26 June, 2008


Remember the first time you joined a Quake 2 server, and people were jumping around fighting with blasters cause they didn't know the weapon spawns yet, and you thought to yourself HOLY SHIT, IT'S JUST LIKE BEING IN STAR WARS, and for a long time it was. You found the weapons, and you got to know the maps so well you could tell which elevator someone had activated just from what it sounded like all the way across the map. You could make that one jump to the super health every time, and your enemies always died in the water.

Years later you went back for a taste of the old goodness, and you joined some server that was cycling through every map in the single player game. Once again, no one could find the weapons, and everyone was fighting with blasters, and it didn't feel like Star Wars at all.

Yesterday I tracked down a copy of Giants: Citizen Kabuto, knowing that if it ran in Vista at all my disappointment and shattered fond memories would be at least as severe as the example above or any other "hey, remember how great xyz was?" sort of experience. If it ran in Vista at all. I should also mention I was concerned the game might not run under Vista.

Giants: Citizen Kabuto still feels like fucking Star Wars. The game has aged so beautifully that to this day it boasts some of the most hair-raising, intense single player firefights in any game. Playing it today, I remembered why I long ago lost interest in single player action fare: As a rule, fighting robots sucks because they are carefully engineered to lose for your satisfaction. It's supposed to be something more, but it almost never is - especially now that players who want challenge and tough competition always rush straight into the multiplayer. The single player audience doesn't care about that, and today you regularly see glowing reviews that mention a game's single player campaign as though it were an afterthought.

PROS:  Suspendisse diam est, rhoncus eu, pellentesque eu, luctus sed, nulla.
CONS:  Weak single player campaign.
FINAL SCORE:  97% - A classic!

Giants takes vertical level designs, populates them with too many enemies, allows them the same situational awareness, mobility, and desire to cooperate with one another that you would want if you were in their position, and then provides them with relentlessness and firepower. I'm not sure I've ever been chases as far or fired upon from as great a distance, even in a multiplayer game. It gives you truly dangerous enemies who are actually worth fighting, it gives you ways to avoid them when necessary, and best of all it provides you with satisfying maneuverability and firepower. All of this with humor and excellent sound effects, and it still runs flawlessly. I haven't had this much fun in a while.

23 June, 2008

Idle Hands Sink Ships, Part I

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Last week I played Rohan Online: Blood Feud, and last night I slogged through a bit of Requiem: Bloodymare. These are not good games. I have a soft spot for eastern fare, although most of it is frankly trash, but these two games are really pretty awful.

Rohan has a bit of charm to the character designs and music, and the sound effects aren't too bad. Since I consider sound effects second only to variety in importance when judging the quality of a game, I can almost recommend it. For a while. It's fun for a day or two, until you reach the inevitable point at which you find yourself whacking at the same monster over and over again for that .1% of a level. In Rohan this happens at about level 15.

Requiem is a different story altogether. Apart from not being a HORROR MMORPG, but merely a very bloody fantasy MMORPG, its major crime is making the /shout command a premium feature in its F2P scheme. Pay the optional $8 or $15 and not only do you get more xp, smaller death penalties, and other things whose default settings should be something developers arrive at in the interests of making their game challenging and thrilling; for that small amount of money you have access to a feature that comes free in every other Korean game ever made, a feature which has always benefitted others more than the person using it.

Imagine my embarrassment learning of this clever plan only days after declaring Rohan the most backwards game I had ever played.

In my depression I went back to RF Online for a moment. We'll talk about that later. I actually love RF Online and wish I hadn't hit a brick wall at level 34. But it's time to hop on my return flight and play some shitty American games again.

Thit's week's shitty American MMOs are Starport: Galactic Empires" and the ever-maligned Dark and Light. I say shitty primarily to shield myself from criticism. The truth of it is that thus far I've found D&L to be a charming and stable game which happens to control and draw about as smoothly as Runescape did five years ago.

Son of a bitch, now I'm playing Runescape.

Right now, I am playing Runescape.

Fuck you, Internet. Fuck you.

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