Overly Complex Levels

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Torry
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Overly Complex Levels

Post by Torry » 20 Dec 2019 00:14

I have been playing the Create a Classic set of levels and honestly have become disillusioned with the overly complex game play most of the level builders are incorporating in today's levels. I just do not understand the necessity or even the reasoning behind this. Then, the reviewers are giving these glowing scores as if they are the best levels in creation when in reality they simply are a chore and no fun at all.

Legacy of the Scion was great. Not too difficult and right in the spirit of the game.
Lost in the Amazon started to become overly complex and was real borderline in my opinion but still good.
Sleeping with the Fishes absolutely did my head in with the complexity and sheer number of avenues to follow, switches to find, etc etc
Hostile Waters became nearly impossible to follow and the ending timed swim nightmarish.
I am currently well into Monastery of Talion and this is no better then the last two but it started off with so much promise "sigh".

Even with the written walk through for these levels they are confusing and I find that the video walk through is the only way of having any chance of completing these kind of levels so hats off to those obviously lonely folk who make them and have no real lives at all. My main complaint though is the GLOWING scores these levels receive when in reality they do not deserve them. Yes, reviewing is subjective but come on, if it is no fun and painful to play then why not reflect that in the score provided? I often go through the levels list looking for 9+ levels to play on the assumption they will be a grand raid and fun to while away a few hours but I am starting to mistrust this indicator. I feel that if the complexity trend continues we stand the chance of losing our audience and without them we have no reason to be here. Just my thoughts.

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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by Ryan » 20 Dec 2019 00:51

I suppose I do get what you're saying, in a certain sense. I think it all comes down to gameplay preferences and whether certain players feel that they can accomplish a difficult manoeuvre within a reasonable number of attempts. If they can, then they probably won't let that spoil their impression of the level unless something else really difficult comes up and sets the tone for the rest of the game. Judging by your reviews, (I've read a few of them and find them quite useful) you tend to prefer classic gameplay in good-looking surroundings. I suppose it all comes down to subjectivity in the end and either reading players' opinions and/or making your own impression. Player skills and preferences might come into it as well. It's a perfectly valid point, though and I suppose no review system is 100% perfect. I hope this doesn't seem like I'm saying things too directly, it's just my two cents. :)
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Torry
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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by Torry » 20 Dec 2019 01:30

Ryan wrote:
20 Dec 2019 00:51
Judging by your reviews, (I've read a few of them and find them quite useful) you tend to prefer classic gameplay in good-looking surroundings.
Exactly and is not the "Create a Classic" supposed to be just that?

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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by OverRaider » 20 Dec 2019 01:58

Torry take a break from trle then come back after a while :wink:

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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by JesseG » 20 Dec 2019 04:06

My main complaint though is the GLOWING scores these levels receive when in reality they do not deserve them. Yes, reviewing is subjective but come on, if it is no fun and painful to play then why not reflect that in the score provided?
I have only played one of the four levels you mention, Hostile Waters, and gave it an overall score of 9.25. There was some backtracking required, which I'm never a fan of, and the ending time run also took more tries than I would have liked. Despite these things, I still had a lot of fun solving things like the pressure gauges, the elevator platform puzzle, actually decent underwater combat...there was a lot of different things to do, and that usually weighs into my score more a level layout that could have been slightly more player friendly. I don't remember having to use the walkthrough more than a couple of brief looks.
Last edited by JesseG on 29 Dec 2019 15:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by Treeble » 20 Dec 2019 22:11

I have not played many recent levels myself (I think the only 2019 levels I've played are the Advent Calendar ones lol), but this is not a new tendency. Even back in our day, overly long and complex levels were always favored for one reason or another. "Long, hard and satisfying" should ring a bell. I personally like to be able to start and finish a level in the same day, preferably within 2 hours at most (including deaths, retries etc), so I always found myself steering away from the epic 3 or 5-level sets that had lots of backtracking and going like 1>2>1>3>1>2>3>1>2>5>4>5>3>2>1 or something like it. And when you'd look at the reviews for such levels, all of them were glowing scores, too. Hell, I might have given them myself; sometimes we just hand it out for such grandiose designs...

I guess my point is that we all seek different things in a Tomb Raider custom level. It's a good thing there's such a wide range to choose from. None of us is a professional reviewer (just like none among us is a professional level designer) so I think we shouldn't hold ourselves to such standards. If a level keeps me entertained and gets my mind off this shitty reality we live in, be either for 15 minutes or for 15 hours, I'm going to rate it according to how my global experience with it was.
Last edited by Treeble on 20 Dec 2019 23:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by lizard queen » 20 Dec 2019 22:45

Torry wrote:
20 Dec 2019 00:14
I have been playing the Create a Classic set of levels and honestly have become disillusioned with the overly complex game play most of the level builders are incorporating in today's levels. I just do not understand the necessity or even the reasoning behind this. Then, the reviewers are giving these glowing scores as if they are the best levels in creation when in reality they simply are a chore and no fun at all.
Yeah, I've been disillusioned too with the emphasis on new toys, new moves rather than gameplay requiring simple human brain power. I think the problem is that gameplay only counts for 25% of the score, so you could have a really beautifully textured level with exceptional lighting, amazing and innovative objects and not so great gameplay still getting a score over 9.

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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by Phil » 20 Dec 2019 22:51

GMac used to delight in poking fun at me for my practice of waiting for a walkthrough to become available before tackling any given level. Regardless of how one might feel about this, you have to admit that having a well-written walkthrough handy reduces complexity to a non-factor, allowing me to concentrate on the aspects of playing Tomb Raider that I most enjoy: the overall appearance, the lighting, the diversity and ingenuity of the assigned tasks, etc. I can see Torry's point, but complex levels have been with us for years, so I'm at a loss as to why the issue is being raised at this particular time.

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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by Torry » 21 Dec 2019 00:04

Phil,

Yes these type of levels have been around for quite a while but it seems to be the norm these days. I remember Psiko's levels. Geez, they were just like these and hence I only played the first one and gave his others a wide berth because honestly, I could not be bothered with them.

Treebs,

Agree with you in that we or at least I play TR to get away from the real world. I have enough angst going on with an ill wife that I do not need that in a TR level. I play for enjoyment but lately there is simply no joy to be had in these levels.

OverRaider,

Yes I took a break of many, many years my friend. I began this journey on 24/8/2001 the day after the forum was founded and helped build the reputation of this amazing site.

Lizard Queen,

Yes, I agree with you. Game play should be first and foremost.

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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by Jorge22 » 21 Dec 2019 02:32

All I can say is I've been here all along, together with many others, and saw all the evolution and my comments and ratings are totally honest. I don't simply 'go with the flow'.

I can also give you a precious piece of advice: don't play Russian Base.
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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by billie2001 » 22 Dec 2019 19:52

@Torry: Maybe complex levels get high rated because they are rated by the 10, 20, 30 people that finished them and not by the 100, 200, 300 people that binned them :D
It seems like a valid explanation to me :lol:

@Phil: Yes, a WT helps you finish the level, but it totally ruins the immersion, which IMO is the most important thing.

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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by Torry » 22 Dec 2019 21:29

billie2001 wrote:
22 Dec 2019 19:52
@Torry: Maybe complex levels get high rated because they are rated by the 10, 20, 30 people that finished them and not by the 100, 200, 300 people that binned them :D
It seems like a valid explanation to me :lol:
Good point billie2001. Should we have a "Did not Finish" statistic that players could tick next to the levels?

I am currently what I estimate to be half way through Puna's Revenge and admit that it is only pure stubbornness that keeps me going :bomb:

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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by Jorge22 » 23 Dec 2019 13:04

Excellent level, great choice. I know you'll make it. :2thumbsup:

You know, you really can't compare these levels to early Japanese ones or even to some which, I agree, are highly difficult.
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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by lizard queen » 23 Dec 2019 15:39

billie2001 wrote:
22 Dec 2019 19:52
@Torry: Maybe complex levels get high rated because they are rated by the 10, 20, 30 people that finished them and not by the 100, 200, 300 people that binned them :D
It seems like a valid explanation to me :lol:

@Phil: Yes, a WT helps you finish the level, but it totally ruins the immersion, which IMO is the most important thing.
Hi billie2001,

I think what ruins playing even more are savegames. I recently played Teme9's Reflection level and couldn't get one move down. I reluctantly resorted to a provided savegame which totally ruined the rest of the game for me because I felt I was playing someone else's game and truth is... I was. I ended up finishing the rest of the game on my own steam but was still pissed off at myself for not being able to do that one single impossible move. So I decided to watch the "video" walkthrough afterwards, (which I vowed I would never do) and saw how the move was actually done and after about 5 or 6 tries, I got it. I SO wished I'd consulted the walkthrough BEFORE resorting to the savegame as then the entire game would have been mine and the satisfaction of completing would have been there.

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Re: Overly Complex Levels

Post by SrDanielPonces » 28 Dec 2019 16:57

This is kinda sad and disappointing to read.

All the effort a builder puts into his level, to make it the best as you possibly can, make it as accessible as possible so then someone bothers to make a thread to rant at how bad it is.

Not attacking you personally, I just think that's a bit disrespectful regarding the time and dedication we builders put in our levels :(


I'm the kind of builder that can't stand another level where all you do is pull a lever, pickup a puzzle item and put it in its hole to open a door. It's been like this for so many many many years. Why aren't you all tired of levels that in the end have the literal same kind of gameplay?
I'm up for gameplay innovation, with new features, new moves and new everything. A game can never be the same all over again and will always be irritating after a while.
It's you kind of people that hate innovation for some reason that back off builders from trying their best and innovating TRLE games.

Fortunately I've had amazing feedbacks and I want to keep building my style of levels.

Regards.

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