written by Blain Newport on Sunday, 13 Rowvember, 2011
In under 24 hours, Saints Row: The Third will be unlocked on Steam. Here's hoping it's a better PC release than a lot of what we've seen this year. If the PC version actually works on release it will be ahead of Dead Island, Magicka (multiplayer especially), and Rage (on ATI hardware thanks to ATI releasing the wrong drivers). Of course, just being on time with the console release will put it ahead of the PC versions of L.A. Noire, Costume Quest, Arkham City, Assassin's Creed, Renegade Ops, Call of Juarez, and From Dust. It's not a high bar, really.
But hey, Skyrim wasn't buggy enough to precipitate much complaining or any news stories, to my knowledge, so anything's possible. :)
Here's what I've been playing in the meantime.
Nitronic Rush is a student game. The tech is very good. Stuff looks great, and I never saw the frame rate drop (although my wallpaper went away after quitting, so there may be some cleanup issues). It's got some fun ideas. You can make your car sprout wings and fly or just fire your stunt jets to flip around like crazy, which somehow cools your engine so you can boost or fly more. The art design is good, if a bit derivative. Overall I expect the people behind it have a bright future.
That said, I think they need to learn how to cheat. The physics model and camera system are essentially offered up "as is" to the player.
Stunts are easy to land because the game doesn't care if you land right side up. But the flopping around to right the vehicle kills the pace of the game. A few assists in the physics system to make jumps easier to land could keep the pace up.
When flying, the camera stays right behind the car. Often I couldn't see where I wanted to go. A bit of code, angling the camera towards the player's route, could have helped.
Other than that, the game just needs building out. More types of interactive elements like speed arrows, power ups, and breakable walls could add variety. And the tracks don't really develop a vocabulary, building players' skills and expectations only to turn them on their head later. But that's all stuff you do when you have more time. For a free student project, Nitronic Rush is fabulous.
I've also been playing some Saints Row 2, finished Dead Space 2 a third time, and played some Morrowind since I'm too cheap to buy Skyrim yet. But who cares? Saints Row: The Third in 21 hours!