Well, as I stated before this is my first taste of a Chainsaw map.
From what I've been told, this guy has had his hands in Half Life for quite a
long time and has a history of strong maps and program mods. The more I look around
his site, the more I am not only impressed by his skill and technique, but how he shares
this info with others. And the reasoning is sound... more skilled mappers makes a
stronger community in general, and you can't go wrong there. But this isn't a
Chainsaw review, this is a ps_prop review.
Well the first thing you notice is that is indeed a mirror map,
essentially both sides have even footing and similar bases. Not that I have a
problem with that... the base design is interesting enough. Chainsaw goes beyond
mere servicability and designs a base that is somewhat artistic in nature. From the
very cool bunkers, to the WWII era propoganda posters on the wall, even in it's beta form
ps_prop is paying attention to details.
Prop is a push map with only three push points. Your base, the
middle building, their base. Sounds fairly straighforward now doesn't it?
Spawn, run, push, run, cap. Wrongo. The bases are sealed off by
four very intimidating chain fences that can't be opened by the enemy team directly... two
main gates, two side gates. So how, pray tell, do you cap on this map? Well
it's the hills that control that and herein is the genius of this map.
Chainsaw put two mirrored hills on this map in neutral standing on
the east and west sides of the map. They're in the area behind a large forest/bush
wall. Now holding a hill nets you 1 point and 1 reinforcement for every 30 seconds
that you hold that area. Also, when you hold the hill the enemies corresponding
(east or west) side fence will open. Instantly Chainsaw has created a secondary
conflict to this map that elevates it beyond a mere push map. Defend the hills to
keep the enemy out, hold the hill to get your forces in... but don't devote all your
resources here! While your team secures the hills, an enemy may steal control of the
middle building and sneak into your base via the main gates when a teammate opens them to
leave. Immediately you can see this map favouring a large amount of players, but
even a small game of 6 on 6 or 8 on 8 will call for intelligent field manuevers.
Capping nets your team 10 points, and you gain 10 reinforcements.
Team points are always a nice touch.
As I loaded the map up and my Firebots popped in to join me (all of
them then proceeded to walk into walls of course), I ran out into the map to get a feel
for it. First off, I love the trenches in the main open area. I can foresee
some awesome firefights and sniping opportunities here, and the "depth" that the
trenches are done at is almost perfect. The field design is servicable, but not
quite as inspired as the team bases. The hills are a little more interesting with
some nice tents set up, and physical deterrants are in place for effect and use.
There are a few waterways in the map which are very dark... I had to load up G3 with its
mounted flashlight to see my way around here. And while the water is a nice touch,
theres not much advantage to be gained by taking this routes except for the element of
surprise. No the only way into each base is through those gates.
By reading Chainsaw's notes, we see most of his changes will be
regarding the shape and texture of the map. While the textures are adequate, they
don't really catch your attention.. which may be good or bad, but more than forty minutes
on this map may leave your eyes begging for a change. As I said before, the base
designs are quite impressive and I hope he leaves them the same, but the main field is a
bit underwhelming and not quite organic enough. But yes this is a Beta, and if these
are the only problems, then this map is sure to impress when complete.
In summary, this maps strengths are:
-Intuitive base design
-Interesting skirmishes will be played out at hills and main field
-Has many possible strategies to be applied
-No true choke points
And the maps weaknesses are:
-Merely adequate textures (but this is being worked on)
-Middle field leaves something to be desired
-Map seems dark? Maybe a brighter sky to lighten things up.
Overall, this map is solid with borderline classic ability.
With some texture/model tweaks, it will be a winner. Chainsaw lives up
to his reputation and delivers a great offering that should eventually be a well recieved
map in any server rotation. I give ps_prop 8 1/2 out of 10 Ted McGinley heads.
[Download ps_prop here]