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6:57 AM on 06.22.2012

Lucasarts: The Last Hurrah?

Lucasarts, once the creator of some of the most awesome point and click type adventure games in the world.

Created some awesome star wars games to, some of which were not just good star wars games but good games in their own right.

Now reduced to what? 1 game every couple of years?

With the lacklustre Force Unleashed 2 could Star Wars 1313 be the last chance to turn things around at Lucasarts or is it too little too late?.

The Past

First off lets not forget the sheer awesomeness that is Lucasarts back catalogue of games, from Monkey Island, The Dig, Full Throttle, Dark Forces, Jedi Knight, Battlefront, TIE Fighter and the X-Wing series, Republic Commando, Galactic Battlegrounds (OK it wasnt fantastic but it was fun), KOTOR,Secret Weapons over Normandy, Force Unleashed and probably some more.

Sure their were the not so good games like Obi Wan, Force Commander, Force Unleashed 2,Starfighter and EP1 :TPM (geugh what a name) and more to boot. But there was alot of genuinely good stuff.

Sure some lacked effort to say the least but alot of them were genuinely good games regardless of being a SW fan or not. In those days Lucasarts and the other developers it used put alot of effort into the games they made (Mostly anyway)

Alot of them also supported a big modding community pretty similar to the scale of games like Skyrim, Obivion, Half Life etc.

The Present

Um... yeah we have had in recent years The Force Unleashed I and II, SW Kinect and SW TOR.
I think there was a Clone Wars game too but I was dumb enough to buy that on steam...

The Force Unleashed (TFU from this point as I fear for my keyboard) was pretty good in my opinion, there were moments of frustration and some very nice DLC but overall it was a fun experience.

Shamefully although it looked awesome and had some pretty cool effects, its sequel wasnt as good. It pretty much HAS to have last entry to end it because one of the endings kinda demands it (No details as it would be a spoiler to say the least)

I havent played SW Kinect because I dont have a playing area remotely big enough for it to work correctly but my brother seems to like it so I'll probably pick it up when I move house.

SW Tor, well... I'm still kinda on the fence. I want to like it, I want to play it but there is just something I cant put my finger on... something it lacks... But I struggle to say what...

The Future

Well I would like to say there will be a reboot of X-Wing with next gen graphics which has you blowing stuff up in space with location based damage as ships explodes spilling bits and the odd crew member into space.

But there isnt -as far as anyone knows- anything like that in the pipeline.

I'd like to say there will be a massive scale clone wars RTS powered by the latest Total War engine.

But there isnt.

I would definatly like a 3rd KOTOR or some other RPG set in star wars in any time line.

Sure Star Wars 1313 MAY have RPG elements but it isnt looking to be a pure RPG.

What about sequels to the underlooked games like Republic Commando? That game was gritty star wars (especially the bad ass wookiees and the clone ship)

Star Wars 1313
I think this could be the last hurrah for Lucasarts, I hope its fooking fantastic, it looks based off the work that was done for the Force Unleashed games. But that main thing is this. I dont care if it looks like a turd if it makes me want to play it for 3 days straight eating nothing and becoming a hermit because I enjoy it that much (and probably ending up with dead pets and a divorce)

A guy can wish eh?

They just dont make stuff as good as they used to remotely. SW TOR is failing, SW Kinect was generally average review wise

And as far as we know there is nothing else in the pipeline.

Come on lucasarts, you've got a ridiculour back catalogue of inspiration to use. Use it.

TIE Fighter reboot anyone?   read

5:26 AM on 06.15.2012

Star Trek Online: Season 5 opinions + state of the game

Its been a hellish amount of time since I've last posted here. I no longer play games to the err "amount" that I used to but still keep up to date with whats going on and whats on the horizon.

After finally convincing the other half that her old pc (Which could just barely run Sims 3 with a frame rate probably below 15, and once took 12 hours to install half of starcraft 2) was past it and that mine was far superior.

Any how back to business. There had been a few changes since I last played STO, in the form of a new featured episode , some new ships (New Enterprise with a really naf new captain) and the duty officer system.

To sum these up I'll say Meh+, Mmm and Wat ?

The featured episode had massive potential being based on a loose end they didnt tie up during DS9 the TV series. It was very hit and miss to be honest, the fights against the dominion and their ships were fun, the bajor bit was boring and it might look nice but the non combat gameplay felt shoe horned and ill fitting. The cutscene flying into the wormhole was very well done and to be honest looked indentical to the TV series, but why was this polish not throughout the episode?.

The federation prison was nice to lookout but with the silliest security I have ever seen, Holographic prison guards?. Really?? . No flaws in that design?. No power issues?.

The space suit part was fine and different and then spoilt by the final combat bit which wasnt well balanced for me.

Overall it was a nice try and good in places but it felt rushed as if they'd struggled with what they wanted to do.

The new enterprise design was very nice, coupled with a new interior and it felt polished and the variations made sense. The captain of the enterprise (and infact DS9) were bad to the extreme with no backstory or anything to make you think "wow these guys are up there with Kirk, Picard et all and I can see why they are captain of 2 of the most important assets in the federation.

The duty officer system was a nice addition but to be honest it shoukd have been there from the start. But yet again your Bridge Officers dont really play any part. One of the most important things STO needed to get right was your crew. Star Trek wouldnt be Star Trek without the crew being involved, there are soo many stories that focus on the crew not always the captain but STO doesnt do this. I would always have liked more focus on the backgrounds of these crew members, their history and what makes them tick.

Why cant my XO refuse to let me beam down or challenge an order?. It means I as captain have to make a decision, which is what star trek captains are all about. I might get it wrong but thats the fun of it.

Star Trek Online has excellent combat (Even the ground is better now but I feel it should be cover based ala gears of war etc). But it doesnt have good non combat features. There are countless episodes across star trek and even films where no phaser or torpedo is fired, STO doesnt do this and its non combat bits are an after thought rather than a focus.

STO has made the same wrong decisions that SWG did many years ago, it launched with no space and (if memory serves) no jedi. When it then brought jedi back it then messed the game up by making everyones focus becoming jedi and then causing combat system revamps which ultimately ended the game. STO hasnt made the same major mistakes yet but needs to work on the non combat side and the involvement of bridge officers, as the moment their just pets....   read

11:09 AM on 07.13.2008

And AoC struck me down and destroyed my fun

I was enjoying myself more than I had in many, many MMOs for a long time. I wasnt killing truly hideous amounts of stuff. I wasnt killing stuff for silly rare quest drops. I wasnt even getting pwned very much.

My Necromancer was fun to play with, and had some awesome effects. So I thought I'd do a Barbarian (Cimmerian naturally) I was slamming, smashing and goring people. I even figured out a mostly sucessful way to finish people 80% of the time.

Then my immersion got ripped out from under me at the same time as a kick in the nuts.

Now the archytype for my Barbarian is rogue. Which kinda makes sense because a barbarians all damage and dodging shit really, just no stealth right?. Wrong.

My first "awakening of a Barbarian mission" was to sneak past some guards and evesdrop...

A barbarian sneaking...

Thats like Hulk being asked to infiltrate a base...

Necro's been awesome. Gonna try a Tempest of Set soon before they nerf the level 30 uber lightning.   read

4:06 PM on 03.23.2008

How SWG almost destroyed my love of Star Wars

SWG.... sigh.

It could have been so much better. I was enthralled when the original news came out that it was being developed. The screenshots and details looked good, it sounded good.

Beta came out and I kept watching it (got into beta 3). I didnt play it silly amounts during beta, but I did play a bit, mostly exploring planets rather than grinding. Seemed really good.

Then SOE being utter cocks delayed the european launch six months. You simply couldnt frigging get SWG over here. So in protest I forgot about for 6 months ish.

I got SWG, installed it and after alot of fun grinded my first character. The old character system was fun in some ways. You could make your own profession out of the trees. Looking back the player cities, modified jedi grind and vehicles made it more fun. BUT

Thats where the game started going wrong. Sure jedi had been there from the start, but now the way to do it was clear. So almost everyone started it. I personally didnt bother and though I did get village access I didnt do much quest wise bar helping some friends. I did do (I think) 5 of the 6 unlocks just before the system got owned.

But everyone 90% of the time was jedi grinding..

No one around for events, pvp or content. Just pure grinding. And because almost everyone was doing jedi the devs focused on that. Eventually we did get the Combat Upgrade (which WAS needed and did make it better) but still it was jedi focused.

They should have focused it on the Galactic Civil War using the many battlefields they put in the game. Those pretty much never worked and were never touched again.

So now we're stuck with the NGE. When SOE destroyed the old system and made jedi a starting profession. So sure now theres not much problem with players grinding. There ARE more quests and content than before but frankly the shite SOE community team, lack of focus and jedi focus has lead to an awful lot of hate against jedi.

And worse alot less players. I'll admit new SOE stuff has made it alot better. But I cant bring myself to play it because there were times you wished Star Wars didnt exist because of how crap the game was.

If The Force Unleashed sucks that'll be it for SW Gaming.   read

6:41 AM on 03.19.2008

So I finally admitted defeat to Sony....

Intending to buy a PS3 today.

I've been thinking about it for some time, wondering if getting a 360 was better. I dont game much online anymore and frankly I despise windows live and Microsoft in general after years of working with shite O/S and PCs.

I know there have been cuts on 360s, but I cant warrant the money for an elite when I can get a PS3 with Blu Ray for 230 ish (we have 20% staff discount over easter for hitting sales targets 2 months early).

Looking at Blu Ray players the dam things cost about 150 ish for a basic one, unless you want a pc mounted one.

OK there are a few games I'd love to play (Mass Effect, Lost Odyssey) that are only on 360 but the reliabilty of 360s is an issue as I have friends who's have died.

I have a nice Sony Bravia 26" HD TV so thats not an issue, and good reliable , wireless net access.

Anyone got any thoughts?   read

3:28 PM on 03.07.2008

I feel like er a soulstorm

No thats not when you eat a shit load of insanely powerful curry, drunk a litre of cheap lager, jump up and down for 5 minutes then do the mother of vomiting spasms whilst crapping your pants.

Anyway its Dawn of Wars new expansion, Soulstorm adding the very nice dark eldar (sadistic, moral destroying eldar). And strangly sexy bitches in power armour, the Sisters of Battle.

Currently fighting the campaign as Chaos on normal difficulty. Already cut off Dark Eldar supply lines and hammered them back to 2 territorys, one of which is their base.

Looking forward to taking the other 2 planets. Well aside from Imperial Guard one, as that apparently has a uber basilisk...

Also somewhat like my lords wargear. Flaming hands? oh yes please...   read

2:48 AM on 03.03.2008

Too many Catapults Spoil the Siege...

Still fighting the good fight against the Welsh, whats left of th irish and now England...

MTW2 Kingdoms gets harder. I knew the English would send a substantial force up to teach me a lesson. They did and it worried me as it looked like 2000 men.

During the battle I realised that half that force was entirely catapults (and a few battered units)
The city they were trying to capture was a top level, massive walled city.

It was Newcastle and it had cannon towers and a fair garrison. I actualy sent some pikemen out to attack the catapult army (which had attacked a section of wall but been ruthlessly mauled by cannon fire from the towers). The catapult army never even got the wall down, they were hammered and there was an awful lot of firewood left on the battle field. The pikemen took a beating but survived.

The other flank did have some siege towers, and some actual cannon but even they got slammed by cannon fire. That side of the city handled itself as the cannons decimated the enemy army.

As that battle was taking place I sneakily attacked the English capital via sea and took it in an almost bloodless battle...

Annoyingly I ran out of time for some of the Victory Conditions.....   read

9:10 AM on 03.01.2008

Never Under estimate the power of cannon and pikemen

The Irish were defeated, hammered back after an epic pair of battles around dublin.

They had 1 city left which I decided not to attack on the grounds it couldnt afford a decent sized army to fight me. The Welsh, who had previously been my allies attacked dublin a year or so after its capture.

Dublin had been reinforced with Cannon Towers...

It had a sizeable force in it but it was outnumbered by about 300 men. Welsh had mostly Spearmen and Archers plus 2 general units.

It was split into 2 forces, main force behind the city with no siege equipment. secondary force with 1 battering ram to the front. The battering ram had alot of Infantry and a general behind it. It was a massacre. The column was a sitting duck for the cannon towers and archers on the walls. Oh sure they broke the gate down but when you break a gate down and get boiling oil in the face, arrows from murder holes and then run into a forest of pikeman, you question the wisdom of doing it.

That army was quickly killed and it was a 15 minute wait for the second , larger force to walk round the city, being cannoned part of the way. It charged the gate the odd unit at a time and was brutally punished for it. Even as the battered, scatted remnants of the Welsh Army tried to run the cannons were brutally slaying them as they ran.

Not one survived the battle.   read

10:19 AM on 02.28.2008

Right, soo 300 is sort of Feasible?

I have a new respect and admiration for Spearmen in MTW2. Sure they are pretty good at killing cavalry, but I didnt know they were able to out fight really heavy infantry.

I was playing my epic campaign against the irish (currently the Irish are beginning to fight back despite losing vast tracks of land, I have held them off but need a change of tactics to slam their mostly ranged armys) I'd been defending one particular island against several attacks when they launched a 1000 man army (almost entirely Irish Swordsman) against me.

I'd only got Town Militia spearmen and a few Spear Militia units. I numbered 500, against an almost entirely 2 handed swordsman with some artillery and a few javellineers. They sat back and bombed my walls, so I legged it and deployed my men around the breaches, 3 units facing it.

When the enemy attacked they were hit by 3 units from almost all sides. Forced back to the breach at both wall breaches, they fought hard and were slowly crawling through 1 breach. The other breach was a slaughter, and as the units in the breach that were being stabbed to death broke about 200 were killed as they tried to flee. Killing those who couldnt outpace them I turned this breach defending force and charged it into the back of the force trying to storm the other breach...

Not one of them got out.

of the 1000 men that came, 5 got out, all of these crew of the Bombard that had been shelling us. Spearmen I guess were just too quick against the slower swordsman.   read

1:14 PM on 02.21.2008

The Battle of (Some Castle in Scotland) in MTW2:K

Words cannot describe how awesome this game is for strategy buffs. If you want to be challenged in ways you'd never thought of this is for you.

Yesterday my Scottish Forces faced the wrath of Norway. Early battles and fights had taken some Norwegian Forces out, but my main force had surged north to take out the 2 main Norwegian castles/cities. I knew as I marched forward that King Knut of Norway and his hideously large, well trained and equipped army had landed. But for some reason it headed past mine and let me siege and capture a big castle. I rapidly reinforced it to max and bang the huge 1000 odd strong Knut Army AND another 900 men attacked it.

They sieged and I knew they'd attack rather than starve me out. Queue the epic battle.

2000 well trained soldiers against an army consisting of Some Highlanders, Highland Rabble, some Peasant Archers, Mercenary Crossbowman, Mailed Knights and Border Horses.

Arrayed on the front walls were the Archers, Crossbowman and 2 units of Highland Rabble placed to counter the 2 siege towers. Gate was defended by 3 units of highlanders. 2 more highlander units were placed near likely siege tower points to reinforce. Cavalry was located down the main road into the castle center, 2 Commanders and bodyguards located with them.

The enemy disposition was interesting. Half in Front, Half Behind. The Behind lot lacked ANY siege equipment or weapons. The front lot had 2 siege towers, 1 Ram and 1 ladder equipped unit. Also , worringly 2 catapult units (4 total). I waited to see the enemies move.

First off the catapults moved into firing range on their own... I spotted this and sent in the cavalry, ripping their crews up after 1 volley of fire. Then splitting half attacked the ladders and another attacked a unit of lightly armed viking raiders who were trying to attack my engaged cavalry. At this point I attracted the attention of Knut and his veteran knights so I quickly legged it back into the castle.

Knut followed and was peppered with arrow and crossbow fire. The siege towers and ram moved in, all 3 deploying. Before the siege tower deployed archers fell back to neighbouring ramparts and the Rabble and Highlanders moved forward. The units that came up the tower got ripped apart for mild losses to the rabble. Oddly the other tower bypassed that one and attacked a side wall, unfortunatly they were sitting ducks for arrow fire and they were peppered before being attacked by highlanders. Alot of enemy units were killed by highlanders, actualy descending the siege towers to fight. At the gate the ram deployed, got mauled by boiling oil (and units trying to get in got heavily arrowed).

It broke through only for its unit to get mauled by boiling oil and highlanders waiting behind the gate. Knut and other units charged into the gate and were hammered by highlanders. Knut died at the hands of a mercenary highlander unit...

At this point the other 1000 guys moved round in 2 forces to attack the front gate. I redeployed to pepper this lot with arrows and they took heavy losses. The cavalry (with my generals) sallied forth and took out a lot of infantry (All the units had triple veterancy and some were into 5 levels)

Of the 1900 men that went in 975 were dead and 700 were captured. They refused to pay for them..

Norway was defeated a few turns later. Now comes the irish who have randomly attacked 2 crap islands.   read

7:48 AM on 02.14.2008

Star Trek Online in new hands (Thank God)

Old news I know but this is actualy good news.

I like alot of fans was watching these eagerly to see what would come of it. It had ALOT of potential for an awful lot of fun. The initial devlogs and the very few screenshots showed a really nice engine for portraying the starships and interiors.

The concept art and details behind the planet generator was really interesting and looked like a possible WoW beater could finally arrive and defeat the "cartoony bollocks"

Then they released THIS

Now dont get me wrong I could live with space like that, its not as good as the early screenshots but its ok. But the text window is so crap words can barely describe. Thats one of the most awful things I've ever seen.

How can you attempt immersion and fun gameplay with utter design suicide like that?.

Perpetual has now been dropped (all employees sacked which is a shame for moral reasons even if the game was crap) and someone in the "Bay Area of San Francisco" has been given it.

Will probably be a few years til this comes out now :)

To see some of the better looking visuals.   read

8:18 AM on 02.12.2008

Terrorist Takedown 2: Give us teh Moneh

I can vaguely remember the first one being utter crap. I randomly downloaded the sequels demo because I was bored.

First Mistake. Then I installed it. I should have really known from the crap looking cutscene which explained the entire plot in seconds. I.E there isnt one and your just killing terrorists.

The first terrorist I saw was about 10 seconds into the game as he ran out of a door between to civilians. He was capped dead instantly and dropped into a pose I've not seen for a while.

He was down on his knees, upper body bent back arms out wide (One still holding their AK 1 handed). The fact I couldnt even take the gun showed that within 10 seconds the game was utter crap and not worth £10. I dare say they want £30-£40 for it.

I wouldnt even give them £1 because they've proved they cant make a decent game, and we really dont want them making any more. A few more minutes of sillyness (including help text that said I could have 5 weapons when I had 4 and I couldnt take any weapons of dead mercs) and the amusing realization that my melee attack is a punch when I could smack the fethers in the face with a huge rifle.

I actualy nearly killed the guy who we were trying to save because I cared so little for the game.

I honestly wouldnt even download the demo unless your drunk and want a good laugh.

Sins of A Solar Empire is a better FPS than this and Sins isnt even an FPS...   read

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