Map Review of arcad

Map review of Arcad

by GrandmasterJ | May 14, 2022 | 4889 characters

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On the surface Arcad looks like a very generic map that looks like Black Mesa. For the most part, that aesthetic pervades the whole first map but the second map is much more visually interesting. This leads to making the rooms all look the same, but objectives are well marked for the most part so players always know where to go, for the most part. There were definitely times where the means of progression was hard to find and led to a lot of jumping around and poking heads into dark corners.

The first map starts off looking pretty bland and stays that way the whole time. At first players will just plow forward but then there will be some small scavenger hunts for the next key, door engine, explosives, or a small non descript coil of wire. Most of the time objectives are pretty easy to figure out, switches are next to the doors they open, there are glowing marks where specific items are needed in specific places, locked switches and doors make locked sounds, and there are even words written out on the walls and floors indicating destructible objectives. But at the same time there are a lot of misleading details and badly telegraphed objectives. There are multiple places with vents that my teammate and I are confident we could have gone inside but after we spent time on it we just couldn't, there was a valve that we never had to turn, a necessary item was behind destructible crates with so much health we didn't think they were destructible. At one point we had to shoot a breakable thing behind a door that was blocking it, it took us a long time to figure that out. Sometimes we came across something that looked weird and we would use it, a message would pop up saying we picked something up and then later it became useful. Overall I think the map flowed pretty well but there were hiccups where it didn't and at no point did I feel like I knew what I was doing.

The map description recommends at least three players, I can say with two expert players the map was pretty easy. I think we only died once each, at the same time, to the same shock trooper's yellow stuff, at the beginning of the second map. There was a bit of lack of 9mm early on but neither of us ever ran out and soon we were getting plenty of .357 and shotgun shells. It is one of the few maps where you can waste ammo and shoot out vents instead of using the crowbar. There are a lot of soldiers and aliens, but with some liberal applications of lead they clear up pretty easy. I really love the great opportunities to use satchel charges, attention paid to good satchel moments is rare.

Because I barely died I didn't really experience a whole lot of respawning. The map opens up shortcuts and due to the keyhunting aspects players don't have to stray that far from spawn anyway.

The second map has a much different feel. This map is a partnership between two authors, StreamFox and RNG, I can see more of RNG's influence on the second map. The level of detail is much higher, with much more impressive set pieces, and while the aesthetic absolutely no longer looks like Black Mesa it still does sort of blend together under a thick layer of grunge. About halfway through players need to ride a train and the map is helpful enough to warn players to stand far apart from each other lest they be killed by the imperfect physics engine. The second map also had a very impressive spinning drill that drilled a path through the floor for us and some really cool door welding sequences. There was a steam powered door sequence that was a little ridiculous. The only real big set piece the first map has is a forklift players drive through a window.

At first, the map wasn't pulling me in. But at some point I started having a lot of fun. There is plenty of action, some quick scavenger hunting for the next required item to break up the action, and some nice scripted sequences to watch. The levels do suffer a bit from each looking fairly similar looking the whole way through. The objectives can also be obscured by nearby misleading details or by not looking like an objective. A lot of thought went into how this level plays and it shows. Despite some small problems the map set is really good and I'd play it again.


  • fun combat balanced by figuring out how to open the next path
  • objectives were marked very well for the most part
  • really fun scripted sequences, especially the second map
  • plenty of ammo, solid weapon selection
  • shortcuts open up for the players


  • there are times the objective will not be apparent
  • both maps were somewhat bland looking, the first map especially so
Score: 7.5 / 10
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