Review: Revenge of Dravis

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vision
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Review: Revenge of Dravis

Post by vision » Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:35 pm

Revenge of Dravis is a large campaign that did its best to mimic the original Parallax levels. It has full mission briefings, end credits, and even exit sequences. R'o'D is better than average, but far from capturing the feel of the levels that obviously inspired it, and sometimes felt like a sub-par imitation of more popular level-sets. Having played nearly every single player level in existence I was too often able to place where I had seen similar geometry/traps/patterns before. I think this is my biggest issue with the campaign. The first couple levels were actually pretty bad, but got significantly better starting in the teens.

I am a tough critic. I have pet peeves. Some things are instant deal-breakers for me, even things I have seen in Parallax levels. For instance, you get docked points when levels contain pass-through walls or anything considered 4D. Anyway, here is my review based on the following criteria:

Geometry
I am not a fan of mine symmetry because it gets boring, fast. R'o'D avoids this for the most part, so that is good. However, there were a lot of default cubes in these levels, which is bad. With the exception of a couple rooms, everything was rather ordinary. There didn't seem to be any experimentation, but on the positive side there were no excessively large or small areas. Also R'o'D does a decent job keeping levels from being too linear while avoiding having the player cross the same location several times. Some of the levels were clearly remixes of Parallax ones and these were done faithfully. Score 3/5

Lighting/Textures
Textures were Ok on most levels. The lighting lacked continuity and failed to capture a mood or create depth and tension. There are a lot of common mistakes such as bright areas with dark object lighting, and light textures that are not illuminated (they didn't appear to be intentionally dark). Color palettes mostly followed the original Parallax levels and texture combinations rarely strayed from expectations. Score 3/5


Robot Placement
Revenge of Dravis can be summed up in one drawing:

Code: Select all

                                   ____
                                 _/=  =\_     
  There is a robot here -->     /        \
                                |_\____/_|
                                [_]----[_]
____________             __________________
            |           |
            |     _     |
            |    /_\    |
            | |  \H/  | |
            | ||_/ \_|| |
            |  \!   !/  |
            |   []^[]   |
            |           |
Tucking a robot close to the wall on both sides of a corridor is a gimmick used far too often in R'o'D. Also, the placing super strong bots in tight places where there are no conceivable angle of attack. There are too many "instant death" traps. I am more critical of robot choice and placement than any other trait since blowing up robots is basically the whole game. If you get this wrong, you have nothing. R'o'D does not quite get the bots right and most interactions are unfulfilling. I can only remember two or three times I had to do any serious planning/flying/shooting. Score 2/5

Closing Thoughts
Finally, it's worth mentioning there are no annoying puzzles, which is great! I know this is a largely negative review, but unfortunately I was hoping for a bit more. I didn't find any of the 5 secret levels (are there 5?) and I didn't find the campaign interesting enough to go back and look for them. I'm glad I played this campaign, but most of it was entirely forgettable. I've replayed a few levels here an there, but I'm pretty much over it. My overall impression is a 3/5, which brings the total score for this level set to 11/20 (55%). In other words, slightly more good than bad.

Thanks to the level designers for all the hard work!
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Re: Review: Revenge of Dravis

Post by Descer » Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:07 am

Most level are (very) short. Good size would be 50-100% bigger than first ones. I didn't know how to solvessome (the 1st one being the 3rd, 'cause the blue key), which means deletion in my books, no matter how great some might be. But it's not the worst mission I've played.
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Re: Review: Revenge of Dravis

Post by Xfing » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:59 am

The packaging is good, with all the briefings and story and everything, but the levels themselves are basically a default tunnel-fest. Good thing Naphtha helped with texturing, that really elevates the quality a bit. But overall, I think it's not as good in terms of geometry as say, Stroodles' "Descend Again" (which is also pretty rudimentary).
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 34/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Review: Revenge of Dravis

Post by PigmyRhino » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:35 pm

As one of the developers of this mission set, I agree with each point you made. haha,

For Dravis and Myself, this was our first attempt at officially level building. Yes, I've used the DMBII and DLE before, but this was the first time I actually built full levels. (My credits are Levels 19, 22, and Secret 5)

Sure it got a little gimmicky, we loved the idea of choke points and felt like the mission *should* be impossible to speedrun.

Thanks for the feedback, I love constructive criticism, and I like to believe that the levels I've designed since Revodrav have improved in quality :)
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Re: Review: Revenge of Dravis

Post by LightWolf » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:18 pm

I found it a little hard. I hope RoD2 will be 10x better.

On the other hand, it is a nice challenge for when you're too bored to do anything else. :lol:
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