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February 10th, 2007, 17:34
I've been too lazy recently to really get into NWN 2 and was waiting for patch 1.04 anyway. Now that that one has been released, the preview for patch 1.05 sounds pretty good as well so I'll continue to be lazy and will wait for that one .

In the meantime, I've been in the mood for some FPS'ing.

Finished Prey recently which was much better than I expected. The first half of the game is really boring and repetitive (same stuff that's happening in the demo over and over and over) but then it gets a lot better as soon as you start to use shuttles to fly around inside that alien ship. The environments and the atmosphere in general become a lot better towards the end, too. It was pretty cool overall… though I'm glad I didn't pay full price for the game (picked it up for EUR 29.90).

Currently playing F.E.A.R and loving it. I somehow regarded this as just another boring, dark Doom 3-like corridor shooter when it came out but I'm glad that I finally gave it a chance now. It's awesome. It's really creepy and gory and to not freak out too much, you definitely need to remind yourself often that you are the mean, armed & dangerous mofo and not them . It's the kind of game where you will occasionally come close to a heart attack when spotting your own character's shadow on a wall. It's that intense.

It's also great that they have kept the number of enemy encounters rather limited. The action is not that spooky, of course, since you need to concentrate on winning the fights but the (long) silent parts are. The sneaking around in the dark for long, tense minutes. Not knowing what will happen next. Good stuff.

And the action is great as well. This game does it right. No wimpy, pseudo-realistic bullshit. If you fire your shotgun then it feels like you fired a shotgun. It's like force feedback where the force feedback is generated by the "feel" and the awesome sounds of the weapon. Shooting at an enemy soldier from 3ft away with said shotgun hasn't been that much fun since… can't remember when. Possibly ever.

It's also cool that you can only carry three weapons at a time. Adds a bit of a strategic element to the game since you need to make compromises and choose carefully.

Well, and the AI is awesome, too. It's very reactive and there's a good variety of enemy behavior. Sometimes the soldiers try to rush you. Sometimes they will try to sneak up on you (from behind if there is a way). Then other times they will hold their position and wait for you to come out of hiding. It's great.

And they communicate with each other a lot. You can hear their radio chatter and it almost always makes sense. Every fight has been fun so far.
For example… when they spot you (or your flashlight)… "Threat spotted!", "Flashlight!" … two seconds later… "I'll go check it out." … three seconds later… enemy comes around corner and you turn him into a cloud of blood with your shotgun… other enemy soldier yells "Shit! Did you see that?" (with real terror in his voice like someone should have who just saw his buddy explode… great voice acting)… five seconds later… "Flush him out!" … a grenade comes flying your way … again five seconds later … "I'm moving in!" … next enemy soldier comes around corner guns blazing and screaming "Die motherfucker!" … and meets his fate… squad leader goes "I got two men down. Need reinforcements!".
As you can see, the chatter is very reactive to what actually happens to the poor sobs. It adds a lot to the already excellent atmosphere of the game.

Highly recommended to anyone who hasn't played the game yet. Just make you sure you have a rather powerful GPU like a 7800GS or 7800GT and faster. This is a game where you absolutely don't want to turn shadows off or make too many visual compromises since the atmosphere is greatly enhanced by all the visual detail.

Next up… more "old school" FPSs. I finally got around to getting an imported copy of the Medal of Honor Allied Assault War Chest (original game plus all expansions) and Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault. Looking foward to both. Was a little burned out on WW2 until recently but now I'm in the mood for it again.
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