I see that many people who are volunteering as Mission reviewers are also posting their reviews on the forums. put all my reviews into my own blog, linked from here, as I think posting reviews in this forum will not do justice to the Authors I reviewed as they will get piled under pages and pages of requests. The goal of this thread is to get multiple reviewers, hopefully reviewing the same content as everyone has different tastes. If you would like content reviewed by me, send me a PM, mail or request on this forum.
My review process
I. My reviews can be broken into three sections.
(A) The Mission Identifiers: A list traits that influence what kind of mission the player can expect, to better meet what they are looking for. the Scale of from very light to Very heavy and include: Story, Difficulty and Combat. Also included is average time to complete base on my experience, and an overall phrase to describe what kind of mission. (B) The Rating Scores: My 1-5 based score in the following areas:
(a) Story: Self explanatory. I am looking for well developed, connecting elements. Does not have to be completely original, but high scores must flow well and explain why the player is doing what he/she is doing. (b) Pacing: A rough way to tell how long the story FEELS to the player. A short story can be great, as a long involved story can be great, but not if either one makes the player feel like thy are just a hamster running on a wheel and not getting anywhere. The goal is to finish a long mission and think, wow I did not realize it took that long, it was so great. (c) Canon: I use this term loosely. Its Star Trek, you can make a lot of stuff up, that's the point. But there are certain things that just don't fit. Such as creating story elements that contradict current canon, etc. Including canon references will up the score, contradicting canon blatantly will lower it, If everything your mission is about involves no references to current events, past events etc, while at the same time you don't make a group of radical skin-head Vulcans that terrorize the galaxy...unless you really do a good job of reasoning why, then a score of 3 is standard. Again, it goes up if you link your mission anything that is considered canon in Star Trek story wise, and it goes down if you bash canon in the face. (d) Characters: This is a bonus score. If your mission only involves your crew and typical enemies with no dialog, then this will just be N/A. But if you have non player controlled characters, that you actually interact with, this score will go up. higher scores mean better quality NPC's and interaction with them. (e) Enviroment: The level of detail or overall design of a level. Higher scores mean more though was put into designing a level, as well as placement of equipment, NPC's. Size does not really matter. A large, but sparce and empty spaceship will be lower then a few smaller, but aesthetically pleasing and well designed rooms that fit the scenario. (f) Technical: This last score includes pretty much everything else. Things such as spelling and grammar errors. Oversights affect immersion, missing elements that may or may not be required to finish the mission, etc.
(C) The Summary: This is the explanation of the individual scores and why they were given. It is all based on my own personal objective view, and should be taken with a grain of salt, but at the sime time I will include some advice that should be taken to heart, such as if I say spelling needs improvement, then it is probably true.
You can see reviews via the link in my signature, or click here. I just have one up right now to show the style of my reviews. I just picked a mission at random from the "Review Mission" listings, as I will do from time to time, along with reviewing missions you submit.
Since I do like to review Missions from the un-reviewed listings from time to time, I do have some requirements for requests for reviews, so I do not get flooded with them.
1 No already established missions please. Why I love to play some of the best missions out there, there is no need to rate something that has already been rated by thousands of people before. I am trying to expose new talent, not build a higher pedestal for the ones already making great content.
2 Story based missions ONLY. I will not review either here or in game any mission that is just an arena style "throw ships at you until you die or win" style missions. While you can have lots of combat, there must be some storyline involved aside from "Romulans are attacking the system, defend it." boom boom boom mission over.
3 I will attempt to make my own missions too, though these will be far and few between. I ask that if i review your mission, then you take the time to play at least one of mine. I will create a post on each of my missions on the same blog as i do reviews, feel free to leave a comment on it, or leave a comment in this thread.
Aside from that, enjoy your mission making.
Link to other mission reviewers on the forums, please let me know if you want to be added.
Lost "cityship" belonging to Author created Picorians.
Story wise, its almost non existant. You know you have to help the "Picorians" find their lost city ship, but otherwise there is no explanation who these Pictorians are or why they are scouting for their new Homeworld. When you first warp into the system, you realize the haste that this mission was made. There is not even an intro brief, just an update to your mission objectives stating "kill x number of patrols". It is like this throughout the mission, everytime you load into a new map, there is no inital dialog as to why you have the new mission objectives. The overall story is loose, undefined, but simple enough in theory that you can guess what is going on, even if you have to use imagination.
Jumping into a system and having to fly around and destroy packs of ships is tedious enough, even more so when there is no reason as to why your fighing, of all things, Romulans in the Orellius sector. When you start the ground phase, and through most of it reall, you are just running through stark rooms, sometimes back and forth, interacting with consoles for various reasons. The ground combat is not over done though, and goes by pretty fast.
Aside from the madeup Picorians, which is fine in a Star Trek game, this Mission has little in the way of Canon material or references. There are also times when your once disciplined and trained Bridge Officers break character, so to speak, and act more like children then Starfleet Officers. And at the end, when your and your crew just give up, reeks of cowerdice. There are also a few times where your Bridge Officers will completely leave character and ask you everytime you want to go through a door that will cause a new map to load 'Do you want to go to the next Map?". Sticking with the default text choice here is not a good thing in my opinion.
There is only one character aside from the bad guys you must kill, and he is Cliche to the Nth degree in the way he talks like one that just learned English. Rather then speak his native language and let the Universal Translater cope, he talks in broken English ala Jar Jar Binks. But he has his moments, and he was the only thing that I actually smiled at...once.
The initial phase of your away mission on the Cityship is full of large, empty rooms with no furnishing at all. Once past this area however, down in Engineering, things start to look more like a proper ship. While you are still running around interacting random consoles, the layout of the place is nice, right down to the Warpcore, radiation leaks and steam spray.
This is what REALLy hurt this mission. The entire dialog is rife with spelling and grammar errors. At times you think the Author himself has less of a grasp on English, which is fine as everyone loves Star Trek, but in the next dialog its almost perfect making you realize it is just simple keyboard errors or outright spelling errors. Also, I spent a good chunk of my time unsticking my Bridge Offiers from behind consoles, bulkheads, you name it, a simple play-through would have brought these mistakes out, and easily fixed with a few well placed invisible walls. There are also a few minor things that could be worked on.
For a first attempt, I say it was a good learning attempt. However I am not sure if this was the Authors first attempt. And even if so, there is no reason to NOT replay through your missions and see the extensive spelling errors.
Missions Name: The Vornan Rebellion ST-HCUC4UJML
Time to Complete: Approx 30 minutes
Difficulty: Medium - Very Hard
Combat: Medium - heavy
Dialog: Light - Medium
Overall: A solid mission, both technically and story wise, though the over-arching theme is a bit over used.
Premise: A people once under the control of Klingon Empire stages a rebellion and asks the Federation for help.
Initially it seem generic, world wants freedom from Klingons, asks federation for help. My first thought was would the Federation step into political matters not relevent to them. Not interfering could be seen as a positive step towards better Klingon/Federation relations. But alas, the mission intro goes on to explain more political influences in the decision to help. While i applaud peoples attempts to have the Federation help out of the goodness of there heart, Stylsy's use of other, more realistic political and logistical reasons makes it easier to understand why you are odered to do this mission. As the mission progresses though, the story picks up as characters, even if minor, are added, and there is more a bit more dialog. In the end, the story was good, well written and informative enough to make you want to help these people. And there is a nice touch at the end.
The pacing in the first part is fast. There is little flying around, looking for badguys or mission objectives. The use of nav beacons is a plus. Lets fact it, it three dimensional space, yet the typical gray objective circle on your map is only showing you where the objective could be in a 2d space. Flying into that circle, only to realize the objective is still 20 km above you is annoying. Your first away mission takes a different turn however. What you think is just a "go kill x amount of guys" has more dialog then typically seen, as well as interact objectives that make sense. Very little of what you do makes you groan, aside from the ground encounters. By far my biggest complaint is the difficulty of the ground encounters. I understand many think ground encounters to be too easy, but that is on the hands of Cryptic. But having almost every ground encounter a large Commander group with a swordmaster at every turn was brutal. Have the Swordmaster run up, almost aoe one shot your whole party, or just straigh one shot you in the face is one thing for some fights, but when every fight see's my character dying and needing to call for assistance several times really slowed things down and hurt the mood for me. As a side effect, this also hurt the climax, when every fight feels like a mini-boss fight, you are tired of being beat to death by time you get to the real boss and you just want it all to end quickly. My opion would be to tune down the combat at the beginning and slowely ramp it up, rather then the first fight to the last being the same Commander/Officer/hardguy group.
Typical Trek fare here. Stylsy used the ongoing war between the Federation and the Empire, which seems to be typical for Community Created content. Not a bad thing, as you have to have a reason for the mission, and using the war is a solid and believable backdrop. However, as i mentioned before the little tidbit at the end nods perfectly towards episodes you see in the various series, and takes a huge step forward from the typical endings seen in the basic Cryptic created mass missions.
My favorite part. While none of the characters have deep development, which is reasonable given that to much narrative can hurt a mission for some people, there was enough that made you understand you were helping real people, and not some mysterious beings who after asking for your help never make an appearance. I loved the random dialog you could have with non-essential characters, even if it was short and to the point. All in all it added more life to the enviroments.
Speaking of the enviroment, this was also a favorite. The Author used good placement of props and effects to make the ship feel like it was really in danger. Ive seen too many empty rooms that this was a welcome refreshment. There is some variety as well, having several different maps to progress through that the author put his time into creating each one.
I am new to actually designing missions in the foundry, and while I thought i had a grasp on things, the author pulled some stunts off that I have been trying to figure out for several days now. His knowledge of the trigger and advanced dialog systems is impressive for only being his second or third mission. There was a spelling error, the only one drawing my attention being in the opening brief, but for the most part I did not notice them like I do in most GTC fare. I am not an editor, and my brain works like most people, where we can see a misspelled word, but still read right past it like it was spelled correctly. It takes a lot to make me realize all the spelling and grammar mistakes, and that I only remember seeing one, is a good thing for me.