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My mind is burning...
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Jakkar
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February 15, 2011 - 10:28 pm
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I spent my day most productively; Marathon-running the entirity of Red Faction 1 on Hard difficulty. Ouch. I did turn on God mode for the last hour or two, I'll admit.

 

Well. Blast. It wasn't as good as I remembered. How disappointing.

 

What games have you found to stand the test of time - and which fall flat?

 

Half-Life, for me.. I've never given it the high regard commonly offered by the many, but I must say it is still entertaining to play, for the most-part. Half-Life 2 on the other hand bores me to death. Then again, it did the first time too. Opposing Force, Gearbox's first expansion, that is still -fantastic- even today. Such detailed and lively environments.

 

Next, Red Faction 2 on the PS2. I wonder if I'll manage to marathon that today, or tomorrow. I'm not sure why I'm bothering - I'm fond of them, but I never did consider them very important. All for the sake of Guerilla, comrades D:

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geggis
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February 16, 2011 - 6:40 am
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I found Half-Life 2 boring the first time round. It was just too long and too repetitive with regards to the actual shooting which incidentally makes up the bulk of the game. Some of the best moments in Half-Life 2 and to a certain extent it's predessor where when you were walking around soaking in the environment and 'feeling it', rather than shooting everything in sight. It was fun for a while. The episodes I much preferred because neither outstayed their welcome, Episode 2 has so far been the highlight of the series for me mainly because of the shift from enclosed spaces to great outdoor areas in its exhilarating closing moments. The whole strider/car finale was fantastic and I was so close to failing on my first attempt that when I managed to squeeze out a victory I felt like a god amongst men. Incidentally, I was being treated like one in-game as well. Superb.

I seem to remember you mentioning somewhere in one of your comments on the front page that you enjoyed or appreciated the exhausting nature of some bridge sequence in Halo. I felt the same way about the rail system in the original Half-Life; it was gruelling and laborious, but it was relative, and getting out of there was like coming up for air. If it was short and punchy it simply wouldn't have had that effect.

As far as games go which have aged well/poorly, the last really old game I played was Colin McRae Rally on the PS1 a couple of months ago and that was surprisingly fun. It must have been because I lost an evening playing it, crusty graphics and all. The weight of the car and the handling still felt great. I'm keen to see how the original Thief games stack up these days because they're very special to me and I'd like to think that they've aged gracefully. I played System Shock 2 about 4 years ago and that had lost non of its effect so I'm optimistic.

Oh and Starcraft about a month ago for the first time. Started well but then micromanagment destoryed my very soul.

I'm on the verge of starting Morrowind for the first time and because I've never played an open world RPG before, never mind a swords-and-shields- beady-weirdy one, I'm excited.

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Jakkar
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February 16, 2011 - 7:44 am
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Ello Greg =)

 

I'd say the finest moments in Half-Life 2 were neither the overly scripted cinematic wanders (poor mimickry of Freeman's arrival at work on that fateful day in the nineties), nor the endless corridor-stomping murderfest - it was the freeform gameplay in the middle of the game, travelling by buggy, with wholly optional exploration of the abandoned (and reclaimed) structures along the coast. And aye, Episode 2 capitalised upon that freedom, as though they finally realised what they'd done right, and what they'd completely fucked up.

 

Although upon a recent replay, I noticed Ep. 1 is actually rather good O.o Far better than the original game at least. Still, I'd love to see a Half-Life entry get back into the hands of Gearbox someday.. Opposing Force was my favourite chapter.

 

That sense of being treated like a God.. On the contrary, it's so rarely appropriate that I'm coming to hate it more than ever. I'm really aching for a game in which I am NOT the estranged son of the deposed king born under a sacred star sign with the blood of ancient wizards and aliens running through my veins who happens to stumble upon an ancient relic which bonds with my right arm and speaks to me in an evil voice making me the avatar of duality prophesised to lead the underdog faction to the promised lannnnnnnnnnd *breathing happens now*..

 

Gods damnit, just let me 'forge my own destiny' - even New Vegas keeps a constant weight on my mind because of that damned main quest. I have no desire to go to The Strip, but feel continually obligated to do so >.>

 

You're right about my comment on the bridge sequences of Halo - fighting that long gauntlet through the snowy canyons both ways, having.. Matured in my tastes, it came to be a compellingly intense experience. I see what you mean about the tram sections of HL1 in that regard - though Freeman is very rarely rushed during HL1 - unless you're the type to worry about Black Mesa collapsing under the portal storms. Without an emotional obligation to hurry or a logical reason to rush there's not much sense of gruelling struggle - unless the danger is a constant. System Shock 2 achieves that constant tension, that grinding horror, by virtue of its fantastic AI and spawning systems. You can never rest easy, you can never take it for granted that something isn't slowly tracking you, or standing, muttering behind the door of the next office. Makes me shudder happily just thinking about it.

 

You're right - SS2 never got old. I think Bioshock made even more certain of that by cloning the gameplay while drastically simplifying it - SS2 remains massively ahead of the game even today. Drag-dropping a charged battery from your inventory directly into a receptacle in the game-world is UI design beyond anything else in the mainstream - only Penumbra ventures to that level of physical presence and interactivity. SS2 and Thief feel like games in which you actually have a body, rather than a flying camera in space. FEAR also nailed that 'physical presence'.

 

Having played Thief only around two years ago, I can say it certainly hasn't aged as well as SS2, but that it's still a very entertaining game. A lot more simplistic, of course - but it's a graceful minimalism.

 

As you mention a racing game, I'm curious - how did you feel about the 'weight and handling' of Burnout: Paradise, if you've played it?

 

Geh. StarCraft. It had a clunky interface even when it was new. RTS games have a very hard time appealing to me today. Blame Men of War, Total War and Dawn of War. War war war, we are the war-riors..

 

.. M.. m.. m..

 

.. Morrowind..

 

Gregg, do me a huge favour and make a serious project out of that game. Write a little about your experiences as you play, either casually on the forum or as articles. I've love to hear how it strikes a newcomer. A dark and seedy love, but no less passionate.

 

Morrowind is one of those.. Special games. It is the reigning king of the Open World, and scores pretty high on atmosphere as well. The scale of the game, and the variety of content.. Nothing else compares. Fallout: New Vegas is the first game to come close, but it lacks the charm..

 

*shuffles off, insomniac muttering*

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Finkbug
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February 16, 2011 - 10:30 pm
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Jakkar, I may have finally met my insomniac rambling match. We'll have to exhaustedly slow motion arm wrestle for the title.

Dead on about Morrowind and also curious about the Burnout: Paradise reactions from someone who prefers racing to crashing.

SS2 had some serious design flaws (the weapon breakage is tuned too high) and I'd disagree it has aged well. Doesn't change it being IMO the scariest play experience going. It can really really get under your skin due to the semi-random spawns and audio cues. Silent Hill startled me a few times but mostly earned giggles.

The Thief love is lost on me. Perhaps I missed the cool bits by never having the patience to get far in any of them but my experience was a combination of irritation and falling asleep. That guard's going to move eventually. I think. Move already. Go. Go. Ah screw it, gonna run out, die, and play something else. I got the point but sure as hell hated the experience.

People rating HL2 as one of the best ever really ought to replay it. There's a lot to love but there's also a ton of show-off-new-tech-via-third-tier-adventure-puzzling.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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Jakkar
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February 17, 2011 - 2:23 am
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SUPER EXCITING UPDATE!

 

... I've now played the entirity of Red Faction 2 in one sitting. On a PS2. For about the third time. Except that FUCKING END BOSS. I'll just watch the final cinematics - I beat the bastard when I was 14, and that's enough.

 

Curses, I'd really lost track.. Those games are just.. Fail. Not terrible, but my god they're derivative, repetitive, visually lazy and poorly made in every respect. The gaming world at large decries Guerilla for going third person, open world, and abandoning 'what made the originals great'.. Hells, on the contrary it was the first Red Faction game that was truly worth buying, by today's standards. Well, more on that soon..

 

I look forward to besting you by rambling, Finkbug. I certainly won't by armwrestling, with my puny girl-arms. Well, they're not that girlish. There is hair. But they're very thin, really. Don't you feel better now you know these details? Thief.. Thief, what's the trick to Thief. It's unknown, it's mystery. It's being given a sandbox zone full of secrets, hidden rooms, clever tricks, bonus objectives, hand-crafted level designs that can really be quite impressive, and setting the player loose. It appeals on the same level as an open world game, albeit tightly restricted. Consider it a minimalistic Deus Ex in single levels, and you might nail why I found it such an enjoyable experience.

 

The fact it's packed full of zombies also helps =D

 

SS2 - I agree, the weapon breakage was a real issue - although playing as a Navy operative my first/only real playthrough (although I sadly didn't quite complete it before life flipped upside down a bit), I was able to keep all of my equipment in excellent condition. As a 'Soldier' type, whatever they were, I imagine I may have gone insane, or simply married my monkeywrench. However, when compared to any modern FPS, System Shock 2 and Deus Ex remain vastly more advanced. They're certainly clunky when it comes to combat, but in SS2's case the movement, too, still surpasses any other FPS - remember it has the ability to clamber onto any horizontal surface by holding down Jump, and allows you to lean forwards as well as left and right - as a physical movement that collides with walls, rather than simply a slight alteration of camera position.

 

The question, as far as I see it, isn't so much whether SS2 has aged - as whether the rest of gaming has caught up with 1999 yet. It hasn't, other than aspects of Penumbra, FEAR and STALKER, and each only in part.

 

 - Jack, working up the motivation to conlude his studies of RF 1 and 2, so he can immerse himself in the joy of RF:G - and the trauma of learning how to mod it again..

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geggis
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February 17, 2011 - 7:44 am
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Was busy yesterday, didn't get chance to reply.

When I said gruelling regarding the tram system in Half-Life, I meant it in the sense that those long trudges through tunnel after tunnel and the repititious environment became really wearisome. At the time I didn't enjoy it but looking back it was important 'down' time. You need that for contrast regardless of whether people 'enjoy' it. Having said this, Ravenholme can still suck my balls.

The spawning in SS2 really caught me off guard a number of times and I absolutely loved that. The atmopshere was constantly and consistently oppressive because of it; you were never safe. I remember staring for ages at some cyber upgrade station deliberating over what I should choose and, out of nowhere, I heard something break the low hum of the ship. I pulled away from the upgrade station and turned around. There, hurtling towards me, was a Rumbler, all muscle and veins and after a futile dash I was pounded into the metal grating beneath my feet. On re-entering that area after loading my last save game I was very, very cautious while deliberating some more.

Funny you mention that in SS2 and Thief you felt like you actually had a body because that's still something I mutter to myself frequently when starting most first person games. Mantling, leaning round corners (not just to the left and right), the gentle view bob, the footstep pacing and sound, even the height of your view all worked perfectly to connect you to your virtual body. These elements are too frequently overlooked. I'm absolutely flabbergasted that the mantling mechanic hasn't been ripped off more though. It's perfect for those obstacles that are too high to jump but not implausible to scale. Shoulder high crates have never been so troublesome. I'm glad you mention Penumbra as well because (as I'm sure you can tell from my reviews of Overture and Black Plague) I love the physics manipulation and the general weightiness of world objects. Have that Havok, you crime against reality.

Only briefly played Burnout: Paradise but I remember the cars feeling heavier than usual for a Burnout game but still retaining the fun drifting and smash-ups.

Here's the thread for the shared Morrowind playthrough, mod talk only so far! I will be chronicling as much as possible, pictures and everything.

Jakkar, I remember you for three things: your scary Deviant Art page, decrying Notch amidst Minecraft foaming on RPS and being one of the few people sharing the same stance as me on the GOG debacle ie. 'give it a fucking rest'.

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Finkbug
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February 18, 2011 - 8:39 am
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I'd never thought of it until this moment but the semi-random spawning, the tension and threat generated thereby, in SS2 is not unlike that what makes L4D2 so good. They're pushing slightly different buttons but it is breath panic panic panic breath panic in L4D2 vs dread dread dread panic panic panic breath dread panic. Both have fantastic sound cues. Both have pauses in the action but rarely a sense of complete safety.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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Steerpike
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February 18, 2011 - 9:19 am
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If you thought Jakkar's Deviant Art page is scary, you should see his blog. It's fucking terrifying.

 

Mantling: such a huge part of the Thief experience. And such a simple thing. And something a lot of people never did! Remember the Serpentyle Torc? in The Haunted Cathedral mission? You had to know about mantling to get it. You had to look at the world in a different way and see places you'd otherwise assume you couldn't get to. Meanwhile the fact that you can't see your feet in most first person games drives me crazy.

 

Another of the ingenious aspects of both System Shock games was the fact that the villain was always with you. SHODAN almost never leaves your side. This is something Valve used to great effect in Portal as well, and it resulted in two of the most memorable video game characters we've ever seen.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Jakkar
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February 18, 2011 - 10:31 am
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Well spotted, Finkbug =) The notion has occurred to me – though I'll speak out (as I do) in favour of SS2 and mention that the insidious appearance of -intelligence- in the way a wrench-wielding hybrid will walk along a corridor exploring each room he finds will always outstrip the obvious psychic abilities of a Hunter viewed as a spectator in a L4D campaign. The AI Director knows everything – whereas Xerxes knows only what his cameras tell him.

I find SS2 terrifying because it remains the only game in which I was not fooled into believing I was being hunted by an intelligent enemy – because it was the only game where I actually WAS being hunted by an intelligent enemy D:

I'm far too smart to believe their foolery – I am not scared of oppressive hordes of flawless and inescapable seeker-drone AI. I fear something that is actually alive, with strengths and weaknesses – something I must respect. Something I cannot predict. SS2 remains one of the only games possessed of something I'd call 'AI' rather than attack scripting. Halo is one of the very few others.

GreggB – Exactly! Downtime, contrast! They're vital to a truly satisfying game! =) But there's still such a thing as simply having a poorly designed and boring gameplay sequence. Ravenholm was trying hard to be horrifying, suspenseful and exciting, the fact it was a grind came down to simply poor level design and cliched setting. STALKER's long, uneventful crawls through ruins and wanders across windswept moorland, on the other hand, are boring but only serve to build a delicious suspense and jitteriness in the player to be released almost orgasmically when you spot a bandit blocking your intended path and delicately place a bullet behind his left ear.

Half-Life's tram tunnels, however, were simply what they were. They were intended to be a long sequence of tunnels populated by two warring factions, Xen aliens and Marines, into which you descend in fear and from which you emerge desperate for fresh air and sunlight. It wasn't 'fun' necessarily, but it was good.

That moment with the Rumbler. I feel for you. Oh god that must have been traumatic. First time I was ever that badly struck by an 'in-your-face moment' was embarassingly innocuous – I was Ghosting (noclipping in Unreal engine terms) in the original Unreal because I was too scared, at 12, to play it properly. I was inside a sniper rifle I had spawned using yet more cheats – in that epic, grand, star-ship sized scale you can only get by being the infinitessimally small camera with no bounding box and a wide FOV, it rotated with an insidious slowness through the entire right side of the screen, this inexplicable, horrifying, expanding brown mass RUSHING toward my eyes. My depth perception had a complete panic attack and decided bigfoot was about to skullfuck me and I almost fell off my chair =<

Forbidden Siren on the PS2 can have a similar effect, for suddenly and horrifyingly being confronted with things that sneak up behind you >.< Ever played it, anyone?

Ah, Gregg. You and I are born to be game design consultants, says I. You understand, clearly, the value of the player-body, the sense of mass and movement. Physical presence is vital to an avatar, and rarely ever accorded any attention.

At least we've moved on from Rainbow Six/Ghost Recon – do you remember how it felt to move in those games? Camera tripod on a skateboard..

How do you feel about FEAR's physical presence? I love being able to see my body, particularly in a game involving melee combat and acrobatics?

 

Mmm. I like it here. People talk good sense. *warm glow*

 

- Jack

 

Edit:

Steerpike! Oh gods, the potential for a crossover. What the hell genre would that be? Sapphic AI Valve/Looking Glass Survival-Horror Interactive Erotica?

GlaDOS versus SHODAN. Sweet Jesus in a convenient pig-themed salt-shaker.

I'm afraid the Haunted Cathedral was where I zoned out with Thief. Loved the game but burned out some time before the end, and it was that level's difficulty that did it to me. I think I remember that objective though - that was where I admitted defeat =x Give me freakish crab-men, give me retarded underground velociraptor tribes, but not those red-robed, skullfaced horrors.

Not seeing the feet! Yes, that's the problem. I just.. lose it, the moment I look down. I am reminded with a sharp prod in the imagination that I am playing a game, and it was developed by lazy unimaginative bastards.

I'm not sure being 'with' the antagonist of the System Shocks was the key so much as being -inside- them, subject to their whims, you yourself a virus in a larger body, wreaking havoc as you battle the mutant and cyborg immune systems.

Hah, that's it. That's the key, that's what Bioshock was meant to be and missed, that's what Irrational did so well and forgot, most tragically; ecosystems.

Games that are themselves living environments, bodies within bodies, interacting. Bioshock's original design was a tragic loss.

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Finkbug
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February 18, 2011 - 10:56 am
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"Ravenholm was trying hard to be horrifying, suspenseful and exciting"

No. Ravenholm was a tech showcase. Grab and shoot stuff which has no reason to exist outside the game mechanics at zombies. It's both fun to do and within the context of the game a piece of shit. It made no sense.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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Jakkar
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February 18, 2011 - 11:01 am
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I'm not sure I agree - there was the sawblade gimmick and the car-engine spinning blade traps, as well as some car-crushers - but the vast majority of Ravenholm was played using a shotgun and magnum, if you roll with the ammunition you're provided. Much of the town was actually very sparse on the physics objects after the introductory buildings.

My prevailing feeling about that zone was more that Valve wanted to see if they could achieve a dedicated horror scene, and depict an insane support character, as a break from the bleak monotony of their dystopic hellhole - resulting in something that would have disgraced a mod.

Now, Episode 1's screaming Stalker in the crashed train, and Episode 2's Advisor Pod hunt, THAT was real horror. Between the Hunters, the Striders and the Advisor, Half-Life suddenly owed a greater debt to War of the Worlds than to anything else, and lived up to that sense of grand action-horror involving an implaceable, but very scientific, believable foe.

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Steerpike
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February 18, 2011 - 12:42 pm
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Ravenholm definitely stumbled, but there is some reason for its existence. From a design perspective it was meant to be a tutorial on the Gravity Gun, and players hadn't used physics before, so in typical Valveian fashion they created a whole section that was to educate you on the weapon's role. Heck, I myself didn't do it right the first time. I stuck with guns and had no ammunition left at the end. That was the point of the exercise.

 

However, it was too long, it was not as scary as it ought to have been, and it bugs me now when I play because I know how to use the damned Gravity Gun.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Finkbug
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February 20, 2011 - 4:27 pm
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Right. So it failed introducing the mechanic to you and the section is what, one fifth of the game?

On a replay or reload once the mechanic is understood, the place is zombie killing fun but feels more like a mode than part of the game. In such a short game that's a serious problem. There's scent of gimmick hanging like a patchouli cloud.

 

I like HL2 very much but it was overpraised on release and is overpraised now.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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Jakkar
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February 21, 2011 - 5:34 am
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Worth noting; I still find HL1 more fun to play today than I do 2. It also exhibits more freedom in the maps and more interesting NPC interactions in general, excluding the vehicle portions of HL2.

 

I also find the atmosphere far stronger - for HL2 simply glued together a series of cliches. From the City's 1984 vibe, inhibited by the corridor-walk mechanics and obvious scripted moments of the intro, to the unbearable horror cliches of Ravenholm (worst sin, perhaps, being that every single 'normal zombie' in HL2 wears the same clothes, which have no correspondence to any clothes worn by any civilian in the game) - then the irrational design of the Citadel. It was artistically satisfying, in a slavishly Sparth way, but there was no -function- to most of the design whatsoever. It felt like walking around inside an abstract painting filled with walkways containing angry men.

 

HL1 really had something. That 1950s comic book feel - coming out one year after Fallout, with a name so closely affiliated and the same reverence for mad science, government coverups and glowing green radioactive goo - it had a real style and charm of its own. particularly when you're shocked by the sudden and violent deaths of such quirky and comedic characters as many of the scientists. Abandoning it for the dry, overly serious misery of HL2, without creating a believable or detailed setting to back it up was a questionable decision.

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xtal
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February 27, 2011 - 7:43 pm
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Do any of you enjoy a shooter for, say, the action? That's what I like about Half-Life 2, it just does a nice job on tense atmosphere and a lot of heated fights. Yeah, sure the story is dreary, stupid, whatever, but all that crap is subjective, no? As much as we love to tell ourselves over, and over, and over, there really is no official list of the greatest stories/writing/characters that hovers invisibly over our planet.

I think Half-Life 2's story makes a fine backdrop for what the actual appeal is: a compelling showcase of one bearded man's quest to be a totally awesome, alien-murdering scientist.

 

Okay: age. Yeah, I'm with whoever said SysShk2 hasn't aged well too: it's aged so poorly, in fact, that it has decided never to work properly on any of my last 5 computers, so I can't even play it to judge it harshly anymore. Damn you, System Shock 2!

I loved FEAR when it came out but I'd never touch it with a 10-foot pole again. Nor its sequels. Somebody on their dev team played Max Payne and watched The Matrix and said "hey bullet time isn't raped to death enough yet; let's make a shitty "horror" game that uses it ad nauseum!" It was a honeymoon thing at the time. I can't stand it now.

Soldier of Fortune, that one didn't age too well. I thought at the time that I'd be playing it forever.

 

I think Fallout 1 and 2 have aged gracefully; I still play and enjoy them regularly.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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geggis
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February 28, 2011 - 11:25 am
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xtal said:

Do any of you enjoy a shooter for, say, the action? That's what I like about Half-Life 2, it just does a nice job on tense atmosphere and a lot of heated fights. Yeah, sure the story is dreary, stupid, whatever, but all that crap is subjective, no? As much as we love to tell ourselves over, and over, and over, there really is no official list of the greatest stories/writing/characters that hovers invisibly over our planet.

I think Half-Life 2's story makes a fine backdrop for what the actual appeal is: a compelling showcase of one bearded man's quest to be a totally awesome, alien-murdering scientist.

Okay: age. Yeah, I'm with whoever said SysShk2 hasn't aged well too: it's aged so poorly, in fact, that it has decided never to work properly on any of my last 5 computers, so I can't even play it to judge it harshly anymore. Damn you, System Shock 2!

I think Fallout 1 and 2 have aged gracefully; I still play and enjoy them regularly.


Sure for the first few hours it was a blast but the action never really changed. It was always the same enemies being dispatched in the same ways (I'm sure HL1 had more enemies and weapons than HL2). HL2 had some great set-pieces don't get me wrong, Water Hazard, nearly everything in the buggy/car, I loved the moment in Nova Prospect where you had to hold back the Combine with a few sentry guns until Alyx did whatever she was trying to do, even pissing about with the antlions was a riot but there came a point after Nova Prospect where I just wasn't enjoying it (edit: as much) anymore. It was the story, the characters and the 'wtf am I doing here' feeling that kept me playing. I much preferred the episodes overall. Now whether that's because they were shorter or Valve have simply got much better at what they do I can't say but both left me wanting more. I suspect it's a combination of both but that last strider battle in Episode 2 was and still is one of the best action sequences I've had the pleasure of being a part of. I was a 'totally awesome, alien-murdering scientist'. Playing the episodes actually made me go back to HL2 but I tired of it again after a few hours unfortunately.

System Shock 2 worked on my current computer a few years ago but for some inexplicable reason gave up the ghost. I played the demo of SS2 back when it was released, bought the full game, started it, got to engineering, shat a brick and didn't play it again until about 4 years ago when I finally completed it. It was absolutely fantastic and as good as I remember it being back in 1999.

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Jakkar
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March 1, 2011 - 2:39 am
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Xtal: No! I'd like to be more polite, but.. but.. but NO!

Most emphatically, no. Half-Life 2's action was insipid, bland, slow paced. Fuck, it has the worst combat I think I've seen in a modern FPS for straight shooting. The means to kill the average combine soldier using any firearm in the game is to sprint up to point black range and hold down left mouse until either he dies or you need to reload. Once the game gets boring during the long corridor runs, this becomes the quickest way to just -move on with the fucking plot Gordon-. The enemies have virtually no AI to use cover (drastically weaker and simpler AI than the USMC from the original Half-Life), no expression of personality (being combine doesn't completely excuse their absolute blankness), and to compensate Valve simply gave them -ridiculous- amounts of health.

It lacks the visceral feedback of a Soldier of Fortune, it lacks the beauty of an Unreal, the acrobatic satisfaction of FEAR, the stealth of Thief, the imaginative and interesting weapons of Painkiller, or even the interesting weapons of the original Half-Life and Opposing Force.

In fact in terms of raw action I can't think of a single good thing about that game. Gravity gun is a crudely handled gimmick with a lot of potential left unexplored. I think the only thing I actually found exciting about it was the secondary fire of the pulse rifle, launching that glowing energy orb.

On the other hand, I did enjoy fighting ant lions and black-crab zombies, who brought some interesting dynamics to the fight. Anything involving combine foes, fast zombies or normal zombies just made my brain switch off in despair.

I think I'll dart off in a different direction to succinctly sum this up; an elegant, action-packed, varied and exciting action FPS (with an epic scifi story) can be found in the original Halo. Half-Life 2 came out some years later, as a drastically simpler, cruder and less varied game.

Heh, that reminds me – I recently played through the entire half-life series, skipping only the long boring Xen segments of HL1 and most of Blueshift, in order to show a close friend what she had 'missed', as she aspires to be a well-educated game geek but missed the boat during the golden years. She sat cackling with me as we tore the game apart, until we reached a point about halfway through HL2 that she was pointing out the massive texture cracks, the flawed level design logic, the ridiculous AI and obvious cliche moments before I could even mention them.  I gained further sense of justification in these opinions beyond my extant determination, as a result.

Aww, damnit xtal. We're just fundamentally incompatible. I adore FEAR, and actually enjoyed it more replaying it around 6 months ago. Now we can never marry and make many beautiful klidrin [Image Can Not Be Found]

 

Gregg: You seem to nail my feelings on the game, albeit with less anger and frustration. Vehicle segments, awesome. Sentry guns, awesome. Hell, years before the Weighted Companion Cube I carried a single sentry gun through almost the entirity of Nova Prospect, until getting into the Combine teleporter still carrying it, jammed and vibrating inside the confined space with myself and Alyx. It crashed the game to desktop the instant we teleported. I'm surprised no-one tried to carry a sentry gun they had fallen in love with out of the level during testing. Perhaps I simply give all the love to virtual inanimate objects that I am incapable of feeling for living beings.

You also hit the nail on the head that the Episodes are fantastic - almost as though made by a completely different team, they are a beautifully paced, well-crafted sequence of semi-linear gameplay challenges, nicely integrated, honestly intense (fighting hunters in the nuke silos and intermediary storage halls underneath the 'strider battle' area).. I just can't imagine how the same team was responsible, broadly, for HL2 and its mini-sequels. They have a powerful feeling of Halo's unstructured, open-to-interpretation gameplay freedom in a scifi, outdoors environment.

Hah. And we also coincided on System Shock 2 - I first got to play it in around 2002-2004, at a rough estimate. I was in the company of a friend, with poor atmosphere and a noisy family around me, yet we were captivated.

... for the 40 minutes I spent hiding behind a medical trolley, physically shaking like a leaf in the wind, unwilling to go back out there where I had seen my first Hybrid wielding a wrench. I then turned the game off and didn't play it for several years *nods*

No.

Most emphatically, no. Half-Life 2's action was insipid,
bland, slow paced. Fuck, it has the worst combat I think I've seen in a
modern FPS for straight shooting. The means to kill the average combine
soldier using any firearm in the game is to sprint up to point black
range and hold down left mouse until either he dies or you need to
reload. Once the game gets boring during the long corridor runs, this
becomes the quickest way to just -move on with the fucking plot
Gordon-. The enemies have virtually no AI to use cover (drastically
weaker and simpler AI than the USMC from the original Half-Life), no
expression of personality (being combine doesn't completely excuse
their absolute blankness), and to compensate Valve simply gave them
-ridiculous- amounts of health.

It lacks the visceral feedback of
a Soldier of Fortune, it lacks the beauty of an Unreal, the acrobatic
satisfaction of FEAR, the stealth of Thief, the imaginative and
interesting weapons of Painkiller, or even the interesting weapons of
the original Half-Life and Opposing Force.

In fact in terms of raw action I can't think of a single good
thing about that game. Gravity gun is a crudely handled gimmick with a
lot of potential left unexplored. I think the only thing I actually
found exciting about it was the secondary fire of the pulse rifle,
launching that glowing energy orb.

On the other hand, I did enjoy
fighting ant lions and black-crab zombies, who brought some interesting
dynamics to the fight. Anything involving combine foes, fast zombies or
normal zombies just made my brain switch off in despair.

I think
I'll dart off in a different direction to succinctly sum this up; an
elegant, action-packed, varied and exciting action FPS (with an epic
scifi story) can be found in the original Halo. Half-Life 2 came out
some years later, as a drastically simpler, cruder and less varied game.

Heh,
that reminds me - I recently played through the entire half-life
series, skipping only the long boring Xen segments of HL1 and most of
Blueshift, in order to show a close friend what she had 'missed', as
she aspires to be a well-educated game geek but missed the boat during
the golden years. She sat cackling with me as we tore the game apart,
until we reached a point about halfway through HL2 that she was
pointing out the massive texture cracks, the flawed level design logic,
the ridiculous AI and obvious cliche moments before I could even
mention them.  I gained further sense of justification in these
opinions beyond my extant determination, as a result.

Aww, damnit
xtal. We're just fundamentally incompatible. I adore FEAR, and actually
enjoyed it more replaying it around 6 months ago. Now we can never
marry and make many beautiful klidrin [Image Can Not Be Found]

Avatar
Pokey
California
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March 1, 2011 - 12:24 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2009
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System Shock 2 was great---and scary! I remember a lot of hiding in dark corners. I played it many years ago and loved it. Then I replayed a couple years ago here on Bullocks. I was expecting it to look old graphically, but was surprised to see how great it did look. It was a much easier the second time.

I am getting near the end of Mafia 2 and enjoying it. It is a lot easier than the first so far.

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Scout
Portland, Oregon
Moderator
Staff
March 1, 2011 - 3:10 pm
Member Since: April 10, 2009
Forum Posts: 1205
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I liked Half Life 2 a lot. Not the story so much…most of which seems to exist in certain people's imaginations… But over all a fun game with appealing gameplay. I did quit once near the beginng and had to start again after a hard drive crash. Not the best game but not as bad as you guys are trying to make it out to be. Good grief. 

Fear bored me. I got maybe two hours into it and it got so silly I quit right after the dumb bit with the littlle girl. 

SS2 towers over most anything since though. I had the same experience as Gregg. I had to stop played it freaked me out so much. I picked it up again a few years later. THAT was a gaming experience.

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Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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March 2, 2011 - 8:45 am
Member Since: April 10, 2009
Forum Posts: 3307
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I was going to reply here but then I realized I could post it all on the front page and visitors would think I was brilliant and forward-thinking and ever-thoughtful and don't need to plagiarize concepts from lengthy forum discussions to come up with ideas sometimes.

 

For this I thank you.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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