Map Review of a-soldier-s-tale

by dunkelschwamm | January 1, 2022 | 4819 characters

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A Soldier's Tale is an incredibly well made walkthrough map which captures much of the same fun energy that Opposing Forces had, capitalizing on the interplay of several factions fighting at once in a way that very few Sven maps have the balls to. HECU, Black Mesa personnel, Black Ops assassins, Xen military, and Race X military all duke it out in massive battles from one arena to the next.

Beyond the Opposing Force style gameplay, however, there is also some grander set pieces and more interesting encounters, especially with the clever use of Kingpins and a surprising new enemy type. Friendly characters often show up as well, each with a name based on a Sven Co-op community member or some other in-joke. The scope and scale of the set throughout is often well paced, interesting to behold, carries a deep sense of progression throughout, and is just full of interesting ideas executed quickly.

One interesting idea that unfortunately fell flat was the inclusion of a horrifically broken nightvision script. I can only imagine that at one point this script worked fine, but as of January 1st, 2022 it is horrifically broken. Attempting to turn it on causes it to rapidly toggle until you attempt to turn it off again, at which it will remain on whichever state it was in when you pressed the button. This is not easy to time, so beginning the toggle process is a nightmare. On top of that, it doesn't actually seem to illuminate anything, it just applies a green filter to the screen. Again, on top of all of that, there was an additional problem that beginning the toggle process also affected the nightvision on the other player's screen as well. Once we finally found a way to turn it off on both of our screens we unbound our flashlight key until the mapset was concluded. This had the unfortunate side effect of making every dark area of the set (of which there are thankfully only a few) somewhat unbearable to navigate.

There's also a couple bits where the map doesn't really convey things super well. For example, the map begins with a battle in a warehouse that's really cool but also is beginning with player spawn in a battle so things are disorienting right away. There's a bit in the end where the process for concluding the battle could have been signposted better, especially since it relied on a feature of the barnacle that isn't utilized in any of the rest of the mapset to my recollection. There was a bit where the player needs to dodge lasers to prevent waking up turrets in an oncoming room, however the lasers are invisible. The player needs to wait for an engineer to open a door (a feature which does not come up again in this mapset to my recollection), after walking at a snail's pace down a long hallway, using his welding kit which also takes a long time, and this will make the invisible lasers visible. In the meantime, the player has no indication until the engineer reaches the door that this is a way to make the lasers visible, and they have very little indication that there's a threat of lasers because the lasers themselves are invisible. Since it's a very action-heavy map, it's far more likely that players will run through the lasers without having any idea that they're there, awakening the turrets and spoiling the entire puzzle, than it is that any of them will realize they can use an engineer on this door before they explore further. There was a part where a fallen console strangely blocked the player from climbing atop it, but pushing a barrel in front of it and then crawling from the barrel onto the console at an obviously jump-able height is somehow the solution. Just a lot of weird things, you know?

For all of those issues, though, there's a ton of just really solid action, brushwork, and fun setpieces inbetween which makes the map a blast. It feels very professionally made a lot of the time and is just a plain fun scenario.

If you're looking for a mapset to play with friends or to add to your action walkthrough server list, A Soldier's Tale is a must-play.


  • Great action throughout
  • Great production value throughout
  • Fun setpieces
  • Really brings back the feeling of Opposing Force gameplay, but better
  • Very versatile and complex use of lots of moving pieces in battles
  • Fun allies


  • Terrible, rotten, no good nightvision script
  • Some clunky design in some areas, some brushwork is shoddy to navigate like weird doors and platforms
  • Sometimes you're spawning right into a meatgrinder before you can even pull a decent weapon out
Score: 9 / 10
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