All About velvetkloud
It's potentially a good few months for games. The lack of anything really decent this year was resolved with Human Revolution a few months back, then the awesome 'The Binding if Isaac'. We now have another wealth of treats coming, all of which I am looking forward to. The timing is going to be tricky though, I need to plan how I am going to get through this lot so they don't fall into the pit of my Steam account.
'Sonic Generations' has been released today, just waiting for it to finish downloading (due to a slight mishap with the pre-load). That's fine, I don't anticipate Sonic devouring too much of my time, I'm confident it will be an easy quick-play kind of game. Having said that, i thought the same of 'the Binding of Isaac'.
The real problem will come with 'Skyrim' on the 11th November. If it's as good as I am hoping, it will be a harsh mistress, I can see myself getting quite engrossed in it, just as I did with Oblivion. L.A. Noire is also released on the same day but I have waited this long I'm sure I can push it back a bit further.
Arkham City then comes on the 18th. Technically that only gives me seven days to dedicate to Skyrim before this will undoubtidly take over. Not to say that Arkham City will be the better game for me, but Skyrim will be sapping my life for some time, I'm confident I can get Arkham City done and dusted fairly quickly.
However not before Serious Sam BFE is released on the 22nd November. That's going to be a real problem, again if it is as good as it looks it could take precedence over the other four, like Sonic, I am sure it will be very easy to just pick up and play. With the others I will want to be more specific about my times so I can fully abosrb their worlds (or be fully absorbed into them).
During all this, I still have to fit in time for Bad Company, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress...
Yes, it has its flaws and I really have no desire to indulge in the single player game but Aliens vs Predator still had the potential for fun with some good friends in a multiplayer setting. The only thing that was hindering this was the severe lag when hosting from one of our computers.
As a treat we decided that a month of dedicated server for roughly £4 was a bit of a bargin, until we realised the true extent of the lack of suport for the game.
All I wanted to do was to be able to set up the server, from a lobby, with the usual options you would expect such as the map, a password, the game type, etc. Or, at the very least, do this in game through some options or within the console.
I spent a good deal of time investigating the www to see if anyone could shed any light on how to achieve this relatively simple task but with zero joy. the only thing I could do was change the map in the server cfg file then restart the server and rejoin it.
I resorted to contacting Gameservers so they could offer me advice on what I actually needed to do. this was their response:
"Unfortunately our information on AVP is limited to what you've seen. There was not a lot of support for the administration of the servers for this game from the developers. We apologize for the inconvenience."
So basically, cheap as it was, we paid for a server that barely actually works as such. I am thoroughly annoyed with Gameservers, if you know the server is missing important aspects of support such as this then why sell it? At the very least why not warn potential customers? If I purchase a server I expect it to have the ability to manage the functions that are intrinsic to the multiplayer aspect.
More than that though I am extremely annoyed with the developers for releasing this piece of crap in this state, I knew it was a flawed game but thought I could gain some enjoyment from the multiplayer. Now I know that this is not the case it no longer deserves the space on my hard drive.
"horror is extremely fragile ... you can kill it by spelling things out too clearly" - Craig Hubbard, Lead Designer: F.E.A.R.
I don't tend to keep myself religiously up to date with each and every happening in the gaming world. I will check up on something if it has caught my eye or keep tabs on games that I am already interested in or that are related to games that I previously enjoyed. Due to this F.E.A.R. 3 kind of crept up on me and I didn't even realise it was soon to be released until a few weeks back.
As I just started playing F.E.A.R. 2 I decided to have a look at some screen shots and trailers for the 3rd instalment and now wish I hadn't... Here's why:
The title: Obviously I was already aware that F.3.A.R. had adopted the now very stale "numbers replacing letters" trend and with the 3 just being a backwards E it seems like a no brainer, which is precisely the problem. It probably takes less intellect to decide to take this approach than to create a product and marketing strategy that doesn't have to rely on cheap gimmicks such as this.
The gameplay: This was the first I was aware that you would be able to utilise two characters, one being Paxton Fettel from the first game who could use telekinesis and all sorts of other supernatural crap. This is not something I have any desire to see in a F.E.A.R. game and just takes the game from a scary as hell, first person horror/shooter into the realms of bland cliché. Seeing Fettel using spooky red streams of psychic dribble to lift up unimpressed enemies just made me want to slit my own eyes.
The Co-op: Where on earth will the psychological horror be if you are traipsing around these dull environments with a friend? F.E.A.R. thrilled me with it's subtle and brief moments of "did I just see that" and "Oh god what's that noise?", How on earth can you get that effect with two of you playing it?
Actually it probably could work if done well, especially if things happened like you lost communications with your team mate for a moment while the horror occurred, but it would take a degree of excellence to pull it off which I doubt this game will have.
The music: I can't speak about the game itself but Marilyn Manson on the trailer? Seriously?
The Almaverse: Almas world, complete with stereotypical eyeless beasts and, what look like, zombie rappers. The name just says it all really.
The world as a whole: It all just seems so wrong, the atmosphere, genuine scares and constant, uneasy tension replaced by a gaudy, over the top and completely unnecessary monster-fest. Some screens I have seen just look like a bland Doom 3 wannabe or worse, and don't even get me started on the ridiculous voice acting.
It seems that everything that was wonderful about the original has now long gone. Another legacy probably ruined by incompetence and the inability to not revert to tired, predictable conventions in order to pump out another game.
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