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Finally finished Urania :D
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I played about a dozen or so of the maps prior to it being selected for the DWMC, hence my informed decision to opt out of the playthrough. The general Urania style is a perfectly valid one, both in terms of its combat/exploration style and its heavy slant towards long maps; the greatest thing against it is that, apparently barring a short map or two in the later half of the game, it is seemingly a very one-note set, presenting 32 maps of more or less the same thing over and over again. This is wonderful if one is an avid fan of its particular approach to play and design, of course, and from a quality of craft standpoint it has struck me as being a very consistent presentation (i.e. no notable dips in build/design quality), but I reckon it's not hard to understand why many players would want to see more variety in a set that long, whether it be in terms of map size/length or in playstyle, or both. Natural pitfall for a one-author megaWAD, of course.
Some of the adversarial comparisons it has been subject to are perhaps a mite untoward, though, in fairness. The "vs. Plutonia" one is obviously self-inflicted to some extent and easy to parse given how little similarity there is between the way Urania and said IWAD actually play, though of course some of the themes and visual stylings are there. The "vs. slaughter" thing that started cropping up around voting time strikes me as more specious, though, as this set and most slaughtermaps have entirely different and disparate goals. To the extent the matchup holds, I reckon nearly every dedicated slaughter set I've played, be it community-created or the product of a single author or small team, suffers to a greater or lesser degree in the arena of consistency (i.e. of having some dross maps or simply boring ones alongside brilliant ones, with plenty of stuff in between), which of course is a problem Urania doesn't really have. On the flipside, though, nearly all of these sets also offer a good deal of conceptual variety once you get into them, something that Urania seems to fail to do to any marked degree. Over an extended 32 map playthrough I personally tend to value variety a little more than consistency (though if you can have both that is of course ideal), but of course YMMV.
Urania is somewhat very specific wad, it's certainly not for everyone. It's a quite "irregular" one, though, which brings lots of variety (where difficult + obscure progression + hitscanners everyone being the most common elements in all levels).
It has been a quite interesting experience for me, certainly painful (@leodoom85) but good for most of times. I'm a slow player (like @galileo31dos01), who likes to observes the scenary and be aware of the surroudings, which normally works well with Urania style. (I like to go run-and-gun when it's necessary though). Slaughter maps are usually a deal breaker for me, I prefer that the grind level is as low as can be, so anything with more than 300 foes might be a problem for me :P
Anyway, it's the first time I've played some good non-linear very large levels (I haven't played many, though), and these were my favorite ones on Urania. Normally long levels are more linear which tends to drag too much after a while. Unfortunaly I didn't like that much the third half, which features the hardest levels and some very different ones from what you would expect (like 28, which is a very large TNTish city).
The only thing I found objectively bad was some MIDI's haha The one in map 28 was certainly my least favorite >.< Then you have that infamous one which is played on map 07 and 21. Also, as I said, it's very irregular, so some levels didn't felt as polished as other ones.
If someone gets to play this, I certainly recommend HNTR (I've played on HMP), not because the difficult, but I think it'll probably bring the best (and probably less fustrating) experience.
my personal gripes with it, after having slogged through about 6 maps in total, is that the enemy placement is a bit annoying. hitscanners in particular tend to pop up in inconvenient positions to take pot-shots at you, which starts to add up really fast, even for someone like me, who also likes to take it slow and not rush into battle. revenants also show up at inconvenient moments, but at least you can dodge them...
my other gripe is that the music selection is, quite frankly, terrible. i don't think this selection of guitar-wank MIDIs lends itself to this mod at all, and the only one i've enjoyed so far is the map 3 music (because it's more laid-back and relaxing.) there's a reason why Doom didn't go all heavy metal on the soundtrack, and it's because the levels are paced well, with exploration for items, weapons, keys etc., while throwing in combat to keep you busy. if it were all music like this, i'd imagine it would get really tiring really fast to play any of the IWADs nowadays.
the maze-like design doesn't bother me too much, but it kicks in really early, which makes most of the maps a slog. i could've dealt with that, if the combat was better paced in general. but it, and the music, is just a big turn-off to me.
i can see how this would appeal to some people, and it certainly has a good evolved Plutonia look to it, but even on HNTR, the Easy mode, i find it a chore to play for all the reasons listed above.