written by Blain Newport on Saturday, 16 June, 2012
I played Far Cry 2 a while back and felt sort of okay about it. It came up super cheap on a Steam sale, so I paid the "never have to find my disc again" tax and spent some time with it.
The thing I really like about that game is it's engine and the sense of place it creates. When I drive under a tree the shadows of the branches and leaves just flow over my avatar and my vehicle in a way that lets me believe. And the level of detail system keeps the frame rate high, which keeps that feeling unbroken. I start thinking about how hot it must be, how humid; how it must smell. It's also fun to drive through bushes and watch them fly apart. And it's nice to see African animals running around. It's the game part that wrecks it.
I'm not saying the combat is bad. Enemies try to flank, so you have to be vigilant. Stuff gets set on fire, cutting off avenues of attack / escape. Opponents attack from a couple different ranges. Ubisoft Montreal didn't just plop out another generic FPS.
But every time I look at my map and see enemy checkpoints between me and my destination, it makes me sad.
It makes me appreciate other open world games a lot more. The option to just enjoy the environment is very valuable. Maybe I'll go run around a bit in Prototype.
Or maybe I should get back to that They Hunger video series. :P
There's still a lot of E3 chatter in the enthusiast press as people firm up their opinions. I didn't notice any valuable epiphanies, but here's a public service message.
Asynchronous multiplayer allows people to play a game together, but not at the same time.
Asymmetrical multiplayer allows people to play a game together, but with different game abilities and / or information.
A multiplayer game can feature neither, one, or both.
(Multiple enthusiast press folks got those terms confused.)