(Badly) Attempting to Survive

With fantastic mapping and concept, “Attempt to Survive” collapses in on itself from poor story and unclear objectives.


Without much to go on besides a desire to play something post-apolclyptic and a gallery of pretty screenshots, I located Attempt to Survive, a self-titled atmospheric mod without much else to explain as to what it was, if there where enemies or what the plot could be besides the one in the title itself.

I quickly realized that this mod was also developed by the same creator of Comatose, who has an eccentric streak to try to create stories using strange and unheard of mechanics. For anyone who has not heard of Comatose, it’s a time-based puzzle game where you have to figure out who tried to kill you and escape the apartment you are trapped in before you bleed to death on the floor. While confusing and hectic, the mapping was some of the best I’ve ever seen and the artistic style unmatched.

 

Amazing.

The mapping in Attempt to Survive is just as incredible as in Comatose and the level of detail and brushwork done overall is massive (and borderline obsessive) in how many fantastic details can be packed into a frame. Things begin in a small diner, where a Russian voiceover laments over the fact that he was never able to speak with a waitress before the world came to its demise. You quickly come to realize that nuclear war has ravaged the earth and you are a lone survivor, desperately trying to piece his life back together. Despite the lines being recorded in russian, it does not take away from the overall feeling of the game (Hooray subtitles!) and after completing the vague objective you leave and stagger outside, the characters next wish is to visit the city he used to know so well. A quick loading screen ensues as you go far enough out and haphazardly lands you into the outskirts of the city.

The rest of the Mod takes place in this city or around it, having you enter into very dark buildings, crawling into holes and having the character visit his old home and through a well-made subway area and ending at his parents house, which looks identical to the Half Life 2 city map with the playground.

While using hefty amounts of destroyed City 17 models, this map is done amazingly well and with some of the best atmosphere I have seen in a while. Things feel bleak, dry, depressing and the crushing feeling of being alone is pervasive as you explore the vast and empty cityscape around you. The entire time I half-expected Zombines to come charging out at me and after somewhat receiving my objective I quickly went to where I assumed I needed to go, leading into another Russian voiceover and giving another vague objective to complete.

Eventually after figuring out the objective you are supposed to complete you are given another one.. and another one.. and another one. And this is where the game starts to enter a slump. Very much like Comatose (Which I turned down doing a review for.) the mapping and style is executed wonderfully but the gameplay mechanics, plot and way it’s expressed is fumbling and clumsy. Maps will change without a warning so many times I was convinced my client was crashing. In fact, near the end of this mod my client did crash and I lost all of my data and I had to play through everything all over again just to complete this review. Lack of autosave, strange loading screens and unclear objectives ruin the fun this game had and while the mapping is gorgeous, it’s not enough to cover up the fatal flaws in this piece.

You can download the mod here: http://www.moddb.com/mods/attempt-to-survive

Want to scream at me? Tell me how much you love me? Have a mod request for me to review and look at? Email me at [email protected] !

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