My goal for this thread is to help Foundry authors to improve their stories by providing critical reviews, to provide some advertisement of their stories, and to help players find good stories and avoid bad ones.
So if you'd like to have your Foundry mission reviewed by someone who pulls no punches, by someone who will help you to improve your story by tempering it in flame, and by someone who has some professional writing experience, then you've come to the right place. Feel free to post your mission review request here or by forum PM.
To clarify: I'll be reviewing, rating and criticizing stories based primarily on the writing. While I will point out things that violate Star Trek canon, when I see them, it won't affect my rating of the story. I also won't be down rating missions based on bugs or mechanical problems. The Foundry is too new and we're all still learning what works and what doesn't, mechanics wise, for that to affect a review.
The Official Falcon Rating System
5 Stars = Citizen Kane with Phasers.
4 Stars = As good or better as the best Dev written missions.
3 Stars = Good. Of equal quality to most of the in-game content.
2 Stars = Borg archaeologists looking for artifacts of their Third Dynasty.
1 Star = Highlander 2 with Phasers.
I think I got most of the bugs figured out. Feel free:
Trembler by Commadore_Bob!
Summary: In a re-imaging of the story arc I did on Tribble, you are sent to the Kinjun System to investigate some unusual True Way activity. Once you are there you find that the True Way has made a secret alliance with an organization you thought was extinct. Their plan is dubious at best, but you discover your involvement is not purely coincidence.
"A valued crewmember, Ensign Helna, has been abducted while on shore leave! How far will you go to rescue one of your own?"
Final Rating: 4 Stars
Synopsis: One of your senior officers informs you that a junior officer, one Ensign Helna, has not returned from shore leave. Since she was scheduled to vacation on Risa the officer recommends that as the starting place for the investigation.
Once on Risa you find a beach regular who tells a paranoid story about Klingon agents and a rumor about the Aligress system. Based on this flimsy piece of evidence you decide to go to the Aligress system.
In the nearby Aligress system, which is somehow reached by traveling through the Tazi system, you conduct a search and locate a hidden power collection satellite. This leads you to a cloaked trans-warp conduit, which the Klingons are trying to repair so that they can bring a task force through to wreak havok in the heart of the Federation.
You beam into the control center of the trans-warp conduit only to find yourself trapped there by a transport inhibitor. After talking to the station inhabitants, many of whom seem delusional, you eventually find the errant Ensign Helna. Then the fighting begins.
First Klingons beam into the control station, after you fight them off and disable the transport inhibitor, you beam back to your ship. Then you fight off wave after wave of Klingon ships. Then you're contacted by the main villain of the piece, Captain Gorth of the I.K.S. Tor'Kel. She informs you that she's beamed the station inhabitants, including one Ensign Helna, aboard her ship.
You beam aboard the I.K.S. Tor'Kel, fight a bunch of Orion thugs, fight a bunch of KDF regulars, then you exchange movie one-liners with Captain Gorth before disintegrating her and rescuing the hostages.
The author did a good job of using branching dialog to allow the player to respond in a way that is appropriate for their Captain. The player is often offered a variety of responses that range from mildly sarcastic to humorless vulcan. There's a strong main plotline and several minor side plotlines that really contribute to the feel of these being real people in a real situation. One of the minor plotlines even had something of a point to make, but did it in a way that wasn't "preachy."
Problems with the mission: Ensign Helna going to Risa is mentioned in the opening text box, but not in the mission window once the mission is accepted. Had I been interrupted or forgotten I wouldn't have known where to go, and there's no way to find out, so I would have had no choice but to drop the mission. The mission needs to always make it clear where you're supposed to go.
Why have the player go to the Aligress system via Tazi? Why not just have the player go to the Tazi system?
It's never explained why some of the trans-warp conduit control center's inhabitants are delusional. It's also never explained what Orion thugs are doing aboard the I.K.S. Tor'Kel.
I love the space combat in this game but the space battle is way too long for no real reason.
A couple of times the interaction bar isn't near the panel that the player is supposed to be interacting with. After the ground battle with the Klingons Helna says, "You'll need to walk up to this console next to me and disengage the power when you're ready." Problem was that I found the console but Helna was nowhere near it. Finally, at the end of the mission, it would have been better if Helna and the other hostages had been beamed out instead of just remaining in the cage. I didn't downrate for any of these things as I don't know if it's something that the author can do anything about.
Final thoughts: I liked the transition from the control center "investigation map" to the "fight map." I also liked the sudden venting after initiating the shut down procedure. If some of the above mentioned problems are addressed this mission would deserve five stars. Overall, an excellent mission that felt very Trek.
I'd like to request a review, Peregrine Falcon. You can read a bit about my mission Project Revavahere. It is currently on Tribble and requires a Lv41+ and above character to run. Just look for Project Revava as the mission's name, not to be confused with "Revava: Episode 1"..
the mission is called "Songs of the Deep Azure Sky"
the storyline isnt amazing, and i still havnt worked out some details, but its my first attempt and would like to have some pointers on what i did ok, and what and where to improve so i can focus on the more critical areas to learn about
One thing I would suggest is to try and keep the review as spoiler free as possible. Obviously if there are technical issues you can't really avoid discussing them but I think it is better not to provide a complete outline of what happens in the mission here.
"You are sent to the Kinjun System to investigate some unusual True Way activity. What you find is the True Way has formed an alliance with a group you thought was gone. As you dig further, you discover that it was no accident you are there."
Final Rating: 3 Stars
Synopsis: You head to the Kinjun system to investigate True Way activity. Unable to scan the planet's surface, because of sensor jamming originating from a small moon, you beam down to investigate said base.
While sneaking around and scanning objects in an attempt to determine what's going on, an alarm is tripped. After fighting your way through the base's security forces, you hack into their computers, download all of their files, and then set the generator to self-destruct.
Once back aboard your ship you find that sensors reveal a small settlement on the main planet. You achieve standard orbit and beam down to investigate. Once there you begin "arresting" all of the Cardassians in sight and tagging their supply crates for transport back to the ship. Standard procedure really, until you come across several Undine eggs.
After that an unidentified omnipotent being that protects Bajor speaks to you in a vague manner. Telling you to continue on, but then telling you that he can't tell you what you want to be told.
After talking to this 'Stranger', the mission ends. Presumably it's Part One...
Problems with the mission: The endless bridge officer pop-ups. Even worse, my bridge officers now think that I'm retarded. Seriously. At one point my bridge officer tells me that I need to use the control panel to lower the force field. Once I lower the force field he then tells me that I've lowered the force field. Then he suggests that I need to walk down the corridor that's no longer blocked by the force field. This continues on for quite some time, finally coming to a climax when, after having just rigged the power plant to self-destruct, my officer suggests that now might be a good time to beam back up to the ship. No! Really?
My character is supposed to be The Captain. Instead, those pop-ups made me feel like I was being talked down to by impatient Grups who've forgotten that I'm no longer five years old.
Also, once we've set off an alarm, there's no need to set off another one. It's not like the Cardassians are going to somehow forget that we've infiltrated their hidden rebel base.
Final Thoughts: Two things kept me from giving this mission 2 stars.
First, the author did a great job with the text of the commander's logs in the secret moon base.
Secondly, the mysterious stranger. He spoke to me in that annoyingly vague manner that god-like beings so often affect. I hate that, and that's why it was good! Because that's something that we've seen multiple times in every Trek series.
If the bridge officer pop-ups were reduced in number, and the text reworded so that my officers stopped holding my hand and leading me through the mission like a lost child, this mission would be significantly improved.
Ultimately though, whether it's worth playing or not, will depend on how well Part Two is done.