Does Rezil’s newest level live up to its hype or has nothing interesting to offer?
When the news about Pier 2 first came out, everyone was excited that designer Rezil was making a new major jump level. The man behind many of the acclaimed JH levels such as Cruise, Kuwehr and Offices, has been gaining skills and experience and constantly improving with each new project. The buzz surrounding the new level put expectations sky high. Now that its release is just around the corner, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s time to see if it lives up to the hype.
Pier 2 opens with a well-scripted cut scene, custom dialogue and the brand new RezBar 2.0. The first thing you notice is the open nature of the level ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ as soon as you spawn youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re free to explore the pier and go around to find the way. At the same time, a list of objectives marked on your compass, make it quite hard to get lost. The puzzles start right from the beginning and continue throughout the level. For example, you have to activate the bridge control system, but to do that, first you must find a number of tools to repair the power box for the room. A number of cut scenes and well-timed ambient music help to build up the atmosphere and the instructions you receive from your commander nicely lay out the story as you progress through the level.
The design of the level itself is quite spectacular ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ with custom detailed buildings, realistic lighting, and even road marking and signs, Pier 2 looks just great. The mystic fog surrounding the pier and the lack of other people during the middle of the night builds up a sense of isolation and tension. Details make the difference between a good level and a great one, and Pier2 has plenty ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ from the glowing effects over the pick-up objects to the custom posters and newspapers around the pier, thereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s plenty of eye candy for the players to enjoy.
The gameplay is rather diverse. Offering different types of jumps, puzzles to solve and objects to retrieve, Pier 2 rarely gets boring. For the hardcore players, it even has a number of secrets, which spawn at different locations every time the level is loaded. The difficulty is rather high, like most of the other works by Rezil, but except for a few jumps, an average skilled player should be able to finishÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ though we wouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t mind if an easy version ever came around.
The sound design has no competitors among the rest of the jump levels. There are plenty of custom sounds, when you try to open locked doors, start generators, fall in the water etc. The background music consists of a realistic ambient night sound, cut by well-placed music sequences or the dialogue between the characters. Even the credits roll over an original song.
Among some of the minor issues are the placement of the RezBar, which could often overlap with the chat messages (still not as bad as the objectives list in Cruise) and the presence of invisible walls at places where you would not expect them. Also some of the jumps could get annoying because of being too difficult, but these are not many.
In conclusion, Pier 2 places itself right at the top of the best jump levels list and could well be the greatest level that will ever be made (even Rezil calling it his best work and believing he could not create something better). If youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re hesitating whether to start jumping, now you have one more reason to do so.