Blog 607: Giants

Giants: Citizen Kabuto was, believe it or not, my first ever experience of cockney banter. This banter, if nothing else, had a profound impact on my life and most definitely how I conducted my earlier Warcraft maps (if not the later ones too). Everybody goes on about finding the mythical Citizen Kane of games, but what about the Citizen Kabuto of films?

Funny, then, that I’ve never blogged about Giants. Maybe it’s because I don’t think I’ve actually played it for four or five years — in fact, I’m not even sure I’ve played it on Daedalus at all, who is now more than six and a half. (Sidenote: help me build a replacement, I have no idea what I’m doing and I want to play all the modern games.)

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Blog 603: Invisible Phwoar

I don’t know if I’m going mellow in my old age, or if it’s a symptom of inevitable brain decay, but I am feeling forced to admit that there is something compelling about the ill-advised Deus Ex sequel Invisible War. (My previous examination of the game was hardly complementary. Was I really so angry back then? … What do you mean, “you still are”?)

My biggest concern is that it is beginning to feel somehow more compelling than the ill-advised prequel, which was at least a pretty good game even if it was painful in a lot of other aspects.

I need to try to nail this feeling down and contain it before I end up doing something stupid like conceding that Invisible War actually exists.

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Blog 602: You’re Not the Boss of Me

Well, I couldn’t exactly play the ill-advised prequel without going on to cleanse my palate with the real deal. While floating around the grungy millenial streets of Deus Ex, I got to thinking about one feature that was particularly controversial about its prequel: boss fights. Because the original Deus Ex doesn’t actually have a final boss… Or does it?

Beware of spoilers.

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Blog 599: Lightning Never Talks Twice

I recently did something called a Lightning Talk to my work colleagues about the ultimate basics of procedural level generation. I’m scared of, and terrible at, doing presentations, so I volunteered because I need to learn to face my fears. (Be bold, etc.)

A Lightning Talk is when three or four people do very short, five-minute presentations about Something Cool — so I figured that, since I kind of care about this stuff, at least my enthusiasm would shine through if my tongue refused to cooperate (it did).

This was written as an introduction for absolute beginners, because nobody at work gives two figs about game technology (except me), so it should be interesting enough for mildly technical people with a passing interest in the area.

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Blog 598: Human Devolution

At the time, I didn’t blog about Human Revolution because I knew I could never give it an unbiased review. Why? Because it is, quite simply, not Deus Ex. It is a lot of things — a well-made immersive sim, possibly even a good game — just not Deus Ex.

Plot and lore mean a lot to me, and the incongruities in the first half hour alone make me want to spew. I played through the whole game and the wrongness never dissipated, so I just moaned a bit offline and let it go.

Alas, the fancy recently took me that I should replay the game now… And I can hold it no longer.

This blog is not about the game on its own merits. This blog is about why Human Revolution is not Deus Ex — in the same way that Unreal II is not very Unreal. This blog is about why the game “not being Deus Ex” is important.

I will understand completely if you think less of me by the end of this post, and there are spoilers for “all three games in the franchise” everywhere. Continue reading

Blog 594: The DLC Effect 3 (Part 2)

I’m never quite sure how to feel about scattered little DLC packs as opposed to monolithic expansions; I always get the feeling I’m paying more money for less content. Then again, expansion packs like Warcraft III‘s The Frozen Throne are ultimately more valuable than the base game, making the total infinitely greater than the sum of its parts. Maybe expansions have just been underpriced all along?

Either way, I laid down my wonga for all the Mass Effect 3 story DLC packs. Last time From Ashes was good and Omega was unremarkable — so let’s see what I have to say about the other two packs, Leviathan and Citadel…

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Blog 593: The DLC Effect 3 (Part 1)

Yep, I splurged on all the story DLC for Mass Effect 3. No horse armour, just companions and mission packs here. Having said that, all four cost me a total just shy of what I paid for the whole game on release day… And all these packs are from 2012.

Digital economies suck.

My self-restraint sucks too. Herein lies a report on the first two packs, From Ashes and Omega.

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Blog 592: Mass Effect the Third

Mass Effect 3 might have introduced even more truckloads of plot-holes than its meandering predecessor managed to do (and it did that without even telling a story), but by ‘eck, its mechanics are spot on.

Having said that, I still loaded up on DLC for this run, so I might even have something new to report once I’ve put the vanilla game through the wringer.

Come on then, let’s pop the heat sink on combat and mechanics one last time…

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