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The Sunken City by Perceiver

Adrian 10 10 10 10
black horse 2 7 6 8
ddaring_dash 10 10 10 10
Dick 9 10 10 9
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
JesseG 8 10 10 9
Juan Carlos 10 10 10 10
Mman 9 10 10 9
Nina Croft 9 10 9 8
Phil 10 9 10 8
requiemsoul 8 7 10 9
Ryan 9 9 9 9
tuxraider 8 8 9 9
vandit 8 10 9 9
 
release date: 31-Oct-2022
# of downloads: 485

average rating: 9.05
review count: 14
 
review this level

file size: 312.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Rome/Greece
 


author profile(s):
email(s):
yurigarcia-0@hotmail.com

Reviewer's comments
"This is mostly set in Greek Ruins; it uses predominantly BTB Greek assets, but there are various original objects and textures as well. After some initial overground ruins, you enter the titular city itself, which is where the rest of the set takes place; it being built into massive underground caves creates some very impressive views, and it also contrasts that with some dark, creepy and claustrophobic areas later. Even in the confined parts though it uses huge vertical geometry and structures to create some very evocative views.
Despite plenty of weirdness there's also a solid grounded sense to the design that stands out; through debris and blocked passages there's an attempt to imply actual realistic places that have fallen into ruin, and that's why they're so difficult to navigate, as opposed to the more abstract design of most Tomb Raider maps that only vaguely suggests a real place. It also makes good use of effects like special extra smothering fog as a gameplay element in some areas. The various custom objects are also well-executed, with some quite impressive new enemy models; one did have no sounds, though I almost wondered if it's intentional given that their ability to sneak up on you if you got careless was a source of creepiness for that enemy.

Exploration and puzzles are the main focus here, with the big spaces needing to be looked at from multiple angles to find the path forward. After the relatively linear start the main section in the city is a hub structure with a few main levels you can access for the various items you need. However, for parts like the confined horror segments it gets a bit more combat focused. Like the author's previous big set Kartvelishvili, you can see the Souls-game influence in certain things, including some music use, although the overall structure is a little more straightforward than the previous set here; you visit a couple of levels multiple times, but they're overall linear trips, with only the city hub being mostly open. There are usually a decent amount of clues even for all the unique interactions, however, the set is big enough that it's easy to overlook a couple of things, and camera hints are a little lacking at times (despite there actually being some quite clever ones at times).
The "Upper District" map is a little odd in structure, as I seemingly got stuck in a dead-end from not doing something else first, and only got out due to an extremely hard jump; the geometry is placed in such a way that I wonder if this was an intentional failsafe, but then there's the question of why you can go to that place prematurely in the first place. In the process I skipped part of the map and ended up doing it semi-backward; it seems there was a bit of an oversight in testing here given I had no such issues elsewhere. It also ends weirdly anti-climatically as it starts properly developing the story and doing a great ominous build up to a major climax, and then it just cuts to the title on what is presumably a sequel hook (some subtitles or a transcript for the voice acting would also be nice, although I could mostly hear it).
Despite some issues and the somewhat disappointing Prologue release this is an improvement on the already mostly great Kartvelishvili in just about every way, and carried further by a unique sense of atmosphere. Given Perceiver is still a relatively new author and how much they've already improved I think they're on the verge of bringing all their strengths together into a true defining masterpiece within one or two more releases; and this one is almost there if it weren't for a few bits of lacking polish dragging it down a little." - Mman (01-Aug-2023)
"*Pros*: ● Awesome visuals and models! ● Vast view and nice looking level with different segments ● Secrets are somewhat fair to find. *Cons*: ● Unbalanced sounds ● Soft locking puzzles ● Very confusing level design ● Ear piercing falling scream x( ● Getting stuck in hollow objects models ● Switches mostly doesn't show what they do ● Cryptic ● Disappointing ending. ※Overall: It started nice and loved it, but as it goes deeper, the game gets obscure to a point where it almost impossible to complete without walkthrough, no hints in game and many soft locking puzzles, it's a shame, nice level but with these game breakers, it's unplayable, only for TR enthusiast, creator's potential shows! Hope to see their next project more polished at these points!" - black horse (13-May-2023)
"The Sunken City is a remarkable level-set in many ways. It is professionally built and projects a unique vibe that doesn't really feel like Tomb Raider at all. All the time I was playing this I was reminded of a Thief fan mission called Bathory, which is equally grandiose and also set in roughly the same geographical region. Gameplay, for the most part, works well but there were a few stutters along the way - exiting Dungeons caused some confusion but it was Upper District that really had me running around like a headless chicken. Although the route here is linear it is set in a large non-linear space that offers almost infinite alternatives. Mausoleum Gardens was my favourite level, best gameplay and best looking (nice to see my fountain object getting another outing - don't mention it, oh, you didn't. No readme).
Overall, I would say that this was an excellent production, but a readme was certainly needed to explain the new moves, the story and give credits etc." - Dick (26-Feb-2023)
"Dripping with isolation, it sounds better than it looks like. Yet it's like a long, epic buildup to a sneeze not happening - all the time, I felt like scratching the surface, but not being completely let in. I guess adding subtitles to the ending scenes would mitigate, however not completely solve this problem." - DJ Full (27-Dec-2022)
"Visually very impressive, solid gameplay. The architecture and texturing of the underground ruins looked awesome and inspiring. Maybe too much-I was slightly disappointed that I couldn't explore the underground city freely. Instead, the gameplay leads you into puzzle heavy basements. I felt like there was too much exciting stuff in front of me, which turned out to be eye candy only. And sometimes the gameplay was a bit too cryptic or clever for me. You need a new move to make progress: the sprint jump. Not remembering this sprint jump got me stuck three times, and to be honest I think maybe it was an unnecessary addition. Some parts felt hard in a mean way (the tight explosion time run, or that wraith that doesn't disappear while solving a certain puzzle). Despite these slightly negative impressions (which may be just my personal opinion), it was an amazing game, especially on the visual side." - tuxraider (19-Dec-2022)
"This is the kind of games I love to play. It has a nice history and logic levels. It begins in a nice cave and arrives to an open cannon area. You begin to play and find all the things you need. Suddenly you arrives to a beautiful sultan house. The hamman part was really great! Everything is lovely, a lot of work. Very nice history and enviroment. Great puzzles. My only complain is for not to have binoculars, some parts are to big and hard to find the next step to go. Anyway I really thanks the autor for this game and I am waiting for the next adventure. The end is a little bit frustrating, but has a reason." - Juan Carlos (06-Dec-2022)
"This is an entirely new game entirely separate from the prologue released earlier, and it bears all the marks of a professional builder. It's too dark in the later going, however, to provide a visually enthralling experience, but that's about the only negative thing I can think of in describing it. The gameplay is varied and quite obscure at times, and I would have gotten nowhere fast without Nina Croft's walkthrough to guide me along. There's quite a bit of tricky jumping as well, particularly one sprint jump for a shotgun that I could never master, but other than that the various tasks can be accomplished with a reasonable amount of effort. The pushblock exercise near the end was a bit more tedious than it needed to be, and I learned from Doggett's video that the hydras can be killed rather quickly without waiting for those red splotches to appear in their mouths. The purpose of that brief memories segment at the end escapes me, and I hurried through it without waiting for any enemies to appear. In sum, what we have here is a sure Hall of Fame production despite its few shortcomings." - Phil (02-Dec-2022)
"One of the best levels in the last year! I absolutely loved the atmosphere. It has vibes of AoD and classics. The author masterfully works with the large spaces and architecture of the ruins - they look like real ruins, not an amusement theme park. The level of difficulty of the puzzles is quite difficult in order to enjoy the game and not get stuck anywhere for an unreasonably long time. I really missed this type of levels. Thanks for the good time!" - ddaring_dash (20-Nov-2022)
"A hub-style adventure where Lara searches across three levels for three different artifacts to unlock the path to her prize. There is just one bug I encountered in this large levelset, which was a missing meshwap for the baddy that attacks Lara in the Memories level after he finishes his conversation, wielding her leg as a weapon! Moving through the lower points of my experience, the white fog inside the house in the palaces area was way too intense, it was hard to see what Lara was doing. I could have done without the wraith that attacks Lara while she works through a puzzle room, and the goal for the pushable blocks in the Upper District was a bit obscure, although it at least made sense in hindsight. I enjoyed the variety and usage of traps in this adventure, nothing crazy but enough to keep Lara on her toes, especially the greek fire which acts as a timed run. There is also a nice variety of enemies to encounter, from a skull that is like the TR5 laser head, to the bull to be used on some switches. There are some interesting puzzles such as switches that rotate rooms above Lara. The environments are very strong, with large areas that don't feel empty, but rather feel like large playgrounds for Lara to explore, which is just right for raiding. The lighting serves to set a different kind of mood from level to level. 3 hours 43 minutes." - JesseG (19-Nov-2022)
"A thoroughly enjoyable raid from start to finish, and it's nice to see an eventual full release come to fruition from a previously released taster. It's a seven- level game (discounting the numerous level changes and the last proper one is little more than an epilogue), each more or less with their own distinct theme and you get a refreshing change of sceneries throughout, from attractive outdoor gardens to dark caves and austere hallways, with the main sunken city serving as a sort of hub level. Atmosphere and texturing throughout is top- notch, although a bit more music could have been added to the more cinematic flybys and a couple more camera cues might have been helpful for the more distant doors. In terms of gameplay, you get a bit of everything, ranging from block puzzles and fire traps, to torch puzzles, plenty of exploration and a nice centrepiece lever puzzle. The only slight negative would be that some of the jumps in the Upper District level had to be performed numerous times, which was a bit wearying. Enemies are only a minor annoyance, a few harpies posing the greatest threat but even they aren't too hard to take down. Very nicely done raid." - Ryan (15-Nov-2022)
"A solid level. The best thing is its atmosphere and its artistic recreation. The sound is very good. My favorite level is Upper District. It's really pretty and organic with a excellent exploration. The puzzles are not bad, but they don't reach the design of other custom levels. Sometimes the ideas are a bit wasted (e.g. Archives rotating puzzle). I missed more enemies and they don't have much to do with the theme of the level. The ending is a bit abrupt and baffling. I would recommend to the author to add in the readme the new jump movement and subtitles in the scenes with narrative." - requiemsoul (08-Nov-2022)
"This level comprises of six medium-sized levels, where each level has its own atmosphere and each level is completely different than the other levels. But somehow, they still comprise a compelling and meaningful story. GAMEPLAY & PUZZLES: The gameplay is not linear, as we can play three levels in any order we want. There were some really great and creative moments when it comes to the gameplay, and I'll name only a few: hanging incense burners which create a thick fog, a carpet which we must move to reveal the hint we need for the Scales, the Crowbar which we must retrieve before we visit the Dungeons or the burning Torch we must get before we get back to the Archives, and of course, the large octagonal room with the walkway that must be rotated to reach side areas. I have some mixed feelings when it comes to geometry. At some points it's impressive and amazing (the cave with the Sunken City, for instance), and at some other points, it's very simple and blocky (the Mausoleum Gardens, for example). The TEXTURES are well chosen and well applied, although there are some cracks that ruin the visual impression sometimes. LIGHTING is not that good, especially on the first and second level. Some shadows, suns and effects should have been added, definitely. SOUNDS and audio tracks are perfectly well chosen. ENEMIES are well chosen and every level has its own enemies. What I particularly like here is the perfect balance of platforming, action and health/ammo supplies. You'll collect more than enough ammo and weapons and health supplies to deal with all the gladiators, knights, scorpions, hydras and bats. There aren't many traps in this game, timed runs are not at all hard, and the difficulty is Medium. SECRETS are not that difficult to find, with one or two exceptions. The level builder is a young person who has a lot of talent and potential. He should pay more attention next time to lighting. Also, whenever a new move is added to the game (such as Sprint jump), the players must be informed about it before they start the game (a Readme file must be included, with the list of all new moves). The best aspect of this game is the gameplay, which is extremely well thought of. I'm sure this level builder will release a Hall of Famer any time now!" - Nina Croft (08-Nov-2022)
"I loved this level. Lots of varied well thought out puzzles, beautifully crafted and landscaped locations with some well hidden secrets. Apart from a couple of very small niggles such as the precise positioning of Lara for the carpet reveal, a readme that might have given away the fact that Lara could do the sprint-long jump and the ending which was not up my (almost never-ending) alley it was pretty well perfect. All 10s from me." - Adrian (06-Nov-2022)
"The middle part is great because the architecture of the buildings is impressive. The theme (some of which you know from Rise of the Tomb Raider), the dark atmosphere, puzzles that go over several levels and the sound selection are also inspiring. I didn't like the starting area with the lake and what came after the long staircase at the end. In general, I would have liked more hints/cameras, since you keep wandering around, since the levels are very large and you often run in the wrong direction. It is also annoying that the long jump technically does not work properly if you press the jump button too long. It would also be nice if you were told in the game or at least a readme file (which is missing) that you have to use this animation to progress. Although the game sometimes confuses you and the paths can be long, this TRLE has a lot of very unique but also creepy moments, playing time about 5-6 hours." - vandit (06-Nov-2022)