Sinael

STRAFE

May 18th, 2017
133
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  1. Brace yourself, this is going to be a long one. (I essentially translate my own mini-review from my native language lol)
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  3. The ads were incredibly misleading in numerous ways I'll detail that when I get to the specifics. Overall they were all too desperate to cash in on the nostalgia.
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  5. 1) Aestethics, visuals, levels. Game pretends to be like popular 90's shooters, and even claims so in its advertising, but it looks much worse. That is mostly the fault of non-existent art direction - just compare the entrance to 1-2 zone that is an E1M1 homage with the actual E1M1 of Doom - you will see that Strafe's version lacks texture and color variation, i.e. game that aims at '96 aesthetics looks less detailed than game from '93. Sure it gets better in later parts, but not by much.
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  7. Look at Doom, Heretic, Duke and Quake that STRAFE aims to ape - the textures are crisp and sharp with distinct details that were intended to bring out more intricacy to their blocky worlds. STRAFE's textures are much less detailed by comparison even with comparable resolution, which leads to overall sense of blandness in the game's graphics.
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  9. Since Doom, there were several paradigms in the level/visual design, notably to add at least some unique details to each room to prevent samy look even from the rooms that use same textures, as well as to add key landmarks to help player to navigate.
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  11. In STRAFE unique rooms only appear in the beginning and end of a level, and the rest of the level look samey. It is obvious that whoever made assets and algorithms for the level generator didn't understand how levels in oldschool shooter supposed to feel and work. For an example of the proper proc-gen look at OBLIGE - a level generator for Doom. With some tweaking it can provide levels that are indistinguishable from the work of an amateurish mapper, which led to upload ban on Doomworld for levels generated in it.
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  13. 2) It promised to combine mid-90's FPS with some rogue-like elements. The problem is that they combined all the worst parts, and FPS mechanics work against rogue-like ones.
  14. Example: in the trailers player is shown rocketjumping away from enemies, which supposedly emphasises Quake level of maneuvrability.
  15. That's kinda hard to have in a game where fall from 3 meters results in health loss (in a "retro" shooter, yes), and you get only 30-40 HP recovery per level. Not to mention splash damage that you'll have to recover from for the next few levels because "its roguelike hard hurr durr".
  16. The weapons have default Unity3D weaponbob, which leaves a horrible impression akin to all the basic asset flips. Weapons themselves have almost no proper animation, and instead just waved around to emulate shot recoil.
  17. Weapons found in levels being one time use is again a point where rogue part clashes heavily with the FPS one.
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  19. Enemies are dumb and always move straight towards you (again reminding of poor Z-Box asset flips). Even back in Doom enemies wandered around between shots to emulate changing position, and were programmed to zig-zag towards the player instead of moving in straght line, and were capable of engaging one another when provoked (which was an integral part of few Doom 2 levels and almost all of the Plutonia Experiment). Quake and Duke showed us even more complex behaviours. STRAFE enemies just lazy bumrush, which combined with HP balance and narrow corridors makes kiting and backing the only really viable options. Ironically, circlestrafing is a bad idea in STRAFE.
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  21. That's the shooter part. Rogue-like part is no better.
  22. Stat upgrades are barely noticable even if you compare level 0 to level 5-6 of the stat (which takes you several levels to gain). The only part that you keep between the runs are portal parts, and when you get 3 that allows you to skip a zone. And you skip it along with all the upgrades, which leaves you weaker for it, which makes the whole "progression" pointless. The sense of the progress - the thing that constitutes for the most appealing part of modern rogue-likes for meny is simply not here.
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  24. It could've been remedied by properly dividing game into episodes (in-game ones) like Doom, Duke, Quake and all other 90's shooters did., then unlocking next ep when you beat the last and kill a boss. This system was shown to work well in Immortal Redneck.
  25. But there are no fucking bosses. And no episodes.
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  27. The only parts of rogue that are here are: permadeath, that makes game more annoying than anything since unlike actual rogue all your runs are gonna be near same because no advanced RPG mechanics, and level randomiser that sucks balls because all levels feel/look the same (within zone ofc.)
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  29. In the end the game will not satisfy neither fans of oldschool shooting, nor the fans of roguelikes, but only hipsters who play it and sing praises to themselves "look at us, admire us, we love oldschool so much"
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  31. 3) Terrible choices in all other areas
  32. Incredibly short main game. Only 1 out of 4 promised additional game modes on release. Horrendous optimisation for such level of graphics - Unity 3D is not an excuse (even though it is part of a problem - game wouldve been better on something like DarkPlaces).
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  34. A couple of years bac kon E3 we were shown a demo and were assured that everything is a placeholder, and all would be made right and better. This game was 2 years in development by team of 20 people. What the fuck they were doing for these 2 years is anyone's guess, but the lazy ass Unity 3D shit we've seen back then remained the same lazy ass Unity 3D shit with almost zero improvement.
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  36. In the end, it is a piece of shit that tried to ride on the 90's nostalgia train, but got thrown off the bridge somewhere half way.
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