+1 on the too soon to go to ice level transition.
Here's my update on my thoughts after getting to the aircraft carrier.
I think the design and execution of the pilot/submarine level was incredible. The open and expansive terrain let me define how things happend. I played that mission through 4 times and had a blast doing it differently each time.
- I did the traditional (developer intended) driving method blowing up everything on the way.
- When first starting off, I jumped down over the guard rail and down onto the beach, into the water and swam around the rocks along the shore and stayed all stealthy the whole time and then emerged where the bridge connects two shore lines and began a stealthy assault of that area, grabbed a humvee and finished in vehicle.
- I stayed on the road and followed along the road and executed small managble fire fights in each little battle area with the buildings and what not. All the explosive barrels helped.
THAT's how these levels are meant to be IMO. That level was excuted amazingly well and had a KILLER Time of day setting going on. I wasn't too keen on the re-spawning enemies though there at the end when I was at the sub.
Now, the ice levels have been horrendously linear. Not only did I NOT want to jump in the hovercraft, I wanted to play at my own pace and neither of these are feasible becuase if you don't get in, the lady on the radio will not SHUT THE HELL UP!!!
Now, this is when I'll get a few more things off my chest that I'm discovering that I don't like that could probably really make a big difference in the overall experience.
I spent a good hour and a half just taking my time in the pilot level as well as the first mission just exploring the environment and another half hour poking around the big ice levels. I think that with environments this big and open, there should be points of interest off the beaten path as that's where I spend most of my time in the game but there's nothing.
I think that hidden weapon stashes or SOMETHING to promote exploration like this would be nice. Something like the frog on the book area on that tiny island on the first mission. Just SOMETHING like a dead KPA soldier with some grenades or a ammo box or two just randomly scattered about way off in the nooks and crannies of the maps. Or wrecked vehicles. Small "hidden" objectives like finding a little bunker with data or a new weapon that you could discover earlier than you would normally be given that weapon or a scope, grenade launcher attachment, etc would have been a great incentive to get the player digging around. Speaking of digging, underground tunnels or little caves that could lead you to otherwise inaccessible tactical vantage points would have been cool. (kinda like in farcry when you get out of the big trigen lab where you can go through this underground area that takes you up to the top of this cliff where you get to hang glide over a large trigen filled area? THAT's what I want.
And another thing, how long are we going to have to wait until someone makes a map with one of these big bays that you do all your fighting around that has some sort of hidden grotto. I want a wrecked plane down on the bottom of the reef with coral and fish around it.. I want a sunk boat with some ammo or something in it. I want these developers to promote map exploration!
Now, back to the ice level. I felt that the transition was too soon but it was ultimately done quite well..that I will admit. I think it was well setup and it was a well developed introduction to the ice world. I just think that we should have been given one more mission in the tropics.
Now, regarding these ice levels, I've picked one bone with the first one. You can't win if you don't use the hovercraft (at least not on Delta). The aliens are too strong and you aren't given much ammo when you get off the sub so HAVING to get in the hovercraft goes against this new design tenet the interview with one of the crytek developers said he DIDNT want to happen.
I jumped out of that stupid thing the first minute I could. I did play through the entire area in the hovercraft but I found that jumping out when you get out of the initial area with the big flying aliens and going it on foot after that lets you not only experience much more actual firefights, you also get to stock up on guns and ammo.
I was actually plesantly surprised at how well the squad fighting in the ice level is. They go at your pace and help a lot so I have no problems with this... I just think that after the hovercraft part of that ice level is over, again, it's ridiculously linear game play to the tunnel.
I just made it to the entrance of the aircraft carrier so I'll hopefully have an update tomorrow or Friday.