Map Review of mystic-radar

by GrandmasterJ | September 17, 2022 | 3937 characters

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Mystic Radar is a very dark and atmospheric map, it's got fog restricting view distance and constant background music always setting the mood. Most of the gameplay is hunting for keys, valves to turn, destructible panels, or whatever else is needed to progress. Zombies show up and are generally very annoying.

When the map starts my eye is drawn to the textures. Pretty much every surface texture is grainy, lke the world is made out of static. Most everything is a dull metallic color, ranging from rust brown to not-yet-rusty dirty grey. With how dark the map is this can make the map seem mazey and confusing, it felt bigger than it probably was. It had black fog that reduced visibility to about a room and a half, which helped the map feel big and confusing. But there was also good brushwork and interesting and unique landmarks to signpost certain rooms we needed to visit frequently. Getting lost never lasted long in this map. Locked areas put text on the screen explaining what specific macguffin was needed to get in there and there were some cutscenes that showed us which areas opened up. We had a lot of help from the map in figuring out what to do next but since the textures extend to everything, including the things we need to progress, keys are hard to find when they are as grainy and rusty as the surroundings, and the darkness didn't help either. I think the map looks really interesting, but that unfortunately tends to make the map all kind of look the same and obscure the things we need to progress.

Early on, after turning a valve, walls break and zombies come out. Players do not have HEV suits much less actual weapons, both my teammate and I were pressing 'f' constantly due to the darkness, but it was in vain. The zombies are a bit faster than normal and kill us in two hits, we spend a lot of time trying to get past them to turn the last valve. Some key hunting later we pick up crowbars, which will appear later in spawn as well, and we manage to crowbar all the zombies. My teammate somehow discerned that some panels were destructible and started hitting them with the crowbar. The grainy textures drown out a lot of the details and it was very hard to see.

But then we head down some stairs and our crowbars are completely removed again. We run around turning valves as more zombies attack us and when all the valves were turned the zombies blew to pieces. My teammate said something about only turning valves that had two lights on by them, I was turning them all and we still won, that puzzle was very unclear.

The whole map is unclear and that is kind of my problem. It has this great detail and great brushwork but the textures all look like static and it's just hard to see anything. I think the enemies were buffed (and players nerfed) to even the odds with more people. There are only two zombies in the beginning before crowbars, so with two players they were a serious obstacle but with more players they could easily be avoided. But most of the gameplay isn't focused on combat or even enemy avoidance, it's a hunting for grainy keys and valves in a grainy dark series of rooms. The map was fun, but the gameplay was sometimes tedious.

Pros:

  • Great atmosphere
  • objectives are clearly announced
  • crowbar updates in spawn, eventually
  • the map definitely succeeds in being spooky
  • Very good looking brushwork

Cons:

  • Because the textures have the same static pattern the map tends to blend together
  • The items and areas needed to progress are usually dark and blend in with the surroundings
  • I'm not a fan of avoiding enemies while key hunting, one more player and this would not be an issue
Score: 6.5 / 10
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