So, as I mentioned in the intro, I have just finished playing most of a beta for City 17 Episode 1.
Now, as with all betas, there are a few areas that need improvement but the version I played is the latest version and also about 80% finished. With this amount finished it’s clear to see where the developers are aiming for in terms of quality and gameplay style and also to see whether there are close to achieving that.
I just want to say one thing before I continue…This is without doubt one of the best mods I have ever played, even in its unfinished state. I stopped because I was enjoying it so much. I hate playing mods twice and decided that as much as I wanted to continue I shouldn’t because then I would have trouble playing the finished version.
Now, regular readers should know that I NEVER replay mods, never. It’s not because I hated them, it’s because I just don’t enjoy doing it. Therefore please understand that stopping playing the mod is a compliment, not an insult. If I wasn’t loving playing I would have simply finished and saved myself the trouble of playing it when it is finally released.
The start is both dramatic and challenging which is nice to see instead of the usual simple room fade in. All the environments are very detailed both architecturally and gameplay wise. In fact the style of levels I played are exactly the types of levels I enjoy.
There was no custom voice acting included in the beta I played but I am told this will be added soon Other new elements will including a new HUD and some animation I believe.
I really wanted to include some panoramic shots and perhaps even a short movie of the gameplay but I don’t want to give too much away.
You find yourself in the ruins of City 17, obviously, and this provides plenty of cover but also some unexpected surprises regarding the location of the Combine. The lighting is almost perfect with areas neither too bright nor too dark.
I only encountered one puzzle but it fit perfectly with the setting and rather than seeming like an after thought, as so many puzzles are, it was a natural inclusion.
Gameplay was balance between frantic and controlled, and I never felt it was too easy or too hard. A couple of times the enemy just looked at me but to be honest I quite enjoy walking up to them and sending them to a heaven of their choice.
At each level change I kept saying, “Okay, stop now before you spoil it for yourself” and each time I replied “Just a bit more”.
Once this is released (And before you ask, no I don’t know exactly when it will be released) players will be in for a very pleasant surprise. (Well maybe not now that I have told you how good it is!) Mods like this come along once or twice a year and with Strider Mountain and Combine Destiny 2 due soon we could be in for a great early summer.
The only decision you’ll have to make is which to play first!
Click on the thumbnails below to open a 1024 pixel wide image.
WARNING: The screenshots may contain spoilers.