How. You always seem to diss this, but I don't think I have ever seen an actual reason. It was one of the better shooters released this year. I mean just my opinion too of course.
Personally, I'm the other way around. I keep seeing people praising RoTT 2013, but I haven't seen convincing arguments as to why.
Don't get me wrong, I was actually hyped for this game and grabbed it as soon as it went on a -50% sale. Unfortunately found out all the cool oldschool stuff it supposedly does is more in name than in spirit.
To be fair, the first Rise of the Triad was a pretty shit game. Entertaining but ultimately shit. RoTT 2013 is true to the form in that regard.
Actual issues I have with the game:
- low performance. It's unacceptable to have dips below 60 FPS on a fast-paced FPS with small levels, and those happen even with all settings on lowest, on your average gaming rig handling much more impressive-looking games.
- wonky physics. Movement is unenjoyable (regardless of which character you pick, this is not about speed but acceleration, deceleration, inertia, air control and resistance). Jumping is a gamble, partly because of the above.
- level design. While RoTT 2013 doesn't make you walk in a straight line like most other modern FPS, it's perfectly willing to make you go through six perfectly identical rooms on one side of a symmetrical room, then six perfectly identical rooms on the other side of that room; or backtrack for a minute with a grand total of two or three enemies spawned.
There's the idea of doing non-linear level design here, but not any idea as to how it should actually be done. Triggers (switches, keys) are often unintuitive, lacking visual contrast with the environment. Sometimes there's no feedback or connection between the trigger and the newly revealed path. Actual doors and random detail in walls will share the same textures.
- unappealing graphics. I'm not going to check if I'm right or making a fool of myself, but I'll bet the game was built on Unreal Engine 3. It shares this plastic, glossy look common among basic UE games, complete with noisy textures. Couple that with the copy-and-paste nature of the environments, and all in all it's a pain to look at. For me this was so bad I often couldn't see where the enemies shooting at me were until I sprayed like mad and got a "+100" score popup somewhere.
- boring enemy cast. Can it even be called an enemy "cast"? At this point I got to E2M3 or E2M4, and all I fought was nazi hitscanners. I guess some wear helms and some don't, and some are lieutenants, but they all do the same thing, rush slowly at you while spamming machine guns. Every once in a while you've got a dude dashing at you to steal your machine gun or your rocket launcher. That's it. Have fun playing the same fight over and over and over and over and over and...
- poor enemy AI. Getting stuck in doors, getting stuck *through* doors, running into walls, or doing absolutely nothing are common occurances for the bad guys. Their pathfinding is ridiculously easy to exploit (to the point it fails even when you don't try to abuse it), the slightest corner or wall indentation will prove an insurmontable obstacle.
- poor enemy placement. Most enemies are spawned dynamically (as if teleporting). Sometimes this will happen in a logical way, out of your sight; but often they will pop up right in front of you, out of nowhere. There is no teleport animation, no nothing; you're clearly expected to hang back and slowly creep up forward so the illusion works, even though the game gives you a range of characters with movement speed ranging from "fast" to "ludicrously fast". Schizophrenic design at work.
- boring weaponry, boring balance, boring gameplay. No ammo management whatsoever. Infinite machine gun makes it so there's no point using your infinite pistols save for the few seconds when a nazi steals your gun. You have a knife and an admittedly cool dash move... Except when it fails. Rocket launchers replace each other, so you're left using the latest you currently have rather than the one you prefer, and it's more a shoot and pray affair than deliberate choice. Besides, with weak HP enemies in low numbers rockets can be a liability more often than not. So most of the game (early game, anyway) is just hitscanning hitscanners.
- invisible walls. And inconsistent, at that.
- bugs, bugs, bugs. Characters will shout with the voice of another character at times. Scripts will fail to trigger.
- generally speaking, because of all of the above, a low budget, low polish feel. The devs had a checklist and successfully crossed a X next to every item, but there's no meat to this game, no depth, no soul.
It's not complete doom and gloom, I'm just mentioning the issues here. There's still an entertaining game in there, but the frustrations pile up too quickly for it to be called "good". I started playing it with a smile on my face, ended up badly disappointed.
Shadow Warrior 2013 fares much better... Ironically, because the devs looked beyond just making an "oldschool" game. Which was the mistake they did with Hard Reset, that is, using their idea of what an oldschool game was instead of what the good ones actually were, and we ended with this awful mess of low speed character fighting with ranged weapons against fast speed melee enemies in a linear corridor filled with explosive barrels. Utterly boring.
Shadow Warrior sheds any pretense of being an oldschool first-person shooter (at least in gameplay, if not in marketing...) and embraces the type of game they probably wanted to make in the first place, by giving the main character a powerful melee weapon, dash moves and magical powers. Fighting melee with melee is immediately more fun and solves much of the problems in arena level design (you don't care if the room is a box when most of the action happens at arm's length). You still have the repetition characteristic of Flying Wild Hog, both in environments and foes, but the enemy cast is more than diverse enough to make fights varied and interesting (especially as they are used well).
Best oldschool shooter of 2013? Probably FC3 Blood Dragon, even though it's the only one that doesn't try to pass off as such. You've got solid performance, fast movement speed, no fall damage, no invisible walls within the "expected" playing area, tight controls, good arsenal complete with the prerequisite uber final weapon, decent level design (if nothing else, in the sense that open world beats linear corridor); and very importantly, it's wonderfully cheesy and self-aware while staying consistent within its own universe (something I would argue is characteristic of Doom, and to a lesser degree Duke3D and derivatives). It doesn't last long enough, and there's not quite the enemy diversity required to keep things fresh for longer than that anyway, but it's a game in which it's just plain enjoyable to move around and shoot things - such a basic, important point so many shooters seem to forget.