I previously reviewed the Dark Messiah demo, and since I've had my hands on the full, retail, complete, whole and final version of the game I decided I'd review that too. I'll try to keep this one brief and to the point.
20 FPS on a freakin' menu is what I'd call a bad start. My video card has been giving me grief (constant overheating) so I'm willing to consider it may be due to my card, but I don't think it is. This is with the Optimal Recommended settings by the by. And anyone that's used the Source Engine knows that the only graphics options that do anything are Textures, HDR and Gamma. Everything else looks exactly the fucking same no matter what settings you put it on. That said I knocked all the settings down and managed to double my menu frame-rate without it actually looking different at all (except for the HDR which was only giving me a headache).
The game itself is actually pretty cool. It's an FPRPSâ„¢, combining the worst of First-Person-Shooters (straight-forward linear storyline with bland, repetitive environments) with the basic elements of RPG (experience points that can be spent on upping certain parts of your character. Strength, Agility, Bow Skill and so forth) making a pretty average game.
The only thing that was entertaining was finding hidden items. There were a couple of challenging puzzles that I found pretty entertaining as well.
It has three or four different endings and a couple parts where you can branch out and do different things (save the damsel in distress or let her die? Purge the evil demon from your soul or <3 her long time) so I guess there's that for replayability, but between the constant crashing and handbags full of bugs I really don't think I care enough to get them.
PS. What kind of icon is that? This is 2006 you noobs, try something with more than 3 colours. Oh, and there's this freaky new invention they've named "Transparency". I hear it makes those ugly white backgrounds INVISDABLE. I know!
30 minutes to copy my steam folder over to a partition with more than 10 megabytes free so I can install this bad mamajama.
1.5 hours to download via Steamâ„¢.
20 minutes to load one map.
Map loads to see the final scoreboard and people saying "gg".
20 minutes to load the next map.
10 minutes of gameplay on an incredibly laggy (all my settings were on low), uninspired map before some 1337 mother fucker caps all the flags.
20 minutes to load the next map.
5 minutes of running around aimlessly.
Get burned alive by some randomly aimed fireball and the game crashes.
5 minutes to uninstall.
The demo of BF2142 hit today (or yesterday if you got it from an "EA Partner"), and so I decided to hold off on grabbing the two hour season premiere of Battlestar Galactica and hop on a local server for some gay-time fraggin'.
I've been aniticipating this game for some time now.
I love the source engine, I love the old Might and Magic RPGs on the PSOne. Combining the two would be like combining mash potato and a meat pie (Ha Ha Ha, Cultural Reference!). Marvellous! I thought. A Might and Magic RPG that looks as good as it should. The gameplay looked pretty shit-hot as well.
The demo hit early this morning (Wednesday) for us, what I can I only guess as sometime between Tuesday morning and Tuesday night for America, and, well, nobody cares about everywhere else.
I eagerly attempted to download it using Firefox's primitive download manager when I got home from Tafe (around 8PM). At about 90% of the 1.4GB demo my internet dropped out (another issue I've been meaning to blog about, don't let me forget). Ninety-fucking-percent. And it's like the God's were literally saying, "No, Baines. Thou shalst not partaketh with the Mighty and the Magical!"
Trust me to tempt fate. The internet drops out on occasion but usually only for a few minutes. Just long enough for me to lose every single fucking connection on my torrent, timeout from game servers, timeout from MSN, etc. Not today my friend. A whole 20 minutes of no-nettage caused me to march on down to the router and reset the mother fucker.
So the net came back and I had to redownload the demo. Luckily I was getting it from Internode (my ISP) so it was coming down at a whopping 300kbps which only took, oh, an hour and a half.
Finally launching the demo I was amazed at how quick the load times were. Oh wait, no I wasn't. I remember thinking that Half-Life 2 originally had long load times, and maybe because it's such a young game (pre-infancy?) the load times weren't yet optimised. Then I remembered I was full of shit. It's the same fucking engine. THE SAME FUCKING CODE. If it goes fast on one game, it'll go fast with another game. It's the same core, just with shiney new assets and bloated up code, turning Gordan(o) into a... well I'm not really sure what the main character is. Or who he is. Or what I'm supposed to be doing. But hey, there's this really creepy fucker that essentially holds your hand every step of the way. I call him Uncle Jonas, the main character calls him Master Phenrig. Quite a lot actually. See one of the main issues I get with the demo is a very common issue people get with Half-Life 2 (something I would like to point out I did not get with HL2). The infamous Stutter Bug.
That's right folks, it's back.
Dark Messiah: Level 1 Intro"Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig...Master Phenrig where are you?"
"Here I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am... I am"
I soldiered on though. One of the first things I noticed of the game (besides the stuttering) was the mouse sensitivity was unusally high for a mainstream game. For reasons unknown to myself and my bestest-fwend Pound Puppy, the stuffed puppy dog, game developers always set the sensitivity to like, 1. I was bewildered as to why they would ruin such a long standing tradition.
I continued on with the obvious tutorial level. "Do this" "Do that" "Kick that fucker in the back while he isn't watching" "LOL! Look at him fall to his doom!" "Oh, get this sword" "Kill this guy" You know the deal.
The gameplay was great. I really liked how the fighting system worked. After lowering the amazingly high mouse sensitivity I was actually able to hit something, rather than spin around like a nancy boy ballarina that I secretly am in real life. I wonder what the Undead thought of my twirls. They must have been impressed. Before I gouged out their ripcages and spattered them against the ground. Continuing on I found a bow, not two seconds before ending the level I didn't even get to try it out. I was a sad panda, for the next several months...
The second level was aptly named I thought. "Several Months Later...". Aptly named, simply because it takes that fucking long to load. I swear I was there for atleast three months, or what seemed like it staring at an insanely slow moving progress bar.
What the hell could it possibly be loading? Is this what the 1.4 gig is for? The second level? Does it ever load? Is loading half of the game? Is this some tricky way to make the game seem longer than it really is? Is the loading screen really a secret puzzle that you need to complete in order to progress to the game? Will Mark's mum ever be left alone? She lost her husband, her son 's goes to far off planets bause the G-Man tells him to, and now she gets harassed by giant purple guys with huge-arse brains, I mean what the fuck man. Wait, I think I lost my point.
At about 90-ish percent of what we can only guess at was loading the level, the stutter bug reared it's head for another game of piss off Baines with lot's of looping sounds that I can't stop. This was before the level even began. It was very impressive on the bug's part.
I'm beginning to think it MAY have been the video settings that caused the lengthy load, but after checking it out (after it eventually loaded the fucking level) I found that what it had set were apparently "Optimal settings" and I shouldn't change them lest I wish to incur the wrath of a thousand Demi-Gods. So I didn't and continued on my way.
This is where I thought, "Okay, long load times aside, this game is simply awesome, I really want to play the retail version of this and play it I SHALL!". In this level I was introduced to skills, varying enemy types, stealth, levels (of both my player and items), varying weapon types, and I believe I would have been introduced to at least one dragon had I ever got to the end.
It's true, I never clocked this track.
The stuttering was enough to drive any layman insane. Luckily for you and I, I am no layman, for I, I AM BAINES.
Regardless, it was "Loading Time Redux" that did me in like the cold-hearted killer he is. I effortlessly killed myself in a botched attempt to... well I don't really know what I was doing. I saw one of those cuttable ropes that was apparently tied to a weight, which was apparently hovering over the apparently weak peice of apparently wooden plank I was apparently stand on. Apparently. I apparently died shortly after the incredibly heavy piece of whatever-the-fuck-material-its-made-out-of crashed in to my ground. Ground no more, apparently.
It all would have been worth it too, if the level ever actually wanted to load again. Instead this time, I get a new loading screen with a hint about sword strengths. Because apparently that could have saved my life, and I should learn from my mistakes by having stronger swords.
This loading screen was awesome, in that it makes you think it has a progress bar, but all it really has a progress bar case. No actual bar ever showed up. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. But alas! It was not to be.
The God's celebrated this amazing victory by torturing me some more. So when I get bored of games loading, I usually quit. That doesn't really happen that often, but when it does, most games can be shut down fairly quickly and fairly effortlessly. The God's wanted to hurt me just a little bit more. So I hit the Windows key, right click on the game in the taskbar, Close. BANG. Complete freeze. Most games take a minute or two to get out of the system and completely shut down. This one apparently never thought I would ever leave. Why would I? They have awesome loading screens. What? There's a game? No way! Get out! Serious? No way!
So about a good ten minutes of trying to CTRL+ALT+DEL, Windows Key > Close and other such variants, it finally minimised. MINIMISED. I really like how that didn't close, even after I pressed close at least twenty times.
I promptly uninstalled Dark Messiah. I may give the retail version a bash if I get the opportunity, but I wont have very high expectations.
Maybe I just had a bad experience, maybe it works swimmingly for a good deal of other people. Word on the street is no. A lot of other people are having grief with it. I really hope they fix this horribly optimised demo before release, otherwise it's going to bum simply because nobody wants to play a game of progress bars. We did that with Half-Life 2.
I swear, you wait half an hour for it to load one level, you play for 10 minutes, you're back to the load screen, wait half an hour, play another 10 minute level, back to the load screen for another half an hour.
Awesome gameplay, awesome features.
Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad loading time.
Get the Lego Star Wars II Demo instead, it's much more fun, little to no loading times and is probably longer.
People seem to think I'm dead. This is a common misconception. I'm not dead. I'm undead.
It's true. Last week I was chillin' with the boys when all of a sudden this pale seductress cat-walks her way up to me and starts nibbling on my neck. Not that I blame her either. If you've seen my neck, you'd probably want to nibble on it too, it's drop dead sexy. Regardless, I'm sure you've figured out by now that she was indeed a Vampire, and I have become her prodigy.
Being a child of the night isn't much different from what I was used to. I always liked the night more than day. The heat, tans, loose clothing, and all that, over-rated. I always felt more alive during the night, and now even more-so. Pity some of my friends aren't the same way. Maybe I should turn them. No, that would be selfish of me. But damnit, I'm going to outlive them anyway. Oh what's the point of living. Excuse me while I go jump off a cliff.
Some time later
Okay, so that didn't work. Not only am I undead, I apparently have a high resistance to gravity-enforced-velocity. Curse you cruel Night Mother! Curse you!
Speaking of the Night Mother. I've been very impressed with Oblivion so far. I've had it for just under two weeks.
It has some amazing scenery. Like this, a half-submerged Ayleid ruin. The ruins are probably my favourite things to find in Oblivion.
I was one of the first to express my disbelief in the Horse Armour Modification for Oblivion. I understood why they would charge for official modifications, but for Horse Amour? No dice. Or so I thought. In-Game it makes your horse look so freakin' cool.
It also fixed a glitch I was experiencing too. My horse was constantly sticking to my arse everytime I moved anywhere. It would run straight behind me. I amoured him up and now he doesn't do that, which is excellent.
The physics can be a little outrageous some times, but most of the times it's just plain hilarious. Take this guy for instance. The guard found out (my doing) that the guy is loco, so he decided to lay the smack down on the mentally ill.
Ignore the purply haze around people, that's my constant Life-Detect Magic. It shows people miles away as little purple hazes through buildings and such. Very handy when I'm out hunting.
But by far the coolest feature of Oblivion, in terms of gameplay, is this.
You can retreive your freakin' arrows. From corpses, walls, barrels etc. If you shoot a brick wall though, the arrow will bounce off and sometimes be pretty hard to find, but they will be there, laying on the ground. Now that's what I call immersion, baby. Granted, sometimes not all the arrows are there. For example, fire 20 arrows in to a goblin and when he dies, he'll probably only have 10 or 12 arrows in him. Clearly this is for game-balancing. Immersion wise, I figure this is because some of the arrows break and fall to the ground. *shifty eyes*
I've purchased a house in Skingrad. It took a long time to consider where I should lay my hat, but once I had staked out Skingrad I knew that was where I belonged. Not only is it all upper-class mansions and shit, but the Count of Skingrad is a freakin' Vampire. How freakin' cool is that? Yep, Skingrad is definately where I'd want to call home.
Stay pale, night brothers and sisters.
PS. I forgot (again) to post up my second 3D Assignment. I posted it on the Phorum like a month or so ago, but I keep forgetting to put it up here. Well here it is in all it's glory. I was going to change the Security Camera shot (where "red" slides toward the camera and the camera follows him past) to have like a fuzzy black and white effect, similar to Matthew's avatar on the Phorum, but unfortunately I ran out of time.
I was playing Counter-Strike: Source earlier and the funniest thing happened.
The whole server started lagging really bad.
I play on GameArena, and they have an Australian-Only policy, so they figure if your ping is higher than 300ms, you ain't from around here.
We were all promptly kicked.
Just after snapping this print-screen I was kicked.
Pesky GameArena admins and their annoying need to download hordes of pr0n while I shoot some angry terrorists with big guns.