ORION BETA 1.2 - HANDS-ON IMPRESSIONS - HALFLIFE2.NET
Recently Halflife2.net had the pleasure of play testing the latest beta of Orion, known as version 1.2. For those not in the know, Orion is a total conversion deathmatch and capture the flag mod for Half Life 2 with more modes in the pipeline. There are currently 3 classes right now, with 5 planned. I spent a lot of my time playing as both the Support and Assault class. The Assault class gives you two separate machine guns and a jet pack, while the support class includes a single machine gun, a semi automatic shotgun and a magnum. The sniper class includes the standard sniper rifle with the traditional secondary weapons. With the release of 1.2 come some very cool changes and additions to the mod.
New additions that feature in the beta are 4 new maps which may turn out to be major fan favorites. First on the list is Myst, a capture the flag map set in a jungle environment, with some really spiffy water effects. A lot of the fighting takes place out in the open, with plenty of opportunities for the assault class to use the jetpack to their advantage.
Next on the list is Snowdrift, a capture the flag map largely based in a snowy train yard with two opposing bunkers. While it doesn’t have quite as much open battlefield as Myst it is still has a pretty large scope to it. I didn’t get to play very much of Snowdrift, which was a little disappointing, as it was one of the most visually interesting maps. Another new map added was Shadow. Shadow takes on more of a verticality element to it; there are multiple levels from which you can wage war, it’s in a canyon area with routes carved into the rocky terrain. Last on the list is Catchment, a remake of a map that has been in Orion for quite some time. Catchment is easily one of my favorite maps from the beta. The close quarter’s assaults that take place in the narrow hallways really add a unique play style not found in the larger maps.
Along with all the maps come some specific class and gameplay updates. The Sniper now has the previously hinted at cloaking ability, which gives him a Predator-like invisibility. You can move with the cloak still activated, and it will slowly drain the meter. It’s pretty devastating once you get the hang of it, and its rather fun sneaking up on your enemies. On top of all that they have added a ton of performance savers and optimizations to make the game run relatively smooth and bug free. Now, with all of that said there are some minor problems that I feel weighed down Orion. One point is the hacking; you don’t get very much on screen representation while hacking and it feels like a minor feature. You don’t really feel the full effect of hacking has on a specific area, and it could probably be addressed easily.
With the imminent release of the new beta I’m sure it will be building up a fair bit of press and attention, which I wholeheartedly feel it deserves. The attention to detail and how well balanced it is really shows how much work Praz and his team put in is outstanding. With the right audience and attention Orion could really take off and get the attention is deserves.
Orion 1.2 will be available for public download in the near future, with a guarantee of no pesky server crashing issues! Keep an eye out on our weekly mod round-up article to download version 1.2 or visit the Orion website.
Played by Sliver & Hectic Glenn
Preview written by Sliver