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Forums > Submission Feedback > zippdementia's Clive Barker's Undying review

This thread is in response to a review for Clive Barker's Undying on the Miscellaneous. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: Lewis
Posted: March 06, 2009 (01:57 AM)
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I found that, while Undying started well, it quickly degenerated. It fell at a kind of awkward time: just around the period where really interactive games were being released, games where you could manipulate scenery and make decisions and so forth. Undying was a completely linear trudge through an entirely static world. I also found it more tedious than scary. Meh.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: March 06, 2009 (02:22 AM)
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The sad truth is, there's actually less of those games than you'd think. Even Half Life 2 doesn't do much with scenery or decisions. Probably the closest game to what you describe is Deus Ex.

What Half Life and a good number of other games DID have was so much atmosphere that you forget you aren't interacting with it. They are so well scripted that they don't feel linear or boxy. Take Half Life 2's infamous Strider battle. You're really in a very limited arena, but it's designed such that you feel perfectly reasonable being there, and you're too distracted to really notice, anyway. If you ever get stuck in a Half Life game, though, you start to realize how linear things are.

Thus, my statement at the end of this review. It really isn't that much different from other shooters. It had all the elements to be a half life, though. It just didn't use them.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Lewis
Posted: March 06, 2009 (02:56 AM)
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"Half Life 2 doesn't do much with scenery or decisions"

Except, y'know, the Gravity Gun. Which allowed for the most advanced scenery interaction ever seen in a shooter at that point. Just saying ;)

As for decisions, well, Valve craft their levels so masterfully that you always feel like you're "choosing" to go the right way, rather than being guided down the only route. Undying does stuff like locking all the doors except the right one, which HL (the second one, in particular) really avoids.

"Clive would be the one who came up with Undying’s engrossing backstory, involving children who become cursed by a foolish intrusion into the world of the occult. Barker would be the one who decided this back story would be best served by inserting it into a linear first person shooter. Similarly, Clive would be the one to oversee the creation of a well designed and truly atmospheric haunted mansion for said shooter to take place in. Barker would be the one to nod sagely and declare that most of the game take place outside of the mansion."

This is nice. And very accurate. It does certain bits really well... but I don't reckon it's that good a game overall. A 7 would have been kind back when it was released, for me.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: March 06, 2009 (12:47 PM)
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Yeah, I should've been clearer. I was referring more to Half Life 1 in terms of environmental manipulation, since that was closer to Undying's time.

I will say, though, that I occasionally forget that I'm manipulating the environment in Half Life 2. Valve does such a good job of incorporating it into their game that you simply forget it's there at times, taking it for granted.

But then, HL2 is probably the best shooter of all time.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Lewis
Posted: March 07, 2009 (02:12 AM)
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I waver over that one. It's "of its time", for me. BioShock is probably, just about, a bit better.

By the way, it's spelt "segue"


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: March 07, 2009 (02:45 AM)
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Ah, you're right! Changing that...


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: bloomer
Posted: March 07, 2009 (04:11 AM)
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It occurs to me I mostly stopped playing FPSes a lot when it started to become mandatory to use the mouse if playing on my Mac. I liked Doom, Marathon, Hexen, Killing Time, etc. I tried Undying, and still have it, and consider revisiting it, but it was an early and poor (by me) attempt with the mouse. And now, RSI, blah blah, I'm unlikely to retry. I did like what I played, but yeah, I also remember the hero's voice saying in that perilous way... 'LOCKED!' too often.

WHen I hear Clive talking or interviewed, he seems awesome. But I've read books of his that were kind of impressive but unexciting (EG Weaveworld), and he directed Rawhead Rex, an utter pile of crap. Buuut he did also direct Nightbreed, which I'm kinda fond of, and Hellraiser, which had visions of greatness that were better than any of the whole of any film in the series that Hellraiser became. So more summarily, I never felt he was a transparently great artist. He seems to have great ideas that are often averagely or badly executed.


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Author: Lewis
Posted: March 07, 2009 (04:38 AM)
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I agree. He seems to be stuck with inspired ideas, but no idea how to execute them in anything other than a derivitive manner.

As for Barker's involvement with Undying... well, he was hired late on in the project to flesh out the story. His name on the box is a sales gimmick, more than anything. The game's problems are with the development.

The main issue I have with Undying is that the setting was poorly thought out. I can almost hear the developers' train of thought.

"Let's set a whole game in a haunted house! Let's make it really terrifying! Listen, here's a load of brilliant ideas how to scare the player"

"Great, let's start making it! Oh, shit, mansions have a lot of rooms and doors, don't they? If we let the player access them all, they'll get lost. How many doors should we lock? I know, how about all of the doors?"

"Okay, cool. Ah, but now the game is frustratingly linear and predictable. Why don't we take the player away from the mansion every now and then, into some alternate universe?"

"Hey, great idea! And hey, these levels are a lot more fun to make! We can be really creative with our design!"

"Brilliant, let's make loads of them! Wait, hang on, weren't we supposed to be making a game set in a scary haunted house?"

"Oh yeah, let's go back to that the-- oh, shit, we've used all our budget and we haven't come up with a story. So we'll have to scrap the haunted house bits and get someone to write us a plot."


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: March 07, 2009 (02:03 PM)
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And thus the Clive versus Barker scenario I mention.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


This message was administratively deleted because it did not adhere to site guidelines, or because a user other than JenniferThomas requested its removal.

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Author: zippdementia
Posted: April 03, 2009 (02:47 PM)
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DAMMIT JENNIFER! GIVING ME FALSE HOPE OF MORE FEEDBACK!

DAAAAAAAMN YOOOOOOOOOU!!!


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: MaryPineda
Posted: April 20, 2009 (08:25 AM)
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I, also am just a spambot with a girl's name. Do you sense my power and lack of feedback?


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: April 20, 2009 (01:00 PM)
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Yes. Now give me blow jobs.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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