Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's been a while since I posted again. Not as long as last time, but quite a bit has happened since then, so I figured I'd let you all in.

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In MMO-Land, I'm not playing anything ATM. I still have a couple days on my EVE and CoX subscriptions, but I won't be playing them, that's for sure. I haven't touched CoX in ... I dunno how long. It's fun for the first little while, but then I hit the wall of sameness and grind and I give up. I've seen it all before, and there's no real powersets that interest me anymore. Perhaps the levels from 12-20 are the worst, as the only thing worth having in those is my travel power at 14, and Stamina at 20.

As for EVE, once I got my battleship all twinked out with high end mods and Tech level 2 stuff, including rigs, it's become utterly boring. Level 4 missions that used to be almost death are simply a matter of time and ammo. I don't even need my friend Kofi to tank for me anymore. I can tank and do DPS at the same time. It's slower cause I'm kitted out more for resistances, but it's still nothing to sneeze at.

My next goal for EVE was to train to fly another races' battleship, and kit one out with all nice stuff. It's more useful vs. certain mobs' damage types. But even my Raven is pretty tough against them. I've got all the skills needed, and some higher than required, but I have no inclination to get the ship. I don't want to have to play to earn then credits. Cause it's mindlessly boring, and utterly time consuming. Needless to say, I won't be going back anytime soon.

That is unless I have no other choice. Ugh ... I hate video game developers right now. They all suck.

As for how I mentioned Lord of the Rings Online a couple post back, I actually tried the 7 day trial the other week. And I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. It still seems to be missing something, but at least it's fresh and something I haven't played for months already. I was considering picking it up a while back, but other things have made me hold off on that. Possibly I'm worried that I won't really enjoy it, and it'll be a waste of time, but I think that's just my pessimistic tendencies coming out.

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In SP games, my one roomie DLed a cracked version of Bioshock and gave me a copy. We were both worried about the SecuROM copy protection included on the hard copy, so we held off buying it. I might eventually get it via STEAM, as there is only the STEAM copy protection that way, but I'm not sure. Even though I was really into it for the one day I played it (almost the entire day), I don't know if I want to continue playing it. It's not what I expected, and not really what I'm into playing right now.

Let me break down why it's not engaging right now:

Since the game is supposed to be the "spiritual successor" to System Shock 2 (a brilliantly fun and frightening RPG/FPS game), I expected as much from Bioshock as I got from SS2. But sadly, the console nature of Bioshock is all too apparent. The RPG elements are at best deemed "lite", or close to nonexistent in some cases. SS2 had all the RPG elements most traditional RPGs have: equipment, inventory, stats, character progression, and most importantly, a cool story.

Bioshock has the cool story, though not as engaging thus far as I've seen. But it's very limited in all the other RPG elements. There's no true inventory. You can't pick up bandages to use for later when you're hurt. You use them right away, even if you're at full health. The only thing you can keep is guns, ammo types, med kits, and EVE stims (ie. Mana stims). You have no real equipment. No cool gun scope, armour, tools, etc., to make things more interesting. There are a few items, but nothing substantial.

Stats? There are none in Bioshock. At all.

Character progression? Hmmm ... so far, the only thing seems to be what Plasmids you buy with the limited ADAM you get. But that's more like equipment. And they are interchangeable at specific stations in the maps, so you can always go back and re-equip that plasmid you need later on. Call me old fashioned, but I think you should be stuck with whatever ones you pick, and it's permanent. That way, playing through the game a second time could actually be interesting.

Other things have irked me. The simplistic interface for one. Opening a crate/corpse/etc. and picking stuff up is the same key, so accidentally grabbing the bandages I don't need is an all too common occurrence. The story is cool, but there has been a couple "holes" in the plot so far already. And some of the plot devices, ie. the radio and recordings you find, just don't fit the setting at all. That is, the 1960s. In SS2 you would be contacted via cybernetic uplink by the doctor trying to help you, and find lots of cool/creepy emails lying around that you could listen to. But it made sense in the context. A futuristic setting.

In Bioshock there are all these big tape recorders lying around for some reason, with people's messages/notes on them. It's a little anachronistic. It's also a direct ripoff of SS2.

And that's probably what my biggest complaint is with Bioshock. It's simply SS2, stripped of a lot of the good stuff, in a different setting. The hacking aspect is the same, a minigame to take over the cameras and turrets. Just in Bioshock it's a little pipe game and in SS2 it was something like minesweeper IIRC. The Splicers in Bioshock are just like the enemies in SS2. Creepy, weird, and come at you with no real sense of self-preservation. The recordings and radio are like the emails in SS2. The Plasmids are like Psi powers in SS2, but instead of being optional, they are /required/.

Basically, Bioshock feels like a console port of SS2, in a different setting with better graphics. Nothing more. Nothing new, nor innovative.

It seems pretty weak IMO.

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As for other games, I got the demo for Quake Wars: Enemy Territory from my roomie too. But suffice to say, it's a cheap ripoff of Battlefield 2/2142, but with Quake stuff and a ridiculously fast pace for what supposed to be a tactical game. There aren't any tactics, just zerging.

/Really/ fucking lame IMO.

I also bought Far Cry for cheap the other day, just for something else to play. I had been meaning to get it for a while but neglected to. I kind of wished I hadn't got it now. It's not that great, really. The two major sticking points I have already are the checkpoint only savegame feature (almost spells death by itself, IMO) and the difficulty of the game. I don't know if I'm supposed to sneak through the maps, or not. Cause when I go in "guns blazing" I get overwhelmed. The enemies aren't stupid, and the amount of firepower they bring to bear on you is crazy.

But if I try to sneak, I miss most of the enemies entirely, so I get bored. That, or I fuck up at one point and have a shitload of them come running, from in front and behind. I don't know what to do. I'm seriously thinking I should just DL a walkthrough or something. Maybe it'll give me some tips. It's that, or I either give up playing, or cheat to the ending. Neither of which sound appealing.

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Even though Kofi is all pumped about World in Conflict being out (as of today), I'm very underwhelmed. After playing the MP demo for /hours/, the game is basically dead to me now. I think we've put in something like 24 hours already (as it tracks your time played), so I really don't have much enthusiasm left. Without a concrete reason for playing (ie. some kind of character development/unlock system), I don't feel compelled to play it. FEAR is a pure FPS, plain and simple. Nothing but fragging, left and right. No unlocks, no stats. But it's TONS of fun for the hour or so I play it. But it's not something I can play for extended periods of time. Same thing when it comes to WIC. But the lack of twitch (ie. adrenaline pumping gameplay) in WIC makes it harder for me to enjoy.

I was supposed to play it with him today, but I didn't feel like it. I know he'll bug me about it tomorrow at work, but I don't care. He's got the other guys from Teamspeak to play it with. I don't need to be there. Plus, they seem to enjoy it waaaay more than me. So he should be out of people to play with anytime soon.

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Today was mostly a day of DVD watching, instead of playing WIC with Kofi. He lent me Deadwood season 3, so I started watching that. Only something like 8 episodes worth. Nothing big.

I also watched a couple episodes of Space: Above and Beyond with my roomie Inferno today too. I picked up the series the other week, and I've only watched the episodes when the two of us can watch at the same time. Inferno has never seen the show so I don't want to accidentally spoil it for him or anything. Our other roomie has seen it before, and actually remembers it far better than I do.

As I mentioned, I looked into getting the entire 4 seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise. That is, until I saw the price. It's over 120 bucks per season. And the 4 season boxed set is still like 450 bucks. I liked the show, but nowhere near enough to shell out that kind of cash. Even for one season.

I also need to watch Rome season 1, Dead Like Me season 1 and Carnivale season 1. There's too many good shows that got cancelled that I need to watch. It seems like my next few weeks will be full of excellent TV via DVDs.

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Which will be good, as I found out that our tabletop group won't be getting together at all for the rest of this month at least. It sucks.

I've been all pumped about playing /something, anything/ that I really am bummed now. I recently found a torrent of all the new World of Darkness books by White Wolf, and DLed it. I kind of like the new versions of Vampire and Werewolf, though some of the changes seem pretty radical. I never played Mage, so I have nothing to compare it to.

Though Inferno, who played the original Werewolf and /really/ enjoyed it, says he doesn't like some of the changes in the new version. He's kind of a brute gamer, and almost always makes a combat orientated character, so he doesn't like how they tweaked the combat and made it a lot more dangerous. Especially for werewolves.

I might still be able to get him to play it, but I'm sure he'll just try to make a different version of his old werewolf character, and be a combat brute. It would be funny though, because I could probably fuck him up pretty good as the GM, as he wouldn't be able to just stand there and "take it" like his old werewolf character did.

The whole Vampire interest came from Inferno trying to play old games of mine on the shit PC I gave him. It keeps locking up for almost /every game/, so we were looking for other things for him to play. Though Civilization III does seem to work for the most part, so it's kept him occupied for a while.

I tried playing Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines again on my PC, as a different type of vampire this time, but it's not variable enough to warrant a complete play through. I was a combat brute last time, so this time I tried the social vampire. But so much is reliant on combat, times when you have no choice to fight, that a combat weak character is not that much fun to play. And I remember all of the quests already. All it took was a few hours of gameplay, and I can remember the whole thing. Not very interesting anymore, of course.

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But, it's getting late and I work tomorrow, so this is goodbye for now.
Cheers folks,
The Rev.

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