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.
I would disagree on it being shit, though it did have its down points, mainly level design.
- 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.
I think they've done some to fix the performance, but yah, it wasn't good originally. I think the biggest problem is the framerate killing motion blur whenever you turn to quickly. That was dumb.
- 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.
This is probably just me, but I love bad physics. Maybe that's looking at it from a "So Bad it's Good Perspective", a la Trespasser. It;s add some artificial challenge.
- 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.
I'd say it was hit and miss, though I didn't finish the game yet.
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.
Like the original actually. I think this can be viewed either way, though the fact that the effects of a trigger aren't always immediately noticeable was always a bother in the first game too.
- 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.
Minus the drab color scheme that ended up camouflaging some enemies too well, I thought the game looked okay overall. I disagree in other words, though I know what you mean by how Unreal games have that "look". It's not so much a glossy look though, as it is a grainy playdough look, like Red Orchestra, which is more painfully Unreal than RotT.
- 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...
To be fair the original didn't have much either. It was pretty much soldiers and whatnot, with some variations. Machine gun guards, pistol guards, white officers would play dead, black ones would empty a revolver before whipping out a sidearm, and then the bosses. They have minute differences and tactics, but no, they don't look diverse, especially not in this one.
- 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.
Maybe I;m not paying attention, but I haven't seen too much in the way of this. The fact they can steal your weapon though I thought was a fairly nice twist in gameplay.
- 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.
Huh, I haven't noticed this either. It has been a while, now I think I hae to go back. That would be poor. Also surprised that they just appear then, and are not pre-placed.
- 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.
No different than the original really. MP40 pretty much invalidates everything else. Pistols as such serve as backup if your MP40 gets swiped (Or, the MP-Sten-40-Mk. II). And the balance may not be great, but I love the arsenal of rocket launchers, especially the carpet bombs and and flame walls.
- 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.
Again, I think they have fixed a lot of this, minus the invisible walls, which suck.
- 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.
Really no different than the original, but I'd say that it just feels un finished, and un polished it. I think they wanted to get it out quickly and then let players report all the remaining bugs. I don't know if this was them trying to be "community involved" or thinking they could pull more bucks in by asking others to buy it and playtest an unfinished product.
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.
I agree with a number of your points, but maybe I just like the bad too for entertainment quality. I mean, I think can fall into that "It's bad it's good", unlike other recent 'retro' releases like DNF, which is just bad (Or mediocre at best maybe, i haven't decided).
Shadow Warrior and Blood Dragon
Two games I still really need to get my hands on, along with a good computer. But looking at that, where does all of this "old-school shooter" ideas come from? It seems easier to go in with an idea, and come out poor, whereas like you said with shadow warrior, it has that idea behind it but ultimatley leaves it behind (I think), and ends up witha good project. Maybe it's all those "Level Design '93 vs Today' memes that are driving people the wrong way.
Though back to the op topic, of course :P