View Full Version : Review: Conquest Marines Beta

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11th Jul 2003, 02:56 PM
[ Transcript of review for Conquest Marines Beta (http://modsquad.beyondunreal.com/review.php?id=161) | Posted by Vlosk on 2003-07-11 | Score: 7 ]
Conquest Marines Beta

When I think of UT, or even UT2003 for that matter, usually what comes to mind is tight combat in primarily indoor environments. This is anything but Conquest Marines, for this mod offers huge maps; class based combat, and some rather well made vehicles. However, for all the really cool features and additions, this release is still in the beta stage, and expectedly, there are still the bugs which go with such a release. These bugs are fairly minor, and instead of anything critical, itís more a conglomeration of issues which seem to take away the polish, and little else. CM as it stands now is above average, but from the potential I can see in this beta, the final version is going to kick some serious ass!

From what I can tell, there are three demo vehicles in this beta; a hove bike, a hover tank, and a gun turret. The models for all three are A , and they all work very well; my only issue is there were a couple of really annoying collision anomalies in which my bike got stuck for no apparent reason, my tank couldnít cross a bridge for no apparent reason, or my bike got eaten by a tank (sucked inside with no way out) for no apparent reason. The way I see it, they should either add a reason for these events, or call them bugs and deal with the appropriately. Still, the handling is really slick for these vehicles, when not running into invisible walls-0-doom, and the hover tank even has an independently controlled turret. However, where the vehicles themselves are damn cool without question, I feel that the weapons they contain could deal with some serious revision; a giant flak shell clone is ok, but for each and every large projectile, it gets old fastÖ (*cough* Big laser *cough*)

The class system is fairly straight foreword; at the beginning of each spawn you choose to be a marine, sniper, rocketeer, or tech. Unfortunately, the Loadout that goes with this system is rather unstable, as until just 5 minutes ago I thought they had no sniper rifle; indeed as a sniper it spawned me with the marine guns. Perhaps I am not using this interface right, but I think it could either be made more intuitive, or more stable, if the layout is as I understand it too be. As for other differences in the classes, I canít find too much quite yet, but it looks like they have plans for this in the future so I will keep my eye out.

When you jump from a 2-story height, do your knees bend brining you closer to the ground? On the same note, after such a drop, do you move at the same speed you always do without pause? Basic tweaks to the universe are as important a feature to the game as the hovertank; there are so many little bits of work that I really have to offer my congratulations to the coders of the CM team. From the rotating map in the corner of the screen to the use of dynamic bar-scales to show health, there is a lot of subtle eye candy behind the tanks and hills. To have a tank is one thing, but its completely another to have a tank with a status showing the turret orientation, a rotating map showing your location and heading, and a status bar showing speed and munitions.

Where CM has features that match or better many professional games in development or already released, there is also a couple of areas which are painfully lacking. I hope and pray these are addressed before the final release, as so much of what I see is wickedly amazing. Whatís missing is a general lack of polish in the visual department, and a whole lot of work in the AI department. Though Iím sure a game like this is better online, I still prefer to have the odd botmatch, and thus I like bots to actually work. They ignored my orders, and instead liked to hang around their own base. Occasionally a bot would drift off towards the enemy base, but it would be quickly slaughtered for this anomalous behavior. Also, I watched a most amusing event; I saw a bot on the red team walk up and blow the brains out of another red botÖ and just like the vehicle problems, for no apparent reason. Though this was amusing to watch, I have to think itís more a bug than a feature. As for the environments themselves, part of me loved them, and part hated them. The scale seems about 3x too large, though this may be my going round in circles coupled with a general lack of bots wishing to explore the world. And beyond the scale, there where quite a few rendering glitches; coplanar polies shimmering, and a weird occlusion issue with the fog, which though common in many games, still looks like ass. (Giant Mountain, fading into the mist, suddenly vanishingÖ). Also, lighting was very inconsistent, not in the ambient sense, but that you had one hill bright touching one hill dark, both with the same grass textureÖ Should just the glitches be repaired, and a little more detail added to the bases, Iím sure that the maps demoed in the CM beta will easily hold up to anything in UT2k3 Vanilla, or in games such as Planeside or Tribes2.

All in all, CM looks to be diamond in the rough. Painful beta issues, though not critical, suck the life out of the game and force me to say it deserves a meager 7.0; however should these be addressed, and more wickedly made features added, this game here is a 10.0 in the making. If you have broadband, I suggest giving CM a try; otherwise wait for a more complete version.

P.S. To the coders of the CM team: Kudos on the rotating textures, and really wicked tank.

11th Jul 2003, 08:37 PM
I think he's being a little hard on some issues. Its their first beta - and its wonderful to see a tactical mod that's not just another stupid "fsck the terrorists" mod. Yes, its really buggy, we gathered that - I'd like to hear more about the gameplay before I DL, rather then just the bugs. That's what first betas are. Also, I don't think he can knock them for the fall damage issue. Not everybody wants to be Counter Strike. In fact, most of us bought UT because we *didn't* want Counter Strike.

But yeah - 7.0 sounds about right. Can't wait to see where this goes.

11th Jul 2003, 10:55 PM
!!! You missunderstood me! Sorry about that!

I'm not knocking the fall-damage at all; the fact that it was added is a huge bonus to the game, and that whole little piece about these added features is the one of the reasons it got such a good mark for a beta in the first place.

Mentioned in the review are, as per my usual review style, the key things that grabbed me about the mod; the good and the bad; this being the bugs that kept me from saying its the best ever, and the points which kept me from slamming it into the ground. Also, beta or not, when something is released to the public its released as-is; I will not compensate my mark or my comments because its 'beta'; I know what an unfinished game looks like, and can appreciate games in such a state, but anything released deserves to be treated as a finished copy: the authors felt it was good enough to go out into the world, and thus I will treat it as such. Note that I don't slam lack of content (unless its so minute that the release is wasted) but rather issues and bugs which ideally would be fixed regardless of the release state.

And, I hate to sound all defensive here, but I sort of had to rant a little... And you totally missread that bit about the fall - enhancement, so I just wanted to make that clear.

NOTE: the vehicle models are A+, not just A; don't know why that didn't show... Will make note of that in the future.

12th Jul 2003, 04:29 PM
Sorry if I was too strong. I just thought that you spent aweful long dwelling on the bugs, when I was sitting there wondering "what are the weapons? How do the vehicles actually *work*". I realize the bugs are points against - I agree with your final review of 7.0 (good mod, bad bugs, lots of potential). I'd just hoped to hear more about the specifics of the features and how they handle, and less about every little problem.

And yes, I realize it was not just falling damage you wanted, but falling effects and slowness - but I think this mod was trying to compensate between traditional action FPS and tactical games, so I think they just took the action FPS (take some damage, but hit the ground running).

12th Jul 2003, 08:09 PM
I love it! I'd have given it a 7.5, mostly due to the idiot bot, but what ever. btw the sniper has a sniper rifle which is super sweet!

13th Jul 2003, 12:52 AM
The sniper is pretty good, but the bots and a few other issues really sapped the score; still, I can't wait to see this sucker finished!!! ^^

Also, thanks for your input; I will try to have a better ballance of information to observation in my later reviews. And before I forget, I didn't think you were being to ohard at all, just that you were after me for smashing fall-damage / fall-enhancement, when I tried to call those sets of tweaks some of the best work the mod has to offer! (Adds so much more feel to the game its disturbing)

13th Jul 2003, 02:01 PM
The bots aren't quite that stupid ... at least I managed to order them around as usual. All that seems to be lacking is for them to use turrets and/or vehicles.

Did you make sure you had 'CMMarine' selected as your character ?
And at least before the patch you needed to set the voice of the CMMarine to something like the mercenary-voice or the commands wouldn't work ...

The patch is available on their forums.

13th Jul 2003, 10:05 PM
^^ my lack of a patch would explain a lot thanks^^

13th Jul 2003, 10:34 PM
beta patch v2 is so much better!

14th Jul 2003, 10:39 AM
Odd - I found the bots to be pretty unstupid all in all. Not stellar, but certainly not painful and a lot less stupid than certain other recent mod releases.

I'd agree with a 7.0 or maybe slightly above though - but mostly because I think this mod needs some meat on it's bones.