Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gravity Bone (?)

Somewhere along the way I ran across this weird Quake 2 mod. I really like the art style. Nice blocky headed people.

Its quite short so try it. I need to try this guy's other stuff. Go here for blendo games' stuff.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis (2001)

After finishing up the Conspiracies mod, I finally went back to actually finish the last mission of the original OFP campaign. For whatever reason, I stalled out on that one but have spent lots of time with single missions and just playing in the editor. Even with its age I still enjoy it thanks to the mod community. Not bad for a game I got on ebay for about $1 with all expansions (Think it cost more to ship it than my final bid).

Even though I stalled out playing it, this is still one of my favorite FPS games. While I prefer RPG-FPS like Deus Ex or System Shock 2, I also enjoy the tactical games. I played Ghost Recon first as OFP was too much at the time, but once I was used to the squad play in GR I dug back into OFP. I've done the 1st campaign, some of the single player missions, and lots of custom mod missions or just random editor play.

Yes, the game can be a bit ugly and clunky, but there is just so much to do from infantry to tanks to air combat. If you don't like the setting, just download some mods to change it (WW1, WW2, Vietnam, Cold War, Future Combat, etc.). Even a Mad Max style mod which is the closest to Car Wars/Autoduel I can get besides Interstate 76. Even if you just want to play the original campaigns there are good mods to change the units to look better (I love the models by Sanctuary).

Besides ArmA, I really don't think there are other games out there like it. While there are some tactical games with vehicles, they don't have the scope and moddability of OFP. With OFP, I can open the editor, then either edit an existing mission or just plunk down troops and see how it all goes. Of course, I could do scripting to get even better missions, but I like that it lets any skill level use it. For a change of scenery, just download another island someone has made and see if there are missions for it or make your own. So while some areas could be improved past what Bohemia has done with the patches and users with mods, I still think its one of the best tactical FPS out there.

Now to play the expansions and the multitude of user made campaigns/missions I've downloaded with a liberal use of the savemission cheat so I can have unlimited saves. It's just so easy to die in this game so I don't want to worry about having only 1 save.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

OFP Mod: Conspiracies Deluxe

A while back I downloaded the Conspiracies Deluxe mod for OFP. If I remember right it was sort of a STALKERish inspired mod for OFP that was released before the actual STALKER game was out.

Decent enough little mod that tries to do something different. I really liked the atmosphere in a lot of the levels early on. After the 20th or so level I ran into more bugs and got lost more than in the earlier ones so resorted to some endmission cheats to get past that. It had a nice mix of troop combat and then zombie combat.

Even though OFP is old I still like how it looks for some strange reason. Still amazed by the amount of mods and activity it still has. It really makes me want to try my own mod, at least mission wise, building something postapoc. I also tried some Chernobyl mod but it didn't have any missions at the time (At least that is what I recall). Sort of makes more sense to just replay STALKER but there is something about OFP (and also ArmA) that draw me back.

The author's website is here. Filefront currently still has a link to the mod up here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003)

Think I picked this up about a year after its release. Most likely on sale or when it hit the bargain bin. It took about 30hrs total with 1/2 that around the time I got it and the rest recently when I finally went back to finish it. It was a decent enough RPG and a good SW game.

Story was decent enough and gameplay was fine. Its always fun to use sabers, force powers and blasters on the mobs of enemies. I played through on the light side but did pick some dark side approaches, but in the end was still more of a good guy then bad. I know many have replayed it multiple times to see the good and bad endings but I don't feel like playing it again at this time. Maybe some other day but probably not.

While I did like it since it was more scifi than traditional RPGs, it still felt like I was just playing a D&D style game with the Force instead of magic. While there were blasters and rifles, the engine didn't seem built well for ranged combat. I normally had 2 melee people and 1 guy hanging a bit back with blasters but felt the ranged combat was lacking. I always felt too zoomed into the combat for ranged to work well. I think NWN even did it better since I can zoom in or out as I wanted. The last level was also a respawning grindfest.

Even the with a melee/force focus, I think I prefer NWN and its many modules. While that engine is older, I felt like I had more control over the combat vs Kotor. The ability to zoom out in NWN allowed for ranged combat to work better. I also had issues with the path finding during combat as my people would get stuck in close quarters and waste time trying to get to the enemy. I also got tired of opening boxes and remains just because of the slow animation. Though this is games in general since other RPGs I would be bashing barrels but it just seemed slow here.

A little bit better ranged combat by having a more open/zoomable field would have helped my enjoyment. While the dialogue was good it was nothing that could not have been done in NWN1 though Kotor did look prettier. While I enjoyed it I think I'll stick to the Jedi Knight FPS games (Due for a replay) instead of replaying this and I already know to avoid Kotor2.

I only used a few mods during my gameplay as I hated the ship shooter parts. The mouse control was horrible so after suffering through the first few encounters I got some mods to remove that mini-game. I used this link to get kitty kitty's no_fighters.zip and also the no_turrets_after_leviathan.zip from tk102's posts.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

TimeShift (2007)

Another $6 bargain bin game. I wasn't expecting much as there seemed to be a love it or hate it theme going on with all the reviews. Enough people said they liked it so I didn't mind spending the low cash to try it. Glad I did as its now one of my favorite pure run and gun games.

I really liked the scripted events from this game. From the start is was all out battles for the most part. I really liked the retro future ww2 setting. Even though it was linear, the maps still felt open thanks to all the clutter. In some ways it reminds me of the STALKER engine with elements of HL2, FEAR and Quake4 thrown in. I also liked the little touches: Rain on the visor, snow crunch and other environment sounds, blood trails after walking over bodies, cracked visor when you fall to far, etc.

The time altering powers were fun and were essential to some parts of the map. While I rarely used the reverse power, except where needed, I used the speed up and pause a lot. I didn't care that by default the suit selects the best choice for you since you can still override it. Lots of fun pausing or speeding up while I take out the enemy with sniper fire.

While it has the normal set of guns (handgun, rifle, sniper, rocket launcher, etc.), they did the job just fine. My favorite weapons were the crossbow and the flamethrower. Crossbow was like being Rambo since it had exploding arrowheads. Even the shield guys couldn't escape since I could normally at least target their feet. The flamethrower either shot small flame balls or was the normal flamethrower effect. Both were good for ridding yourself of the enemy.

Not sure of my final time, but lengthwise it felt just right. Unlike in FEAR, there was no time where I got bored and just wanted it over. While the story was thin, I liked all the levels and how they linked up. Just something about the level design, art style and setting made me enjoy it more than other linear FPS I played recently. Other games might have done one or two things better, but I think this was better overall and can easily see myself replaying it.

I would like to see more games in this setting. Strip the fantasy aspects out of Arcanum, add some Mecha and smother it in FPS goodness. Guess I should hunt down what I missed that came out around this time to see who those FPS were better. Though I think its just going to be about it lacking the uber HD pretty of other engines, even though its levels seemed for real due to the clutter and amount of stuff in them. Maybe its good I normally play more FPS-RPG hybrids or tactical FPS as it let me enjoy this more linear and scripted altered-history WW2 game.