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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Lost Alpha

Mod review - 50 agree - 11 disagree

I'm back, and again.... lowering my score.

When reviewing before, I was starstruck by the new maps, the beautiful scenery, the first few quests are exciting--it was fun again... at first

I didn't make it very far when writing my previous reviews because of unpassable bugs, but I was optimistic. I figured, "they'll work out the kinks, and the game will be extraordinary!" I was wrong.

I kept telling myself that I wouldn't come back here and update my review unless the game was, at the time, enduring itself to me. But the more I played, the more reasons I had to hate it. It's bad.

I'm not going to be flowery about this first part, so here's a quick bullet-point list of the good and the bad:

GOOD
- New Maps
- Scenery
- The nature and grass effects
- (I sat here wracking my brain for something else to write about but I've given up).

BAD
- Pre vanilla weapon sounds/animations
- Weapons are poorly optimized
- Artifacts are just about entirely useless (not an understatement, one example from the top of my head: Meat chunk went from +400 health or something down to +10, added more negative effects. Worthless)
- Weapon upgrades are boring and useless (More further down)
- voice acting is just abysmal
- "eerie" and "spooky" scenes are cringe worthy
- the plot

Oh, the plot. The agony. Before I continue, I sincerely want it to be known that I am not trying to be mean, and I know how hard it is to create a game from *basically* scratch, and to add all these features in with a small dev team of mostly amateurs. I have respect for the devs for this undertaking, but:

I've never heard voice acting this poor in a game--Ever.
Manos the hands of fate had better dialogue.
Plan nine from outer space had better dialogue.
I am NOT exaggerating. It is... just awful. I'd call it stiff, but it's more like galvanized steel. The plot is bonkers. It's devoid of originality and relies on ridiculous cliche'd anti-quotes (I'm thinking of having a little party with some....champagne!/So you've finally figured it all out, Ha ha ha ha haaa!) It's so cringe-worthy that there were multiple times when I had to pause the game from laughing so hard.

The characters are as forgettable as blades of grass. Seriously, didn't you guys listen to this stuff before release? Every line of dialogue is spoken in what has got to be the most comical Russian-accent impression I've ever heard. It's so bad that it's almost offensive. I could go on but I'll leave it at this: The voice acting is execrable and sucks any impact completely out of the game to the point where I'm muting my speakers and laughing until I cry.

The weapon upgrades are BORING. Here's how they work: You get to pick from ONE of two upgrade trees (why not both!?) when You select that particular tree, the other one "reds out" and is unselectable. But neither of the two trees offer anything more than simple numbers. What I mean is, generally One tree will lower the recoil/increase accuracy, the other will boost RPM. Why can't we just have both? If we could have both, this slim, useless excuse for an upgrade system would be worth the hour long trudge across the wastes to the nearest Technician. But I ask again, why not both? The answer is "because that's how SOC was meant to be!" It's so painfully arbitrary and useless that it sucks all the fun out of what is usually my favorite part of the game. I love customizing my weapons, especially in games with heavy RPG elements.

Out of all the weapons I've tried upgrading, I've only ever come across one upgrade that actually helped, and it was an extended clip upgrade for a gun that's only accessible about 60% of the way through the game. Ooooo!

Artifacts are also useless. What a load of crap. Every artifact that was once fun is now considered "overpowered" by the LA team, who nurfed them all into oblivion. (pun intended!) The good stats have been lowered and the bad stats have been downright added in some cases . They're just useless wastes of space in

10

BLACK SNOW

Mod review may contain spoilers - 2 agree

If mods like 'Grey' are the kind of horror games that I like, then mods like 'Black Snow' are the kind that I love. Narrative with non over-the-top, cheesy dialogue, beautifully crafted --no, exquisitely crafted audio that reflects the cold, unforgiving exterior; the wind pressing at the stressed base, which groans at you as you make your way through the frightening interior. The audio alone would score this game a '10' as every ambient effect was perfectly crafted to add to the goal: a truly frightening atmosphere.

The dead bodies strewn about seem to whisper in your ear when you first come into contact with them; the effect was so subtle that it made the dead bodies actually mean something, and be frightening, other than some 'too-spooky' static objects for you to kite around while you look for whatever objective lies ahead of you.

The visual representation of the game was phenomenal. It was wonderfully rendered and artistic and beautiful in so many way's that were I to elaborate I would run out of characters. 10/10.

The only problem I have with this game was a minor glitch in which the 'fog' would get stuck directly in-front of me and pin me between itself and a wall during the light phases causing my immobility followed by getting bludgeoned to death while simultaneously wetting myself IRL.

All in all this game was wonderful on all front's, and as the Dev's have both proved that they are capable of creating a game's-as-art game, AND have stated that they are going to elaborate on this idea and turn it into a longer full-length mod, I will be following everything that they touch in the indi-gaming world.

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