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Horizons - The Hellgate Saga by justin

Adrian 10 10 10 10
Bene 10 10 10 10
black horse 9 9 10 10
BlackWolfTR 10 10 10 10
CalrOsario 10 10 10 10
Cruzader 10 10 10 10
Dick 10 10 10 9
DJ Full 8 10 10 8
Dutchyraider 10 10 10 10
eRIC 10 10 10 10
Feats 10 10 10 10
g12STL 10 10 9 10
Ivan 10 10 10 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
JesseG 10 10 10 8
Jorge22 9 10 10 10
Jose 6 10 10 9
Juan Carlos 10 10 10 10
Lina La 10 10 10 9
Lizard Queen 10 10 10 10
MigMarado 10 10 10 10
Mman 9 10 9 10
Petaludas 10 10 10 10
Phil 10 10 10 10
requiemsoul 9 10 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Samu 10 10 10 9
Treeble 10 10 10 10
Wolf7 9 10 10 9
 
release date: 14-Apr-2021
# of downloads: 461

average rating: 9.80
review count: 29
 
review this level

file size: 609.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc
 


author profile(s):
email(s):
ankhofmishra@gmail.com

Reviewer's comments
"What an amazing game, (and yes, I do agree with Jorge - the terms 'level', or even 'level-set', hardly do this justice) - this truly is a vast Saga, even bigger than the commercial games. Shoutout to Phil and his equally mammoth walkthrough - weighing in at nearly 30,000 words - or three degree-level final dissertations. And this is just one of many hundreds that he has written over the years. I needed to refer to the walkthrough on many occasions but just for orientation after a level jump back to an earlier level or hub-level. Apart from that, I did have a few other issues along the way, but most of the actual gameplay was doable without the walkthrough. The exploration elements and the many brilliant and innovative puzzles were challenging and a delight to solve. Only in Languid Wastes did I encounter a serious problem - if you don't pick up all four of the small mushrooms or all four of the poisonous roots before collecting the other things then the items do not get stored properly in the inventory and you can only make one toxic remedy. That is enough to proceed with the game but you'll miss out on three secrets.
Despite several minor issues encountered over 14 hours of net gaming - I'll still give this a 10 for gameplay because, frankly I've never had so much fun playing TR. If I'm being lenient on the gameplay I can afford to be strict on the lighting which was often flat, particularly on the many static objects used. These could have been edited with added shading and highlights via strpix.
Anyway, highly recommended to experienced and patient players - Horizons is one of the all-time greats, no doubt. Now I'm off to play the sequel demo." - Dick (06-Mar-2024)
"Fantastic !!! This game is very unique but very hard in some sections. Some of the 27 secrets are very dificult to find at first approach. But the « FlashBack » bonus level is very, very good !!! This game as a lot of variations and styles with planty levels. Impressive atmosphere and a set of puzzles that are breathtaking!! "Desolation", "Utopia Vale" and "Languid Wastes", to mention some of them, are levels of extraordinary creativity. Environments with great technical details, thought out with impressive minutiae. This game must have taken unimaginable work and effort. The result is a masterpiece that no one should miss!!! Thank you Justin!" - CalrOsario (02-Nov-2023)
"*Pros*: ● Awesome visuals and models! ● Vast view and nice looking level. ● Has story and cutscenes ● Voice acted! ● Neat puzzles. ● Notebook and codex. ● Nice UI. ● Easter eggs! ● Variant levels and gameplay. ● New mechanics. ● Secrets somewhat fair. ● End game bonus!! *Cons*: ● Level can be too big and confusing. ● Some parts might be difficult. ※Overall: I enjoyed every aspect of this awesome level and it's on my top favorite! Well balanced, fun and rewarding. Level creator\s puts a lot of efforts on this and it shows, thank you! Looking forward for their other levels :)※" - black horse (12-May-2023)
"Without a doubt praisable for life and lore included, but mostly simply too big - even when I wasn't stuck, I often felt overwhelmed and needed a break. Recommended with Doggett's walkthrough bookmarked." - DJ Full (08-Oct-2022)
"Stumbled into playing this not realising how long it was but, in the end it wasn't long enough for me... I wanted MORE haha! An amazing level set! An absolute tour de force! The amount of work put into creating each beautifully crafted level is astonishing and clear to see. Each level is so well put together with such attention to detail. Beautiful vistas and scenery abound. Some of the sound effects and ambient music was awesome too! I loved the references to other games such as Portal, Resident Evil and I got Half Life vibes in one of the levels. The only nitpick I had was the first level was a bit too open for my liking. But that is such a minute nitpick it barely registers. I honestly think this has surpassed KAP and Sabatu's TR1 as my favourite TRLE release I have played so far! KAP was ruined for me by the final boss anyways haha! For me this now the standard for any "Long Play TRLE" to meet and hopefully surpass and I cannot wait for Demon Saga! GG Justin! :D" - Feats (13-Aug-2022)
"Wow! What a great adventure! First of all, I want to thank to the builder the very great effort and years working with the editor and another tools to bring us such a excellent adventure. I take my hat. Also I need to be grateful with this builder to tech me and help me with the developing of my last level; you're great! This adventure is simply fantastic and extraordinary; the architecture is very good, the impressive atmosphere, the new objects, the history, the amazing features... Again, I take my hat. Bravo! On the other hand, some levels and many rooms are excessively dark, difficulting a lot the advance and normal gameplay, even with the flare in hand; the puzzles are very clever, bul very confusing too, not suitable for everybody; the continuous jumping between levels with no sense always brings confusion to the players, and that was the worst: I was disoriented all the entire game. Of course, I was not able to find all the secrets, so I couldn't play the bonus level, but I really enjoyed what I played so I can recommend this great adventure to all the TR players. A very good job!" - Jose (06-Oct-2021)
"To be honest, in the beginning I wasn't sure I would be able to finish this incredible levelset. The obstacle that kept getting in my way was the distance fog, which was so thick in the first four levels that Lara could only see about 4 squares in front of her – not a problem that flares can solve, and sadly the binoculars with their handy light-up functionality are not in this game. This made it very difficult to navigate the outdoor areas, especially in Dark Estate, where I found myself guessing at which direction to run in and stumbling into walls and cliffs. But I'm glad I fought my way through, because when Lara emerged from the first portal and observed the beautiful Utopia Vale, I was estatic. The visuals for the rest of the adventure were impressive, especially in how they set the different worlds apart from each other, although there are still a couple of small moments where the fog is a bit too thick or things are a bit too dark. As for gameplay...I don't think I can even attempt to list all the puzzles in this adventure, but I certainly enjoyed having so many of them. The top ones that come to my head: The pushblock puzzle where Lara can use a turn-style to rotate the blocks, the rotating steam pipes, and of course the overarching puzzle requiring the player to deduce the foreign number system as the adventure progresses. Traps are not in short supply either, including rotating spike walls to climb across, a deadly heatwave to dodge from the shadows, poisonous flowers, and plenty of steampunk-like contraptions spewing flames. And then there's the combat, not only are there a nice variety of enemies for each world but there are also quite an assortment of boss fights, each requiring a unique approach to overcome. Players who struggle with darkness might have a rough start, but just hang in there for the first four levels (don't be ashamed to use the walkthrough for navigation), it's definitely worth it. What a highly creative adventure. 8 hours 48 minutes." - JesseG (04-Oct-2021)
"After playing this level for a few months now (though it took me 11 in-game hours to finish), I've got to say that this is one of my favorite TRLE's that I've played and I'm really looking forward to a sequel! The innovations to the gameplay made it stand out the most from typical TRLE's. As well as the many different environments that were beautifully constructed. All of the environments from the urban city to the strange and eerie desert were very well put together. The enemies, particularly the bosses, were actually fun to battle. The reason being that the combat style was different and they weren't typical TR entities that you see in most games. The difficulty was moderate for me, the worst part was figuring out the puzzles (which I sought help on a lot of). I'd recommend this game for people of all skill levels to try out and good luck. Excellent level!" - g12STL (26-Aug-2021)
"This set starts in a horror setting with a fog-cloaked town and a large haunted mansion, but it becomes very varied as you move on to other worlds, and you end up in areas that range from beautiful valleys to boiling deserts to a Dinosaur jungle with treetop huts that seems like a reference to a certain level of Turok 1. There's plenty of unique geometry and more new engine features to add to the settings. Some of the interiors are on the simpler side but the more detailed parts and great vistas have enough going on to balance that out. Every area is full of touches to sell them, and there are a ton of custom objects and modified enemies too. While most prominent in the starting levels, there's a lot of fog, and, while it adds to the atmosphere a lot of the time it does feel a little heavy handed occasionally, and there are some object and lighting bugs from it (although this is mostly an engine issue rather than a specific design one). While the models are great a general issue I had with the modified enemies is the sound (despite it being great elsewhere), as several either use the original sounds when alternatives would spice them up or only have a couple of sound effects and seem silent quite a bit of the time. The fact that many are poisonous doesn't help and things like the Dogs would feel fairer if there were more sounds to highlight their presence. Given the horror theme of the more realistic parts some details like the random anime textures seemed a little out of place, but the overall design is good enough to overlook that. There are a large range of textures used and they fit well, with familiar textures from things like BTB contests used and added to in creative ways to create alien-feeling environments.
The gameplay here is heavily on the exploration side, with multiple complex unraveling environments, most of the individual challenges aren't especially brutal, but the sheer size of the levels and presence of things like the previously mentioned poison enemies means there are plenty of ways to get caught out. There a good integration of the narrative, with multiple diary-type systems that provide clues and backstory, and are needed to solve a lot the puzzles; in the second half there's a focus on learning a special numerical system, which is very well balanced to allow for moments of cleverness without being overwhelming, and can even reward going elsewhere if you get stuck on a specific puzzle. On top of the custom diaries and objects there's a lot of new interactions added, that are pretty much all well integrated into the design and create original gameplay concepts. Despite the level size there's usually a decent amount of clues to keep the flow going outside of things like the occasional sneaky jumpswitch. One downside of all the detail is that there are some heavy-handed invisible walls at times, but it usually doesn't obfuscate progression. There's also a secret hunt with it's own systems attached which unlocks a bonus level (which has some unique concepts itself), and, while there are quite a few to find, it does a good job not locking you out of them outside of one or two obvious hard barriers. A masterpiece full of creative ideas, interesting themes and unique moments (and in some ways it almost feels like a vastly more advanced version of what the Dark Skies series was going for). Given this took over 10 years to release hopefully the second part won't be remotely that long..." - Mman (15-Aug-2021)
"This is a level set which has everything you would expect from an epic adventure including large worlds to explore, inventive puzzles, great story telling, tons of platforming, unique boss battles and much more. The first part of the game consists of levels that take place in a horror-like city environment, which has become infested by zombies and demons. The second part of the game is made of four interconnected worlds, each of them featuring different visual style and plenty of exploration. What I found most impressive during this journey, was that nearly every major puzzle contains a new idea, which I have not seen before in custom levels. I liked especially how several puzzles utilized symbols, whose meaning you have to uncover by collecting various clues throughout the game. New game mechanics were also very interesting, such as the heat bar in desert levels. If you stay too long in the sun light, the heat bar will fill up causing you to burn, so the trick is to constantly seek shadows. Moreover, puzzles are nicely balanced with platforming and timed runs that often involve custom traps and moving platforms. In addition, exploration plays a big role in the game, and the levels are fairly non-linear at times. However, I never found myself lost and I had to refer to a walkthrough only few times because I missed a switch or an item. Visually the game looks great and every world includes usually a memorable and massive central area (my personal favorite was the tree house area in Emerald Dreamscape level). Despite the great visuals, I found lighting to be somewhat flat in smaller rooms, lacking contrast and color. In the bigger areas, the lighting worked better in my opinion due to the distance fog, which partially removed the need for light effects. Taken together, this is among the most epic level sets that I have played and contains some of the best puzzles you will find in custom levels. I am eagerly looking forward to the next part of the Horizons series." - Samu (10-Aug-2021)
"Amazing game. Everything was perfect. Absolutly artistic and gorgeous work. All I can say is thank you very much for this complete game." - Juan Carlos (02-Aug-2021)
"This level set is so extraordinary and perfect it's difficult for me to adequately give it the justice it deserves.
Sounds/audio seamlessly crafted into the action and surroundings add to the playing experience. The theme music from the Midsomer series was perfectly used and put a smile on my face.
As for actual play: timed runs were moderately generous - I found them doable after a few times, there's plenty of action (interesting jumps and bad Bosses) and exploring but with a few back and forths needed and areas so large I got lost and needed the help of the walkies, both printed and videos so thanks to all who provided that needed help.
Justin was very generous in giving much needed flares, health packs and hints throughout. Secrets were sneaky, I thought, and open doors, sometimes, for me, hard to remember just where they were. I got 24/27 so I was not able to play the bonus.
By any measure this is a tour de force: an impressive performance of achievement and a display of skill and ingenuity.
This one is a must-play, not to be missed.
Congratulations, Justin - it may have been a long time to fruition but your talent shines through it all!" - Bene (10-Jun-2021)
"Where do i even start? So much time and love has been put into this TRLE! The voice acting was top notch, the puzzles were really cool and really got me thinking sometimes! The amound of different enemies and boss battles are just out of the box! Really cool easter eggs and nods to different game series like Resident Evil, Silent hill, Portal and other games! The lightning and textures were all just right, all the different area's it has. It feels like you been everywhere where you can go in a TR game! 10/10 looking forward to the sequel!" - Dutchyraider (30-May-2021)
"A magnum opus from justin which is definitely in the top 3 of my own personal Hall of Fame and also has the most beautiful landscape level ever (Utopia Vale) to the eye of this beholder. The locations were diverse with innovative touches e.g. the overheating in the desert. The highly varied gameplay and puzzles were clever and well worked out and great use of atmosphere (though I did turn up my monitor's gamma) and animations. Maybe the lighting model that resulted in square patches of darkness could have been improved. Objects and textures were detailed, fresh and often new to me (or at least seldom seen). The secret areas were nicely set, though I needed the Walkthrough for a couple. Nice that justin was generous with the weapons/ammo. Overall fantastic work by justin and his programming team. Worthy of a commercial release and nothing but 10s across the board from me." - Adrian (27-May-2021)
"It’s been a long time coming and much anticipated, so is it worth it? Oh yes! This really is a work of great scope and imagination covering many very different environments. Starting in a dark, eerie city populated with zombies and mutant creatures, it moves through a fascinating array of worlds. After the gloom of the city levels, emerging into the aptly named Utopia Vale is such a wonderful contrast with its lush greenery, sparkling waters and beautiful rainbows and (gasp) the natives are friendly. This beautiful area contains portals to the aforementioned other worlds, all of them extremely effective. I especially appreciated the desert world where Lara burst into flame if she stayed in the sun too long. Dashing between the shade afforded by palm trees was a delightfully novel idea. The professionalism given to every detail is astonishing and the mix of enemies, excellent puzzles, inventive traps and brilliant animations will keep you entertained for hours. Excellent use of music and some great voiceover work just cap it all off. I freely admit I made extensive use of the walkthrough as I wanted all the secrets (which I would never have found unaided) so I could play the bonus level. Well, with a game this good, you don’t want to miss any. If you try on all three swimsuit options you get an ‘achievement’. Loved it. I also loved the ‘shout-outs’ to various fellow builders Justin included throughout the game, the inclusion of a photo of his lovely wife (what a good hubby) and the tribute to much missed Pat in the bonus section was so thoughtful and had me in tears. Superb, thank you Justin." - Jay (19-May-2021)
"Too bad this game didnt released in previous years..It would have been praised and reviewed for top 10 trles..Its a huge game with massive levels ,with many back and forths and level connections, unique enemies and bosses, beautiful and different areas, great concept - story, journals - file records - enemies descriptions..even when you stand still with lara ingame, there are random level images reviewed for some reason .. If u liked requiem or ice age 3 or dark city this is a must-play level..im nearly the ending now and couldnt wait to not reviewing.." - Petaludas (15-May-2021)
"This is a really good game that I would recommend to any TR fan. It’s quite lengthy, it took me about 13 hours to complete, it has a wide variety of creative environments and levels, ranging from a creepy horror city and mansion paying homage to the first Resident Evil games up to science fantasy levels in jungles with houses high in gigantic rock trees, decrepit mushroom Asian world and alien deserts and caverns. The level design is very good, occasionally I would get stuck but that usually happened because I missed a switch or picking up an item (I think for those cases, the builder could have made those objects a bit more obvious so that you can’t miss them). The puzzles are creative and interesting but not too hard (for the most part), and all the clues for figuring out the solution are communicated very well in all instances so you’ll never feel lost on how you should go about figuring out those puzzles. Lara’s has the same arsenal in TR4 but with a couple of twists. You got your standard dual pistols, Shotgun, Uzis, but then things get a bit interesting, her crossbow is now a pulse rifle, which has greatly increased damage with the regular ammunition, thus once you get this weapon you can use it to effectively take out most enemies in the game at that point including bosses. The revolver is now a rail gun which I found it a bit underwhelming compared to the pulse rifle. The grenade launcher is now a plasma launcher which in order to even get this weapon you need to find it’s 3 weapon parts scattered in different secrets throughout the levels (really cool idea by the way) which you then combine to make the weapon. Sadly after you get this there aren’t enough combat situations which would make this weapon truly necessary and also the way it functions is different than the original grenade launcher. The projectiles move in a straight direction and they can bounce off of your target which tends to lead to some self- inflicted damage. Because of this I didn’t really use it all that much. There were a few other scattered bits that could have been improved in various levels however these are very small nit-picks and they don’t detract from the overall experience. The only last thing that I could criticise is that the ending of the game was a bit abrupt. It felt that there should have been at least 1 more final level but instead the game ends on a cliff hanger. If this means that the builder plans on making a sequel to this then I’m actually quite excited to see what else new he can bring us because this was a very good TR custom game and I highly recommend trying this one out." - Cruzader (08-May-2021)
"A couple of things before I proceed... This is so huge, so uncommonly huge, and such an open world in ways after a while, I confess I had to sort of follow the wlakthrough on a regular basis, especially because I wanted to find all the secrets so that I could play the bonus level. Alas, something weird happened to my savegames, and it happened twice: once at, say, midgame, when I was only able to proceed thanks to a MigMarado's kindly given save (I was supposed to have landed in a room, but instead I found myself on some wooden stairs, and then total darkness), and secondly right at the end of the game, after Lara gets the elevator (instead of the credits and all that, she becomes trapped inside, and there's no way out). So, no bonus level for me, which was a shame. Having said that, this is an entire game (it'd be criminal to call it a level or even a level set), and one crafted with great care. One can see that in the lighting, the sounds, the objects, everything that makes for an excellent atmosphere. My favurite levels must have been the creepy city levels, in spite of all the surrounding darkness, the desert levels, and quite obviously the enormous, luminous Utopia Vale. But there really isn't anything one can fault, as it's so varied, and so full of exquisite puzzles and situations, timed runs, doable traps, the architecure is so perfect... And the several bosses, oh them, the several bosses, I loved them all too! It's all truly ingenious. So, this would actually be more than worthy of four tens, hadn't it been for the much too mazy gameplay and, of course, the frustrating bugs I found. I'll have to give gameplay & puzzles a 9 because of that - but do consider it a 10, as this is a one in a lifetime level editor game. Entirely recommended (fingers crossed no one else comes across the same gameplay killer bugs I did)." - Jorge22 (04-May-2021)
"Justin has been building custom levels as long as anyone, and although I haven't done any research on this I would hazard to guess that his work product spans a greater length of time than that of any other builder. It's been a long time, however, since his previous release, but the wait was well worth it. I had the privilege of a pre-release preview, not for beta testing (a task for which I'm not qualified anyway) but for having sufficient time to hammer out a written walkthrough (which turned into a 51-page project). Justin graciously provided a detailed outline, as he always does, but even with its help my total playing time was just short of 20 hours. A great deal of meticulous care has gone into the creation of this amazing mini-game, as witness the constant going back and forth between levels, but everything seems to hang together in coherent fashion. The first part is quite dark, but once you get into outer space and visit one planet after another, things lighten up and become very interesting. I can't even begin to describe all the neat alien concepts on display in these later levels. One of these days, if I live long enough, I'll need to go back and replay all of Justin's output to recapture the nostalgia of his early efforts (of high quality from the very beginning) and to appreciate all the ways he has improved over the years. But for now, I can just sit back and savor the many delights I experienced while playing Horizons." - Phil (03-May-2021)
"Absolutely love the level. So far at least. I have not finished it yet, but I can say it’s definitely made very well. It’s a very detailed, challenging, atmospheric level that keeps you interested. To be honest I find it a bit too dark thou. And also the fact that you need to find all the secrets in order to play extra level makes the experience less enjoyable. But there are way too many things that are amazing about this level, so I’ll try not to complain. Also wish there were more levels like this. 👍" - Lina La (01-May-2021)
"Arent we spoiled ? It is known that Americans think big and Justin gives us a big game with plenty of exploration in vast areas , even on other worlds. It took me more than 11 hours of net gamimg time while founding 18 of the 27 secrets. In fact i play the game on a two weeks period. It's a captivating game with each level having many special things and its proper atmosphere and original tasks or situations. The discovery remains always immersive given the storyline, the terrific atmosphere , special features, and of course there is plenty of fun chunks of gameplay and very innovative and varied puzzles with codes or objects that impressed me much. The difficulty is average , even for the timed tasks. And Justin is very generous with pickups and powerful cool weaponry so that we can enjoy the experience without the stress of lacking. The enemies are great , the fire imp , the giant centipedes and many more, and i appreciated much that the diverse boss did not took too long to be defeated. How to not like all this work with so many creative ideas incorporated ?" - eRIC (01-May-2021)
"An amazingly long and lasting adventure from an author that has been dormant since 2014 ^w^! Justin brings us a full version of a demo he brought some years ago with not a lot of success, presumably by the actual mark, and I can actually see why that part got that mark, but more about that in a second.
I will review the game subdividing it into main areas/levels, so Dark City, Utopia Vale, Emerald Dreamscape, Languid Wastes and Desolation. :3
Dark City (9 10 9 8): This is my least favourite part of the game, if this was what was only released by Justin I would have err not really liked the level at all, and have felt uninterested into continuing my adventure. The gameplay is actually fairly solid, a good mix of exploration in the first and third level with some interesting gameplay, but the first part of the second level between the maze and the mansion itself made me lost several times, really, really bore me up. Luckily the second part of this same level is a lot better. I liked a lot the timed runs in general, I am a fan of these quite a lot! ^w^ Objects usage was really good! I was not a fan of those pc with anime girls on it, but that is personal preference, least it was not an overly advertise of the same channel, and it provided screenshots of the level editor screen, which was really cool to see! Secrets were also very interesting to find, sadly this was the section I gathered the less secret from, so, yes, I have not played the bonus level sadly. The atmosphere was fairly thick and dark during all the levels, I loved the creepy vibes it really game, except in, you guessed it, first part of level two! It does not help in the maze and in the house surroundings in general. My favourite effect must have been the usage of very thick rain at the end of the third level, it really gave the impression of some very strong pouring going on, plus Lara dripping after getting wet by rain, I only saw this in Mehrbod’s level, so it is neat to see it again! Lighting and texturing was not really of my liking, I felt like some of the areas were way too flat and the dark tunnels in the first and third level did not help either. But it also felt less lively and alive compared to the other levels, wait! I know you are about to say “Well duh! Nanaki! This is supposed to look lifeless! >:3”, yes but I have played levels that carried out this feel in a much better way.
Utopia Vale (9 10 10 10): A very needed change of pace and look compared to the last 3 levels, finally I start seeing what really makes this game be worth playing through ^w^. I mean look at this ginormous valley with all those waterfalls and greens, “It is a far cry from the Dark City”, yes Lara I totally agree on that :3. I mean there even are rainbows! How can you not fall in love with this valley? Moving on with the review of this level, this serves as a hub to connect us to the latter 3 parts, it does have some gameplay, but fairly is in little quantity, which is not bad, I did not really enjoyed the backtracking of some tasks that sometimes the game required me to do, but very light stuff again. The object usage again was outstanding, and really conveyed the amazing look of the level even more, it was eye-candy to place myself onto a high ledge and just look at all that awesomeness, amazing job the game did not even lag that much! The secret I found was unexpected, because I thought I brought myself out of bounds hehe! ^w^ Specially because I found some doors that were inexplicably closed and looked out of bounds hehe :3 The atmosphere was superb, like really, I spoke about that just a second ago, but I point that out again here that it was amazing to experience and I really fell in love with it :3 The lighting and texturing were nearly perfect too, apart from some horrid texture mistakes and texture stretch, that I was feeling like pointing out in my final mark, but it is such minuscule thing in such an expansive level that I sadly for me and luckily for Justin have to walk forward and ignore.
Emerald Dreamscape (10 10 10 10): Beautiful level, between the green foggy caverns to the white foggy and rainy rain forest, I truly had an experience here! Every location, while part of the same level, felt different and diverse and all felt extremely nice to play through. The gameplay is exploring based plus some puzzles and some good trap sequencing too! Not bad at all! I was not a fan of that maze next to the end, but I have to admit that there were in fact little clues on whether I was going the right or the wrong way, so I should not really point that out. Object usage was really unique in this one, an amazing job was done in making animating platform and branches too! And the falling leaves were super cute! ^w^ The secrets were what I liked the most, this is the only level, together with Desolation, in which I took every single secret, and really felt satisfied for! Atmosphere was, again really capturing, I loved the strong usage of fog, almost gave me vibe of that level in the spaceship or airplane in Justin’s Dark Skies, who knows, maybe it was indeed a nod to that, or maybe not ... but nonetheless every area, while in the same level, really looked diverse and it really stimulated my curiosity in acknowledging what would have come next. Texturing was near perfect, I am not sure if I even found a texture error, which is an amazing thing for such an extensive level, great job Justin!
Languid Wastes (9 10 10 9): Likely the least favourite world in my honest opinion, this level focused itself in an oriental setting with some amazing looking geometry and fairly interesting gameplay. I gave a 9 to the gameplay sadly for a little problem I found myself having in this level, and was lack of really understanding, at some point, where I was supposed to go, “EXPLORING NANAKI!”, yes I am totally aware of that, but it was not something that could be solved by exploring but actually a fairly minuscule missed thing (a key I think, next to the puzzle) which for some reason I did not grab, the game did not really point that out, and I stupidly walked past. Object usage was good as usual, the usage of those enormous mushrooms managed to give the planet that unearthly vibe, that the game is going for, a nice contraposition to the earth-like temple objects. Secrets were okay, I especially loved the one requiring Lara to jump very high, it was fairly clever and not immediately recognizable thanks to the fact that the same object has to be seen to be recognized. The atmosphere was again really something top notch and I found myself loving the view on the ginormous bridge and the majestic view on the rooftop. I also loved the lighting and texturing, but I cannot give really full mark for the flatness and almost uselessness of that long corridor with the same 3 textures being repeated and not a lot really going on, which was truly a shame! Either way, it is still a 9, because everything else is great in here!
Desolation (10 10 10 10): Hands down, best level of the whole game, absolute best one, the creepiness of the Dark city in a colorful state, the emptiness without the zombies, just an eerie desolation, amazingly clever level, let’s get into reviewing it. The gameplay is something incredibly unique, the best ideas of the game are found here, the usage of the early on established numeral system can be found in full glory here, with some very creative enigmas created, plus some very fun timed run because of actual timed stuff or actually heat and the pipe enigma (teased in the trailer), and do we want to talk about the rotating cogs with fire on top? Absolutely amazing level, the most fun to play through. Object usage was amazing, the place really seems to have been lived, but for some reason everyone left and there is no explanation on why anyone left, if it was because of some monster or something menacing, I am not really sure honestly, and I would really like to ask Justin! Secrets were enjoyable and satisfying to find, I loved the one with the doghouse, it was adorable ^w^, my favourite level also for secrets not going to lie! Atmosphere, again, was really amazing, it really took all the best of the loneliness of the city and brought to a much colorful and interesting environment, outside areas, odd offices with nobody inside and caves with mining equipment, something really bad happened here and it is not explained at all ... which I love! Lighting and texturing was also great, minus some little imperfections in the caves as far as it goes with the textures, but I am going to walk past that because all of the level is so nicely constructed and makes me feel I am in an actual deserted place!
Conclusions (9 10 10 9): An absolutely breathtaking adventure that has some little imperfections that are bare minimum for the player but I still feel like it is worth noting. Absolutely exited about a sequel coming up (very likely), blow our minds again, Justin! A recommendable medium to expert player adventure that rewards the player for exploring around and manages to feel unique and never seen before
. Astonishing. Wolfy Regards ^w^" - Wolf7 (01-May-2021)
"I had the honour and absolute pleasure of being a betatester for this magnificent level set. WARNING: My reviews tend to be very detailed in what I saw and enjoyed in a level, so if you don’t want to know… stop reading now! What I liked about the level (there’s a ton too numerous to mention): 1) The surroundings with such attention to detail are totally immersive and believable. 2) The exploration is vast but never boring. 3) Absolutely loved the coffee shop! 4) The crickets sound in Dark Mansion. 5) The airlift jump in the treetops. 6) The pullchain puzzle. 7) The maze and switch puzzle in Dreamscape. 8) The portals between worlds. 9) It’s a small thing but the thoughtfulness of providing a larger opening to safely climb up a pole past a circular saw blade is a detail for which I take notice. 10) How a large scorpion kills a centipede! So cool!! 11) The safe haven to kill the raptors… very much appreciated! 12) All is forgiven for not having life reloads after level changes because there are pools in places where you can drink health healing water!! 13) Enjoyed the mushroom push block/raising block puzzle. 14) Loved how believable an environment the Desert levels were taking refuge under palm trees to escape the scorching heat. 15) The puzzle with the turntable to rotate pieces was just brilliant. 16) And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, I was thrilled to find absolutely no lagging on my older computer whatsoever. What I didn’t like or would offer as suggestions: 1) Just a wishlist would be continuous flare and unlimited revolver with lasersight. I know this won’t happen (lol) but I feel like every TRLE level made should have them as standard items. It makes gameplay with enemies SO much more enjoyable as you can snipe them from a safe distance without fear of running out of ammo or being shot at and the continuous flare can be used concurrently with guns. 2) A few wallpaper texture spots here and there broke the illusion of realism a bit for me (because Nature is not that perfect). 3) Just a personal preference but thought Lara’s life bar should not always be visible as I’m used to knowing if an action lost life when I see the bar appear. When it is always visible, it is not always that apparent. Conclusion: There is simply too much I absolutely LOVED in this game to mention in this review. The puzzles are fantastic, the timed runs just tough enough but doable, the atmosphere totally immersive and the exploration with lots to do, never gets boring. There is something for everyone here. Good for average players with good working knowledge of TR moves." - Lizard Queen (29-Apr-2021)
"It has to be said to be said that this is one of the most magnificent raiding experiences ever to burst onto the custom level scene in recent memory. It's impossible to describe a release of such breadth and scope in a mere review such as this, but suffice to say that this is excellent in pretty much every sense of the word. The surroundings encompass pretty much every type of location you can think of in the custom level world (dark cities, deserts, jungles and floating temples to name but a few) and Utopia Vale is quite possibly the most mesmerisingly beautiful setting I've ever had the pleasure of seeing in a custom level, it really has to be seen to be believed. The custom objects and interactions with the various inhabitants of the different worlds are ingenious additions. Gameplay is thoroughly engaging and complex, combining the bread and butter of traditional Tomb Raider play with some exciting new twists on various puzzles and the atmosphere is stunning. The bonus level for locating all secrets was also a nice homage to the classic TR environments. This is something no serious raider should miss out on. Trust me. Many thanks, Justin!" - Ryan (27-Apr-2021)
"One of the best levels in recent months. Huge, long, varied and with very unique enemies and bosses (I really loved the puzzle of the streetlights of the Singularity map).In my opnion, the best designed and solid map is Emerald Dreamscape. On the other hand, some crucial objects are too hidden (for example, the shotgun of Singularity or the key of the Mountain Temple) and some areas concentrate without much sense a lot of medkits and ammo (for example Desolation). In sum, absolutely recommended and thanks for the multiple language subtitles. A great detail." - requiemsoul (26-Apr-2021)
"Incredibly interesting and beautiful to play and one of my favorite levels for Tomb Raider. The whole saga is painted with beautiful parts, beautiful shading, and colors. A little paradise for the eyes. I found 19 secrets, they will be played again because the bonus level is probably beautiful. The very beginning of the building, then jumping from one to another, going down to the street and a little horror begins. When will anyone jump around the corner, above the stairs, out of the water? A dog or a zombie or someone attacking Lara in some new style. The old abandoned mine and its secrets with various monsters later turn into big bosses that are not at all simple, that is, they are not easy to remove. Hanging trees and jumping, huge branches that move, The mist is beautiful. A fog that hides what will happen after a short break. The huge Inca or Mayan-era fortress with various approaches. A special oriental level with beautiful new traps, poisonous mushrooms, puzzles that make you go back and try everything again. Phenomenal sand levels below the ground and above, with heat, thirst, and sweat solved :) I did not put a review for levels for a long time. I was especially interested in a small oasis with a butterfly and magic water, an elixir of health :) Congratulations on these beautiful levels. A real saga or an epic TRLE work! Well done!" - Ivan (23-Apr-2021)
"An amazing and very long levelset with much diversity of levels and tasks. We can divide this game on two parts. First part with horror vibes and spooky atmosphere and second part with more diverse locations like desert, jungle, orient etc. Overall gameplay of game was great done with a looooooot of clever tasks and interesting puzzles. Almost all levels were interconneted so we need to move between them. I also loved story of this levelset. We gonna collect much notes and hints into our diary. Custom did very good on atmosphere. Especially in few first levels which were very scary (at least for me) and I jumped on chair few times when something jumpscared XD Nice reward was also bonus level which we unlock after collecting all secrets in game. Well, I don't have more to say, it's just masterpiece. I definetly recommedning it for great and long raid! Awesome work justin!" - BlackWolfTR (21-Apr-2021)
"The author has dedicated nearly half of his living life to this project and the outcome couldn't have been better, as this truly is a justinian epic. What you get here is a lenghty set of humongous levels covering a myriad of different environments, from creppy and gloomy dark alleys to foggy jungle, mountain and desert landscapes. But what's more, the author has excelled each of these, so it's not just the "whole package deal" — if he had opted for individual releases, rest assured each would earn top marks on its own. Combined and packed into one just makes this such a perfect all-rounder set, one which just might be the among the definitive TR(LE) experiences we could have. The levels have such a massive scale that it's simply impossible not to be astonished by what's shown on screen, and they seem to get (even) bigger at every turn! While it's true I found myself roaming around aimlessly every so often, j also had the ingenuity to concoct elaborate puzzle designs, some of which really had me scratching my head — one of which I even had to draw on paper to map out the solution offline, while I was on lunch break at work (and I actually laughed when I sent justin my precarious 17 moves solution to have him reply back with a much slimmer one requiring only 6 moves, but also drawn on paper the exact same way lol). Even the boss fights have an extra layer added to them, all of which add up to this adventure you just can't get enough of. And then, sadly, the final finish trigger comes (oh, yes, how could I forget, the author also has included a couple of FMVs to push the envelope even further because why not?) and you just can't help but be on the lookout for what comes next! It took me nearly two weeks of daily sessions to play this set, and I honestly think we are both spoiled and blessed, to have people of such talent and dedication in our community (speaking of which, be on the lookout for the nods to many members in the game!). Don't you dare miss out on this one. Thank you, justin! 10h10min, 17 secrets. 01/21" - Treeble (18-Apr-2021)
"This amazing levelset presents two very different broader sections, with more ideas and visuals that clearly standout in many levels within those sections. The "dark city" section is an almost fully dark and mostly urban setting with a lot of exploration. The "bright section" takes Lara to many different and beautifully crafted worlds in search of important items. There are amazing puzzles and some great traps and platforming. You are rarely lost, since Lara finds and interprets lots of clues along the way, collecting them in notebooks. The only limitations of this set are 1) the darkness of the "dark city", which is easily overcome with the generous amounts of flares around, and 2) the sudden end of the "bright section". These minor caveats are no justification, in my view, to reduce any of the scores. As anyone who has read my reviews or posts knows by now, I'm a sucker for storytelling and levelsets with not too many enemies all the time. This totally fits the bill. The story is clear and engaging, and the enemies are balanced and clearly fit the plot. I wholeheartedly recommend this levelset to everyone. The professionalism is pretty much that of a full-on TR game. Difficulty is at par with TR3, in my opinion. Congratulations to justin, great game! Thank you for your hard work, and keep it up ;) Small disclaimer: I was a minor contributor to the release, since I helped create the Spanish and Portuguese translations and was a late beta-tester." - MigMarado (14-Apr-2021)