take some cheap shots at the player but upon reloading and dealing with them then, there's nothing else that can pose as a legitimate threat.

Texture Alignment is hit and miss.

As for the town's planning and construction - as I mentioned, it's a small settlement. A couple houses that Nikola didn't provide with any interior, a warehouse, a church and a pub. These last three, being the main points of interest for the player, are explorable. There is also a couple of translator messages which have an unusual quiet sound effect applied to them so they can be easily missed. However, they are pretty simple. Three serve as designations of the locations, one serves as a lead left by a warehouse worker, one is the player character's comment on a clue in the church and lastly, one serves as the player character's comment upon finding a secret tunnel which is the last area of the map.

Floating Lamps.

Regarding the visuals, they feel a lot more basic than Eusebius and Xellos that came before. The starting area before the town seems promising, even if the ground textures are stretched to the point of being blurry here and there. There is some attention to detail in both explorable buildings to the far side of the river bank, and the fields with grown produce. The fields are a nice touch reminding us that whoever worked there had to do some elbow grease of their own to not go hungry. Inside the town walls, there are also storage spots for wood and the buildings are connected by a network of roads. Street lights are present and the spots where they were put are definitely better illuminated, so there is some attempt at realism. It's too bad that it went too far, as the dark spots are indeed a pain. Additionally, upon making their way onto the walls, the player will see a visual glitch with the lights there: the wooden posts levitate a little above the walkway.

The Church-being a point interest-is decently detailed.

The buildings serving as the main points of interest are nicely done and properly equipped with furniture and other stuff. However, there's very little opposition inside. For instance, the pub should have had way more enemies in it than two groups + pests. Especially given that it's basically the last area of the map. It could've-- it should've ended on a high note but it did not. Instead, after eliminating what little enemies there were, the player is left to explore that area until they find the underground tunnel and walk to the end of it, abruptly ending the adventure.

The audial layer is in the norm. There's decent ambience throughout. Only one music track plays throughout the level, it being the skytown theme - and only its main ambient section is used. I'd be hoping for some of the action section in the pub at least, but alas.


Nikola's third project is her at her lowest. Lack of the scale of the predecessors, underwhelming lighting, little to no action, very little story (more than Eusebius which had none but way less than Xellos) and a previously known glitch in the form of certain elements levitating a little above ground. There is a decent general idea of the location with a proper sense of place... but it just doesn't feel like a Nikola map. Both her previous outings (and every single one of the ones that came after) are so much better. Still, a completionist should at least give this a shot... and let's remember: every single one of us can fumble at times. What matters is how we learn from it.

Download Link:ā€¦

Build (21%)
  • Architecture
    Imagination, realism and detail of structures used in the design of the level.
  • Texturing
    Use of textures in the level. Technically speaking, alignment and scaling. Choice of textures, and quality of any custom textures used.
  • Lighting
    Lighting of the level: does it look cool? Use of light colour and other effects, and sourcing of lighting (no light out of nowhere).
  • Sound
    Use of ambient sounds and event sounds to give the level atmosphere, and the quality of any custom sounds. Appropriate use of music and silence to complement the atmosphere.
  • Technical Execution
    Technical soundness of the level, i.e. no visual glitches, no random deaths or other gameplay bugs, and a good framerate.
Cast (15%)
  • Conceptual Grandness
    Scale, imagination, awe & originality of design and layout, physical foreshadowing of future areas.
  • Story Construction
    Backing story & progression via translator, subplots, and script of voice acting where applicable. Logical choice of opposition.
  • Story Implementation
    Progression of the written story via the events of the level, and performance of voice actors where applicable.
  • Gameplay Awe
    Quality of scripted sequences, originality and staging of combats. Maps that force the player to "learn by dying" will be penalised.
  • Gameplay Balance
    Balance of weapons and items to creatures, including difficulty settings. Most importantly, fun factor.
Below average

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