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Level: BtB2020 - Beyond the Caves of Nyalam back home search
Author(s): BtB 2020
total rating:9.07 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
eRIC 8 8 8 8
Jose 10 10 9 9
manarch2 10 9 8 7
nad 9 9 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 9
Topixtor 10 8 8 7
Treeble 10 10 10 10
category averages
(7 reviews)
9.57 9.14 9.00 8.57

Reviewer's comments

"Until now this is the longest BtB level for me, lasting 1:35 hours for me, but even for that long duration the gameplay really delivers here with a mix of smaller and larger quests that I found quite superb. Perhaps it starts a bit slow but that is just about right because the pace steadily raises with an hilarious puzzle with the yak and the highlight of the seven challenges, some of which are really fantastic, I loved the memory, brain and willpower dungeons but all others are very fun to absolve as well. And when you think this level might end afterwards the fun raises again with another large complex to explore for the two Seraphs. Really excellent from start to finish with lots of creative ideas so a deserved 10 from me. The secrets are also very nicely hidden, with three special rewards for finding all in the different areas, and the enemy placement is also rather nice. The atmosphere is rather convincing and sounds and cameras are solid but the texturing is not always very good with some wallpapered and mirrored sections; the lighting is a bit too oppressively dark-blue and a bit of variety (if only smaller) would have been the better choice, although it creates a nice atmosphere in some of the rooms like the hub room in the last part. All in all, a highly enjoyable game and with more refinements in terms of visuals this might've been the best BtB level this year (although I haven't played all others yet)." - manarch2 (09-Jul-2020)

"This level is very long, but not complex; certainly there are some tricky tasks, specially in the area of the seven tests, but never too hard, so the gameplay is good, with classic touches but with innovative ideas and puzzles too. The enemies are well balanced and the secrets not hard to find if you carefully explore the areas. There's a good use of cameras and musics, but the general lighting is too dark in many areas, even when the lights are well worked. Definitely, another level to enjoy several hours. Recommended." - Jose (09-Jul-2020)

"Another long level in this BtB edition. At the beginning the player can choose easy or hard mode. For experienced or even for normal players , it's better to opt for the harder version , for it's not very difficult. To describe it, the level can be separated in 3 sections. The first one unfolds in caves where you can see already that the builder had designed a setting quite different from the norm ; in this first part classic raiding mostly straightforward with exploration , jumps , and puzzles. The discovery is a bit strange with objects seeming to be out of place sometimes (the tents of little furniture in caves when they belong more to temples or houses) or maybe it was deliberate to give a special feeling to the level , anyway the atmosphere in this first part suceeds to be all right with good background audio used. The second part, the 7 dungeons , is shorter with actions and puzzles designed with original situations never seem before in a level for some of these tasks. The last one is less straightforward with plenty of various activities , there is strong gameplay here but I found this part quite confusing , maybe that came from the setting which although competently done and good texturing is not very harmonious and the lighting is not so easy for the eyes. So i struggled to finish it. The level ends with the final boss which was not too hard and i appreciated that as i don't like this enemy generally. Before that there was not too many enemies , mostly yetis and leopards , at one point the yetis ceased to attack Lara. The level is not difficult but sometimes you don't know what you are after or why you are doing things. Anyway The level remains consistant to its own identity and atmosphere and it is built with competence and can give hours of solid raiding included some surprising moments." - eRIC (08-Jul-2020)

"I am sorry. I hate to give this one a 7 (or even some 8s), but I wouldn't feel good with myself if I didn't... but let's go with order; this is magnificent, or rather, it GETS magnificent the deeper you go into the caves (and then monastery-temple-things); the starting areas aren't really that groundbreaking, when you get to the two-bridges area the wallpapered textures and the super blocky surroundings made me wonder "why, everything else seemed good" and, much later, "WHY. Why do I have to downrate all this just for that room?". However, in reality, graphics here are pretty messed up... while that was the only big "NO" of the level, lighting is pretty monotone (even if good and nice, I'm a fan of the night blue atmosphere), textures aren't really perfect and there are a few errors, but most importantly - many places didn't make much sense for me, not even understanding where was I in the first place, and the whole level was a paper-thin walls and overlapped rooms fest. BUT. All this... didn't make me drop the game or gather any less enjoyment from the (mostly) INCREDIBLE gameplay, with giant secret hunts, non-linear exploration (the last outside area had an unwanted shortcut that made one pickup useless, tho), creative and fun ideas, some of them absolutely out of this world - yes, I'm talking about the Dungeons, not gonna say anything, play to understand - and even if it was maybe a bit too long, everything felt SO GOOD to do and finish; just the combat felt a bit unbalanced at the start (Played the Hard version) and not really inspired, with the combat dungeon being fun but honestly reminding me of "Cain's magic land", thankfully with no eels; and as I said, the first tasks weren't as likeable as when you reach the dungeons and start the second part of the game. However, as I said, visuals were broken and sometimes uninspired, so I'm more than happy to give a full ten in gameplay at the cost of a lower scores in everything else... increasing the other scores just for the brillance of the gameplay wouldn't be fair for other, much more polished offerings. Take your time to build a more convincing, clean enviroenment, and your next score will probably be 4 tens for me. Good Job." - Topixtor (08-Jul-2020)

"Probably the longest entry in this year, but definitely one that'll be among the top entries when it's all said and done. Even if I wanted to tell you in detail my personal experience I couldn't, and to make matters worse I had to split it into two sessions so when I came back I barely had an idea of where I'd left off before. It's all fun and fair play up until the seven dungeon challenges, which I thought were very creative and held some unique surprises, such as the memory and the willpower chambers, but the pachinko-like puzzle in the brain room was ultimately my favorite. As I walked out I was so sure I'd reached the end, only to be surprised not once, but twice more with more fetch quests through massive rooms which included their own share of timed runs, pushblock puzzles and pretty much anything else you can imagine. The environments look great and all, and while I enjoyed my time here, I felt it dragged on for a bit too long. I mean, had it ended where I thought it first would, I'd still have left with the same fulfillment I did when I reached the actual finish trigger. Anyway, I digress. 2h45min, 12 secrets. 06/20" - Treeble (06-Jul-2020)

"What a mammoth adventure indeed! At just shy of three hours net gaming time it's undoubtedly one of the longest (if not THE longest) BtB levels in existence, and that's even taking into account some of the monster offerings submitted for this year's competition. Luckily the time spent here is absolutely worthwhile, so the gigantic length harmed it not one jot. It can be fairly difficult to squeeze a lot of involving gameplay into a single level with a length such as this, but this builder gets it just right, truly. Aside from possibly one too many long corridors to traverse, the variety of gameplay on offer here is really rather impressive. It can be split into two distinct sections: an icy fortress section that constitutes about 75 minutes of the total duration and then onwards to a monastery where the majority of the action takes place. The level throws pretty much every Tomb Raider gameplay mechanic at you and then some, but never to an overdone extent: timed runs, numerous push puzzles, copious amounts of exploration, a flooding sequence (minus the draining part) and even extends to a huge dungeon area that offers various tests of wills for Lara, and the builder's creativity goes into overdrive here with the various puzzles and the way it was executed was awe-inspiring and I can't begin to comprehend how it was done. The visual side of things isn't neglected either. Aside from a slight overuse of monotone blue lighting that was a bit wearying on the eyes after a while, there's an incredibly convincing sense of location as you explore the different caves, fortresses, lofty halls and eventually the monastery itself. The secret system was nicely set up too, with a bonus reward once you locate a complete artifact set. Overall, this level certainly won't be to everyone's taste, but for me it was an incredibly unique and special experience. One that I enjoyed greatly." - Ryan (06-Jul-2020)

"This level actually consists of two parts. The first part takes place in the underground, which, although very darkly designed, is always well lit. The tasks that have to be done belong to those that are more challenging, but with some funny interludes, like the scene with the yak and the key. Please play it yourself. In the first part there is a dungeon part, a kind of extra challenge, which wasn't too difficult except for the snowball task. Just the task where Lara has to master a course from memory was new and very innovative for me. In this part there is also a side show in form of a secret challenge. You have to find five plaques to get an extra reward. This secretsearch later turned out to be more difficult than finishing the game. In the second part, this idea is continued. Beside the actual scene you have this time two more scenes in form of a search for six Buddhas and four prayer wheels for two extra rewards. With all these tasks the second part was a bit overloaded, but never boring. What I already liked in the first part is the gameplay here, too. One is well led through the game without to much backtracking. Very recommendable, especially for the players who want to explore a lot and love many pickups." - nad (26-Jun-2020)
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