Posted on 06/21/11 @ 04:13 AM (updated 07/02/11
Another UDP map for all you lovers out there, I've been hosting games on Gameranger for quite a while now (stopped recently for my AI scripting :P) and it seems to be quite popular with players so I'm putting it on here too ^^
|Number of players:
P3 is the Hunter, as usual on UDP maps.
- Bug fixes to a few things.
- Balance changes.
- Crash bug fixed (hopefully).
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
UDP Prison Break is an example of asymmetric multiplayer design. I wonder if perhaps it has waited so long for a review because it has left as mixed an impression on others as it has upon me. I have played the map solo, 1v1 and with all 8 players in order to get a feel for everything the map has to offer.
Drawing on the style of other maps, UDP Prison Break is a dynamic, varied and unpredictable map, where seven "Prey" players are pitted against one "Hunter" player. The prey are weak, but grow stronger with each kill. The Hunter has enormous armies at their disposal. It is a battle of strategy and reactions, where a single mistake can cost you. Unfortunately, with more players and particularly on AoE2:HD, the map can become very laggy as there are over 3000 units placed on the map at the beginning. This does ease out over time, but demonstrates a lack of foreplanning which can impinge on the player's enjoyment. The mechanic of running around makes playing as the prey entertaining, but I felt that the map is less fun as the hunter, where you must organise these huge legions of units which all die too quickly. There are only a few viable strategies in the early game, such as massing trebuchets and attempting to snare a player inside a block of units. Lag makes the game much easier for the hunter, but much less fun for all players.
The gameplay is completely unfair. I am a little generous with the preceding score because here I feel obliged to be entirely critical. There are four options to make the game harder for the prey, when they face a difficult enough task as it is. The objective of the hunter is to kill all seven prey. The Prey have to kill a 50,000HP king unit which can be garissoned inside a 500,000 HP castle with 5000 attack. This objective is not fair. In order to win, the prey must use trebuchets that they must build with an economy. They only obtain villagers at two points in the game, losing them will lead to an unwinnable game. The Hunter gets spawns that are infinite and gets a hero unit that is similar in strength to the most powerful the prey can expect to be.
The Prey will die if their HP exceeds 32,767. This is a matter of gaining 3200 kills. As a result, the play is heavily stacked against them.
Despite problems with its balance, the map demonstrates a good degree of creativity. It is very complex, with many systems which provide units and resources to prey and hunter alike. There are shops which can be utilised by prey or hunter, and so the opposing team will desire to defend them from attack. The frustration I feel while playing this map is that there is clearly a good game to be had from it, but careless excess in setting the difficulty and the propensity to lag spoil it.
Map Design: 3
The map is generally unremarkable. Some effort has been made in places to tailor the gameplay by adapting the map, but often it seems to be a random and clunky environment to drop players into. The initial "Prison" is among the best features, with other prisoners breaking rocks around the players ad infinitum. The rivers which criss-cross the map break up the gameplay into sections, and there is a good deal of strategy involved in protecting the crossings. The aesthetics of the map are scarcely better than a random map and often in places much worse, there is a patch of water which has been broken by elevation. With some trepidation, I feel that it all balances itself out.
Being a multiplayer map, there is little need for a story as the gameplay should tell what story is necessary. While a good deal of effort has been put into writing instructions, they are not entirely helpful and one understands the scenario more by learning through practice. The hunter in particular suffers from a lack of explanation, there is a text warning when a new spawn or hero is unlocked without any explanation. One could conceivably miss out on an important part of the map.
Despite being a remarkable UDP map, Prison Break is not one that I would recommend. There is a huge disparity between hunter and prey with no grace period for the prey to defend themselves from the hunter's power. They have to fight a long slog through the hunter's army and kill a castle they have little hope of destroying. Most games will end very quickly in the hunter's favour.
This is a review of UDP Prison Break v5.42, by Alevo. This has been sitting in the Exchequer/Review Requests thread gathering dust, so I and some friends decided to give it a try.
Our first play-through involved just myself and Popeychops, with another play-through involving the maximum players.
UDP is a "U Da Prey" style map, where 7 players ("Prey") need to survive against the "Hunter" - A player who has thousands of units spanning the map, and usually a King or other kind of unit that acts as the Prey's main target - whilst simultaneously gaining in strength as the game progresses. The longer the Hunter takes to take down the Prey, the harder it is for them to win.
Well, That's the general idea of it, anyway. For this review I will make frequent comparisons between Prison Break and other UDP maps, as this is by no means a unique style of scenario.
UDP Prison Break starts off with the player's cameras looking to the far right corner of the map, whilst the Prey actually start at the far left corner. This, by no means, warrants losing an entire point of score - but I feel it should be mentioned, as this - coupled with the following cutscene involving the Prey's main hero - can be a detriment to how enjoyable the scenario becomes.
As I mentioned above, the map opens with a short cut-scene of sorts, where the Prey heroes are inside a makeshift Prison area. It takes roughly half a minute before the Prey actually gain control of their characters and perform the prison break that this scenario is named after. I feel this is a nice touch not often seen in a UDP map, however it gives the Hunter that little bit of time to prepare. Any player who has run this map more than once will know exactly where the Prey start and what the Hunter has available in the immediate area. In Prison Break's case, the map is sprawling with a seemingly random placement of heroes and units with what appears to be very little consideration to the Prey's initial stats. As this is a scenario where each player (bar the Hunter) has only one starting hero with a low stat buff - UDP map designers should take care when placing units in and around the Prey's starting point.
Whilst the initial rush of trying to get away from the Prison (as the Hunter will know exactly where you are at this point) can be fun and I welcome it, in this case - it borders on being downright frustrating due to the aforementioned, seemingly thoughtless, placement of units and heroes accross the map. Prey can be immediately met with an entire army of various units and heroes that pose a significant danger. Any Hunter player who knows what they are doing can very easily and very quickly beat the game by cornering the prey in this part of the map, and awaiting the inevitable arrival of the Hunter's squad of Cobra Cars and Genghis Khans.
If the players can break through, however, the chase really begins and the Prey can have a more entertaining experience, dodging through the map and fighting off the Hunter's forces whilst seeking out upgrade spots (Which give a steady increase in Attack and Health) and the various points where the Prey can purchase monks or other upgrades. As time progresses, the Hunter gains access to several waves of buffed up units and heroes - as well as having their own shop where they can buy upgrades to their own forces, making them ever so slightly more of a problem to the Prey.
Whilst a UDP map can either be very short or very long, I feel that Prison Break can be over ever-so-slightly too quickly. For this reason, I'm awarding 4 for Playability. Had there been a slightly easier start for the already cornered Prey, this could easily be a 5.
In my opinion, A UDP map should take great consideration towards how strong the Prey heroes can become, and what the unit placement is like for the Hunter.
As it stands, mentioned earlier in this review - I feel the Hunter begins with an unfair advantage. The hunter not only has a short burst of time, but also has seemingly random and thoughtlessly placed units and heroes in the immediate area surrounding the Prey's start point. This can lead to a very short, non-enjoyable (for the Prey) game.
The Prey can be strongly buffed up in relatively quick time, with the sheer amount of possible kills they can achieve (There are over 2900 units initially, and the Hunter gains access to waves of units and also a shop where they can purchase any number of buffed units, for as long as they hold resources for it). On top of this, the Prey can also take ownership of various Gaia heroes spread throughout the map that will buff alongside the main Prey hero. Furthermore, conversions are allowed - and in Prison Break - encouraged. This can be seen as a highly unbalancing factor in the later stages of the game, when the Prey have massive stats compared to the Hunter who will still be running around with largely unaltered units. This map can quickly turn from a rush to escape the corner the Prey starts in, to a winning fight against the Hunter that the Hunter has very little chance of winning - if the Prey has played their game well.
The difficulty curve in the map can only really be judged on the Hunter's initial actions. It can either be very difficult, or a sharp decline. With a little refinement to the opening area to allow a slightly easier start to the Prey and possibly a de-buff to the 500k-ish health castle that the Prey will eventually have to destroy if they ever want a chance at beating the Hunter's 50k HP King - This balance could be improved greatly.
As a UDP map, Prison Break fits the bill nicely. There aren't many overly unique features compared with other UDP maps, however - and I feel this is a detriment to the creativity.
The map features various spots throughout where a Prey hero can upgrade their stats faster than through the method of kills, and there are also rewards for razings and conversions - something which I feel can be seen as creative, but given with the way Prison Break handles stat buffs, this can also be quite game-breaking with regards to how every single player owned unit gains a stat buff when something is killed.
I feel as if rating this as 3 is fair, as there's not a great amount of creativity besides the over-all map design and the inclusion of a store for the Hunter player to upgrade their own forces as well as purchase stat-buffed siege weapons with 25k health and 2.5k attack.
Map Design: 4
Prison Break follows a pretty standard design for a UDP map. There's various islands cut off by rivers where the Prey must use either shallows or transport ships to cross. One thing to note is that the Prey start in the far left corner of the map, as opposed to a more central location. This left corner start, in my opinion, heavily limits their choices on where they can run - and also allows the hunter to very easily corner the prey and block off exit points with masses of heroes.
The map has detailed terrain and a use of elevation and various terrain mixing, and whilst it's unfortunately nothing spectacular - it's still a whole lot nicer to look at than some other UDP maps.
Prison break has a very limited amount of displayed instructions during game-play, and there's a some useful text in the Objectives/Hints, however they seem quite long winded for such a fast paced multiplayer map. I felt it was necessary to explain the game to new players in a nice summary during the pre-game lobby than to just let players read the messages. In a UDP map, the messages - in my opinion - should be short, snappy and straight to the point and displayed through triggers, which don't distract the player from the game.
All-in-all, I think Prison Break is a good example of the UDP genre. It's nothing particularly special, or unique, or different - but it's definitely a working and potentially very fun UDP map.
[Edited on 08/19/15 @ 10:13 AM]