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Obscure HL Mod Thursday Review: PVKII (It was arrrr-some) - Destructoid

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This weeks adventure is rated Arrrrr for pirates.

Every Thursday we get together and play a Half Life 2 mod that gets picked earlier in the week. This week we played PVKII which was retarded fun. Like the name you get to pick a faction; Pirates, Vikings or Knights. Once you pick your faction you get to choose one of two classes. A heavy warrior who does insane close range damage but is slow and cumbersome, or a quick long range character good for support or running the booty around.

This game had me giggling like a schoolgirl from the moment I started. The combat and gameplay is surprisingly tight. As a heavy class you mostly live and die by the sword (or axe). You attack with the left mouse and can hold it down to charge a stronger attack. Right mouse is for blocking. Once you get into it the combat can be pretty intense, you can block in 4 directions and the way you block determines what, if any, damage gets through.

As a long range fighter you mostly want to hang back and wittle the health away of your opponents with your musket or arrows. Reloading can be a pain, but this is one of the long range class’ greatest strength. While some heavy classes get a long range weapon it’s one shot and then you have to stop to reload. This could mean death if not done in a safe spot. All light classes can reload while running. As an archer in the knight faction I got really good at filling my comrade’s opponents full of arrows from a distance and then switching to the crossbow to shoot someone in the face when they charged at me.


I need to axe you a question

The special attacks are what really make this game great, and hysterical. As you attack you fill up a special bar. When it is full you get a special attack that you can perform on your opponent. I didn’t get to try out all the specials, but the ones I saw were awesome. The captain’s special turns his musket into a cannon. The first time I used it we were all on a tower and I killed everyone including myself. The heavy knight’s special is a spinning broadsword attack that is almost certain to kill everyone around you. The archer’s has you notching 3 arrows for an instant kill that is great for surprising rushing attackers. The skirmisher (pirate light class) gets a very stupid flying sword attack, but he makes up with it with his 3rd weapon…the powder keg. The powder keg is useless in most situations, but when it works it is fantastic. It’s basically a huge bomb you can throw at people. It works amazing for point defense maps and for surprising a cluster of combating people.

The game is well made, with lots of little funny things that make it perfect. Like the parrot the pirate captain can send to claw people’s eyes out. The criticism I would have for it is that, while the gameplay and combat are amazing (combat is on par or better than Oblivion IMO) the maps can leave something to be desired. We only played the stock maps and some were fun, but others were overly complicated or simplistic. We played a temple map that was filled with traps. While this sounds awesome in practice getting killed randomly got old quick. Also maps where you had to steal each other’s booty were fun, but the booty points were always right next to the spawn, and with instant spawn it made it difficult to steal the booty unless the faction was not there defending.


About to get knighted

Another problem is that with three teams, balance becomes more of an issue. Ideally you need all teams to be equal as any extra players could give a faction a great advantage. And while I had fun playing with three, six and nine+ people throughout the night, some felt it needed a lot of people before the gameplay really got fun.

It was a great time, but like most mods it could use some work. If I had to give it a score it’d be a 7/10, it was a blast, but enjoying it so much made me see the things I wish were improved. I hope that everyone will join us for next week. Voting has already started in our forums. The mod community is part of what makes valve so great and its wonderful to try these games out with the Dtoid community. Many of the successful mods get picked up by valve or inspire future games, so its nice to get a look at them before they get famous.

Also VandamGuy was recording last night so hopefully we will get some great videos out of it. There were several memorable moments throughout the night. Like the first time someone did a suicide run with the powder keg on top of the tower. Or the first time I used the pirate captains special and everyone got sploded. Then there was the time we had the deathmatch in the Colosseum and the dirty pirates started using the throw a powder keg into the fray technique. They were racking up 3-5 kills at a time! If you were there you'd know this is not something that is easily done.
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