Ever heard the saying... "You always think you know what you want, until you get it"?
That is the exact saying that sprang to mind when I had the pleasure of testing out the updated version of TMG Alcatraz for map creator Nukem. The reason for this was the addition of slower, Der Riese style zombies when the game was played on the new 'Easy Mode' option that was added. You see, incase you missed my own reaction to the map when it first dropped, I was rather outspoken towards it. The reason for this was the inclusion of sprinting zombies straight from round 1. Other custom maps have this feature, and they are not the most popular to play.
I felt this hurt the map because in the custom scene, most maps tend to be played on solo, as there can be difficulty in finding friends on at the same time you are, and on solo, Alcatraz was beyond tough. The ropey World at War mechanics do not helps matters, and starting with only a Shive, was daunting to say the least, so after speaking in great lengh with the map creator, Nukem, I was able to convince him to add an easy option, and that was ultimately a good thing. Good because I could now take in the map in all it's glory, but bad because it took the venom out of the game. Still, original difficulty is there, so win win.
The other problem I had, was that this map was (whether Nukem wanted it or not) a big deal on the custom scene. Everyone who played custom zombies had heard about it, and Youtubers like Spiderbite, ESSO, LABZ and more had promoted it on their channels, people discussed it on here and over on CoDZ, so expectations were high, and it felt a little deflating to play it when it first dropped last month.
Anyway... off I went on my first game on solo (easy mode)...
Initially, the map was more enjoyable to traverse through. I was able to wander the prison on my own terms, taking it all in and appreciating the exessive man power put into it to make this map one of the most breath taking releases on the scene, but with this new found freedom came a startling realization... the map was TOO EASY!?
I was able to get outdoors with no problems, and then, slowly but surely, I had everything opened and was point whoring by round 15. Not exactly a challenge, but lot's of fun nonetheless.
By round 20, I had obtained the exceptionally well ported Raygun Mark II from the box. This was only after getting it twice via a weapon power up drop that had me initally thinking it was only obtainable this way, and of course disappointed at the prospect, but no... it WAS in the box, and I eventually got it!
F*cking... wow! This gun has been ported perfectly! It looks, sounds and feels exactly like the Black Ops 2 equivelant, and that is nothing short of spectacular. This made for an enjoyable experience all round, and makes this one map stand out from the rest. Bravo on the port over Nukem... Bravo!
New things that also stood out in this update were the graphical tweaks. Something about the map just looked better. The sunlight coming through the skylights in prison looked more sharp and detailed, as did the now more vibrant Red emmiting from the zombies eyes.
The front end also sees a new menu backdrop, that has been done very well, but is overshadowed by the fantastic intro video to accompany the map.
I have to admit that although I enjoyed the slower zombies on first play, I now appeciate MORE, why Nukem was so insistant on the Verruckt runners by default... they add so much more to the map.
This aside, the tweaks that HAVE been added make this map so much more enjoyable now than in the previous incarnation. 2 perks can be power off one generation, meaning solo or two player games can be less daunting.
I initally gave this map a 7/10, which I now admit was maybe a little harsh, but now I give it a resounding 9.5/10 and would have definitely had given it a solid 10 if it had an easter egg or objectives included, which I know were cut due to memory limitations, which is a shame because a map as glorious or massive as this is screaming out for more objectives, but still... if this is a sign of things to come from Nukem, and I really do hope it is, then I cannot wait to see what he brings to the table next.
Amazing map for playing straight out survival on. Recommend it to anyone involved in the custom scene, or those considering it.
Map Creator : https://twitter.com/Nukefaced