Level: BtB2016 - When Ancients ruled the World back home search
Author(s): BtB 2016
total rating:8.50 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Drakan 10 9 10 9
Jay 9 8 10 9
JesseG 7 9 6 7
Revenge 7 6 8 7
Ryan 9 8 9 9
Treeble 10 9 10 9
category averages
(6 reviews)
8.67 8.17 8.83 8.33

Reviewer's comments

"Lara breaks visits a dozen wise camels and a diarrhetic horse to steal ancient knowledge. I have to wonder if there was some subtext in this competition to build the longest level. If it were, this would be the winner (I have 4 levels left to play). However, my grading rubric is not so forgiving. I'll get to the layout of the level in a minute, but it causes the gameplay to be mostly platforming which is engaging at times, but there is too much of it. I did enjoy the mirror and block puzzles, however the amount of backtracking is atrocious. If you miss the chamber key, or the route containing the hourglass receptacle, buckle up. Even with the walkthrough it was hard to figure out where to backtrack to, because a lot of the level blends together. If the gameplay were more segmented (ex. trapping a player in a certain area until they've finished what they need to do there) this would have been a more player-friendly raid. Also, not allowing the player to use flares (or weapons) in the darkest areas of the level is rather tortuous and I don't understand why that decision was made. There is a good chunk of combat, which served as a nice change of pace from the other parts of the level. That platform at the very end could have been just a bit bigger because the enemy is so large. Decorative objects are used well, which is good considering the amount of area to cover in this level. Let's get to the layout: there are way too many floors in this temple. A tall chamber that makes Lara feel small is one thing, but an eccentric 6-floor temple with random platforms and stairs jutting out everywhere is a bit overboard, especially when paired with a matching multi-floor garden and a multi-floor outdoor monument area. It is dizzying and lacks architectural sense, removing immersion from the raid. I'm adding "levels that are more tall than they are wide" to my list of pet peeves, as I've never seen that formula play out well. The audio is used effectively, especially the last cutscene. More camera cues would have helped (that small button that causes the star emblem to appear in the dark crypt area), but the flybys are used very well. The texturing is a mixed bag; in the main areas textures are applied well, but I was surprised how much that contrasted with the side areas. There was a lot of wallpapering in the caves and tunnels, and some textures are stretched on walls or warped on triangular surfaces. The lighting is dark in some places, but otherwise it uses a good amount of coloring. Overall a creative entry for sure, but it could have been a more enjoyable raid if it was structured differently. 2 hours 47 minutes." - JesseG (21-May-2017)

"I scarcely know how to start with this one. For one thing, I got so massively confused half way through that I had to put it on hold and wait for the walkthrough. That may give you some idea of the complexity going on here. It's a huge, complex level and it's easy to find yourself in an area before you can do much there. Exploration will take you a long, long time if you elect to have a go without the benefit of help, and I have the utmost admiration for those who manage it. My main thoughts are basically that this is just too clever for its own good. It certainly is clever, I'll not deny, and there are wonderful (and comic) moments that go a long way towards offsetting the frustrations, but it isn't exactly player-friendly. Brilliant title song at the end, by the way." - Jay (02-May-2017)

"My God, that was an incredibly looooong level. It's incredibly non-linear with a lot of varied gameplay tasks to conquer, and can be split into two main sections, around a central tower for the first and around a room with archways and different tiers. Don't get the idea the idea that you'll finish this in an hour, it took me 2 hours and 20 minutes to successfully reach the finish trigger and I enjoyed almost every bit (aside from the lagging that I experienced in a few areas). One neat touch was using a kebab in a hilarious manner in conjunction with a horse. Another great level... and didn't I hear the phrase "When Ancients Ruled the World" in the final flyby?" - Ryan (01-May-2017)

"Consider "10 secrets" a warning to this level's length. To say it's massive is an understatement, and not only it's filled with huge areas, they're more often than not vertical spaces, so there's a lot of platforming involved as you quest for an obscene amount of quest items to proceed. Visually speaking at times it felt too poluted with too many objects crammed into the areas, but generally speaking it does look good and areas are easily identified - reaching them whenever you need to backtrack might prove differently however. From what I can tell there isn't a whole lot of backtracking involved as it's a bit of a sandbox styled level in which you can do things in any order you desire, but it takes a bit of luck to understand what you're supposed to do next sometimes. Fortunately gameplay is varied enough so despite the huge timesink, the level doesn't become repetitive and I actually thought it was rather intriguing how little it relies on combat, leaving most of it for the final sequence. It was the first time I saw an illegal slope actually integrated into gameplay. Also, I couldn't help but laugh at the 'food testing simulator', though it certainly endangered at least one living person, am I right? 185 minutes, 6 secrets. 04/17" - Treeble (29-Apr-2017)

"Very nice level but very long, there is a lot of things to do and before finding the finish trigger you will have run a lot. Very good ideas like the horse that fills the pool in a funny way, the light beams, etc ... Excellent!" - Drakan (26-Apr-2017)

"Holy cow, I thought I would never be able to finish this level ! It was so long ! As well, I'm very mixed concerning the gameplay, some parts I enjoyed, some others I didn't at all, and that's because of the visual aspects of this level. There were far too many different objects and textures used, which made the level very confusing for most of the time and that actually, to my mind, lowered the gameplay quality as well. Other parts, were better designed and with better gameplay (the 'fear rooms' were brilliant for example). I liked the fact that at the end the level becomes more linear and more challenging, with more ennemies as well, contrary to the rest of the level in which they were rare which is a bit of a shame. I had to look on the forums for help several times as well, like for the torch trick that I would never have guessed :o. It's really hard for me to review the gameplay because I didn't like some parts while I enjoyed a lot of others, though I still gave it a 7 because there were some really good stuff and some nice puzzles, same for the visuals because some places were better designed and with atmospheric lighting as well. The music and cameras were well used, as well. Statistics : 3h52, 3 (out of ten !) secrets found." - Revenge (20-Apr-2017)
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