You wake up in a dark alley, not knowing anything. What has happened anyway? You struggle after the truth and answers. Answers you want to know in the darkness and fear, which makes your heartbeat race like violent blows against your head. Where do "they" come from? What has happened? Are you just turning insane? The time is up; you can't stay there reading your smses forever. It's time to head out and find the answers. Cry of Fear is a singleplayer modification of Half-Life 1 which brings you the horror you've always been afraid of. It's a total conversion of Half-Life 1, which means it uses NO Half-Life 1 content or other peoples' files. It's all made exclusively by the developers. It also uses new gaming styles that you will rarely find in Half-Life mods, such as advanced cutscenes and other stuff that will be revealed at a later date.
Cry of Fear. The esteemed Cry of Fear that won many awards for it's creepiness and general quality. This game is far from perfect and I can't fathom how it won these many awards.
The gameplay is absolutely awful and clunky, most of the guns felt weak, and some were just downright useless to use (aka the TMP). The movement felt bugged and clunky as well, which resulted in an extremely annoying time during the jumping puzzle sections of the modification.
The graphical enhancements were somewhat subpar in implementation and usage, because some of the maps looked really cheap with the bump maps and some other graphical effect I don't know about, but others used it well, and looked nice with them. Other effects somewhat caused lag in certain areas, but I think that might be a limit with Half-Life's engine itself, so I don't know if it really was subpar implementation or if it really was just the way the engine worked. Who knows.
Monster design and mapping was decent. Most of the maps looked really good and accommodated the monsters very well. Some aforementioned maps above I already described and don't need to be again. The monsters looked pretty creepy in some ways while others looked retarded (see the sawer boss, and the suiciders).
Something that also should be mentioned is that I believe this mod relies too heavily on darkness for it's scare factor along with the typical cheap jump scares in almost every horror mod or game ever. I still have yet to see something that can be scary during the DAYTIME.
Now onto the part of the game that was done well. I enjoyed the storyline for this game and I thought it was done well for the most part aside from certain sequences (see Sophie's suicide).
The story can hit home with many players, even myself in terms of certain aspects of it, and for that, I applaud the developers for writing something this great.
For closing arguments, the game was hard to play with the clunky gameplay, but had a great story.
It gets a 5/10.
Don't get me wrong on this one, regardless of anything I might have stirred up before now, I wanted to like this mod. But you have to realize, yes, it was in development for quite a long time, I've heard 4 years, and they've obviously got talent, but they just didn't use that talent properly, to be brutally honest.
I'm not going to complain too much about the jump scares, because you DO need to throw a few at the player, if you want that horror atmosphere to mean anything. But there's such a thing as doing it a bit too much. Without giving anything specific away, there's a map where they have a jump scare and, apparently, thought it was scary enough to use it several times in that same map.
The backtracking also wouldn't be too bad, if it weren't for the fact most of the maps aren't particularly interesting or unique, and some of it just feels unnecessary. Chapter 4 in particular, without, again, being too specific, requires you to backtrack through areas you've mostly already been to, find two items, in this long process, just to open a door. You then later find a way back around to the area you used those two items in so you can retrieve them to progress to a new area.
It's also not always clear where you need to go, since, again, the maps aren't the most interesting or unique. I was stuck in one area because it turns out that there was a bus with a broken window in it that I had to climb through. I had to look this up to find out, because it's just not that clear that you had to do that.
The voice acting is also a bit detrimental, but I don't expect grade A acting out of a Half-Life mod.
I will say, the visuals are quite impressive, for the most part. They've done some very impressive things with the engine, it's just a shame the game itself isn't that good.
I could also mention it just isn't really scary, and the story isn't particularly well done, but overall, Cry of Fear is impressive as a mod, it just isn't particularly GOOD.
- health/ammo systems
- dual weapons
- limited inventory is overall nice but... see cons
- textures, enemies, weapons are new and some new interactions are made possible, always appreciated
- ambience is overall nice, except it's not frightening at all (I've never played a game that is actually frightening anyway so no problem here)
- open choices? nope (most linear game ever)
- backtracking is BAD (and on this point, back to the limited inventory, having to leave your weapons in order to be able to pick extremely light -but mandatory- items that could just fit in your pocket and having to backtrack (again) in order to pick your weapon back is BAD. I mean, BAD)
- originality? nope
- characters/story? boring...
- saving "checkpoints" are BAD
- playability? well:
-- a vent opens at 1cm above the ground. you have to jump to get in
-- infighting is awfully awful... being 2cm from your enemy won't always make you hit. being 2m away won't always make your enemy fail.
- dropping some items make them disappear while they should not, either 10s after you dropped them (they just fall inside the ground) or like 20mn after you dropped them, after killing 20 enemies and finishing your backtracking
- the current 9.3 note makes me want to rate the game 1/10 just to make hype addict fanboys cry
One-line-summary: Sadly doesn't live up to the hype.
CoF is a great example of how a game can be hyped into oblivion. The good parts of this mod aren't original and the original parts aren't good. Put differently: The parts that are fun feel highly derivative and the elements you haven't seen in another shooter (of which there are few) are executed badly, sometimes frustratingly bad. I won't write a two-page review here, as this really wouldn't make much sense in this case. Instead, I'll resort to the good old good-and-bad-points system of reviews:
+ Pushing the HL engine to its limits
+ Mostly detailed maps
+ Some great music
+ Excellent ambience effects
+ Good weapon animations
+ Storyline shows promise in the beginning
+ Fun co-op mode
- Tries hard but fails to be original
- Laughably bad looking monsters
- Few effective scares
- Lot of annoying backtracking required
- Some needlessly frustrating scenes
- Simplistic storyline with pathetic ending(s)
- Lackluster protagonist voice-acting (and artificial... pauses... are... annoying...)
- Unstable, game crashes often
- Very few servers
- Devs hunting for cash ("donations", expensive soundtrack)
Keep in mind that this mod has been in development for several years, has been hyped by the developers themselves and that they even take money ("donations") for extra content. The soundtrack goes for 15 bucks, available as low-quality MP3s only.
Some last advice: No matter what you think about my review, be highly suspicious about the 9 and 10 point ratings here. Don't fall for the hype by incompetent fanboys who just have no clue as to how to review anything. Also pay attention to all the 10* ratings right after this mod was released. You should've played through it at least once before rating.
Update: More like a 5.5* due to fun multiplayer, revised certain aspects.
This mod had just blown it with DRM due to its requirement of the HL Steam version and so will the updated patches via auto-update. The lack of manual download patches is also something to talk about for future mods that shall concern Moddb and Desura. Even though this mod can be played without Steam, an unknown bug in-game will force the mod not to continue unless if played continuously with Steam. If this is a Half-Life 2 mod, I wouldn't be seeing and hearing about requirement issues, and that would have turned this mod into a fun and epic one.