Friday, June 23, 2006
The Silver Surfer feels my pain
I'm currently in the process of migrating the old faithful website to the shiny new joy of Wordpress. Getting pages into the Wordpress database is delightfully straightforward, as a copy and paste from one Firefox tab to another does the job with some minor tweaking. It's taking me an age though, as I have entirely too much crap to move (and I'm also importing the reviews I've written in here as well). However, It's been fascinating to delve further than I previously had into CSS and learning all about Wordpress has been pretty interesting.
What's painful is the writing. Fuck me, it's like nails on a chalkboard a lot of the time. I'm eternally critical of anything I write because I know it's really bad compared to the array of material I read daily on the web. I write for fun, not for any deluded sense of talent. Looking at a lot of what I wrote in 2002 and 2003 though... christ! Some of the structure I can remember thinking "hey, that's cool, I like how I did that" - concrete evidence of brain damage, I tell you.
Younger-me's irritating phrase of the day - variations on "it won't win any awards but...". I'd like to travel back in time and thrash younger-me every time I typed it.
Posted by Alex Hopkinson @ 7:03 PM
Friday, June 02, 2006
Review: SiN Episodes: Emergence
"But for all the effort that’s gone into it, it’s lacking that crucial level of polish - the balancing to keep the action consistent, and nips and tucks to keep it flowing instead of frustrating. There’s nothing special about the action to keep you holding on for the next instalment; it’s nothing you wouldn’t get in just about any shooter you pulled off the shelves, and it’s sure as hell not one you follow for the story - a story which pretty much begins and ends with the artists getting to draw jiggling breasts"
I was going to ramble on about SiN Episode One: Emergence the other week but (occasional PC Gamer UK contributor and Future Publishing writer) Richard Cobbett sums it all up brilliantly. The patch released a few days after release certainly fixed the stupid balancing bug (and I have to wonder, did they playtest it with mad ninja skilled FPS gamers and forget about the "competent majority" like me?) but that wasn't enough to elevate it greatly. With the chaingunners as defeatable enemies the second half of the game certainly became more enjoyable (and quite fun when you could get moving and roll through some solid firefights) but the first half, when difficulty was no real issue anyway, was quite drab.
I really don't see episodic gaming working without story, character, plot - at least one element past the minute to minute gaming. It needs to hook the player enough to make them want that next five or six hours now rather than months down the line. Emergence doesn't. It's not bad by any means but it's the embodiment of "competent, generic FPS". Far more so than the much malaigned Quake IV, in my opinion. I had some fun but it never pulled me along with it (which really isn't that hard either, I'm notoriously easy to engage with in games like this). It's going to take some strong reviews from my trusted few paper and pixel publications to convince me that Episode two is worth my time.
Posted by Alex Hopkinson @ 2:21 PM