The Hidden: A HL Mod Thursday Review - Destructoid

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Last night had a very successful turn out which caused some technical hiccups because the game servers cap out at 9. After everything got ironed out I had an opportunity to explore the world that is The Hidden, and what I got from it is that the game has a lot of potential but needs a good amount of polish and tweaking.

The Hidden is currently in Beta 4. If you are unfamiliar with it, it pits everyone against one powerful player who is 95% invisible. As I mentioned the game maxes out at 9. You may think that this is far too small, but playing on both full servers we set up I feel like it was actually too much. The problem is that the hidden has kind of an awkward balance and a steep learning curve. As far as I could tell there was no buffs given to the hidden depending on the size of the opposing team (IRIS). Because of this it was often a steamroll, with the hidden getting killed quite fast. Or worse the hidden spent most of the round hiding, wrecking the flow of the game. In fact I don't think I got a single kill when I got to play as the hidden. You can't blame the hidden player for hiding though, confronting a group of soldiers is suicide in this game unless you are very good. So you spend a lot of time waiting for someone to wander off on his own.

Meet the hidden, visibility not guaranteed.

The gameplay is actually pretty neat. As a member of IRIS you are heavily armed but extremely paranoid about your surroundings. All you can really see is a slight shimmer, and there are lots of maps that have steam vents that also create a shimmer and really mess you up (some can even be turned on and off). As the hidden you have to stalk and kill all IRIS members. This is best done by singling them out and attacking them one by one. Unfortunately you can get killed in a couple of shotgun blasts so you really have to hide most of the time. Being able to cling to walls helps this, and there are often special areas in maps made for hiding and stalking. This is another problem I had, I felt like the hidden should be stronger, except for one thing. The hidden gets a one hit kill attack which I think can break the game. No one likes to get killed in one hit, although it does freak you out when it happens to someone next to you.

someone's gonna die

Some of the vision effects included in this game are a very nice touch. If you get hit by one of the hidden's pipe bomb your vision goes black. This is freaky when it happens and you often just spin around in circles shooting wildly. On the other side the IRIS get a gun that is non-lethal but stuns the hidden. When you get shot your vision gets blurry and the camera spins a bit. It really feels like you are dizzy, and you get dizzy from looking at your monitor. Using this often had the hidden yelling "fuck this that gun sucks" in vent, which was good for some laughs.

A thing I really didn't like was that the hidden's visibility was constant. I'd like to see it vary depending on what he was doing. There were a couple times playing as the hidden I tried standing still next to group of passing IRIS. I was killed immediately. On the other hand I saw people killed without actually seeing the hidden. In fact a lot of the times I killed the hidden were completely on accident. I think the game would be better if the hidden was 99.9% invisible standing still, the visibility it currently is moving and 80-90% invisible when attacking. I think this would improve the feel of hunting and being hunted by the hidden.

See the hidden? Me neither.

Overall I thought the game had a lot of promise but needed work. It is currently in beta 4, so its a little buggy too, but not unbearably. We had a couple problems with crashing but otherwise it ran fairly smooth. I'd recommend it for smaller groups and for people who are curious. I didn't quite get the feel of being hunted by a hidden monster, or hunting when I was the hidden. In fact it often felt like the opposite was happening. I am definitely looking forward to the final release. It is a game I want to see improved and done well because of the moments when everything fit together and gave me a very tense and psychological experience.

I got killed behind that boxcar, and over there, oh and next to that barrel!

If you played with us please leave your thoughts below, and be sure to join us for future mod nights. Also there is a highlight reel being worked on. So be on the lookout for that in the future.
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