Planet Half-Life Review

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By Thomas "Editor321" Rogers | February 18, 2008

Graphics: 5/5

Sounds: 5/5

Game Play: 5/5

Replay Value: 5/5

Pirates Vikings Knights have released their Beta 2.0 release upon us waiting to receive it with open arms. The last release was so well polished and balanced that it was believed there could be no better. Well if you still think that, you haven’t played the latest version! Let’s dive right in and get at the new meat of this package. No pun intended.

The largest change is not the classes per say, but the entire speed of gameplay itself. Gameplay is near blinding fast now with faster character movement and more closed in environments in combat areas leaving the player with always something to do, be it shoot a Viking in the face with a Pirate Hand-Cannon or use your new Knight Longbow and deal some fatal damage from a distance. Rounds go by faster, frags are scored more often and the bar brawl mayhem you have seen in your favorite classic Pirate, Viking or Knight film is being relived before your eyes. With all this slaughtering still going on, the loading time for the entire game and map changes is a matter of 30 seconds, meaning some hardcore optimization must have taken place in this new release. It should also be noted that the blocking system has gotten a rework to work more efficiently. In comparison to the first release, it feels like a border line between a brand new game and a slight touch of nostalgia.

The graphics still look amazing. The maps are the best I have seen on the Source engine to this date. The use of lighting, particle effects and other Source generated magic create realistic fantasy environments for you to do your malicious combat. Some games will still feel like a Source mod no matter what you do because of some lighting trends, but these don’t exist in PVK B2, thus leaving the player with awe inspiring visuals. The new weapons look fantastic and unique, down to the feathers on the Parrot on the Captains shoulder. The new character models are well designed to be familiar to what the player would expect and are excellent for identifying friend and foe, so no friendly fire mix-ups, unless you get in the way of a swinging axe. Nice features can now be found like seeing your arrows or crossbow bolts sticking out of the player you shot, now that’s a nice little treat to see the damage and havoc you are releasing upon the world, just like your parents said you would one day.

Best use of a bird in a video game ever. Keep animal right activists at a distance.

Sound isn’t normally covered in-depth with our reviews, but the music is simply too fantastic to overlook. While it only seems to play during map changes and win sequences, it is some of the best mood setting music to be had in a video game. This is top notch stuff with each team having a very distinctive theme. The sounds of swords clashing, axe throwing and arrow flying make for some great situational awareness. There is nothing like hearing what you’re doing, down to the thud of the blade parting the skull of your enemy in half.

The new classes are as follows: Pirate Captain, Viking Huscarl and Knight Archer. The Captain sports a saber, a hand cannon, and a trusty parrot. He is slower than his light-footed counterpart, but is a great support class with his parrot which can be released upon an unsuspecting foe doing combat with another player. The hand cannon acts as a shotgun if you will of multiple shots and does a decent amount of damage to its target, to be finished off by a well placed thrust. This is a personal favorite of mine as when he walks; you can hear his peg leg instead of regular footsteps. The Huscarl is the lighter Viking class. Armed with a standard axe, he is also armed with throwing axes and joins the sword and shield club. While two of the three weapons are pretty stock, the throwing axes level the playing field for the Vikings, giving them a very deadly ranged weapon. There is nothing more satisfying to throw an axe at somebody’s head and have it stick out of their skull. The Archer is going to remind you of the cool, kick-ass-bad-boy-elf-like-dude. He is armed with a small blade, a crossbow and a long bow. The crossbow is the same as the one the knight was armed with before, but the long bow is the one to be truly feared. This weapon is capable of a fairly quick rate of fire while doing some decent knock-back damage. It won’t be uncommon to see a foe dead looking like a pin cushion. All these classes are incredibly balanced and have their respective trade-offs.

If you haven’t played PVK yet, your geographical location may be put into question and at the same time, in relation to your global position under a one million year old geode. This modification, nay, game has such potential that it is truly worth the time it takes to download to at least see if you agree with this review or not. One thing is for sure; PVK is here to stay and is setting up a very attractive shop.