Wilson Chronicles is a total Source conversion of Half-Life Wilson Chronicles.
As I played the first beta (with the last level not fully functional), I must say that I was disappointed. I won't take the bugs in consideration, but the main problem is that it was pretty lacking "life" in this recreation of Black Mesa... After the resonance cascade, you encounter 2 guards still alive and that's it. No plot, nothing, just you fleeing through BM and its creatures...
Of course, we can only acknowledge the amount of work put here to recreate another BM, but unfortunately it will suffer the comparison with BMS... Too bad for the dev's :(
I must say I have to save the cool intro in the car... and I give it a 7/10 mainly to congratulate the huge amount of work the dev's must have put in this mod, but it suffers too much for being just a big "graphic demonstration" without being entertaining for the player and also to come "after" BMS...
It begins more than promising. The appartment area looks really beautiful, and the car sequence is ok, the main menu and HUD is more professional than in any other Source mod I've seen so far, but the overall experience becomes bad quickly, and gets worse a little bit with every minute.
It's mostly because of the awful level design; first, because it's one claustrophobic area after another, where you get to fight enemies using distant or area attacks and you can't even strafe away or hide from them. Secondly, because it's so freakin' confusing. Every few minutes I got stuck somewhere because I didn't know where to go; each door looks the same, so you can't tell which one will open, every switch looks the same, so you don't know which one to use, each corridor looks the same, etc...
I know it's currently in Beta stage, but if developers don't make *drastic* changes, mainly in their level design, and pretty much redo everything they have done so far, it won't really be worth time.
i waited this mod for a long time.But i was disappointed...
First and foremost, I want to be fair in that this review is based off a Beta build. However, Beta being a near-complete state, I doubt too much will change in the final release.
Unfortunately, some very pretty level design is this game's only real saving grace. And that's all the level design truly is: Pretty. It doesn't play particularly well, objectives or purpose is pretty much never conveyed and some obstacles aren't obviously obstacles until you figure it out by accident. For example, you may not know you need to go through X door until you stumble across Y button, and later realize X door is open. Not to mention an instance where a once-closed and locked door opens for literally no logical reason. Or perhaps you didn't know you needed to pick up a key that looks like plain decoration. There's lots of this type of stuff throughout and it's incredibly annoying.
A big facet of level design is to use some cues, either obvious or subtle to nudge the player - often subconsciously - in the right direction. That never happens here. You're essentially left to your own devices and end up simply walking into areas you haven't already walked to and hope you end up somewhere new, or something happens. Even things that should be easy to get right, such as whether a door is locked or even usable or not also follow no obvious standards. A usually unusable object is now usable with no indication, an invisible wall on obviously surmountable objects, that sort of thing.
Asset quality ranges from high-quality, to low-quality, to outright stolen. Some models and textures were clearly made by a very competent designer, others either horrendously rushed or placed in the hands of a beginner. With that in mind, I'm very conflicted on game's visuals. On the one hand, a lot of the maps are pretty nice to look at, but it's hard to see passed the overblown lens flares and insanely opaque explosion and smoke/dust particles. Firefights are hell because you can't see anything.
Additionally, some rooms don't look detailed so much as dirtied. It seems every ceiling is covered in dirt, every floor is ridiculously broken and papers are everywhere.
Sound design feels like an afterthought. As does music, which is usually unfitting or badly timed. Soundscapes are basic, but at least present.
Big points for Xenian enemies brought back from Half-Life 1 era games, but I have to take some of them away considering they were never used in ways they should have been. It seems the enemies weren't placed in spots where their behavior is complemented by the environment, they were just placed at random. Obstacles slapped into environments at random as an afterthought. A lot of the enemy placement is strange like this.
Story is non-existent. Any information about anything comes from prior knowledge of Half-Life games. You're just wandering and killing things trying to kill you. I can count all of the friendly NPCs in the game on one hand and none of them have anything to say.
Overall, some ideas were nice and I can appreciate the projects scale and ambition. I'm a sucker for total conversions. Buuut it's hard to have fun amidst the level design frustration and big issues with visuals. I understand the team put a lot of effort into the game, and I hate to dock points with that in mind, but it's just a very conflicting, frustrating experience. The game's worth a play if you want to look at something nice for an hour or two, but don't expect to really enjoy playing. Level design is aesthetically far above average, but too much else is sub-par to warrant a high mark from me.
I finished the game in Hard in 4/5 hours and here's my personal opinion (taking in account that it's still a Beta).
What I liked :
- The quality of level is above most of Source games/mods.
- The 3D HUD.
- Integration of some HL1 NPCs (with sometimes different behavior) within Source.
- Unlike a lot of Source mods, optimization is done very well.
- Some of the puzzles were very interesting.
What I disliked :
- I would have loved to drive the Ford Mustang Fastback at the intro, it's a shame considering Source has support for vehicles. Also, the steering wheel not turning made my eyes bleed.
- The blur when you are low HP is very annoying especially when fighting large amount of NPCs at the same time.
- The HEV suit "watermark" at the top right was good when you get the suit but it's annoying to have it all the time, it feels like I'm playing in some kind of "take a screenshot" mode.
- More animations variety for some weapons would have been nice, the G36C and MP5 were using the same animations.
- Ironsights were totally useless and buggy with the M4, sorry for being direct but I've never used them within the whole game.
- I know that you encounter few NPCs within the game but having a security guard saying "Gordon" instead of "Darren" or "Wilson" is VERY weird.
To conclude :
Wilson Chronicles is a great HL2 mod for those who like running, shooting without taking much care about the story. I know this is Beta but more polishing would have been great.
I'm sorry, I don't believe any amount of patching and improving will ever make this anything more than a polished turd that isn't worth the installation space. It is very badly broken and literally all of the assets are ripped from other Source games. There is no intensity to it, I don't feel the drive to do anything within the game beyond try to kill Major Wilson.
Where to even begin? from the outset the HUD is completely broken, no matter what setting I try the crosshair is always off to the side. There's a seemingly inexhaustable supply of objects that you logically should be able to mount yet cannot no matter how hard you try. The drive to Black Mesa is pointless and boring, the interaction with the coworkers even more so.
The Resonance Cascade is over with in less than five seconds and all of a sudden boom everything goes wrong! The creatures, and then the military, appear way too suddenly within the game.
I just didn't feel compelled to finish the game like with so many other mods I've played, even Half-Life: Before. Heck, I prefer Prospekt to this! I don't care about Major Wilson. His story has no relevance, and the team that are telling it clearly don't get how to make it properly.
This is the shittiest **** ever. The level design is horrible, the creator is butthurt, there won't be any changes and it's all just plain ****. Thanks for wasting my time.
I am sorry but I cannot recommend this game to anyone expecting a decent game. The game starts promising with a cool video on opening and then the menu screen looks cool. The chapter names and screenshots also seem promising, but when you get into it you're first greeted with the longest loading screen in history and then the game loads with you waking up in an apartment. Now, the game supposedly takes place in 2000 but LOOK AT THE APARTMENT. It's littered with modern pop culture things that didn't exist back in 2000 and is a huge plot hole. Then you take 5 hours to find your keys on a table and then another 5 hours to find the door. According to the windows in the main apartment you're in a high rise up pretty high. But then the elevator doesnt open and you go down the stairs only to go down one flight of stairs and be in a parking lot with a garage leading up that supposedly leads to the outside street. Then ANOTHER 5 hours to find your god damn car and then when you get in it to your suprise you can't drive. The car just moves like a model to the garage with the gate opening as you wheel out. Then another 5 hour loading screen that leads to a boring driving section where you're just driving by $#!1 in your car with a crappy player model and Brazillian language text stating who you are and stuff with only 0.01% of it in English and you're in a scientist suit yet you're a major for the Black Mesa Military..Research..Division. If you're a major and a Level 5 you'd probably show up in an army suit, right? And you're awfully young and then when you make it to the main access there's another 5 hour loading screen and then a parking lot with a lone guard loading cargo out of a truck saying HL2 dialogue as a crate falls and he gives up and sits on a box. Then you go in with a guard using Barney HL2 dialogue to say "I haven't lost my touch!" and then opens up the door and more HL2 dialogue. The lobby is also extremely small with only an enterance to the security area and an elevator with music not invented in 2000 that leads you to the facility with a custom door design that was probably ripped from Google Images. Then there's the fact that every door opposite of where you're going (except for one door) is locked despite the fact you're an L-5. Wait, what? Aren't you creative enough to come up with unique ways why you can't go in one area and maybe add more than the smallest Pre-Resonance Cascade BMRF HL2 map in existance? Then there's a Table of Elements poster behind someones computer so you can't see part of it and then you realize the developers didn't make it and that it was ripped from Google Images. Then you go to a decontamination room with more HL2 dialogue and then you enter this room right after the decontamination only for the Resonance Cascade to occur. Alright...that was way too fast and THEN you're greated with the ugliest Xen map and then recycled HL1 xen noises with the ugliest Houndeye models ever and then you find the most high-tec and worst HEV Mark IV model. Finally after 1000 years of loading screens and annoying asf gameplay you make it to the end only to be cut off by a WIP notification and then you read the credits and realize there were no game designers which explains the horrid enviornments and lack of decision. Yeah, seriously. There were no game designers for this. It's that bad.
TL;DR Basically a beta. Unpolished, unfinished, pop culture stuff made after 2000 (the year the game takes place in), lazy map design, way too many locked doors in the way too short pre-resonance cascade map for a Level 5, lack of game design and just horrid gameplay.
Closing Statement: The review will be edited once the full product is released.
Final Verdict: 0/48. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!
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Highest Rated (7 agree) 7/10
As I played the first beta (with the last level not fully functional), I must say that I was disappointed. I won't take the bugs in consideration, but the main problem is that it was pretty lacking "life" in this recreation of Black Mesa... After the resonance cascade, you encounter 2 guards still alive and that's it. No plot, nothing, just you fleeing through BM and its creatures... Of course, we can only acknowledge the amount of work put here to recreate another BM, but unfortunately it will…
Aug 30 2015 by DarkShift