Quote: " most of the time they're running around the corner to come get me before i've even seen them."
They navigate their cluttered environment surprisingly well, don't they? I'm just pointing this out because everyone is always all over GG's AI.
So now its time for another pedantic and lengthy Wolf-Review that is usually only red by the one who made the game.
So here is a TL;DR Version:
Kshatriya Wetwork is fine work that furthers GG's catalogue of possibilities by adding dense city levels that don't lag [i]Boiling Point
on release date!
Its delightfully challenging so try to play it like a tactical shooter, even though the game is designed in a way that strongly suggests that its and action game.
It has flaws, sure, but its good strongly outweighs its bad. I recommend this to fans of FPS games who are not too pampered by AAA graphics and difficulty levels and any and all GG Users.[/i]
Seeing how I've known Bugsy for years now and consider him a friend, I'll be a lot more critical and maybe blunt in this review than I'd be to a stranger simply because I am aware of Bugsy's artistic capabilities... and I know the WUSS can handle it
As the first post suggests, I have also been helping out with some elements of this game like the music, menu screens and a few models. I have however not been working on the game itself so I try to review this as objective as possible.
The game opens with one sweat title screen! I mean, the tasteful simplicity, the choice of colours. An utmost excellent introduction to a shooter game!!
I wonder what marvelous creature has bestowed this heavenly artwork upon us? ....Could it be...me?
Heeey! "....as objective as possible"
All jokes aside, I find the initial presentation of the game to be quite well done. Except for the longest loading screen ever!
So when you play this game, I recommend making some tea or coffee while it loads. You'll need the little pick me up to survive.
We then start as Katsu Riker in a dimly lit back alley. The atmosphere of the game got me right away and so did the labyrinthian level design. Narrative is furthered by a voice over complete with delightful overacting! "gooooons
Knowing Bugsy, it came as no surprise to me that we are going to be greeted with some plattforming pretty early on in the game, and there it was!
There was also an enemy around the first AS Val that wasn't there in the beta.
He killed me! He was the only enemy who managed that.
May the medal of honour be awarded to him posthumously. (which translates to after he finished his plate of humus. ...wait? What are you doing with that knife??)
The climbing part was pretty self explanatory to me altough I did need to spam the jump key on some ledges to get across. While I didn't feel lost I have a feeling like a lot of players will have a bit of a hard time finding the way across.
Some incredibly outdated models aside (usually designed by yours truely
) the following transitions from outdoor to indoor levels. The staircases, rooms and vistas are short but some of the best atmospheric work I have seen from you. The whole level feels incredibly well thought out and "alive".
(I also felt like a bunch of well placed ambient noises would have brought this home a little better but before we start messing around with that, we first have to figure out what is always eating up Bugsy's Memorycap in these levels.) An assassination sequence happens (where I never tested if the game prevents me from proceeding if I don't shoot him?) and then we are down for some real combat. Here I will digress a little:
I've heard the word "counterstrike" been thrown around a little....and I've always hated that game.
I can see the appeal of it as an online game but as someone who has always been a huge fan of narrative, atmosphere and having the illusion of actually controlling a character rather than a floating camera...that game did nothing for me. ...And the big CSS fans I knew at the time where usually the beanie wearing stuck up type. Might be just my surroundings though and that was over a decade ago. Don't get me wrong, I can get behind a dull and sterile game! I love the ARMA series! But CSS is just ugly. Even worse, it doesnt feel like a shooter. More like I fly a drone with arms attached to it. The whole gameplay is also entirely removed from even remotely attempting to simulate combat. It has its own rules entirely. (The way people strafe hectically back and forth in this game, the frantic swapping of weapons... its not for me.) I'm also convinced that if you removed all textures from its maps and replace all guns with a box, most of this games player base would not even mind.
Ahem! Enough of my little tantrum here. My point being: Counter Strike and its mechanics are the absolute worst choice to influence a single player game.
When I played the beta, I approached the combat like this was an action game. Having watched Bugsy's videos on it and the general design of it also suggests this. However, this time I played it like I usually approach a shooter. Keep in mind that I'm an FPS Veteran, preferring games with a pseudo-realistic approach. Some might think that this is ahedonic but whatever. I didn't like crysis until I've set my own goals: Highest difficulty and I won't allow myself to die. If I did, I'd shut the game off for 2 days. I had ten times the fun approaching it from a tactical and "what would I do if I where in the situation" rather than sprinting around blowing up enemy strongholds.
My point being: I played this like it was Ghost Recon rather than CoD or *shudder* CS. I didn't die once.
I'm convinced that Bugsy didn't intend it to be played so slow but it worked surprisingly well. The ambient soundtracks where really fitting and the enemies where blending in eerieely well in the high contrast look of the game (more on that below). I had fun just swooping from cover to cover and scanning my environments, often retreating (adding a lot of weight to your sprinting animations!!). This added a lot of minutes to the play time as well. I recommend anyone to try it this way. Just roleplay like you're actually in that situation
Level 2, where I play as Isaac Preston, listening to my own voice work ^_^ was a blast too, but I found level 1 more interesting. The final vista with the sea and the boat is really cool! This map had a lot of stuff that needed some retexturing though. More on that is also below:
Pretty solid with a decent challenge! Too challenging for some. I would also recommend nerving the Uzi enemies as they where always getting me when I was playing the Beta. I can get behind the character having more health but I found this to be more fun as a slow and cautious burn rather than a romp. And I know that I'm in the minority with this.
Oh Ubisoft, why did you not continue this series like you started!
Navigating and climbing was fun and a special kudos to Lee for giving us enjoyable FPS controls. I know that this is easy to mess up when coding an engine.
For a GG game, it plays spectacularly! But even otherwise: This feels like a pretty solid shooter game. There is almost none of the GG sluggishness left.
Kshatriya Wetwork has some spectacular level design. Leading this in, out and arround city levels that just feel big and alive. the first level really impressed me by how it was leading me around the place.Bugsy, I hope to see this skill of yours to be polished even more in future games. You got it!
I can see that you tried your best with GG's current rendering engine and you had a lot of success but also a lot of rough edges with the visuals. I think there are some things about this engine and differences to FPSC that we need to talk about in depht.
The game would have benefited from less contrast. There is always a lot of noise on the screen and way too many pitch black pixels. I know its not easy to get a look right in GG but we both know that it can be done. I feel like the high-contrast techniques from FPSC don't look too hot in GG anymore and you shouldn't worsen it by having the contrast up too far via native settings.
Asset wise, there are a ton of winners, like your custom guns, your buildings and just the way you use them but also some stinkers dragging down the overall impression. (a lot of textures aren't all that they promised and the bus...oh the bus texture
I feel like I should have been more clear about this when I tested the beta that I could maybe do a thing or two about that and unifying the look a bit more. Don't assume that your game looks bad in any way, it really does not! I am merely pointing out things that might be improved.
Same with the normalmaps but we all know that GG just hates these when they are lightmapped.
I was very content with how this game looked and felt!
The ambience of the game was pretty fitting but I felt like there could have been more. Bugsy gave me a good reason for not having too much ambient shenanigans around, and I dig that, but the feeling remains. I was also not a fan of how the guns all just played this "click" sound when reloading. I think you're not all too concerned with this, but to me that is a major flaw.
Enemy guns don't have much of a punch and the sound of this games combat is very dull in general. I know that there is little you could do about that at the time.
This game was extremely well optimized and had a solid framerate for a Game Guru game!
Kshatriya Wetwork is an immensly well crafted game with only a few rough edges holding it back from being a GG game changer.
I recommend it to FPS Fans and all GG users. It delivers a lot of action, sounds and sights despite being (too) short.
Seeing how the GG BOTB is not yet defined, I am still going to award you the BOTB-M Badge simply because after Ops:Hong Kong, Kshatriya Prologue, Kshatriya Challenges File 001 and File 002 as well as this ...it is about time!
You'll also find a special atmosphere in this game that really sells you the oppressive cyberpunk future aesthetic it is going for. I believe the unusual look of it, compared to most studio games, helps with that.
(I'd also consider this here a BOTB game, however, I'll wait with listing it as such until we, the mods, have a coherent summary of what the new GG BOTB is and how its different from the FPSC one. This is currently in the works) Anywaysies! Say hello to your new badge!