Map Review of broken-path

by dunkelschwamm | May 25, 2023 | 3038 characters

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Broken Path is a short walkthrough map, apparently repurposed cut content from another series. The description says that it didn't really fit anywhere, and I'm sure that was a valid reason. I'll get into why in a moment!

The progress of the map revolves largely around taking out gonomes and zombies (occasionally other xenians) on your way through what I would call a liminal backrooms style area where function have no meaning. The architecture feels a lot like the corridors were found as they are and then attempts were made to make use of it. Navigating this area feels like a strange dream, as the samey looking corridors wrap around. Backtracking seems to double back on familiar areas that somehow opened up into new things we hadn't seen before. I'm sure this is just because of the samey textures, but it still was a very surreal experience.

Use the shotgun to blow away aliens is most of this map. There's plenty of ammo and medkits laying around to keep the players alive through corridors full of zombies. The biggest threat in most rooms is the gonome, and ho boy when there's two it sure was spooky. Felt balanced medium-low for two players. At the end there's a faceoff with some decently buff massassns which give a greater challenge, but just as the map escalates it ends.

Inbetween there's some surreally/liminally placed electricity traps. They provide some decent brief platforming bits. The second in particular is at least really fun to look at. While I'm trashing the map's bizarre visuals and the functionality of the environment, there's some fun destruction to see- ceilings caved in and doors crumpled. The doors are beveled which makes them feel somehow more artificial than if they were normal flat half-life doors, and one area with brushed wires looks not only bizarre but unsettling in how haphazard the wire placement is. There's so much detail that all of the strange decisions feel intentionally unsettling.

Overall, this is a super short experience. It definitely took you longer to read this than it would to play it. Shover it in your server, it's a fun actiony time. There's even a checkpoint at one of the platforming sections if you suck at that kind of thing. It's great.

Pros:

  • Consistent combat against enemies who generally are not bullet sponges
  • Spawn checkpoint before one of the puzzles
  • The surreal, liminal visuals may be a positive to some
  • The visuals are very detailed
  • Short and sweet action map

Cons:

  • Very limited arsenal, very shotgun dependent
  • The surreal, liminal visuals may be a negative to some
  • The sameyness of the corridors really created confusion for me while navigation, even if it never felt like it slowed me down
  • Map ends just as it seems to be getting interesting
Score: 6.7 / 10
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