2011 release renamed to: G STRING BETA. The Dec. 19 2011 release is now referred to as a beta release- read the mod's "news" to see why. Download the beta in the mod's "downloads" section.
At first let me tell you that I review the 1.0 version here.
This mod is one single masterpiece. It takes a place now in my hall of fame hl2 mod list in my head, I wish I could give it a 10, I really wish, but sadly there are some flaws which makes it impossible todo so for me.
The good things:
This mod does have a straight out amazing atmosphere. Everything fits, the level design is impressive to revolutioning. You walk over house roofs then down to the canals to get back into a house to cross the ravine over a broken vent shaft, myo where are you taking me next?! The level design is one of the best, not only does the level designer understand how make linear ways look everything else than linear, she also understands to make the world around realistic, there are often just empty rooms whith nothing in it, and that is great. Also there is a lot of detailed work, you can see stuff lying around everywhere, and every passage looks yet different than the one before. The textures, soundtrack and sounds are also extremely well done and together with the level design it makes places really 'feel' like being real.
Every level designer out there could watch this and pretty sure learn a thing or too from it, simply fantastic.
The fights are okay, ranging from easy to hard to frustratign, but overall they nearly never seem to be unfair and you ever fight accross a great variation of combat areas.
The story is okay but could have told better, sometimes it is hard to understand the (great) voice actors and to follow the story, you often forget what you are actually doing there.
The bad thing:
The few bugs are not really the problem, but the problem is the sometimes pretty unlogic ways and some extremely unlogic situations.
You often have no goddamn clue of where to walk on, I only made it from habing hundreds of hours experience with such mods. And often you die without knowing what happened, my favourite are the flower pots which crush on your head and instantly kill you.
This mod is obviously a labor of love and a gargantuan effort for one person to undertake. It's also one of the best single player mods I've ever played.
I truly enjoyed the visual appearance and cityscape that this person crafted.
Like others have said, while the level conception is brilliant, the level design can be lacking. The fact that the developer has to point out how to pass the first level in the game in the game description says it all. (Why would anyone put a keycard on the outside ledge of a window?) I wouldn't be able to pass most levels without the walkthrough posted on YouTube.
I got so frustrated last night that I uninstalled the game. Today I'm going to reinstall because I want to see all the levels and experience the game.
+ Amazing level visualization and conception
+ Amazing effort by a single person
+ Voice acting, however little of it there may be
+ Interesting story
- "Widescreen" view presentation (black bars on top and bottom of screen seem to be there for effect, but don't add anything)
- Level design needs work. Difficult to find the path to the next level, and when I find a path, it seems like I'm cheating the game or doing something that wasn't allowed
- Bad collision detection in some parts. Inconsistent destructibility of boarded up things, windows, etc. Couldn't walk through a door that I opened one time
- "Not sure I can fix the fireball usage related crash"
- "Glare" effect makes some areas unviewable
* Story and message are, in my opinion, highly farfetched and paranoid. However, this is often how SciFi is used as a tool to scare/remind us to prevent going down a foolish path.
* The game could have gone without so much offensive language. Half Life 2 was just as eery and didn't need to say "****" and "bitch" and "****" constantly.
SUGGESTION TO THE DEVELOPER:
There are plenty of competent people out there that loved this game and I would highly recommend enlisting some help in ironing out issues
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.
I tried really hard to like this, but I was constantly getting stuck and the horrible letterbox/noise effect got to me. I don't know why you added them but I hope you remove them for v2.
Like others have said, 10/10 for effort but in execution the mod is pretty horrible. I hope you spend more time on the level design and not just the visuals (which, in the v2 screenshots, look fantastic.)
The mod is severely broken by level design that does nothing to remotely help direct the player where they need to go. The story is nearly non-existent [I verbally questioned why I should not go back and help the supposedly Hungarian scientist part-way through the game]. Color palates make every area feel exactly the same with very little deviation from motif. What felt like the first 15 levels of the game seemed to be filler for the remainder of the story.
It literally felt like the beta all over again, this time with lights in the final 40 or so maps so it wasn't fullbright.
I'm sorry, but this monumental effort on MyoHyo's part [which I exceedingly congratulate her for on every level] produced a mediocre game at best that will challenge the player to the breaking point. Even I, a relatively patient person who can wait out a particularly cantankerous game such as "Darkest of Days," found myself at the verge of throwing my keyboard across the room. The mod's overall design is just the pinnacle of what not to do.
That being said, I do believe story concepts [when not lost in rather bizarre sequences or when not lost in filler mapping] proved to be rather intriguing. It shows the truest form of a totalitarian government that can soon become reality. That being said, though, I never felt I understood the NAU's motive to stop you or felt any kind of emotion for any character I encountered.
What really saves this mod, though, is just the thought that MyoHyo took five years of her life to construct this. For that, I again thank her for the effort.
I´m aware of the enormous work behind this mod, yet, the way it is implemented made it feel boing and sterile with many drawbacks that prevented me to enjoy it and so i quited very quickly. I know i can´t judge a 1.7gb mod by the first five minutes but sometimes the way something starts tells all about it. If i had to chose a rating for the effort, it would be 10 for sure, but here we are rating the product and not the work behind.
This review is of version 1.0 as-is.
+ Partially excellent voice acting
+ A LOT of new content
+ Mostly good music
+ Mostly great atmosphere
+ Mostly good mapping, very fitting maps and very atmospheric
+ Interesting moral choice(s) to make
+ New, creative "enemies": You deal with more than your typical soldier or monster in this game: often the environment itself is hazardous
+ A big interesting story, questioning our morality
+ There is a good mix of fighting, puzzles and "relaxing" moments
+ There are some very challenging, yet fun combat areas with fitting music
- Partially very robotic/emotionless voice acting
- It is difficult to hear people talk (Their audio files are too quiet in comparison to the game sounds)
- There are some areas where the music feels slightly out of place
- Sometimes "blocky" mapping, lacking detail in some areas
- There are some rooms/areas which seem somewhat pointless, as they are often entirely empty
- There are too few hints to help the player find his way, sometimes I even thought there was no solution, or it was hidden too well
- There is a lot of inconsistency in enemy behavior
- Difficult start: No real hints on how to use the powers correctly (despite them being essential to survival early game)
- No iron sights or crosshair: This makes using firearms difficult
- VERY often there are objects in the way of movement, doors and books on the floor tend to block movement entirely and jumping barely helps (making them not collide with the player would have helped a great deal. I was busy looking at the floor, trying to navigate around objects more than I could focus on the great atmosphere and vistas)
- The "smoke-vision" effect you get from throwing fireballs is very blinding
- The sound for rockets is VERY annoying
- Linear leveldesign
- A bit nit-picky: The animation for the hammer looks a bit awkward (swinging it from below)
I wish I had more characters allowed so I could give more details..