01 April, 2011

Keepalive: Videos and Such

written by Blain Newport on Friday, 01 April, 2011

System Shock

I'm spending too much time recording System Shock videos, partly because I record them multiple times. If an installment is boring or I trip over my words a lot, I'll scrap it and start over. This then makes it tricky to record the second time because I know things about the upcoming section I shouldn't. I have to remember my mistakes and repeat them, which is silly.

But I'm also spending too much time recording them because I'm enjoying the game. Cyberspace in System Shock is different and cool. Picking up the audio logs and trying to piece together what happened to who and when is just as interesting a puzzle as it was when I first played the game.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Originally, I played BC2 for five hours, beating the single player campaign, and put it away. But I saw that the Penny Arcade forum folks were having a Bad Company 2 night and decided I should give the game a chance. I probably should have stuck to the PA night because on it's own, the game isn't impressive.

Like many modern shooters it adds so many special effects and fancy lighting that it's often hard to see. I was told that there are a few maps where sniping mostly doesn't work because of graphics problems that make your screen go white when you bring up the scope. Also, the controls are only read once per frame, so if you're on a slow computer, you're doubly boned. And last but not least, you have to unlock fundamental class abilities. Initially medics can't heal or revive and engineers can't repair. I still haven't earned enough medic points to be accorded the privilege of reviving people.

I very much enjoyed hanging out with Carbon Fire from the PA forums for a while. But I can't imagine playing this game for anything but the company.

Then again, I may just be old and out of touch. I thought the Crysis 2 multiplayer demo also had disorienting effects and a discouraging unlock system too.

Two Worlds 2

I met the creative director for TW2 who was demoing the game at PAX. I got a lot of enjoyment out of the somewhat similar Gothic 3. I watched videos people made of themselves having a lot of fun with the co-op and spell system.

This game is dull. It's so desperately dull. The combat is very basic and exploitable. It's generally more about patience than skill. The spell system has fun bits, but loses it's charm pretty quickly. And I've long since stopped listening to the quest dialog.

I should probably just uninstall it, but when it's too late at night to play something fun, I'll do a couple quests in TW2 to help me get to sleep. I may need to just switch to playing the multiplayer mode by myself, since it gives me a town to manage and build up. Since I don't care about the story anyway, it might be more fun to use the game as the world's fanciest Farmville clone.

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