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10:23 PM on 06.10.2008

Mass Effect PC - First(ish) Impressions

This is a bit more of a first impressions; ive played quite a lot, and progressed the story somewhat. So heres my current impressions of Mass Effect Pc.


Good:

- Actually, this belongs in the "HOLY FUCK AMAZING" category; the voice acting! They really went above and beyond to do a good job of this. It never ceases to amaze me when i enter a complex conversation with someone and yet every line is acted well, if not perfectly.

- The galaxy map... freakin hell its huge! I cant wait to explore it all.

- The graphics are very nice, for the most part. In particular, i was impressed with the customization options for your character, and how you still end up looking human (suck it oblivion!).

- When it goes right, the combat is pretty darn fun. Driving the mako is entertaining too - every game should have a fast, powerful transport vehicle with jumpjets!


Bad:

- Random jumps in difficulty. The normal battles are generally pretty easy, but e.g. I reached a quasi-boss battle, in which most of the attacks could kill me in one shot. There are quite a few enemies who can kill you very, very fast, and it can get frustrating when you get no warning. Its made worse by...

- The allies AI; its fucking terrible. I mean, not many games have done it right lately (Gears wasnt too bad i guess, and Halo 3's humans were allright, at least they knew to stay back), but Mass Effect's allies are a bunch of retards. They stand in the open, they pick the wrong weapon to use, they ignore enemies who rush and get behind them... Its quite annoying to have to babysit them all the time.

- Why have an autosave system if youre not gonna use it? Seriously, anyone who reads this, PRESS F6 ALL THE TIME. Considering the last two points, you really dont want to rely on autosaves if everything goes wrong (i learned my lesson quickly).


Other:

- The amount of reuse of, well, everything is unfortunately just a little too noticeable. Body shapes, clothing (esp female clothing), level lay-out, furniture etc... but I know why they do it, it saves disc space and probably saves a bit of processor/graphics power too. So it goes in this category. Also, the incredible voice acting and dialog options provide the needed variety.

- Quicksave is nice, but wheres quickload?

- The things they 'fixed' for pc... are the standard ways of doing things. I really dont know why they werent implemented this way in the 360 version.

- This game is addictive. I dont know why. Maybe its the rpg fan in me.


Overall - Mass Effect is a very good game, and im enjoying it most of the time. It reminds me of GTA IV - sometimes, it all goes to shit and its mostly not your fault, but otherwise, its incredible.   read


9:36 PM on 05.13.2008

TF2 Update: The Aftermath (or, my thoughts on the new stuff)

Right, the dust has settled. Valve FINALLY released the long awaited update, unleashing upon the world a new gametype and a map to play it on, a massive set of achievements for medics to strive for, and some new weapons when said achievements are gained. But is any of this any good?

In my opinion - mostly. The end product is fantastic - TF2 is definitely a better game, which is great. However, there were some issues (some of them still pop up) and in particular, i really question Valves wisdom for some of the achievements.

Goldrush the map is just plain awesome. Its a brilliant gametype that really builds on the strengths of Dustbowl. While the end result is the same (get from one end of the map to the other), having to move the cart makes it quite different, and imo, better. The main point of action moves through the whole level so there are few 'intermediate' areas where nothing really happens. Also, spy/scout capping is impossible, and while i love to win that way when i do it myself, its possibly the most frustrating way to lose.

Other things i like is that spying on attack is often easier and more effective than in other maps, where i find that spying is best for defence (since everyones looking fowards :P). I have also really enjoyed finding new places to put sentries, as i do with all new maps. Its the best time to play engineer, imo, since people arent ready for you! Lots of fun.


The only real problem is that all of the individual maps are quite biased towards the defensive team. While this should certainly be the case in the second map and especially the third, the second point of the first map can be damn near impossible to get past, on public servers. Dustbowl generally requires a fairly organized defence to win the first map; Goldrush just needs a couple of sentries in the right place, and a few demomen.

That being said, i havent seen any organized assaults; while the ideal placement of sentries has been pretty much decided, ive never seen an attacking team be particularly ready for them. Overall, i still think Goldrush is a great map and i hope Valve make more maps for this gametype.
They just need to fix the glitch with the cart progress meter! It often disappears with a map change, and its quite annoying.


Now, the medic stuff. The new weapons are great; ive only unlocked the new syringe gun as yet but ive seen people with the other weapons. The kritzkrieg is interesting but its taking a while for people to get used to it. We're all ingrained to rush in when ubered, but that doesnt work any better than normal when 'krubered' (you may kill a few but you die just as easy).

And, the achievements... well, everyone knew thered be a huge influx of medics. And, yeah, no doubt some of them would be pretty bad at it.

But was it really necessary to encourage them to play badly? Heres some of the achievements, and why they were not a good idea:
Consultation - assist another medic? So run around healing another medic trying to kill people. Yeah, thats helpful.

Does it Hurt When I Do This? - kill scouts with syringe gun. Its fine to pull out your syringe gun when you come across a scout running around behind your lines. Its not fine to not heal anyone and pull out your syringe gun and charge into the fray looking for scouts.

Peer Review - kill medics with bonesaw. Same as above.

Placebo Effect - charge up uber but DONT use it, go killing people yourself - wtf? Are you serious? Not only is that difficult, its fucking retarded.

Sawbones - 5 hits with the bonesaw without missing - This is the worst one. I managed to get it quickly, because i saw my chance (i was alone, there was an ubered heavy + medic facing the other way, i just hit them 5 times, easy). But when medics run around THE WHOLE GOD DAMN GAME just trying to hit people with the fucking bonesaw and get blown up because they are fucking stupid and run at soldiers and the like... why? why Valve why?

That little rant about Sawbones applies to the others there, and a couple of the other achievements. I feel that i can rant like that because i do play medic quite often and i do it well. Thats another reason im annoyed at the 'stupid' achievements - I dont want to do stuff like that. I want to be helpful to my team, i want to win the game.

But whatever, most of the crappy medics have gone. I can see the lighter side to the achievements, and im looking forward to the crazy stuff Valve thinks of for the other classes; the problem with these ones is that the medic is such an integral part of the team. The other classes should be fun, i think. I foretell that the soldier will have to kill 3 people while airborne! It will be called "Screaming Eagle!". Man, i should work for Valve :P.

So yeah, what do you guys think? Do you like the new stuff, or think its a mess? Feel free to share any lulz-or-sigh-worthy stories. Or some strategies you have for getting through defenses on Goldrush, i have my own ideas but id love to hear others.   read


5:07 AM on 05.01.2008

Crytek CEO is not as cool as I thought

Well, my PC gaming brothers and sisters, we're in more trouble. Crysis CEO Cevat Yerli has come out with a statement that, coming from him, nearly rivals the stupidity of the anti-video game media morons.

He basically has said, Crytek will no longer be PC exclusive. His reasons are that piracy is totally destroying the platform, and that similar games on consoles sell 4 to 5 times as many. Luckily, they will still support the PC platform.

(Source - http://megagames.com/, although it is elsewhere)

Why do i think this is so stupid? Crysis is, as we all know, the big bad beast of pc gaming glory. Its the benchmark for graphics and physics, the true test of your machine. The problem is that very very few rigs can pass that test.
Fact is, not many people can play Crysis at a level that i consider playable (high settings at at least 20 fps in normal combat). According the latest Steam survey's, just under 10% of users have a 8800 level graphics card. Thats around 150000 people who can play Crysis well enough (and i bet a fuck-ton less can actually get a good framerate (30+) at high settings or above).

Or rather, thats just under 1.5 million gamers who cant play it well enough to justify a purchase.

Crysis is a pretty good shooter, in a world of lots of pretty good, and more than a few excellent shooters. If you make one that can only stand out by running it at high settings, and in fact hype up how amazing the high settings are, then you goddamn better make sure a lot of people can run it at high settings! This should have been obvious, and at the very least, they should have learnt their lesson afterwards.

Perhaps less importantly, they really picked a bad time to release the game. If theyd waited, say, 3 or 4 months, they'd have had many more customers, since the 8800gt and i believe the 9600gt would have been out, both of them cards that can run crysis well enough, and there would have been more than a few gamers chafing to put their shiny new cards through their paces. Not to mention, they competed with Call of Duty 4 and Unreal 3.

Also, the consoles are really coming into their own at the moment. In a couple of years, after pc hardware has continued to increase while the consoles stay the same, pc gamers would have lapped up a game that could show those console noobs what for :P. I actually think that this is nearly as big a reason as piracy as to why pc gaming is having tough times at the moment.

Thats why its such a stupid statement to make. Crysis was never going to sell well. If piracy wasnt possible, people still wouldnt buy it. Id actually be willing to bet the demo hurt them more than it helped.


So what does it mean? Well, its just another nail in the coffin, as they say. Crytek were one of the big developers who set pc gaming apart from the consoles. They made games that could really push hardware (if only they could scale well). Perhaps more importantly, they made game engines, which other devs could buy. If they will no longer support PC exclusively, it could be a long time before someone else makes an engine as groundbreaking and potentially incredible as the cryengine 2.

I still respect Cevat, he and his team did some amazing things with Crysis, but im sad that this is how he thinks now. There are other ways to combat piracy, Steam is the obvious example. Hell, just providing a great multiplayer experience is enough! Or rather, one that enough people can play...   read


2:51 AM on 04.30.2008

Game Mechanics that just need to die: Following Missions(not chase, follow)

There are plenty of things in gaming these days that, to be honest, should never have started. This particular rant is about following missions(not chase missions, which i enjoy).

Most commonly found in open world, sandbox type games, these missions involve following someone or something until it reaches its destination. Why? To find its destination, for whatever reason.

You have probably guessed im referring to one particular open world sandbox type game that was released oh so recently. Yup, GTA IV. Definitely one of the best games ive ever played, but as we have recently discussed, no game is perfect. Even Rockstar can be a bunch of lazy bastards at times.

The mission in question involves following a drug dealer to find the rest of his drug dealer buddies; you know, one of the things we've done in every GTA game so far, and what we all knew we'd do again. Some missions can redeem themselves; you just drive right up to the poor sucker and have a good ol' high speed chase, but not this one; you just fail if he sees you.

The things i like to do in GTA IV are:

- Drive fast
- Shoot things/beat people up
- Crash into things
- Do whatever i want
- Drive fast (its important)

In this mission i am forced to:

- Drive slowly
- Not shoot things/beat people up
- Not crash into things
- Not do whatever i want (ok not so relevant cos its a mission, but its still very restrictive)
- DRIVE OH SO FUCKING SLOWLY

Its so boring! Why cant i pull the guy out of his car and beat the crap out of him until he talks, then go get his buddies? That would be great! As far as i can tell, thats the ultimate goal of the mission anyway!

As it is, missions like this make no sense - Logically, my target would be less aware of me if i just drive like a normal person. But since this is practically impossible, i have to stay a good 10 meters back at all times; even at a red light. Which is ridiculous and destroys any remaining sense of realism.

Its sad, because Rockstar obviously know as well as anyone how to make a fun game; but because gta games have always had stupid missions like these, they keep adding them. Its pure laziness, just padding the length of the game, which GTA IV doesnt need at all.


Oh, and the guy who's with me makes terrible gay jokes if i get too close. What a jerk.   read


10:25 PM on 04.28.2008

GTAIV may well be the greatest game ever

Yeah yeah, everyone and their dog has already said this (heck i even did with my previous blog) but i felt like saying a bit more.

The awesome thing that brought this blog on is thusly: i was heating up a pie because it was lunchtime-ish, and i was playing a little gta while i waited. But you cant eat pie and play game, right(if you can, i want to see)? And daytime tv in new zealand is crap (although im pretty sure thats the case in most places).

But no fear! I found a tv in Roman's apartment. Theres 2 or 3 channels to watch. Its essentially like the radio with some cutscenes. The show i watched was pretty good - it was about the ultra mega super rich people of Liberty City, and how they had tons of money and possessions and you dont and never will. Chloe Parker has 950 billion dollars, a 600 ft yacht that costs 3 million a day to run, and breast implants made of real rubies. A new role model for all you young ladies out there! :P

So yeah, this is the first game ive ever played where i can just go sit down and watch tv IN GAME. Perfect for eating some pie. Potato top, too, it was fucking amazing.

And theres autosaves. Yup, this is definitely the best gta game yet.   read


9:59 AM on 04.28.2008

Living in NZ/Aus isnt so bad... GTAIV (legally!) Impressions

Most people have covered the basics, so ill just get onto what i think...


Its fucking awesome, if you like gta games. Heck, people who dont like to play them will still probably love to watch. The game is just so damn entertaining, and all ive done is roam, no missions (my brother owns it, we got it at midnight launch and he went to bed after playing a little, so no story progression for me yet :( )

The massively improved graphics and, more importantly, physics just make everything more... awesome. The game is set up to play like a movie; heck they even have a cinematic camera mode when driving. The thing that has really stuck out in my mind is how much fun it is to die, which i did often.

Driving at high speed into something can actually kill you now. You go flying head first of a motorbike, as youd expect, and now if youre in a car you go crashing through the windscreen! Also, bailing from a moving vehicle will result in some epic tumbling across the ground, and you'll quite likely hit something with a sickening thud (that leaves a nice little patch of blood!). In all these cases the ragdoll physics is brilliant, a huge step up from the previous games.

Luckily, Niko is an insane tank, and can take all but the most brutal of hits. He does not deal with bullets so well, however, and if you fuck with the police they will hunt you down. Firefights are fun (the aiming systems are great, the weapons are effective, and the cover is not super great but good enough, like r6 vegas 2) but you will get shot down eventually, if you dont find a car.

I really enjoy the police systems. They take a fair bit of provoking and its easy enough to escape one star, but stick around and get another star and you are in trouble. If you can get in a car you can probably out run them, although if they get a helicopter in (and they will do this sooner rather than later) it can take some effort. If you get a 6 star level (crash into the barriers to the other islands!) you are almost probably fucked.

For the bad side of things, i did get the odd framerate drop, when i pissed the cops off and there was a ton of cars and guys charging at me. I dont blame it for struggling with that, tbh, and it wasnt gamebreaking, but its still noticeable.

I guess i will sum this up by saying, i have had a stupid amount of fun in this game by simply roaming, no missions, no weapons (to start with :P), on only the first island. The only issue is framerate, which is a fair trade for no loading such an insane amount of data, in my view. This game rules.   read


7:20 AM on 03.26.2008

Crisis Core - First Impressions and some ranting

Finally got my hands on Crisis Core. Checklist time!

Great Graphics/sound etc? Check. Some of the best on the psp, and the FMV's are amazing.

Great Story? Hopefully, has potential (i'm up to mission 3! damn side-quests sucked me in...)

Good Characters? Yeah, despite the voice actors and script ranging from great to fucking horrible (generally over the same character, particularly Angeal; he was terrible to start with, but he got better).

Sephiroth? Surprisingly, nearly no! He showed up once so far(for real, and once in a simulation), said a couple of lines, and disappeared again. I think Square heard what you guys think about him now :P.

Gameplay? I don't know how Square did this, but its wicked fun while also being stupid and frustrating - at the same time!

DMW. I hate those 3 letters. In Crisis Core, your Limit Breaks and Summons are ENTIRELY controlled by a random fucking slot machine. When the DMW comes on, i feel like i'm not playing the game anymore. I'm not winning because i'm good, i'm winning because of luck, which is the last thing you want in an action game.

But Square didn't stop there! You and your Materia level up from the DMW too i.e. completely randomly! I went up 3 levels in one mission, and one level in the next 3! It makes no sense at all.

Other than that, CC has incredible, unique gameplay. When the DMW isnt coming out every 5 seconds and taking all the fun away, its awesome taking on hordes of troops and monsters and creaming them all, and the boss fights are even better, dodging around something big and nasty trying to kill it before it gets you.

If only the DMW didn't get in the way, id have nothing really bad to say about the game. As it is, i still really enjoy it (and i've mostly only done a lot of simple 'kill all enemies' sidequests) - a testament to how solid the core gameplay is. Square needs to learn when to stop the brainstorming before it gets out of hand. Or just get rid of whatever compulsive gambler they put in charge.   read


2:56 PM on 02.06.2008

Good Idea, Bad Idea: Checkpoints.

Sorry if someone did this and i missed it...

Checkpoints are good things, dont get me wrong. Having your progressed saved up to a point gives a major feeling of relief. The problem, is when games do it wrong; when there are too many checkpoints, or more importantly, too few.

So, on to the Good Idea :


This refers to Halo 1. Halo 3 is pretty good also; Halo 2, on the other hand, could be used as an example of Bad Idea. In fact, i would have, if a certain other high profile shooter hadnt come along last year and done it worse....

But back to Halo 1. It was the first example of a brilliant checkpoint system i came across, and is still the best ive seen. In Halo, you get checkpoints before and after every pitched battle, sometimes even half way through. At the time, most games had checkpoints every now and then; sometimes even only one halfway through the level.

Halo's system reduces frustration without making the game too easy. When you die, you wont normally go far back, but you still have to win each fight with what health and equipment you have got. The checkpoints in the middle of a fight tended to be given only in the larger areas, generally after killing a good few enemies and being safe in cover. I feel that bungie did a good job with these; some of the battles were huge and long, particularly if multiple tanks were involved.

The other benefit is that the player can stop playing at nearly any time, since his progress had most likely been saved quite recently. Halo is a game you can jump into and out of very easily, theres no need to push forward through half a level each time you play. This was fantastic when i first started playing Legendary.



Now, to compare with the Bad Idea :



Dont get me wrong; I LOVE Call of Duty 4. Its multiplayer is wicked fun, and the single player is one of the best campaigns ive ever experienced.

That campaign is also one of the most frustrating. Since Halo, ive been mostly an fps gamer; so at this point, i like to think im pretty good at 'em. Hence, i play on the hardest difficulty from the start, particularly in a game like CoD 4, which has a similar shooting model to CoD 2.

CoD 4 on Veteran is one of the most difficult and frustrating games i have ever been bloody-minded enough to complete. In the end, ive come to the conclusion that its the checkpoint system to blame, when combined with a number of other (otherwise good) gameplay factors.

Basically, there are too few checkpoints. A not-so-bad example is Halo 2 - with recharging energy shields, you can pop out, take a bit of damage long enough to kill something, and get back to cover. Its still frustrating when you die, but at least you can get pretty far in the battle.
In CoD 4, you cant do that. Enemies are accurate and on veteran, they know that you are the one to go for. Part of the gameplay is that you die quickly - you need to, for realism purposes.

Combine this with few checkpoints, and you have a recipe for angry gamers. You may get quite far, just to be surprised and shot to death by some random guy around a corner.

Two levels that stick out in my mind are the second part of the Sniper level (where you escape to the helicopter), and ironically even worse, the next level where you get pushed up the hill just to find that you need to get back down to the bottom to get to, thats right, another helicopter. The main similarity of these levels is the Spartans vs Persians kind of numerical superiority the enemies have. I swear i must have killed half of russia in that game. But in a game where you can die from one accurate burst, is it really a good idea to throw hundreds of enemies at you at once? I think it could have been, with more checkpoints, or even better, quick-saves.

Eventually, i figured out an interesting part of the checkpoint system - you do get the odd one thrown in seemingly randomly. If you keep getting to a point, eventually you will get a checkpoint there. Im not sure if its because the game recognizes that you're dying often after that point, or whether its based on number of kills, or WHATEVER, but getting that checkpoint became my game-plan for those levels.

Doing the same thing over and over, until i get a checkpoint. Then doing it again, until the next. Not much fun.

Sorry if that was a bit ranty, but i think im making a good point there somewhere.


Anyway, heres a different example of Bad Idea :



I wont rant about this because (shock horror!) i havent played much of bioshock. I like the world and atmosphere, but hate the shooting model and gameplay (doesnt feel right to me). But whatever, ive heard enough about the resurrection tank things to know they deserve a place here.

This is the opposite example to CoD 4. Bioshock becomes too easy because its 'checkpoints' (meaning the tank things) are too common, and too powerful. How easy would Halo or CoD 4 be if every time you died, everything you had done still counted?
All of a sudden, death means almost nothing. Yahtzee put it best i think, so go watch his bioshock review again. Go on, you know you want to.



Closing comments :
Checkpoints or Autosaves can really make or break a game. I think that their use depends on the game. They work brilliantly in Halo because its pretty much a run and gun, corridor shooter; you get to a room of enemies, defeat them, and continue to the next. Its easy to put a checkpoint between them.

That wont work in CoD 4. I think it should have had quick-saves as well, as any good pc game has these days. So i guess i say... damn you, consoles! Get some more buttons! Or at least, come on I.W, how hard would a quick-save function have been to include?

As for games like Bioshock... just ignore the vitachambers? Is that what theyre called? I should really go play that game...   read


8:39 PM on 11.23.2007

An apology, and Timeshift rules!

A couple of days ago, i posted a comment on someones blog, i cant remember who. Their post was about what was wrong with UT3, and at the end they reccomended timeshift as an alternative to all the other fps games.
They also made the ridiculous (or so i thought) claim that it really brought something new to the fps genre. My comment was to the tune of "LOL NO".

I stand by that comment, for Timeshifts single player. It has a weak copy of Half life 2's plot, Halo's gameplay at about 2x speed, and the (arguably) most useful power is from FEAR. The powers that set it apart are not used to their full potential, although there are a few cool moments. Overall, its a fun game to play, but nothing special.

Until you play multiplayer. Myself and a couple of friends tried out timeshift last night, at a badly organized lan where we didnt really know what to play.

Of course, its impossible to have the powers from single player available in the same way, in multiplayer. Instead, you get grenades. Throw a time grenade (of any variety - 'slow down', 'pause', and 'reverse'), and it makes a big orb, much like Halo 3's shield orb. Anyone who enters the orb comes under the effects of it. So does anything else - like weapon's fire and grenades. As such, theyre useful as shields, as much as trying to catch your enemies within them.

Thats a rocket.

What appeared to be just a decent, well made but generic shooter, all of a sudden became an intense, insane frag-fest quite unlike any other. The weapons are fun to use ('explosive crossbow' may not be an original idea, but its a good 'un), and the time grenades make every encounter awesome.

Close up of rocket.

One of my best moments ever in multiplayer gaming - A friend caught me in a 'pause' grenade, and fired a bunch of rockets at me. As soon as the rockets hit the grenades' sphere, they too paused. I got to stand there for a good couple of seconds, looking directly at my inevitable doom. It was, to put it simply, fucking sweet!

I got him back with this. Surge gun = lightning death.

So, i apologise, random blogging guy who doesnt like ut3. Timeshift is fantastic, and does deserve a place among all the other pc shooters. Anyone who likes a good fps should give it a go, if they want some fun new ways to kill their friends/random strangers on the internet.   read


2:34 AM on 11.14.2007

Is it so god damned hard...

to make a good arcade racer for pc?

After Nfs Carbon turned out to have more than a few major flaws (*cough*wingmen*cough*), i was really hoping the next one would fix it ( i just got pissed off with Most Wanted, the cop chases got long and annoying and happened EVERY FUCKING RACE). When ProStreet was announced, i was happy. As more and more was revealed, i felt apprehensive about the realism. I dont mind it, i guess, but all to often it gets in the way of my enjoyment of racing games.

Eventually I realised that ProStreet is Nfs desperately trying to be Forza 2. Except that it still feels like an nfs game. The driving is as simplified as ever; helpful lines on the track and corner-warning arrows and a (not) realistic damage system arent going to change that. Removing any sense of speed wont change it. Overall, its a decent driving model, but its not particularly interesting.
Adding in stupid, boring, and annoying systems that you already tried in the series (ie the drag racing) isnt going to help either.
Making your menu system indecipherable wont help. No-one will think much of your much-touted customization systems if they CANT FUCKING FIND IT.

But the worst thing, is that it doesnt have the theme of the previous nfs games. I seriously cannot believe that EA didnt realize that that is what made the games playable. Making a sweet looking car that goes fast, racing it illegally, running away from cops, taking over the underground of a city; thats all entertaining. The characters and the plot were loaded with cliches and cheesiness, but somehow that made them... endearing, i guess. Or at least, easy to hate, or like, whatever was appropriate.

ProStreet has a ridiculously weak plot, with mind-bogglingly annoying characters(who just wont shut the fuck up). So, the only incentive to play the game is to unlock more cars. Most of which i already have in Carbon. So, if i want to drive fast in cool looking cars, i can either play through the decent-but-nothing-special ProStreet, or i can just load up Carbon. It doesnt play any better, but it has a much cooler environment i can free roam in, and the cars and environments are already all there. Pretty simple choice really.

Essentially, ProStreet tries to merge the NFS style with Forza, and does neither of them particularly well. Its not so much bad as... just not nearly as good as what else is there, depending on what aspects you like about it. If EA wanted a share of the Forza market, they kind of failed, and have also probably alienated a good number of the fans of the previous nfs games. Good job, fucktards!

Anyway, heres the point where i fall into despair. WHY, GOD? WHY DOES NO MAKE THE GREATEST RACING SERIES OF ALL TIME, BURNOUT, ON PC? WHY? WHY DO YOU HATE ME?

I would literally kill to get the burnout series on pc, if thats what it would take.   read


9:54 AM on 11.09.2007

an angry rant about COD 4's single player campaign

####Therell be some spoilers here, so beware.####

This is a vent of extreme anger. I do actually like call of duty 4, make no mistake. However, i have one very important thing to say, which you can read and then ignore the rest, unless you want to know my reasoning. Theres lots of text, and no pictures, so i understand if you dont read it. It is just a rant, after all. It makes me feel better.

Heres my important thing - DONT PLAY THE WHOLE CAMPAIGN ON VETERAN DIFFICULTY IF YOU WANT TO HAVE FUN. parts of it are fantastic. parts of it will make you break things (ive come pretty close to it. certainly i swear a lot, as the rant below will show you).
Basically, the game has nasty enemy ai, useless and retarded ally ai, and lots of levels designed to a) make you rely on your allies for support, despite their idiocy and lack of aim, or b) just die. Yeah, just die a lot. Not much else.

Im playing the pc version, btw. I dont know how different the console versions will be when it comes to aiming, and ai difficulty. So if youre playing on 360 and owning veteran... STUF CONSOLE NOOB WITH YOUR AUTO AIM! I HAVE M/KB AND MORE PRETTY GRAPHICS, I AM TEH ROXXOR (or something).

lol j/k, im not a fanboy prick. These points of anger may not apply to you. I dont know.

You can stop reading here if you dont want spoilers and/or ranting. I think i make some valid points though...

COD4 has kickass gameplay, without doubt. Some portions of the campaign are without doubt among the best designed ive ever seen. I mean, the bit after the ship level (which was fucking awesome itself), where you take control of the president guy and get assassinated? Remarkably effective. And the aftermath of the nuke... HOLY CRAP. That was chilling and amazing at the same time. Also the bit where you take over the guns in that gunship plane.. ooo baby! And some of the levels have places and battles that are just plain fun.

Unfortunately, many portions are by far the worst level design i have ever seen. Most of them are compounded by tough enemy ai that, at veteran difficulty it rarely misses even at long range while running (irrelevant of what weapon), and you die within 2 - 4 hits for most weapons. Not to mention, most of the time they will shoot at you and you alone, if they know where you are. Of course, thats just part of the challenge. However, the game is not set up to fight such an enemy; for most of it, you need support. You are in a squad for most of the game, after all.

And that is where the problem lies. If you think halo 3's ai were shit drivers, just wait till you meet cod4's bunch of retards. They can barely hit a building at 5 metres. They like to sit back and wait for you to clear a building, before coming in and 'supporting' you. Essentially, you have a bunch of cannon fodder.

Except wait a minute. Remember i said above that the ai have you at the top of their hit list? They seriously will go for you, totally ignoring your allies. In the level from the demo, the part where an ally runs up the stairs and gets grabbed by an enemy once glitched. The ally hid behind the corner, and the enemy still ran down but didnt grab him since the ally was in the wrong place. At this point, normal ai kicked in - and the bad guy pulled out his pistol and shot at me. In the small gap between the wall and the ally - the ally and the enemy could seriously have grabbed each other, as theyre supposed to, they were close enough.

So really, you dont have any allies worth speaking of (there is one exception, ill get to it below). The enemies are nasty, but you kill them with the same efficiency. However, they outnumber a good 20 or more to 1 in most big pitched battles. They tend to come at you from at least 2 angles. They get all over the place, make good use of cover (even though you can shoot through it), and there will ALWAYS be one fucker hiding in a building if you finally get close enough to enter.

The game is LITERALLY designed to play with a squad, or even just one more effective player. But you cant do that. And theres more. Oh yes, theres more...

Some parts of the game are just god damn suicide. For example, in one scene you get to play as the support gunner on a transport helicopter, for the first few minutes. It essentially means you have a really powerful gun firing quite explosive rounds. It also means you cant take cover. Thats right, you cannot hide from the metric fucking ton of ammunition coming your way, courtesy of the ai's behaviour explained above. This means that, on veteran difficulty at least, that you have to play through the first 30 seconds many times just to figure out what the fuck is killing you. Turns out its quite a few tanks and a couple of aa guns. Eventually you'll pull through, and it becomes quite a decent level after that (you get out of the fucking helicopter). However, that first segment remains the most frustrating and annoying thing i have ever done in a game.

And the level im up to now... ohhh its a fun one. This one has something i didnt think possible - a useful ally. Hes a sniper and he can actually kill people. Hes not bad at it, in fact. The thing is, theres only 1 of him. And 1 of you, also a sniper. And LITERALLY NO-JOKING-WHATSOEVER FUCKING HUNDEREDS OF ENEMY SOLDIERS. Its actually a really cool mission, in the first half. Then you get your cover blown, and all hell breaks loose. It becomes the most difficult and annoying level i have ever managed to get to the end of.

And get to the end i did. But not finish it, no, the game wont let me have that. Your buddy gets injured, and you get to carry him to a pick up zone. Eventually, after amassing probably the highest body count an fps has ever seen, you get to carry him to the chopper. And then, i couldnt walk on with him, for some reason. So i put him down... and walked on... then the allies who came with the chopper came on, getting in my way... and my buddy was left on the ground... so i failed. Yes, thats right. I failed because of that shit. Checkpoint was way back... thats what inspired this rant, and my new found irrational belief that cod4 has the worst sp campaign ever made, despite the good bits.

I cannot forgive the checkpoints/autosaves, no quicksaving or anything. Manual saving would probably make veteran bearable - an insane amount of frustration comes simply from making a fair amount of progress, then having it all taken away by one lucky shot, and a shit checkpoint system that MIGHT save your game at some point. Maybe. Seriously, if i ever get into political power, ill do something about this. Checkpoints must be activated every 50 bullets fired and when the player is in a safe position. Or something. Nah fuck it, outlaw em. No one will miss them. Unless manual saves are implemented too, of course.

Thats just some examples. There are other points i could bring up, but this has been theraputic, and my anger is gone. I'll probably go back to the game now; ive proven i can beat the damn level... it is a fun game, sometimes an awesome game. Just also very frustrating.

So yeah... thanks cblogs, i feel much better!

tl;dr? Game is fucking hard on hardest difficulty. Often is not fun. Needs a co-op mode, or less retarded allies. Desperately needs quick saving. Is still really amazing in more than a few places.   read


11:45 AM on 11.07.2007

CoD 4 Prologue

This is the best prologue/training mission thing ive ever seen in a game, for three reasons.

1) It actually makes sense! Youre an s.a.s guy. Its a mock-up of a real situation, designed to get you ready for the coming mission.

2) Its fun. It uses real gameplay (none of that 'recalibrating your suit' crap like in halo). You get a nice sense of urgency as the guy yells at you what to do.

3) Its timed, giving you a goal to work for, to do it quickly and accurately.

Now 3 is the real reason i made this blog - i beat that fuckin iw time! 14.95 seconds baby! I played the damn thing for about 20 min to do so... lol.

So, what did other people get? Anyone else decide that iw couldnt have the glory?   read





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