Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Rant: Slow Going

Posted by deckard47 on October 20, 2008

Things have been rather lazy lately chez Cross, as a result of that Villain, the Witcher. Both Owen and I are knee deep in that damn game, and sadly, he’s closer to escaping from its clutches than I am. Curses. I was also thinking about the Aliens vs. Predator games, especially the second one. What with Dead Space having just come out, just about every reviewer and their brother and their parent media company are saying something about how it’s “Aliens,” not “Alien.”

Now I know that they’re trying to dissuade the gaming populace from seeing this game as a slow, scary, “survival” horror game (apparently the fact that it isn’t one is a big deal to some people, who are now betrayed or surprised… Whatever), but I still feel that this game, no matter how good it is, is still beholden to one game that these guys haven’t mentioned yet: AvP2. It wasn’t perfect, I know it had bad graphics, and I know that Predators are silly, but that game put me in the Aliens world in a great way. Not only did it do that, but it scared me seriously, as I hope we all recall, without throwing an Alien at me for a whole hour or so. Look, an alien!

And it did it all without having “creepy” children’s songs playing in trailers (wow that was dumb…).

Plus, it threw in what was essentially the shooter multiplayer equivalent of Starcraft, using the races and tech that Starcraft basically stole. I mean, where did the drop ship pilot, marine, and every other Starcraft character get their banter? Oh yeah, a movie made by James Cameron. Back to AvP2, it fulfilled all of the broken promises made by Doom, Gears of War, Halo, and every other Space Marine/Scary action game in Space ever. I don’t care how bad the graphics were, or whether the production values were never that high, that game delivered a solid, scary, action-filled experience on all levels, and it did it without resorting to Scary Death Whispery Voices, Lots of Blood All the Time in the Dark (With Extra Blood and Gore), Angry Marines, or anything else that is now in every single game set in the future.

I feel like there’s an article in why that game was great, and once I play Dead Space there had better be an article in what that game is and isn’t, but for now I’m just writing an infantile rant. Desole, I guess. So, while I go back to writing and signing and doing hideous official stuff, please go find the demo for AvP 2, or get it cheep somewhere. I promise, if you do, I’ll find my old copy, and play online with you. Maybe.

Oh, and do you know how hard it is to find a screen from that game online? Hard! Most of the results are from that hulking, reprehensible monster that hit us last Christmas.

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2 Responses to “Rant: Slow Going”

  1. Sam said

    The Witcher! Seriously. I’m going to beat that shit soon. Maybe today? Tonight could be my big push.

  2. Dan said

    Since when were the AVP 2 graphics bad? They were on par with most games made in 2000 and have held up well. Sure, higher resolution texture maps might be nice now, but back when the game came out, the graphics were appropriate for the capabilities of the graphics cards at that time.

    I haven’t played AVP 2 since they took down the multiplayer servers, but the game held up well for eight years, including the graphics.

    The single players missions were great. Marine machines were scary. Predator missions required stealth. Alien missions required acting like the aliens did in the movie.

    Of course you can only play single player missions so many times, so you end up playing multiplayer games more often. Multiplayer had some good points. The species/characters were like rock-paper-scissors. Each character had strengths and weaknesses. Smart guns killed drones and runners easily, but were worthless against praetorians and predaliens. Miniguns were great against the big guys, but made you a target for runners and drones. Pred weapons had the same kind of trade-off.

    There were several bad things about the multiplayer games though.

    1. Too much hacking. So many people installed cheats, including ridiculous ones that made their characters fly and fire 100 rockets a second all over the map.

    2. Too much bitching. Every time some kid died, he would bitch that they guy that killed him was a noob.

    3. Anti-camping mentality. Camping is a valid part of first-person shooter games. For example, one would expect a sniper to camp in a WWII game. In AVP 2, camping is consistent with the representation of all three species in the movies. Aliens camp in dark spots where they can drop behind unsuspecting marines/preds. Predators camp in trees and other vantage points where they can stalk their prey. Marines literally set up camp with sentry guns to guard a perimeter. That’s what marines are suppose to do.

    4. Staggering. There is no way that the pulse rifle is suppose to be more powerful than the mini-gun. The developers screwed up the animation of the pulse rifle and never got around to fixing it, causing rapid clicking of the pulse rifle to cause more damage than a mini-gun. This exploit was ruined the consistency of the game

    5. Overpowered sniper rifle. The sniper rifle should have been as powerful as a shotgun slug (not shell), just with more accuracy and zone. Enough to take our a drone/runner in a single shot, maybe a predalien/predator in a head shot. It should not have been the most powerful weapon in the game. Why was the predator’s spear gun less powerful? If you got shot in the little toe with the sniper rifle – instant kill, but if you got impaled with a pred’s spear you just walked it off.

    6. Use of sniper rifle as handgun. The sniper rifle was never used for actual sniping, but rather as a handgun. Player would just wait for the pop-up name to appear and shoot. This is completely contrary to how the sniper rifle was suppose to be used. It would have been better if the sniper rile in AVP 2 was like the sniper rifle in the original Unreal Tournament. At least, the sniper rifle should have been disabled unless zoom was being used.

    7. Bitching about mines. In war if you run around like a chicken without a head, you’re likely to get killed. In AVP 2, most alien players preferred the extremely fast runner and would run around the map pouncing from place to place as quickly as they could. Of course, this left no time for the player to actually look around and be aware of his surroundings. The perfect counter strategy to this was to place a spider or proxy mine/grenade in strategic places. Of course, all the kids who died because they weren’t looking complained about it constantly. It’s not like the mines were invisible like in some games, or even hard to see. But the dumb kids never could accept that there is a real world trade off between running as fast as you can and knowing what’s going on around you, and sometimes jumping around like a bunny on heroine isn’t the best strategy.

    8. Nerfing praetorians. The praetorians are suppose to be tanks, the elite warriors of the hive. They were great in single player, but the developers wussed out and made them a lot more vulnerable in multiplayer. A class should never be nerf’ed to make multiplayer more “fair”. Leave it up to the game players to balance the teams — they are smart enough to do that. If it takes 5 marines to battle one praetorian, then the players will arrange the teams with 10 and 2 players. The result of nerfing the praetorian was that no one wanted to play it, and so you never saw it in multiplayer. The praetorian already lacked the wall-walk ability and pounce, so having thick armor and a lot of hp was necessary for that class. I, for one, would love to battle a praetorian in multiplayer that had the characteristics of the praetorians in single player.

    9. Accurate tail length. The queen’s tail could kill a marine at twice the distance that the queen’s tail was visually rendered. The queen’s tail looked about five feet long, but killed you at ten. When you died all you saw was a tail swing that clearly missed you. I don’t care how long the tail is, just as long as it’s represented accurately so I can tell how long it is.

    10. Bitching about stun. All three species had the ability to stun the others. Aliens had tail swipe (and near pounce in multiplayer). Marines had EMP grenades. Preds had an EMP pistol alt fire for aliens and a net gun for marines. If you got stunned and had no teammates close by, you were pretty much dead. If you had teammates close by, they most often kept you alive by attacking your stunner. Nevertheless, players often bitched about preds and marines using stun, even though aliens used it all the time without even trying. In single player, only the tail swipe could stun. In multiplayer, if you pounced at someone and missed by less than 5 feet, you stunned him. Stunning was a legitimate part of the game and was kept well under control by two facts. First, marines could carry at most 12 EMPs and preds could fire the plasma pistol only a few times before having no energy left. Second, a pred could stun himself if not careful (almost certainly leading to him being killed) or even kill himself with the plasma pistol, and the marine could screw up his motion tracker with EMPs if careless.

    11. Over use of pounce. Aliens players would pounce continuously both as movement and attack. Rarely do we see pouncing in the movies. So this over-reliance on pounce did make the multiplayer games feel artificial. When I played an alien, I’d prefer the sneak attack like staying on a wall by an exit and dropping down when a marine/pred past by and then attacking them from behind. That’s more like how the xenos behaved in the movies and feels more authentic.

    12. Jumping like bunnies. “Jump” should just be banned from all first-person-shooters. It serves no purpose that cannot be served better and more realistically by “climb”. Furthermore, any marine that hoped around from place to place or during battle would tire out pretty quickly in real life and become a sitting target. Plus, it looks really stupid. Have you ever seen soldiers in real life jump like bunnies? Even the predator should only be able to jump after doing a long crouch so that jumping is a positioning tool, not an evasive maneuver.

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