The Haunted is a fast paced thirdperson horror-action game with focus on a intense multiplayer experience that is all about making a stand and liberating cursed places from the minions of evil. The game features several multiplayer modes such as coop or demons .vs. humans, where enemies are spawned and controlled by players. The outstanding visuals lay a perfect tone for the gameplay.

Post feature Report article RSS Feed The Haunted v2.0 Impressions

The Haunted v2.0 comes out swinging with a completely retooled multiplayer experience – but does it hit the mark?

Posted by stenchy on May 3rd, 2009

When The Haunted v1 was released, it was met with delighted fanfare due to its advanced visuals but ultimately failed to make a lasting impact with its gameplay. After all, there are many other full-featured offerings that involve you facing off against throngs of zombies/infected/demons/biological-experiments-gone-wrong for survival in a post-apocalyptic playground – not just in the modding scene, but the commercial gaming space as well. If one wants to make a mark with a product in the survival category, it’s got to come out swinging. The Haunted v2.0 does just that with a slew of new additions, including a completely retooled multiplayer experience – but does it hit the mark?

If there’s one thing that Haunted does efficiently, it’s drawing in players with its slick presentation. Right from the outset, the total conversion has achieved a high standard in character and environment fidelity that represents other mods’ loftiest ambitions. Once you get in-game, you’ll find everything looks just as good in motion as well. There’s nary a hiccup as you run around tearing asunder the pitted flesh of Hellspawn, riddling them with bullets or dismembering them with supercharged melee attacks. Any gamer part of the modding scene may be used to seeing an uneven level of quality throughout a mod’s content. This isn’t the case here; all the animations feel smooth and seamless. Strictly taking into account the game's assets, it’s hard to believe that all of this is free. Even though the character models take some obvious inspirations, they all feel like fit together in their own world – a rag-tag bunch facing off against their worst nightmares.

The premise behind Haunted isn’t a complicated one: demons from the underworld are spawning on your turf and it’s killed or be killed. There doesn’t need to be much more to it than that and even if there was, you’d be too busy frantically running away from the hellish horde to contemplate it anyway. The most appreciated additions in this latest version include the new multiplayer modes: Coop, Battle and Demonizer. The latter two involve player controlled demons, with Battle mode supporting up to 8 players in a team-based style akin to Left 4 Dead’s versus. The difference here is players control the spawning of all the demons on a map and have the ability to take command of any one of them at their request. The monsters gallery offers quite a variety of evil – eight monsters to choose from and two AI-controlled “traps”. In addition to this, there’s also an environmental effect to trigger in each of the two maps so far released. When everything is unleashed upon the survivors, it promises to be a hairy situation that will involve many close escapes.

Most players automatically connect the dank and dark claustrophobic spaces with the genre, but this mod’s take proves it can be just as thrilling in broad daylight with a wide open layout. Also, characters have the inexplicable ability to jump from any height without sustaining damage. As a result, you’ll find many routes to take throughout the level to outpace your demon stalkers. Sure, jumping off a five storey building to put a bit of distance between you and your attackers is a bit outlandish, but its fun and increases your mobility. In a mod that doesn’t play favors to those making their last stand in a nondescript corner, you’ll need every chance you can get to keep on the move. Survivor allies aren’t gone forever once they perish either – destroying their soulstone brings them back to life with all of their experience and upgrades intact.

While the first Haunted featured weapon and ammo pickups littered around the level, this new version actually features more weapons in an upgrade system. The monsters you kill occasionally spawn ammo boxes and upgrades exclusive to you (so your allies can’t ninja your loot!), allowing you to upgrade each of the four weapon classes thrice. Adding to this arsenal, there’s four hidden special weapons and dynamite in each level. The upgrade system is a welcome feature as it adds a sense of progression to the mod that feeds into the replayability. Melee attacks can also keep the monsters at a safe range when reloading, with the ability to charge your melee for a devastating insta-kill.

It’s hard to find fault in the survivor gameplay, but playing the demon side in The Haunted does feel a bit unbalanced. Demon players have a limit amount of ‘monster energy’ to use but can respawn as often, and as close, as they like to the survivors. The battle mode suffers the most from this – some may just choose to spawn as one of the more powerful ranged attackers constantly. As a survivor, once you think you’ve downed one player-controlled demon for a bit of a breather, he’s spawned anew right beside you again! It breaks some of the pacing that feels tuned in the Coop modes, and could be remedied with spawn/possession cooldowns or a buffer zone around survivors. Another minor gripe is that usually tolerable latency levels (100-200ms) can result in inaccurate melee attacks. This can be frustrating when you waste what you think is a perfectly timed charged melee attack and instead rush headfirst into gaggle of locust look-a-likes ready to tear your head off.

In its present form, The Haunted v2.0 already exhibits polish that makes it rise above similar prospects in the modding scene and provides a suitable getaway from Left 4 Dead and its commercial ilk. Looking forward, it’s hard not to imagine The Haunted hitting (virtual) shelves in the future if the developers keep this pace up. Simply put, a must download for any action fan.

**Editor's note: If you're having trouble finding a server and want to host your own game behind a router, port-forward ports 30000,7777 and 6500. Ignore the warning message in-game and people should be able to connect to your own listen server just fine. Enjoy!

Post comment Comments
stenchy Author
stenchy May 4 2009 says:

What do you guys think of the new image layouts? Good or too much?

+4 votes   reply to comment
Squeebo May 4 2009 replied:

Good, to me.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Daystranger May 4 2009 replied:

Pixelated black font with white outlines looks crappy.
Let me give you and idea how I THINK it could be better:
Photoshop settings(Layer Style):
(default font, but you could use any you want)

Anyway, great article.

+1 vote     reply to comment
bomblol May 4 2009 replied:

Ugh. No. Looks way too 'photoshoppy'. Though if you use pixel text, use pixel strokes too, ditch the AA unless you are using an AA'd font.
(in response to daystranger)

0 votes     reply to comment
stenchy Author
stenchy May 4 2009 replied:

Thanks for all the comments guys. I have to agree not completely happy with the font (its the 'official' ModDB one) but I'll play around with it some more for my next article.

Daystranger, not a big fan of the spread on that drop shadow myself - too distracting, I find.

+2 votes   reply to comment
Daystranger May 4 2009 replied:

Ok. It was just an idea. Not means you MUST do it ;)

+1 vote     reply to comment
jeffr May 5 2009 replied:

I recommend an Apple style drop shadow (from the top, with large blur) for the images themselves.

+1 vote     reply to comment
SAHChandler May 4 2009 says:

Diggin' the image layout. Well written article.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Orion May 4 2009 says:

Awesome article dude! makes me wanna go download and I think that's exactly what I'll do now! lol.

And yea... Image layouts look just fine! ;)

+1 vote     reply to comment
AnarchyDom May 4 2009 says:

Image layout's great. I played this a couple of days ago and saw your server, but it was always full. Also, you're right about its amazing presentation, I think the mod's a lot of fun. Shame there are only about 4 server at the moment, and they're all on co-op. I'd love to have a go at battle.

+1 vote     reply to comment
HEGI Creator
HEGI May 4 2009 says:

Awesome article, that made my day :)

+1 vote   reply to comment
Mkilbride May 4 2009 says:

It'll probably get on the Shelves like "Killing Floor", it has that quality.

I imagine the mod will never have to many people playing, due to UT3's small playerbase, but like most UT Engine based mods, eventually hits the shelves.

The quality is very intense in this mod. I agree on that. It's pretty fun, but nothing unique.(Yet)

I'd probably buy it if it went retail and had a full SP(doubtful) and some interesting MP, like maybe Survivors can do base buildings.

+1 vote     reply to comment
NullSoldier May 4 2009 replied:

Small player base? Excuse me? You do realize that Unreal sold out of CD keys right?

Theres a huge player base for unreal 3 you just need to get people interested in reinstalling their copy with something great like this.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Mkilbride May 4 2009 replied:

Ok, let me correct that. Small "ACTIVE" Playerbase. I know it sold well, but usually not more than a few hundred playing UT3 at any given time. IF the games community is that large, I mean it's not like they'll all shift to this mod(even though it's awesome).

Once it goes retail, and it will, it'll probably balance a nice 1000 playerbase. Most UE mods to go retail average around that.

+1 vote     reply to comment
geokes May 4 2009 says:

Ok *** it im buying UT3

+1 vote     reply to comment
PierreOfTheFrench May 4 2009 says:

Great article, completely agree.

+1 vote     reply to comment
broadsword May 4 2009 says:

Here's my honest opinion on the mod. They destroyed the previously amazing atmosphere and tension in favor of non stop action that gets extremely boring extremely fast.
The new weapons system is terrible and the respawning is probably the worst thing they could have done with this mod.

Again, this is just my honest opinion, I'm not trying to be an *** but I'm not going to just sit back and except the fact that the newer version is nothing like the old one, and, again in my honest opinion, worse.

+3 votes     reply to comment
hideinlight May 4 2009 replied:

My opinion : I disagree with your opinion.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Mkilbride May 4 2009 replied:

I kinda agree. In the old one, it only took like 4-6 hits to die. In 2.0, so far, it took me almost 30 to die. What the hell happened there? Was it a one time glitch? Cause I had alot of enemies constantly bashing me and I would not die.

New Ammo System is also kinda annoying. I didn't know you'd respawn either...that's so lame. It removes all of the creep factor. I only played for 7 minutes and liked most of the changes, but didn't know about the Respawn mode. I also think the current amount of Health you get is to much! I had 3 of those guys who spit fire breath it on me for like 10 seconds and it didn't kill me. In the old one, just one of them killed me if I let one get close.

Overall, great job, but you lost the horror feel. Now it's more like L4D with runnin' and gunnin'. I love L4D, but I like a little variety in meh Zombie games.(Or Demons, whatever)

+1 vote     reply to comment
hideinlight May 4 2009 replied:

What respawn mode? In singleplayer if you die you die. In multiplayer you respawn when the soul stone thinghy is destroyed? What gamemode you guys talking about?

A horror movie is only scary the first time around.To me zombies and little demented girls just aren't scary anymore. People are only afraid of the unknown and unexpected. The problem is you cannot have fun and be scared at the same time. The Haunted is just too much fun to feel scary, although it does start getting tense after a while when the fear of failing sets in.

+1 vote     reply to comment
NullSoldier May 4 2009 replied:

I agree. I think this mod should have more of a horror survival feel than an action packed L4D game. We liked The Haunted for a reason. I haven't had a chance to play the latest version yet but this news kind of makes me a little sad.

+1 vote     reply to comment
hideinlight May 4 2009 replied:

Just play it for yourself then decide what you think of it. When I read the reviews about FEAR2 I thought I was gonna be dissapointed.

In the end it turned out to be amazing game. Felt like kicking the reviewers in the nuts for misinforming me.

+1 vote     reply to comment
ScHlAuChi May 5 2009 replied:

If you want to have it more like in v1 simply edit the UTHauntedStages.ini and change SP_MinHealthStoneVal=0 that way no healthstone will spawn :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
NullSoldier May 4 2009 says:

Great article. The only problem I have with it is the comment about the lag and melee attacks. It really irked me that you even bothered to mention it as it's not even a valid argument. What did you think playing with that much lag would be like? Hello?

Another minor gripe is that higher latency levels (100-200ms) can result in inaccurate melee attacks. This can be frustrating when you waste what you think is a perfectly timed charged melee attack and instead rush headfirst into gaggle of locust look-a-likes ready to tear your head off.

I actually hope to see one or two coop style objective maps in the future as a new game mode or the ability for map creators to create them themselves. I would pay for this in the future if they keep going in the direction.

Also does anyone else think the exploding ball is a ginourmous zombie testacle?

+3 votes     reply to comment
AJ_Quick May 4 2009 says:

I love this mod, and i think the developers are cool guys ! :)

when im all done with KF, im gonna play some Haunted ^^

+1 vote     reply to comment
NightSage May 5 2009 says:

Love this new version! Love it! Aside from the minor issues here and there, like what was mentioned in the above article, I think the mod is great overall.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Tides May 5 2009 says:

Playing it. Love it. Bring on more!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Darknessvamp May 5 2009 says:

I have to agree with the point on players that are playing as demons get it too easy. What happened to the feature where the demons had to spawn out of the human player's site? Also they are able to recharge their energy too fast and when you are physically controling your demon the attack damage seems crap and you don't know whether you score a hit or not (no sound). But I like the mod cause you get to kill Zombies in different ways.

+1 vote     reply to comment
vfn4i83 May 5 2009 says:

I liked the first one, and downloading to see it.

But as a good sniper has to know where it is shooting and how it will perform, the same value goes for high ping; and 100-200 aint that much.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Firesprayer May 6 2009 says:

Images look fine in my opinion. I don't really see what could be wrong.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Emr19 May 15 2009 says:

its a great mod congratulations

+1 vote     reply to comment
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