You know, for all the times I’ve mentioned Deus Ex — how it shaped me, and still shapes me, and provides a baseline against which all things are judged — I’ve never actually blogged it properly.
I guess it’s about time we really went into why Deus Ex is actually the best game of all time. I doubt you’ll agree with me, but that’s what blogs are for, right?
“Save often… but save points are limited.” Why was this approach ever fashionable? Sometimes dinner waits for no man and being unable to save because you’re not at a handy checkpoint is the most extreme form of frustration.
Omikron: The Nomad Soul is from 1999, well after Unreal allowed you to save anywhere you wanted. We had the technology! Either way, this peculiar genre-bending game has a soundtrack by David Bowie. I don’t think this is good or bad (I’ve never been into Bowie at all), but it’s amusing so I’m going to keep repeating this fact as justification for everything. Another drinking game?
Gosh, I thought Daikatana was bad for the whooshy camera, but that was small fry compared to Anachronox. Definitely not a game for sufferers of motion sickness — even for me, a veteran of the lightning-fast FPS, some of the camera movements get just a bit too wonky.
So Anachronox is a… turn-based? … comedy RPG from 2001.
I remember reading about Daikatana when I was a young boy. When our first computer was new, when its 500MHz processor was unthinkably powerful, when the Y2K bug loomed large, when games were some strange wild frontier that was probably a bit too violent for me…
Daikatana, they said in all the magazines I had begun to survey, was one of the worst games ever made. I don’t remember finding out quite why; indeed, I didn’t have much of a sense of my own taste back then anyway. (This was before my family gave in to that whole violence thing and got me Unreal Tournament for crimbo.)
So when it came up in a GoG.com sale for $2.39, I thought… Why the hell not?
Since Torchlight was a stylised hack ‘n’ slash loot-grinder, it reminded me of that other stylised loot-grinder of recent years: Borderlands. I played it once before but my words were rambly and a bit shite, so I won’t bother trying to link-bait you into reading it (savvy users can obviously abuse other functions to find it).
This isn’t “late to the party” because I did actually play Borderlands around when it first came out. This is more like a “revisited”, except instead of being a cheap ass-TV programme where they repeat the entire episode and slam on an extra five minutes, I’ve done everything from scratch. This time there are screenshots, at the very least.
To avoid any confusion, I’m just going to lay my cards on the table before we go any further: I like Claptrap.
They say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. I was vaguely interested in Torchlight at the time, but based on its status as a digital-download-only title and rumours that it was just a cash cow for an eventual MMO, it fell by the wayside (ain’t no way I’m funding an MMO if I can help it).
Then GoG.com offered it to me for free. Free. What kind of man would I be if I refused?
I remember the first, and only, time I played Half-Life. It was Christmas — I got it along with Starcraft (another disappointment), The Very Best of the Human League and A-ha’s glorious Scoundrel Days.
I had a horrendous allergic reaction to it. I absolutely hated it. The nonsensical story, that nasal suit voice, the lack of music… It basically managed to rub me up so completely the wrong way that I buried it, relegating it to the hidden DVD rack along with Neverwinter Nights and Invisible War. Yes, that bad.
But that was… oh, five years ago? Six? Seven? Maybe it’s time to give it another try. Will the hate disappear, be reinforced, or simply turn to abject apathy in the face of aging mediocrity?
Spoilers in here. Do I need a spoiler warning for a 15-year-old game?
So Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty was a fabulous non-starter, a bit of a “damp squib” as they say in the business. They promised a thirty-mission epic story, and instead we got a slightly-above-standard fifteenish-mission main story with a huge pile of fairly disposable side quests. It’s pretty and plays fairly well, but seems somehow unsatisfying.
Even so, I’ve been suckered into purchasing the expansion pack Heart of the Swarm because I hate to leave a narrative unfinished (no matter how questionable its quality may be). So let’s see where this takes us…