Driver SF makes interesting use of its limited palette of game experience (I was sincerely shocked to see Tanner leave his car in a cut scene, I had started to think of him as some kind of Darlek).
While under shift attack attack for example the gameplay is reversed from that required for escaping from police pursuit. A subtle twist on skills already learnt.
I had the time to have a quick bash at Dungeon Siege 3. I loved the first game but couldn’t get into the second. The third is quite a radical departure with a Steampunk rather than high fantasy feel.
The new control mix of block - tumble - attack is also quite new compared to more familiar click and special attack.
Really not sure how I feel about it at the moment. I did enjoy the burning mansion level though.
I’ve got a real weak spot for DoW and actually liked the change to be focussed on heroes. So far Retribution is looking like an enjoyable addition to the series. I’ve started an Ork and Space Marine campaign. The Orks voiceover is a zany mixture of Irish, Jamaican and West Country that suits the general freewheeling feel of the units.
The Marine campaign continues the story of the Blood Ravens although it’s hard to see whether any conclusion is going to be reached now.
I bought a second PS3 controller (no USB cable! how cheap is that!) and this week when some friends came over we had the chance to play two-player Scott Pilgrim. What a revelation! The game is a lot more fun with two people and much faster paced as well. You can actually just brawl through the level rather than grinding for money and experience.
I have struggled for months to get through this mission (which involves fighting your way out of a SWAT bust). While getting in and fighting on the way out was relatively easy losing your wanted status seemed impossible.
In the end I used the following tactics: travelling to the mission I had the chance to get a Range Rover style chunky SUV, this was handy when escaping because they can take an extreme amount of abuse.
I also tried to avoid killing the gangsters, instead sneaking around the back of the building and climbing up the ladder at the back before sneaking into the room with the drugs. This means the gangsters and the SWAT will be shooting one another and will avoid pushing up your wanted level.
When escaping I started off with a shotgun and tried to leave the building very rapidly, switching to the SMG when entering the entrance building. This was to avoid more beat cops arriving to join the raid.
Jumping into the SUV and weaving out of the car park I turned left back onto the overpass to the city. This seems to be the key to losing the police as the SUV is slower over the straight than the police cars so you need to be using the grid system to make lots of turns and twists to avoid pursuit. Once the helicopters have lost you (zipping around tall buildings helps) this becomes the same job as losing any pursuit.
I am possibly the worst WoW player who continues to pay a subscription. After six years (I was there at the start!) I have managed the grand rank of 73 on my most consistent character.
To make sure that minimal progress continues I decided to create alternate Goblin and Worgen characters over the holidays and play through their new starting levels (Gnome and Troll characters must also be done at some point).
I started with the Worgen first, the ambience is dark, gothic and spooky. It is also an extremely compelling storyline with a nation under siege and on the run. The conflict with the Horde is believable and hopefully the tie-in to the Night Elves (which worked for me) means places like Darnassus might be a bit more lively than they have been.
The Goblin storyline meanwhile is a riot with all manner of computer game spoofs embellishing the main storyline of comedic disaster. I liked the GTA, SimCity and Left4Dead references; all of which were balanced by the epic Horde events the goblins are swept into.
However ultimately the alliance between the goblins and the Horde worked less well from a narrative perspective as motivation was not clearly defined. Also the free-wheeling fun of the Goblin adventures definitely made going to Ogrimmar feel like a bit of a come down whereas the Worgen’s darker tone fed into the destruction of Auberdine and the coming of Deathwing a lot better.
I just got a Jack o’ Lantern bag drop! I think this is the first random holiday item I have ever received and it is actually useful as it is two slots bigger than my smallest bag.
Goddammit it’s actually made me happy.
One of the cool things that Lotro does is give out titles if you are not defeated in battle. Now in most MMORPGs I’ve played dying is something that seems to happen within minutes of leaving the newbie area. Either something spawns in behind you, you mis-judge the required power combinations or you just plain have an interface fail.
With my first Middle Earth character I got through 15 levels without dying and all the way the game was rewarding me and encouraging me to actually try to engage with the game rather than just trying a quest, failing and respawning.
However that level of careful investment led to a weird experience. When the character was defeated, it felt like a cheat to go back and play them. I’d ended up playing a kind of Iron Man MMORPG where if the character dies, that’s it it’s alt-time.
I even felt cheated that the character had died because I had not been able to find a group to complete the main questline. Which brings up a question of game design. Most MMORPGs seem to minimise dying as a way of avoiding having to perfect the game balance, and that’s an immersion killer.
Bioware seem addicted to cancelling stealth in all of their games, completely throwing away one of the key aspects of the roguish class. Any cutscene? Cancel stealth. Any conversation? Cancel stealth.
One of the most annoying examples is when your stealth gets cancelled by the boss of the other side giving some “I will destroy you!” speech. Well yes you probably will now that I’m just a poor man’s fighter.
The optimum plot-following character in Bioware would appear to be a kind of Charisma tank, good enough to pass the Skill checks but armoured enough to handle the aggro of a conversation tree that is going to always end with the other side attacking the speaker.
Ouch, this is a beautiful but unforgiving game. During my first ten minutes I accidentally stole a horse. By steal I mean mount a horse that was not, apparently, my designated horse. Even though that horse was tied to the rail of the shack my character lives in.
So having incorrectly mounted the horse I have a $20 bounty on my head and two “lawmen” after me. Lawman who apparently want to arrest me by filling me so full of lead I can no longer walk under the weight of bullets embedded in my character’s body.
Having only played one mission I don’t know how to make my stolen horse go faster to outrun the pursuit so we end up racing through a town at the far end of the map where a bridge is out (the GTA influence really is that strong) and I get a brilliant idea for escaping the law. I spur my horse on and get it to leap into the water.
What I have forgotten though is that water is the most vicious horse-solvent known to man or equine. The horse dies instantly and my tough guy character drowns in a scum of dissolved horse.
Dead; reads the screen completely killing any engagement with the atmosphere I might have been feeling. Restarting back at the shack I find that despite being dead I still owe the law $20 for theft. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?