Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Eve online: Paranoia

"Would anyone like to salvage the loot from my mission? There's a lot of it."

Mission salvaging is a lucrative but tedious pastime. Perhaps this was a genuine helping hand offer to give a newbie a chance to get a look at some ph4t lwt. Then again this was EVE on-line. Every conceivable interaction with other players carries the risk of being scammed, usually resulting in an untimely death along with the loss of your prized possessions. The fact that the offerer had a negative security status close to the lowest limit allowable in the system we were in didn't inspire confidence either.

I thought about it.

My salvaging ship (a destroyer) was worth about 1 million isk including fittings but the insurance would recoup about 750k. Allowing for a new insurance premium and a possible replacement clone if I got podded my maximum exposure was about 500k isk. On the other hand the salvage from a higher level mission was likely to be worth millions. What the hell. I decided to chance it.

To be honest, I couldn't see the angle in it for him if he was trying to scam me. His ship was many times more valuable than mine and any unprovoked attack in this high security system would result in his destruction at the hands of the Concord Police. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

I joined a gang (evespeak for group) with him so that I could fly to his location to find the salvage. We engaged in some small talk in gang chat and I thanked him for his generosity. I kept my guard up though because I knew that joining a gang would allow anyone who was at war with his corporation to have a free go at me. There is a well known scam where you warp to someone's aid in a mission only to find an alt at war with the main character waiting there to blow you to kingdom come. It didn't seem likely. War declarations are an expensive business - far too much trouble just to pop a newbie in a 1 million isk ship. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

There was no ambush waiting for me when I arrived at his location. I found that he was indeed polishing off the last few bandits from a level 2 mission. The skies were full of tempting wreckage. I guess I could have started salvaging then and there but instead I bookmarked the location, made an excuse and returned to base. I reckoned it would be safer to come back and salvage the loot after he had left. I felt a bit petty. He seemed very friendly, giving me advice to keep me safe from the last few npcs. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

I returned about 20 minutes later to get down to the serious business of salvaging. I noticed that my benefactor was still in local. In fact he was hovering around my home base which seemed odd. Anyway we had broken up the gang so there was no safe way for him to get me now. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

Back to the site and all those tempting wrecks. Normal procedure is to loot the wrecks and then salvage the wreckage.

STOP.

It is a curious feature of EVE that while anybody can salvage anybodies wreckage with no fear of consequence looting the contents of someone else's wreck will give them kill rights on you for 15 minutes. If I were to pick up so much as a single piece of his loot I was fair game for him to have a pop at me. Maybe, just maybe, he was hoping to con some dumb noob into doing the tedious work of salvaging all his wrecks just so he could pop them on the way home and pick up the loot. Unlikely - it would take a lot of patience and a bit of luck on his part. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

I salvaged the wrecks but didn't touch a single piece of his loot. It was all still sitting there in space cans when I flew back to home port. He was still in space near my home port but my record was clean. I knew no one could touch me without suffering the consequences. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

The salvage sold for about 4 million but all that loot sitting in cans out in space bugged me. I had a plan. I had a low skill point alt in a throw away frigate docked in the same system. He could shoot that alt and I would lose nothing. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

The trickiest bit was telling the alt where the loot was. It is impossible to find a random spot in space without a bookmark and I know of no way to mail bookmarks between characters. Using a chat channel I knew my benefactor wasn't on I asked for advice and was told that you can store bookmarks in containers! Fair enough. I dropped a can in space and dragged the bookmark to it. I then switched to the alt who picked up the can and was able to capture the bookmark. Heading back to the loot I was pleased to see that there was no one else there. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

My handy henchman picked up all the illicit loot and headed back to station to flog it. There were no threats and, no incidents. I got an extra 1 million isk from selling the loot which bringing my total earnings from the affair to 5 million isk. My benefactor was still logged in local the whole time and did not appear to have moved from my home station. Curiously he did make one solitary utterance in local around about the time I was flying my alt back, holds filled with illicit loot. He said:

"Craaaaap"

That was it. He gave no further comment or explanation for this utterance. I am inclined to believe this was conicidental. I think he was a genuine benefactor giving an opportuntity to a newbie to salvage some loot he couldn't be bothered collecting himself.

Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

Monday, May 26, 2008

MMORPGs are history.

Edit. This post was meant to be tongue in cheek but Khan of the Battered Shield recently linked to it in a serious piece about the future of MMOs. Now I am worried that folk may come and read this, miss the joke and think that I am a complete idiot. If you do read what follows please take it in the spirit of humour in which it was intended. My real feelings about the future of MMOs are a bit more complicated. I am going to write a new post about this and will link to it here when finished.


Recently I have made a few posts on this blog along with comments to other blogs along the lines of "MMORPGS are a passing fad".

I could point to evidence that WOW has become so dominant that no new MMORPG has a chance. I could point to the many bloggers who are expressing boredom with their current MMO. I could show the very clear trend that the time constant for gamers to get bored with each new game is falling. I could point out that the huge demands that MMOs make on their players are a critical flaw that will eventually kill the genre. I could do detailed research on subscription and retention rates in order to prove my case.

I could do all of that but it sounds too much like hard work. Instead I have decided to simply record my prediction in as many places as possible so that when the inevitable day eventually comes (that MMOs fade into history) I will be able to boast about my foresight and say "I told you so".

It may be tomorrow, it may be in 10 years time. It may not be until we are all immersed in cocoons and existing in some kind of cyber relality. Nevertheless I feel that it is a safe bet that my prediction will come true eventually.

A new side bar will be added linking to evidence of my foresight.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eve Online: First blood

It turns out there is a silver lining to the sad story of Marb Pelico's unfortunate demise in Amamake a couple of nights ago.

I was pretty pissed off with myself for being there in the first place. A quick Google search will reveal Amamake to be a prime spot for pirates hoping to gank noobs making their first foray into low security space.

I was pissed off with myself for going in there with a full load of cargo. I only lost about 1 million worth of stuff but I should have known better than to bring anything in at all.

I was pissed off with myself for going back ratting in the same system after I had been lucky to escape from pirate in the same spot only a few minutes earlier.

I was particularly pissed off at my panic during the battle itself. I don't think I got a single shot off at my attackers.

I was really pissed off that I froze and allowed myself to be podded. I had read all about the importance of anticipating when your ship is going to blow and being ready to warp instantly your pod comes out. Sadly I just froze when the real thing happened to me.

All in all a pretty embarrassing sequence of events that I would gladly forget except that ....

This morning I finally figured out how to read the combat log and guess what? It turns out that I actually managed to take out the guy who laid the final blow on me. In fairness I had a lot of help from an npc gate gun but I still get credited with the kill.

The balance sheet goes:
Marb Pelico's losses: One Thrasher + fittings (1 million) +Cargo (1 million)
Generic Bad Guys losses: One Taranis (8 million) + Assorted fittings (5 million?)

That cheered me up no end. I am not pissed off any more. Go Marb Pelico, you killer you!

Plus I still have kill rights on his gang mates who contributed to my demise. Hmmm...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Podded

Marb woke with a throbbing headache. He felt sticky. A glutinous goo prevented Marb from opening his eyes but he could still hear. In the background an irritating synth-voice droned on about insurance contracts and exclusion clauses.

Gradually he remembered. He had just checked in for clone imprinting. "The Sensible Precaution" the brochures advertised. "Completely Painless" they said. The bastards hadn't mentioned that his head would feel like exploding when he woke.

Wait a minute. They had explained the process in some detail. "The subject remains awake throughout" they said. Why was he asleep? Why was he naked and covered in slime? Something must have gone wrong.

"The bastards! I'll sue them for every penny they've got" Marb thought. "There is no way I should be waking up covered in medical goo unless they screwed up or....


... unless....


.....I am not the real Marb Pelico."

Realisation dawned: "I have his thoughts, I have his memories but I am not Marb Pelico"

"Marb Pelico is dead."

Much later a clone psych counsellor assessed Marb to determine his desire for revenge. Apparently it's a common enough reaction to want to jump straight back into a ship and get the bastards who podded you. The clone bank gets a lot of repeat business that way.

Marb thought about it. He didn't feel a particular need for vengeance. The Marb Pelico who died was a fool, a likeable fool but a fool. He went solo ratting in a low spec system where he knew there were active pirates. That Marb Pelico was a fool.

"I am not that Marb Pelico".

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hardcore Players Need not Apply

It seems EVE is pulling a very brave move with the forthcoming introduction of faction warfare to the game. They are effectively banning hardcore players from joining in the fun. Hardcore EVE players indulge in Alliance scale warfare in lawless zero-zero space but members of alliances will be excluded from faction warfare.

This has sparked much choice comment on the blogs and fora but but the decision is justified in a well thought out developer blog entry.

There is some technical justification for the block but it seems it is mainly a deliberate design choice. The blog cites role play reasons: the block is required to fit in with the game lore. Also and perhaps more significantly they don't want this new form of pvp endgame to pollute the hard core alliance war end game and nor do they want the hard core alliance end game to pollute this new game.

It sounds to me as if CCP want zero-zero alliance warfare to remain the pvp endgame for hardcore players and are introducing faction war as an alternative for the less dedicated.

Interesting times. I wonder if they will get away with it. Can you imagine if Blizzard introduced a new endgame dungeon into WOW but excluded any one who is in an established raiding guild from entering it?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Recent Reading

Several hourss on plane during the last week afforded me some time to read three books by three authors I do not normally read.

First off "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman.

I can't shake the notion that I have read Gaiman before but I cannot remember what or when. In any case "Neverwhere" (author's preferred text adapted from radio screenplay) is an enjoyable enough yarn. It paints a picture of a seedy under city of London, home to those who have "fallen through the cracks". London Below reminds me vaguely of Mieville's New Crobuzon but Gaiman's novel is far more lightweight than the Perdido street sequence. Gaiman's lighthearted take on fantasy might best be compared to the work of Terry Pratchett or Douglass Adams but Gaiman's writing does not reach the same heights of sidesplitting humour or piercing satire as either Pratchett or Adams. Enjoyable but far from classic stuff.

Next up is "Sword Song" by Bernard Cornwell.

Ireland is one of those countries that has bad memories of British redcoats and that has probably dissuaded me from reading more of Cornwell's better known series of novels about a redcoat named "Sharpe". Nevertheless I will admit to having enjoyed the couple of Sharpe novels I did read so it was a relief to come across a Cornwell novel about an altogether less contentious period of history. Sword song is set in 9th century Britain when the country is divided between Saxon and Dane. The hero was born Saxon but raised by the Danes a device which provides plenty of opportunities for angst as our hero works with King Alfred to strengthen the Saxon position. "Sword Song" is a very enjoyable historical novel with ample sword and axe wielding and a generous helping of viking longboat thrown in for good measure. My one complaint is that Cornwell tries too hard to create conflict for the hero. It was the same in the Sharpe novels that I recall. You just know that the hero will do all the hard work to resolve the plot drama but will receive none of the rewards.

Finally "Brethren" by Robyn Young.

This novel charts the twin careers of an initiate into the Knights Templar and a Saracen Sultan at the time of the crusades. It is a terrific setting for a historical novel and so far I am enjoying it. I am slightly concerned about a secret society with accompanying secret text that has cropped up. With any luck this won't interfere with the serious business of besieging castles but ever since forcing myself to read the ludicrously inept "Da Vinci Code" I recoil in horror at the mention of secret societies.

EVE has all the best stories

While World of Warcraft bloggers struggle to write something interesting about their 99th visit to Karazhan Eve writers are spoiled for choice. The massive fraud schemes, the epic fleet battles and the many life or death struggles that make up a typical day in EVE all feed the writers craft. How is it then that despite all this I have been relatively silent about my first few weeks in EVE?

I guess it is mainly because I am a new player in an old game. Anything I could write about the newbie experience has been written before. I am also aware of my own ignorance of the game. Eve is a complex game with many layers. I think I have figured out how some things work but often enough I have had to revise my opinion as I discover some new way of doing things.

It is not that there is a shortage of things to document. This week CCP released details of a forthcoming expansion that will introduce faction warfare. From what I can make out this will offer a form of organised PVP for those that do not participate in the massive alliance wars that dominate the player owned regions of space. Offical Site here and lots more info linked to by Crazy Kinux here

For the last few days the in game news channel has been giving constant coverage to the aftermath of a devastating terrorist attack. I immediately flew to the site in order to offer my assistance. The destruction was fearsome to behold but I was somewhat miffed when the survivors were unwilling to pay a fair price for my cargo of medicaments. Altruism is all very well and good but a pod pilot still has to pay for his stardrive fuel!

Uhhhh...Not much to report.

Blog has been quiet this last week partly because I was in Denmark on a work trip and partly because I find myself at a bit of a gaming loose end. I have finished Crysis and no other single player game catches my fancy at the moment.

I logged into LOTRO briefly. Turbine have added a lot of new content (including a whole new area) since I left but I could not drag up the motivation to sample it. I think I am just am bored of the whole swords and sorcery mmo format to be honest. Age of Conan is getting a bit of buzz on the blogosphere but I have no interest in it.

On a side note I have to complement Turbine on LOTROs new and improved quest log. It is a thing of beauty and really makes an adventurer's life easy. The quest sharing feature in particular deserves a mention - not only can you easily see who else has your quest you can also share pre-requisite quests with your group to allow every body to cath up with the quest arc. Superb.

I am not yet bored with EVE although I do get bored in EVE. Running missions is profitable but tedious. In moments of sheer boredom I have taken to logging an alt, hopping into the newbie space craft and flying off to some dangerous corner of the universe. It is amazing how far you can get in a newbie frigate. Most low sec gate camps cannot catch such a small fast craft. 0.0 with warp disruption bubbles is a different story but a brand new character has nothing to lose. In fact on one occasion, finding myself a long way from home, I used a handy pirate as a personal teleporter. Flying directly up to him and making a few choice comments about his mother was enough to secure his co-operation in destroying first my ship and then my pod. Bingo I wake a few seconds later back at home base.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Eve: Running the Gauntlet

They were waiting in Rancer.

I come out of the star-gate and my overview fills with the red markings of pirates. For some reason my display is messed. I cannot get out of map mode to see what is happening. I cannot see but I can hear the chaos of a battlefield around me.

"Do not fly what you cannot afford to lose"

Funny how I remember the first commandment of EVE just after I pop out into a gate camp. The 10 million isk worth of goods in my cargo hold represent almost everything I own.

Mustn't panic. I have a few cloaked seconds to plan a course of action.

The Vigil I am flying is fast and agile. I have fitted a warp core stabiliser and microwarp drive. Perhaps I can fly out of danger before they pin me down.

10 milllion isk is a drop in the ocean to an established player. If they are in this for the money perhaps they won't bother with small fry like me.

I cannot get out of map mode but I can turn on the filter to check for pod kills in the last hour. Rancer glows an angry red. Lots and lots of pod kills. They are not in it for the money.

There is the exit gate, select it. Go for it
.

Warp to zero, WARP TO ZERO.

My ship uncloaks and aligns towards its destination in preparation for warp. I still cannot see but I hear the tell tale clicking as someone tries to target me.

Come on, come on, WARP!

Without visuals I cannot see my little ship entering warp but the AU's to my destination start to fall. I am in warp. I made it.

I come out of warp meters from the exit gate.

Thank God for Warp to Zero

The overview flares red again.

Oh no! Are they are camping this gate too?


Activate the gate, ACTIVATE, ACTIVATE!!!

You cannot activate a gate until you come out of warp. There is an excruciating moment of danger as your ship sits defenseless in front of the gate waiting for a chance to be catapulted to safety.

The screen changes.

I made it. I have escaped.

At this moment I love EVE.

Zoso's Week in the Life of an MMO addict

For an entertaining read head over to Killed in a Smiling Accident and read Zoso's fictionalised account of a week in the life of an MMO addict. At least I think it is fictionalised but his timing does coincide rather well with the beta of Age of Conan so you never know..

Zoso's main protagonist starts a new free for all PVP game. He gets his kicks from "pwning noobs" (most of whom are called Arragwwwn) and posting vitriolic comments to the forums about carebears.

I guess I fall into the carebear category because I have neither the stomach nor the talent for serious pvp. Yet one of the things I really like about EVE is the free for all PVP aspect of the game. It adds a whiff of danger to everything you do. I have yet to make it into the lawless 0.0 zones but even in more secure zones people get ganked.

I have no doubt that EVE has players just like Zoso's protagonist - certainly they make it as far as the rookie help channel. I have to chuckle at questions like "How soon can I fly a Titan and kick some ass?". Titans are undoubtedly the most expensive and most powerful ships in the game but they are not epeen toys for to fly around pwning nwbs. I have never even seen one but even I know that they are an enormous infrastructural investment to be used strategically in massive fleet battles.

The really great thing about EVE is that it is not an uneven contest between Pirate and Prey. There are counter tactics to every strategy and often it boils down to economics. How much is it worth to you to kill me and how much are you prepared to risk to attempt it? It is a battle of wits with information being the greatest weapon on either side.

By the way Zoso, having played Lotro I can definitely say that Legwowlas is more popular than Arragwwn.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hard Disk Full: What to uninstall?

I went to install something today and my PC said no. Three years worth of gaming has filled my 250Gb hard drive up to the very brim.

A quick scan with Spacemonger confirmed that 90% of the disk was filled with games. I decided to be moderately ruthless and un-install any game I haven't played in over a year.

Some folk have a strong sentimental attachment to their save games as this terrific piece by Lara Crigger in Gamers with Jobs testifies. There was time when I felt the same way. I was so proud to have completed Doom / Descent / Half Life that I religiously copied my save games from one PC to the next each time I upgraded. Now however I seem to have outgrown that. There are too many games and just too little time. The truth is that even when I do go back to an older game I generally start over from the beginning. Unless I seriously think I am going to use them again the save games are going too.

By the way I am using the excellent Revo Uninstaller to do the actually clean up. It is free, easy to use and a a lot more powerful than the Windows XP control panel.

EVE, a Freudian Slip?

Re reading my last post about suscribing to EVE I was surrised to see that I had inadvertently slipped the word "tedious" in after the first sentence. I have corrected it now but it read:

My 21 day EVE free trial has ended and I have bought a further 30 day subscription. tedious.


I hadn't intended to imply that the game was boring but that is what is looks like I was saying. Oops.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

EVE: I am a believer

My 21 day EVE free trial has ended and I have bought a further 30 day subscription. I don't really expect to get heavily involved in the game but EVE is a game that cannot be ignored. It is almost like I had to subscribe. I have only scratched the surface but already I realise that EVE makes other MMOs look, well, just silly.

I mentioned that I had lost my way a bit in the game after unexpectedly achieving all the goals I set for myself early on the the free trial. The sandbox nature of EVE means that you need to set your own goals and without goals the game can seem very tedious.

I have already established Marb Pelico as a frigate/destroyer flying vagabond who eke's out a meagre living from his fleet of flying rust buckets. I think I will now work him up towards level 2 and higher missions which probably means upgrading to a cruiser with consequent cash and training requirements. At the moment most of Marb's cash comes from salvaging which is mind numbingly boring. I would really like to earn more from trading but I haven't managed to find any trade routes that offer anything like the earnings I get from salvaging.

Having played the 21 day free trial through Steam I also bought the game from them. At current dollar exchange rates Steam is a much cheaper option (Steam $15+taxes is approximately €12 as opposed to €19.99 from CCP). Steam doesn't collect the monthly subscription so I will either have to buy game time codes cards or sign up with CCP. Bizarrely Game time codes are much cheaper as they are priced in dollars. To be honest I don't see EVE as a game I will play continuously. I expect I will dip in and out of the game so time codes make more sense all round. The only minor disadvantage of going the steam route is that the default EVE icon now loads Steam before loading the game which extends loading time a little. You can easily bypass this by creating a shortcut directly to the EVE client hidden in your Steam directory.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Crysis: Things I wish I knew the first time I played

It took me a while to figure out the capabilities of Crysis' nano-suit and weapons and this limited my play style somewhat on my first run through. Now playing through on Delta Mode (hard) I have adopted a stealthy play style and I find the following nuggets of info very handy: (in no particular order):

0. Patch the game before you play. Version 1.2 seems more stable and is easier.

0.5 Don't sacrifice playable frame rates for visual effects. Jerky framerates will seriously hamper your enjoyment of the game. Go for a setting that gives you around 30FPS and stick with it.

1. In stealth mode when you move you use energy very quickly and when you run out of energy you de-stealth. Crawl or crouch to move more slowly and reduce the rate of energy consumption.

2. When you run out of energy in stealth mode you switch to armour mode BUT you still have no armour because you are our of energy.

3. When you shoot in stealth mode you deplete all of your energy, de-stealth and switch to armour mode (with no amour).

4. 2 and 3 above explain why it is not a good idea to use stealth mode to run into a group of enemies and then try to quickly shoot them all.

5. Silencers are great for stealthy play but they reduce the damage a lot so you absolutely need to aim for head shots.

6. Switch the automatic rifles (SCAR / FY) to single shot mode ("X"). You do more damage and have less recoil. You can still fire quickly by tapping the mouse button.

7. Strength mode steadies your aim. Essential for long range sniping.

8. Speed mode can sometimes allow you to run out of harms way.

9 The SCAR and FY make pretty decent sniper rifles in single shot mode with a sniper scope. They do less damage than the precision rifle but head shots will still kill. Added advantage that you can use a silencer.

10. For some reason the Koreans can't see your laser aiming beam when you are stealthed. Silenced pistols / assault rifle with laser pointer allows for multiple head shot kills from a stealthy hiding place.

11. The twin pistols are actually a very useful weapon. As good as the assault rifle at short to medium range. Fit silencer and laser aiming.

12. Ways of taking out Koreans in Nano-Suits: At short range two blasts of the shotgun. At medium to long range a burst of incendiary ammo from the FY to the chest.

13. The Gauss rifle is the best weapon for taking out all kinds of aliens. It it will see you through to the end of the game. In the underground levels when you haven't got the Gauss rifle yet use a shotgun.

13. The rocket launcher has a homing mode when you press right click. Handy for taking out helicopters.

14. A helicopter on your tail can be difficult to shake. If you have a rocket launcher 2 to 3 rockets should kill it. If you haven't then use stealth mode to run to get to a group of trees and hide. Do not stealth and stand still because you will get bombarded with rockets.

14. Pick up the precision rifle and the sub machine gun to get the sniper scope and laser aiming respectively but don't bother bringing them with you. The assault rifles (SCAR / FY) can do both jobs just fine.

15. Cough..cough...F5 is the quick save button.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Crysis on delta mode

One of the side benefits of the trend towards shorter more intense games is that it is relatively easy to play through a title more than once, trying out different difficulty settings and options. I often find that the second play through is more enjoyable than the first. I am more comfortable with the controls and game mechanics plus I tend to be a bit more creative in my second play through.

I also try to play at a harder difficulty setting the second time around in order to maintain the challenge. So it was with Crysis. Having finished the game on Normal setting I started again on the hardest setting (delta mode).

Crytek don't just adjust the difficulty level in delta mode, they make some other cool adjustments to the game as well. For instance the enemies now speak in Korean rather than English, grenades no longer advertise their presence and you can no longer magically man the machine gun of a vehicle while steering it (presumably with your toes. The enemy ai seems somewhat improved as well - they tend to be more wary. All of these changes have improved the game in my opinion. The immersion is better and it forces you to adopt a stealthier play style.

There was one other change I wasn't expecting. The game is easier.

At first I flattered myself that my shooting had actually improved but no, the game actually has gotten easier. Enemies that took 5 or six bullets to the body to drop now go down in two. What is up?

I think that the explanation for this is that between my first and second play through I patched the game up to version 1.2. A read through of the patch notes reveals
Increased damage of most player-fired weapons and decreased damage of most AI-fired weapons
It looks like this wasn't just a minor tweak but a major overhaul of game difficulty. Enemies now go down more quickly on the hardest play setting than the used to on the normal setting. I'm ok with it. Previously there were several frustrating moments in the game where it seemed like I emptied an entire clip into an enemy and they were still standing. The koreans still do plenty of damage to me so I still have to play cautiously.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Crysis Over

Just finished Crysis.

I enjoyed it.

Many commentators have said that the game is just a remake of Far Cry but I found it very different. Crysis feels to me like a much more traditional game. It feels like an old school shooter with a big alien boss at the end. It actually reminds me a lot of Unreal 2 but it has resonances of even older games like DOOM and Duke Nukem 3D.

Crysis is a lot easier than Far Cry (on default settings anyway). This is partly because they included quick save (embarassed pause) but mainly because you get a uber magic suit from the very start of the game. This suit gives you a self recharging shield, self recharging health and has speed, strength and stealth modes as well. The reduced difficulty level isn't a bad thing in my opinion. I rate Far Cry one of the greatest shooters ever but I didn't get to appreciate it properly till my second (or third) run through because I was struggling with the difficulty on my first attempt.

I can't really comment on the state of the art visuals because I was limited to Medium Quality settings in order to get decent framerates. At medium quality the game looks OK but nothing spectacular. Mind you I did increase the shader detail from medium to high and that improved the look of the game quite considerably. I can't imagine that enhanced visuals would changed the gameplay experience much though once the wow factor had worn off.

Not in the same league as Call of Duty 4 in my opinion, but an enjoyable game none the less. Old school shooter fans might particularly appreciate it for nostalgia value.