|My first post of the 'new' year, only nine days in, or eight for people who are on that slow side of the world over there. Why so little posting recently? Because computer games ate my soul. That's right, computer games have become voracious unstoppable aethevores as of the beginning of 2004. But it's okay, having one's soul eaten is pleasant, really. Join us. Join us.|
Which games, you ask? Well I'll tell you. The first game was Fallout, an RPG of similar flavour to Baldur's Gate or Planescape: Torment, except with a less atrocious interface and superior plot flexibility. In the subplots, anyway. Yes, even better than Planescape's. About the same length as Planescape, but on one CD instead of three that keep demanding to be swapped around. Recommended if you like the genre.
The second game was Halo: Combat Evolved. I must now say "Hello! Wombat Evolved" because nobody else on the internet has ever said that. Halo is the most fun I've had playing a first person shooter, beating Duke Nukem and/or Deus Ex. The cheesy predictable plot is fairly fun, the occasional vehicles provide a bit of variety, and the maps were somehow navigable despite being almost Quake-ly same-ish, and despite the lack of automap. I suspect the reason for this is that the maps were mostly linear; while you may sometimes have to go back, or find yourself doing so accidentally, it's not easy to accidentally go around in circles as I tend to when not provided with any sort of sense-of-direction indicator in FPS games. Also the classic game-navigation method of "if there are monsters there, you're supposed to be going that way" works most of the time. The only things that annoyed me about it were the occasional annoying 'jump puzzles', and that to a significant degree it performed the requisite "getter harder towards the end" by having fewer save-points rather than by actually making the situations any trickier.
In part, also, my additional enjoyment of the game may have come from playing it using a Logitech Rumblepad rather than the traditional keyboard-and-mouse combo. There were marginally too few buttons to perform all of Halo's functions, but enough for all the important ones, and little thumb-joysticks are much less intrusive than a mouse or trackpad for turning-around motions. It's not often, after all, that one has to re-crank one's limbs before continuing to turn. I'm still not sure whether Halo actually supported the rumbling of the rumblepad or not - if it did, it was so intrinsic to the game that I didn't notice. The rumblepad, anyway, is quite nice. Very smooth analog joysticks, a direction thing that mostly does diagonals when you want and not when you don't, a nice unexpected 'throttle' slider, and more buttons than I've seen on one of those things before - but not so many buttons that one couldn't still shake a stick at them. So, that and both games are recommended.
Perhaps in 2004 I'll be saying only nice things, eh? Ha!