One indie developer can make a better Splinter Cell game than all of Ubisoft right now.
I'm having a hard time giving this a thumbs up, primarily because I think I expected more.It is sort of minimal in what it does, but this minimalism is polished to the top. The stealth mechanics are really one of the best of its kind.It reminds me quite a bit on Splinter Cell, but I feel interactions are kind of bogged down to the minimum. Yes, you can flip of lights or use one of your gadgets to mess with electric devices - but that's about it.Game really boils down just to deciding your movement speed depending on the surface, the path you take to avoid light - and then killing or knocking down enemies one by one. Factor into this variable accuracy and the fact that you can't see further than one screen length - you can very easily end up in situations where whole level gets alarmed because of a fired gunshot.Its pretty realistic, but I didn't find it very fun, but tedious. The lack of interactivity is effectively pushing you down a linear, "best" path, and I don't like that much.However - it definitely doesn't deserve a thumbs down, its a very solid 7/10, just not my cup of tea.
the game you play when you are too drunk for hotline miami
Play this game on the 'True' difficulty. The game makes one thing really clear; all your tacticool, RS6 Siege super edgy 'skills' mean nothing. It is an unflinchingly vicious, no holds-barred stealth strategy shooter.Violent only in the way that Hotline Miami is. As stealth focused as the old Splinter Cell games. If you think you can burst through doors with an AK and one tap your enemies you won't do well in this game...Noise is a real REAL thing, suppressors don't make guns silent in real life, and they don't do that here either.If you leave a door open, enemies will remember it being shut and investigate, if you leave a blood trail, enemies will follow it with guns ready.Every single enemy is a tough fight unless you're careful, prepared or just straight lucky.The loadout system is way more in-depth than I expected offering arsenals, armours and gadgets to match all play styles, but there's no 4 weapon carrying, heavy armour wearing, grenade packing stealth game-play. Guns and gear are loud and heavy and alter your interaction with the game world drastically. I prefer the stealth approach and not wanting to make any excess noise I run a knife and a suppressed pistol without armour, this means that my character is a ghost, but one single .45 wound and I'm dead. Also the story is awesome, there's nothing quite like slaughtering a warehouse full of degenerates in the name of bloody vengeance. The game will beat you down and make you a better gamer just get it.It also has a lovely rage purging mechanic, hold down F to activate your mic and scream obscenities to lure your foes to you, or just to add to the rage of battle.A solid 9/10 so far, will update going forward, well played Roman Glebenkov!
Splinter cell + Hotline miami + Pixel-art = Intravenous.
Splinter Cell’s Hate Mail After noticing Intravenous billed as “A LOVE LETTER TO EARLY SPLINTER CELL GAMES”, I couldn’t help but check it out. However, it turns out that the game can’t be quite summed up in such a way. Being mostly the work of a lone developer, Intravenous displays an impressive amount of polish and effort. I expected it to throw me into a tutorial level immediately after choosing my difficulty, but the game turned out to be quite cinematic. The first couple of levels are solely devoted to setting up the story and letting you get familiar with the game's controls somewhat, while the actual tutorial is quite pointless. Most of the story is told through text boxes and in-game cinematics, with some still images thrown in. While these beginning levels are used for one-off story bits, they're as highly detailed as the latter ones. Unfortunately, the actual writing pushed me away from the game more than any of my gripes with the gameplay. You play as Steve Robbins, just an average guy from what I can gather. Life’s good until one night, after going out for drinks with your brother, you are approached by several men, led by a creatively named character - Degenerate. It is then revealed that these men are “low-life junkies”, in need of money to purchase drugs. A fight ensues, resulting in your brother being sent into a coma and dying a couple of days later. This is what sends Steve on his revenge-fueled rampage, as he takes out the men that killed his brother one by one. Still, an event this dramatic and personal doesn’t have time to settle in properly. I never felt attached to Steve's brother, nor did I feel a sense of accomplishment or justice being served as I watched him kill these men, begging for their lives, without any input from me. It’s very vulgar, tasteless, and lacking any emotional intelligence in the way it is told and written. Characters are unable to go two sentences without calling someone a “c*cksucker” or “degenerate”. A presumably touching story about a man losing his brother in the end boils down to a story about how “drugs are bad, mkay?” and ends up feeling like a teenager’s power fantasy rather than a John Wick revenge flick, or a love letter to Splinter Cell. Sam Fisher, the protagonist of those games, had some nobility to him, even when he went after people unequivocally painted as the bad guys. Steve Robbins almost comes across as just as bad, if not worse, than the men he is going after, and the game doesn’t seem to be trying to paint him as this morally ambiguous character. If you don’t care about the story and are just in it for the gameplay, Intravenous should have you covered, even if it doesn’t really provide the Splinter Cell experience, but rather its own.Of the four difficulties offered, the third is described as the intended one. True difficulty, as it s called, increases the damage both you and your enemies take, makes your health affect your movement speed and doesn’t tamper with enemy reaction times. It also limits the amount of quicksaves you can make per level to three, so be careful! Before each level, you’ll be allowed to choose from various gadgets and weapons, each differing in stats such as accuracy, damage or the amount of noise they make. You also have the opportunity to unlock more guns by exfiltrating with them after finding one within a level, but most of these are redundant as there’s quite an apparent meta with the equipment you’ll have from the start. While variety is always nice, and the developer has ensured that each gun and gadget function differently enough, I feel like more linear progression when it comes to your gear would have benefited the game.I’ve always seen Splinter Cell and games similar to it more as puzzles. You have a clear goal, observe the obstacles in your way towards it, and then figure out how to go about avoiding them. Intravenous doesn’t really work like that. It certainly looks and feels a bit like Splinter Cell, with the UI being virtually the same and the sound your night vision goggles make when you put them on being identical. You can also adjust your movement speed with the mouse wheel, which affects the amount of noise you make – just like in Splinter Cell. That’s pretty much where these similarities end. Intravenous relies a lot more on improvisation. You’re plopped into these vast, open levels and tasked to find your target, with little to no direction, and expected to backtrack to the beginning in order to exfiltrate afterwards. Rather than your enemies moving in clear patterns, they’re a lot less predictable and it will often seem like they’re cheating, as they suspiciously walk into the room you just decided to hide in, after you’ve never seen them take an interest in it over the past couple of minutes you’ve been watching them. Should you get detected, Intravenous can flip into an action-packed shooter on a dime, and such escalation always feels great, if a bit artificial. There’s some clunkiness to the way you control your character, but it’s just the right amount to add tension. It's an impressive level of control, as well. You can jump through windows, go prone, melee, throw stuff, call out to your enemies to distract them - with your microphone even for some extra immersion. You can also interact with the environment in a lot of ways: bashing through doors, flipping light switches, shutting off fuse boxes, crawling through vents, breaking windows, turning on faucets to create noise… Enemies will react to all of these things in different ways, probably more “realistically” than in other games, but the AI is not quite there. One of them will find the door to a bathroom open, radio it in, and suddenly the whole damn map is on alert, looking for you… over an open bathroom door. Enemies being this hyper sensitive to changes on the map sort of removes any escalation from the levels until you decide to go guns blazing. You’ll feel like you’re being hunted from the moment you step foot on a map. The soundtrack will change based on which level of alertness the enemies are on. It happens almost seamlessly, and sounds quite amazing. As Intravenous uses a top-down perspective, you won’t be able to see infinitely in-front of you, leading to enemies being able to spot you off screen, which makes sense, but ends up being especially frustrating. The game’s shadows are quite deceptive as well, so you better pay attention to that bar in the bottom left telling you how exposed to light you are. You’ll probably find yourself being spotted, even if your character looks decently hidden on screen. This lack of precision sometimes makes going loud the easier option, and while the kill time is very low and enemy reaction times fast, their AI isn’t immune to charging you in a hallway at the end of which you’re waiting with a shotgun. The true beauty here is that Intravenous treats stealth as nothing more than just another way to play. There’s a lot of tools at your disposal if you want to, but going loud isn’t treated as the lesser approach by the game at all. While Intravenous falls short of being the love letter to Splinter Cell I expected it to be, it is still a tight top-down shooter/stealth hybrid that rewards any way you want to play, regardless of how misguided its storytelling is. Obviously, a huge amount of effort went into the game, which should be commended, and with a map editor and more updates on the way, it can hopefully only improve from here. Reviewed on the following system, with no issues: CPU AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6GHzGPUGeForce GTX 1050TiRAM 16GBCheck out Devils in the Detail for more in-depth reviews!
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