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View Full Version : Bridget's Review of: Little Big Thief: Lord Bafford



Bridget
05-16-2009, 11:01 AM
Level name: Little Big Thief: Lord Bafford

PSN: Fjonan



The first thing I want to say here: This level is very pretty. Right from the moment you walk in, you can see that you'll be given one visual treat after another.

But all is not well in the zany depths of Lord Bafford's mansion. While very pretty, there are a few things that perhaps hold this one back from greatness.



The level's premise is simple: You are apparantly some sort of thief, and you want to steal this rare scepter thing from Lord Bafford.... which requires sneaking into his mansion, finding the scepter, and successfully getting it out.

But getting in undetected is the least of your concerns. It's quite obvious that this Lord Bafford character is missing a few screws, as he seems to have filled the basement regions of his mansion with horrible deathtraps. Even the barrels in the wine cellar try to kill you. Perhaps this mysterious scepter is best taken from him anyway, then, eh?


The level is quite pretty all the way through, and keeps up a general motif the whole time. Alot of green and brown here. That might not SOUND too appealing, but believe me, the whole thing looks very nice. The mansion is well designed, and it does rather feel like you're exploring somewhere you're not really supposed to be. I cant imagine how long it must have taken to get that look right. The music is well chosen for this, as well.


However, just looking great isnt enough.... for a level to be truly great, the gameplay must be there too, and that's where we find a couple of flaws that hold this level back from becoming as great as it has the potential to.


It starts out simple enough.... drop down through a spike trap, and swing your way through the entrance area, and on into the mansion. Point stashes can be found all over the place, often in difficult to reach locations. It does rather give you the desire to explore and watch your surroundings carefully, so as to maximize your score. Some of these point stashes are hidden quite ingeneously, I thought.

The platforming sections themselves, are decently done. Nothing too difficult, but at the same time nothing ultra easy, either.

But the problems appear when you get to the non-platforming sections... what Im calling the "wheel" sections. Oh, that accursed wheel.

The first version of The Wheel isnt too bad, and is actually kind of interesting. It's hard to explain, but think of one of those rings you often have to move around like a hamster wheel, that you see in some levels, except that the smaller wheels under it mean that you have to move BACKWARDS to move forwards. And you have to be careful.... separate the big wheel from the smaller bit, and the whole thing shatters, and into the gas you go. Fortunately, you can respawn new Wheels if you should need to.

The problem is that controlling this thing is iffy at best. Gotta be careful here, and it can be a mite bit annoying if you screw it up. Fortunately, not much precision is necessary in this section.

A bit of nice platforming after this, and then you come to..... another wheel. This one isnt a special wheel like the first; it's just the ring that you've seen in many other levels.

This time around, there isnt any dangers, per say.... instead, there is just alot of.... annoying. You simply have to move the ring to the right. The idea is to roll over these obstacle things that are in your way. But the ring never quite wants to go over them half the time. I got to that litte stilted "stairway" of those fabric towers, and..... well, I'll just say it took some time to get the little nightmare to actually go all the way up. The way the whole thing moves, and the way you have to make Sackboy move to control it, makes it just way too annoying.

And once I was past THAT, there's this section with these things that bounce the ring, with you in it, into the air. Why are they there? I dont know. I get what is SUPPOSED to happen here...... you bounce at a certain angle, if you can, and you'll bounce towards some platforms on the back plane, whereupon you can get off of the ring, and continue onwards.

That didnt happen, though. One problem with these fabric-ring-vehicles: The game can get a tad buggy about them. I've had this one happen ALOT of times, in various levels.... where you try to grip the side as you're being bounced around, and suddenly, for no good reason, you're on the OUTSIDE of the ring. I ended up reaching the above platform via some extremely careful jump timings on the bouncers below, and even then, only barely.


The first wheel section isnt too bad, and fortunately is short enough as to not get totally obnoxious.... but the 2nd one feels sort of tacked on, and doesnt appear to serve any purpose. I personally would rather just have more straight up platforming there, rather than another "vehicle", particularly when it is as annoying as that. I felt that section really threw off the design and pacing of the whole thing.


Once you're past that, you're near to the scepter: 3 easily defeated guards later (dang cool looking, though), and you can finally take that thing away from that lunatic Bafford, to keep for yourself! Serves him right, for putting that bloody ring in there.


Onto the scoring:


Gameplay: 6/10

Those wheel sections really threw the whole thing off for me. Everything ELSE was quite well done, and thought out, complete with those little point blobs to look for, all in clever places. .....but that WHEEL! Were that to be removed and replaced with...... nearly anything else, this'd be that much more awesome. It really would. It's clear to me the creator has alot of skill here.... but that one section just seems a mistake.

Graphics/Audio: 9/10

Gee, but this is pleasant to look at.... despite a rusty/slimy sort of look to the whole thing. That though, is just part of the atmosphere. The whole way through, everything is great looking, the lighting is well done, the areas are well made, with grates and railings and barrels and everything.... it's rare to see a level quite this good looking, and for the most part, everything fits into that one theme. Music is well chosen for the action at hand.

Challenge: 4/10 (Lower score is not BAD, just means EASIER)

For the most part, this is a fairly easy level. And the difficulty remains uniform throughout most of the stage. The average player may have one or two deaths, but if so, it's likely to be their own fault. If there's anywhere in the stage where they're gonna die, it'll be in that little burning section. Note that Im not counting that blasted wheel here.... which isnt "difficult" so much as it just didnt seem to work right.

Pacing/length: 7/10

Once again, this was just fine.... apart from that one section, which rather throws it all off. Also, maybe it's just me, but the level seemed to end oddly abruptly. I woulda liked to see a bit more of the platforming sections there, before, or just after, the scepter. But that's just nitpicking, really.



Overall: 7/10

There's so much GOOD here..... but.... again..... that one section. This really could be something truly great without that, in my own humble opinion. A great looking level, good platforming design, interesting atmosphere, and encouragement for the player to stop and look around a bit for a higher score.... well done. Just held back by that one bit.


It's not perfect, but you'll still have a good time stealing that Scepter from the crazed Bafford and his mansion of doom. A lunatic like that doesnt deserve that thing ANYWAY, now does he? Just watch out for those wine barrels. They're VIOLENT for some reason.




http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2009-5/1340144/Bafford4.JPG

The entrance to insanity.... here's where your quest to infiltrate Baffords mansion of wacky doom begins.


http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2009-5/1340144/Bafford3.JPG

What is this doing here? Regardless, you must pass through this if you want to break into the wine cellar. You're almost inside at this point.


http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2009-5/1340144/Bafford2.JPG

Ah, that accursed Wheel. If that werent bad enough, there's a huge portrait of who I assume is Bafford, grinning and taunting you....

Fjonan
05-17-2009, 01:38 PM
Thanks for your in depth review.

I am getting kind of binary thoughts on the hamster wheel section. you love it or hate it. It can be very much fun if you time your jumping and grabing right. If you want we can play it togehter some time. You are the first to call my level "easy". I toned the overall difficutly down a lot and it is still challenging.

Sure I am a bit sad that you are not one of the people liking the wheel but this is how it goes I guess. This is taste. I always try to implement things new and not seen yet and sometimes players only want to have things they know how to to.

Since I have a lot of positve feedback as much as bad one on the hamster wheel section I will not change it like you proposed and rather live with your critique. Since you seemed to have liked the visuals I am happy with what you gave me. :)

Bridget
05-17-2009, 08:48 PM
Thanks for your in depth review.

I am getting kind of binary thoughts on the hamster wheel section. you love it or hate it. It can be very much fun if you time your jumping and grabing right. If you want we can play it togehter some time. You are the first to call my level "easy". I toned the overall difficutly down a lot and it is still challenging.

Sure I am a bit sad that you are not one of the people liking the wheel but this is how it goes I guess. This is taste. I always try to implement things new and not seen yet and sometimes players only want to have things they know how to to.

Since I have a lot of positve feedback as much as bad one on the hamster wheel section I will not change it like you proposed and rather live with your critique. Since you seemed to have liked the visuals I am happy with what you gave me. :)



The wheel isnt bad in theory.... but some players are going to be annoyed by the simple fact that the thing just plain gets stuck easy.

Maybe some people find moving it easier than others, but for me, it just WOULD NOT go over those stair things.


That, and I really did get shot THROUGH the wheel during that bouncing section, haha. Im not sure just what game bug it is that pulls THAT off, but I've seen it before.



Also, I suppose I might have a rather warped sense of difficulty, considering the type of stuff I make myself.