Honestly, I've always felt like AV Episode 3 is the weakest part of the wad, aside from Dark Dome and Stench of Evil, so having a break from that style is certainly OK with me. And while I'd agree that "Caco's Nest" is probably a bit worse than VoE, it's not like VoE really fits in AV's third episode well either.
Really, though, pretty much anything from AV's third episode could have been replaced with Clandestine Complex and I'd have been fine with it. Blood Sacrifice is Malde's worst map in the wad, Caco's Nest sucks, Rubicon is so bland as to be barely possible to remember, Demonic Hordes is the prototypical "bad slaughter map" (endless circlestrafing around a blob of infighting enemies, here we come!), Whispering Shadows sucks, Fire Walk with Me has two cool encounters (the first open area and the famous "Revenant Curve"), but then devolves into a boring slog through an admittedly cool looking hell castle, and Point Dreadful truly is dreadful. I always say that AV is my second favorite wad ever, and it is, but damn does it drop the ball in episode 3 (aside from 26 and 27, which are probably the two best maps in the whole wad).
I must be one of those who had no complaints about the third episode of AV. However, I do agree that One Flew Over the Caco's Nest was a pretty weak start, being a short, overly linear map after those extremely huge maps of the second episode, most notably Misri Halek. That's not to say that it sucks, it's pretty cool, but the third episode deserved a better starter. Rubicon was okay, but I've seen better of Vorpal's entries (Suicidal Tendencies and Overwhelming Odds were his best). I liked Blood Sacrfice, another Malde map that shows him as a master of atmosphere and architecture, and Clandestine Complex, while a fun map, seemed misplaced in the Map 24 slot as it is techbase opposed to the hellish maps of the episode. Whispering Shadows and Fire Walk With Me, in my opinion, were just as good as the rest of AV, but I agree about Point Dreadful cause it is unforgiving towards players who can't straferun due to that first elevator.
In all fairness, Anders Johnsen made such excellent maps. My guess is that during early development of AV, his maps were experimental, and as time went on and he got better at mapping, he was dissatisfied with most of them save for the ones that made it for the old and final versions. Despite what some thought of Valley of Echoes, I think it is worth releasing it as a standalone wad for those who want more of Anders Johnsen and AV, and for me, it displays homages to some of my favourite classic Doom maps. Pistol start ought to play well as Tatsurd-cacocaco's video shows it.
Last edited by T-Rex on 03-29-14 at 05:57