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View Full Version : Mr.g reviews: "Trial of Skill" by Shining Aquas



Mrgenji
01-26-2009, 11:31 PM
TRIAL OF SKILL - SHINING AQUAS (PSN: PHANTASYSTARHERO)

One word review: Again!

Overview
If this level was sandwich it would be Marmite (bear with me here) - for those of you who don't know Marmite, its a spread made mainly from salt, beef and brown. It carries a famous tag-line "You either love it or you hate it".

The thing about this level is that its a challenge, a challenge you'll want to overcome. If you enjoy a challenge this level will provide heaps of it, along with a growing sense of accomplishment as you get a little better each time. By my 100th try (or near there) I was speeding through segments not long ago I thought would not be possible. Anyway more of that later, onto the bare bones of the review:

Concept
It's a popular concept the "trial" or "test" levels, sadly however they rarely amount to more than a weak excuse to string a series of challenges together. However there are a few saving graces here. This challenge truly rewards skill by giving the player the chance to drop out at certain sections to take the money and run. Its not a concept I've seen before and it adds plenty to the replay ability of a level.

Story/Theme
Ah...heres one of its major downfalls I'm sorry to say - as far as I can tell it lacks both, or they're both so well hidden I couldn't see them. the materials jump from cardboard skyscrapers, to tin foil to islands metal so randomly It's almost as if a dartboard was used to select them. The basic idea seems to be to see "how far can you go?" but there could be so much more than that added to this level.

Visuals
Yet again...ouch - now before I do this bit, please if your reading this don't think "Oh this is a terrible level", it just happens to not be as good in either story or visuals (which happen to be the first sections). As mentioned above the material choice doesn't match in any way I could find, the background is almost constantly showing and is fairly random at that. Large blobs of dark matter hang in the air and you can see where platforms have been made to float. A bit more care to the look of the level would really make this shine, if darkmatter blobs were made into rocks hanging off a wall, or if the floor didn't change from cardboard to metal to darkmatter, this really would be a great level.

Mechanics
Now we're getting somewhere, the mechanics of this level are truly spectacular - although i didn't realise it at first. As i progressed I realised what I first thought was bad design was actually very well planned design, the way the platforms are *just* the right distance apart, or the timing of platforms really is amazing when you think about it. You wont see many switchboards or pistons at work, but then gain why should there be? A sign of
a great working level is when everything works as it should with minimal effort. The game advertises a set of challenges, it delivers a set of challenges. dodging a giant spinning shuriken is equally as challenging as fighting a robot with 20 moving part, but that much simpler in design.

Gameplay
Much like the Marmite I mentioned earlier its addictive, but only if you stop to realise how much better a player you've become. You will die a lot, but few of them will be cheap deaths due to bad design or unfair odds. This gave me the will to try and beat each challenge, it really is a level of trial and error - but untill you get deeper into the level you wont realise how much you've learnt. Thats why I urge everyone who plays this to try it several time and try and get a little further each time.

High Point
The high point for me was easily the disappearing darkmatter cubes, the timing was so exact and the jumps so close....I almost ran around the room when I finally cleared them

Low Point
The car at the start of the level, while fun first time round, on my 100th try at the level the ride grew very tedious - when a level is designed to make you replay a section of boredom adds nothing

Summary
If you want a level you can pick up and try to beat every once in a while, this is top of the class - much like beating the high scores of pac-man each time you play this level it will be to try and beat your previous record.

Give this level some time and t will soon grow on you, and dont be afraid to leave it and come back. If you push this level to hard you may just give up, and trust me you'll be missing out.

Overall score: 6/10 (all it needs is some aesthetic love)

Neverynnal
01-27-2009, 03:37 AM
Couldn't have put it better. I think I'm one of the 4 people or so that has actually hearted the level because I absolutely LOVED the challenge it presented. It frustrated the hell out of me, yet when I actually beat it (to the first scoreboard that is...) I found myself pumping my fist. Playing this level over and over will make you a better platformer PERIOD. Visually it sucks (to be frank) but that's not where the true beauty of it lies. Force yourself to beat this level and you'll love it.

By the way, I intended on reviewing this level myself so I played it over and over way back when. Since then my reviewing section has piddled away because of school. I anticipate it will fire up sooner than later but yeah... :p

Whalio Cappuccino
01-27-2009, 03:42 AM
Couldn't have put it better. I think I'm one of the 4 people or so that has actually hearted the level because I absolutely LOVED the challenge it presented. It frustrated the hell out of me, yet when I actually beat it (to the first scoreboard that is...) I found myself pumping my fist. Playing this level over and over will make you a better platformer PERIOD. Visually it sucks (to be frank) but that's not where the true beauty of it lies. Force yourself to beat this level and you'll love it.

By the way, I intended on reviewing this level myself so I played it over and over way back when. Since then my reviewing section has piddled away because of school. I anticipate it will fire up sooner than later but yeah... :p

I am one of those that hearted it as well, and for the same exact reason, couldn't of said it better myself. And the review says it all.

qrtda235566
01-27-2009, 04:55 AM
My review of Mrgenji's review of "Trial of Skill" by Shining Aquas

Nice review.

Summary is spelled like how I just spelled it.

5/2

Shining Aquas
01-27-2009, 05:13 AM
I've come to the conclusion that the only people that heart the level are the same people who are trying to actually beat it all the way through and actually relish the challenge and can appreciate the victory. Granted that leaves my player demograph in the garbage for the most part, but that's what I get for being a level design jerk.

Thank you for reviewing it, appreciate it mostly because while I give a lot of feedback I rarely get any in return. I'll see what I can do about the appearance (and while I be reluctant to do so, I'll remove the car), and hopefully the level will spruce itself up a bit.

BTW, it seems one of the filmers is doing my level so video recording is coming.

BassDeluxe
01-27-2009, 05:17 AM
Yeah, I'll hopefully have a video up by the weekend. Assuming I can beat it. >.>

Elbee23
01-27-2009, 06:59 AM
Marmite is the American name for Vegimite in Australia. Random fact for you.

I tried this level a long time ago and was turned off by the visual design and high difficulty. My platforming skills are not that good, I only finished the story mode 2 months after buying the game.

Ah well, to each his own. That's what's great about LBP. :)

Shining Aquas
01-27-2009, 08:21 AM
Random fact: About 5 minutes ago, I just finished Version 1.05 of this level.

Try playing it again, it looks COMPLETELY different. All the challenge and tough parts are there, but it got a HUGE appearance overhaul.

Also, the car is gone and replaced with a simple drop instead.