Monday, October 22, 2007

Seems like this "posting once a month" has become my new standard. Oh well, I guess it gives me more stuff to talk about.

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In MMO-Land, I still haven't played anything for a while. And I still haven't gone back to EVE.

HA!

Sorry ... just had to get that out of my system. Anyways, CoX has tempted me a little with the upcoming Issue 11 and the new powersets for Scrappers. That, and the new hairstyles and weapon customization. Buuuuuut ... it's really only been about a month since I stopped playing. The grind is still fresh in my mind. Maybe later.

As for EVE, it's still boring, and hasn't tempted me /at all/ this time. Hooray.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but I've been in the Tabula Rasa Beta test since June or July. I've seen some major balance changes in those few months, and the game has swung back and forth between "easy as pie" and "brutally challenging" too many times. They really need to implement smaller "tweaks" than the broad sweeping changes they have in the past.

As for the game, it's actually rather fun, but in a simpler way than most MMOs. I'd call it MMO-Lite™. But it's still interesting enough for a lot of casual players to enjoy it, IMO. The gameplay is fast enough and has a decent amount of tactics involved so that it's not "Whack-A-Mole" combat. But there are some other things that need developing before it can really be considered feature complete. The later content is broken or missing, and the end game content is completely unimplemented. They have the stuff on the drawing board, but none of it has even seen the light of day yet. Looks like they'll need a few months (about 5-6 IMO) before the game has all the features it needs to compete with other MMOs like WoW, etc.

I've contemplated picking it up when it launches, but I think I'll wait and see how it goes before diving in. There's too many things they have in store that could create more of the major balancing issues of the past. I don't really feel like playing during the balancing period. Going from one extreme to the next isn't all that fun.

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As for other Betas, I got into the Hellgate: London beta just the other day, which ironically enough was two days before the singleplayer demo was released, and the NDA was lifted.

I can't say much for HGL, not because I haven't played it, but because it's that bad. There's nothing really redeeming about the game that I can think of, except maybe that the armour/gear doesn't look half bad.

The amount of negative things I could ramble on about is staggering, and I don't really feel like typing them all out right now. I'm sure you don't feel like reading them either. Suffice to say, the game is buggy, boring, the graphics are pretty uninspiring, and the combat is just plain /bad/. There was a thread on the Beta forums that describe the game to a "T", IMO:

"Hellgate: London - A Frankenstein of a Game"

Suffice to say, I /won't/ be purchasing HGL anytime soon, or ever, most likely. My one roomie who gets cracked versions of /everything/ said he wouldn't even DLed it. He said the only way he might play it would be if someone handed him a disc with the cracked version on it. And then it would be for a couple hours, at most. A very telling statement, for sure.

Also, the fact that they will still charge a fee for access to the ongoing content, yet have in-game ads similar to BF2142 is appalling. As well, I read that they have a spyware type of program that reads your browsing info and uses it to tailor the ads, as well as send the info to "interested third parties". Whoever they might be.

It's become a deal breaker for a lot of people, apparently. At least the players are lucky it's come to light before the game was released.

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I know I ranted a lot about Bioshock last entry, and I'm sorry for that. I have a bit to talk about now, but I won't get too into it, I assure you all.

I finished Bioshock some time ago, playing over a long weekend I had off. 21 some odd hours later I finished it, finally relieved that I never had to play it again. That's pretty sad for an FPS game, especially when I'm the one playing it. The game never felt like fun, it simply felt like a timesink. I was always forced to go do something else before I could progress the story some more.

And the enemies weren't tough at all. Except for the Big Daddies, I was usually full on all my ammo/health/stims after the fights. I managed to hack /every single thing/ I could. I got every plasmid and tonic in the game, and I fully researched all the enemies. I know some people said they've played the game more than once, but I don't see why. When you're not restricted to what you can do, there's no real point to playing it again, is there?

I know there's lots of people out there who really liked Bioshock, and I'm glad for them. I just wish they could have all enjoyed System Shock 2 before playing Bioshock. Then maybe they would understand where I'm coming from, and how Bioshock is good, but not as good as SS2. It's just prettier.

As for other games I talked about:

- haven't touched Far Cry since the last time I posted. Don't know if I'll ever be able to get into it. Sucks.
- World in Conflict is another one I haven't touched. I never got the full game either. Don't know if I will or not.

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As for upcoming games, I've watched more videos of Crysis and it looks awesome. Not just the visuals, but the gameplay. I'm just hoping I can run it half decent. My machine is rather good, but it sounds like Crysis eats the best PCs out there for breakfast.

Another game that's got me /super excited/ is Assassin's Creed. I've watched almost all the videos I could find on the Net, and the game looks like something I could /really/ enjoy. It's funny that almost everyone I know hasn't heard about it at all. And it's hilarious when I've shown them the videos. Cause they are all blown away by it, and as excited as I am. It's awesome.

I've played some new demos recently too. Call of Duty 4 looks the most promising, and will be something I /definitely/ pick up. Unreal Tournament 3 is pretty boring, IMO. They don't even have the cool Assault maps that everyone loved from UT2004(2003?). Just mindless fragging, and overhyped visuals. When you're running around at top speed constantly shooting, who has time to look at the visuals?

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Another new game I picked up was the Orange Box from Valve. I've only played Half-Life 2 so Episodes 1 and 2 looked cool. Portal had me hooked after I watched the videos on the net a long time ago. And Team Fortress 2 sounded cool, plus Kofi and his buddies were telling me I should get it so we could all play together.

I got it. It rocks. Simple as that.

Valve has a prefect eye for UI, gameplay and all that. They know how to make good games, that are polished, feature complete and fun. I played a lot of TF2 with Kofi before they officially released it, and it's a lot of fun. But I don't find it quite as fun as FEAR. It's good, just not something I really find myself playing that much. Once and a while, sure. But not everyday.

Episode 1 was the next one I played, and it was lots of fun all the way through. Really enjoyed it, even though it was only 5 hours or so.

Portal BLEW MY FUCKING MIND! It's the best game I've played in /years/. Tons of fun, lots of nice intellectual challenges, and a superbly witty story. The end credit song is the best ever. The challenge maps are wickedly hard, and lots of fun to try and beat.

I've yet to start playing Episode 2, but my roomie has already finished it, so he's been bugging me to play it so we can talk about it. Can't wait.

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I also found a torrent of Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich on the Net as well. Been looking for that game for ages. I truly enjoyed the first one, so I have been really looking forward to this one. And I can say so far, I haven't been disappointed.

The graphics are better, the missions are a bit more challenging, and they altered the powers a bit, so that things weren't as easy to min/max. Last time I had a guy who was basically invulnerable to a lot of damage types. This time he'd be so many points that I wouldn't even be able to recruit him.

I did make a new version of my Brute character from the last one, Live-Wire. I love him. His voice is soooo funny, and he's tough as nails. Not so good with certain enemies, and really weak against some, but still a combat brute. I just wish I could have made a character in CoX like him. The closest thing is a INV/SS Tanker or the Brute version. But neither of those has the same feel as Live-Wire. Plus, there's no cars to throw around, nor any light poles to rip down and beat villians with. Love it.

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As for tabletop, we pretty much haven't played at all in a long time. There was one one-shot game we played with Call of Chthulu, but that was just to show us how the game worked. I liked it, but the other guys were more "Kick in the Door" types, so the slow mystery nature of Chthulu just didn't seem to mesh with their playstyles.

I've picked up those new World of Darkness books I mentioned before. I got them online for about 60 dollars, for /three books/. That's almost unheard of for gaming books. Really good deal. I might never get to use them, but I don't care. They are really cool, beautifully illustrated, and can be excellent source material if I need them for another game.

In our DnD game, the one guy is going to run a HUGE campaign based off of 3-4 published campaigns he has. It looks like a multi-month long campaign, but I have no problems with that. We might finally get into some /actual/ roleplaying, and maybe play in character a little. I've been trying to get into character with my thief but it's been exceedingly difficult to say the least. I've written up a backstory finally, and given him some goals to achieve, in the hope it would help me. They haven't been brought into play yet, so it really hasn't helped.

But I found a cool drawing someone did of Gambit from the X-Men on the DeviantArt website. So I printed it off, traced it a little, and then modified the stuff I needed to make it look like my character. The end product looks really cool, IMO. And has already helped me get a better handle on playing him. Also, the videos of Assassin's Creed have got me thinking some more, and given me a mental image of what his armour/clothing looks like. Since my thief wears this magical robe we found over his armour, and the main character Altair from Assassin's Creed wears a similar outfit, I figured that my thief looks like Altair. Different colours, and slightly different in some respects, but overall they are similar. That's helped a little too.

My roomie Inferno and I have been hoping that we'd move away from the DnD 3.5 to GURPS, but it seems that with our main campaign becoming a DnD one, we're kind of screwed. Oh well, if we all get killed later on (as we almost always do in DnD), we can just shift over to a different game entirely.

Maybe I can run some of my Aliens game or start up the Werewolf one instead. Get the guys away from the Hack 'n Slash and into some serious roleplaying.

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This has been a HUGE entry and I'm sorry for that. But feel good about it. You probably won't have to read another one for over a month.

The Rev.

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