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I'm not done with this mod yet. However, I feel like I've played enough to offer a complete opinion (and I wish I had more text characters with which to give it.) This mod is incredible; incredibly made, incredibly flawed.
Made: I adore the atmosphere; so much that I can scarcely quantify my adoration with an explanation. I adore how eeriely uncanny and plausible the vast vistas of desolation and future decay feels. I adore how it bravely wears its politics on its sleeve without actually shoving it in your face, a masterstroke of subtlety. Nothing feels grafted into this world, a world where the machinations of progress itself feel grafted onto every aspect of human life, and often for the worse. I adore this sense of danger and mystery you've so deftly crafted; words cannot describe how I felt, walking onto a ruined street and being genuinely fearful for what lay ahead, from the strange and terrifying things I would face to the sheer dessication the path ahead promised. I adore how unique this has been.
Flawed: The story is practically nonexistent and, when it's there, shockingly opaque. C-zom has more eloquently summed up my misgivings. Strangely, I don't really care, although this mod is in painful, desperate need of subtitles. I don't understand half of what any of the characters say. The shooter sequences are staggeringly inefficient and clumsy (dealing with the Combine-stand ins was almost never fun. Those robots, though? Golden. Amazing. Terrifying.) I feel like I have to do a puzzle every five seconds, for all the obstacles and obtuse paths you shove in our way. Again, that last point is not always a bad thing; I enjoy having to think on my feet. Sometimes.
Any other mod would receive at least a 7 for the above flaws, if it were a normal HL2 mod. But this is not normal: it's something special, horrifying, and ultimately unique, and for that it deserves a 9. Well done.
Short, but sweet. Not very sophisticated, but good enough at eliciting that unsettling feeling you wanna capture in horror. The decision not to use the ol' suit and tie on... well, y'know, was well advised, I think.
This kinda demands an expansion of the concept, as I've yet to see the Slenderman Mythos committed to an actual game, even if it's just a mod. Amnesia is pretty much tailor-mad for it. Do some brain storming and come up with something longer. :)
A realistic and visceral mod that wrings out every tiny last hint of atmosphere it can out of the aging HL2 engine. Combat, while slightly repetitive, is always fun and doesn't take long to resolve. Besides the ending sequence, frustrations were few and far between.
The horror was extremely and disappointingly undercut by the horrendous and ear-splittingly annoying heavy metal that obnoxiously butts in whenever anything even remotely scary happens. Relatively moody atmosphere with such a thoroughly Russian, nihilistic feel? Check. Horrible, genuinely frightening looking abominations lurking around every corner? Also check. You really could have made this scary, and the one, big thing that keeps it from being that is the music. Keep the ambient tracks, remove everything by SLOT. They just drag down the atmosphere of this mod, to be brutally honest.
In the spirit of being fair, I'm still giving this an eight, although I'm more keen to give it a six or seven if only due to the god-awful soundtrack.
I think the most kind thing I can say for this mod is that it didn't drag on for very long. And that it was relatively inoffensive; it didn't make me sit through ten hours of Combine Soldiers and poorly scripted sequences, and that for all intents and purposes it seemed professionally designed.
In short, I see this as a wasted two years only to produce a Bioshock clone which fails in every respect where Bioshock succeeded. It makes the same attempt at an idealistic society that we saw in Bioshock, but it falls flat under a hundred metric tons of bland, featureless corridors and oft-repeated, dry, dull posters and advertisements. Bioshock succeeded on the shoulders of its fantastic art deco design philosophy and keen eye for period advertisements and sensibilities. Dissolution, on the other hand, is another bald space marine saga set in a space colony/spaceship/underground facility, coupled with a fruitless attempt at injecting personality and style.
Also emulating Bioshock is this mod's attempt at introducing a story line with a twist; the only problem being that I saw said twist coming within the first ten minutes of play. The final revelation delivered in a bland monologue by the game's "villain" felt like a perfunctory and unnecessary confirmation of what I already knew.
While we're on the subject of the story, it was uninspired and unmotivated: none of the characters had any clear motivation for what they were doing. I didn't understand Wilson's desire to conquer death, or some such rubbish, nor did I get why Bell was such a tyrant. These things were never explained adequately. And don't get me started on how lame and weak the whole crow thing was. It could have worked with more details put into the script, but honestly...
What's next? Your enemies bullrush you like overpowered lemmings, devoid of personality or feeling, or even dialogue. Complaints regarding gameplay have already been more than addressed, so I won't bother.
Wasted my time.
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