Thursday, August 28, 2008

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Pyramid Robots Attack My City (27 Aug 08): We built of steel while they built of stone. Different technologies but master craftsman we both were. At some point in time we met, as all cultures must, and then it began. It is said that he who has the best tech laughs last, but all I hear are the cries of steel on stone and stone on steel in this sandstorm of bone.

Or maybe I just like pyramids and robots. I also threw in a pterodactyl or two for good measure.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (2004)

I picked this up on release but never got that far before dropping it for some other shiny game. It wasn't the games fault just my short gaming attention span. I've now returned to it and finally finished it. I definitely agree with most people that the first 2/3rds is excellent and the last 1/3rd is horrible. To me, its not even about bugs (though official and fan patches fixed most of those for me) it was due to the change in type of game. The good portion still took me at least 20hrs so its still worth it to play up to a certain point.

I knew some of the downfalls of the game coming in so knew to focus some on melee and I still did firearms even if it was clunky. Some of the clunky was from FPS-RPG always being a bit clunky (Issues mixing user FPS skills with the in game character stats) and from a early source engine. Once I got the shotgun firearms worked fine as secondary to my sword or sledge. I really need to play through with the less physical skills and mess with the vampire magic (I mainly used trance and suicide) but like regular RPGs I go for using swords/bows over magic.

Since I did focus on combat there were only a few reloads here and there. I didn't really have trouble until the end game where it went from fighting a few or 1 strong enemy to fight hordes of unending enemies. It went from being an RPG to being a button masher combat game. It wasn't due to bugs or a early version of the source engine. It was the game design that changed. They took the time to build those levels and place the enemies so it wasn't just a rush job. They could have just closed the story another way or used simpler end level quests instead of running the gauntlet over and over.

I really enjoyed the more modern city environment of the game. I didn't even mind the sewer level that so many hated or the first few hong kong levels but I could feel the above mentioned change in the game. I do so it as the mark where the game quality/design changes but I was expected the hordes in the sewer not a few quests out from it. So I switched to god mode to finish it off so I could at least see some of the endings.

I do plan on replaying at least the first half of the game with different characters to see how it plays out. I also want to try one of the newer fan patches as mine is very old. Not sure if I want to use the patch that adds additional content or just the one that focuses on bug squashing.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Half Life 2: Episode 2 (2007)

Another good intro as EP2 flowed well from EP1, as EP1 flowed from the original HL2. It really was a nice gaming ride through the whole HL2 series. I do think I enjoyed the EPs more as they cut the fat out of the sections I didn't enjoy. Think I liked EP1 more than EP2 though. I would like to see more of the combine battles of EP1 with the more outdoor levels of EP2.

At first I was overjoyed that it appeared we finally got to play in some nice open outdoor areas. This was trampled as you have to go tunnel crawling for a very long stretch. While the ant lion bits weren't overly hard, it was sort of like a repeat of the tunnel/sewer of HL2. After finally seeing some open top ground I didn't like being forced back underground.

Later on you do get some top ground travelling done. Getting to the car to traverse the larger areas was OK, but I was burnt out on being indoors by then. It was cool to look back once you got to it and be able to see all the areas you had just walked through as you could make out the buildings you had just been in.

Outdoor bits were good in that there was a mix of houses and outdoors to run around in. There did seem to be a lack of traditional combine soldiers though. Guess I should replay EP1 for that though. The last battle was fun as it was more open, but the level was still just a few hallways disquised as valleys instead. The map appears open and is pretty, but its not as open as ArmA/OFP maps or even STALKER. Still, while the boss battles may have been harder than regular battles, it only took a couple reloads, if that, to do them so my boss battle hatred was quelled.

The ending was brutal. Not just the final boss level, but the actual ending. I was not expecting that. I cannot wait for EP3. Well, except for STALKER: Clear Sky, but I'm a post-apoc junkie and dug STALKERs open levels.

Done with my play/replay of the HL series so now on to something else. Think I might grab FEAR and play through that before I go back to some tac sims or RPGs. Though itching to replay SS2, Deus Ex and NOLF1 still.

Friday, August 01, 2008

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Buckminsterfullerene (31 Jul 08): Buckminsterfullerene is a carbon molecule that looks like a soccer ball and is named after Buckminster Fuller who popularized the geodesic dome and the concept of 'Spaceship Earth'.

"Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?" What can one person "contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity?"