Well, I'd great the whole community but I doubt that many read these long form reviews but the developers. If you do, then cheers mate!
Argh! The cat keeps jumping on my desk. ....okay! Lets go. Best set the mood with some relaxing music, maybe grab a cup of tea... I sure did to pass the loading times.
... is not only among the finest GG games that never where but also, apart from a few things mostly out of DK's control, feels almost like a middleware grade shooter game.
After GG's signature gruelingly long loading screens we are greeted with a simple yet very effective intro cinematic. It helps a lot to set the mood rather than just drop the player somewhere and have him figure it out. With his previous release, Hunted: One step too far DK has proven that he knows how to design a level and also sell the player on the right atmosphere. Atmosphere is what makes or breaks many games, especially when studios can not afford the polish of AAA titles. STALKER is a good example! A legendary game despite being a total mess on a technical level. The shooting mechanics in this game are a terrible mess and even the motion feels off. In fact, Cold Contract's guns feel better than those in vanilla STALKER. Hehe, vanilla
...the modding slang is just so cringe worthy.
The first level is a masterpiece not only by running at a very solid frame rate despite being rather detailed but also at conveying a sense of place to the player. You really feel like you are in a dingy industrial area, completely snowed in. I've seen previous attempts at frozen areas in GG and DK puts them all to shame. He even bothered to do such crucial things as putting snow on containers and rooftops. A "detail" the size of a hippopotamus other artists tend to neglect. He is of course just one man and did not put icicles everywhere and retexture every car to have a frozen look, which he hides well with fog and an actual snow effect.
Its the details that make this map, that has essentially no game play, enjoyable. The music, that one pedestrian working in the background...I'm instantly hooked. I find that an introductory map like this without action gives the players a far deeper sense of place an immersion than just dropping them in a gun fight. Moving on, I haven't had the fact that I voiced the contact for this level in the front of my mind and was initially startled to hear me tell me
to get a rifle hidden in a dumpster. I like the detail that I show up unarmed to avoid suspicion in public...it kinda telegraphs that the game has been made by someone who is not American too though. However the game also mentions that I have a headlamp attached to what I assume is combat gear. The little health icon akin to what we saw in games like Project I.G.I. suggests this too. I however prefer to imagine that its a giant maclite attached to a pink hello kitty bicycle helmet.
Failed attempts at humor aside we enter the warehouse. Where we are spotted by the surveillance camera. Listening to his tone of voice, the armed mercenary just barging in seems to be more a frustrating annoyance than a major threat. I honestly like this though and vote for it to remain this way.
Here we pick up the shotgun...which has the wrong texture aaaalll over it. This is a visual issue I can't handle so I opt our for my Glock, which is the weapon to go with in this game anyway.
The next thing that happens is getting to experience Cold Contracts most fatal flaw. Grueling goulish difficulty from hell. I like this type of game and have finished FEAR on the highest difficulty without tapping into the slow mo
feature but... well, being forced to peek around every corner and relying on the GG AI to not spot you is just not fun shooting. The subdued music and bleak industrial environment gave the game the occasional sense of realism but err... the GG chars look out of place and their weapons, which I can not pick up, do too. This whole part is noticably unpolished and it really takes a lot from the game. I also notice that there are way more soda machines than would be here realistically.
The halls of the warehouse are well designed. In the top office where I can listen to a FEAR style answering machine had a skylight where I could see the snow outside. Stuff like that just makes DK's games special to me. Visually the game peaks with the big warehouse hall, it also opens up here and you really have to slowly crawl from cover to cover to not get shot in the back by some darn unmannerly cookie. In fact, I got shot marveling at the architecture of the place by this one bloke with the sniper rifle. More on this later.
In conclusion, Cold Contract has the potential to be the best GG shooter ever made, however there are several reasons why I don't think you should attempt that. I tell ya more on that later.
The main issues with the game are of course your inability to add additional levels due to the memory shenannigans
we are currently facing.
The long loading times.
The difficulty. I'd argue that the warehouse is downright impossible for regular players and those that don't know GG's AI weaknesses. The enemies fire at you instantly and those with the sniper rifles have a rate of fire that is way too high and usually one shot you anyway. Enemies also take too much body damage while the player takes significantly less.
Here is my subjective opinion why I don't feel you should finish CC and rather flesh out the post apocalyptic game. CC is just a shooter. A rather regular one at heart. The kind that has been internationally produced by middle and indie developers globally for almost 2 decades now. Shooters have a lot of "standard for a reason" features these days players come to expect like: Being able to grab weapons dropped by the enemies or even loot them, being able to interact with physics objects and break stuff/windows, a high framerate and longer levels, leaning and melee options and so on. So an indie game, in order to sell, has to have some other hook than "Just being a shooter" and with the post apocalyptic game you can double down on a gripping story and atmosphere ( your strong suit )...the whole contract killer thing feels a lot more generic and has way less of a fan pool.
GG allows us to make our own games with ease and speed but PC Players are used to a certain standard of quality and interactivity ever since the source engine. Ya gotta real them in with something that is unique about your game or speaks to a specific crowd. This all sounds way harsher than I intend it to sound and I hope you get the message. Sometimes I don't need much but this
just cracks me up. Haha!