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View Full Version : Bridget's review of: Siren: The Lost World Episode 3-Holes



Bridget
01-03-2010, 11:31 AM
Level name: SIREN: The Lost World [Episode 3-Holes]
PSN: Exalted_Yawn


Well, after the extreme suckage of the previous two levels I'd reviewed, I was a bit reluctant to come here and do some more tonight, lest I be struck with a barrage of sheer crappiness that I would have no ability to defend against.

But, I came and went on to the next one anyway.

Fortunately, this is not another H4H crap level, so..... do read on.

The level we have here is part of the "Siren" series of levels. It would appear to be based off of your basic survival-horror game.

Now, before I go any further, I should perhaps point out the fact that this gives me a bit of trouble. Survival-horror games are, traditionally, one of the genres that I avoid like the plague. I've tried out a few of them.... notably, the Resident Evil games... and frankly, I despised every one of them. Really slow moving, often with cheap scares, and worst of all, shoddy controls (usually), and bad pacing do not make for a game that I like.

Im not the patient type. Things like those games, or RPGs are often way, WAY beyond my patience level. That I have the attention span of a neurotic kitten on catnip really doesnt help matters.

So, it is a little hard for me to fully judge this particular level, due to me not having much of a clue about the games upon which it is based.

Also, due to this, it was a bit hard for me to fully COMPLETE the level... but we'll get to that as I go along.

So, lets get to the review.


The level starts with a little title area, complete with mysterious sticker switch. You'll be wondering what that does exactly, but you cant do anything with it just yet.

The level offers three difficulty settings.... easy, medium, hard, but.... I really dont know what they do, to be honest. I ended up sticking it on Medium for the purposes of this review.

I only ran into one thing that could actually kill me, and it was not exactly the most threatening thing. Unless your gaming ability is so low as to be the equivilent of a concussed frog, you'll easily avoid this singular hazard.


So, you enter the level proper, which seems to be an abandoned mining facility of some sort. How did you get here? Why are you here? Well, I'll leave it to you to play the prior two levels to find out.

For now, you only need know that your goal is to escape, somehow, out the other side of the facility.

Right away, you can see evidence of just how much effort went into this level. Ah, if only I could make levels that looked this good, and had this much atmosphere to them!

This level has a rare thing.... AMBIANCE. Few levels have this. Even alot of the best-looking levels do not have this. Usually, the only other game that can provide this feeling to me is a little game called Knytt Stories.... look it up on Google if you dont know what it is.... and all I'll say here, is that for me to compare the look and feel of this level, to anything at all Knytt related, is a major compliment and one that I'll not be giving often.

Anyway.

You enter the facility, starting out in a room full of bunkbeds. You're given some quick hints, and then sent on your way.

Exploring through the facility, you will quickly find that some paths are blocked to you for some reason. One of them is too dark to see. Another contains a locked door. Another contains a broken door. And so on.

Your goal, then, is to find ways into each of these sections, to find the things you need to open the final door, and escape.

Basically, this consists of exploring the level, finding an item.... which is stored in your "inventory".... and then finding the proper spot to use it.

This part is done quite well; the puzzles all make sense. You dont get any moments of "How was I supposed to know that baking this shark in the microwave would turn it into the key I needed?" as some of these games tend to do, with more nonsensical puzzles. When you find an item, it serves a purpose that actually makes some sense. A flare, for example, can light up the darkness. It does not, in fact, become a jetpack-equipped elephant. No, it works LIKE A FLARE. What a concept.

So, you go through each area.... finding new things barring your way.... and some backtracking is very much required here, but, to be honest, this never really felt tedious. There would sometimes be a moment of "Aha! I know where to go to do this part." which is always a good sort of moment.

Each area you go through is meticulously detailed. It never loses that original touch, it never loses the ambience that hits you when you first enter the facility.


Once you do reach the final door, and escape, the level abruptly ends, and you are presented with a sticker key.

Coming BACK into the level, you can place the key in the title room in order to activate the "second mission". Zelda, anyone?

Well, it does indeed work like Zelda. Placing the key there, you will enter the facility, and... not much will have changed. However, your GOAL is different.... and you will find that a few things are different as you go along. A new door is openable now, for instance, a couple new items to be found.

Now, this is where I ran into a bit of a problem.

This second mission, once you've managed to open the big green door, comes to a puzzle room. It's got these spinny.... shape/color things.

Frankly, this was a bit much for me. I had no idea just what to do here. At one point, after staring at it for a few minutes, I thought I'd figured it out, but.... no luck.

If there are clues to this puzzle in other parts of the level, I either didnt notice (likely) or saw them and totally forgot (also very likely). Either way, I was not given even the slightest clue as to what to do here.

As such, I was not able to go beyond this point, and dont know what comes after that. You'll have to figure it out for yourself, if you can.

That being the case though, I doubt Im the only one that might get stuck in that way. LBP is, primarily, a platformer, after all... the type of player that is attracted to this game, often may not be the right type of player for a level like this. So, some players, going into it, may get frustrated.... or impatient.... with the puzzles and such, and give up.


Anyway, why dont we get onto the scoring here:

Gameplay: 8/10

This is not a platforming level. This is a level where you explore, and find items in order to solve puzzles and explore further into the area. Fortunately, the level handles this very well, and without any real issues. Though, this does result in it not exactly being the most exciting thing in the world.

Graphics/sound: 10/10

This part just amazed me. Like I said before, this level has something others just dont, usually. The level author put a great deal of detail into this... and my crappy screenshots at the bottom do NOT do it justice. Unfortunately, the level is.... rather dark.... even with gamma all the way up, and my camera really, really did not like this fact. So the screens at the bottom didnt come out as well as intended. But jump into the level and see for yourself! This level does not have music, which is a good thing, but it does have very well placed sound-effects to go with the creepy atmosphere.

Pacing/length: 7/10

Uh, Im not sure entirely how to judge this part. I'm not AT ALL familiar with the survival-horror genre... which is what this is meant to be like.... so I dunno how these usually play out, as this aspect goes. It never felt dull to me, though there was repetition and backtracking.... so Im giving it a basic 7 here.

Challenge: ?/10

I dont have a number for this part. On one hand, there's nothing that can kill you here. On the other hand, I couldnt finish the level (fully), and other players may also get stumped by the puzzling aspects of this one. The challenge may differ depending on the player.

Overall: 8/10

It's not perfect.... and this sort of thing usually isnt my cup of tea.... but what I saw here is quite impressive indeed. Very good looking level, it keeps your interest all the way through to the end, despite the slowness of it and the backtracking. Enough of those "Aha!" moments keep you motivated to progress further, and find out what's happening here. Very well done, very unique. If you like this sort of thing, you'll wanna check this one out.



http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2009-5/1340144/Siren1.JPG
This is the first time I've seen Sackboy climb a ladder! Apparantly, he does this by squeezing his ankle and making a face, which causes him to rise up the ladder while making clanking noises. Makes perfect sense.




http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2009-5/1340144/Siren2.JPG
The facility is large, and properly spooky. The sheer atmosphere of the place will keep you wanting to find out just what is behind each and every door.




http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2009-5/1340144/Siren3.JPG
Inventory items are handled pretty easily. When you walk to the proper spot, or grasp a related object, the item is automatically used. Messages appear to tell you exactly what is happening with this.

qrtda235566
01-04-2010, 05:30 AM
Aw, only 8/10?

I love these levels. Puzzles can be incredibly confusing, but there's ALWAYS a clue that tells you the answer. Episode 1 was incredibly hard. :p

The ambiance was something that I thought has made the Siren levels completely original and something everyone needs to give a shot. Nice to see you liked it too.

doubletime
01-04-2010, 06:42 PM
I will play htis levle !