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.
Although fights are boring and often unfair, and the map design is somewhat lacking, this mod shines through its atmosphere and story. While the story itself could easily be the plot of a B-Movie it is how this story is told and how much background info can be found throughout the mod that creates a densley packed atmosphere.
I don't like to give or usually give out ones. I'm really sorry to the mod's creator, but this just isn't any good at all.
The mapping is full of unoptimized areas. I went outside the map out of sheer boredom in what I believe was the third level and found giant chunks of geometry and whole ROOMS with connecting hallways to the playing area that were unused. Why do that?
Models are either not-well designed [that bottle of...whatever it was that looked like toxic waste] or taken from the HD pack from Half-Life 1 [ALA that Beretta pistol], reskinned, and repositioned in the view model. Also, huge inconsistencies with the weapons. The enemies use the USP Match from HL2 while I use a Beretta? Why not just then make everything even?
Story had a HUGE exposition moment in the beginning [with the spinning planet where I could tell the camera was moving and pretty much nothing else aside from the rocket (trying to do that old Halo 1 trick)]. Once I saw that, I knew I was immediately in trouble, because I got BORED by it. I am always one for story over pretty much everything else, and I got bored by it? There's a huge problem right there.
Audio is complete nonsense. The voice acting is WAY over-the-top and unbelievable, almost borderline psychotic. There is almost no ambiance audio in any level. I had a hard time finding any music, if there even was any.
And to round this out, a lot of textures I found out were taken from Jailbreak!
Heavy disappointment and woe await those who play this mod. If you can even finish it [I got stuck after the first shoot-out/AI bludgeoning].
The story was shallow. The station had no windows and was a repetitive labyrinth of sterile, monotonous metal hallways devoid of any remarkable qualities. The characters were vacuous and 1 dimensional. The enemies were unexplained, uninspired, repetitive, and unbalanced. While some voice acting was average (with the exception of ALL minor characters, who sounded like they had speech impediments), the script was bland and predictable and offered no nuances from a bare-bones bio shock/system shock clone. Also (and this is not a spoiler) the mod just ends abruptly with no exposition or resolution.
As this criticism is intended to be constructive, I will include suggestions.
Level Design: Vary the lighting a little (Sconces, lanterns, flicker effects). Add windows. Add multiple levels, such as balconies, or observation windows to upper levels. Add more objects to the floor, to imply that humans inhabit the area. Everything felt like it was adjacent to everything else.
Script Writing: Try to make the characters less stereotypical.(Stereotypes include: The troubled visionary, the obsessive, perfectionist scientist, the political martyr, the narcissistic, delusional celebrity).
Pacing/Atmosphere: Enemies should be more intimidating. The citizens were not because the fact that they are demented is never depicted in the mod, or used as a plot device. Bio shock and system shock uses ominous graffiti, remnants of horrific, disturbing atrocities, and classic psychotic babbling to make the enemies horrifying.
Gameplay Balance: Source uses vector cones to simulate bullet spread. Widen those of the NPCs to the point at which they don't aim like hackers in Counter Strike.
PS: I think it is hilarious that the med-kits in this game are hard liquor. Your character would have lethal alcohol poisoning after consuming that many vending machines worth of the stuff, not to mention that he would be unconscious and completely incapable of combat after a few bottles.
Without any armor, makes the game a bit tough.
The citizens you fight against sure seem a bit tougher than your combine guards you would be fighting against in HL2 (obviously this isn't HL2, but just a comparison).
Definitely has the potential for replayability.
Very good mod, and worth the time to download it.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the mod there were some area where it fell down. The environments were somewhat sparsely furnished and boxy in construction. Though there were some very good custom models these could have been further expanded. Some variety in enemy uniforms could have avoided all the enemies looking like spawning clones.
The mod did seem to borrow from a number of games both in terms of storyline and gameplay mechanic implementation. It was very Doom-esque with pull lever, move to point B, find keycard, use keycard progression. Playing on the train system was fun and reminiscent of HL1 though im split if the scenario reminded me more of Red Faction.
The storyline itself reminded me of Bioshock on numerous occasions of dystopian society, the antagonists mirrored a number of characters from that game. The scene with the painting npc reflected the speech with Anthony Ryan. There speaker ordering you acted in a similar vein to Atlas and the final character mimicked his omniscient view and urge for control and disregard for human life. The man with the painted face mirrored the theatrical boss and certain elements like the vending machines and health vials had an overwhelming similarity to the artdeco style employed by Bioshock. This could of course be mere coincidence.
I though the crows was a little underdeveloped as adversaries as they were somewhat overpowered and rarely encountered. I know they played into the story but those elements could have been expanded.
There were some borrowed element that worked very well. For me the Data Log System drove the back and side stories. Informing the player that there were remaining logs ensure they could grasp the full story which you were guiding them on also helped this mechanic but still allowing them to proceed ensure that the player wasn't forced to collect them was a good design choice.
Although it may seem I am being critical I thoroughly enjoyed playing this mod and recommend everyone to play i
While the idea is cool and the story is thought-out, it just is not very fun to play. Combat is sparse yet concentrated. All the levels feel extremely empty. It gets very boring after a while. And it takes forever to do anything it seems. Also the added sound effects are of poor quality and feel cheap. I didn't like it very much at all. 4/10 for effort.