Dissolution is a science fiction, single-player mod for Half-Life 2 that mixes adventure and action game-play. Set in the year 2089, in a universe dominated by a mega corporate entity, Xterrier, the player awakes in a hidden lab to the voice of the mysterious Wilson. Guided by Wilson, the player must make their way through the ravaged Xterrier 581c colony, making use of any and all resources they can get their hands on in order to survive, all the while attempting to piece together the events leading to the colony's collapse and their own identity.
A noble attempt which shows plenty of effort but falls short of being good. I like that it uses plenty or custom textures to ensure it doesn't look like Half-Life but the levels were quite bland and boxy. The gameplay was doom level simple (find key card/flick switch/shoot) which is okay for some but I would prefer some thing more taxing. The Dr. Wilson voice acting was good but the rest was quite poor, for example the V/A for Monty Tallstick could not pronounce "Oblige" properly.
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.
Quite a good attempt for most of the designed layed onto one man's shoulders. The story was good but I did get lost here and there. One's thing for sure though is that when I heared the logs about Goldman's memory being erased by William and me waking up with no clue what is going on made me subicious.
There are a few things that bother me though such as the way NPCs were used in massive mobs attacking the player. This might of worked if you had a buddy but just hammering one guy that can be easily killed after a few gunshots just makes me panic when I see a simple civilian. There was a point that I had to fight off 8-10 guys with 35 health on Easy... maybe it's just me. At least the telepathic crow felt right because I just whipped my shotgun out immediatly and blew it's head off when I felt its presence. That's how scared I was of that thing.
Speaking of crows, the first time you enter the crow infested labs with all the crazy illusions worked really well. I'm curious though why there wasn't any other areas with crows that had similar illusions. Then again, that would give away the unexpected feeling when going around the corner and there's one right there.
The environment felt really packed and somewhat artificial (yes, man-made structures I get but the rock walls in the train tunnels... could be more rounder on the corners using subdivide) but there was some exploration which somewhat helped overlook it. Too bad I couldn't shoot out the windows to get into a locked room.
The music/ambience seemed to be missing in a lot of places and where there was music it could of been looped... which I'm not sure its that easy to do with Hammer but I'm learning.
Overall, a fairly good mod that can give you a few good scares now and again. Just don't expect the locals to play nicely with you since they love to rush you.
Pretty fun, no major issues bug-wise that I encountered.
However, the mod is mostly hallways with just one sort of enemy running at you. Health is scarce and often you don't come across enough at a time to make up for even one hit by an enemy.
Further, one type of enemy damages you as soon as it's within line of sight of you, which, considering I often had little health, meant a lot of reloading the last save. Adding even the slightest bit of delay to its attack would have been great.
Enemies don't drop ammunition, however ammo is plentiful and each pickup adds to every weapon's ammo, which I think was a nice idea.
Having audio logs was nice, however it would worked much better with more coding work—for example having a mini-UI where you could listen to previously picked up audio logs, as they're quiet enough to be drowned out by any ambient noise. Being able to scamper off to a quiet closet to listen to them would have been better.
Another thing, though it may be minor, is that I think the flashlight shouldn't have been taken out. It wouldn't have harmed the story, and though most of the mod is bright, sometimes I just want to get a better look at something without having to crank up my gamma.
Dissolution is a linear fun action/exploration game wherein you
have to find your way out of a spaceship/station designed to shelter
the remaining humans from an catastropic world-war.
The game is simple and fun, though the missions can get repetetive and the
PDA's wich you find aren't really usefull (only for story).
The enemy's dont have many different weapons but thats ok, it will remind you
of System Shock 2 with less backtracking.
Overall decend and full of voice-acting wich is nice.
Easy to install and have fun.
download here: Moddb.com
I really enjoyed this mod. It gave a great story experience and the universe it's set in really sparks a lot of interest. Although the combat felt repetitive to me, I really enjoyed the crows that you find a long the way, gave me quite a scare the first time I came across one.
I hope to see more works like this in the future.
If there is one place this mod shines, it is in creating suspense. The sterile atmosphere and empty corridors are brilliant at freaking you out, and some of the more fantastic elements (such as the crows) can make this mod very creepy at times.
Unfortunately, Dissolution has one major problem: It's not actually that fun to play. Combat is ridiculously difficult to begin with, due to Zerg rushes from enemies and a useless pistol, before becoming comically easy once you get your hands on the shotgun. Enemy variety is nonexistent, and the only enemies you see swarm you in packs at scripted moments. The fact that the entire game was just a series of fetch quests featuring a climax ripped straight from Bioshock didn't help one bit.
That said, Dissolution is still a recommended download, if only to bear witness to the bleak level design and surprisingly good voice acting. Still, it could have been so much better.
Dissolution drops you into a catastrophically-failed Exterrier colony on Gliese 581c. You're dead - kind of. You're greeted over the radio by a nervous scientist named Wilson. He guides you through the colony, helping you by opening doors and giving you instructions. You follow his orders, given no other option.
The story of Dissolution is fantastic. The introductory sequence is a bit lengthy, discouraging those ready to jump in the action, but it fleshes out the history of Exterrier and WHY you're where you are - something surprisingly lacking in most mods.
Once you get on your feet and start exploring the colony, one of the first thing you'll realize is the stunning voice acting. However, this contrasts with the low quality of the weapons, maps, and sounds.
Weapons are very low-quality and unnatural in both appearance and gunplay. The pistol, for example, takes nearly an entire clip to kill a single enemy, while the shotgun can wipe through three with a single shot.
Mapping is simple yet charming. Repetitive locked doors and hunt-the-key style gameplay doesn't add to the tunnels. On the bright side, the maps are non-linear, allowing you to move around and find secret audio logs scattered around the levels. These audio logs give some insight into the player character's mystery, and how the Exterrier 581c colony collapsed, adding a nice touch of immersion and history to the already-excellent story.
Despite the mediocre gameplay, low-quality models, and basic mapping, the mod still manages to shine simply through voice acting and story. Dissolution truly shows that, in essence, graphics don't matter if the game has a good story.