26 November 2007

Deus Ex 3 announced!

I should actually be trying to compile a list of everything newsworthy that happened throughout the last two weeks, but why post old stuff, when the new stuff is so amazing? Deus Ex 3 was officially announced a couple of hours ago! Check out the teaser website, including a teaser video, which includes a piece of the DX signature music.

What I think of the announcement: Well, I am not a die hard Deus Ex-fan, but I really loved the approach the first installment took: more freedom in how to approach a mission than in any other action-game, combined with a philosophical plot. The second game seemed to be distracting a bit from this idea, partly due to its console routes, but nontheless a good game, even if not a game-of-the-century-candidate like DX1 was. Deus Ex 3 is definetely a game to put on my To-Watch-list.

25 November 2007

Back from World of Warcraft

I haven't posted in almost two weeks, because I was busy taking advantage of Blizzard's 'Scroll of Resurrection'-System, that lets you play for free for ten days, if a friend of yours uses this 'scroll' on your account and you have not been active in 90 days. The idea is to give the donor a free month if one decided to renew his subscription within these ten days. I did not (never planned to), only needed these few days to get my WoW-fix.

My ultimate plan was to gather 5000 gold, in order to buy a riding skill of 300, and then be able to do the 'Druid Epic Flight Form-Questline'. I got 'only' about 3900 gold, but the amount actually surprised me since I was doing only quests, mostly in Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley. I am not much of a grinder. The only time I did it was to get Revered-Status with a faction, to get an item, that turned out to be useless. I might have been able to get the 5000 gold, since I was spending only a few hours of each day on the game, sometimes not at all.

Anyway, I don't plan on returning to the game anytime soon, maybe 90 days from now for another ten days of free playtime. It's still a great game, but I am not that much into high-level-content-stuff, I am more of a casual gamer, so what I am really looking forward to is the second expansion 'Wrath of the Lich King', that lets you explore a new continent with new monsters, quests and items, and especially the whole leveling-procedure from 70 to 80.

Here are some impressions I managed to gather during my excurse:

1.Something that reminded me of something.
2.You can see the letters 'N O V A' blink, referring to the cancelled game Starcraft: Nova.
3.A ghost of Gul'dan, the badass from WarCraft 2.
4.Here I revived Teron Gorefiend after a series of quests.
5.For a while I thought my monitor was broken.
6.Took this one because I was impressed with the architecture the weak WoW-engine manages to build.

12 November 2007

Clive Barker's Jericho - My opinion

I have seen very diverse reviews when it came to the game Clive Barker's Jericho, and as it happens that I finished the game myself today I just wanted to present my own opinion about the game, and some (counter-)arguments to the most prominent issues.

First of all, yes, the game was really very short. It took me about 7-8 hours to complete the game, which was on the 'Easy' difficulty setting. I picked 'Easy' because almost every review that I had read prior to playing the game accused it of being way too hard. Now, I must ask, if one finds a game to be to hard why not reduce the difficulty? At least that's what I did, so the game never felt too hard, while still somewhat demanding. A lot of the critic on the game's diffulty setting steming probably from the fact that single teammates die very often throughout the game. It's true, but I found it to be more of a tactical element to the game as it had me make a choice of when exactly I wanted to ressurect a fallen teammate.

Graphics and Sound were excellent, so I won't discuss that. Cutscenes are always in first-person mode, sometimes interactive, having you press some of the arrow keys as quickly as possible. Some may find this annoying, I had no problem with it, probably because I was used to it since Tomb Raider - Legend and Fahrenheit-though the latter one really overdid it for my taste. CB's Jericho was simple and nice.

Leveldesign was very linear, typical FPS, so nohing to complain from my side. Fights with the enemies were very intense, enemies coming in waves, though it sometimes felt as if fights were being dragged on too long just to make the very small levels seem a little bigger.

The handful of classes were all very varied, very nice to play with, though I found myself to be playing with Delgado, the heavy-machinegun guy, most of the time, since he never needed to reload, had the most hit points, and had a neat skill which unleashed a fire dragon that incinerated most enemies almost instantly. My second favourite was the sniper Abigail Black, good when dealing with enemies from far away, and she also had a cool ability with which she could control the path of her bullet fired from her rifle. Number three was Church, a melee ninja-chick. I really liked her fighting-animation which also added to the intensity of the fights. Her skill to stun nearby enemies at the cost of some hit points also helped a lot throughout the game. The rest of the team was a little boring or uncomfortable to use. There is a healer, a grenade thrower, and a guy that can posses enemies but only in special situations. Him I found the most annoying to use, since I had to press so many buttons at the same time to time his ability right.

Something else I forgot? Yeah, atmosphere and storyline. Not really frightening, a lot of blood and gore though. The short loading times inbetween levels are accompanied with small text passages written, providing some info on the world the team is currently in. The members of the Jerricho-team are all very cool, each with a distinguishable character. There are many cutscenes, some interactive as mentioned before. But in general there just wasn't enough game-time to get into the characters a little better. The storyline does not have a big cliffhanger as some reviews wrote. There is a climax in the end, though not anything like an aftermath that explains more, which may be the cause for the cliffhanger-rumor.

All in all it's not a must game, but a good atmospheric team shooter. Wait until it gets cheaper. 8/10

Three new SC2 Screenshots

It's been a slow week but Gamemeca.com provides us with three new screenshots to drool over at last.

1.The new Firebats in action
2.High Templars creating Force Fields
3.A Thor arriving

Community Manager Karune has created a thread on the battle.net Forums to answer questions dealing with the new screenshots.

06 November 2007

StarCraft II - Q&A Batch #20

The Devs and I are all reading and we love answering community questions. Every week there are always exciting new changes we want to share with everyone. Granted, many of the changes may not stay in the game very long, but the process of game development is a constant cycle of brainstorm, revision, and much testing, to ultimately make all the gaming components flow together for one awesome overall experience.

Chat with Devs: Terran Ghosts are currently being tested as an effective Tier 1.5 unit, capable of sniping down high profile enemy targets, have an increased attack damage towards light armored units, as well as an upgradable EMP against Protoss and energy using threats. If that isnt enough, these highly advanced Terran soldiers at higher techs can also be equipped with a personal cloak ability, and launch drop pod reinforcements, as well as call down a massive nuclear strike. The StarCraft II Ghost will surely be bringing a whole new meaning to "You call down the thunder and I'll reap the whirlwind." Of course, I should mention, all of this is subject to change.

Submit new questions for the next Q&A Batch 21 here.

As always, feel free to give the Devs and I a w00t if your enjoying these Q&As!

---StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 20---

1. Will it be possible to give more fluid and realistic movements to small aircraft with proper banking and turning rather than just abrupt sprite-style direction changes?

We are currently in the process of implementing banking animations for flying units, but playability always comes first. If the animations affect playability negatively, it could get cut.

2. With the Reavers no longer in the game, will the Protoss have any units capable of performing brutal worker raids? (Starcraftlive.net)

The Colossus is an excellent choice for worker raids, since it is able to attack from higher elevations, and can be transported by the Phase Prism. In addition, we are exploring some ideas for the Twilight Archon that would allow him to make devastating attacks on enemy workers.

3. Will there be a escort ship for Battlecrusier because Protoss have like many kinds of capital ships?

With the Predator unit cut, the Viking is now the primary Terran air to air fighter. In addition, the Viking no longer requires an upgrade to transform between a ground and air unit and is also built directly from the Starport rather than the Factory.

4. Will there be units who can trample opponents (such as an Ultralisk)? (gamereplays.org)

Currently, there are no units that trample, but have discussed this idea as a possibility. Nonetheless, we also hit the dilemma of having a trample unit that is able to destroy enemy unit assets far beyond its own cost of the trample unit, with relatively little micro.

5. Will siege tanks be able to shoot at targets in the fog of war picked up by sensor towers, but not yet confirmed by visual sighting?

No. Siege Tanks will only be able to hit targets within visual range. In addition, Siege Tanks firing from the fog of war, such as on an unseen cliff, will not reveal its location from the fog of war to its enemy, thus will not be able to be return fired upon.

---End of Transmission---

RTS Community Manager Blizzard Entertainment

05 November 2007

The Dark Mod; Fodder for Thief-Fans

As I am somewhat of a sucker for stealth-games, especially the classic Thief-games, which I am playing through for the fourth time these days, I came across a video of a Doom 3-Total Conversion called 'The Dark Mod'.

The mod-team seems to really grasp the spirit of the atmosphere, that made the Thief-series so big. And unlike 'Thief 3' there is also swimable water, the levels seem to be very big without loading screens, and the developers also plan on implementing the popular rope arrow.

Unfortunately the TC won't be out until Winter 2008 (and as far as my experience with really big TCs goes I wouldn't really take any bets on that either), including only the tools for mapmakers to create their own projects. An official campaign will be released some time later.

You can get more information and videos on the official site.

03 November 2007

Jim Raynor sighted more than once!

With my last post I informed you about Jim Raynor making a cameo on a screenshot that featured the Protoss Observer. Now it appears that Raynor had already made several cameos prior to that. Members of sclegacy.com have found him four times, so far.
Head over to the newspost on sclegacy.com for zoom-ins, or the thread on Blizzforums.com for newest updates on the matter.

Observer found Jim Raynor, and some more

Blizzard has updated their StarCraft II-Website with the Protoss Observer.

You can also see Jim Raynor, without combat armor, standing between a Terran Refinery and some minerals in one of the new screenshots.

Blizzard has also updated their Artwork-gallery, a long with a Marine (Jimmy again?), there are several new pieces that look like parts of armor that Zeratul wore in the Single-Player-Campaign Video.

Forum-Moderators have also answered several questions concerning SC2:

Q1: I think it would be great if blizzard would give a gameplay option to turn the gore completely off...

A: Historically, the amount of 'violence' in StarCraft is dictated by region. For example, Korea may have black blood rather than red, and Germany won't have any blood, but will still show units being blown to pieces. It is still early in the development process, thus I don't think any features have yet to be implemented, but it has been discussed and will continue to be in discussions.

Update: We will have the ability to disable blood/gore in the shipping product. This functionality, however, will require a restart of the program to work properly, which means toggling this option mid-mission or mid-game will not work until the game is shutdown and restarted again later.

Q2: Ive been wondering if there is going to be critical hits and/or misses. Just like in warcraft 3...

A: There are no plans to have critical hits or misses.

Q3: Starcraft had....what? 3? 4?....different mineral 'looks'. The mineral chunks had a particular look when they were at 1500, and changed the way they look a couple of times until they were finished. My question is: Has Blizzard just extended the 3 or 4 to have many different looks for the minerals, or are the minerals 'dynamic' or 'randomly-generating'?

A: Right now we have several distinct states of minerals (like SC1) so you can look at them and have a good idea of the value of a remaining mineral node. I'm not sure that a very dynamic system would be very clear? Maybe when we get some more time its something we could work on. What do you guys think? Dynamic system or have the crystals display in distinct looks like SC1?