Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Space Siege - Reviewed

All right, I haven't finished it yet. I may not finish it, though the completest in me screams at the thought.

My overall rating - Meh*. That would be the middle one. If you are particularly in the market for a clunky sci-fantasy shooter, this one fits the bill. Otherwise you may as well keep looking. It's not the modern manifestation of Obliterator I had hoped for.

My Big Complaints:
  • Why can't I customize the controls? I have 8 buttons on my mouse and your game recognizes 3 of them. I haven't had it this bad since a long time ago.
  • If you're going to bother making up 8 weapons, make up 8 different weapons. I have one melee weapon, and the rest are all either fast or slow guns. It reminds me very much of the old Doom days, whereby the next new weapon you pick up is going to be the one you use. Because it does more damage.
  • So I'm on this HUGE colony/warship. And I'm the only guy in the whole place with the presence of mind to shoot back when the aliens try to eat me.
I have other, lesser complaints, but they just pile on to what you may have read everywhere else. I have to say I generally like the art style, though I have questioned some of the texture choices. If you bother to play, note especially the very pixelated displays littered about the place. Which are highly repetitive. Highly repetitive is, unfortunately a hallmark of the design. Most of the environments are similar, and the prop list is very small.

I'm not saying it's not worth playing. I mean, I have played it almost all the way through. I admit I partly sold myself on it in that it has some thematic similarities with System Shock 2. In fact, I kept thinking that an SS2 mod based on this engine might be interesting if one could unlock the controls.

I know I keep harping on the controls. It's like this: The game insists that you use a Diablo 2 style of control - sans the mouse wheel skill flip. Click the left mouse button to move or interact. Click and or hold the right mouse button to use your current weapon. But I would have preferred a more Max Payne style of play. I think changing this from an awkward RPG to an OK 3rd person shooter might have made a difference.

The story doesn't exactly redeem, either. It's the same old same old. You're going to see the big plot twists in about the first 15 minutes of play. You won't be surprised. And, as I thought, the whole cybernetic vs humanity sub plot fails. Why do I care if characters who are thinly realized care if I go fully cybernetic? The big difference is which of the guns you get to use by the end of the game. The game doesn't have enough character interaction for your lack of humanity to make any real difference. If this was a big RPG, say Ultima IV or Knights of the old Republic scale, then I could see that playing out. You only interact with 5 NPCs, and then really only in cut scenes. They might be horrified, but I'm not.

Bottom line - Skip it.

*This refers to my new five spot rating system. Meh is the middle rating. It means the game or product may have redeeming value for specific individuals, but is generally unappealing or flawed to the point of making it generally not applicable. The other ratings are Awesome, which means I think your simply nuts if you don't already love it; Not Bad, which means I think it may not be best for everybody, but it's a good production of what it is; Bah, which means I think the thing failed and has few redeeming qualities; And BC3. BC3 is a direct reference to Battle Cruiser 3000AD which is the first game I ever bought that actually made me think the developer was deliberately trying to make me angry. I try to avoid those ones.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Space Siege - Impressions

OK, I'm back on the critical path purchase wise. Now I just need to set the Warcraft aside long enough to play.

I've played about 5 hours of Space Siege, and I have no idea how far into the game that puts me. Generally pleased. It is mostly and action game. The Role Playing Game elements are very reduced. The biggest complaints I have so far are
  • the camera is working against you
  • I can't figure how to change the controls

The story is pretty stock, but I may not be that far in. I was correct about the demo. They deliberately introduce the cyborg/humanity plot early in the demo. The cyborg vs. your humanity is a central theme, but the full game introduces other story elements that I assume are intended to also affect your decision making.

I may have a more detailed look later.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Holy Market Forces, Batman (1.1)

World of Warcraft Epic Stein's

This is how you know your market is huge. You make a cup. Admittedly, a very fancy cup. You call it a collector's item. You claim it has "old world" craftsmanship. You make two versions of it, because you know your audience that well. Then you charge 10 times the manufacturing cost for them. Then they sell out.

Ok, I guessed on that last bit. Keep an eye peeled. We'll watch the insanity together.

I was thinking more about this and thought some extra thoughts. I thought about my buying thresholds. This item is in the category of "Holy crud. No way I'm buying one of those. Maybe for Xmas." Except when I look at it, it's a waste of an Xmas gift. $70 bucks is a whole other game, that I don't have time to play. Wait, that is clever. Blizzard.

It never rains...

You probably know the old adage. Well, it's pouring in Poodiopolis. In fact it may be a monsoon.

1) Space Siege - Already released (or read that as "I'm already behind!")
The demo actually held me back slightly. I'm not sure the "choose to be human or cyber" mechanic is going to be the core story element it's intended to be, but may be the demo is compressed.

2) Spore - Early September
I don't know that Spore is a game. It's more likely that Spore generates pocket dimensions. Again, though I've been really hyped about this for a long time, I played with the free version of the creature creator and had mixed feelings. Innovative and clever, no doubt. Fun GAME? Hard to say.

3) Fallout 3 - Q4 2008 (Hopefully before Xmas. Wait. Hopefully later.)
This one has not been spoiled for me by a demo yet. I should mention that I'm not a long term fan of Fallout. It is, however, written by Bethesda and set in one of my very favorite genres. And it's written by Bethesda.

4) Wrath of the Lich King - Q4 2008 (yes, I'm back on the crack. Hopefully it's not terminal)
I don't really want to get into it.

5) Warhammer Online - Sept 18 ('cause I really need another MMO in my life.)
I'm trying not to be disappointed in advance. On the other hand, me and every other fan boy are smacking down their bucks opening day even if it is a pile. So I guess from a certain perspective, it's job well done.

Add a liberal dash of regular PnP, where at least I'm not GM for a change. And a once monthly strategy game day. I can hear Rebecca chambering a round.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Sometimes strange things come to my attention. I try to pretend that I don't notice, because that means they might have to put me on lithium. Lately, I've had a run of "the web is a small world".

It seems the chupacabra is destined to haunt me.

The word first came to my attention as part of a gag in an early episode of "Red Vs. Blue" (very often, very NSFW). The gag consists mostly of the characters trying to decide what name the Warthog should have.

The term has come up in a couple of web comics lately. I'm kind of like CARNIVORE. Except dumber...

(ah the Friday afternoon link post. Good times.)