13 August, 2011

Blasts From The Past

written by Blain Newport on Friday, 12 August, 2011

I have no idea why, but IdolNinja and Digital decided the Penny Arcade forum members hadn't been playing enough Star Wars: Battlefront 2. And you know what? They were right! I remembered we tried Battlefront 2 at a LAN party a long time ago and me not thinking much of it. The weapons feel puny. The movement is artificially smooth. The bots can swing between useless and uncannily accurate depending on what weapon or vehicle they're using. And the game has some features that take a while to figure out.

All that stuff is still true, but as long as you don't take it at all seriously, there's a lot of fun to be had. For one thing, the game is old enough that you can put in a ton of bots, making the battles feel like battles.

For another, there's a mod called the Conversion Pack which adds maps and additional vehicles, including content from Knights of the Old Republic. A lot of it's pretty janky because it's pasting textures of KotOR characters onto existing models, but sometimes that just makes it hilarious. The run animation on Mission is just her walk animation at double speed, which always makes me laugh. Plus the KotOR Wookies have huge heads for some reason.

Plus the combination of all the elements of the game frequently causes scenarios you can't find elsewhere. An enemy Jedi was bearing down on my lowly imperial officer. I'd been force pushed from my feet and I thought I was doomed. As I started to stand, I jammed on the mine button, hoping I could drop a mine that would take my attacker out with me. I drop the mine, but get knocked down again. Death seems imminent. Out of nowhere, a friendly Jedi force pushes my attacker. He flies into my mine which flings him across the room and into a bottomless pit! Force powers are to high explosives what peanut butter is to chocolate.

It makes me sad that companies are trying to eliminate mods and user run servers. I know they want us to buy new games and pay for new content. That's the business they're in. But no one will be having this kind of fun with today's games six years from now. The servers will be gone. Outside of a few map packs, no additional content will ever be developed for them.

As we put more and more effort into creating games, the results of that effort are being abandoned quicker and quicker.

No comments: