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06/04/2024 - "Wasserburg Eusebius - Fall" by Nikola -(DOG)- Genyo

Each week a single map is discussed here in detail.

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User avatar Sat42
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Subject: 06/04/2024 - "Wasserburg Eusebius - Fall" by Nikola -(DOG)- Genyo

Post Posted: 06 Apr 2024, 20:17

Map Title: Wasserburg Eusebius - Fall
Author: Nikola -(DOG)- Genyo
From: Wasserburg Eusebius (2021)
Filename: Eusebius_Fall.unr




Video Playthrough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8rT5684_Js

Synopsis: The legends say the Holy Grail should be in this castle. You wonder if you can find it...

Discuss!
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

User avatar Semfry
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Subject: Re: "Wasserburg Eusebius - Fall" by Nikola -(DOG)- Genyo

Post Posted: 07 Apr 2024, 23:47

Overall As a large scale action level this is good. Some of the enemy combos are a little ill-fitting even with the lack of narrative (like natural enemies next to Skaarj along with random Berserkers causing chaos), but the setups are generally fine and make use of the environment despite it's size. I feel the "conversing Krall" feature is overused a bit (something I found in Nikola's other maps too); when every pack of them has that it loses the naturalistic behaviour it's supposed to evoke, and it also harms their combat by both making them sitting ducks and also resulting in them getting stuck on each other and similar issues when they are alerted. The water tunnel to leave the big library area was also a bit obscure since none of the other water pits have tunnels and there's seemingly no visual clues to single it out.

The visuals are pretty impressive even if the sense of place is lacking a little beyond the story mention that this is apparently a castle. The very white fog in the large room is odd, but I guess it's better than the overly dark original version of the room. There's also a clear improvement after you "find" (kind of weird how it's just not referenced after, but I guess a sequel is/was planned?) the grail and fall into the gear puzzle area, which makes sense as that's mostly entirely new from what I remember. As a remake, looking back it's overall a big improvement, and most of the stuff after the big foggy room is new, which is a good revision because the parts after that were easily the weakest part of the original map, while this one mostly keeps it's momentum until the end, although the Warlord boss gets stuck a bit easily. If this is intended to be a series hopefully we do get a follow-up at some point.
Formerly Mman

User avatar Sat42
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Subject: Re: "Wasserburg Eusebius - Fall" by Nikola -(DOG)- Genyo

Post Posted: 13 Apr 2024, 22:26

I'd usually post my comments sooner but it's been a busy week...

As usual, thanks for the video Semfry!

I had also previously played the original version of this map and like Semfry, I find this remake to be a big improvement. It's one of the best maps by Nikola, and my personal favourite. But that isn't saying too much, let me elaborate...

If you consider the average official Unreal map to be roughly very good, then Wasserburg Eusebius - Fall is just about on a par, albeit more extreme: its graphics are better (usually), its scale is greater (usually), but its narrative is inferior across the board and the gameplay flow suffers from that. Remember, we're coming at this from a single player perspective. Nikola's work seems to be entirely geared towards satisfying the coop community, and while it can work as an SP experience, I'm not sure I'd go so far as to bother with reviewing it using UnrealSP.org's scheme. Wasserburg Eusebius - Fall is a good example of this kind of "coop first, SP second" map, because it still manages to be enjoyable in SP and hence worth playing, while also illustrating just how different the coop mentality is compared to SP. It's not as good as most of the recent SP offerings. To be honest, those huge halls would fare better with the EXU2 gametype...

I do really like the new music track used here, it helps elevate the atmosphere a lot in conjunction with the best visual set pieces. One big fight was challenging the first time round (even on the Medium difficulty setting, thanks to the snipers), and the big foggy room with the massive waterfall and nice palm trees and warm lighting from fires reminded me of Turok 2 so that's a plus! The narrative experience - which should be understood to be more than just explicit script - is just about average, the classic reversal of finding the McGuffin but being denied possession of it at the last moment helped maintain momentum until the end.

I don't know if it's because of the "broad strokes" approach of coop-centric maps, but an annoying habit of the author is to screw up little details in otherwise really good looking areas: the best example would be again that big foggy room with the waterfall and palms, which you can see in the OP (3rd screenshot, angle chosen so as to avoid highlighting the visual bugs), as it suffers from at least one unlit vegetation mesh, and water zones that didn't get set to enable fog so the water surface comes across as unlit too. Also, the skybox looks fine at first (zenith view), until later when you get a more horizontal view (breaking the immersion completely).

Probably the single most remarkable fact about this map is that it's the first one I played which has a total node count higher than what was originally possible in this engine: over 100K! but less than ~130K, the theoretical max allowed in patch 227I, so I don't understand why later 227 versions that at least quadruple the original node count limit are required... Anyway, there's definitely some high poly stuff here (for UE1), though it's mostly noticeable in the second (and better) half of the map. The lion statue mesh from Deus Ex is cool too :wink:

I hope that one day Nikola will focus on making a more SP-centric experience. She knows how to make (very) good geometry and lighting, and combines that well with atmospheric tracks. Gameplay is alright but will undoubtedly improve once she starts implementing serious narratives with scripted sequences etc.
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.


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