hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Robert Cousineau's blog

6:11 PM on 07.03.2012

Bulletrun: The Beta Impressions

I hate sniper rifles. By proxy, I hate almost every single mainstream public shooting game ever made. Hate. Let me tell you how much I've come to hate Snipers since I began to live. There are thousands of online games I have tried and played with millions of players sent to the grave by my hands. If the word 'hate' was engraved on each and every gravestone of those hundreds of thousands of players it would not equal one one-billionth of the hate I feel for Snipers at this micro-instant. For them. Hate. Hate.

So far, Bulletrun has revived my faith in online shooters. The premiere focus of Bulletrun is high octane team based action with smaller maps to promote mass carnage. As such, the basic weapon every player is provided is the MP5 SMG, which as starter guns go is actually one of the better than average guns in the game. A skilled MP5 players can easily climb to the top of the scoreboards. I would know, I used one for about seven hours until I could afford the AK47 (Because I bought clothes instead of a gun at first, bite me). So far I have more or less encountered every class of gun in the game, or atleast the low level ones. The higher level weaponry fires faster and hits harder but that can be easily mitigated by tactics.

Unlike most big corporation schlock shooters, Bulletrun utilizes Dedicated Servers. While that is a step in the right direction I am curious about the moderating powers the host has, so far I have not witnessed anybody actually kicked from a match. And to my knowledge I have not actually seen a hacker yet either. Another feature all server based shooters are SUPPOSED TO HAVE that Bulletrun has is drop in functionality (Unlike the infamously terrible Blacklight Retribution). If you stay for the whole match you get bonus points, but beyond that there is no actual penalty for leaving early, you can cash out whenever and shop a bit then come back at any time.

The biggest trend of online shooters that has hit the nation is "Unrealistic Realism", that is to say its amazingly easy to kill people (Realism) but the weapons are obviously in no way firing the way their counterparts would ever behave (Un-Realism). You can see this in games like Renaissance Heroes or Blacklight:R where one shot is usually a kill, leading to endless frustration as server lag creates situation after situation of "WHAT THE FUCK, I HIT HIM!" until you finally delete the fucking game. There's none of that here, true you die very quickly in Bulletrun but recoil very often causes prolonged firefights as both parties spray bullets all over in the slim hope they hit hard enough to take the enemy down with small arms. The larger weapons like shotguns or various rifles kill much faster but only if your aim is true, being even slightly off target will alert your foe and get you shot before you can focus for another shot.

Yes, Sniper Rifles exist in Bulletrun. And yes, they hit hard. You will also notice that nobody high on the scoreboard uses them. There is a very good reason for this, so far there is only one map that truly favors snipers called "Cactus" which features a single climbable water tower on the desert surface that overlooks the entire battlefield. In Dominion matches controlling this tower is a game decider as a sniper on top can easily help defend the other point of the map while his allies protect the tower which is a capture point itself. The map also has a tunnel system that connects the four corners of the map that completely avoids any threat of randomly getting brained by a coward, and the surface is littered with cover for counter-snipers to clear the counter. In a word: Perfect. The map has something for both snipers and the close quarters combat the game is designed for.

All of the games focus is running around the map, preferably with allies close-by, and quickly gunning down who you run into. In the TDM mode, players spawn near allies so at any moment a enemy could flank you if you stop moving. The maps are also well designed for the most part, with any given part of the map having several paths either to move into or siege another part of the map. The only map I have a hard time enjoying is Studio, as most of the time you are running around that map you are thinking "Where the fuck is everybody?" despite how tiny the map actually is. That's the one issue I have with the map design, all of the maps are created to be set-pieces in themselves but not properly meant for legitimate clan battles. They feel like real locations, but are not helping the clan-based combat the game is trying to promote.

The first thought in your head is likely "Why not just all stay close together?". That's a bad idea. The weapons spray and recoil like angry demon mules and rain lead in every which way. There are many times that I have managed to kill up to six people at once by spraying Kalashnikov fire into the crowd and watching money flood into my bank account as they drop due to their very close proximity. The basic skill most players have access to is also the ability to wield a minigun. This minigun makes you very slow but can spray suppressing fire in a wide cone so teammates can move to flank. This weapon has such a wide arc that the weapon if ignored can easily erase an army if they can't kill the gunner fast enough.

This brings me to the unique system Bulletrun utilizes focusing more on you, the player than if you win or lose. You gain Heat points by killing people, and get more points for doing really cool stunts as you do. Killing enemies while airborne or doing a combat slide can easily add up to an impressive kill. Upon getting a kill, you will have a number of points accompanied by up to three stars. If you can successfully pull off a taunt while this value is there you will get an additional point bonus, and for 2-3 stars its more than worth it. Knowing when to taunt is important for when you absolutely have to have all of your skills available. You have four skills that you unlock access to at certain easy to reach intervals of Heat. In the beta there are two skills per tier but in time more will be introduced. You get more heat from killing better players, and less from worse players. This instigates you into hunting the better players when you can, or at least driving you into a kill frenzy. If you for whatever reason die before your heat is put into your account, you only get 75% of that heat.

The other Fad in shooters is customization. Currently, clothes are very expensive and guns are even pricier. Though the amounts are sky-high you can easily be getting around 500 credits a match. While that's pretty low you can at-least make 9000 credits for every 3-4 hours if you work hard enough. Every weapon also has two slots for customized mods that are actually rather cheap. These mods tweak aspects of the gun such as giving it a laser sight, heavier stock, or different barrel for small bonuses in aspects of the guns operation. The game clearly is designed around the concept of players having their own personalized weaponry. There has been at least a few times I praised another players customized weapon (Then shot them in face and looted it).

I like Bulletrun because its daring to do something different. While I dislike the extremely small amount of players per server (Most I have seen allow 16-20 players) I applaud the game for putting a focus on close quarters military engagements instead of the sniping campfests that every other shooting game on the market is composed of. In that respect the game happily reminds me of the original Unreal tournament in the concept of sprinting around these lovely landscapes and splattering enemies across them with the biggest angriest guns you can get your hands on. This is how games like APB or Blacklight should of been designed, instead of focusing so much on sniping. As human beings, we have a primal urge to get right in the face of our foes, shoot them in the kneecap and stab them in the eye with a bowie knife. You exit a two hour session of Bulletrun completely spent of aggression, having used all that aggression in pulse-pounding firefights and establishing the natural pecking order. Sun shines, Birds fly, and bruddah.... I hurt people.   read

5:40 AM on 06.26.2012

Popular Simple Game Syndrome and You

The last decade has brought a new age of behavior, gaming, culture, and nuances to our grasp of technology. Twelve years ago tabletop gaming was still thought of as satanistic, now hundreds of thousands of people in all social circles partake in electronic entertainment originally based on works such as Dungeons and Dragons or Lord of the Rings. As human beings we have the mental capacity to train our minds subconsciously to learn, perform, and practice different tasks of variant difficulty. You may know them as "habits".

Humanity as a whole has problems adapting fully without negative reinforcement. You may of seen evidence in your personal life reflecting this. Without the realization that our behavior is incorrect you cannot make the required mental adjustments in order to refine your behavior. This ties in with a theory on the younger generations. Specifically their methods of behavior during online games. I have named this mental condition "Popular Simple Game Syndrome", and it normally strikes males ages 16 to 30, though cases of both younger and female subjects exist. PSGS can normally be diagnosed by studying the subjects behavior both during and after a multiplayer competitive "match". If the subject is loud, making no sense, and claims to be much better than they actually are there is a 60% chance the subject may have a mild to severe case.

Records surrounding the sickness point to the early 2000's. Leading Experts have theorized that Starcrafts popularity was caused by a similar illness known as "Korean Starcraftmania", but for unknown reasons almost 75% of north Americans were resistant. Unlike other gaming disorders, PSGS does not seem to be limited by nationality, only sometimes by gender. This has led to theories of PSGS being creditable to a hormonal imbalance and therefore curable chemically. Alcohol however has been proven to amplify symptoms of PSGS patients.

PSGS is prevalent in players of the following online multiplayer games: Call of Duty (And all of its stand alone expansions), Starcraft 2, MOBA games (DOTA,Bloodline,LoL,LOCO,ETC), and other team based games. PSGS is becoming a rather large menace to the lulz, but also a minor generator of the lulz by their condition. By investigating this condition we can learn enough to cure it. By curing PSGS, Humanity has effectively gave natural selection a punch in the mouth. At the sacrifice of the lulz potential we can invent even moar technology to troll with.

The longer PSGS is left untreated the worse the condition spreads. PSGS is seen as proper behavior, and one by one cliques succumb to the PSGS patients peer pressure. The condition impairs logic and tricks the subjects brain into rewarding hedonism.

There are ten known symptoms experienced by a subject diagnosed with PSGS. The average subject will exhibit a third, but major cases may show half or even all listed symptoms. Likewise, minor cases of PSGS can exist; but are much easier to cure. Minor cases may exhibit one to five symptoms. Almost all symptoms will be observed during a thirty or more minute session during a fast paced multiplayer game, or directly afterwards as part of gloating.

1. Delusions of Grandeur: Subject will claim to be extremely good at the game, and see's them-self as infallible. Any advice given by them is likely wrong or supported by moonlogic. The player will act cocky, annoying and loud.
2. Over-focusing on Communications: Subject may have tunnel-vision or single concentration and may be an visual learner. This player will require players to alert them of objects on the radar they can plainly see
3. Refusal to comprehend alternate viewpoints: The subject cannot adjust their personal beliefs. Like cultist mind control, this is a basic symptom. This player will make many snide comments that coexist with 1
4. Reliance on cheating: There is no way possible a subject with this symptom can be expected to ever fight fair. The odds are stacked against you. He picked the strongest character, on the map where he has a better advantage, and he possibly hacked the game to give him godmode. More common in MOBA gamers, especially LoL and GunZ
5. Alcoholism/Addiction: Self explanatory. The subject relies on chemically killing their brain cells. And is cool because of it. Prevalent in younger patients.
6. Sexism/Racism: The ability to be a "good" gamer blurs the patients ability to treat all people equal. This is seen as cool by the patient and will be unable to be swayed by logic. Patients can be treated of this symptom by being sold into BDSM slavery. They will thank you for it later, or strangle you.
7. Irrational hatred of police: Commonly says "Fuck the police" or assumes the police are all evil. Patient likely has a criminal record and thinks being an asshole and doing your job are the same thing. Subject is terminally stupid, treatment has a much lower chance of succeeding against the sheer amount of mental blocks that exist in the subjects brain.
8. Lazy: This is one of the later developed symptoms. The patient begins to procrastinate and possibly abuses downer drugs. Some PSGS patients have however been able to cure themselves through meditation and introspection, by realizing they have a problem and sincerely trying to better themselves.
9. Obsession with graphics: Everything has to have better graphics. EVERYTHING. Subject irrationally craves a videogame that looks exactly like real life and is unable to enjoy gaming history. If the patient can understand they have a problem, by forcing themselves to broaden their horizons they can very swiftly aid their recovery.
10. Impatience: Common symptom. Patient is unable to wait a long period of time for gratification. This has a direct link to the subjects immaturity.

Several cures have been reported to work, but due to the flexible nature of the condition the cure must be specialized to the case. Some patients can rationalize their situation and begin to better themselves, while others have succumbed to their condition and are much more difficult to treat. Their brain actively sabotages any attempt to cure the condition, and an intervention may be required.

Over a hundred gamers are diagnosed with PSGS every day. By diagnosing and curing this illness we can work our way to a brighter future. The internet as a whole will be able to have nice things again. The lives of the cured patients would also be improved a great deal, and will go on to better the world.

-Professor Conflarigon, MPhys.D.   read

7:00 PM on 04.24.2012

Shadowrun Returns: Welcome Home.

I put down my money on the Shadowrun Returns kickstarter, have you? For those that somehow have not heard yet Shadowrun's original creator put together a company called Harebrained Schemes which has been grabbing Kickstarter donations for a new installment in the Shadowrun videogame series!

There are currently four days left on the clock for you to get exclusive rewards for supporting the project. But don't look at it as just a donation, pretty much if you back it by at least $15 then you are going to receive a copy of the game in addition to whatever you get for additional money you put in.

Shadowrun is a classic series of tabletop rpgs of the cyberpunk genre and if you don't know what that is then read my review on Cyberpunk 2020. Shadowrun Returns is going to be a tactical turn based rpg game with a focus on contextual roleplaying gameplay with a team of shadowrunners (Deniable assets, more or less) comprised of your character and even characters your friends have created.

$15 for a DRM free copy of the game the day it comes out, and $30 to get some free in-game Doc-wagon death protection and a special power exclusive to backers. Backers also get access to exclusive crossover missions tying up some loose ends from the SNES and Genesis games.


6:07 PM on 04.24.2012

A look at Super Monday Night Combat

Super Monday Night Combat is the sequel to a Xbox Live Arcade game that was later ported to PC with abysmal results. The main issue was the original game simply was not geared for the PC FPS market with its complete reliance on single hit kills from snipers or assassins to get any kills whatsoever, both of which classes that were a joke on its home console but with the ability to use a mouse to aim became very over powered and resulted in snipers dominating the huge open spaces every map was made out of.

At the time the games dev team was amazingly pretentious and wrote off any genuine criticism of their game as a direct attack as well as the community being made up of Xbox shooter fans. Most of that crowd rarely could boast having their balls drop. As other reviewers had pointed out way too much of the game was trying to tell you how awesome it was without really delivering. The PC game play and crowd instantly made me hate a game I originally loved, and its why for the longest time I really didn't want to submit myself to playing its free to play sequel.

The game is heavily inspired from MOBA style games, specifically offshoots of the Warcraft 3 Defense of the Ancients map that have become amazingly popular recently for their action packed and simplistic game play. Both teams have a base, and victory depends on the teams ability to push their robots into the enemy base. Focus was on getting funding quicker then the other team to afford the means to progress into their base.

For starters when you begin to play you will notice that its a unreal engine game as well as nearly demands to be played in widescreen. Expect a ton of lag. The game also has a remarkably shallow metagame based around leveling up allowing you to use more endorsements which give small benefits to your characters as well as grinding coins to afford better endorsements and unlock additional characters.

SMNC focuses now more on tactical tug of war styled combat, as now turrets cannot be constructed and bots have been upgraded to be a great deal stronger. That isn't to say its completely different now, players can still spawn bots, the annihilator still exists, and ejector pads are still around making knowledge of the last game pretty important especially because the games training mode is a blatant lie.

The Annihilator is a large pad in the middle of the arena that usually requires a jump pad to access to normally placed in the totally-not-stolen-from-a-specific-game "Jungle" which from what I can tell seems to be the second floor of the arena. Why can't they at least be slightly original and call it the Canopy then? Upon use, the annihilator blows up every enemy bot and heavily damages enemy players. Lanes also have repulsion pads that can be activated to shove enemies off and heavily damage them. They are also handy for knocking people off ledges or stopping people from running away.

Training mode match-makes a team of noobs against absolutely nobody. Just AI bots and no enemy pros. As a result the actual amount of training received is pretty much none and this mode does nothing to actually educate players. Sure the new very annoying not-real-voice-actors announcers blatantly insult your intelligence and constantly talk about the rules of the game but more often then not you will blink and forget what they said anyway as chip talks about violently raping a hooker with a banana. Seriously, they will blurt out the most jaw dropping weird non-sequiturs. What ever happened to Mickey Cantor?! If they just kept him and hired Greg Proops that would instantly fix that problem, because its pretty obvious how much they are trying to steal Mad Worlds jokes. HEYOOOOOOO!

Every class more or less has a gimmick, a melee and ranged weapon, and three abilities. They also restricted weapon selection to the mouse wheel so have fun looking at the key binds wondering why you can't switch weapons because they sure as hell are not telling you. Even League of Legends took the time to make a tutorial as one of its first releases and bothered to give you the basic rules of the game. There is however a large guide that you have the option of looking through on the main games page but there is so much in the way of blinking lights and buttons there is no way you are going to notice the tiny blue guide text untill you stop and look at the screen for awhile.

The melee system needs work, as like a FPS you need to switch to your melee weapon. You also need to have it out in order to do a grapple maneuver, which is the strongest attack you can throw out to do instant damage with absolutely no counter attack possible whatsoever besides one classes ability. In fact there is a class revolving around this broken mechanic called the Veteran. This gets annoying because only a handful of classes have a decent melee weapon that you have to switch to in order to combat grapplers, who all seem to have the power to instantly charge next to you and have a very small cool down between their attacks.In short, the games controls battle you to the very end, because if you miss your grapple expect to wait several seconds before you get another try.

Turrets can no longer be upgraded or purchased. While its annoying seeing such a cool concept go I can see why, as this extremely shortens the length of matches and is fairly new player friendly. MNC's biggest problem was people just didn't understand the concept of buying turrets or bots. So I can see where simplifying that concept is actually a good move for SMNC. While I do mourn the loss of Gapshots and Longshots, I can also see the logical reason they were removed as well. Turrets seem to have a shield now that protects them from being destroyed without your bots near them in order to prevent the more mobile classes from sneaking in and taking out your defenses. Of course, due to the small range of turrets there are many places where long ranged weapons like the bazooka or mortar can take turrets out from afar but at least they need to be pushed at your base to do it.

As a MOBA, the familiar feel of absolutely sucking for your first hundred or so games is present. Most classes are filler, with terrible damage and abilities with all of the focus being on the Veteran and the Soldier... wait I mean Megabeth. At time of writing Megabeth has the best accuracy and damage in the game leading to her being played in every single match, with another player always playing a Veteran. Most of the classes have terrible damage output due to their requirement to get remarkably close to their enemies in order to hit anything while the two mentioned classes have no problem hitting you afar with fairly fast moving and painful projectiles while if you are lucky you might get them with a stray shot or two. In short, expect to get really good at playing Veteran and Megabeth or fail miserably.

As before, Bot spawn areas have pads that you can spawn special robots for a bit of money. These bots go from damage sponges, gremlins, and more. Another interesting move is that Jackbot XL's, the biggest bot in the game no longer spawn automatically but can be spawned for a large lump of money. This allows teams that get fed too much to instantly end the game by spawning a series of big angry robots to make the enemy regret feeding them so much. I honestly find this preferable to other MOBA's that penalize in the way of making a few enemies super strong through gear.

Gameplay suffers from the original games issue of having a few classes that just don't fit yet are the most popular because of it. As a result you will be seeing a lot of Captain Sparks, Assassins, and Veterans sprinting right into a large amount of enemies just to see them die in mere seconds. Melee simply does not fit, yet the game tries so hard to make it fit much like trying to force a huge circle peg into a triangle spot. It is trying to have team based attrition combat and high octane melee combat all in the same game resulting in a lot of players trying to play the game like a melee combat game when in reality its team based attrition gunplay. Too many of the games classes are geared towards ignoring the concept of pushing bots down lanes resulting in the winning team not having any of these classes or all of them due to their greater damage output then any of the gun wielding classes besides Megabeth.

Thankfully the dev team removed instant kills, one of the major reasons MNC fell pretty quickly into obscurity. The first game was full of wide open areas and arenas that snipers could get instant kill headshots from, and assassins could kill almost anybody in a one hit grapple. These are completely gone from SMNC and the game is oh so much better for it. Knocking people off the arena however is still a instant kill, but harder now at least.

The majority of the original MNC characters are locked at the start and requires thousands of in game coins to unlock core classes of the game. Like other MOBA's you can also pay real money to unlock new weapon skins (Palette swaps), character skins(Mostly palette swaps), and additional taunt animations. Endorsements can cost a few thousand coins as well, rewarding long time players of the game with the ability to fire over 15% faster and more! While not the games worst design decision, it will take a long time to grind out the coins needed to unlock them.

It all boils down to once again a newcomer to the genre trying to get way too fancy with its design without taking the time to structure it in a way that players can understand and trying to make their game look awesome without being awesome at all. No doubt they are going to use the fact they are new to the genre as a constant excuse to make bad games throughout their career like some Uwe Boll of game designers. I do agree that the game graphically looks nice but that's absolutely nothing if anybody with a computer not made in the last three years needs to turn everything down to min in order to play at more then 2fps. And above all the game is just not done yet, there feels like there was no balancing attempted, and it feels like most of the game is not finished yet. Evidenced by the fact that the game was released on accident and rather then realize they still needed to do preliminary beta testing they released it anyway skipping months of valuable time required to polish the game.

While I do like the game better then Loco (And I HATE Loco), there is just way too many bad design choices to make it redeemable and as a new game developer there is no way they are going to listen to any criticism surrounding their perfect masterpiece. I would give it a month or two until the game falls into obscurity unless a total redesign concerning its class system happens. Badly balanced weapons and several classes that have no place in the game are holding back what could of been a pretty good class based competitive tower defense shooter.

If you can put up with the lack of balance testing and mismatched classes then the game really is not that bad, though it still has a great deal of work to be done on it. The melee classes clash way too much with the shooting gameplay, the game just has to pick one or the other or remove the grappling mechanic instead of throwing every single mechanic in and expecting it to just mesh together.


4/24/12   read

4:10 PM on 04.21.2012

Cyberpunk 2020: Where it rose

In the 80's there were two things that were predominantly head and shoulders above the rest when it came to cultural phenomena in media. Science Fiction and Glam Rock. From this the Cyberpunk Genre emerged in books such as Neuromancer then games like Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2020. The basic rundown is some sort of government shaking catastrophe occurs leading to a state of near anarchy reducing vast metropolises to a big chaotic free for all while large corporations watch intently.

Now, the first thought you may have as a RPG buff upon seeing this cover is probably that its a rip off of Shadowrun. That is actually a falsehood, as the first edition called Cyberpunk 2013 came out a year earlier then both of them in 1988, while Shadowrun didn't come out until 1989 just as the second edition that I am reviewing came out the same year. I personally liken the two to different strokes for different folks, C:220 has a remarkably lethal combat system and emphasizes more with simple survival and the iconic Mad Max style action hero motif where Shadowrun focuses more on a until recently secretive magic world and how the world has metaphorically ended with a strange new one arising from the ashes of the last and survival in this weird but at the same time oddly familiar new age. In short, you will never see me flat out claiming one is actually better. Both have terribly written later editions and their own interesting takes on how technology can advance.

The very first thing you get in the book is the introduction, but oddly enough there is absolutely zero plot in the first half of the book. Sure, it explains what being a cyberpunk is and why you should mind but it does not really tell you much of why it happened and why you can't just live a safe life. In fact, the closest thing to a log of history is not until page 166 of 221. A quick glance of the timeline is pure sci fi cheesy goodness. Bionic plagues, corporate wars, and in 1996 there was a huge lawyer purge. That's right, they lynched hundreds of lawyers on seemingly a whim. This does mean its very easy to get playing without much thought on back-story. I mean come on, if the game doesn't care why should I?

In addition one of the settings major cities called Night City is also mentioned in this section and the next. Night City is in the center area of the Monteray Bay which is slightly south of San Jose. Now, the only issue I have with where Night City is placed is the fact that even the Night City Book itself (Which I also own) accounts completely for some other small towns near it just like my home town of Santa Cruz, California (Which many of you may know as "Santa Carla, Murder capital of the world") and is mentioned by name as a major city. Except of course, Watsonville; the boring predominantly Hispanic farming hub that Night City is directly built on top of. Night City was founded in 1994 while Watsonville has actually been around since 1868. I know this is a Sci-Fi game and its allowed to omit things but my suspension of disbelief is shattered. In the history blurbs this is never discussed.

Next comes the games character classing system. A role is composed of a special ability in addition to a selection of preferred skills. Looking at it makes you feel like every role is supposed to be played a certain way, which in some cases is the point but most of the time it feels a bit too generic. Solo's for instance are powerful street samurai whose ability gives them a additional stat to put points into in order to act faster in combat. This translates to them being the best fighters in the game usually, though the flip side is they are often heavily cybered up and thus not really... people persons. You see cyber-psychosis is a major issue in today's society.

A big part of developing your character is rolling their backstory. Starting with your clothing style, which goes from punk rocker, , a Gary Glitter jumpsuit, or just walking around naked. Did I mention free love and drug fueled sex is one of the big motifs of the genre? Either rolling for your age or just picking one from age sixteen to twenty-six you roll for what happened each year in a method fairly reminiscent of Traveler. All sorts of stuff can happen from making a big score, getting addicted to synthcoke, to pissing off a corporation. This really helps you flesh out a character and can really help you forge a story.

Right after the blatant combat classes you are also offered plenty of social or problem solving classes like journalists, corporate figures, and the iconic Rockerboy class. Rockerboys are indie glam rockers that rock out amazing illegal concerts and have the ability to sway the crowd to anarchic riots. Every role has a hat, and the book plainly states it has no problem with your group coming up with new roles and even gives you two more roles on top of the ten originally offered (The Actress and Politician, Page 34) technically giving you a total of 12 Roles to chose from initially.

Combat is amazingly lethal in Cyberpunk 2020. For starters, most of the time unless you are a seasoned professional gunslinger there is a good chance you will have a less then 50/50 chance to actually hit anything. Cover really matters and getting hit period brings on the innate chance of just passing out from shock. Solos, Cops and other combat rolls excel here and are usually the ones with the highest body-counts while the more social roles need to just find some big heavy and preferably bulletproof cover though how the combat rolls are set up you can still reasonably score a hit, its just the combat roles do it much easier.

Despite the lack of a overarching plot or much clear reason why the world went bizarre the games culture is very interesting. You see there is a reason ugly people simply don't exist in this game, technology has allowed for cheap and easy reconstructive surgery allowing for relatively easily accessible limb replacements and bodily changes. Plenty of gangs adopt some sort of uniform change with the popular choices being clowns, all having tails, or some sort of exotic look that makes them different. These are called poser-gangs, and probably one of the most fun concepts of the underworld offered.

Like any Sci-Fi game, the most fun of the games character development is the ability to simply spend hours shopping for your character. Weapons, Cyberware, and Vehicles are supplied in mass for you to ponder over as well as a catalog of various drugs for you to get addicted to. In fact, the game supplies rather easy rules and flat out dares you to come up with your own terrifying drugs as well as a list of sample effects including contraceptive and depressive qualities in addition to essentially pointing out how easy it is to just be a drug lord in the game. Pretty spot on for the genre, actually.

Supplementing combat is the netrunning system. These days the internet is a vast world wide web of information that can be decked into personally. Only the Netrunner role has the ability to actually jump in and really do things, but in general netrunning requires different maps and different methods altogether to the point like in other cyberpunk games it tends to just bring the game grinding to a halt as not everybody can actually interact with the net.

Cyberpunk 2020 to this day is a legend among RPGs, having fairly simple but vivid gameplay while Dungeons and Dragons was still dealing with overly lethal and convoluted rulings. The series of books included around 22 titles, covering a wide range of subjects from shopping books to additional city settings. Sadly not all good things could last.

Long discounted as vaporware, a sequel finally arrived in the form of Cyberpunk V3 in 2006. That however, will have to wait until next time. Mike Pondsmith, the author of C:2020 decided to start over his little world and try a different approach.

He chose.... poorly.

4/21/2012   read

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -