Delayed Responsibility

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

Archive for May, 2009

Demon’s Souls: They Were All Right!

Posted by deckard47 on May 28, 2009

I may or may not have mentioned it yesterday, but I received my copy of Demon’s Souls through the mail. Sadly, I only played a bit of it because Infamous needed to be played some more. Still, I got through the tutorial (which ended with me dying, which I suppose is appropriate) into the first hub (I think). It controls just a bit floatily, but I can see how strategic the fights will be. There’s a lot of options for dodging, parrying, and otherwise avoiding or repelling attacks. I like the sword combat (and backstabs!) a lot. The bow and arrow felt clumsy, but I only got off one shot, so we’ll see. I was playing a thief, so I’ve no idea what the magic is like.

It was pretty, in a dank (not Fallout 3 or Jericho but more like a slightly moody take on LotR?) kind of way, and I like all of the animations (outrageously “physics-y” tumble/death animations are hilarious and fun). The voice acting is pretty good. It’s hilarious to me how a game about a random hero conquering a bunch of demons has better voice acting in its intro cutscene than Infamous has had yet. Sad. Oh, and the character creation is weird and amusing. You can alter the face in a lot of ways, it’s up there with Oblivion or Mass Effect in some ways. It also includes the strange “sex” slider, which slides your face along a long gradient from “male” to “female.” It doesn’t make much sense in any particular way, with males having smaller noses and females having puffy, paler faces. Okee-dokee? It also includes a face meter which allows you to set your face by where it’s “from.” I dunno if the directions they used reference Japanese ethnic divisions or global “categories” (I think it’s the latter), but the results are a bit ridiculous. There’s East, which looks like a pale person, and West, which looks like a chubbier pale person. South looks darker, North looks super-pale, and there are a few more I can’t remember. Suffice it to say, I’m not sure what they’re trying to emulate, but it all ends up looking bad. If you thought the creation system in Oblivion could create some otherworldly features, try this game. I ended up creating a spiky-haired young woman who was only mildly Morlock-like, which suited me. The classes all look pretty different, but I created a thief so I could backstab more, if that’s possible. The text in game is all in English, as is the dialogue and subtitles, but the thick manual is in Japanese. Curses!

Now that the general stuff is out of the way, here’s my initial gameplay impressions. The combat is, as mentioned before, deep, and I think that I’ll be backstabbing (really well-animated) a lot. Enemies are vicious, and they attack quickly. You have to learn their moves ASAP, so you can counter and kill them. Never forget that the menu does not pause the game. I was stupidly explaining the game to Owen, in-menu, when a demon-zombie came up and backstabbed me almost to death. Scared me a bit and made me remember the no-pause “feature.” I like the dark, foggy fantasy castle they had me in, and I liked the boss (of the tutorial?) even better. He was this huge horned dude with a giant axe (I think?).

I’d mastered dodging and backstepping by then, so he and I danced around his chamber for a bit. I kept on trying to kill him (difficult, because this was when I began to accidentally “lunge attack” a lot. A good attack for First-Striking weaker units, but inadvisable against bosses, it would seem), but eventually he hit me with the axe once, knocked off half of my health, and while I was down, killed me for good. I was worried I’d have to do the tutorial over, but I woke up in the spirit “Nexus” which is where dead spirits go, I guess? I’m hoping I can level up and pick up some items and then go back (in ghost form!) to get my body and attending demon’s souls.

That all may sound rather fiddly and technical, but the game makes you think that way, and its not at all onerous. You just quickly learn that the game has very strict rules in place, and if you don’t completely master them, you’ll die. It makes you very attentive, and it was fun, for the limited time I played it. Listen to what all of the reviews say. When you die, you know why, but there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ll just die, and it’ll be damn quick.

More tonight, if a game of Citadels doesn’t interfere. Shit I should write about Citadels. Until then.


Posted in Impressions | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Infamous: What’s His Name Again?

Posted by deckard47 on May 27, 2009

So I was readin’ (as I’m wont to do), and I came across The Iris Network’s (which when I write it again might be TIN, since I don’t like writing long things. But now calling it TIN sounds dumb. Blargh) Infamous thread. Interesting, but also amusing. I guess the lead designer on the game looks like Cole? I feel bad for him. Does he draino his throat to get that sound to come out?

Some of the commentors there make the point that the game’s protagonist could be anyone or look like anyone. I mean, I know that it’s important to have psychopath bald dudes with cement mixers lodged in their larynx’s be our in-game representations. I know it. BUT. If they’d made the “there as proof that the hero is totally straight” girlfriend Trish a non-love interest (or, you know, make her a good character… I don’t really have prove of her badly designed character yet, but she’s “the love interest” in this kind of game. What do we expect?) there’d be no “need” for the main guy to be a dumb cookie cutter het guy.

S/he could just have two friends who were important to them. Shit, they could have had an option to let you change “his” appearance, sex or other traits. It’s not like anything but the panel cutscenes hinge on his “real” look. What if they’d offered multiple sexes, multiple ethnicities, and created two voice tracks (it’s been done….), and multiple comic book cutouts for every face and character possibility to be the hero of the cutscenes. I know that would have taken “extra” effort, right? Except by extra I mean that they could have started from day one not assuming this game would be staring an annoying skinhead. Or, instead of having a multiple avatar route, they could have gone more concrete, they could have assumed that the hero could be a woman. Oh shit, then they’d have a silly story (assuming they spun the same tale) staring a woman, or somebody not physically modeled on a shaven-headed Paul Walker. Would she also have no hair and speak like she had a furnace living in her head? It’d be like a platforming, adventure Mass Effect.

I know I’ve written a lot about this, but I’ll ask one more question: what about this character speaks to you? Is it the voice? The looks? The bike messenger turned super hero? This guy is a nobody. He has no character, no history, and no believable traits or habits. He’s already a blank slate. The depressing thing is, for this industry, blank slate = White Dude.

And you know I’ll be playing this when I get home.

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Infamous: All We Need Now is a Sexy Villain Who Can’t Control The Volume or Tone of Her Voice

Posted by deckard47 on May 27, 2009

Got deep into Infamous last night (like 4 am deep, unfortunately), and I’m here to tell you, it is fun. The Simon-originating (recently)  Crackdown comparisons are apt, although Cole is both a bit stickier and a bit more deft of a navigator than your Agent in Crackdown. There are many other similarities, so I thought I’d break it down in a simplistic (overly?) way:

Infamous takes the rooftop-hopping, bounding, leaping antics of Crackdown and pumps them  up with a bit of Assassin’s Creed-esqu agility (the aforementioned stickiness, whereby Cole attaches to anything he touches, and he can touch a lot). It’s both a finer and a more artificial (especially how Cole attaches to things he can’t see or is too far away from ingame, just because it’s convenient) system, and it’s more fun, I think. Infamous also has those incredibly annoying guys who will snipe you with an Uzi from 600 damn feet away, while your super-lighting awesome-ass powers can’t touch them until you get closer. Maybe I’ll unlock a sniping power later? Onward! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Impressions | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

California FAILS

Posted by deckard47 on May 26, 2009

Wow. I guess I’m not surprised? Assholes. Guess who lives in Connecticut now, dumbasses? Here it is from the LA Times. Also, doesn’t the fact that marriages made before the Proposition was passed are going to be considered legal basically make the proposition an empty gesture (aside from the fact that it is continually denying people equal rights)? Get ready for a smackdown, California, it’s coming.

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Posted by deckard47 on May 26, 2009

Is that how I’m supposed to write it? Regardless of humorous capitalization jokes at Sucker Punch’s expense, I will be driving to the Best Buy in North Haven (beautiful beautiful North Haven) to pick up my preordered copy of Infamous. Apprently, not only do I get the Among Thieves MP beta (I do right? I sure better), I also get shock blades or something. Eh.

I’m not sure how I feel about this preorder bonus stuff when it’s developer/publisher oriented. I mean, I’m used to EBX or Gamestop or whatever offering me free watermelon with my preorder of Deus Ex 2 (the day I picked that game up, and every day since that day have been a harrowing, bleached wasteland of a “life”), but what I’m not used to is the game companies themselves offering me weird dongles attached to their games. I’m thinking of Bioware’s offer to give you special rings and amulets with a preorder of Dragon Age. Don’t get me wrong, I will be on that game like a really jittery 2 AM cat when it comes out, but I do’t need their silly preorder offers. I’m with them. Honestly, do they think that the unfaithful really care about special rings? It seems like an ineffectual way of drumming up preorder support. The real question is, will they be Steaming it? I would be torn, seeing as I’ve always been a physical purchaser of Bioware products, out of my allegiance to their delicate Canadian flavors. Oh, and if you’re interested, the Dragon Age site has some (as always) awesomely detailed and D&D-ish intros for two of the NPCs from Dragon Age. We have Sten, and Alistair. Suddenly I’m worried about this Alistair guy:

Alistair is irreverent at the best of times, and his wry sense of humor often put him at odds with his more serious-minded teachers.

I smell a Kaiden Alenko voice actor part, maybe. No! Resist Bioware! Make the Alenko voice actor (Raphael Sbarge, who I’m sure is a nice guy) be an evil character. He is always so… huskily earnest. It’s like he’s rubbing you with his goodness, every time he opens his silly mouth. Blech.

This just reminds me that I started Jade Empire (again, on the new comp) last night. As always, I’m slightly befuddled by its combat, setting, and tone. It feels like Bioware, but not. Maybe this is Mirror Universe Bioware! Where are evil Bashir and evil Dax! Why doesn’t everyone have beards or at least stubble? They’re my favorites! I have time to consider the conundrum, I suppose, since Dragon Age won’t be coming out for ages and ages. For now, let me think of an ugly,  head-shaven and faux beard-headed white man using electricity to ride electric lines. Oh, and let me think of Nathan Fillion in the opening of Jade Empire. Still weirds me out. He sounds so mean. Mean and young. Like me!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Screens/Hype: AvP 3 -> 3 Screens

Posted by deckard47 on May 26, 2009

I’ve just finished another article, and I’m actually happy with this one. Hopefully it’ll be making it’s way to GSW soon, and I hope you all like it. As I said, it’s the first one I’ve really liked in a while, so I hope the feeling is mutual. To help send me off to bed, I present to you three new screens (it looks like they must be screens, bullshot are way smoother than this, mostly) from AvP 3. Delicious:

I have to say, I’m very excited to play more of the Alien and Marine. The Predator was always fun in multiplayer, but as a single player experience, it just felt like another super-powered shooter guy… Also, of course, I hate the movies, meaning the trappings of that fictional race offend me, whereas the eternal struggle of Alien and hideously outnumbered Marines is music to my ears.

I’d be remiss (I say that a lot) if I didn’t mention that we have some new blogs on the roll over there. The blogroll, that is. Aside from Game Design Advance, we also have Fullbright. Both feature interesting, exciting article written by people who are (one supposes) even more interesting and exciting. If you’re curious, check them out. That’s it for tonight, I’ve scoured my blogs, my friends, the people who I don’t even like to read. Nothing that just has to be linked before sleep showed up though. Desole (look, too lazy to paste in the accent!). I do promise that both a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and a mystery article are forthcoming, along with several reviews. Gotta make that pre-E3 push. Until later.

Posted in Hype, Screens | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

What’s Going on, Stalker?

Posted by deckard47 on May 24, 2009

Yes, I’m back at it, devil that I am. I’ve spent the last 6 hours writing and editing 3 articles, 2 of which are almost done. To speed the writing process, I have also of course been researching mods for the original Shadow of Chernobyl and watching Fringe. The former has produced excellent results. You’d think that Rock Paper Shotgun had done enough damage already, pointing me toward the “Oblivion Lost” SoC mod, but they’ve done it again, revealing the excellent looking (and simply named) Stalker Complete 2009 mod. It basically cuts all of the extreme game changing mods, and leaves behind the usability mods and some new, really amazing (supposedly) graphical mods. I’m excited to try it out (I think I’ll have to start a new game, again), once it’s done downloading (and I’ve finished Season 1 of Fringe). Which brings me to the TV.

It’s actually much better than the show’s first 10 or so episodes might lead you to believe, and while it’s depressing to think hat this is getting a second season while shows I love (T:SCC) are getting screwed, it’s still enjoyable. It’s nice to have almost all of the show focused on Olivia, meaning (wonderfully) that old Pacey doesn’t rock out faces too much. It’s very much like the X-Files, and I still can’t tell if it’s going to be more or less coherent than that show (although honestly, how hard would it have to try to be more coherent?). I should work some more now, I have 3 episodes left, and at least another article to go. Workie workie.

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An Exciting Announcement

Posted by deckard47 on May 21, 2009

What is it! So after much consideration (I think it took about a minute of thinking), I have reached an agreement whereby another person (not me) will, from time to time, post on the blog. This person, whose identity will remain a secret (Owen, who I’ve spoken of), will contribute absolutely fascinating posts when he sees fit. If I like them, I will of course pretend that I wrote them, taking all of the credit for myself. Everybody wins.

I hesitate to write something about how this “won’t change the direction of the site,” for those of you who might be worried about such an eventuality. It seems silly, because the direction of the site has been and always shall be your friend whatever silly outrageously intelligent things come into my head. Let me assure those of you who might (suddenly!) be worried about this: the site’s direction will remain unchanged! It will just have a few more pointy-headed (make that any pointy headed) posts about games. He writes like me, only with less parentheses, and is my semi-willing editor, so you’re probably actually familiar with his “work” already.

This is not the point of this post! The point is that Delayed Responsibility is entering a new era, one that could most closely be described as the “Awesome” era, whereas the old era was the “Totally Sweet” era. It’s going to be a bit like this:

Or a bit more like this, if we’re being honest

What are those gentlemen doing? Not masquerading as WW2 pilots, sadly. Now I leave you with the most important question you’ll answer today. Who is who?

Posted in News | 4 Comments »

Aliens + Guybrush = Win

Posted by deckard47 on May 20, 2009

I know what you’re thinking. It must be one of those days if he’s posting this early. No, it’s not. Not yet. Instead, it’s a day when, upon boarding the internet, I find two very cool things. The first is what is apparently the first AvP (new edition) screen to be released (via Joystiq). Check it out:

Sweet Fancy Moses

I hope, as Joystiq says, that this is indeed a screenshot. If it is, then it’s going to look good, at least. I’m suddenly excited for the prospect of a game featuring aliens and space marines that isn’t a 3rd person shooter, and doesn’t have anything to do with CliffyB. Count me in as hopeful? Apparently more news and screens will be released as the day progresses. Looking forward to it.

In a great bit of news (and if you don’t think it’s great, then leave now), Joystiq tentatively reports that The Secret of Monkey Island may be coming to XBLA. Would that not be sweet? It’s not confirmed yet, but it’s something nice to think about.

If you’re lucky, I’m going to do some Stalker: Call of Pripkyat linking/talking later today. I know you’re looking forward to that!

Update: Indeed, we now have a teaser trailer at Joystiq and a two new screens (one from Predator PoV, and for the Alien). You know I’ll be playing the Alien exclusively. Here you go, all of you who remember Monolith’s absolutely brilliant second outing for the series with fondness. Still the most interesting, fun multiplayer FPSs I’ve ever played, hands down. I doubt the servers are still up (and it wouldn’t look quite as sweet as it used to), but if they were, I would go online and hop about as the Alien, just because.


Posted in News, Screens | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Random Updates (meaning Dragon Age and Heavy Rain)

Posted by deckard47 on May 19, 2009

I’ve nothing terribly exciting to talk about today, except a list of stuff I thought was interesting. Now, to the linking!

Sneaky Update: My Evochron Legends review is up at Gametopius… I liked this game, way more than I liked X3, for instance. This might make you ask me why I wrote about X3 in such a glowing/angry way over at GSW. The answer is I hadn’t gotten in to Evochron Legends yet and thus hadn’t seen the light. Evochron Legends is a really interesting, impressive game, and if you like space sims, try this one before you hit up its competitors. The BSG physics alone are cool to play with, but it’s also fun and easy (once you get over the mile-high learning curve at the beginning).

The Dragon Age site has a new video and screens up of the (apparently) important War Dog that will be eating you (or your enemies?) a lot. It looks scary and big, and makes me hope that you can have one in your party in some way (although that might be weird). Anyway, the video is cool and all, as are the pictures. They’re really serious about character models getting bloody. One of these dogs looks like it showered in blood. I am struck (again) by the fluidity of the animations in these videos. Not necessarily the facial work, but the bodily motion of people and animals. Neat.

1up is using all of this week to slowly dribble out information on Heavy Rain (which is now called Heavy Rain: Origami Killer, in a move I can only call “highly amusing”). That’s the next game after Farenheit (from French developer Quantic Dream), which looks all kinds of cool. Right now they only have an interview with the studio head up, but it looks like they’ll be releasing some actually cool stuff soon (character reveals, gameplay videos). Stay tuned, I suppose.

Nothing else new is occuring to me. Still plodding through Mass Effect, finishing up Plants vs. Zombies and Defense Grid: The Awakening. The last is peculiar in that it gets so hectic I’m not always sure why I win/survive. I have fun doing it though, which should be enough for me. I’m also trying to be nice to Dokapon Journey, but it’s trying my patience. Mostly it has to do with the fact that my success seems almost 60% luck-based, and because I only kind of enjoy playing it even when I’m winning. This is a board game-RPG, right? What’s wrong here?

Valve outdid itself, compelling me to play TF2 without actually having seen the new movie that’s such a big deal (I watched it eventually, it is indeed amusing), eagerly awaiting the updates for the Spy and the Sniper, my favorite “I’m not actually that great at them” classes.  Been playing a lot of TF2 as a result, and as always I play the Medic exclusively. He’s fun and no one else plays him! Oh, and I believe that Demon’s Souls will be shipping to me soon. Terribly excited for that one. There’s a new piece on it over at Bitmob, if you’re so inclined. I’m really looking forward to this, despite not having the time to play it. Thaks for being in the way, TF2.

Posted in Impressions, News, Videos | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Never Give Up…

Posted by deckard47 on May 16, 2009

So I watched the first half of Galaxy Quest lat night, having watched the new Trek movie last week, and Wrath of Khan this week. I’d forgotten (as I always do), what an amusing and apt satire of original Trek, its characters and especially its actors Galaxy Quest is. Plus it has Sam Rockwell as a hilarious Redshirt. How could I not enjoy that?

In gaming news, the Mass Effect 2 media push has me running back to the original game, to get my nice (re: doesn’t put the Rachni Queen to death) Commander Torry Shepard through the game. I’ve decided (I know you care) that I’ll be working with Wrex and Tali as my crew, to back up my Vanguard. I’ll be perfectly balanced, and I’ll avoid any silly, annoying NPCs (hello, Kaiden, as always). Exciting, as always. Making a play for my Mass Effect time is he twin Tower Defense threat of PvZ and Defense Grid. I should just drop the notion that this kind of game isn’t as deep as other games I’m playing. When you compare the writing in Defense Grid, which is pleasingly whimsical, to the writing in Stalker, say, there’s no comparison. I know this shouldn’t be a surprise to me, that “light” games can still impress me in ways that more serious, long games can’t, but it’s hard to break old habits. Oh, and I just watched that new Among Thieves footage again. Combat looks amazing. I want to do those stealth skills and terribly smooth slide-in to-cover moves right now. Hurry up Drake!

Posted in Impressions | Tagged: , , | 12 Comments »

Uncharted 2 Singleplayer: Updated 5 Minute Video

Posted by deckard47 on May 15, 2009

I’d be remiss if I let Mass Effect 2 steal all of the thunder today. Other games need thunder too. Like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. I’d be especially remiss if I didn’t clue you in one Mr. Drake’s latest (admittedly only minorly sexy) escapades, which involve a video of him shooting and punching some dudes (with what looks like some cooler, enhanced hand-to-hand combat), and then almost getting blown up. Sweet. Here you go. I’m happy to say that the bottom half of his pants are wet after he jumps in the pool. The magic is back!

Update: Here is the new video, via Joystiq. It’s 5 minutes long, and shows scenes from before and after what’s shown in the above video. What it shows us is that the platforming and exploration will be much more integrated into the experience (to the point where I was wondering why the person playing didn’t have their gun out all the time), and the combat looks even more fluid and dynamic than before. The melee kills look just a bit more smooth (and they already worked pretty well), and most importantly, stealth kills will obviously be a much bigger part of play. Check it out, it’s well worth the 5 minutes.

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Mass Effect 2 Intrerview and Pre-E3 Trailer!

Posted by deckard47 on May 15, 2009


New Mass Effect 2 trailer! Sorry, but you had to know! The ending of this trailer is so amazing. I should just shut up now, before I lose the half of you who aren’t mindless Mass Effect fans. But I can’t. In case you needed more reasons to watch this video, it features a man with an absolutely amazing mustache.

Actual Post About ME 2 Interview:

Shit go read it. Now come back. I’m excited, depsite the fact that this is going to be “Mass Effect‘s dark, brutal second act.” I’ll keep on telling myself they’re going the Empire route, and not the  Condemned 2 route. Pray with me. Then read this, and be happy (oh, I basically quote most of the article in my post, so sorry… I had to!):

One of the places we mentioned in the [second] book, we talked about a place called Omega, which is basically the opposite of the Citadel. Where the Citadel is the elite and the best of the galaxy, Omega is a huge space station that is really rough and tough, the ultimate representation of crime, and a dangerous place to be in. But there’s that, and many different places you go to.

You know what that sounds like? A wretched hive of scum and villainy! It had better be. Also, this next bit means something mysterious, but I don’t know what. What could it mean!? Read on! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Interviews | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Tower Defence Is Great

Posted by deckard47 on May 14, 2009

I guess there’s somebody to blame for this, somewhere, but recently I’ve found that the games that I’m most excited about (besides good old Clear Sky, of course, which I’m actually getting kind of annoyed with) are tower defense games. There’s Plants Vs. Zombies, which is just amazing, in case you were wondering. It’s not frustrating, it’s never overly hard, and it’s constantly entertaining, amusing, and fun. I always think I’m ahead of the computer, and then it throws something new at me (like those damn Snorkel zombies). I’m somewhere in chapter 3, I think (maybe?), and I’m nowhere near done with it.

At the same time, I just recently downloaded Defense Grid: The Awakening, and I played about 5 minutes of it yesterday. Already, I’m liking it. The narrator and advisor is a long-dormant overly British AI, who is amusing to listen to, and the game looks fantastic. It involves a different kind of strategy from PvZ, as you can only place towers in pre-determined locations, not anywhere on a grid. I really need to play more of it to understand it and talk about it, but you should check out the demo for the music (which is ridiculously space-epic, in an old-fashioned movie way) and the voice-work (which is silly, but feels right for the setting).

Both of these games are available for cheap at Steam (as the above links will show you). I’m happy to say that these games are more fun for me than the bigger, fancier games I’ve been playing recently have been. Oh, and I imported Demon’s Souls from Play-Asia. It’s back ordered right now, due to huge demand, but I bought the general Asia release copy (not the Japanese version), so there will be English dialogue and text. Exciting!

Oh, and there are new articles up over there to the right. I really like the F.E.A.R. 2 article the best, to be honest, it’s been a while since I enjoyed writing about and playing a game so much (and at the same time). Anyway, there they are. Until next time.

Posted in Impressions | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

Update: Dragon Age + Thief 4

Posted by deckard47 on May 12, 2009

As you might suspect, this post is concerned with one of my favorite franchises and one of my favorite developer’s new games.

Dragon Age has a new trailer out, which has to be viewed on two levels. The first is: what the hell is that song doing in there… It’s called “This is the new shit,” by Marilyn Manson, and it sounds like the new shit smeared all over a set of speakers. It’s awful, and a very unsuccessful attempt by PR people at EA to make the game more “h4rdkore,” or something. I’d recommend watching it sans sound, but there is some dialogue in there, so maybe you’re willing to sit through it. Here it is, ready to scar your eardrums:

Now, I’d like to address the fact that this trailer reveals a few things: people will be really mean to each other and stab each other in-cutscene in this game, which seems George R. R. Martin-esque to me. People will be very bloody, as well. Finally, people will have creepy-looking sex. That’s all well and weird, but I’m excited by how smooth the animation looks. I’m not alone in thinking that this is where cutscenes (that are in-engine) need to go? The battle scenes look chaotic, yet the actors all look like they have a sense of weight and heft as they stab each other. This isn’t like watching Neverwinter Nights 2 or Fallout 3‘s battle animations and snickering. These characters look amazingly good, in that weird Bioware way. I know it’s all scripted, but think how the scripted in-game animations for most games look…

Anyway, I’m hopeful, especially if Bioware manages to escape from the Xtreme Hardcore hole they and EA are digging for themselves. Time will tell. There’s an interview here with Mike Laidlaw, the game’s lead designer. Some of it sounds cool, and some of it worries me. This gives me hope for the game’s PC-ness, if you’ll allow me that almost meaningless word:

But you can tune right in, and set it so that – say – if my elf is less than this percentage health, I want you to do the following things… When we give that level of control, you can take some of the micromanagement away so you don’t have to flip between them all, all the time.

I like the sound of that. But oh no, I speak too soon:

The nice thing is that it’s all player-driven, when you think about it. Is there sex in the game? Sure… it supports the concept. That’s why I talk about lust. It’s more about sexuality than just sex. Because otherwise that’s childish. But it’s really based on the player’s experience. And some of your party really are quite cute and flirtatious. If you go I-am-not-interested-in-talking-to-you-I-have-a-dragon-to-kill, then that’s cool. That’s your game. But I want to make sure it reacts to that. That they react to that.

Um, I guess I like the fact that you can avoid sex, but I’ll wait and see if it actually is about sexuality. And that’s assuming that will be a good thing anyway. Plus won’t it be weird to have your perpetually silent hero having sex with a talking person?

Ok, I apologize for this, but there’s also two write-ups of the new level that was demoed for press recently. Joystiq’s is pretty basic, and talks about how the game was fun/difficult. 1up’s is really fucking exciting. They talk about how the game will have spells and counterspells (think Cloudkill v. Zone of Clean Air, Globe of Protection v. Breach, and protection from Physical v. Magic Missile from BG 2. Yeah, I just went there), and spell combinations. That’s two dissimilar spells when cast together unlock a new, combined, badass spell (for people like me who don’t know what it means). They talked about the pause feature, the ease of control within combat, and the tactical nature of the fights. It sounds sweet:

Of course, when a BioWare employee who tests this very encounter for hours and hours on end is showing off his skills, the battle looks easy. The demo-er played in real-time for the whole encounter — never pausing at all. He switched rapidly between the four party members, and used a combination of hotkeys and tactical scripting (where you create a set of rules for each party member to follow when not being directly controlled by you) to tear through the encounter.

I want to be that person!

Oh, and Thief 4 (to be spelled Thi4f, wonderfully) was announced, to no surprise. I’m excited, but if this game delays my rabid consumption of Deus Ex 3, I will go to their studios and make mean faces at them. I guess that’s enough for now? I feel some kind of “series” coming on, perhaps a long, windy, discussion of why I love Clear Sky so much, piece by piece. If it happens, I apologize in advance.

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