Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Zeroing In

I've unconsciously narrowed my focus over the last week, having only fired up a relative handful of games.

Earlier last week I was putting some time into Half-Life. I find it remarkable that as I play through this game that is more than a decade old standard in a now (and then, even) well established and well-conventioned genre, everything it does still feels fresh and not so well-worn. People say this game defined the genre, but it seems more like it set a bar that no one has been able to (or bothered to) reach in terms of environment. In fact, Half-Life is, up to around half-way through where I am, more about navigating interesting environments than killing dumb creatures. This stands as a stark contrast to what most other FPS go for (pedestrian environs and more exciting firefights). I just passed the part where you launch the satellite into orbit and now I'm in some water-filled rooms with a fish monster and a tranq gun. I'm amazed at the sheer variety of scenarios I've come across thus far in the game.

The other thing on PC I've been playing quite a bit of, besides a few rounds of TF2, is Starcraft. I've been trying to replay through to the point I'm at on my Mac installation. Just one more mission to go, I think, and then I'll be back to where I was before in the Terran campaign. This time I'm planning to keep going and hopefully finish the game and expansion. I've still never played Zerg or Protoss at all, yet. Playing through the first 6-7 missions again has helped me get more familiar with the game flow, which is good. Here's another 11-year-old, completely awesome PC game, and another genre archetype, coincidentally. I think I should complete everything here before playing Halo Wars or any other PC RTS (Dawn of War II sounds cool).

Finally, I played a ton of Burnout Paradise this weekend. I've still got like 12 events to win before I get my A licsense, but I've already cleared the city of gate smashes (400/400), billboard breaks (120/120), and super jumps (50/50). I've never completed stuff like that in a GTA or any other open-world game. This game just rocks. You go fast, drift corners, smash stuff up, and when you crash you get a sweet crash scene and then you're instantly back on the road and in motion. This is one of those games that you can't just sit down and play for a little bit. Every time I get into it I'm there for like three hours. It's a great game to play mindlessly or while listening to podcasts or something, too.

One last thing: the HAWX demo. First: what the hell is this shitty third-person 'cinematic' camera mode, and why is it being forced on me for the entirety of the tutorial mission? Why would anyone want to play a fighter jet game like that? Otherwise, it feels pretty much like an Ace Combat game, but it has an XP/level system which apparently ranks you up and into better planes and loadouts. Could be alright, maybe. Feels like a $10 bargain bin pick-up.


Necovia said...

Happy Birthday Pimp!

Count Elmdor said...


did you play Portal yet?

Necovia said...

Nope! but it's installed. I fell asleep while it was downloading. Been playing a little audiosurf at work, though!

Necovia said...

@HAWX demo: what the fuck is with that camera view? And why the fuck is it called "Assist OFF"? When the game needs to "Assist" me in playing it normally, it's got problems.

Count Elmdor said...

exactly! that's about the worst possible angle to have your camera following your plane.