written by Blain Newport on Sunday, 22 January, 2012
The main games for the week were Tropico 4 and Aliens vs. Predator, with a little Prototype because it's awesome.
I enjoyed Tropico, mostly. The challenge of the game escalated in ways that made me explore different parts of the game for a while. But by the time we got to level sixteen out of twenty, I felt like they had run out of ideas and were throwing constant natural disasters and artificial restrictions at me because "games should get harder".
Also, as the game gets harder, you're forced to spend more and more time micromanaging and poring over the various data screens to figure out your next move. Basically you have to spend more and more time with the least interesting parts of the game. Plus the closer you look, the more broken bits you find.
I had an island with a large enough population to keep two grade schools completely full. But I had no students going to high school or college. Maybe that was my own fault for keeping enough low level jobs open to keep people employed, but there's no part of the interface that will tell you that. And that would basically indicate that my charges have so little ambition that they'd rather work on a banana plantation then spend four years in high school to make half again as much money and not have to toil outside. Meh. I've probably given it too much thought already.
Aliens vs. Predator
I watched Alien the other night and felt like being a sneaky, wall walking monster. Aliens vs. Predator 2 is probably the better game, but I didn't feel like digging around in my old box full of CDs. The new AvP is fun. But, like Tropico, it gets less so as you go along. By the end you're fighting combat androids with built in motion trackers. As an alien you can do a ridiculous move where you use a light attack to put them off balance then whip around behind for the "stealth" kill. But that's pretty cheesy, and probably wouldn't even work with a game pad. And as a predator, you're not even fast enough to do that, so you pretty much have to throw spears, which is very easy and very very boring.
Still, I remember loving the atmosphere when the multiplayer demo for the game came out. Plus it strikes a nice balance between the ridiculous twitchiness of AvP 2000 and the somewhat plodding multiplayer of AvP2. Basically, I wish they would make AvP cheap enough that we could play it for one LAN party. :)
Nations @ War
Speaking of the LAN party, I tried downloading some editing utilities in the hopes of being able to fix / create some Nations @ War maps. I'm not sure the resources to do that are available anymore, though. There are files that the editor needs to know what's what, and I can find those files for other BF2 mods. But the BF2 Nations @ War forums appear to be gone at this point. Since that means I can't place vehicles (even the default BF2 ones), I think I'm stymied at this point.
This stinks because Nations @ War is basically the only game of its kind. It's arcade combined arms fighting with bots. Arma's too realistic. BF3 and Bad Company have no bots. Ghost Recon is all infantry. :(