I am an amateur games designer and writer and have founded Dark Craft Studios to house my works within. and mod developer. I am an avid fan of all things horror, occult, philosophical and of course, Lovecraftian. Currently Reading: Thomas Ligotti, Arthur Machen, Robert W. Chambers, Ramsey Campbell.

RSS Reviews  (0 - 10 of 64)

Zone of Alienation mod

Mod review - 3 agree - 3 disagree

What's up with the negative votes? If you have 1.0004 this is THE SHOC mod to get. If you're on 1.005 or steam and don't feel like doing registry edits, you're missing out.

I'm a huge stalker fan down to the launch-day times. I'm hooked on the atmosphere, gunplay, a-life, immersion, eeriness, and ZoA exemplifies all this much better than any other shoc mods I've played with, perhaps, the exception of AMK Complete but ZoA will surpass that with consistent patching.

The magazine mode is fine, it gives you stuff to do besides die--I mean wait to die -- at campfires. Stealth works with his tweaked AI, so you can sneak the hell around at night. Monster hitboxes are sturdier and a-life for them is superior, so you can get hunted by bloodsuckers for a while like old times. The new medical system has way too little documentation and it seems cool, but I just sell all the crap and buy medkits. :V

New weapons are tweaked, I love the depth of field and visuals -- they blow CoP out of the water once you get out of Cordon with it's vomit green ground texture. Nothing quite like a rain coat, ppsh, mosin nagant, anti-rads, and dying at the hands of bloodsuckers.

My only complaint is headshots are not brutal enough. I put 4 precious bullets into a bandit when starting out and blood flew out of his head, but he only died from having no freaking bandages like 15 seconds later. I'm not the only one to notice this. This is fixed in Garbage onwards, when you get sturdier guns.

Unarmored combatants simply need to die quicker or get stunlocked easier to decrease their proneness to RAMBO BLAST your *** in Cordon.

Download ZoA soon, Stalker? NOW.


StarCry : Reloaded

Mod review


Mod review - 3 agree - 1 disagree

Impressively disappointing, been following this for years and the final gameplay experience is nothing like the media releases or interview hypes. For starters the game is ridiculously unbalanced; I say this as a survival horror fanatic who plays them all on Very Hard when available, even for the first playthrough. Health is randomly scattered with no formula; enemies can kill you with a blink of an eye; lighting is pitifully low and I had to boost my monitors brightness to *even see* in the forest. I liked searching for Anita's dolls and the voice acting for Grey could have been better, but was emotionally solid. But problems exist in the immersion department. The level design is static and very convoluted with random spinoffs, loop holes and dead ends that made me very frustrated. Details are low too, in the level design, with most of the texture work and decal decorations being hidden by poor global illumination.

All of the horror is unfortunately jump scares too, with no sense of slow-dripping horror or burning immersion that this team's idols, obviously the makers of Cry of Fear and Afraid of Monsters, had mastered before them. Overall the experience is just dry. It's got unfortunately bad music and production values for the time it took to make and I wouldn't really recommend this mod to anybody at all given the state it is in, but a reimagining/expansion and tons of patches may easily bring this up to an 8/10. We'll see in time.


Escape: Paradise

Mod review - 2 agree - 3 disagree

I loved the idea of survival in crysis but the lack of sandbox content really breaks immersion in what is otherwise a fantastic and unique idea. No danger besides for immediately respawning koreans in your vicinity, and only about 3 scripted events (one of which is advertised in the trailer, the "missile" crash) carry this towards about an hour or two hours of game play., in which you wander (with solid immersion, mind you) in repeating jungle canopies and buildings or towns looking for perpetual amounts of gas and food to help you reach more gas and food.

While this would make an admirable beta to a greater goal, it seems the author was too excited to release it as soon as he could, and that this is the "final" release is a bit strange to me as it feels half baked.

To be completely unbiased it still needs tremendous amounts of work on mapping, as far as the repeating vegetation, sprite pop-in, tiling ground texture and lack of any decals goes. The time of day is beautiful but simplistic, seemingly ripped from the Island level but tweaked slightly to match a richer, and closer, depth of field. And no weather cycle at all is also discouraging, as that is my favorite part of open world games like STALKER or Skyrim.

On the plus since the idea is very original. I would love to see this expanded on with richer incentive for exploration, varied enemies (like random "invasions" of US marines or aliens) and more content to "pick up" besides eating and gas. As well as this, underground voxels and varied terrain would repeat the repetition of the mod. Otherwise, an A grade first effort, I cannot wait for further patches in the future which my review score will scale to accurately. In a year, I expect this'll be a 9/10


DarthMod Napoleon

Mod review - 3 agree - 2 disagree

By definition, what is Napoleon Total War? It is the trimming down and refocusing of the most ambitious, but dysfunctional, total war game made. By adding in a set of linear missions more akin to Alexander than Empire in structure, Creative assembly could right their own wrongs by removing features, not by adding them, to give the illusion it was more focused and functional. A flashy new hud, AI code, graphics optimization (it actually runs on quad cores now!) and smaller battlefields allowed for quicker and tighter action. But with this came hitscan musket balls, the flattening of terrain and obstructions, and the removal of the grand campaign map, replacing it with linear town-to-town skirmishes with a thin story veiled on top.

Frankly there is nothing wrong with Empire + Darthmod, it is my favorite total war and the scope is tremendous. Napoleon + Darthmod is tricky, because its still the same linear/lite base game, but with Darthmod's famous AI codes, optimizations, particle effects and battle engine added in. This, essentially, perfects Napoleon into a battle generator. I have had a ton of fun making epic skirmish battles that truly relive Waterloo, for example, compared to Empire's relatively disjointed battles.

But that is the only reason you'd play. Napoleon's campaigns are boring and linear, the "grand campaign" you can unlock is only a few countries wide and is insanely boring and has no diplomacy worth mentioning, and it has no features at all over Empire.


Invasion 1944

Mod review

Arma 2 modding is tricky business, you don't usually get the amount of polish you'd expect. That said, 1944 is in ways amazing and in ways bad. First off the atmosphere, music, models, art direction, ballistics, two custom menus (windows key and tab) and other integrated features are immersive. Custom missions, though quite few, are really polished.

However big set pieces are simply not here. D-day feels like 12 guys crawling up a beach. Crossroads and Bastogne are like, 25 americans vs 15 germans sitting in the woods. No respawn or reinforcement waves, air support, artillery barrages--its super small scale.

Custom weapons are solid. I love the weight of the sounds and recoil is perfect. k98 feels extremely powerful. I'd love to see bigger, more action oriented, more immersive missions in the future. Right now they feel like squad skirmishes.


Zombie Survival

Mod review

Cry of Fear

Game review - 61 agree - 28 disagree

The best horror mod I've ever had the pleasure of playing. I spoke with Andreas in a notable interview a few months back and ever since have held an enormous respect for the man and what it is he sees in his projects, in his "horror", and in himself. Cry of Fear has finally launched and with it comes a turning point in open source gaming, modding, creative expression and a revitalization of the almost dead psychological modern horror that we have come to see in Jacob's Ladder, Silent Hill, Afraid of Monsters, and now in Cry of Fear.

I could justifiably complain about the dated graphics and the visual inconsistencies that mar some aspects of the mod. But why would I? These are insignificant when compared to the handling of the atmosphere; the key to any horror project. And believe me, Cry of Fear is scary. I'm not telling you its scary based on the misconception that anything that makes someone jump is "scary". I'm not saying its scary based on the misguided ideal that anything "horror" is automatically scary. You're reading a review of someone who lives, breathes, and loves the genre even makes horror mods himself--and it scared the absolute hell out of me.

Cry of Fear is soaked in loneliness, dread, foreboding, guilt, deep introspective messages and thoughtful negotiation with your inner demons. Its violent, shocking, loud and original and presents its story clearly with a sullen acceptance of death and decay. Its a mature story for a mature audience, tackling themes such as rape, drug addiction, murder, depression, bipolar, psychosis and much much more. This isn't just about monsters.

I'm running out of characters. Cry of Fear is a huge mod, with tons of content, unlockables, co-op, and about 8 hours to the story. It could be its own game and I'd pay for it. This is masterclass in horror modding and is the #1 of all time in my opinion, dethroning Afraid of Monsters. Whilst my preferred horror genre is Lovecraftian (This is quite Cronenberg), it doesn't matter.

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