August 14, 2008

A Little Less Talk, A Little More Action

I want to follow up my comments on Space Siege a little now that I have played it a little more (at least a couple hours). The first thing I want to say is I am really enjoying it. For all the arguable failings I can see, I have fun when I am playing it, I find it hard to stop, and I look forward to playing it again. There are generally signs of a solid game. While I do still hold that the character system is a bit shallow for my taste, I do have to give it credit for having at least some strategic depth and that is in the number of slots vs. the number of abilities you have available. It seems like there are about 30 abilities (including those unlocked from the skill tree) and only about 10 slots (which doesn't include the special abilities of the HR-V) with which to equip them (and even then, I find I can only reliably use about 6 of them).

Even though every character gets access to most of these skills (depending on the ones acquired from the skill tree) and they can easily be changed between encounters, depending on how you choose your skills and the abilities you have equipped, I can see the game being played a lot differently than I currently am playing it. The same goes for what weapons and equipment you choose to spend your upgrade parts on and which (if any) cybernetic parts you decide to use. For example, I have focused largely on engineering skills which means that I use an array of gadgets like fire traps, electrostatic grenades, and sentry guns and then follow that up with my heavily upgraded assault rifle. Against powerful ranged enemies however, I tend to sprint in close to use my magblade, shield, and bash ability (which comes with a number of cool melee animations) to quickly dispatch them where their ranged weapons are less effective.

Looking at the number of skills I haven't invested in and the abilities I don't use, I could easily see the game having a much different feel depending on how you build and outfit your character. Anyway, I think my review yesterday cast the game in a somewhat harsher light than it deserved so I want to give a bit more credit where credit is due. I think the game falls somewhere in the 7.0 - 8.0 range, but it continues to move up in my esteem as I play it. As I progress, the encounters get more challenging allowing me to see the additional strategic depth in choosing your investments in skills, abilities, and equipment. Good stuff. I hope that someone I know ends up picking it up so I can try out the multiplayer component, as it sounds interesting and fun.

In other news, I also received Haze in the mail today and I guess my initial reaction is rather tepid. The Nectar effects are nice looking, but overall the game isn't very graphically impressive, the dialog is just terrible, and overall it just feels very mediocre. I'm not writing it off yet (though the dialog is bad enough to make me not want to continue), but my initial reaction is to not waste my time with it. Finally, tomorrow marks the last day of my Gearbox internship and the end of my "break." Tomorrow the team is taking us out to lunch and then there's a party on Saturday that the interns have been invited to as well. It's been a really great experience, and ultimately I think we've done some really good work, though I suppose Gearbox will be the final judge of that. It's gonna be hard going back to the Guildhall, but I'm not going to worry about that right now. I've got plenty of time over the weekend for that :). Alright, I better get to bed as there are plenty of loose ends to tie up before end of day tomorrow. Night, all!

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