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Siberian Expedition by TombExplorer

billie2001 10 10 10 9
DadRaider 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 10 10 10 9
Feats 10 10 10 10
JesseG 9 10 10 10
Jorge22 9 10 10 9
Juan Carlos 10 10 10 9
lokky99101 10 10 10 10
Mahetus 10 10 10 10
Mman 9 10 10 10
Passalaqua 8 8 10 9
Phil 9 9 10 8
Raider278 10 10 10 9
requiemsoul 8 10 10 9
Ryan 10 10 10 9
Sabatu 10 10 10 10
tuxraider 8 7 8 8
Wolf7 10 10 10 10
ZombieCroft 10 10 10 10
release date: 30-Aug-2022
# of downloads: 1056

average rating: 9.61
review count: 19
review this level

file size: 307.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Fantasy/Surreal

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
  • I liked how rewarding the secrets are to pursue in this game, each one leading to a weapon or some sort of combat upgrade. I found most of them, thanks to the readme's urging, and I'm glad I did. The game will be incredibly difficult without them. The one issue is I think at least one additional weapon should be provided early on for the sake of those that miss the secrets, just to give them something to work with against the enemies.
  • Speaking of which, there is a heavy amount of combat in this game. Having found most of the secrets I found it enjoyable overall, and it seems the weapons have been modified from the norm in order to be effective in specific situations, especially in the final encounter, so it is pretty engaging.
  • The amount of world building is incredible, and the second levelset I've played in a short period of time to offer multiple endings. Most of the journal entries aren't just fluff either - they contain hints to help the player progress or find those coveted secrets.
  • The game is visually strong, with smart lighting and appealing architecture throughout.
Time: 2 hours 53 minutes | Difficulty: Hard | Rating: 9.75/10" - JesseG (09-Nov-2023)
"Despite my relatively high scores, I actually have some fairly mixed feelings about this level set. There was a lot about this that was amazing, but also a few things I wasn't really fond of. I have to give this level kudos for its general design. The environments look really top-notch, and have a great sense of atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed the first two levels. The various puzzles and trap sequences that you have to deal with are also really enjoyable. The author really has to be commended for originality also, I really like the inclusion of the diary and the new weapons. The FromSoftware-esque boss encounters were certainly something new for a TR custom level, but in my opinion didn't really translate super well to a classic-style TR game - I personally just found them to be a bit of a drag. However, I appreciate that its something a little bit different, and the unique models/skins are a nice touch. I also wasn't super keen on the fact that the secrets were actually somewhat essential in the sense that without them you wouldn't really have a solid arsenal at your disposal for the later parts of the game where the enemies become a lot tougher. I'm not really crazy about looking for secrets in general, so I really had to ration the ammo I had for my more powerful weapons. That being said, I did make it through without too many problems so I guess the secrets are not absolutely essential. I don't know if it was just the mood I was in, but for some reason, I didn't enjoy the second half of the game nearly as much as the first - I think the focus on combat and big bosses was just not really to my taste. I'm more of a traps/exploration/puzzles kind of guy. Regardless, I still had a decent time here, and considering this is a debut effort, the author has achieved something genuinely impressive. I wouldn't hesitate to download this author's next level. Good Job overall!" - Passalaqua (08-Sep-2023)
"very nice Level, with some golden mask vibes in it, the atmosphere and leveldsign are on top there are also some of the best boss fights i see in classic tomb raider so far, without a doubt one of the best TR4 Levels i played so far" - Raider278 (02-Aug-2023)
"This is a TR2 Gold set in theme, but with a lot of additions and tweaks to give it a unique style. You start in a soviet base area, but then the rest is in the ruins and caves below, with some very original takes on things like the blue cave textures to create settings like a surreal underground "forest". As well as mixing various textures to make an original take on TR2 Gold's "buildings suspended in molten gold" theme. It's also full of giant rooms and caves with impressive architecture. There are lots of new objects and interactions, to the point it reminded me of the Kitten Adventure series in that regard, as well as some very impressive work for boss concepts. A couple of later parts felt a bit too dark for how combat heavy they were, but that's the only visual issue I had.

The gameplay is full of original ideas, including a semi-rework of combat in general with a total weapon rebalancing. This is made up of five levels, and the first couple are relatively low on combat outside of a few arenas, with a focus on exploration and puzzle solving; curiously secrets are a big part of it, to the point that most of the second level is technically optional, although if you don't get the secrets the later maps will be a nightmare as they are where most of the weapons and a lot of ammo is provided.
Like I said earlier the constant use and integration of original objects and interactions reminded me of Kitten Adventure, with all kinds of creative puzzles and sequences to enhance the storyline. However, this mostly applies to the first two maps; the last three maps are much shorter with no secrets, and it turns into a borderline shooter with hordes of enemies and a very elaborate obviously Souls-game inspired final boss (that is also some pretty amazing scripting work); the theme and gameplay is still fun with the combat rework making the carnage faster-paced, but it would have been nice to have couple more breathers to appreciate the beautiful surreal environments more. Assuming you found the secrets you have plenty of supplies and lot of health packs for all the fighting, but I did still get very low on ammo in the final boss. Progression is mostly clear with the journal also providing plenty of hints (including for the secrets), but there was one ledge that could have been hinted at a little more in the final map as I was completely stuck in the first area for a while and trying all kinds of wild things despite the way further actually being very simple. An excellent set overall and another recent release that sets a new standard for original interactions and story integration, but after the engrossing exploration in the first two levels I can't help feeling a little disappointed the rest puts the pedal to the ground and doesn't really stop to breathe again, despite the design still being great." - Mman (27-Jul-2023)
"First of all I want to express my enthusiasm for this levelset. So many innovative things and so many different areas. The first level is more classic with good, engaging gameplay. From the second level and on the areas become more surreal and magical and the gameplay even more engaging. The secrets are very important and IMO they shouldn't be skippable, since they provide all the extra weapons very much needed at the last levels, not to mention that you'll miss a big chunk of good gameplay. Furthermore, the changed properties of the weapons (all documented in-game) lead you to a more interesting strategy to defeat each boss. There is also a good story, very well implemented in-game through journal entries. Definitely a must play. Highly recommended." - billie2001 (09-Dec-2022)
"A magnificent debut. The multi-phases bosses are very creative and inspired by Bloodborne. The secrets are a lot of fun and must be mandatory areas. I missed more puzzles and traps in the last three levels. Highly Recommended." - requiemsoul (31-Oct-2022)
"Great game. Very good history. Each chapter takes you to the next level. I liked a lot the secrets, very interesting way to find some of them. A lot of possible ways in each level. I appreciate a lot this kind of games. My only complaining is about light. Too dark for my tired eyes!" - Juan Carlos (11-Oct-2022)
"I honestly couldn't recommend this more, the levels and the atmosphere was so beautiful to look at. I loved that the secrets were recommended to find in order to complete the game because without finding the secrets you would have a really tough time making progress as some enemies and bosses are quite strong and on top of that it is essential to read the journal so that you wont get lost or stuck throughout the game. The boss fights were very challenging and intense, some of them required close range and long range weapons for the fight. I also loved the fact that TombExplorer even added in a Jak & Daxter reference for one of the secrets as it is also another childhood game of mine. The aim of the secret was to find all the 4 crystals that are scattered around the map within a strict time limit, as well as in Jak & Daxter you have to find the hidden orbs within the time limit that you're given. If you're a huge fan of Tomb Raider then I strongly recommend this TRLE. I will definitely replay it in the near future. It's a shame that I wont be able to experience it for the first time again XD. In conclusion I am giving this game a 10/10." - ZombieCroft (10-Oct-2022)
"After hearing good things about this Level Set, I was eager to give this one a go. I have to say this is an awesome TRLE! Was really challenging in parts for myself, but was glad I persevered as the content of the levels was amazing. While I'm not usually a fan of secrets being kinda mandatory to find they weren't too obscured. The only tough secrets were in the first level, but even then it was more of a matter of putting the pieces together rather than finding them. TR is not really known for great boss fights in my opinion, (if I want amazing boss fights I usually get my fix with the Soulsborne Games) but in this TRLE were some of the most engaging boss fights I've come across while playing Custom and Mainline TR. The creativity on show in all departments is very impressive! Visuals while a little dark in places was great, accompanied by some epic choices of music. My only gripe I can think of was maybe the 2nd Level was a little too long but, to be honest the fact there was 4 timed runs in that level probably inflated the run time for myself haha! All in all an amazing level set I couldn't recommend enough! GG TombExplorer!" - Feats (22-Sep-2022)
"Pff... I can't, for the life of me, consider this level set less than challenging, if not very challenging (but it doesn't keep up to the *very* tag at all times, so I'll say challenging). It starts out quite classically, and, yes, easy enough (but satisfying, with plenty of great ideas). Am I sinning if I say that was my favourite level? Then the whole thing suddenly rises to an entirely different department, and only becomes harder and harder as the scenes evolve. The second level is quite interesting, if a bit too long comparatively.The Blue Forest is dark and - obviously - blue, and ends up as a pre- announcement of the shooting parade that's yet to come in the final levels (do find your secrets, as they're all very important, and perhaps more ammo than I could find). The final boss fight, before the escape, is something unlike anything you've seen before, and that final monstrosity, hmm, I wish I could have just H bombed it as soon as it appeared. Unfortunately, that's not how it works, either in real and unreal life. I appreciated it, but am I sinning if I say I think it was overdone? Other than that, I really liked most of the settings and the general atmosphere, as well as the way the story was told. Plenty of well executed great ideas. Something I liked less was having to resort to the walkthrough so many times, because, unlike Lara, I'm only human. Recommended, but keep in mind it is indeed challenging on the whole." - Jorge22 (19-Sep-2022)
"This custom level was absolutely mind blowing for me from start too finish there was not one point at all where I was getting bored or tired of it as it kept me on my toes at all time. Level 1 starts off with a big nostalgia vibe when you enter the main area for the level as you are greeted with an area that looks very similar too fools gold but with a twist there are new rooms too explore and even a few redesigned rooms but this time full of brand new things and new puzzles too figure out but not too difficult. The 2nd level brings too an area that gave me lost city of tinnos vibes from TR3 and even furnace of the gods vibes from TR2 gold each area in this level/game is full of areas too explore but in a way that you won’t get lost easily as it’s always simple too get back too a certain area, the third level has you explore a magical blue forest and even lurking around are some enemies that you’ll recognise instantly from TR2 and the 4th level is full of an action packed boss fight and is always full of surprises’ and even in the 5th and final level it’s still amazing too look at the scenery as you make an escape. Would 100 percent recommend this custom level there’s a lot of nostalgia too have had and lot of areas too explore and even full of lots of surprises." - lokky99101 (15-Sep-2022)
"What a barnstorming adventure and a tremendous debut to boot. This adventure has noticeably been a long time in the making as the construction rivals levels made by many more experienced builders. There are some rather difficult sections so this is probably not for absolute beginners, some experience is required here, nothing frustrating though. The puzzles and jumping sequences are extremely well thought out and fun to absolve and the variety ensures boredom never sets in. Loved the way that the secrets were set up and that you had to choose your weapons carefully going by the characteristics when you acquire them. The boss fights were maybe a bit overblown and a bit on the repetitive side, though. The lighting was also a bit dark and depressing throughout, despite the textures being vivid and well applied. The blue palette in the latter half of the adventure was also tiring on the eyes after a while, a bit more balance would have been nice. Nonetheless, a near-perfect adventure and definitely one to play." - Ryan (13-Sep-2022)
"I've played this level very recently, and it's one of the best levels I've ever played. I do not know where to start. The gameplay style changes from level to level and the game gets scarier the further you go, the puzzles are innovative and the best thing about the game are the boss fights, perhaps some of the best ever created. Not to mention the music of Bloodborne, one of my favorite Playstation games! Lights are perfect. Absolutely to play!" - DadRaider (09-Sep-2022)
"For a debut release this is remarkably well laid out. Spaced over five levels, the second of which consumes about half of the total playing time, the game incorporates several new ideas and gives us two new weapons of extraordinary power (but with scanty ammo pickups) which come as rewards complementing two of the six secrets. I like the idea of PDA and journal entries as opposed to the game-delaying cut scenes and FMVs favored by some builders, but a major annoyance was having to scroll through all the previous journal entries each time a new one was added. Gameplay is quite difficult in places, especially in the boss fights that are lumped together near the end, to the extent that I would classify this as a "challenging" game. I almost binned it upon reaching the third level, because the environs from that point on were too dark for me to play with any sense of enjoyment, but I convinced myself to continue upon increasing the brightness and gamma on my monitor (although everything else I did on my computer during that time had a garish and washed out appearance). Writing a walkthrough nearly always doubles my playing time, and in this case I spent just a few minutes less than five hours from start to finish. For the most part it was a fun and exhilarating experience, one that I can certainly recommend heartily, although I feel that it falls just short of Hall of Fame quality." - Phil (08-Sep-2022)
"This game certainly changes a lot from level to level. The beginning is a fairly classic level, where you run around on a small Russian base. Standard and enjoyable, although the puzzle with the valves confused me despite explanations. The second level is probably the best in terms of gameplay. Exploration, timeruns that seem tough but are actually fun, fighting some enemies. The following levels are completely different. Suddenly, the enemies get rather tough (I exhausted my strong weapons quickly and went into a save, try, fail, load game loop), and the gameplay becomes very linear. At the end there's a VERY extensive "boss fight", on a single big square with various stages. Then the escape level, which has no enemies, you just need to find your path. In general, this is a game worth playing, but I also want to nag about some things. Maybe the gameplay could be more balanced across the levels, even if variety is good. The secrets are optional - I'm not going to play the game again just to see if there's any extra content for finding them all. Especially in the second level, the secrets seem to make up a significant part of the game, so a player should expect that the reward for playing a part is "only" a secret. The boss fight was too long, but maybe I'm biased due to not liking boss fights. I can say that it was unusual in a positive sense. The final end level trigger in the escape level was... unintuitive. You just jump towards a chasm, but it won't always trigger (you just die from jumping from the wrong point?) - this could have been better, I almost thought I was wrong about the thing being the end level trigger. Story telling was actually well done. You get diary entries, which tell you the story in small digestible bits. Much better than lengthy FMV sequences trying to tell a story. Generally, this is a really good game, especially because it's apparently the first one released by that author." - tuxraider (07-Sep-2022)
Siberian Expedition is a wide spread project providing exciting challenges while not taking back the good old element of exploration.
While admittedly thematically the game really differs from the first level up to the last, each of the actions that are taken in the game make sense for them to exist and therefore are not a gimmick that is there for "I am a game I need to be entertaining", a lot of this praise is purely thanks to the excellent story telling and writing of the game, which despite the lack of spoken dialogue and all still kept me very entertained.
The challenges and the boss battles that are present are insanely satisfying and while I did enjoy all of them, they make out for a solid experience that is beyond your typical Tomb Raider "Lara Picks artefact" conundrum.
My only small complaint is just how not to the fullest I feel like part of the second level and the third level are explored, they work indeed but especially the third level feels like it could have been more than just exploring, I am not complaining with what I got, but would have been interesting to see more :3 And would love Tomby to explore more this concept.

I am not a big secret finder, but with sheer luck and a bit of exploring I was able to grab them for certain :3 A lot of care was put into making each of them memorable, you never just find a secret, you found a secret by exploring deeply your surroundings, paying attention to what you can reach and cannot, challenging yourself to get there, which does boil down to what the most perfect definition of secret you can get.

As an attentive reader of my reviews may notice I am deviating from my usual reviewing path, I am just trying to find the right modus operandi so that I can get into reviewing again. Anyhow, back to review:
The game also manages to have some gorgeous visuals while remaining in use of some mostly TR2 gold textures with some added TRA recolored I presume (?) textures which give this other world like feeling from the second level onwards.
It might be at first a bit distracting the sudden change between the more human-built first level, but it just emulates how the OG TR2 gold started off.
The atmosphere has a magical almost vibe to it, with actually the third level being one of my favourite, which again goes on par with my sadness that the level is spent in there is so short.
The second level and all of those crystals!! Another gorgeous place enhanced by the beautiful look of those quartz made by Caesum!
It will remain with you after you played it and you will almost want to just replay it only to experience again some of that :3

Ending notes
Nothing else should be said that has not being said, this is a majestic debut and a truly special one to pay through and finally experience. I do recommend this to be played and do hope that Tomb Explorer will be able to provide us with some more in the future :3
Wolfy Regards :3" - Wolf7 (30-Aug-2022)
"I don't even know where to start. I waited a long time for this adventure until I finally got it and if you think I was disappointed, you're wrong. An absolutely perfect level set that I enjoyed to the max. The new weapon system is awesome and the fact that the secrets are vital I absolutely love. YES - YOU WANT TO FIND ALL THE SECRETS!! SECRETS - OPTIONAL/VITAL Especially in the second level, the secrets are absolutely interesting and unique to me in that it's not just about picking up an artifact or item and having a secret sound, but there's a massive area where you have to do quite a lot of things to get to the coveted secret or items that are vital. The game can be played with pistols but be warned that the Secrets are optional but also kind of vital. LEVELS, TEXTURES AND LIGHTING As for the environments, I'm impressed with both the theme and the overall levels where there is a beautiful use of textures, lights and enemies and other objects + New custom objects :) Colourful and contrasting adventure, and if someone says it's dark and they don't have flares, they should never play TR, because if someone can run out of flares or not find them, you're probably not even a basic level player. DIARIES AND STORY After a long time, finally, a game where the story is told through journals, which are both interesting to read and reveal exciting things in the level. READ THE DIARIES :) LAST WORDS For me, a perfect must-play adventure and definitely worth the wait. There are a lot of small and big curiosities and tweaks and an original puzzle from my point of view. This is a MUST PLAY." - Sabatu (30-Aug-2022)
"It's a level set I was waiting for long time and finally I was able to play it. :D I wasn't disappointed at all, it was worth waiting as the effort is very noticeable.

At first impression level might be like your average TR game, yet at some point you can notice there's a lot of things you should be aware of. First off are changes to the weapons and their parameters, each weapon is good for certain situation. Second thing is that secrets plays also an very important role in this level set and collecting them rewards you very nicely and also helps in further parts of the level. Not a common thing in customs levels so that's defitinely something I have never seen before (or it was but I just don't play many custom levels :p)
All in all, gameplay is very focused on platforming, solving clever puzzles and combat (especially in further parts) It's definitely not beginner-friendly as there's a few of difficult moments, so be aware of that.
Another thing is level certainly force you to use different strategies in each fight which creates as well a very unique experience.

The amount of enemies is various, sometimes there's only a few enemies and there are parts that we can call as **"mini-boss"** fight where we have to fight a numerous hordes of enemies which require us to use different weapons or even strategies the get through it easily.
Subjectively speaking I really liked the idea and it really makes experience different and I honestly enjoyed those fights. :)
Objectively speaking the idea might be good but the amount of enemies can be overwhelming and at times frustrating for some players but as I said above it's not beginner-friendly level set. So you're now warned two times uwu
Boss fights are unique and done very well. I'd like see to see more boss fights like this honestly.

Atmosphere and Design
The environment is made beautifully and it gives a lot of vibes from TR2 Gold which made me really addicted. Texturing as well as the lighting is very polished and done on very high level. There are moments where certain places might be too dark but honestly the most important details are visible and you can't miss them whatsoever. The author lighten up path so we know where we should go, in fact there's enough flares so even if something is not visible, flares should help in that uwu.

Amazing level set and amazing experience. It's noticable Tomby put heart into this level set. Congratulations for releasing it after many years of working on it. Looking forward to your next levels. ^^" - Mahetus (30-Aug-2022)
"Do you know that feeling when you forget a level then replay it after some time, to suddenly realize "oooh, it was THIS one!" - I'm quite sure Tombi's debut will become such, bringing this feeling for multiple moments included. Very well done." - DJ Full (30-Aug-2022)