You can all go to hell. I mean it most sincerely.
This is very... inconvinient. Yeah, that's the word that comes to mind most often when you try to play it. The levels are big and open but they're very carelessly made; full of inconvinient geometry, inconvinient doors (the kind that block your way in the WORST moment), and honest to god ridiculous combat. Hey let's make the player ride through a tight, dark, curving tunnel AND add hopper mines of all things. Know what's it called? Being a sociopath. There's too much of that. It's like the modmaker was hellbent on creating the most pronounced antonym to smooth gameplay.
There's constant interruption; either you have to get out of the car to lower first gate, then ride for 5 meters, there's another gate, ride 5 meters, a sudden turn, ride 10 meters, a bunch of enemies... or there's layout interruption where you just cannot maintain constant speed and direction. HL2, Ep1, Ep2 were very carefully tested as to NOT allow that.
You get ambushed in the worst places. All your planning will go to hell because the modmaker predicted your planning and placed deliberate countermeasures. Alyx doesn't help AT ALL because you can't order her to go there, wait at this point, etc.
In addition to that, the mod is just dirty with its technical implementation. There's devbinds that weren't cleared. I tried giving Alyx an order by pressing C - you know, the command key for rebels - but turns out it spawns zombies. And B spawns soldiers. So before you play, make sure to revert all key bingindgs to default.
I mean, isn't this obvious? The game looks like poo. The colour correction is too strong, more like in-correction. The entire premise contradicts itself, how can you keep the original style if you replace carefully stylised textures with sharp photo-rips and heavy colour filtering? No, it's not the same at all.
If I were to describe it in just two words, those would be 'unfair ********'.
First of all, yeah, mapping is good, possibly ever better than Caged. But let's throw it out the window now, because boy does the gameplay suck.
It was obviously never play-tested other than during design phase. It's just too hard. All the enemy encounters are scritped for maximum pain, you often have to mremorise where everything spawns, die 4 times, then finally get through them with 10 hp remaining. Add to that very inconvinient doors/corridords layout, and enemies spawning in HUGE open areas with no cover. Oh, and no armor, because **** you. Yeah, there's no batteries anywhere (there was one I saw but it was unreachable, apparently).
Lemme illustrate. Here. Pp.userapi.com
I was killed pretty much instantly because vortigaunts are already notorious for their precision, and there was no cover, and the stupid door conviniently blocked my escape. And this happens all the time; the challenge isn't progressive but instead weirdly oscillating.
That's all with zombies dealing FOURTY damage on one hit and healtkits being reduced to 15 hp. And, as I said, no armour. You know ****'s bad when you have to scrap for health at the vending machine.
Oh, and one more thing: explosive barrels don't exlode. Ever. So you can't use the surroundings for your advantage, because why put effort into smart gameplay.
So there you go. If you like suffering, go give it a try, I guess.
I forgot this thing was on ModDB, and that I can review it. So here it is. Lowest possible mark because it's atrocious. Dreadful. Ugly. Incompetent. Bad influence on other mods. Basically a crime of defacing a good game that people worked on hard, by replacing it with complete crap.
It's a five, and I only give it five because people took time to organise leaked content. But then, it's not even coherently organised. First of all, level selection is backwards, because leaked/cut Ep2 maps are called 'Half-Life 3' but proto maps with cut Ep3 content are titled 'Aftermath'. Should be flipped. Anyway, besides that, I want to say 'what's the point of this', but I don't want people to assume that I didn't get this mod. I understand what it is: a compilation of all recently (and not as recently...) leaked content, for easy access and convinience. But it's not really easily accesible. I don't know what to do on half of those maps. What's the point of 'clean' maps? That's like launching usual Ep2, impulse 203'ing all the entities, and uploading that save file. What is the point? And then some other ones aren't even maps but just prefabs. Again, why? And lastly, we all know why it was put together and released, it's because of Marc Laidlaw's fanfic. But if you're gonna attempt rebuilding Ep3 and such, you should take a lot more time and care, or not try and call it Aftermath or HL3 content or whatnot.
Most of the levels aren't exciting in the slightest, unlike what HL2 2003 leak was to a lot of people, and myself. Instead it's something mostly meaningless.
Oh, and there're some technical issues. Mod doesn't include AI graphs and it takes its sweet time rebuilding the graphs. The second map has an invisible wall blocking the car. And backwards menu titles.
A five out of ten for effort, minus five for lack of point.
P. S. It can't be a 9 or 10 or even 8. It probably will be 9 because people are gonna flock in and press 9 or 10, like automatons. I'd like to give it 1 just to offset it from the claimed 'perfect' position, but it's kinda evil, so straight 5 it is.
Update: changed it to 1 because it's an overhyped fake mod and it deserves negative points.
Messy incosistent design + atrocious gameplay structure + unstoppable Combine genocide = a tedios and tiresome mod that's wasn't at all exciting to go through.
Oh, and despite two patches it's riddled with bugs, mainly visibility glitches that make geometry, interiors, items and NPCs disappear and reappear. Very bad for its dynamic (and bad) gameplay.
A weird mod that had some good map design (occasionaly, most of the time it's very weird and incosistent map design), some good textures, some new music, but overall felt really unfair with its mechanics, forced control over the player, and the ending. After I finished it I felt tired. Also I had to resort to watching walkthrough videos (which is an extremely rare occasion for me) because sometimes it was ridiculously non obvious what to do, sometimes I couldn't proceed due to bugs so I had to use the console and such. Overall, was not that pleasant of an experience.
Fun mod with beautiful design and well-tuned gameplay. Puzzles are mostly simple and few of them have more than 1-2 steps to them, but they still will probably take a few tries for you to complete. Those that are more complex made me appreciate the mod even more because I know how much scripting those required. Puzzles are followed by action arenas which are well made, neither too easy nor overwhelming, everything felt well balanced and playtested (no suprise, it was beta tested by a whole collective). Doesn't seem to follow any kind of story but instead just aims to creating fun challenge. Did I mention that level design is beautiful? Because it is quite well done, very well done if fact, and you wouldn't normally expect it from a puzzle mod; what I mean that it's not sterile and monotone like Portal, but quite the opposite. I was very pleased with observing quality level design. Good visuals, good balance, fun arenas and good pacing of action and puzzles - why not rate it 10. Go try it, it should be a fun ride.
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