Delayed Responsibility

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Archive for November, 2009

Grab Bag: A Great Disturbance in the Force

Posted by deckard47 on November 30, 2009

A lot of things to go over. So:

There’s a new Prince of Persia game coming in May 2010 (link).  It is not a sequel to PoP 2008. It is a continuation of the Sands of Time franchise. Let me just go make myself a stiff drink, and then we can discuss this. Right. I do not dislike Sands of Time. I kind of like Two Thrones. But I am not sure what they hope to accomplish by going back to this world. They are going to need to hire some great writers (and fire everyone who want s to make the combat include more combos and weapons) to bring this series back (sans the stink of WW). They might be able to pull it off. What gets me about all of this is that this announcement is tantamount to Ubisoft saying “so that PoP 2008… That was a mistake. We’ll be going back to our regular programming.”

Maybe this isn’t the case. Maybe the next game in Elika’s series will come out in a few years. Maybe they are preparing for a potentially unsuccessful 2008 sequel by releasing a (supposedly) surefire SoT continuation. But it looks like Ubisoft wasn’t as confidant in their new series as they said they were. I wish they’d stick with it (the way they did, to great success and acclaim, with Assassin’s Creed 2), and make a second game however they pleased. Screw us critics. Of course, AC 1 may have been a critical meh, but it also sold 1 million+ copies. I don’t think PoP 2008 did quite that well. So I will wait, and mumble under my breath about kid these days, and their difficulty.

After the break, what I’ve been playing and why I like it, oddly enough. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Grab Bag, Impressions, News | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Diamond in the Rough Article: Sexualization in Prince of Persia

Posted by deckard47 on November 25, 2009

I am still a bit embarrassed about that title. Oh well, I’m sure it pleases a small subsection of my audience.

So there is a new Game Set Watch article up (by me!). It’s about the new Prince of Persia, sexualization in games (but especially Prince of Persia), and it is the lead-in for two more articles, that will follow shortly in its wake. I do hope you will be entertained, at least, while reading it. Here, for you reading pleasure, is a bit from the article:

But that’s just the beginning of it, as shown in the above quote. People really don’t like the Prince because he’s a dude. Now, I don’t mean like The Dude. I don’t mean like Dude Where’s My Car. I mean he’s the kind of guy who (when he isn’t philosophizing with a princess or being chased by evil gods) wants nothing more than money, drink, and companionship of his preferred sex.

And this pisses off a lot of people. It doesn’t piss them off because the hero is a heteronormative jerk who spends the first few hours of the game mocking someone who saves his life at regular intervals. Likewise, no one speaks out about the game’s simplistically written, stereotypically plotted Concubine, a woman scorned, of course, who takes her revenge in the throatiest voice possible. Is this what a powerful woman in a game is, especially when compared to the far from reprehensible Elika?**

This last should not be taken as a statement that the Prince is not an attractive (potentially) character to some players. In fact, to simply say that the Prince is an ass, therefore he is not worthy of the story/Elika/our time is reductive and misleading. It may be a common, annoying trope that the asshole is really a Nice Guy (and stems from a problematic assumption about male relationships with perspective female partners), but that, again, is not what people find alarming.

Posted in Articles, Diamond in The Rough Articles | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

The Other Blogger: My unedited thoughts re a game I have not played

Posted by flagg49 on November 22, 2009

So Tom and I were having an email exchange about the now-infamous (by design, of course) “No Russian” level from MW2.  I thought about writing a blog entry about it, but

a) I’m too lazy

c) I will never actually play this game, unless Tom buys  it and the whim strikes me, and it somehow seems wrong to devote, you know, a whole real blog post to something I don’t even care enough about to play

b) My thoughts are off the cuff and probably wrong, so why formalize them?

In light of all that, I figured I’d just post my semi-articulated thoughts as they appeared in our email argument.  I still think I’m right, basically, but am obviously an impoversihed debater about this for reasons b), c). The conversation commences after the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Blog Stuff: The Other Blogger

Posted by deckard47 on November 20, 2009

That asshole isn’t pulling his weight around here, I think you’ll all agree. He and I are having an argument about No Russian, and I think he has a point that most people in the games press, in their peculiarly insular fashion, are completely ignoring. So maybe if you all say “I do believe in faeries,” he’ll poke his head out and write it. I will of course, continue my electronic harassment of him. How many kitten videos can I send him in 5 minutes?

Posted in The Other Blogger | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

VGJ and Writing: Assassin’s Creed 2, Play, and “Preposterous” Difficulty

Posted by deckard47 on November 18, 2009

It’s time for another round of “Tom pointlessly makes snide comments about reviews.” Because it’s a Tuesday, and it isn’t even 3:00 yet. Let’s get this party started.

1up has its Assassin’s Creed 2 review up [link]. I’ll let this bad boy speak for itself:

As for the limitations of the control interface? Ubisoft’s workaround was to create a game that’s almost preposterously easy. Constant in-game text prompts guide your actions from start to finish, generously placed checkpoints soften the blow of screwups, and Ezio can build up his health and healing items to the point where the prospect of losing in combat is unthinkable. It’s definitely the right approach, since failure in AC2 so often seems in no real correlation to player error, but it makes for a game you play to have a bit of carefree escapism rather than a challenge. The tricky Assassin’s Tomb platforming missions are a welcome change of pace, albeit few in number.

Those Ubisoft cats are making games that are too easy again! They have the temerity to include “generously placed checkpoints to soften the blow of screwups.” The author then does an about-face, saying that this is the “right” approach, “but it makes for a game you play to have a bit of carefree escapism rather than a challenge.”

Hmm. Let’s get this out of the way quickly: using checkpoints to punish players is the stupidest thing I can think of to use as a game mechanic. Maybe quicksaves “ruin the moment” or something. Maybe they make players feel too safe or confidant. Guess what developers? I would rather that, than lose minutes and minutes of careful play to an errant sword slash or badly timed jump. I would rather lose some of your vaunted “atmosphere” and “challenge” so that I can play a game free from the threat of sudden and vicious reprisal. If you make me replay a whole chunk of your damn game because I died/didn’t protect the hostage/you didn’t explain your game well enough, you are not “implementing good game design” or something to that effect. You have ill-prepared me for your game, and have decided to (as punishment, plain and simple, punishment designed to “challenge” me) reward my time and effort spent in your world with a slap in the face and the destruction of my progress.

When you take time I have invested and make it meaningless, it pisses me off. Games that are designed around intense, comprehensible difficulty and complicated, well-explained systems can make this kind of punishment part of their aesthetic, part of their feel. Weirdly, it feels right to die and start over weaker in Demon’s Souls, Left 4 Dead, or even in some of the more traditional Survival Horror games. These are games about death and fear. In a game like Uncharted, or Assassin’s Creed, or Red Faction Guerilla, it does no such thing. These games are not about instant, cruel death and a punishing world. They are about adventure, and fun, and outrageous feats of daring-do. They cease to be about these things when I am forced to replay 20 grueling minutes of tricky combat after A) I’m accidentally run over by my Rebel allies, or B) the camera gets stuck in a wall, or C) the game doesn’t inform me that I’m supposed to shoot the tiny silver supports holding the log piles together. Then, these excellent, fantastic (and fantastical) games become exercises in repetition and boredom. Dying and retrying do not equal “challenge,” or a “learning experience,” unless there are actually things being taught and learned. Death (and the deletion of progress) can be a worthwhile mechanic, but only in skilled hands, and only in worlds where such mechanics make sense.

So let me say this: when I’m playing a game that is essentially Grand Theft Italian Renaissance, and I am playing a guy stuck in a genetic time machine who is himself playing an Italian Noble Bad Boy Assassin Who Can Free Run Like Sebastien Foucan, I feel like the “carefree escapism” zone has already been fucking entered. Turn back, all ye who want “realistic” checkpoints.

I think this would be a good time to commend the games that take an admirable approach to death and the ways they deal with player “failure.” First off, I don’t think this is a bad time at all to link to Steve Gaynor’s “Play” article [link]. Game’s that take away from my pleasurable experience by punishing me are pretty bad at aiding me in my Play. Just a little thought.

Back to what I was saying. Far Cry 2, Prince of Persia, and Torchlight all take fun, interesting approaches to death. Torchlight, in a move that goes against years of Action RPG Loot Collecting tradition, gives you three options for respawn after death. You can respawn in camp for no penalty whatsoever, you can respawn at the beginning of the level for a small XP and money fee, or you can respawn instantly on the spot for a larger sum. While I don’t like dying in these kinds of games (I hate, hate, hate corps runs), I love that they let me pick from a variety of options. So that’s another point for the friendly, excellent Runic games. Good for them.

Prince of Persia (every time I mention that game on this blog, I resist the urge to cackle, as I inflict my love for it upon you, yet again!) features what is essentially a glorified, extremely forgiving checkpoint system. When you die during acrobatics, you return to the last solid platform your feet touched. Even at the game’s later, harder sections, this only results in a loss of a minute, maybe two, of play. I approve. While I feel like this approach is strengthened by its increasing integration with the game’s central plot and relationship, I won’t praise it too much. It is “just” a good quicksave feature that you can’t control.

Finally, we come Far Cry 2. In keeping with the game’s blend of gritty seriousness and peculiar, morally repugnant cast, your buddies will save you after you die, pulling you to safety and reviving you. I feel like this is a great mix of the Torchlight and Prince of Persia mechanics. It plops you right back in the action (which should always be what a game does, if possible), and it does it by reinforcing your connection to your buddies, and to the world around you. You start to respect those countless goons a lot more when they kill you and/or your buddy. And they don’t even make you replay the last battle… You can just keep on fighting! How terribly novel. It lets you forgive your buddies for talking like Mercenary versions of the Gilmore Girls.

Let’s finish this up with a snide, parting shot. It’s been that kind of day: if you want “preposterous,” 1up, try this one on for size: Assassin’s Creed 2 is the least preposterous open-world game I have yet to play, and it is precisely because, unlike GTA IV, Red Faction: Guerilla, Infamous, and the original Assassin’s Creed, it lets me play without much hindrance, and it doesn’t punish me for deciding to play that game in a less than Perfect Fashion. It is absolutely “preposterous” that this is the first game of this kind that has allowed me such unhindered, flowing, worry-free experiences. It’s just as preposterous that a company that encourages such fun, non-frustrating play is resoundingly censured for such design decisions.

[Forthcoming: a post on the press’ discussion just how “brave” this second AC is]

Posted in Impressions, VGJ and Writing | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

Video Links: Witcher 2 Video Leaked: It’s that Witching Time Again

Posted by deckard47 on November 18, 2009

Oh, Geralt. You and your ponytail. Killing Krakens. What will you get up to next [Youtube link]? Maybe you’ll get rid of those childishly stupid “collection” cards with pictures of kind of naked women with whom you have had sex? For me? It doesn’t seem like too much to ask. The above video is apparently a leaked one, although now CD Projekt is moving to turn this “mistake” into a good thing. I’m sure that I’m ignorant when it comes to these kinds of things, but is this really that hard to spin this well? Let me try: our game, which isn’t coming out for a year, looks fucking amazing. Despite the fact that a diagonally slanted camera phone was used to leak this video, the village, people, and environments (especially that grassy field) all look quite beautiful. Also, Geralt, the easiest Witcher in all the land, fights a giant Earth Kraken, drops a giant building on its many-tentacled head, and then kills it in an awesome little sequence. The end.

See? Great press.

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Articles Roundup: My (Hopefully) Final Prince Articles

Posted by deckard47 on November 17, 2009

I have added a load of new articles to the Articles section of the blog (how proper of me), most of which are reviews for Sleeper Hit, where I edit and write. Some are good, some aren’t If you’re looking (still) for reviews of Borderlands, Tropico 3, or other exciting titles, you might want to check the reviews out. My oft-delayed Prince of Persia/Among Thieves/Sexualization article will be appearing (heavily edited) in three parts on Game Set Watch, soon. Rest assured, I will let you know, in a self-deprecating way, when the first one goes up. The first article will be about PoP and sexualization (a word that WordPress flatly refuses to learn). Prepare to be excited.

Also, the Eurogamer Assassin’s Creed 2 article is up at this link. It says what most people have said: nice open-world game, better than first, etc. It also manages to get in some digs at PoP. Is there a document posted on the board at Eurogamer HQ that necessitates at least one mocking PoP comment per article? Bah.

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VGJ and Writing: Write a Real Review Next Time

Posted by deckard47 on November 17, 2009

Because of Left 4 Dead 2, Dragon Age, and tonight, hopefully, Assassin’s Creed 2. While I can’t speak to the quality of that last game there, and you already know what I think of Dragon Age (about to start up the Orzammar quest, I think), I need to discuss Left 4 Dead 2, briefly.

It really is quite something. I love all of the new characters (I think). They all get to be funny, serious, angry, and scared in just the right amounts, and their humor works into the levels in a very characterful way. They seem like they belong in this game much more than our original band of four. Of course, they work so well together and with the levels because the levels are very well-made. I’ve only played Dead Center on Advanced (brutally hard), but we couldn’t get past the refueling scene. It was like those scenes in the original Left 4 Dead that ended in complete party death, with one key difference: it never felt cheap. When you died in Left 4 Dead, it’s because a Tank booted you off a roof or into deep water or something. In the Atrium, when you die, it’s because you let yourself get separated from your team, or you accidentally lost a gas tank (on the roof!), or something. It feels almost fair. Odd.

Since I’ve only played the first campaign (and have never beaten it), all I can say is this: I love this game. I love it more than the first one. It looks amazing (the burning hotel rooms are both disorienting and beautiful), the new weapons and abilities are perfectly implemented, and the new Infected are hilarious and dangerous. There was a discussion recently on the Twitters about possible games of the year. I would not have included Left 4 Dead 2 on that list yesterday. Now, I don’t see how I could not put it on the list. I will be playing it tonight. See you there.

[Edit: Just came across Kotaku review of Left 4 Dead 2. Really?:]

Left 4 Dead 2 really feels like the game that the original should have been. Even though it was delivered with an astonishing (read: somewhat concerning) turn around time, it ultimately doesn’t feel as rushed as the first, offering—with the exception of a still-missing capable single-player component—a solid multiplayer suite that doesn’t skimp on modes, maps or options.”

Well. Then there’s that. I’m not sure where to start. “Somewhat concerning.” What the hell does that mean? When has the speed with which a game was made ever been legitimately concerning (aside from the babbling surrounding L4D2). Maybe he means concerning to some. If there was anything to be “concerned” about, it was the pricing (and I think this game is worth a hell of a lot more than $60, but I understand the price argument), not the speed with which the game was made. Also, why do you care about single player that “isn’t there?” This isn’t a single player game, plain and simple. I wonder how long it will take the Left 4 Dead series to ditch SP. Maybe they never will. But it is almost totally unimportant to the experience. It’s a pale shadow of what the game can be. For those without the internet, this is a bad thing. But this is a MP game. It’s like the Battlefield games. He’s unhappy that the game is not something else. It’s like me running around Assassin’s Creed  2 and wondering why I can’t have some competitive assassination action now, dammit. That would be another game entirely.

This is the most bizarre trend in the “enthusiast” and professional gaming press. It’s one thing to want a game to be better at what it does (and yes, SP Left 4 Dead 2 is obviously not great), or to want a game to be more radical or ground breaking in its approach to new game systems or methods of play. But to damn it for being a MP game that has less-than great SP? It’s a mindless critique. I don’t understand it. It’s like hating a book (let’s say, Lioness Rampant, for all of us Alanna fans out there. C’mon you lot!) because it’s a fantasy book instead of a murder mystery. Go read a damn murder mystery. It’s a baseless, meaningless critique, and it’s just another sign that I shouldn’t read Kotaku on Tuesdays (or any other day) if I want to see forward-thinking, mature reviews. I’m not even talking about “critiques” or articles or other haughtily self-labeled clever blogging, or any kind of theory-related discussion. I’m talking about reviews.

I understand that it’s a review, but I think it’s a really bad call to give those hilarious L4D2 “rush job” accusations any more credence than is professionally necessary, just because a lot of people did. Address it, debunk it, and move on. Don’t darkly hint at it throughout your review. Among the gaming press there’s still this pervasive, unintelligible notion that a review must be “objective.” No. What does that even mean. You are not objective. No one is. You never were and never will be. When you say objective, you often mean “what a lot of people who I think represent the dominant societal discourse are saying.” Stop talking about it.

A review should prove that you are a thinking, opinionated individual who feels a certain way about a certain game. You might discuss common discourses on the game, but only so much as they a) relate to your argument, and b) are relevant to the public discourses surrounding the game. Even then, you don’t need to address anything, for any reason. Address it because it is relevant to your argument or because to not address it would be misleading to your readers. Give it the weight and time it deserves, not the weight other people give it. So mention the price/development time thing. Tell people it’s a pointless argument, and they can either pay money for the game or legitimately (but foolishly!) refuse to pay a seemingly “too high” of a price. See what I did there? I voiced an opinion! I do it in my reviews all of the time! I have never melted into a puddle lamenting my beautiful wickedness as a result of such opinionated reviewing.No one does. In fact, it makes their reviewing fun and worthwhile. It makes me respect that author. If someone discussed the L4D2 time/pricing issue voiced their own opinion about it, I would listen. I would respect them for thinking a certain way about something else and then informing me of their thought process. Repeating what (par of) the Internet says does not = having an opinion.

Go buy Left 4 Dead 2. It’s an amazing game, and I need more PC player to play with, Simon and Co. are on the damn 360.

Posted in Impressions, VGJ and Writing | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Impressions: I am a Poacher of Werewolves

Posted by deckard47 on November 12, 2009

So I just finished the Dalish Elf quarter of the main quest. It was tough, but thanks to my newly acquired Arcande Warrior specialty, I made it past Dragons, the undead, and a ton of werewolves. Being me (and my elven mage being a nice lady), I saved the elves and the werewolves. It was a nice quest, even it if it was a little Star Trek-y (oh wait, both sides have different stories… Who is right?), and I’m looking forward to going back in there and getting the rest of my new armor set. I’m tired and it is late, so I won’t write anything else here. I wish I had more to say, but I feel funny writing about it when I’m only 1/4 (at the most) of the way through the game. Unlike the blazingly fast Simon, I don’t have what it takes to blow through this game (as my multiple characters show). Some people live for loot in RPGs. I live for different narrative arcs. Suddenly, right now, I really want to play as a Dalish Warrior archer and see how the Dalish quest plays out. As that young man, I would kill the werewolves quickly a viciously, I think.

On the other hand, when I get there as my charismatic young thief, I know she’ll side with the werewolves. This is the kind of thing that eats away at my life. I thought I’d escaped, allowing for this kind of unpleasant obsession every year or so with a run-through of Baldur’s Gate 2. How quickly I slip back into my old way. I actually have to get some work done soon, but I hope to finish the next hub (the Circle of Magi, so I can see my old friends and enemies) by the week’s end. I really must sleep now, so this is goodbye. Good luck with the dragons, and with Modern Warfare 2, if that is your thing (I’ll be trying out a PS3 version of it soon. Anyone have it for PS3 and want to play some MP?).

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Impressions: Dragon Age and that other Bioware game…

Posted by deckard47 on November 6, 2009

So I played an unhealthy amount of Dragon Age last night. I now have two characters, a female City Elf Warrior (dual wield, thinking of going Templar and Berserker for her) and a male human noble Rogue (dual wield backstab specialist, going assassin and dualist). I liked both origin stories, although I’m still unsure what I think about the City Elf origin. It was extremely unpleasant in its subject matter, and the way the bad things were portrayed (rape, murder, and racist oppression) were very abrupt and matter-of-fact. It was very George R. R. Martin, which I don’t really mean as a compliment (to Martin, that is). I’m not sure, as I said, how I feel about it. Another playthrough is in order before I come down hard on Bioware (if I come down hard).

I think he brutalizes his characters just to show how REAL his world is, and I got tired of watching him murder, rape, and abuse them after a few books. Bioware likes its characters more, and isn’t as willing to destroy them to keep their world Dark, which endears them to me. I like people who like the fictional worlds and people they create.

I also love Alistair and the Dog. Alistair is hilarious (the actor who plays him does a great job), and the Dog is really impressive in how it is animated and characterized. I already like it better than the Fable 2 dog. But back to the origin stories. It is obvious that Bioware was keen to create emotionally charged stories, and I think they succeeded. As a City Elf, I was perfectly happy to murder the man who had my friends murdered and raped, and my fiancée killed. My only complaint was that we didn’t get to know any of the elves in the alienage. As a noble, I met and got to know my whole family. Thus, when they were murdered while I slept, and their murderer escaped, I was ready to track him down and kill him. And then stupid Duncan whisks me off to fight the Blight. It made sense as a delaying tactic narratively, but I wanted to get straight to the revenge. I still don’t know what happened to my brother. Is he dead too?

The combat is uniformly excellent all of the skills have their place, as do the spells, potions, poisons, and various abilities. I’m still trying to figure out how to use traps well… I suspect I’m not being sneaky enough with them. I really enjoy playing as a back stabbing Rogue. It’s much more complex tactically than playing my fighter is. I can already tell that I want to play certain classes as certain races. Right now, it breaks down like this: Dalish Elf/Warrior Sword Shield, Dwarf Commoner/Ranger, Elven Mage. I will of course play all of the origins eventually, but I want to do it too much for fear of overplaying Ostragar and the Korcari Wilds.

Finally, I think I like the morality system better in this game: it doesn’t exist. Instead, you can make people in your party like you or not like you, just by doing things they would or would not like. So far I’m sucking up to everyone, but I might make my human be a little more picky. Also, I love Sten. I really need to talk to him more. It’s a huge game, and I love wandering about and fiddling with things, talking to my party members for hours (really, I spent an hour buttering up Morrigan, Alistair and Leliana), and fighting tough, exciting battles. Oh, and as expected, the lore is deep, well-written, and very fun to read. I’ve read every one, from the religious songs and histories of the chantry to the constantly-updated history of my doomed noble house.

So, after reading this, I hope you get the sense of how big and varied this game is. All of that was just me rambling about what I like. I could have talked about a dozen other things (gifts, armor set bonuses, shape changing!), and lauded those things just as much. It’s a great game, and it has its faults, but it’s the best RPG I’ve played since Mass Effect, and it’s great in a way that is very different from Mass Effect.

Which reminds me. Here is an absolutely amazing set of videos from Mass Effect 2. Things to note: Garrus, I love you! The dialogue and cutscenes look even better this time, as do the character’s reactions and expressions. I can’t wait for this to drop!

Posted in Impressions, Videos | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Non-Gaming Related: Flash Forward Public Service Announcement

Posted by deckard47 on November 2, 2009

This is going to be brief, because it has nothing to do with games.

To the people making and writing Flash Forward: what is it with the Joseph Fiennes. You know, I know he has been in, like, stuff (I’m a fan of the relatively recent The Escapist, where he has a nice part), and he was in Goodbye Bafana, where I assume he was riveting, but he isn’t a big name. I know he was in Shakespeare in Love about a zillion overrated years ago.

Now, John Cho. He’s a big name. I mean, he may have been in smaller indie stuff for a while, but he’s fucking Sulu now. He has a retractable space sword. He plays an interesting character in the show, and while he is often Super Angry and Tough, it’s in a way I can get behind. I’m sure the reason his Demetri is the secondary male lead is because, you know, when he pouts about the future, he does it from the societally unforgivable position of being Asian American. Because why else would you make your lead a boring guy, played by an actor who couldn’t make the role mean shit even if he wanted to, and relegate your popular, young leading man to the important, yet still second-banana status?

Joseph Fiennes’ “Mark,” though. He pouts a lot, and he does it with a Genuine White face. He hangs around in one of his Standard Issue Off-Duty/On-Duty FBI Vaguely Tight Shirts/Sweaters and worries about shit, while his friends all attempt to ignore his hair. He is incredibly unconvincing and boring. Remember that scene where he’s all “In my Flashforward, I saw a bunch of stuff, and I was drinking?” I don’t. I don’t because it was an excruciating 20 minute scene where he convinces everyone to follow his advice in a really unconvincing way. I wouldn’t believe him.

ABC (that’s the right network, right?). Kill Mark, and make John Cho the main guy. We’ll all thank you. Or just get Mark stuck in an alternate dimension, or a coma, or have him fall into a distortion in the space-time continuum. We’ll all get behind it. Mark can be the voice of the week that tells us what moral/practical lessons the leads learned/didn’t learn. He’ll be an absent Sci-Fi Zach Braff. Do it.

Too long. Fail!

Posted in Non-Gaming Related | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Impressions and Video Links: RPGs and Zero-G Space Shooters

Posted by deckard47 on November 2, 2009

There are a couple of thins I’d like to touch on here, but first, I’d like to direct you to this trailer for the zero-G space shooter Shattered Horizons, seen at RPS. It looks really interesting, but since I would have to have a Windows 7/Vista machine to run it, I won’t be playing it any time soon. I’d like to, but then I’d have to reinstall every single thing we have on our terabyte hard drive, and that would include 50 games or so. So no, not right now (I also don’t want to get in some BIOS slugging match with my computer and end up stuck in some DOS nega-hell).

I have been playing a sickly amount of Borderlands, and as people (like Simon) have said, it is poorly constructed in many ways. And yet I’m over 30 hours now, counting all characters. There’s just nothing beyond the loot and the shooting. It’s great, still, but they created a world that could have been so fun and interesting, and then they made it strangely sterile and immovable. I love the references to our man Jayne Cobb. In fact, there are a TON of pop culture references in there. But it’s a beautiful, super-fun wasteland, and nothing else. It won’t last long, but while it lasts, I’m having a great time.

The same goes for Torchlight. I love re-rolling, making new builds, and all of that stuff, and the game is beautiful and fun. But I can sense a creeping boredom. I’m not bored, not yet, but I can feel it waiting, waiting for some invisible trigger. Again, I’ll play it until I don’t want to. I’m glad to have two games that I love so much I play them despite the fact that they have no legs to stand on. When I think of the soon-to-be-released Dragon Age (midnight tonight, I hope?), I can’t possibly imagine I’ll have the same problem. In fact, I’ll have different problems, probably surrounding the game’s stability, look, and usability. But it will keep me going, all the way until the end. Ironic.

EDIT: So I said some stuff about Torchlight, but I really wanted to say more, something about its usability, simplicity, and lack of the old “too many features” syndrome. Luckily, I don’t have to! Nels Anderson says it first, well.

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