View Full Version : SA reviews "The Azure Palace"

Shining Aquas
01-25-2009, 11:47 PM
I'm not entirely sure why I'm reviewing this.

Yeah, I put it on the list, it was my idea to review the level, but there really doesn't seem like much point. Everybody here has already played it. If you haven't then you must be new around these parts because at this point just about everyone has had a crack at TAP. Not to mention everyone went bananas when it was griefed to death, creating one of the biggest LBP conspiracies of all time......well sort of. Mostly we all just cried.

But hey, The Azure Palace is back thanks to the constant re-uploading by gevurah22, and it's still ripe for the picking.

It should also be noted that while my review may make it sound like the level is full of notable flaws and mistakes, I should mention that this is still amongst my top 10 favorite levels in LBP, which even though is constantly changing with new levels has managed to remain there since day one.

The first thing you'll notice when you enter the level stands out from other creations throughout the rest of the level brilliantly like a Sapphire floating in a swamp: DETAIL. The level is chock full of expansive detail and it's clear that gevurah22 didn't hold back for anyone's expense. Color filtering, well placed stickers and decorations, very themed design on objects and appearance, and overall great performance of art submerging the player in what certainly feels like the bottom of the ocean. Absolutely excellent. Perhaps a little too excellent....

The point behind my line of points is to signify that while the level is certainly very pretty and sparkly and there's no doubt that it is certainly one of the best looking levels on LBP, it does have a slight problem with not being very direct. While it is true that the puzzles early on are very clever and creative to a degree, they aren't extremely intuitive and I'd imagine it'd take a good few minutes before people actually find out how to get anywhere. Whether or not this aspect of the level makes it good or bad depends mostly on the person. If you are the kind of person who actually enjoyed and relished the challenge that was the Water Temple from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, then this should be right up your alley. If not, well the level can certainly be enjoyed but do expect a little frustration.

Speaking of frustration, one of the biggest aspects of this level is how you play the role of courier for the Azure Key, an object that is required to get through many doors in the level, and while the carrying around of the key makes it a very fun, it also leads to insufferable swearing and chucking of the controller, mostly due in part to the fact that the Azure Key might as well be made out of half-shattered glass. The first few times I played this level with my friends, either the key got squished, or the key bearer dropped it in a non-recoverable location, or the door locked me (specifically me, the one holding the key) out of the door, never to proceed without inflicting Suisack. Maybe this kind of stuff only happens when playing multiplayer, or possibly only happens when playing multiplayer with my friends, but it's the fact that it happened so frequently that just irritated me.

Here's another fun thing to talk about, suppose you are "lucky" enough to make it through the entire temple, suppose you are then able to see the level's "true ending", well that means you get to fight one of the most beautiful monsters ever constructed in LBP. This giant Sea Serpent is fully loaded with plenty of things to be wary of, including electric body parts, electric projectiles from EVERYWHERE, and of course the fact that he can eat you. Your only chance of victory is to take the Azure Blade that you've been provided to strike it down. Hit all of the various destroyable body parts with the blade, then shove the sword into its horn to defeat it for good. Overall the design for this boss is excellently made, but it is a little too glitchy to really call it amazing. If you die via electric shot off of the monster, and you happen to be above it, the sword will be dropped on top of him and about 20% of the time, you won't be able to recover it. Plus, there is a small chance that the monster can "break" the Azure Blade with it's tail, which I have seen it do twice and can confirm it. There is only one sword, plus a bonus sword by its tail, so if you lose both of them, Game Over man.

So what's the verdict, fully deserved or over-hyped? Well, it's a little of both actually. Yes, the level certainly deserves to be praised for the iconic gem that it is, and the detail and amount of work that went into the level cannot and frankly should not be ignored, but at the same time people constantly calling this level the Messiah and praising it with offerings of cookies and cream might be a bit much. Don't get the wrong idea, the level is absolutely fabulous and full of wonder, but don't get the crazy idea into your head that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

But, what does it matter? The Azure Palace is already more popular around these parts than God and anything I say isn't going to change that anytime soon, but I really want people to know that there are plenty of other good levels out there besides this one and the sooner you come to terms with that the more you will enjoy this game.

Final Score:
9.0 / 10
Beautiful design, well done puzzles, and one hell of a boss fight. A few gimmicks and bugs prevent it from being the best per say, but still better than most levels on the net.

On a side note, I've determined that it takes exactly 47,398 licks to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop. :idea:

01-26-2009, 12:13 AM

01-26-2009, 01:46 AM
I think what really set this level apart was it's timeliness. It was out there right after release and really set the bar high for other creators. It will be forever-known as the "level that started it all". It's kind of like the first Final Fantasy for NES or even the first LoZ; while it was epic for it's time, its predecessor's make it look second-rate.

This stands true, because while Azure Palace was the best level out there in the first couple months after release, it's certainly second-rate compared to some of the levels that have come out recently. While I may sound like I'm hating on this level, it's still a gem, and always will be a gem. I think a score of 9.0/10 is appropriate and I appreciate the nice review SA :) Bravo!

Shining Aquas
01-26-2009, 04:39 AM

...earlier in another topic....

Okay, The Azure Palace is up, and because I didn't happen to give it a 10/10, I expect to see some angry fanboys annnnnny minute now.

Yup, totally called it.

01-26-2009, 06:11 AM
...earlier in another topic....

Yup, totally called it.

I think your taking his sarcasm the wrong way...lol