So I got around to finishing this mission, after several quality sittings. I'll share my thoughts here:
- Starting with the best part, the gameplay, which was flawless. It had a feel like one of the great mansion missions by the old masters, like Ominous Bequest or Saturnine's, and that's great to see over in TDM. Like those, there is the broad range of scenes even though they're all under the same roof, from the moody cellar to the mossy balcony at the end of a long sneaking sequence, which give the sense of exploring a domain beneath the eyes of the guards.
One of my favourite parts were the attic, vents and rafters. Instead of being a featureless alternative route between A, B and C, they were a big gameplay plus because using them gave very good vantage points and ways to move undetected inside rooms.
So in this mission I was motivated to sit waiting in a corner and carefully track all the guards' movements, never using the blackjack and going iron-man (saves sometimes get corrupted). Very tense, good one.
- On the matter of appearance, some of the patch models did stick out to me as being made of patches, such as the toilet lids. However, those are just outliers outweighed by i.e. the impressive yellow pillars and the custom kitchen. What matters more, anyway, are the views in this mission - from up on the rafters down on the captain's split room, or down the stone tower which made the guards going up and down past the windows appear almost like toy soldiers (to me).
One of my favourite areas, again, was the attic. It looked like it was straight under the roof, and the beams looked disorganised and convincing even though they were only made of basic 4-sided brushes. This, together with the level of detail and lighting, brought the appearance to near perfect level.
What could be missing towards the perfect level of St. Alban's Cathedral or Rocksbourg is absolute coherence. In Talbot's there was mainly a theme of lilac and dark brown tones, but then some rooms like the kitchen were mainly yellow or posh white and brown (Talbot's antechamber), and could have belonged to a different mansion. While when I think of Rocksbourg or the Cathedral, they are blackened with thick grime or made of heavy dark blue stone and windows everywhere.
- The idea of the mission was excellent, the "show your skills" objectives are simply pristine for engaging and above all original gameplay. However, what it is missing in my opinion are more sidearms in the story for other characters or events.
"In the North does this very well:
- there is the story of Trumble and his daughter which makes him likeable even though he's a guard captain
- interacting with this: the master eyeing Trumble's daughter
- the possibility to interact with Trumble's story
- the woman who grieves for the ill servant (outstanding storytelling and show of emotion right at the start)
- the past history of the building, as a monastery
Talbot's already has some of these, but with a tad more side characters, crosslinks and side events this mansion could be just as bustling and densely lived in as Grayman's castle.
Now this is of course just a wishlist - the story with its refreshingly unusual objectives already offers an excellent level of tension and intrigue.
- All in all I gave this mission Near Perfect, Near Perfect and Excellent, which is quite a good score
Edited by Dragofer, 21 April 2015 - 04:14 PM.