Virtual Dimensions // Review: Estranged: Act 1
Review: Estranged: Act 1
Estranged, the Half Life 2 mod and recent Steam Greenlight success story, is set on an island where the you are dragged into a nightmare of a day and have to find a way back to mainland after crashing your boat. The city initially appears empty, but the reason, you’ll have to find out.
The mod has a steady pace, moving forward without forgetting to provide the player with the necessary background story to keep things interesting and engaging. You’ll be given some general directions by other characters you meet throughout the game, but generally it is up to you to find and decide on the right path.
Maps are relatively open; houses, cabins and some guard posts are available to you to discover and explore, which already hints at the survival style of this game.
Estranged’s zombie-esque enemies aren’t that fast, however they are not as slow as the regular zombies you will be familiar with from Half-Life 2 and they most certainly do not simply move in a straight line. So, a word of advice, stay out of reach and bloody well aim for their heads!
Unlike a lot of mods, Estranged has put a great deal of focus on even the small details of the game to build and maintain a gripping atmosphere. During our play test, we had to stop several times to admire the fine work and effort the developers put into lighting or to read notes left on desks. They even managed to create great atmosphere with little shadow tricks.
The team behind Estranged has also worked on more visual effects, for example, if you approach an object, the background becomes blurred, and you will want to have full vision of what’s beyond.
To round of an already promising package, even the soundtrack is excellent. It really is a perfect fit for the mod’s style and atmosphere. Ultimately, the soundtrack achieves its goal by evoking all the right emotions at the right time, providing a fast paced beat while you are gunning for an Arque Corporation guard, and a more somber, yet dramatic tune while stalking through the many dark corners.
Estranged: Act 1 is a great game; it is well constructed and thought out, set in a mysterious, yet believable world. It offers an adventure-esque style of gameplay, while also including elements from different genres. Because of this, it really does suit the tastes of a huge range of gamers. So, if you are looking for a new zombie, adventure or good old FPS style game, then you will most certainly enjoy this mod.
Make sure to check out our gallery of screenshots from our Estranged review.
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