Video Games

Hopes for BulletStorm

I’m still alive, honest, and still playing games. Yes, it’s still mostly LOTRO, but I’ve also added Minecraft to the mix. I’ll eventually do something worthwhile with that and post a YouTube video like everyone else or something.

In the meantime, though, I would like to talk about BulletStorm. One thing I do between gaming and work is try to stay up to date with what the next distraction will be (at least once they come close to release date). I saw an ad for BulletStorm (shall I call it BS?) on TV and thought it was right up my alley. You see, I’m from the Unreal Tournament school of FPS. I like fast-paced, bouncing off the walls games with ridiculous guns. And colour! Glorious colour! Like many commentators, I am bewildered by the trend of the last decade towards a palette of desaturated browns. Gears of War might have been a good game if not for their drab choice of games.

Back in the 1990s, there was plenty of choice: Doom, Marathon, Unreal, Halflife. And then CounterStrike came along, was stupidly popular (to be fair, it was a good game), and all of a sudden there was only Unreal Tournament… which got worse and worse with every release.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the TV ad:

Much more up my alley. Today, I caught this quick review on Facebook:

Dear epic games, Bulletstorm sucks. Way to fail.

My friend goes on to complain that it’s too repetitive, but I think that he may not have examined FPSs lately. Over at Giant Bomb, they’re saying something different:

In some weird alternate universe, John Romero is still a part of id Software and every first-person shooter out there is filled with new iterations on the old “riding the rocket” or “sucking it down” death messages found in the original Quake. Games went in a different direction in that universe, eschewing the petty grasps at realism found here in our dimension in favor of seeking out new–but stilltotally juvenile–ways to tell someone that they suck. On top of that, they’re all finding bigger ways to blow things up and new ways to have guns rip polygonal bodies apart, often while making as many “edgy” references to Satan as they possibly can. In that universe, Bulletstorm gets two stars for being too colorful, wholly repetitive, and a shameless bite of the ideas found in the Grudgehumper series, namely Grudgehumper VI: The Devil’s Warehouse. Back here in the real world, however, Bulletstorm is a refreshing shooter that challenges you to do more than just hide behind a burning car and shoot soldiers in the face.

That’s a game I want to play. I think I’ll get it tomorrow. I’m not expecting much because it’s been way too long since an FPS was fun for more than a couple hours, but I think it’s a worthwhile gamble. Besides, it’s made by the team who brought us the gun that shoots lightning and shuriken!

Reviews Video Games

Massive Action Gaming!

Once again, I buy a game, get caught up in it, and forget to post. This time the culprit is Massive Action Game (MAG).

This was touted as being a new breed of co-operative multiplayer FPS… and in many respects it is. You do actually play games of 128-a-side (total player count: 256), and you are tasked with working together to attack or defend specific objectives in the same map.

Reviews Video Games

Falling out not with a bang, but a whimper

A long time ago, I declared Fallout 3 to be little more than “Oblivion with guns” and set off to play said fantasy game and its expansion. Naturally, my short attention span got the better of me. I created a new character for Oblivion, spent a few days levelling him and finishing the Mages Guild quest path, and went to explore the Shivering Isles expansion. Too bad that this was exactly the moment when I got bored with the game.

In the meantime, I had been watching Flip play Fallout 3 and decided that it looked like fun. We had also been talking with nobody, who had already finished it once and had some good things to say about the versatility of the character build system. So, I resolved to dig in and give it a try. Flip generally plays a good character, so I went for agent of chaos (which in too many CRPGs is equivalent to destruction) and found a build online which would allow me access to pretty much all the skills fairly quickly.

In the fast moving world of game critique, a lot has already been said about Fallout 3. I know I’m several months behind the ball, but I’m happy to not be bleeding edge, and pitch you my own observations.

Video Games

Going old-school

I had an epiphany about gaming yesterday. I was stuck at work, being paid a lot to do very little (the holiday period is good like that), and after we had exhausted showing off our meagre guitar talents (yes, that bored), somebody suggested a little Quake 3 action over the LAN.

After a little scrambling to figure out the best way to do this with three Linux boxen and two Windows machines, we stumbled upon OpenArena, which is a great cross-platform implementation of Q3. We were soon partying like it was 2000 again.

Anyway, the realisation I came to as I railed somebody from one of my favourite camping spots for the 10th time was that I hadn’t had as much FPS fun in ages. Sure, graphics and story and other things might have improved, but I seriously have had less fun combined with all three Halos, Gears of War and Doom 3 than I have across Quake 1, Quake 3, and Half-Life (and mods), Unreal (and its earlier sequels).

By no means am I near the top of the bunch. I mean, sure I can run rings around a newbie, but I was never dedicated enough to garner some of those advanced skills that come so natural to some players so as to appear somewhat godlike. But it’s still a lot more fun. The gameplay is free-flowing, over-the-top and a lot more funny than the depressing realism, grittiness, and grey palettes that seem to be infesting the genre at the moment.

I might be accused of indulging in a little nostalgia, but I don’t think so. I played for a good 3 hours before being forced to take a call, and would have kept going. It’s not that I’m an old fogey refusing to play the latest and greatest. I’ve tried a few, and they’re just not as fun.

What about you guys – do you stay on the bleeding edge, or prefer to hang on to the old classics?

I might go see if I can find my old Starcraft CD.