Postat: 19 noiembrie
The game is now out of Alpha, which means the developers are considering it more or less finished. In the past I made it clear how disappointed I was with how the game was turning out, and now I'd like to step back and review the game, the developers, and the history of both in their entirety.
The game taken completely by itself, with no consideration of the developers or the Alpha development phase, I feel is a decent but flawed stealth shooter. There's some fun to be had in sneaking around in the tall grass, but nearly every other aspect of the game has something wrong with it.
Exploring is flawed in that there are far too many "dead zones" with nothing interactive in them.
Looting is flawed in that nearly all loot is gotten from largely non-interactive buildings, as enemies rarely have valuable things to offer when defeated. This is also a flaw of combat, since the lack of valuable items means there is very little reward for winning a gunfight.
Combat is also not exceptionally fun because it doesn't have much gravity. Bleeding can be cured with a single button, health regenerates, and most enemies are weak and easily evaded or defeated.
Music doesn't appear to play a large role in the game. I recall hearing an opening theme, which was interesting, but not memorable.
Graphically, the game has a lot of heart, which I appreciate, but at the same time it's got a very dated, rushed look. Most objects have bland, flat textures and barely react graphically to light. Even the guns looks like they're made of matte plastic, not wood and steel.
The rushed look is present in other elements of the game as well, such as the user interface, which lacks key features like a quick option to discard something (there's no discard button, there's no dragging the item off the inventory screen, there's no icon to drag over, just a context menu opened with M2) or the ability to stack similar items (bullets cannot be stacked once separated, be careful with your rifle ammo).
Animations look sped up and choppy, though this may be on purpose for the robots. There are no reload animations, instead the character lowers his guns offscreen and reload sounds are played.
And finally, the AI is not exceptionally good at tracking you. Even the searchlight, which can see you even when you're perfectly hidden, will forget where you are if you're near a building.
Overall, I'd say it's worth a play if you could pick it up on sale, but it's certainly not worth $20, not for this level of roughness around the edges.
Now, taking into consideration this game had an alpha stage in which quite a bit of money was raised for its complete development, and that there are multiple developers who have had years to fine-tune and polish the game, the overall image becomes considerably less positive. Instead of appearing to be due to time delays or personal problems, the lacking aspects appear to be due to developer inexperience or possibly even laziness.
It has been made clear to me that the developers are a team of ten or so people with decent but not exceptional talent in making games. It has also been made clear that funding was a large concern for them during development. However, a similarly sized team with inconsistent funding and only two experienced game designers was responsible for the creation of GoldenEye 64, which was lauded as one of the greatest first-person shooter games of all time and maintains that status even now (96 on Metacritic, compared to this game's 63). If a team with similar resources and worse technology can make something so memorable, the only thing keeping the developers of SYABH from doing the same is the developers themselves.
It's an unpleasant but well-known fact that game developers who are paid for their work ahead of time can be known to cut corners or even abandon projects at a whim. KickStarter and IndieGogo are rife with such half-finished and abandoned projects. This game, while at the very least playable and somewhat enjoyable, is certainly not finished, and definitely should not have been released from alpha in its current state.
And this doesn't even take into account the fact that many of the lacking features were requested by the community, but outright ignored by the developers during the alpha phase. One of the most requested features was interactive buildings, even something as simple as a 3d door that opened when interacted with. All of these were labeled "too difficult to implement" by the developers and ignored.
This reveals much of their mentality during development. Even during the alpha stage, they'd already decided what the scope of game would be like. Implying that the community had any say in the matter was at best misleading and at worst outright lying. Furthermore, since they already had the finshed project in mind, releasing the game from alpha stage is a sign that they consider that pre-defined scope nearly reached. The fact that they're currently working on additions that do not expand gameplay, such as bugfixes for already implemented features and controller support, seems to enforce this conclusion.
I bought this game when it was on sale during its alpha phase and followed the development for quite some time before it became apparent to me that these developers were not going to produce a finished game. It appears instead they've opted to produce the bare minimum according to their own standards and not the community's. I'll say again, this game has heart, but it just doesn't have enough life in it currently for me to recommend it
And unfortunately, it looks like it never will.