Level: The Discovery - Episode I - On the Trail back home search
Author(s): Adriel
total rating:8.50 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Bene 10 9 10 8
DJ Full 7 7 8 8
Drakan 10 10 10 9
Gabriel Croft 10 10 10 10
Gerty 7 9 9 8
Jay 8 9 10 10
Jorge22 7 8 8 7
Jose 8 9 9 10
manarch2 6 8 8 8
MichaelP 7 9 9 9
nimbys187 6 6 7 9
Phil 9 10 10 9
Rambo 6 6 9 8
Ryan 8 9 9 9
category averages
(14 reviews)
7.79 8.50 9.00 8.71

Reviewer's comments

"This is very much an exploratory levelset, meaning that there's very little in the way of complex, puzzling gameplay. Don't take that as to mean that I think it's boring, it's not. It's actually pretty entertaining. I simply mean that the gameplay isn't as complicated as a game of this size might make you think and most of the areas can be easily traversed simply for the sake of the gameplay. I did find the objects (grass and foliage mainly) difficult to deal with as they severely hindered Lara's movements and caused me to reload a couple of times. Maybe it was their collision, but I still found it quite annoying Also, the lighting is quite is good outside, but I found it a bit too dark in the Caves segment with no flares provided. On the plus side, secrets are well hidden and the overall look is sumptuous. Hopefully we get to explore the inside of that ship though, as the tantalising concluding flyby shows us..." - Ryan (12-Feb-2018)

"For me it was first annoying and then became very irritating that Lara always took a second before she started to move, whether it was to run or just walk. Nasty animation and I know that could have been done much better. There are also some nasty and strange collisions on some objects. The lagging I had was due to the many plants and trees Adriel used, I admit it does look very good but playing wise it is the pits. It is nice to explore on the other hand I could do without the many levers that one had to pull. Textures, still quite a lot that were squashed but hey I was just exploring every nook and cranny. I got the idea that the tester either didn't do that or Adriel didn't change it, but I found some illegal slopes and some strange drowning occurred in some corners, but hey, the level itself is gorgeous to look at." - Gerty (03-Mar-2016)

"Croft Manor: Not only interaction is almost identical but even furniture arrangement is the same as in Gabriel's level. Even secrets are much like copied though the location of the golden one was (the only) creative thing. Some rooms were even wiped out of previous stuff, to contain millions of light rays and overwhelming fog in return. It's even sadder to notice the author treats this modification seriously.
Uncharted Lands - The Beach: At first glance it seems to compete with organicness of Crystal Skulls but then lots of seams, transitionless texturing and wallpapers carelessly applied on distant rocks make it all futile. The single background music doesn't help: when it loops for the fourth time it starts to disturb though the author possibly thought we won't have enough of beautiful violin. The level features possibly the best part of the whole game as we climb a sea rock for one of the four discs required. I also liked the nice touch of Lara's discreet line as she enters the hut.
Uncharted Lands - Caves: we go through tons of bushes, grass and fern, and it's good to make nature dense but also to apply it in a way which doesn't disturb the progress - and here I fought with collision all the time. Not only all the plants have it hard, but also there's a glitch before Lara's "improved" run animation so pressing Forwards sometimes works, sometimes not. Eventual backtracking through the whole map to deal with the same set of traps and obstacles one more time just makes me wonder how the builder himself could enjoy it.
Uncharted Lands - Ruins: This one has the strongest puzzles with a lot of effort to get a key opening a door with a new mirror beam, also a clever way of faster return to use what was visible from the very beginning of the level is just like Lara's travelled distance should be reduced. The sunken ship, compressed and bent by rocks, is by far my favourite location of the game.
Inner Jungle: Another set of light rays may give you a sunstroke, and it makes one place revolutionary with a jumpswitch masked by light instead of the dark surrounding nasty jumpswitches of other levels. The canyon is modelled in a very natural, the most organic way so far, though the fog is also the most overdone, so it feels like a visit in sauna instead of simulating humidity as supposed to. You would expect such place to be rich in wildlife, but it's not. The three guys fightable in the beginning raise high hopes for eventual encounter but the game just ends as soon as you were shown the most inviting place and thought you're getting somewhere at last - as disappointing as it can be. I hope this final location won't remain just a cutscene and will become playable in the second part.
SUMMARY: A lot of forced awesomeness. I see some nice touches in this game, like Lara's lines and themed secrets but you just cannot mask failing essentials with a crowd of objects. Gameplay is often tiring, local audio overlaps with nauseous background and when everything is big, nothing is big. What is worse many flaws of Adriel's works repeat from Gabriel's and vice versa, so these guys just seem to catalyze each other's mistakes while right things should either stay right or improve." - DJ Full (24-Jan-2016)

""This is not something you see everyday", says Lara when she finally reaches a sunken ship and the end. Quite abrupt, says I, especially after we embark on a journey to find four cogs plus four ancient artifacts, a medallion and a key - not that it's tedious, I did enjoy the journey and I would have liked it more if I hadn't been bumping into almost every single inch of plant or whatever along the way and, most of all, if there hadn't been times when Lara just froze and wouldn't come out of the fridge even by jumping sidewards. There's plenty of exploring, a few nice traps thrown in for good measure, loads of water and vegetation a go-go. It's a bit puzzling at times but it's doable and interesting. The secrets are easily findable and rewarding. If you're in for a mix between South Pacific and the jungle, I say go for it." - Jorge22 (28-Aug-2015)

"Gameplay & Puzzles: Mostly very easy and boring gameplay with few interesting tasks and some decent exploration but not really enough. There is a lot of pointless moving around and not real efforts put into a fun experience, mostly you can only enjoy the scenery. In one level there is a bit more to be done so that was a bit more fun at least. Enemies, Objects & Secrets: Hard to score with almost no enemies, very easy secrets and only some very nice design objects are the main good element here, but I had some other complaints. The object collision and the messed up moving forward animation are very annoying, you often can't move in any direction and a quick run forwards is impossible. The object creation is good though, as I said, so at least 6 points. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: This category is mostly strong with a rather well done atmosphere, good architecture and mostly nicely placed cameras. The sound use is not always good with boring background loops. Better don't look carefully to the open sea, it does not look very nice. It's still creating a good feeling and thus a rather high score. Lighting & Textures: The lighting is good and there are hardly things to say, but the (beautiful) textures are not always well placed. There are many mistakes that are simply too many. And there are also missing textures, walls or other structures that are textured with one or two unrotated textures and a strange horizon in the first level. Total: 7,75/10, a level that could have been good but the gameplay is too easy, the collision and animations are annoying and it's not as beautiful as it should have been." - Rambo (15-Jul-2015)

"There is a lot to enjoy about The Discovery, there is also a lot about it which makes it a chore. The whole adventure seems nice, however a few bugs left over from testing tarnishes an otherwise excellent raid for me. Graphically is where the level excels. Some areas look very beautiful, while others unfortunately are rather dull and colorless. Many textures appear squished and stretched while others are not properly rotated. Most of the locations do look excellent though. The musical scores are few and far in between, such that you will be listening to ambient noise most of the way through. The builder makes use of cinematic cameras well, so I feel that these should be accompanied with more musical cues to tighten the atmosphere. Gameplay-wise, there are quite a few setbacks that should have been caught during testing, and this is where my major faults arise. The collision-detection on objects needs major work. You will constantly be getting stuck on plants, trees, and other structures for which this level has many. It should be worth noting that walking through tufts of grass in certain areas of the level can get you stuck and FORCE YOU TO LOAD AN EARILER SAVE. Many underwater plants inhibit your ability to swim when they should not, I got stuck on a few of those as well, leading to unfair deaths and health loss. Lara's custom standing animation inhibits Lara from moving during certain parts of the animation. This was especially unfair in areas which required patience to proceed (the swinging blades), only Lara did not move when prompted which lead to multiple deaths. Other objects, such as the floating platforms have there own share of bugs, a few illegal slopes seem to have slipped by the testers as well. These mishaps would not be accepted in the standard gaming industry, and they should not be accepted here. What is not flawed here in some way is certainly not something that another builder hasn't brought to the table. My recommendation, please take more time to thoroughly test your levels. Exploration is somewhat decent but sometimes frustrating. There are lots of areas which are overly-puzzling and can lead players to backtrack out of desperation. Some items are easy to miss, some switches are unfairly hidden, which lead to more unneeded frustration. The cogs, for example, are scattered around almost randomly and I cannot imagine how frustrated someone would be having passed the point of no return and had to backtrack to obtain the final cog they missed. Other areas present a challenge with an unclear solution. I lucked out of the room full of spikes and switches without fully understanding what I had done to escape. Most secrets are not very hidden either, many are off the main path and are not as challenging as they should be. The only enemy encounter so far is a run-in with a few spiders. One hit will poison you, and you will most likely get hit a few times due to some troubling geometry in the area. There's a lot of room for improvement with the next iteration, I hope the builder seriously considers these reviews as they seem to be very talented." - nimbys187 (01-Jul-2015)

"This level by Adriel and others like it is what keeps me in (and brings me back to) the TR World with its lengthy gameplay and lush environments it's almost perfect. Puzzles and traps were a perfect compliment to scenes and never too difficult to overcome....well there was one longish run through blades and traps that had me wishing for more medpacks as I sometimes would rather run through and take my chances then wait patiently for the next safe moment and there was one multiple levers/spears room that had me running around for far too long looking for the one lever to stop the pop-up spears but that was never going to happen as there wasn't one.:) Lighting and textures: the lack of flares defeated smooth going in the Caves with a constant and tiring need to whip out the scope although lighting was good elsewhere. I gave gameplay a 10 even though there was a one second delay with running and jumping and collision problems - maybe there should be a new technological category for smooth gameplay w/o glitches lol but I suppose the gameplay category is meant to cover that. :) The tablets could have been larger or more colorful as I ran over and swam over two of them more than a few times before seeing them but maybe that was just me. I appreciated knowing where they were to be found - the author's Read Me was a big help in that respect. The brilliant design was a delight and I highly recommend this to all. Thanks Adriel....beautifully done." - Bene (25-Jun-2015)

"I am a bit torn with this adventure. On the one hand, the grand scale tropical architecture is most impressive, the beautiful beach area, the caves, the jungle all really draw you into the game and make you want to explore them. On the other hand, I found the gameplay as such rather player unfriendly in that the key items you need often just appear to be thrown into some corner as an afterthought (and those cogs for example are pretty small and easy to miss), as if the environments where purely built for the sake of building these and then later on the gameplay flow was added in just before releasing it as a game. Often times it turns into a find next switch to open next door sequence and only on occasion a small puzzle or a few traps have been thrown in. Enemies are also almost completely absent. The 8 secrets were fun to collect though and the ambience audio was well chosen and really helped support and build the atmosphere. Overall I spent 90 minutes (plus about 15 in the optional manor at the beginning) and while being quite impressed, I was still happy when I finally got to the end. Admittedly, the final flyby does make you curious about the designated sequel..." - MichaelP (23-Jun-2015)

"Let me get the negative things out of the way first. I've often commended this builder for the player-friendly lighting in his levels. Not this time, at least not for the longish Caves segment that quickly caused my mood to nosedive from joy to frustration. Thankfully, however, things improved considerably after that. And the collision, if that's the proper term, is simply horrible in this game. Every time Lara got up next to a plant or a tree root, it would stick to her like glue. There were also a few occasions where Lara would simply freeze up when standing at the edge of a drop-off, forcing me to reload. And there was a brief but persistent time lag in getting Lara to respond to routine commands. Finally, the background music got on my nerves so much at one point that I turned it off for the rest of the game. Other than these fairly minor quibbles I had a great time during the two hours and forty-five minutes that it took me to get through, assisted immeasurably by Jose's meticulous walkthrough. The enemies are practically nonexistent - a wave of spiders early on is all I can remember - so I imagine the weaponry picked up near the end is intended for use in Episode 2. In all, a fine job by a reliable builder. Highly recommended." - Phil (19-Jun-2015)

"Several levels interconnected to start. There is a lot of exploration in large areas and we must find the 4 tablets to access the final level after finding the yellow key. Few enemies except the big spiders and green berets, but I have not bothered them and they let me pass. The gameplay is not difficult and there is beautiful music. I took a few steps into the mansion but I'm not a fan of this kind of level. The final view with the boat makes you want to see more. Excellent." - Drakan (16-Jun-2015)

"Gameplay and Puzzles: Found the gameplay nice, not too hard, and not too easy as well. The linear gameplay offer less confusion on the players. Such a scenario could have been used for a "Christmas Mission" feeling of unecessary confusion if not with linear gameplay. We can appreciate new objects created on the scenario with interactive scenes . I think the croft manor just a bonus to the game. It's very classic and the ones who really enjoy the classic tomb raiders will enjoy playing the manor and the game. Enemies, objects and secrets: There are few enemies and easy secrets. But in an overall view I think they developed their role in the game, so there's nothing to complain about. Atmosphere, Sound and Cameras: The atmosphere was very nice, very tropical. I enjoyed very much how everything was designed. I think there is no tropical/beach levels good like this for a long time. Lighting and textures: I recognize the effort to do the best of the textures giving the size and complexity of the scenario. I really recommend the level for the ones who love the classics. I know the effort put here and I think the part II will be the best level that the author can provide to us! It's interesting to analyse the game as an experience but not as a technical view. Sometimes we have to be really willing to play something to have a better reception to it, and many times I feel that some players do this as an obligation to do technical and relative fair reviews. This influeces bad the vision of some details, that sometimes are not that important in a very good experience." - Gabriel Croft (13-Jun-2015)

"This adventure seriously lacks in one regard, and that is care. Certainly, the chosen objects and textures are mostly beautiful and create a very special charm, but only good raw material does not create a good level. Starting with a slightly altered version of Gabriel's latest home level (thankfully optional to play) that really doesn't offer anything new or special and even has less interesting gameplay than the original, the game quickly moves on to a coastal setting. Admittedly, this is a wonderful and very atmospheric place - if we overlook some details. The architecture is quite well done, as is the lighting and the textures - but the texturing leaves quite a lot to be desired. There are plenty of misrotated, squeezed or streched textures especially on non-squaric surfaces and the amount is really that high that it seriously disrupts the good feelings about the looks. Other problems are that larger structures have a strange wallpaper look to them and also that the end of the world is rather mediocrely prevented, such as that you can easily see the borders of map and there are also missing textures here and there on the edges of the space. The quality of several sounds is also not very good (very swooshing towards the end) and I had to turn them off - not the first time this problem appears for this builder, I think he should have learned. There are a few decent tasks in the gameplay, such as the four-lever puzzle, a few usages of pushables and (still rather easy and often harmless) traps, but the gameplay does not play a very large role here, sadly, and seems to be included after the map was designed resulting in rather dull progression, with a lot of levers to be found and used and all in all very few puzzles/tasks - his latest level was much better in that regard. A few spiders are the only enemies, but the object design is really nice and there are some good interactive ones such as the raising cages or the mirror. However, the object collision and the delayed animations, as an addition, make the progression very painful, as Lara stumps even against grass and very often freezes; when pressing the Walk key I often had to reload an earlier save. Also when standing Lara often does not move forward when pressing the relevant key which is a bit troubling in the trap and jump sequences. I can only assume the builder has built this level in a hurry because there are simply way too many things that should have been ironed out in a regular level, and also not enough gameplay is packed into it. Just when I was happy to explore the giant shipwreck the game ended rather prematurely after 80 minutes. Of the eight secrets I found only one was really hidden, the rest is nearly on the path. Please put some more time into building and also testing this game, then I think the next one will be another great one." - manarch2 (13-Jun-2015)

"You can take a tour round Lara's mansion before embarking on the adventure, if you wish. It's a fairly traditional looking mansion, albeit with rather nicer furniture and furnishings than the original version. Certainly, if you want to try for all the secrets, you will need to play this level first. Then, if you fancy a nice holiday on a ravishingly beautiful island, this should fit the bill nicely. However, don't let the complexity of the magnificent surroundings mask the fact that the gameplay in this set of levels is actually a lot more straightforward than you might first realise. That's not to say that it's boring - far from it - it's just that the lush topical greenery could be hiding a wealth of artefacts and mainly isn't! Exploration is certainly the main aim as enemies are almost nonexistent (apart from a load of giant spiders in one cave and some guards at the end) and puzzles are minimal and easy. I certainly found it most engaging and can't wait for part two; the big ship in the final scene was a tantalising glimpse of things to come." - Jay (11-Jun-2015)

"I have not played the level of the Croft mansion, such as levels bored me enough, and as there is the option to start directly in the coast... Shortly after the start I had the option to skip to a different level, so I thought the thing was going to roll a lot, but it was not. On the main level you will find a couple of those circular tablets, and a couple of them in each of the levels that link with the first. Of course, nothing of continuous jumps between levels; enter into one, pick up the tablet and not go back more. Best of the adventure is the architecture and atmosphere, good texturing and appropriate music. The truth is that this author has a great ability to recreate natural environments with all kinds of details; very convincing. In these 4 levels I found very few puzzles, and most of the gameplay is based on exploration and Lara's movements. I also found very few enemies, I think only a few spiders in the caves and a few soldiers patrolling the last level, although the latter have not had to even face. Secrets are easy to find. In the end, when I come to a huge area with a large boat and I supposed to continue exploring, adventure ends unexpectedly. Recommended." - Jose (09-Jun-2015)
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