Review by savedbygrace
The text fails to describe the mission adequately and though the image is vague, it does at least display a view of what will be seen.
There is a brief cutscene at the start of the mission that sets the first task up well enough. Completely voiced and with added fx, it transitions to player control without a briefing screen. Camera angles are just right, timing is proper and background ambiance is not lacking.
There is no formal briefing at mission start but rather the player is presented with a single task and some background information to get them started. Throughout the mission, tasks are added, completed or failed correctly with working links and necessary Intel.
Depending on how the player executes the mission, it can be fairly cut and dry or rich and immersive. I have played several ways and not once did I feel cheated.
Not only does the author present you with the option to experience the mission with varying effects, but he allows for additional difficulty levels as well. Beginning with simple tasks, the mission has the potential of teetering in either direction...fast and fun or long and fun. Both ways proved immersive for me.
The allied camps are well thought out, well equipped and staffed and not far apart. Each one possesses ambiance that draws the player in further but they also contain a few of those tricky spots that trap AI with their path finding.
The mandatory tasks are not dependent solely on the players actions, so that if the player is a proficient one, he can rack up a high score but if he is not, the AI are capable of quelling enemy waves on their own.
Optional tasks and their locations are well conceived and mesh well with the story line as they each have an effect on the overall mission whether won or lost.
The author does a splendid job of expanding the world beyond the player's vision by implementing environmental ambiance that emanates from afar.
There is plenty of weaponry and ammo to be found whether on the fallen, allied camps or abandoned in destroyed towns by already decided battles. Medical aid is also available in the allied camps. But the modified medic script will force the player to squirm idly while he watches his mates fight the battle.
In the end, the player always has options no matter the circumstance. No task needs to be completed the same way.
The mission has several cutscenes spaced throughout it depending on whether you select to accept certain tasks or not. Each scene has steady camera work and voice files to accompany the subtitles and camera angles that were appropriate. Although some of the voice recordings seemed out of place, they still helped to maintain the immersive aspect.
So many things make this project special. For one, the amount of scripting in order to control frame rate is truly commendable. Most folks just throw things in there and make you deal with the stutter but once you open this up inside the editor and then peek inside the mission folder, it becomes evident of how much trouble SaOk had gone through to eliminate lag.
If smooth frame rate for such a vast mission is not enough, the amount of objectives and extra material injected into the ambient of the region as a whole to ensure that the player meets something along the many routes that can be taken should be enough to wow even the most avid of editors.
The constructed areas look to be thought out well enough and destroyed towns and crippled remnants of abandoned vehicles are scattered in bounty. Cutscenes were relative to current circumstances and complete with subtitles, sound and timing while enemy emplacements did not look like a bunch of units thrown into an area as deterrents.
I don't think enough can be said about the time the author spent in making sure that the world was alive around the player.
From start to finish, this mission was gratifying in most respects. Each time you play, the tasks are in the same general area but never unfold the same way. No matter which path you take, you're bound to encounter something somewhere.
Finally, the mission was very well balanced to accommodate varying levels of play skill, so everyone should be pleased with a play of this one.