All games suck.
Do people really ever play test their games? If they had given the game
to me before final release, I would have probably been able to list ten
things they missed that really sucked and should have been fixed
before shipping. Sheesh.
Once again, I fail to understand the hype.
Evil 4 gets stupendous ratings; nice
graphics, yeah, but dude, where's the gameplay? It is a weird
mish-mash of on-rails action with medicore 3rd person shooter.
I find it consists of repetitive monster shooting, repetitive
scenery, unbelieveable characters and events, lame controls
(no strafe?), and outright visual weirdness:
e.g. the big bell on the locked church appears
and disappears, depending how far you are from it, presumably
due to some cheesy level-of-detail system. If you are trying
to shoot it from afar, it isn't there, then you take one step
closer and suddenly it is there. Whatever.
(I appreciate that
people rightly don't find the game to be orgasmic, either,
and reading the spoilers just makes me realize that I don't
particularly want to keep playing. Too bad I just spent
twenty bucks on the dumb thing. Maybe I can return it
and get a refund.)
Similarly, I find that other GCN favourite
Prime to be boooring: platforming, and having to retrace steps
all the time to get to save points, gets really old really fast!
Everybody fancies up the graphics and then implements gameplay
from the 1980s. Quite pathetic.
Come to think of it, the GameCube's controller bugs the
crap out of me, much like the N64. They are just too
non-symmetrical for my tastes. I feel like even though
they don't have more buttons than a Sony or Microsoft
console controller, the fact that the buttons are
all very different - different colors, different shapes,
different positions - makes them hard to get used to.
And gosh they sure are mean to left-handed people.
I broke out my old N64 and played a little 007. The controls
are kinda horrible (I really don't like the way the N64's
controllers are to be held) and the first level requires that
you don't injure any civilians. That apparently includes
accidentally pressing a button which causes you to punch
the guard who is attacking you, while you are trying
to use the tazer you have instead. Punching the guard
ruins the mission, so even if you are 90% done with it
you get to start all over again. Great. Good game
design and play-testing there, folks: force new users
to suffer on the very first mission.
The game Black
is derivative shooter crap. Some particularly nice features:
It forces you to watch the Full Motion Video crap (bad script,
bad acting, bad direction, etc.), you can't skip it! So the
fifteen minutes rule is eviscerated.
It has textures that crawl around on their objects as if
the rendering engine is high on LSD (seems to happen a lot
on the trees in the border crossing level). Also, if you restart
the level, you lose all your checkpoints. Great. Also? There
are places with doors you cannot open that are spawn points
for enemies. That's really good game design, you know, when
you are trying to hide in a cubby with what is obviously a
sealed door, with your back to the door so you can shoot
out at enemies, and then new enemies start materializing behind
you from that door and mow you down.
I suppose the pain should wrap around to the point where it is funny,
but it drives me nuts that games still can't get the control scheme
right. In Blazing
Angels I want flying the bomber to be like an airplane control
stick: "up" on the joystick means "down" for the nose of the plane.
But then when it puts me in the gunner position of course
I want "up" to just be "up" for the gun sights. For crying out loud.
(Also: the Desert reconnaissance mission? Hate!
Dumb! Bad game design! Boring! Also: the mission to destroy the
Japanese fighters on the ground, where if you screw up you have to
restart from the beginning, which means waiting through all the
cut scenes ever again? That mission? Yeah, hate.)
It cracks me up to see a web site
games by score and yet the scores are all jumbled.
As if sorting the things is just a reall hard
technical issue or something?!
I got to see
on the Xbox 360. Can you say booooring? Wow, they sure made
amazing advancements in game play there... not.
Also, they think that going crazy with shaders makes them cool
when in actual fact it just ends up making the water look like
some kind of super crappy digital noize. It would be a lot better
to leave that kind of crap out, and instead focus on making the water
rise and fall nicely. Here's a free clue to all the designers
out there: Nature is interesting because it is full of motion,
nice motion, nature-like motion. Not some stupid graphics demos.
I got to play the Xbox 360 Live Arcade version of
Wars, which was neat. Well, except for how the Xbox 360 controller
thumbsticks completely suck ass! They are designed such that
that top of the stick is concave, rather than the convex design found
on PS2 Dual-Shock controllers. The concave nature might seem to offer
better control because your thumb will be less likely to slip entirely
away from the stick, but
I actually found the controller to really bite. With a convex design,
your thumb has one contact point that it maintains with the controller
which means actions are quick and sure (as long as your thumb doesn't
get too sweaty and slip off).
However, the concave design meant that my thumb was having to move
some small distance before it would make contact with
e.g. the opposite edge of the 'bowl' -
then I could extert force on it and move things. I ended
up with crappy control because there would be a split second
lost to my thumb moving, and my thumb got
sorta rubbed raw by having to keep making and breaking contact with
parts of the stick. All in all, a super small design decision that
ended up making me pretty much despise the entire system.
I got to see an Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. I got to see somebody
download a demo of
Either it didn't say, or nobody noticed, that the demo did not
support single-player mode. So that sucked. So we tried getting
into a matched on-line game. The system said it found a match
for us, and launched the game and everything - and a millisecond
later it said the game was over, congratulations! I guess the
connection to the other player had dropped? Whatever the cause,
the entire customer experience was like, "OK, that really sucked
buttocks!" I cannot believe this is what people pay $400+ for: a bunch
of pretty stuff duct-taped to a core experience that is utter crap.
PS3 here I come.
I just tried the demo for Desperados 2. It was a mind-boggingly
bad introduction to the game: there were no other people on-screen,
and yet I died because there was some sniper shooting me from
off-screen. That might not be un-fun if you already knew how to
play the game and were totally familiar with it, but killing off
the player first thing is pretty much not the way to sell a game.
I really hope people responsible for this kind of thing end up
learning a hard, hard financial lesson; I know I'm never buying
I was all excited to get
Half Life 2
for my Xbox (note that I made sure to get a used copy
because I pretty much utterly hate Steam and really don't
want any of my money to go to Valve). Well, it turns out
to be kind of a flying piece of excrement.
- I got stuck such that my
character cannot move, I have no way of killing myself to
get back to the previous checkpoint, and my last save was
20 mins ago. I don't really want to re-play 20 mins worth
of the game. The kicker is that the UI for reverting to some
previous state is woefully inadequate when it comes to explaining
where you will revert to for non-saved-games: checkpoints,
or start of a 'level'. One doens't really know where the
The follow-on kicker to that is
HL2 has decided to forget about all my checkpoints after
I went back to try one but then decided it was too far back.
So for a little while I had the choice of re-playing like
10 mins of the game rather than 20,
but now the game has decided to remove
even that option, and I'm stuck with the 20 mins old save!
If this were the PC version, I could use some "god mode"
to get away from the part of the world geometry that has
me utterly stuck, but apparently the Xbox version doesn't
have anything useful like that. I'm so glad that the people
who make these games do their best to take whatever bugs
they have and make them worse by having a save/load/
checkpoint system from hell.
- The actual gameplay is like 99% shoe-leather
The load times are horrible, and all too frequent.
with shooting, and 1% actual story.
- The environments
are just the same old buildings and crates an things,
only with higher resolution textures.
- It is nice how they completely screwed the pooch
on the controls for the air-fan-boat-thing: even if
you aren't yet moving backwards, the left/right controls
will reverse if you try to slow down. That is just
utterly insane in terms of gameplay - I don't know
and I don't care if it is how actual air-fan-boat-things
work, it sucks when it comes to trying to actually
have this thing called 'fun' that games are supposed
to be about, you know?
- Other controls, too: the way you go up and down
ladders is completely at odds with how everything
else is done in the game, which is to move in the
direction you are looking. But when you are on
a ladder, suddenly that is no longer the way
the controls work. Genius!
- The physics. It is a tool that is still in its infancy,
but dumb-ass game makers think is sooooo cool that they
have to use it everywhere, only to end up with environments
that suck. Probably the most egregious example is any
swimming one might do with crates in the water. The behaviour
of my character is stunningly unbelievable, and utterly
uncontrollable, and just plain stupid.
- Also: the frame rate?! What's up with that?
Yes, games are like movies now, which in America means they
Since Knight of the Old Republic (both I and II)
got such great reviews, I thought KotOR II
would be fun. Well, it turns out to kinda suck,
actually. It is: shoe-leather through nothing
but furistic corridors and doors - a boring
dungeon crawl where the arrows are lasers and
the dwarves are droids. The bonus things
it consists of are: horrible load times,
"fetch this, fetch that" gameplay,
super annoying frustrating stupid combat,
and then to top it all off, bugs.
Sweet! Ship it!
I tried the Deadly Dozen 2 demo. What really
sucked about it was that it did not have a good way
to show you when your character actually had a line
of fire, so I would be furiously clicking and nothing
would be happening, and my guy would get shot and killed.
So that was a lot of fun! (I pretty much immediately
I just rented EA's Frontline Pacific Theatre,
or whatever it is called, for my Xbox. It was sort of
OK up until the point where the NPC blocked me from
being able to get onto a staircase that I apparently
needed to get on to to continue the game. The kicker is
that you cannot get NPCs to move, even if you hit
or shoot them. Great. This is game design of the new
It is always impressive to get a game demo that
even render the options window correctly. Oh, and disables resizing
the window, to really enforce the suckage. (They also commit
the shooting offense of not immediately quitting when you tell it to
quit, but trying to force you to stare at an advertisement for the
game for 10 seconds. That is not a way to ingratiate yourself with
anybody, dumbkopfs.) The font they chose for all their text is
pretty annoyingly obviously stupidly bad.
And they writing is kinda sad: "the cleanest
water man has ever drank." Uh, riiiight.
Remind me not to support
video game industry at all.
I thought I'd try my hand a some Half Life (1, not 2) maps.
Quark seems to have the most sane user interface, but it also seems
to totally break my maps whenever I do any operation - it introduces
all sorts of errors so one minute things are fine and the very next
there is a horrible leak in my map somewhere. So I'm going to try
Hammer, which bugs the crap out of me with its setup, and because
the 'camera' view sub-window has the 'camera' label flickering like
mad, presumably because it is constantly redrawing that 3D view
(even though I'm not actually doing anything). Whatever!
Afraid of Monsters
but that doesn't mean it doesn't suck in some ways. First, the sound
was all screwy. But worse was the vomit-inducing opening floating
movie sequence. It really bugs the crap out of me that people
don't understand the most basic thing about directing film.
Update: Argh, they are killing me! It finally got done with
the bull crap intro and I had literally 10 seconds of play
before another stupid freaking cut-scene took over! Hate!
Hate! Hate! Update 2: I thought that was it, the two stupid
cut-scene things (where they had the camera going through
solid objects all the time like faucets and doors, nice) but then
I had literally - literally! - two more seconds of me
being in control and then another cut-scene started.
(It was at that point that I quit the game and uninstalled it.)
This is the kind of literally retarded crap that wins awards? What is all
the stuff like that is considered to be worse? Religious
figure on a pogo stick!
It is nice to see that
is apparently not afraid to, effectively, call a piece of software turd,
"a piece of software turd" in their reviews.
So near and yet
It utterly flabberghasts me that anybody
would willingly pay money and install Valve's Steam
system. I mean, have you seen the license
for the thing? Or how much space it takes up? Talk
about all 'round
and just plain obnoxious!
People are just plain
dumb insane (or paid off). Well maybe
people are a little more reasonable:
"The control system has long been controversial with the
Resident Evil series, and although it's improved in this version, it's
still cumbersome. Rather than creating a new system to go with the new
engine, the developers tried to shoehorn the classic control scheme into
the new game. The lead character turns incredibly slowly, he cannot
strafe around a corner, and you cannot move when your weapon is raised.
In an odd turn of events, the developers seemed to have realized that
the slow turning speed was a problem so they implanted a "quick turn"
button that spins you around 180 degrees. It's bizarre that you can turn
around quicker than turning a corner."
I completely do not understand this "the graphics are great, but, uh,
you can't actually control things very well" crap.
The Neuro Hunter demo had impressively
good voice acting. The script was cheesy,
but the voices were good. And, unfortunately,
the meat of the game was really super boring.
Also? The engine completely zonked out on frame
rate in certain areas (like walking the corridors
of the bustling mining 'town'). Nice.
Based on the Q4 demo, I'd have given the game
something around a 60% rating because it is such
utterly boring derivative drivel. Come to think of
it, make it more like 51% - the engine doesn't
get me off, and the plot and action sure don't,
At least some other folks call it what it is:
derivative, self-parodying crap. So why do
other people still
give it high ratings? The answer is: because they have
no taste, and suck. This is why games continue to be stupid.
I guess I just don't like stealth game design where you have
to sit and wait for a long time, or re-do a level
five times to get the pattern right. No, sir.
I rented Call of Cthulu for the Xbox Classic.
It actually isn't all that bad. Mind you,
it isn't particularly stupendous
either. There's stupid bad load times up front;
the 3D characters are pretty wooden and have the
moon-walk type animations (they stand around stupidly
and disappear after cut scenes); etc... all the usual
stuff that makes it obvious it is a game. There
are parts where you are running from enemies,
and if you screw up you have to restart that scene - but
only after laborious reloading and intro crap!
And from the sounds of
walkthrough, it only keeps doing that. Well,
that and fun box jumping. Blah.
particularly funny thing that happened was in the
very first level I thought I had a gun because I
saw a shotgun like how you would see it in Doom/Quake,
sorta sticking out in front of you. As I went through
the level I couldn't figure out how to use it, though.
Well it turns out that actually I never had a gun
at all, but was standing right next to a NPC that
did have one, so it sorta looked like
I had one! Ha ha. Ha. Ahem.
Yes, Katamari Damacy is a neat game. Yes, I bought
it (actually twice). No, I don't play it much at all.
Yes, I quickly found it to be very repetitive and boring.
Care of a co-worker, I got to play some death match
Half Life 2 and some Counter Strike Source. On the whole,
it is surprising how little the graphics mattered to me.
Although, it would be interesting to go back to the originals
for comparison and see how jarring the old-school graphics
are? Anyway, it seems like the games and the environments
are basically the same-old-same-old, just with a few more
polygons. That really isn't what I'm looking or in life.
(Also, the hostages in CS Source weren't showing off anything
amazing when it came to facial expressions. I thought that
was one of the big deals with the whole HL2 engine?)
I'm a jaded gaming geezer. (I hope multi-player with more
humans might be fun, perhaps, though.)
Burnout Revenge is supposedly good (because Burnout 3
was supposedly good?), but it flubs in so many fundamental
ways and ends up clearly being style over substance; they probably
spent more effort on gathering the stupid aggro rock
soundtrack than they did on making interesting gameplay.
Yes, games are like movies now: they suck!
It forces you to wait through horrible load times. (Why
does it have to reload everything in the multi-player
crashing? In the single player, it 'rewinds' - which is
an annoying waste of time, but maybe covers up some small
loading - much more quickly. One player quipped that it
probably has to reload because all those textures got
busted in the crash.) It doesn't give you
much sense of cause and effect; you could
probably do almost exactly the same thing and end up with
completely different results. It can't even animate the
'loading' chevron without glitches. Oh, and the camera
utterly sucks - you'd think that for a game where you
are supposed to enjoy vicarious destruction they'd let
you, ya know, actually be able to see it.
Worms 3D just goes to show how you can take a very
simple concept (Worms 2D, a.k.a. Scorched Earth) and completely
screw up all aspects of the UI, leaving you with a game that
kinda totally sucks. The UI for multi-player setup is horribly
confusing and slow. The characters can get stuck in parts
of the 3D scenery with no escape. The game doesn't use multiple
controllers, and doesn't tell you that it only uses
a single controller. The way it switches from 3rd to 1st
person is broken. Etc.
"Ultima 9: Ascension. Wordy, badly acted, and dull, the game had you
traveling the land to become the ultimate moral being.
You generally did this by a) killing things and b) opening doors."
As we progress in the development of story in video
games, I'm going to be ever more annoyed with having
to play stupid parts of the game just to get
to go through the story. I don't like stupid
turn-based fighting. Can we all just take it as read
that I eventually figured out how to win that round,
and get back to the story already? Sheesh.
Here's something that people do that proves they
have absolutely no aesthetic sense: they take an old
it up in an attempt to make it all 'modern'. First,
they take old tile-based graphics and make them high-res, which
only serves to make the fact that it is tile-based stand
out painfully. Second, they completely alter the scale of
things so what used to be compact spaces are now entirely
too wide open. Actually,
version of Delta
is more classically what I see, where somebody takes
a horizontal scroller and fancies up the graphics,
which only serves to show how dated the gameplay is.
I don't think Hero had to fall into that category,
but I think the shmups pretty much always will.
I'm glad to see
in various guises.
(Didn't I already mention this?) I'm totally sick
and tired of games (and movies, and books, etc.)
where the story is, "something
has happened, you have amnesia, figure it out
before they get you!" Hello, the 1990's (and that
is being generous) want their story conceit back!
I tried the Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich demo.
It sucked. First off, the main menu had a scrolling
background that was, as far as I can tell, designed
specifically to make me motion sick. Then, secondly,
in the game the camera control was impossible and
never explained. I guess they assume I've played
FF before? Well, I haven't, and the demo certainly
guarantees that I never will.
I am obviously unable to like any game any more. Everybody
raved about Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time, so I downloaded
the PC demo and tried it out. Within twenty minutes of using
the software I've got a litany of complaints that are things
that the developers apparently wanted to just slap me with:
1, the opening part has sufficient contrast to see what is going
on but from then on the contrast is completely different and
less and just plain sucks. 2, why does the prince have a plain
(and kinda lame and weak for a voice actor) British accent?
3, also, why are some of the prince's samples scratchy like
they were coming from an Apple ][ still? 4, why does the
camera control completely suck ass? The camera won't move
through walls so you have to move your character around
just to get enough room to let the camera through - how
utterly insanely broken is that? That's billion-dollar game
design?! Holy crap! And do you like how it gets stuck on
the floor, too, so you can't really look up above your
character, either? I! Just! Don't! Under! Stand!
I finished the PS2 version of Brothers in Arms (Hill 30). (It
looked really lame compared to the demo of the same game
I ran on my aging Athlon 2000 XP+ with GeForce 4.) The thing
that bugged me the most was the lack of quality control in
the story triggers. I'd battle through some horrible scenario
five times, finally get it right, and then the bloody program
wouldn't realize that (real examples here) I'd already killed
the tank, or that I'd killed all the Nazis and was standing
in front of the guy I was supposed to meet. Aren't story triggers
things from the dawn of video games? Shouldn't they just plain
work? Is that so much to expect from a game? Oh, and in that
same 2nd scenario, it refused to remember a particular checkpoint
I'd crossed, so when I died in the subsequent checkpoint I'd
actually be forced to go back two checkpoints, not just one.
Nice! And, there were several nice texture freak-outs, as if
the PS2 could not technically do perspective-correct texture
mapping or z-axis clipping. What! Ever!
Seems like folks are going crazy over Star Wars Republic
Commando. I played the demo on the PC, and it was pretty much "eh."
You move forward, you shoot stuff, you move forward, you
blow stuff up, you move forward... I guess it is sorta
pretty (as far as killing things can be pretty) and all,
but still - whatever. One thing in particular totally cracks
me up about it, this thing where it is totally being a
parody of itself: when you command your squad to do
something and you apparently have to put your gun
away and then make some silly hand and arm motion to make
the squad to the squadly thing you want them to do. Yet
the whole time, everybody is talking on the bloody radio!
And they respond to your hand signals via radio!
So why should my character bother to even make the stupid
bloody motions, especially if it means putting down the weapon
for a moment?! It is just all much too muchly apparent that
it is a squad of some ridiculous clones with really tiny
penises, trying to compensate by being all macho-macho-manly with
bizarre military fisting motions. I can envision the
various arm and hand and finger movements with manly
sounds like "Huf! Huuuuurrg! Gurrrrmmmmnn!!!" Just like the real military?
Whatever, man, whatever. (Oh, and the squad folks
would quickly get into reusing their three stock canned catch phrases,
a horrible game design faux pas. Hello! Lame!)
Everybody thinks that Elite was such a great game. What I want
to know is (this is something many games have gotten wrong even
in the new Millennium), why do I have to fly somewhere before I can
find out what their market prices are? There was FTL travel, so
there ought to be FTL data exchange. Whatever! Games like Freelancer
have similar problems - there are things you have to do that just
don't make sense in the current world, let alone the game world that
is set zillions of years in the future. For example, why do I have
to go run through all the "bulletin board" postings and read everything
just to find information? Wouldn't they have some kind of future Google
that would let me find things super fast if I so desired, rather than
having to wade through all the tripe they wrote up to try and give the
game "depth"? Whatever, man, whatever.
Halo 2's single player game is, pretty much, even more boring
than the first game's. Wow. (I also like how you can set subtitles
to always be on, but then there aren't any for dialog in-game,
only for cut-scenes. Yeah, great, thanks.) Oh and the title screen
music is amazing in that is manages to be simultaneously cheesy
I was really starting to like the sound of Shadow Hearts: Covenant
(PS2)... but then I read
that it has random encounters. I hate
random encounters. Mostly because I find the whole fighting thing to
just be getting in the way of story, so I'd rather not have to deal with
stupid random fights, just ones that are actually story-relevant. Grrrr.
I'm trying the Doom 3 demo. God, it is such drivel! Sure, id software
started the genre, but that doesn't mean they can be
forgiven for utterly failing to extend it beyond the "ooh, pretty
graphics" thing. Miscellaneous examples: All the characters so far are
men - the only females
are disembodied computer voices. So that's a nice reflection of the
population they expect to be playing the game. How come the Bad Guy
Evil Scientist has to have some deformity? Why do people repeat what
they have said in some pathetic 1980s adventure game style? That doesn't
make things immersive. Also, why do
characters sorta stand around and then robotically go walk and stand
somewhere else, without really ever doing anything? It was
particularly noticeable when looking into the infirmary the first time;
the doctor isn't doing anything other than standing straight in place
for a while, then moving somewhere else and standing there for a while,
etc. ad nauseum. None of the characters notice my character when I'm
standing right next to them, not until I click to interact with them. So
supposedly hush-hush rumors are there for anybody to hear. Right, terrific!
How much more blatantly could they expose
the lame mechanisms driving this thing? Have we learned nothing in
twenty-plus years of game creation?
And, how the hell does an armor shard work to give me more armor?!
And who is the genius who decided
the fire button should be the talk button, and who is the one who
implemented the "should i be in fire or talk mode?" code, because I
just unintentionally shot somebody I was trying to talk to. Yeah, that
is truly a great user interface refinement comma you bastards. And
why can't I fast-forward / rewind through the PDA videos? And why are
PDAs and video discs the size of Newtons and Laser Discs when this is
supposed to be the most futuristics and advanced technology company ever?
This is what everybody rushes out and pays good money for? Truly,
we are a species without redeeming quality.
The whole "protect the person from attack" thing in Ico and Silent
Hill 4 is stupid and annoying.
Arcade made this point a while back. Between them and
Old Man Murray, I feel my grumpiness validated.)
I'm playing No One Lives Forever 2. It got such rave reviews,
grn. I guess FPS aren't that exciting to me any more, fundamentally.
I mean, all you do is run around and... shoot people. How much
fun is that? Especially when there's lots of annoying shoe-leather;
places where you can't take the snowmobile, places where you have
to back track, yadda yadda yadda. As if I want to wait around for
all the oh-so-side-splittingly-funny conversations to complete? Shyeah,
right. Oh, and why aren't there subtitles? Ah, you have to turn them
on in the options menus, they aren't on by default. Eh, partial credit.
I also love how the game just completely fails and aborts and quits
like one time out of twenty when I'm trying to load a saved game. Oh,
wait, it gets better - I have a saved game that causes the entire
app to quit whenever I load it. Yes! The movie-like interludes
attempt to be stylish, but most often they display a horrible lack
of understanding of timing - there are long stretches with no voices
while the characters repeat animations that make them look all slight drunk,
or insane. It just doesn't hang together. Eh. And I'm sure everybody in
India and Russia etc. just love the stereotyped accents and
cultural attitudes (yes, yes, I know it is supposed to be a comedy, but you have to
wonder about the writers if the main way they try to get a laugh is via
lame-ass, almost racist, certainly not culturally sensitive in a modern
R-Type Final got
good reviews which suckered me into buying it. Now
I discover a game that is so lack-luster it is sad.
I mean, a game which is custom made for the PS2
and in the very first level you get horrendous slow-down.
The design of the levels is just plain wrong; R-Type always
had you moving horizontally and now the background is
doing all sorts of wacky 3D rotations - it doesn't serve
to make anything any more interesting, it only serves to
highlight the sort of literally retarded gameplay; your
ship can only ever face and shoot to the right (once
you get The Ball you can shoot left, of course, but your
ship's gun is still fixed). The point is not that they
should have let the ship change direction, the point is that
if they kept the ship's classic behaviour then it was incumbent
upon them to not cock-up the context in which the ship lived.
Also, the pace of the game is
really strange, it seems like the gyrations of the background
were more interesting to the developers than setting up
enemies or anything. This is all in the first level. It is
boring enough to make you give up immediately. The second
level is a little more redeemingly classic, at least. But
then the 3rd level's attempt to pay homage to the massive
ship levels from the original game fail miserably because,
once again, they are trying to do cool stuff with
the 3D-ness, and it only ends up making you realize how
trite and stupid it all is. Like, not really knowing what
is going to be foreground material that will prevent you
from moving, so you end up getting trapped in non-obvious
ways and dying needlessly. This wouldn't ever have happened
with the classic 2D versions, it was always quite clear
that touching things would kill you. Here, the extra dimension
only serves to confuse and annoy, rather than to add any
real depth to the experience. So much for the Old School.
The overall design failure reminds me of the saying from
the Woody Allen movie Crimes and Misdemeanors, "If
it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, it's not funny." Here,
the case is that they bent the conceit of the game, and
my willing suspension of disbelief, up to and then past
the breaking point.
I'm playing Metal
Gear 2: Substance (the Sons of Liberty game) on the XBox.
I do not understand why anybody plays games like this,
or why games like this get good reviews. To me, it is
nothing more than an exercise in pure, unadulterated
frustration. I guess the story
is vaguely interesting (although it is
told pretty poorly), but the control scheme and some of
the conceit about the world are just bad bad bad.
- Modal controls suck. They suck a lot.
I'm trying to do X but instead F happens.
And I get all confused and screwed and shot
yadda yadda yadda. There are two ways that
this happens; one is when you are manually
changing modes (going into first person,
or picking a particular item to use e.g.:
the freeze spray). Those are somewhat
less hateful because the user knows they are
going into those modes explicitly. But then there
are the stupendously evil, wrong,
asinine, and just plain bloody stupid
modal things that happen just based on
where you are. So just trying to move my
character around is a nightmare because there
are all these invisible attractors in the
world (like putting
ones back to a wall, or trying to crawl around
in a tight space) that change what your
controls do to the character.
- Trying to control your character during
weapon combat sucks stinky donkey turds. Have
they never played Quake? Basically if I get
into a real firefight, I'm dead. Mostly because
of the modality issues, but even without those
it would still suck cow pies, there's no
smoothness or sense of flow available at all.
- The script is poorly read. Maybe it just
suffers in the translation from the Japanese
version of the game, but there are lots of
long pauses between anybody saying anything
in the cut scenes. And the cut scenes just go
on and on and on... Oh, and you can't pause
during them (this is another one of those
retarded and annoying modal issues), instead
the pause button skips the cut scene (and there's
no going back?). Grrreat!
- Also, the script jumps around a lot. There's
the first level and then the second level is seemingly
a completely different story for quite a long time.
Very discombobulating. But, also, a very... I'm not
being obnoxious here, just observing the differences
between (boring? simplistic?) Western story telling
and the Asian story telling style: as far as I've learned from watching
anime and Asian movies of various ilk, they do it a lot where
you are scratching your head wondering what the hell
is going on, and only at the end do they give you enough
information to make any sense of it. Up until that point
it just seems like a completely disjointed and stupid story.
I don't think that works so well for me or probably Western
audiences in general.
- My God, could they put in more, and longer, cut
scenes? The conversation with the Bomb Squad guy
- I hate fixed camera positions. I hate
designers thinking the fixed camera position
makes it cool to hide things in places you
can barely, or not at all, see them. Especially
when it is the thing you need to move ahead
in the game. Like a crawlspace that is impossible
to see. (And nobody on the 'Codec' gives you any
hints that that is what you should be looking for
at the time.) It kills me that I can't see the
person right in front of my character
because of the camera position, unless I keep
going into and out of first-person mode (a mode
in which you cannot actually move your character
- While it might mean I can keep on playing the
game, the whole thing about the alarm mode going
down is just plain retarded. Let alone the AI of
the enemy; one can be staring at you and you step
through a doorway, and instead of coming through
the doorway after you, you see them run right past
down the hallway!
- So I haven't even made it through the second
level and I've already completely given up on the
game. I guess I'm just not cut out for this kind
of thing; all the stupid things about it add up
to just make the whole experience hateful and
unbelievable and, frankly, not just zero fun
but actively suckingly negative fun! That's
what I want for my hard-earned money!
- Maybe I'm just confused, but it seems like
saved games don't put me back at the same point
when re-loaded. Rather, I'm back at the most
recent checkpoint. E.g.: saving half-way
across a connecting Shell bridge will get me
back to the start of the bridge, not half-way.
- (The music for the opening screens, like
where you have to press the start button, or
load a saved game, is good.)
The Small Rockets
demos are an exercise in purposeful frustration; things like
having a timer before the game finally exits because they want
to try and keep advertising it to you. Well, if I've already
decided the game is a piece of dog excrement, you aren't going
to convert me into buying it by trying to force me into looking
at some bloody advertisement, rather than just getting the hell
out of my damned way. Die. Die and go to hell.
I tried Grabbed by the Ghoulies (XBox), by Rare. You'd think
by now they'd know how to make a game that actually was fun,
but somehow they've managed to utterly forget. The most
blatant thing is they spend the first 15 minutes of the game
making you watch annoying animation rather than letting you
do anything. Further, when you do get the chance, you
are constantly interrupted by the "lessons" text screens that
come up. Utterly breaks any feeling of immersion. And, so far
the game is just hit hit hit stuff. There's nothing
else to do. What are these people thinking? Oh and
of course the camera sucks. Whatever! (Maybe if you are 5
years old it becomes fun somehow?) Microsoft should basically
ask for their money back from having bought Rare. This ain't
The Far Cry web site (don't bother, the game is boring derivative
tripe) has what is obviously a scientific and objective poll:
"What do you think of Far Cry's single player demo?
B, Great fun.
C, It's ok.
D, Not my type of game." Ah, yes, the conspicuously missing
E, Is Simply Boring Derivative Drivel.
Nice to know Penny Arcade
agrees with me: "There are issues with the camera, however, but I'm so
tired of having to mention that the camera in a Japanese action
platformer is bad that I would like you to please assume that the camera
is terrible in whatever game I'm talking about. If I were to talk about
caramel, you'd understand that I meant a golden, chewy candy without my
having to resort to specifics. Let's get to that point with these
god damn cameras. I mean, am I the problem? Is my burning desire to see
the enemies attacking me a part of some dark and undefined complex?"
Nocture is, truly, a piece of crap.
Armored Core 3 Silent Line sucks. Realism is not equivalent
to fun, people. Giving me a mech that can't turn around
is not a good way to suck me into the game. Having to amass
lots of money to get non-crappy hardware is not fun. Having
brick-wall levels that you must get through is not fun. Etc.
It completely kills the "15 minute" rule of trying to
suck people in during the beginning of the game. Start
people out with big stuff then let them decay during the
game as their skills improve to compensate, you know?
Genma Onimusha sucks. It has terrible Resident Evil controls,
it has a terrible Resident Evil pre-rendered, fixed viewpoint
world, it has a crappy UI for loading once you die, the cut-scenes
are pathetic (story wise, at least), the gameplay is
boring repetitive (did I mention boring?) crap, the powers make
no sense (I hit a demon and it releases a green orb, which it
then reabsorbs and is then more powerful than
when I first hit it, even though it is its own orb),
etc. etc. The whole exercise is morally bankrupt; why would
I want to turn my XBox into a SNES or a Dreamcast? The
point of spending money on XBox technology is to get good
games, especially ones that are fully 3D.
I really do not grok video games these days.
It also pisses me off that there is a "Really Easy"
setting but, like Silent Hill, you can't get to it unless you die several
times first. By which point you've progressed enough through
the game that you have a Hobson's Choice between being stuck
for hours in a really difficult part of the game, or completely
starting over and having to replay an hour or whatever of stuff
you've already seen. If you could at least switch
into the Really Easy mode from your current position in the
game, it would be a potentially useful feature.
The Uru demo commits so many offenses that I uninstalled
it within literally ten minutes: It doesn't use WASD as
default keys, it uses the arrows. It has a checkbox for
Mute Sounds, but it doesn't have any subtitles. It attempts
to connect to some Internet server, yet if I deny it
access using ZoneAlarm, it works fine - smacks too much like
annoying monitoring/spyware. Finally,
it doesn't use the Esc key to get you out to the menus,
no, it uses F4. Because F4 sounds a lot more like "escape"
than the key actually labeled "Esc"? And these people
are supposed to be God fearing? Whatever, man. Whatever.
The Unreal II XMP demo installer has this pretty funny
bug. If you try to use the little chooser to pick where
to install it, that window gets defocused about every
second. So if you try to click on it to start manually
typing the folder name or path or whatever, suddenly the
focus goes away and what you are typing is being sent
(heaven only knows) somewhere else. This happens on both
machines I've tried installing on. (Both are running XP.)
Whatever! On one machine, when trying to connect
to servers, the game would seemingly lock up for quite
a long time, on the order of a minute or two. No progress
bar or anything to let you know what was happening. On
the other machine it completely wedged and I had to
reset! Yeah, I'm sure going to rush right out
and spend my hard-earned money on this crap. (Update:
the installer for the Far Cry demo does it the defocusing
crap as well!
Makes me wonder if it is something about InstallShield.)
3D 3rd person games suck because you then have to worry about
the 3D camera, and invariably it ends up sucking. Really sucking.
Voodoo Vince has the problem. Otogi has the problem. Face it,
all games have the problem, probably even the Mario games have
the problem. The kicker is that then people go and make the
situation even worse by not giving you options to customize
the controls of the camera to try and do what you, personally,
would find most intuitive.
Voodoo Vince for XBox is... mediocre. I'm definitely
sick of the "hey, let's have really wacky architecture,
guys!" school of game design. You know, those wacky doorways
that are a little off-kilter, etc. That's soooo creative. Retch.
Oh, and the camera controls are backwards, as far as I'm concerned.
And the camera gets stuck. Nice.
Crimson Skies for XBox doesn't totally suck. Well, except
for the way you can get caught on the sides of doorways and
not be able to extricate yourself. That is a pretty galactic
sized frustrating kick to the groin, especially since the later
parts of the game have you navigating small pathways (tunnels,
insides of other ships). So you end up dying a lot because
of the door issue, and then you have to redo everything you
did up until then. It is a needless frustration, it doesn't
add anything to the gameplay other than hate.
The fact that you
can't skip the "here comes the final boss" movie, so you end
up having to sit through it like 7 times before you finally
win the game, also sucks. And, also, that the game can be fairly easily
completed in a day.
The controls are frustrating because the plane tends not to update
it's horizon attitude well; I bank left and the horizon tilts
appropriately, and then I bank right and the angle with the horizon never
catches up, so in the end it looks sorta like I'm kind of flying
sideways. The only way to fix it is to use the other stick to change
your roll, but then that means taking your fingers off of the speed
control buttons, which I find to be way more important overall.
Oh, and let me add that the "loading" screen
which also shows you what the controls are has got have the
worst layout for a control map picture I've ever seen. It
flaunts the idea that the labels for the controls should be
laid out in the same positions as the buttons themselves so
that the whole thing is actually understandable. It's as if
it had been drawn by some alien from the planet Suck who
just happened to have a graphic design bachelor's.
While I'm at it, I should mention that the intro movie
really fails to make any kind of deep explanation for
what the world of the game is, which is usually the whole
point of an intro movie.
But, the voice acting is good (although the
bad guy's raspy voice is really hard to hear, and the game
doesn't have subtitles anywhere which I think these days
is a shootable offense), the controls
are good, the graphics are great, the story isn't utter dreck, etc. etc.
so it is for sure, I think, actually the best XBox game to date.
I kinda like
Sub Rebellion (PS2). It has nice presentation,
and it doesn't utterly suck. Now, it isn't the most exciting
game ever, but it has a sort of Zen aspect to it. There's also
a touch of humor throughout: "Camouflage cannot be said to be
particularly useful in an underwater battle that is fought
mainly with sonar. $1000."
I am obviously not cut out for adventure games. Everybody
freaked out about The Longest Journey, so I tried the demo.
Well, I got pretty much nowhere other than having some conversations
with the other characters, so I ended up
reading a walk-through...
what a nightmare. I guess there is some logic to the
solutions, but I just don't expect that I'd have ever figured
all of those things out. Having to get inside the head of the
game developer bugs me a lot. I think the style of game where
"There's More than One Way to Do It" is much better.
The Deus Ex 2 demo is apparently designed solely as an
advertisement for "Buy a New Dell Today!" or something; my machine (Athlon XP 2000+,
Nvidia GeForce 4200) couldn't get a respectable frame rate
even after getting all updated with drivers. The low
frame rate makes the field of view too narrow and claustrophobia
inducing. The controls
for things like inventory etc. suck a lot, if only because
they have animations when you go into and out of them, and the
animations prevent any key presses from registering. So you can't
hit the inventory key and be like "actually, never mind" and press
it again to get right out. No, instead you have to wait for
the bloody animation. The way you move stuff around in the
inventory is horribly non-intuitive at first - not sure it
ever really gets any better, but it definitely is odd and
suckful at first. Gee, look at all those
Even the UI for just talking to people is broken and annoying
(too easy to skip the next text when all you wanted to skip
was the current, etc.). And don't get me started on the
rag-doll physics. Gee, that stuff really adds to the realism, shyeah.
Overall, I also feel like the game is just DX1 with the option
of anti-aliasing, which really isn't that compelling.
Oh, and the title page pissed me off a lot,
what with the terrorism reference. It just smacks of brown-nosing
the Bush Administration, whom I don't tend to agree with about
much, let alone things like the bloody Patriot Act.
The T3 demo is just complete and utter shyte.
Apparently, the final game
is even worse, ha ha! Anyway, with the demo:
I was connected to a very low ping server yet the
controls lagged like a quarter second behind what
I was actually doing. The frame rate of updating
other players was like pi, and the mouse cursor
in menus completely ignored my Windows setting and
instead was a sluggardly piece of feces. Yeah,
I'll definitely go drop forty bucks on
this when it comes out. It is so absolutely pathetic
that the name Atari is associated with this. I already
subconsciously assumed that "Atari" had stopped meaning anything
serious about games long ago, what with all the changes in ownership,
the utter failures, closures... and reopenings. But T3
really proves the point. I'm not sure how to
explain the feeling - there should be a sniglet -
for something that exists in name only and everybody
knows that the name is utterly meaningless. It is just
kept alive because some asinine marketing weasels think
it somehow has some cache?! I just don't get it, unless
the name was sold for $1. Anyway, I think
the financials prove my point quite well. (Turns out
they also did Enter the Matrix, which
I found to be unfiltered crap, also.)
Xenosaga I is seemingly sorta vaguely fun. I'm kind of scared
to admit it, because it has plenty of problems, but I
guess the fact that it tries to have a - gasp!!! - story makes it
a lot more engaging than pretty much any other game I've played
in months. God, I pray Half Life II will be good.
Silent Hill 2 has the same problem, to me, as
SH3 in that you spend all your
time in places that are really mundane and boring.
Why would I want to play a game where a third of
it is spent rummaging around a motel?! Sure, sure,
the story is great, you get inside the person's
head, etc., but it really doesn't make up for
the fact that most of the game is "shoe leather."
Castlevania: Lament of Innocence on the PS2 looks
pretty nice. But I just don't grok the 8-bit gameplay!
Talk about nightmarishly repetitive, boring, and dull.
Also, I really really hate the forced camera angle thing
here, and in Silent Hill, and in Resident Evil, etc.
It bugs the crap out of me when my character could
be seeing something that I can't because of the
I rented Star Wars: Clone Wars for the PS2. The
graphics look like something out of a Sega Saturn.
I kid you not; there is really pathetic texture
creep and all-round freakiness. The voices aren't
Polygons show their interfacing edges with white
Animation runs at like 10 frames a second, if you
are lucky. Ever tried riding a speeder bike
at 10 FPS? Or fighting off an invading horde at 9?
times are pure evil. The controls when you have
to move an individual character around on foot
are pure suck. Yadda, yadda, yadda. How... sad.
I'm trying out Jedi Knight II on the XBox.
- My god, the opening character animation is bad.
- It starts
off with a couple of stormtroopers standing guard, and
I want to sneak up on them and tazer them. But my sidekick
starts yelling (repeatedly, so that in the first fifteen
minutes of the game I'm already utterly sick and
tired of her) "shoot them" or something, and starts blastering
away at everything in sight. Maybe I should have just turned around
and shot her to begin with?
- The military installation has the security
and layout of a baby's soiled diapers. I'm sorry,
this just doesn't help me willingly suspend my
- The FMV sequences have things like people's hands
moving through a solid desk and being clipped etc.,
showing a blatant disregard for anything remotely
approaching the idea of Quality.
Wow. I just rented Mace Griffin for the XBox. There
are so many things just plain wrong with it:
- In the opening voice-over, the script uses
the term "rag-tag." Anybody using that
in what I like to call the Years After Battlestar Galactica
obviously needs shot.
- Rollins does the voice for Mace, so I assume
he's into it but nevertheless I personally find their
use of his song Shine to be hilariously, deeply wrong.
To me, that song's entire
is that sitting
on your ass is utterly pathetic, and that you should
shut the f-up and get on with the real, meaningful,
important things in life instead of playing video
games. Oh the irony.
- You cannot change the controller setup in the
game. You have to quit your current game. That. Is.
So. Utterly. St00pid.
- There are parts of the world which kill you
instantaneously, pretty much. E.g.: the rail of
the mine carts. Now, they don't show
you anything that makes it clear
you can't touch it. Maybe there are
chevrons, but there are other parts of the
game where you have to walk on chevrons.
The kicker is that when you die, they force
you back to the previous checkpoint, which can mean
literally like twenty minutes of gameplay you
have to re-do. What. A. Piece. Of. FECES!
- The enemy has the same voice. Like, pretty much
all of them. Uh, yeah.
- The music gets pretty annoying after a (short) while.
- Seems like everybody has to use the Halo fonts.
What is up with that?
- The jumping mechanics are just outright wrong,
annoying, pathetic, and stupid. You can stand
next to something and not be able to jump onto
it. Instead you have to take a running jump. I don't
know if that is more realistic, but it sure doesn't
make the game any more fun for me.
- You cannot aim straight down. So shooting the
spiders takes a lot more time than it should. Boooring!
- The designers have apparently never heard of the
film term "shoe leather" - there is entirely too
much pointless walking around in the beginning. Oh, and
it pisses me off that your own ship won't
let you in until you've gone to get the first bounty
hunter mission description. Whatever.
- Why can I only pick up some guns? The large aliens
have big-ass energy weapons, but I can't ever pick
them up after I've killed one of them. Lame.
- The opening selection, where you pick a color
of Ranger insignia, appears to have pretty much no purpose
what-so-ever at least at first. I like green, so I used
that one, and it turns out that scrolling the selection
to it whenever I want to play actually sucks a lot more
than it should, because you can't scroll again until
the first insignia has been replaced, which happens
at a fixed rate. Utter stupid blah.
I'm glad that Wild Tangent, who
I think are stupid-asses,
are seen thusly by
I love how the free version of the original Hidden
and Dangerous plays at like literally 5 frames per
second on my dual xenon workstation. It has a GeForce2
which isn't anything stupendous today, but
I bet it was pretty cutting-edge at the time the
game was originally written. Whatever!
I'm trying Silent Hill 3, which got really pretty
terrific reviews. I'm confused why. At least there's
sane people who don't think it is pure gold.
- I haven't figured out how to load a saved game
whenever I want. I think I have to let my character
die before I can get to loading a game. So, that kinda
takes away 50% of the reason I even bother saving
in the first place. No, there aren't any grenades
to blow oneself up with, either. Whatever.
- I just can't relate to my character. Does she
know where she is or not? She calls her Dad, she's
got an apartment key... yet she doesn't ever go home
or anything. She's just stuck in weird places. We don't
know why she is in the mall or anything. What is up
with that? Was she not really talking to her Dad? (Why
didn't they capitalize 'Dad' in their subtitles, by
the way?) I guess if later on it turns out she wasn't
really talking to him that would be cool, but so far
it just all seems like an inconsistent hodge-podge.
- The controls suck ass - same stupid thing as Resident
Evil where your character moves like they are on lithium,
rather than like they are scared crapless from the evil
monsters attacking them, you know?!
- The camera invariably keeps monsters
out of your view. Even if you try to go first-personish.
They like to have a central area that the camera rotates
in while you walk around a circle. But then the player can't
see the monster that is like physically like two feet in
front of the character. Stupid!
- When I find myself holding down two buttons pretty much all
the time (namely, 'view-over-shoulder' and 'run'), I find myself
wondering why those aren't the default state. Or why I can't make it so.
- Oh, and apparently
the game, so far as I have discovered, is all about
a - get this - really creepy shopping mall.
What in the holy heck are game designers thinking
these days? Or is it just that the Japanese have a completely
different idea of what is actually interesting?
- It really pisses me off that I have to check every damned
stupid thing everywhere, otherwise I risk missing some item
that I absolutely must have to get any further. I hate hate
hate that. Here's a clue, people: It isn't fun.
I guess it keeps the publishers of walk-through game guides
in business, though?
I think they need to get over the idea that rapidly
shaking heads are scary. It worked once in that all-time
excellent movie Jacob's
Ladder, but from then on it was
a been-there-see-that effect with no real impact.
- It has some annoying requirements for the ordering
of events. I couldn't take the rope out of the desk
even though the drawer was open until I'd gone away
and done some other stuff and come back. Heaven only
knows what triggered it to let me finally take the
- The 'simple' 3rd floor hospital door code puzzle
isn't working. I have the photo. I enter the code.
Nothing happens. Yay. And boy do I love that UI for
entering the code. Whoo doggy! I'm worried that there's
some trigger I haven't tripped and that I won't ever
be able to put in the code. That's what the Danes
term, "fun," yessir! Update: turns out the puzzle is
having to read bad handwriting. Digits which look like
a 1 are possibly other things, like 2 or 6 or 9.
Boy, that's really brain taxing! Boy, that's really
fun! Boy, that sure has gotta be the height
of game design! Give. Me. Strength.
- I am really growing to hate the "we'll have a rich world...
except we'll arbitrarily block roads and paths with
rubble or trash or whatever to make them impassable"
school of game design. I hate it because it is two-faced.
On the one hand, it is trying to make a world that you
can get sucked into and believe. On the other hand, it
slaps you repeatedly across the face to make sure you
know that it is only a cheesy video game.
I rented Otogi for the XBox. I have obviously gone
far past the original onset of ossification that happens
when you become an adult. Most kids easily conform
to whatever UI you give them, and they don't get
super uptight about it. Adults, on the other hand,
couldn't find their way out of a paper bag if the UI
isn't what they like. I'm that way, and video games
just kill me. Now that everything is in 3D, there
is the standard problem of camera control. Sufficeth
to say, Otogi offers nothing new in the way of terrific
solutions to the problem. I. Hate. This. Crap. People
spend all this time making fancier graphics and presentation
etc., but do pretty much nothing to actually advance the
genres. I'm not even talking about Nobel Prize quality
work, here, I'm just talking about - for starters, okay? - I'm
talking about letting me choose how the camera control works.
In Otogi, what you are doing is moving the physical camera.
The way I want it to work is exactly the opposite - I want
to move the view point. So I am always moving things the wrong
way, which is not conducive to a fun experience with any
game, let alone an action one where timing is crucial. P.S.:
they also have the UI problem where you can't tell what the
pause menu options will do - does going to the main menu so
you can change options kill your current game? Well, yes, it
does, but they don't tell you that up front. (Nor do they let
you change all the options from the pause menu which would have
made all this moot in the first place.)
I'm playing Shenmue II on the XBox. It, uh, kinda sucks
so far. The kicker is that reviews claim that Shenume II
some of the original game's shortcomings" which makes
me shudder to think how the first game played. Maybe a lot
of the problem is that it is a Japanese game, and US folks
have different ideas of what is, and isn't, "fun."
After a little while you get to advance
from 99% arm wrestling to... earning money! Yes, that's
right, you have to get a job! Isn't that exciting?
Isn't that why you play games? So you can get into simulations
of moving boxes? Simulations that are, in and of themselves,
not even fun? I totally don't understand how anybody can
consider this to be good gameplay. Maybe people in Japan
(where Shenmue was made) have lives that are even more horrid
than those of US citizens, and playing a simulation of
moving boxes is really fun for them?!
- Yes, the graphics suck. Go ahead, turn my two-hundred-dollar
XBox into a fifty-buck Dreamcast (which I also already own).
- The control scheme is pretty horrid. Just trying
to move around and look around sucks. It isn't as
if there were no games before that had to deal with
that. Some of them got it right. But this one has to
go and be lame nevertheless. I don't grok it.
- There is no text for conversations, so you can't
speed through them. That's annoying. It is extra annoying
because the structure of conversations is bloated; you
have to say excuse me and they have to say yes at the
start of every conversation, before you can get to the
information - if they even have any. While this might
in some way resemble true life, it doesn't make
for a fun game.
- The environment is repetitive. It would seem
that the only thing to do is to buy stuff and to
arm wrestle. That doesn't really make for a fun game,
for me anyway!
- The characters are trite. The biker
chick Joy is really cheesy. Ugh.
I tried the Soul Reaver 2 demo. It was utterly asinine
in at least a couple of ways:
- The Options UI used buttons where the text label would
toggle. That is like a super basic UI error - you end
up not knowing if the label shows you what is currently
active, or instead what would be active if you clicked it.
- The demo starts with a long game engine movie
sequence. And there is no key to skip it. And there
are no subtitles. And so I quit the game and will
never play it and I hope Crystal Dynamics rots in
The XIII demo couldn't figure out where my mouse pointer
really was. And no matter what sensitivity I set it to,
it would utterly spaz out whenever I moved the mouse at
all. Oh, and it wouldn't let me click on Accept to get
out of the options, I had to actually press the Enter
key. All in all, it really doesn't make me look forward
to the actual game at all.
I tried the Line of Sight: Vietnam demo. Wow. It sucked
a lot before I even got into the game!
- Just setting up the
options was an exercise in utterly stupid UI:
- the way things
are chosen (click-to-cycle through all the resolutions,
rather than giving you a list to choose from so if you overshoot
you have to cycle all the way 'round again) sucks.
- the defaults they use
(the cursor keys for movement for a FPS: what kind of lobotimized
lemur doesn't use WASD? Zounds!) suck.
- Oh, and apparently you can't use the mouse-wheel
for any inputs (like changing weapons). (Ha ha, you can't
set that in the options screen, but when you are in the
game itself they do work. Of course, since you can't set
them in the options screen, they behave in the opposite
way that I like... jerks.)
you try to Alt-Tab out, you are pretty much hopelessly lost
with no keyboard or mouse input any more apparently. Was this
written before Windows existed or something?
I tried the New World Order demo. Apparently in the New World:
- People will move around like monkeys on crack - your
view point bobs up and down as if your character has a pogo stick
shoved up its ass. Okay, yeah, that's a great refinement
of the FPS genre.
- Load times will suck a lot. Like, it will say "Loading" and
there will be a progress bar, but the progress bar won't do
anything at all for the first thirty seconds, and only then
will it start to actually load anything. Uh, yeah, impressive.
- Getting hit once in a video game will kill your character.
Whereas shooting an enemy point-blank in the back of the head
doesn't kill them outright. So then, when you die, you get to
go through the afore-mentioned pathetic loading scheme.
- Picking things up will be hard. Like, you'll be right
on top of the item, and it won't pick up. You'll have to
jimmy your character around a lot to find whatever asinine
sweet spot there might be that lets you actually pick up
the item. Yeah, great. 'Cause picking up items isn't important
or useful or anything, I guess.
I'm playing the MOHAA Spearhead multi-player demo. Some
things which really suck about it:
- Seems like every internet multi-player game suffers
from the same problem: finding a server and getting onto
it successfully. You get a list of servers, and then you
try to join them, and then it tells you they are full,
or then you do get in only to find out that the lag is
horrendous even though the ping was low in the server listing.
- Spearhead's UI is particularly annoying because
it goes through three screens, and they are broken:
the first is the server listing, then you double-click
on a particular server and it takes you to a "contacting
server" type page. When it does that transition, the
mouse pointer is moved from wherever you had it on the
big server-listing page to the top left of the screen
(presumably 0,0 in their coordinate system). So it is
pretty automatic for me to then move the mouse cursor back, somewhere
more useful, like the middle of the screen, especially
since the only buttons on the screen are at the
bottom of it. Then, if the server is full, you
are taken to a third screen - really the 2nd one reloaded
I think - which, once again, warps your mouse cursor
to 0,0. Which utterly sucks because the "okay" button
that you have to click to get back to the main server
listing is again at the bottom of the page. So throughout
this process, you are continually fighting the stupid
mouse warping behaviour and it drives me nuts!
- Oh, and if you are on one of those many "i'm just
trying to get into the stupid game" screens, and you press
the Esc key, it doesn't back you out one screen, or just
to the main server listing, no, it backs you all the way
out to the main menu. Whatever!
- It penalizes those with machines that can only
run at lower resolutions because the stupid text is
way bigger then and obscures a lot of the action.
- Why does it say there's like "12/16" people in the
game in the main server listing (even if I tell it to
update that server immediately before joining) and then
when I try to join it says "server full"? Hate!
- When finding a server, it doesn't give you nearly
enough information about what it is doing. It just
sits there. You don't know if it is making any progress or not.
- The ping time shown in the server list seems to
be like half of what I see when I'm finally in the game.
Pretty much every game I've tried from Nova Logic has sucked.
- Wow. I tried out the
Delta Force Land
Warrior (broken link?)
demo. It is so sad. Check out the demo single player level; it starts
with you landing in a helicopter, which has the clear advantage of
showing you how horribly bad the Nova Logic voxel land
rendering system really is. It looks like the entire Earth is made
of some kind of alien jello. Like, we're totally, like, stoned, dood!
- Oh. My. God. How can anybody be this utterly stupid? I'm trying
out the Delta Force Black Hawk Down demo from Nova Logic...
getting my graphic options set up and it turns out the Gamma slider
makes the screen darker as you move it to the right, which is
completely the reverse of any and all other gamma sliders I've
ever seen ever in my entire life.
- During the game, you apparently cannot change any options;
when you press the Esc key, all you get is a cryptic message
that says something like "Really Quit? Y/N/R". I guess because putting
up a dialog box with an actual sentence with actual
grammar and terms that are fully spelled out is just too darned
hard for the development team?
- If you die, you don't get to restart from part way into
the game, you have to restart the whole level. With all the stupid
drawn-out intro stuff at the start. Maybe there is a way to save and
load, but since the Esc key won't safely take me to a menu
I certainly haven't found out how to save and load.
- Comanche 4 sucks rotten eggs, too, not surprisingly.
- It has the same stupid "Y/N/R" dialog when
you press the Esc key. The fun kicker is that
the game is not paused when that dialog box is
up. God only knows if there is any way to pause
the game. Yes!
- When I uninstalled the game, it utterly crashed
my Win XP machine and I had to reboot. Double Yes!
I couldn't disagree more with
this review of Mars Matrix, especially when it comes to the music.
I think it's pretty much perfect. And I like it when there's
all sorts of insane scrolling text hyper kinetic stuff!
I tried playing The Great Escape demo. Wow, did that
- While you are in the options menus, there
is this searchlight effect moving around. It
is really bloody annoying and just gets
in the bloody way while you are trying to use
- The menu layouts suck. Oh, and there are
no options for changing the brightness or gamma.
- The mouse control sucks; it apparently does
some kind of proportional motion control so when
you are moving a little, it moves a little, and
when you try to move more, some kind of multiplier
kicks in and you really move a lot more. In the
end, that drives me nuts and I utterly hate it
because neither mode feels right. I just want
it to be pretty linear. Other games
don't suck, go learn from Quake (just the first one, even!) for crying out
- I redefined some keys.
- Loading the level, it put up an interstitial
screen that listed the keys and the command they
were mapped to. However, it was showing the default
mapping, not the one I had just set up. Nice!
- Some commands ended up unbound after my remapping.
During the demo level, little dialog boxes appear
telling you things along the lines of "press c to
crouch." But since I'd changed the mappings it said
"press We do not have a string for this to crouch."
For all Half-Life is cracked up to be, even with
all the latest patches, it still is a flying
turd when it comes to simple UI stuff. Like, the system
tends to lose sound if I Alt-Tab out and back. Like,
the sound tends to change volume radically (it got
a lot louder) just going out of a game into the menus
and back. Like, finding a server on the Internet to
play on is a confusing slow living hell. Like, just,
like, flying turds, you know?!
Game creators continue to be stupid. I downloaded
the C&C Renegade multi-player demo, and tried to run a game
so I could see what it was like. I just want to play it
once on my own, I don't care about getting on the Internet
etc. just to see it. Anyway, I try to set up a LAN server and
first off, it defaulted to being a dedicated server so I couldn't join.
Uh, yeah, great. So then I tell is to not do that, and set the
number of players to just 1 so that I'll be the only player. I'm
apparently in the game, but it says something about "waiting to
join gameplay" and nothing I do ever gets me in the game. I can
turn around, but I can't do anything else... well, besides quit
and immediately uninstall the piece of crap. God,
I hate people.
I played Brute Force for the XBox. What utter trash!
I can't believe people even bother to make this
crap. I guess I've been around during the progress of
video games from real things to Hollywood schlock. Pretty damned sad,
More stupid poop heads: Think Tanks is the second game (the
first was MOHAA) where the controls for moving the tank in reverse
is utterly wrong and backwards.
All games suck these days. A particular kicker is that Will Rock
from UbiSoft requires that you restart computer when you
Head Desert War is a beautiful example of a waste of everybody's
time and money. Utterly pathetic and hateful. Die. Die and go to hell.
I downloaded the Breed
demo. It sucked. The story sucked: you are coming in from
orbit, you are flying up to and then around a radar station,
and they say [after all that] "gee, if we shoot that station
THEY (the commie aliens) won't know we are here!" Uh, as if they
wouldn't have already detected you, or as if shooting the crap out of them
wouldn't be a big clue? Then, even simple stuff like controlling
your character sucks - just try climbing those ladders.
Oh, and then, if you want
to restart the mission, you are apparently forced to sit through
the entire introductory cut-scene footage. Again. Ad
nauseum. And this is supposed to make me want to buy
I'm playing Medal of Honor Allied Assault. It is
okay - the Omaha Beach landing is particularly good;
I think everybody studying WW2 in high school
should be forced to play that! However, the pre-game
UI kills me. The Options, for example, are represented
visually by a random collection of WW2 era radio equipment.
I'm supposed to know from looking at those which are for
the Video, Audio or Control options? Any UI where you have
to mouse-over everything before you can know what to pick
is obviously wrong. Dumb jerks. Oh, and one other
thing: when driving the super Panzer, it pisses me off
that they got the controls-when-backing-up plain wrong;
WA makes you go forward and turn left, okay, but SA should
make you go backward and have your rear moving more left.
Instead, SA makes you go backward and your rear moves to
the right. Very disconcerting.
Okay, there really are no good games. I
rented Enter the Matrix (PS2), Crimson Sea (XBox),
and LotRings 2 Towers (XBox). They all sucked
donkey poo. The Matrix game was like something
you'd see in the first round of games for the PS1.
The animation is pukey, the environments are boring,
the controls suck, and camera is evil, load times
are hateful. I swear the character animation
will make you bark with laughter, it is so bad.
has fancy rendering, but then the game controls are
really stupid and boring, the game events are really
stupid and boring, and the animation is just sad.
I won't even talk about LotR.
So, after the afore-mentioned rentals, I also
had the distinct displeasure of seeing Planetside.
It was running on a friend's gigahertz Athlon,
with some half-way decent GeForce card. And yet
the entire rendering engine was clearly not just
sad but outright broken! Objects in the world (people,
jeeps, whatever) were constantly disappearing. Like,
they'd drop every PI (I'm so glad HTML lacks standard
math symbols, let alone formatting capability - maybe
you can see π or π? yay Greeks!) frames.
The most amazing kicker of it all is that not only
were 3D objects doing this, but the entire HUD was
as well. Oh, okay, and then the other real
kicker is that it was getting literally like
four frames a second when any other person
was around. For this they charge fifty
bucks, and a monthly subscription fee?
I can only pray that the Free Market takes care of
Yes! After another several months of
intensive development since the
I tried the The Wild Tangent stuff, they have
apparently made it suck no less than
it did before. I pray to Holy Capitalism that
the people running that company will be out
on the streets soon. What utter crap!
Wow. I think I've come across one of the most effective
demos in convincing me to never buy the actual game.
Which, I'd guess, is probably what you really want a demo
to achieve, right? It is the
Star Trek Elite Force 2 (broken link?)
demo. Not only does it crash
on every machine I try, not only does it freak out when I
change the screen resolution such that the mouse pointer has
to be offset from buttons to be able to select them (yes, it
is very strange and broken - as if the mouse pointer is still
on the low resolution screen or something even though I'm looking
at the high res ones, all just wonky and wrong and horrible and
stupid and pathetic and lame), but it basically kills me
within the first five seconds of starting the actual gameplay.
I guess it is somehow supposed to be exciting, having things
killing you pretty much instantly and having to restart the
whole thing (it didn't just restart the same level with little
or no load time, no, instead it quit out to the main menu and
made me reload the entire thing again - a three or four minute
turn around time) repeatedly? I tried twice and now I know that
I think the developers are utter idiots and deserve to be completely
destitute and starving on the streets because I, and hopefully
millions like me, will not give them my money.
Unreal 2 is really boring.
Have I mentioned how I don't get everybody's
love of GTA 3? The game UI is bloody well killing me.
- Load times are hell! This really sucks when each
mission is hard (and you might replay it five times
to get the lucky roll of the dice where you can
actually complete it). What, did I mistakenly purchase
"The Loading Game" by mistake?!
- The UI for loading games is tweaky such that it is hard
to even select the "yes I really want to load" option because
it suddenly wraps around to "no, cancel". My. Lord. In. Heaven.
- When you finish the El Burro tasks, it is very confusing
because the game resets to making it look like you've never
done any of them.
- When on foot, the joystick mapping for looking around
has got to be the worst I've ever encountered.
- The polygon edges don't line up - you can see dotted lines
of pixels along them. So much for a good advertisement
I downloaded the 400+ megabyte (installed) MistMare demo. It
is a flying piece of excrement. I don't even want to get started,
it will just make me cry. Like, why did they have to implement
their own mouse driver and sensitivity? Haven't I already set
up the bloody mouse in Windows to be how I want it? Why does it
have to change when I'm playing the game, so I have to spend
time getting the game setting the way I want it? Why not just
use the damned Windows values I've set up? Etc., etc., etc. Hate!
I would like to enjoy playing BF1942 (and the RtR expansion).
But there are some things in the design of the game UI which I can only
surmise were explicitly researched and added to give me hernias. There
can be no other logical explanation.
- The seagull noise! THE SEAGULL NOISE!
- Why does it put me in the gunnery position of a landing
craft when I first get in... and there is nobody else in it?
- Oh, wait, it does that for everything, including tanks.
So when there is the invariable race-to-get-the-tank, even
though I get there and get into it first, I get put into
the position I don't want because by the time I
realize it, somebody else is already driving. Feel. The. Hate.
- I'm landing the landing craft. I open the doors. I get
out, I do stuff. I decide to go back and use the machine gun.
Then, someone is shooting at me and hitting me in the craft, and I want to
get out... but somehow the bloody doors have closed
and I'm trapped and I'm trying to open them etc... and I die.
Yeah, that's fun!
- As far as I can tell, the Mouse Sensitivity
setting doesn't change the mouse in the game
for aiming. It just changes it in the menus.
Once again: Why do people have to change the
bloody mouse setting at all for the
menus? Why not use the values from Windows
which I've bloody well already set up just
the bloody way I bloody well want them?! ARGH!
- And if you are going to mess around
with mouse sensitivity could you please let me choose
to make airplanes more sensitive so I don't crash
into things just because I ran out of desk space?
Gah, the hate.
- Just finding a server to join is a bloody nightmare.
- I enter "ea" into the filter because I want
to try and find some servers run by Electronic
Arts. Well, I futz around with that for a while
and then decide I no longer want that filter. So
I click in that text field and delete the characters.
However, whenever I return from any other game,
the filter has my "ea" text back in there! What
- I. Just. Quit. The. Entire. Game. And. Restarted.
And. The. BLOODY. "EA". Is. Still. In. The. BLOODY.
- The interface doesn't tell me something I want
to know: which servers are running RtR maps. I don't
have the names of all the maps and what version of
the bloody game they are in memorized, thank you
very much. Couldn't it just show me a bloody thumbnail
of the map?
- When I try to join a game with a new map that
I don't have, I don't get any offer to download
the new map, I just get booted back to the bloody
server list screen... and "ea" is back in the kill
me text field.
- Filters like "non-password only" don't actually remove
anything from the list. They just alter the color of the entries.
That is so utterly wrong. The whole point of a bloody
filter is to get rid of things so I have less to
visually and mentally process, let alone just scroll through.
- It looks to me like when I sort by ping time, it doesn't
keep the list updated - it sorts the information it has
when I click on the ping column, but any new entries are
just tacked onto the end, and not inserted. In some ways
that is okay because you don't want the view to be shifting
around under you, but in some ways that really sucks because
you basically still have to wait for everything to come in
before you can see what actually has the lowest ping.
- Any time I'm on a sea vehicle, the lag doubles. That's
pretty conducive to my repeated death. Definitely lots
of fun to be had there!
- When I spawn, sometimes the
spawn interface comes up as soon as I appear. You know, the whole map
- Now, first of all, I have no idea why it is appearing.
I mean, other than because the people who wrote the game
explicitly want me to be killed over and over and over
again by enemies while I'm trying to get rid of the bloody
spawn interface, because they think that is more fun for me?
- Second of
all, the Esc key doesn't work to get rid of it. No, the Esc key
apparently toggles me between being in the game (or, really, in this
case, being in the bloody spawn map interface) and in the menus (e.g.:
customizing the controls or whatever). Apparently, to dismiss the spawn
interface I have to use the Enter key, or move the mouse cursor over to
click on the "Resume" button. Either way, if there are any
enemies camping at the spawn site, the appearance of the spawn interface
has pretty much 101% guaranteed that I will immediately be killed. Now
that truly is fun!
- Note that the use of the Esc key
sucks in other ways, too: when I'm trying to quit the game entirely, if
I click on "Disconnect" then the Esc key becomes something which toggles
me between being in the game, and the "do you really want to
disconnect?" dialog. Do you understand how utterly wrong this
is? Don't you just feel the hate?
- I'm very carefully picking servers with low ping times.
So why is it that when I take careful aim right at somebody's
head and repeatedly shoot them with a rifle they
don't die? And then they take one shot at me and I'm
dead? I'm willing to entertain that there are better players
out there than myself, but the whole experience is lacking anything
which gives me proper feedback or confidence in the system. As
far as I can tell, the entire thing is broken beyond belief
and refuses to let me hit anything ever at all. Since I have
been good at Counter Strike, Quake, Unreal Tournament,
etc., I find it hard to believe I'm really that
bad at shooting things.
- The reporting during the game is pretty annoying, to boot.
E.g.: the list of kills doesn't keep who killed you
around any longer than any other report. Which is utterly
stupid because revenge is important in a video game!
I'm playing the
mostly excellent MDK2 on my Dreamcast. It is okay, overall. The floating
jet pack fuel pump idea is terrific! There are some stupid
hateful annoying things about it, never the less...
- When you need to climb up stacked boxes, there are sides
to them that you can't grab even though they look like
any other side, in that there is space to stand on top of
the current box before going up to the next. But they seem
to want to give you only one path up the boxes? This is very
noticeable when I'm trying to defeat the BFB as Jekyl.
- The timing requirements of jumps is different than most games I've
played. You have to jump before getting to the edge of something,
otherwise your character doesn't jump at all, rather just falls off
to their doom. Most other games I've played let you jump from the very
tippy edge of the platform for crossing those longest voids.
It is extremely irritating to be pressing the jump button
but to be denied, and to die, and to have to restart.
The problem with SpaceTripper
is that it has Defender controls in a world where we don't have
a Defender input device. Specifically, there is a reverse button.
That is fine when your joystick only goes up and down, like on
a real Defender machine, but it is non-sensical when your joypad
has an 8 way controller, you know? Because you've been using that
joypad to be able to move in all directions in every other game
you've ever played with it, pretty much, so you are well trained to
expect to be able to do that. I realize they want you to be able
to shoot while flying backwards, but I believe there is probably
a different controller setup that would enable said flying and
shooting, and yet not be so utterly foreign.
Maybe it is just a sign that I'm too old, but I think the
design of the PlayStation controller buttons is dumb, in that is
symbols rather than letters
to demark the right thumb buttons. Other systems' controllers
tend to not use symbols, but solely
letters (A, B, X, Y).
Letters are better because they have more associations and meaning,
and they have a sense of ordering to them. The symbols, on the
other hand, lack those additional connotations, so to me they
all blur together. When instructions say "Press the A button"
I don't have to think hard to figure out which one they mean.
When instructions say "Press the <image of triangle> button"
I find myself having to look at the controller every time to
see which one that is. So, to summarize, it seems really obvious
to me that the symbols are dumb and suck ass.
Wow. I just tried the Freelancer demo for about ten minutes,
and that was enough to make me uninstall it, and to know that I
will never buy the game. Perhaps some people actually enjoy being
forced to sit through cut sequences? And being forced to do all those
things that are boring and suckful in our regular life, like work?
To get money before being able to go out on a ship? Bloody hell,
at least Elite gave you a ship to begin with, so you can at least
get out there and do something without having to first
sit through gazillions of hours of cut scenes, with no way to even
fast forward through them (Max Payne was way better in that regard). I
also would like to tell game designers that if they have talking going on
in cut scenes, they should put in subtitles. Well, whatever.
I tried Falcon's
Eye, based on NetHack.
Unfortunately, Falcon's Eye is a steaming pile of crap. As in, the
scroll bars don't even work like any other (good, usable, standard)
scroll bar on earth. Don't you understand? They can't
even get the scroll bars right! What chance is there of
anything else not sucking? Take, for example, the fact that the game
apparently doesn't have any throttling, so on a fast system navigation with
the mouse is a nightmare.
I downloaded and tried the IGI2 demo. A really nice
thing they have done in their menu UI is to utterly screw up
the way the mouse cursor moves. It gets stuck. Apparently, if
I move the mouse a couple of clicks / pixels / whatevers, the
UI figures that it is just noise and throws out the movement
(well, actually it kinda looks like the mouse arrow jitter forward
but is then slapped back to where it started, or something). I
have to move the mouse quite a bit to get it to really move. It
behaves utterly differently than my desktop mouse cursor. And it
makes pointing to a button rather hard; you get close and slow down,
and then this filtering prevents you from slowly moving to be right
on top of the button. So you are stuck outside of it. Could someone
please explain to me why anybody on earth would create something
Somebody lied to me about the XBox version of
Spyhunter being any good vs. the PS2 version. Anyway, it brings
up all sorts of fun things, but mainly it brings up the fact
that lots of game developers are utterly asinine when it comes
to the basics: specifically, controller setup. The controls
for Spyhunter suck royal stinky buttocks, and on the XBox
there is neither a set of different control setups to choose
from, not a freestyle set-buttons-however-you-like option.
You are stuck with the one setup, and it is a really bad one
at that. I just hate this pathetic crap.
Regarding controls, Spyhunter and Blood Wake both do this
utterly stupid thing: they joystick decides if you are trying
to speed up going forward, or speed up in reverse. It is so
insanely annoying I cannot really being to describe my hate.
It is especially bad in Blood Wake because the vertical
dead-zone appears to be really small. So you end up coming to
a stop or slowing down or reversing quite often, though you really
damned well had no desire to. I think the fundamental rule should
be: if you have a game where acceleration is under user control,
then the triggers ought to be the throttle and brake. Everything
else goes onto the other buttons. I really don't see how it takes
a genius to play test something like BW for five minutes and
realize what a tub of crap it is.
I played Armada on the Dreamcast. It has got to have
the most pathetically stupid boring asinine combat of
just about any game I've ever played. Moronic button
mashing to the max, man! Bah.
I got a Gameshark 2 with my PS2. It has, quite possibly,
one of the most pathetic user interfaces ever. That, and the
fact that when I tell it to start a game it just goes back
to the Gameshark main menu - in other words, the thing
doesn't work at all, makes me wonder how this company
has survived long enough to even make a GS2.
The game Run Like Hell for the PS2 is aptly named. Do.
Not. Even. Rent. This. Game. (The really sad thing
is that the voice acting is pretty good so presumably they
spent real money on that. Too bad they didn't spend it on
designing a game that wasn't utter shyte in the first place.)
I'd just like to report that, at least on my Dell machine,
the Soul Reaver 2 demo completely doesn't work and locks up
and barely even responds eventually to End Task Now Dammit.
Yeah! That sure makes me want to rush out
and buy the game! Whoo hoo! Ship it!
More loathing: Game installation programs that default
to installing into some directory a zillion levels deep, like
"C:\Program Files\EA Games\Sports\Extreme\Two Wheeled\Bike\Red\"...
and then when you click to change the stupid
thing it brings up some hierarchical file system navigator
that defaults to that horrible directory path, which means
you have to scroll around to get out to the bloody root of
the drive to then navigate to some reasonable place.
All in all, a living hell.
I played the Mafia demo. I don't understand how people
continue to completely screw the pooch on the controls of
games. Things like: when you reload your gun, it is automatically
hidden. Uh, yeah, so in the middle of a firefight I'm going to
get shot. Or, that the car controls are completely different
from the move-your-person around controls, that is, if you
use the God-given WASD key system. Like, I still don't grok
why anybody would have the arrow keys be the default setup;
real gamers are going to be right-handed mouse users.
Whatever! What! Ever!
Nightfire is killing me (ha ha). When you die, and you
choose "restart" it will put you back at the last interstitial.
Not at the start of the whole level, just back to the last
cut-scene where it loaded tons of stuff. However
if you just pause the game and choose "restart" it will throw
away all your progress and you will start at the
very beginning of the whole level. This
requires I pistol-whip the developers. Update: Okay, it turns
out that it says "replay" when you die... yeah, that's different
enough from "restart" for me to know ahead of time just from
reading those words exactly what would happen. Bastards. (Oh,
and go search usenet for discussions about "nightfire" and
"omega" and "door" for a good laugh at their QA team's expense.)
I'm playing 007 Nightfire. There is a level where you have to
access a computer. I'm standing in front of the computer, doing
every bloody thing I possibly can to try and get access. Half an
hour later I discover that if I'm standing four pixels to the right
of where I was, I just have to press the standard "action" button.
Well, I'd been doing that, only four pixels off. Four pixels
that make nigh-zero difference in what you see on the screen.
It drives me bloody nuts that
designers do things like that.
I've noticed this recently in several video games, and I really hate
it: having several menu entries and only showing one. So you have no context.
Whatever the reviews might say, Zone of Enders is just plain boring.
Maybe I'm missing a joke from the TV show (since I've never watched
it) but I swear the character Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer XBox
game is constantly staring at Buffy's tits. Anyway... when fighting
a level boss, the camera control goes completely to hell which is
one of the more annoying things I think anybody could have done;
the camera apparently is trying to always keep your adversary visible.
So you can't really look around your environment much at all. Which
is particularly stupid because for some bosses the solution to
defeating them is in the environment (e.g.: switches). Also, whatever
you normally do to kill off baddies is no longer of any use it appears.
So you are thrust into a situation with a bad guy and you have
absolutely nothing to go on in figuring out how to off them. Kinda
sucks, I think. Whatever!
I don't understand why Syberia keeps getting awards. I tried
the demo and it sucked ass. Maybe I'm just a caveman who doesn't
understand adventure games. Or, maybe adventure games suck ass?
Like, just controlling the character sucked enough to put me off
playing the game. Whatever.
I played some of Timesplitters 2 on a friend's Game Cube.
It was sorta okay, except for how each level was really bloody
hard and you couldn't save. It would checkpoint like half-way
through a level, but if you then turned off your machine you'd
have to start the entire level over again. There is this trend of
trying to make games last longer by making saving be some super treat.
Hello, we aren't playing on Atari VCS machines any more! We've got
scads of memory for saving games now! Lets get with it! Because the
kind of game design which makes things bloody hard and repetitive
just doesn't excite me. Whatever. It is especially nice to get
2/3rds of the way through that section and then accidentally use up something which you
only have 1 of (e.g.: the TNT in level 2), thus being unable to complete
the mission, leaving you with restarting the entire level as your only
option. Sure, it might somehow
be vaguely more "realistic" or something, but that in no way makes
it more fun, capice? Gah, hate.
I rented The Thing for my XBox (no, that isn't meant
to be any kind of innuendo).
- It started out okay. Lots of reviewers gave it a good rating.
So I was rather surprised to quickly find myself in a level that I had to
replay literally twenty times to get past it. In fact, I haven't gotten
past it, and I've instead given up on playing the game because this is not
my concept of fun.
- The rub is that even though you can save games, loading a
saved place is really convoluted. When you die/fail/get Game Over, there
is no shortcut menu to do the obvious thing of starting from your last
save position. You can only start from the beginning of the entire
level. Or, you can exit the bloody game entirely and go through the
main menu to load a game. So I'm stuck in a situation that sucks ass
because I have to do seventy things, and then die and can't save
right before that so I wouldn't have to spend five minutes doing stupid
repetitive stuff I already know how to do every time,
and even if I could it would suck ass to try and get that save
point back anyway! I do not comprehend how this kind of game design can be
considered "fun," and I pretty much hate everybody. Thank goodness I only
rented the turd.
- Oh, hey, the kicker is that I think the reason I'm dying is
that the flame thrower is always pointed at my feet unless I'm
using the first person view - in which case moving around to be able to
properly flame the enemy is kinda impossible - it pretty much would
require me to have a third hand. The other weapons do not work that way;
they are pointed straight ahead (or at the thing which has been
autotargeted - and is not at my feet when I'm using the
flamethrower). Whatever. This is the new millennium of game
design, and I must scream.
- Another funny thing is how the manual lists the "default
controls" yet when you play the game those are completely not
the default control mappings. Going into the options screens it looks
like there are 3 different controller mappings to choose from, and the
one which most closely resembles the manual's is the 3rd one. Give. Me.
Strength. I mean, do you know how bloody annoying it is to be told by the
manual "press Blah to do Blah" and you press it and nothing happens?
And it is integral to the playing of the bloody game?
- Oh, yeah, and the game is constantly choppy. What is the
point of having a console version of a PC if the game creators
don't even try to throttle things to make sure it isn't choppy? We're
talking like every seventh frame it freezes/pauses/skips that frame. It just
plain outright sucks!
- Possibly one of the worst offenses committed by the game
is the use of a combinatorial switch-throwing puzzle... where if
you throw the wrong switches you pretty much immediately die and
then you have to go through all the suck-ass menus just to load
your saved position... so you can go die again... wow,
yes, now that I try it I guess I have to say that it really is
- The cut-scenes are not well integrated into the game at all.
E.g.: They will show things happening around you yet the environment is
different (in the cut-scene a person runs away from you by following
a line of light posts, yet back in the game there are no light-posts).
They require the right number of people in them (so if you don't have
everybody with you when you get to the UFO you won't get the cut-scene).
They skip over tons of things so they are just plain jarring (e.g.: I
never killed the first Boss under the warehouse, I just ran around it
into the sub. When I come back out of the sub the cut-scenes
warp me all the way from the sub back to the warehouse... past the
Boss I never killed, etc.
- The 3D modeling sucks! At least one person's face has
a horrible vertical seam right down the middle when you are in
your Squad menus! Yeah, that's quality.
Why consoles are better than PCs: I have MS Combat Flight
Simulator 3 installed on my Abit KG7-RAID with Philips Acoustic
Edge sound card and eVGA GeForce 4200Ti graphics card... and the
stupid game can't even draw things properly. It looks almost like
it is screwing up the double (triple, whatever) buffering because
on occasion crap will be put on the screen instead of the regular
view of the world. As if it didn't clear out the buffer, and didn't
draw anything into it, and then swapped it onto the screen anyway.
Yes, I have the latest nVidia drivers. Yes, I have the latest
Philips drivers. Yes, my WinXP is updated. Whatever.
The Mech selection menu in Mech Assault is the most painful piece of
crap ever. Below are the highlights (there's always more). It is this kind
of car wreck design and implementation which makes me wistfully dream of an
- When you try to change the Mech selection,
the entire thing freezes for a heart beat while
the DVD seeks to the video clip for the new Mech.
So, if you are trying to get to the last Mech
you are constantly being frustrated by the load
time for each line of the menu.
- The Mechs are listed in the most useless
order possible, short of random: alphabetical.
So you potentially can have 2 mechs which are
variants of one another that are at opposite
ends of the list. Thus, comparing them is
- You can get information about the features
of a given Mech. However, that information is
on a separate screen - presumably because the
space which could have shown that information
is instead taken up by the stupid bloody video which,
as I have explained, serves only to make the entire
menu navigation process utterly <expletive> broken.
Anyway, the super kicker is that when you return
from the information sub-screen for a Mech, the menu
puts you back at the first Mech in the list.
So then you have to re-navigate through the
utterly hatefully slow menu to get back to where you
were - if you even remember, since there isn't anything
useful about the sort order to give you context. You'd
have to know all the Mechs by name.
- Oh, yeah, and the information screen lists icons
for the special features of the Mech but - even though
there is plenty of space for it on this new screen -
there is no text name or description of what the bloody
I'm playing Mech Assault on the XBox. Well, I was playing it.
Then, I reached a mission where I spent like twenty minutes blowing up
enemy communication towers, then pretty much got immediately demolished
by a more killer enemy mech. And then what? It told me I had to start
that entire thing all over again. That is pretty much my definition of
not fun: having to re-do the stuff which was laborious but easy for
another twenty minutes just to possibly get killed again. Completely
and utterly asinine game design.
So then I redo that Mech Assault level a few times and finally kill
the bad-ass enemy. The completely stupid thing is that I 'kill' him but
his mech is still there - whereas every other mech I've fought up until
now goes big-nova-boom when I destroy them. So spend like five minutes
shooting at the downed thing, trying to make it blow up because that is
how every other fight has gone to date, and I'm therefore naturally
paranoid that if I don't destroy it it will suddenly come back
from the dead and attack me from behind, or something equally annoying.
Well, turns out that when you finish the level they say "we can repair the
one you knocked out and you can use it" so it is part of the plot - but it
is completely stupid and unexplained up until that point. Ass-backwards,
I have to say, I agree that Yoshi's Island
is one of the all-time
best games. I have to get myself a SNES! (And StarFox.)
This comment from a review of Mission Impossible N64 sums
up my reaction to the latest James Bond PC game: "When I shoot someone in the head,
they better drop NOW, mister."
In the ideal parallel universe, game controls are standardized
so I can define my favorite control setup, and new games use that.
Including the mouse sensitivity, for crying out loud. Or, at the very
least, they have some setup where you can interactively set the
values and try them out immediately, rather than having to go back
and forth between game and options screens. Whatever.
There are too many things to complain about in Battlefield 1942. Though,
it is a pretty fun game. Anyway, I'll just say one thing: when I'm playing
single player, it shouldn't make me wait to spawn when I first start
that game. My spawn countdown should be zero. I'm the only human playing
there, I should be given all deferential treatment. Hell, when I die and
have to respawn, even then I shouldn't have to wait. Make the stupid
computer players wait. I mean, WTF?
I downloaded Mutant Storm by PomPom
and it seemed like an okayish Robotron rip-off. I'd actually bought their
previous game, Space Tripper, because even though it isn't that
good I think I'd like them to stick around and keep writing and maybe
get to the point where their games are excellent. But I digress. The point
being that I went to configure the input to Mutant Storm; the up/down/left/right
movement, the up/down/left/right firing, etc. I could move through the menus
using the arrow keys on the keyboard, and Return to make selections. But as
soon as I'd redefined the movement keys, the arrow keys stopped working in
the menu! I had to use the movement keys I'd just defined. So that is like
completely stupid and user-unfriendly. But the kicker is that when I tried
to setup my gamepad, it ended up somehow defining the select code as some
button that doesn't even exist on my controller! So then I couldn't even
get out of a menu, let alone select the entry for the select button
to modify it so I could get back to being able to select stuff. And then,
as a super final kicker, even when I quit and restart the game, it has
remembered my previous, yet broken, settings, so I'm still screwed. The
only way around it is to uninstall the demo! Genius! Forcing me
to uninstall your demo because you suck and like, really, what chance is
there that I'd ever want to bother playing your stupid game ever again?
It is stuff like this that absolutely kills me.
So much for Gun Valkyrie for the XBox. It was okay at first. I even
liked the controls, sorta. Then I got to harder levels. Instead of being
fun, instead of wanting to keep trying, I just found myself really not
caring... and, being pissed off by things that not only were kinda silly,
not only didn't make the game more fun, but actively made the game
explicitly more outright annoying. In particular, some slopes you slide
down apparently won't let you boost off of them. I was toward the top of
Naglfar's Pit 1 and then got on a slippery slope... and couldn't boost off
even though I had plenty of boost power. So I ended up at the bottom of
everything, in the damaging water, having to start the ascent all over
again. That is not fun. Basically, I'm all done playing GV.
I played the No One Lives Forever 2 demo. It was mostly okay.
But it really bugged me that the Soviets kept regenerating. I mean,
I sneak in, shoot everybody in the back of the head with the
silenced pistol, raise nary an alarm, totally clean out all
buildings... and then if i ever backtrack at all new
Soviets have appeared. And, like, one of them is packing back
and forth right on top of a previous soldier I'd
whacked. So much for the oh-so-impressive enemy AI. Whatever.
Oh, and P.S.: it kept crashing my machine until I turned off hardware
sound and filters. Blah.
Blah. Why is it that there are cool games, and then
they are let down by their controls? Like, Resident Evil.
I don't wanna slowly turn the person around, I want them
to move with agility and grace, and quickly go in the
direction I want, etc. It just seems like a lot of the
game is spent being frustrated with the bloody controls
that get in the way and leave you to be eaten by zombies.
I downloaded and tried out the
single player offline demo. What a crock
of crap. You can tell it is going to suck
from the moment the game beings because they
make you sit through a horrible
in-engine sequence. Their directors zip
the camera around to make you sick, it would
seem. Just pathetic geekiness. And, like,
the construction of a device takes time,
which sure adds to the fun of the game. Oh,
wait, it doesn't, it just wastes my time,
which isn't fun. Then, there are
things like how when you shoot
someone or something with a gun
that should hurt, they do not
visibly react. Yeah, that's pretty realistic.
It kills me that
one nonsense design
then goes and
in other games.
I dislike Dungeon Siege, just like
this guy dislikes it
- The first time I played it, I played multi-player with some friends. It pretty
much represents everything I don't like about video games. As in,
it is one of the most incredibly boring games ever created. I just
don't understand why people are so into it. A friend who played it
and who liked it freely admitted that it was just
with really fancy graphics. I just do not understand people.
- I think it is missing something in not letting you define actions like
"hey, you dumb piece of turd character, if your health is below 25% then
run the hell away and don't stop!
- The camera in it is just constantly kills me. You have two characters
visible on the screen and you click on one, and the camera has to move to
center them. That's really pretty annoying to me because I basically
cannot successfully click on anything in the world until the camera has
- Why is it that in it when I want to select somebody it only
keeps moving the previously selected character around, but then when I
don't want to select somebody, it does. Whatever. I hate
- The user interface is pissing me off. The big sin they committed was
to have user interface widgets in the same space as character control. So
as you are trying to move your characters around you end up doing things
like changing their attack/defend status, or more common and worse,
turning the selection of people in your party on and off so suddenly a
character is left behind. Argh. (The other thing is that the game is
really boring, in case you were thinking of buying it ever.)
Games which really require analog control, such as driving
or flying ones, tend to suck a lot of ass until you get the
sensitivity of the game set right, to work with whatever input
device you have. It takes a couple of hours of dicking around
to get it to be comfortable. It really annoys me that the developers
don't try to mitigate the issue in any way. Instead, you are stuck
with games that e.g.: don't let you change the mouse sensitivity
during a mission - you have to completely quit, go through a
bunch of menus, change the settings, then go back through all
the menus to restart the game you were in. Completely bloody
stupid and boy do I hate everyone.
I downloaded the "Star Wars StarFighter Web Demo" for the PC.
It sucked: You couldn't change the mouse sensitivity without
quitting the whole game. Nice.
I downloaded the Incoming Forces demo. It kinda sucked.
The main thing that I think was really stupid was that it
kept crashing. Yee haw! Like, it would just suddenly go
away, and I'd be back at the Windows desktop. Cool! The
second thing that sucked about it was the sound of the
plane you were in. There's this noise that is supposed
to be the engines, I guess, but really all it was was some
high pitched annoying scratchy whine that never went
away. Yeah, I really like to spend half an hour
having nails driven through my head. Dummies.
Loki must die.
I bought Eric's
Ultimate Solitare for Linux from them, and it never worked.
And the patches don't work. And their technical support
is pretty much completely brain dead and unhelpful. These
are supposed to be the shining beacons of hope for Linux?
Holy crap! Yeah, them along with Gnome? Just give up,
already. Oh, and the kicker is that their web site
Could everyone please just die and go to hell already?
Addendum: I guess they
For the life of me, I really cannot understand why
anybody likes the game IL-2 Sturmovik. I tried the demo
and it was horrible in myriad ways:
There are no training missions in the demo. Nice.
So you just have this incredibly evil learning curve.
Which means I end up crashing, never being able to
actually like get in the air to play the mission.
It has these times when it just freaks out and
everything is down to like 2 FPS, for no apparent reason
(it isn't as if there are 30 other fighters on the
screen at that time), and then will suddenly go back
to like 20 or whatever I'm getting on my lame machine.
This is during taxi and take off. Whatever.
It takes forever to load a mission. This particularly
sucks for two reasons. The first is that when the demo
loads, it beings by loading the data to show a movie
played with the game engine. But I just want to get past
the demo and play the game. And the thing is all herky-jerky
and frozen on and off while it is loading the demo. And
it doesn't tell you it is just loading the demo movie. Etc.
The second problem is that if you do a mission and then
fail miserably just trying to take off (because there wasn't
any training mission available), it has to reload the entire
mission before you can try it again. Uh, if I just failed
the mission, why throw everything out just to put up the
menu that lets me try again? I'm most likely going to try
again, right? And I most likely don't want to have to wait
for all that crap to load again, right? Whatever.
The plane is just plain broken. Well, basically, I think
it requires all sorts of twiddly adjusting of rudder and
aileron's before you can get the plane moving in anything
like a direction other than "straight down into the earth
to crash and explode, yay." Maybe that is what the game
is all about; all those hard-core simulation fans will
get off over it.
I tried some Wild Tangent
stuff. Their plug-in completely locks up my Win2K box. So, basically,
in my humble opinion, they suck rotten eggs covered in donkey poop.
And they expect to IPO or something?
I played the single player Red Faction demo. Boy did that
suck. It was boring. And the user interface for saving games
sucked. And it ran like shit on my machine (okay, I guess
that one is my own fault, not keeping my hardware up to
date, and not keeping the economy moving). And the way
it loads levels is really stupid; they put some enemy
in a corridor that is the one that transitions you to a new
level, so as you are moving toward the guy in some frantic
firefight, the whole game suddenly stops and "LOADING" appears
and then suddenly you are back in the game getting shot at,
yadda yadda yadda. I guess that is what the developers
consider to be immersive? Dumb asses.
I played the SWAT Elite demo from Sierra. Well, played
is a really loose term. I couldn't even figure out how to
get the game started, actually, for quite a while. That
is because the user interface is complete and utter crap.
Like, beyond what you'd think. Oh, and instead of having
WASD be the default keys for moving, it's the arrow keys.
I immediately quit the game when I found that out, especially
because it didn't give me a clear way to change the
key bindings from within an already started game. Yay.
So then I quit the demo and the exit advertisement screen
won't go away. I hit Esc, I click the mouse button, I hit
the space bar... nada. I think the Enter key finally did
it. As if I don't already hate them, which is
why I'm quitting the game in the first place,
they have to go and do that to really ensure I completely
hate them for ever and ever. I guess.
The Half Life engine is great and all, but why the
hell, after like being around for three years or something,
can't the stupid thing draw the menus right? And switch
between the menus and the game right? I swear, it has just
gotten ever worse. These days, on my machine running XP,
if you go out to the menus to save the game then it doesn't
go back to drawing the game properly at all. You have to
Alt-Tab out and back in to wake it up. What a flying piece
of crap. (It did this when I was running WinME as well,
with a completely up-to-date client, so I don't just blame XP.)
I'm checking out this demo for a game called
Ballistics. I haven't even started the game up
and I already know I kinda seriously dislike the
bozos who made it because their installer is so
completely stupid. It shows a progress bar that
fills up, and yet things keep being copied. In fact,
there is a number that is percent complete next
to the progress bar, and it goes up to 119% before
everything is actually done. Utter genius. And then
the thing tells me I have to reboot before I can
play the game. What cockamamie thing does this program
require such that I have to reboot? It's just a game,
not a bloody device driver. I'm sick and tired of
crap like this. Feel the hate.
I'm trying out the Alien vs. Predator 2 MP demo.
It is kinda fun in a lot of ways, but in a lot of ways
the UI for picking games is utterly stupid:
- The screen that shows you the available
servers refreshes every time you come to it.
And you can't interrupt it by clicking on something
else (though you can hit Esc). I mean, why couldn't it be
loading that crap in the background while I'm setting up
- If you try to connect to a server, and that
server is unavailable (full or unreachable or something)
then you get kicked way back in the menus and have to
wait again for the same stupid server list to download.
- You'd think that since the server list updates
every time you bring up that page, it would at least
be correct. But nooooo, it isn't. It says things like
10/12 players and then you get into the game and there are 2
people there. Uh, yeah. Brilliant.
- The game has limits on the number of people in a
given class. So if you wanna be a Marine, but there are too
many, the game apparently arbitrarily picks something else
for you to be. That sucks a lot. There are so many things
the system could do to make it palatable; it could ask you
what you wanna be since you can't be your primary choice.
Or, you could set up an ordering of classes that it would
fall back through so you'd always get the best thing you
can. Etc. But, no, they just left it to completely suck.
- The page which lists the servers also has
buttons along the top to let you get server info and to
muck with your character settings. Then, along the bottom,
it says "Back" and something else, like "Join". Anyway,
the back button doesn't like take you back from the character
settings to the list of servers (which refreshes, argh) but
takes you completely out of multi-player. So completely
annoying. Because, like, I set up my character, then hit
the back button, which completely takes me out of choosing
the server, so then I have to pick to get back in... and
get stuck watching the whole damn server list reload!
What a nightmare.
- When you die, it takes some arbitrary amount
of time before you come back. It is pretty frustrating
to not have a count-down or anything. Also, I think you
don't have any grace period, so you can pretty much die
instantly again. Yeah, as if that's fun.
I'm playing the Wolfenstein MP Test demo.
- Why do people still make user interfaces
that suck so much ass? Like where you can have the mouse
cursor over the button but you can't click on it? Like
where you can't read anything because the backdrop is
too noisy? Like where the layout is just stupid?
- Why is the menuing system slower
than the actual game? Like, when I'm in limbo, the mouse
cursor is just stuck updating at like one frame a second.
And if you click on a menu entry (like "Allies") then it
seems like you can't click on the next item to be in that
position (like "Engineer") unless you move the mouse
pointer away and come back? Certainly, that is what the
mouse-over feedback makes it look like.
- Why isn't there an option that just says
"make the game run at 60 FPS" and then it just automatically
does that for you?
- When the list of servers is refreshing, if
you try to double-click on one it might get shifted out
of the way between the two clicks, and you then end up
on some completely different server! Brilliant! Oh, hey,
wait, I see that the problem is even worse: if you click
on something just once and then try to use the Accept
button, things can still shift out from under your selection.
So, basically, you selection isn't for a given server, it
is just for the row in the menu. So as the data in the list
changes and moves, they shift under your selection. Whoever
did that is really rather stupid.
- I have two machines at home, inside a firewall/NAT
box. I set up one machine to be a server running an internet
game, and my friends in another state can see it. But when I
try to get the list of servers on my other home machine, I
do not see my own server. What is up with that?
The demo for Expendable wasn't that bad. I guess the controls weren't
what I would have liked - I tend to prefer absolute controls rather than
player relative ones, so forward always goes up the screen no matter which
way you are facing. But at least it wouldn't let you fall off the edge of
the world (which I could see some game designers letting happen because it
is supposed to be somehow more realistic or more difficult or something,
but really it just ends up being stupid annoying and hateful).
So I tried the demo version of American McGee's Alice (there's
supposed to be a TM in there somewhere - are people full of themselves or
what?). All the reviews I read made it sound like a horrible
game. It isn't all that bad if you aren't actually looking for
anything new. I mean, it sorta fits in with Clive Barker's Undying in
terms of the scenery and attempts at being creepy and wacky. That's all
well and good. The interface wasn't completely killing me, even
if it was kinda contrived and silly. The one thing I noticed that really
bugged me was how you'd hit movie triggers in rooms while you were
fighting someone. So you'd suddenly stop in the middle of the action. That
sucks ass because a) you can get hit by e.g.: an incoming card while the
system is transitioning to the movie; you are stuck and can't move yet I
think I hear the ssshshhhshshshhhhh - whack! and the ugh! of being hit.
So that's nice, not being able to defend yourself and all. Then, the second
kicker is that when the movie ends, the exact same thing happens. It
pretty much boggles my mind that people still do completely stooopid
things like this. Whatever. Everybody sucks.
I checked out "The Eden Project" (or is it EDEN? whatever) demo.
The whole experience, user interface wise, kinda blew my mind, 'cause
it was so literally retarded.
- After you install the demo, you can read the
README. Toward the bottom they describe the default keys.
Yes, in the game you use a mouse to look around. So why
in the hell are the cursor keys the default ones for actually
moving your character, rather than WASD? What planet are
these people from?
- The demo comes up and there is a menu. The first
thing that strikes me is that the font sucks. Sure, it is all
futuristic and stuff, but it's a font that was not designed
for lots of text blocks you'd have to read. The demo uses all
upper case letters, just to make it suck a little more, too.
When you get to larger text blocks later, like reading your
mission objectives, it is just so obviously horrible.
These people need shot.
- You can move your mouse cursor around to select different
options in the menu, but it lags behind your physical movements.
Nice. (I read that for Half Life, this has something to do with
Direct Input.) The strange thing is that the lag seems to be drastically
reduced in the actual game. What is so hard about moving a mouse cursor
around in 2D that it is actually slower than polling the mouse
when drawing a full 3D world? Sheesh. I mean, you'd think you'd have
to actually expend effort to screw things up like that.
- The menus all have to do this fancy zoom-out-and-in
stuff, which is just really annoying because it takes time. I just
want to be able to get on with things, not waste my life away on
silly animations. Like, that is the first thing I turn
off in Win2K, right? And at least there I can turn
it off, unlike this game. Give me strength.
- Ha ha. I try to get into the options for setting
the graphics, and the program just up and dies; exits. Impressive!
- In the configuration menus, there's "Back" and "Accept".
Of course, in that horrible font. With a dragging mouse cursor.
So if you hit Back, and you've made changes, it doesn't ask you
if you wanna save them. So I lost all my key bindings the first
time through. Sweet! (I happened to notice the
Accept button just as I was clicking on the Back one, so
I didn't like return to the game and have nothing work,
but I bet that happens to some people, and that would be
even more mind-bogglingly annoying and loathsome.)
- The scroll bars in the menus are, of course, their
own ones. And they do not let you click in the empty space to
scroll up or down a full page. You know, like how every
other decent scroll bar on Earth has been doing since time
immemorial? Please, just start the killing already.
I'm playing Max Payne.
- You can't choose a difficultly level.
You have to play through on easy, and then you can
go on to medium, and only then can you go on to
difficult. I don't really want to play the entire
game three times, I'd just like to be able to choose
the frickin' difficultly level up front, okay? Like
them forcing me to do things a certain way is really
going to make me happy and keep me engaged? No, it is
going to piss me off and make me hate the people who
designed this game.
- You can't skip through the in-game
movies. Like, at the start of any game you go through
the scene with the helicopter flying up to Aesir plaza,
and even though you might have finished the game one
or two or even three times already in other modes,
you still have to waste your time watching
the bloody thing. Gah! Hate!
- The graphics get all wonky at times
where Payne's body lags way behind his
clothing. So when you crouch you suddenly see
that he has no neck! Literally! There's
just empty space! A hole you can see through!
- It is pretty boring; you just keep
shooting the whole time. I guess that is the point
of the game, so they did that well, but damn it
is boring. There are some really cool
dream sequences, but otherwise...
- Loads and saves are really fast, which
is really cool... as long as you are loading the same level. If
you are loading a different level, then it takes
- There are a limited number of save spots
so you have to overwrite your saves. I thought we left
that back-asswards interface design like five years
ago? I mean, didn't these guys ever play Quake and then
- It doesn't auto-save when you transition
to a new level. That means if you forget to save
at the start of the level, and then get shot or
something, you have to wait for the system to reload
the whole previous level, and then you do the last
little bit of that level and then the next level loads,
which takes a long time. Why it didn't just auto-save
when the new level started, I don't know... Oh, wait,
I bet it is because there's only a limited number of save
slots, and they don't want to blow out any of your own
saves. So they further compound a bad design! Sweet!
- When he says the dead guy is staring at
him with accusing eyes, the dead guy, physically, has
his head next to a wall that he is staring at.
- Seems like every model of the main character
is different: the comics, the 3d model, the opening photo-graphic,
the opening graphic-art-graphic. Couldn't they have gotten
like a real continuity artist to keep the immersion? It really
undermines any sense of being a guy when he keeps changing
his physical make-up!
- There are doors that are wooden that are locked.
You have a shot gun. You actually can have several shot guns.
But you can't blow the door away enough to get through it.
Uh, yeah, right. I mean, at least make them metal, or make
them obviously bricked up, or something.
- The menus do the stupid (Windows standard?) thing where the
last thing your mouse was over remains highlighted, even if the mouse is now
elsewhere and clicking would have no effect.
- The way the difficulty changes is pretty annoying; you get to
a boss and all of a sudden you die over and over and over... What ever
happened to a nice ramping up of difficulty? And does the game notice that
I'm constantly dying at that point? Or does the auto-adjustment only pay
attention to how much damage I'm taking over time? I bet it is lame and
assumes that I wouldn't be reloading the game to try and stay
The demo for Independence War 2 is out. I downloaded it.
It took forever; it is huge. It took a really long time for
it to unpack after downloading it. It thrashed the disk really
well. Eventually, everything was supposedly done and it was
installed. So I try to run it. The screen goes blank for
a second, then I get returned to the desktop as if nothing
ever happened. Nice. Trying to look for patches or whatever
on the IWar2 web site leads me to a couple of links for
the North American web site. One link says that it is the
"Enhanced" version, the other says that it is the "Light" one.
So I click on the "Light" one. Turns out it is the same link
as the "Enhanced" one, and it requires Flash. Apparently. Whatever.
God, I hate these people. (Update: Oh, so after uninstalling
the demo, there is still a "flux.log" file left over. I look
through it, and it indicates that the demo was quitting because
it couldn't initialize my sound card. Okay, fine. So why didn't
anybody note up front that flux.log should be read? Or, better
yet, why didn't the bloody app put up a simple bloody dialog
box saying that was the bloody problem? Argh, hate!)
Update RE: IWar2. I did finally get a version working on
my machine. Some things I will now complain about:
- The menu UI is pissing me off. Here's a clue
for budding UI folks everywhere: the larger the button,
the easier it is to click on it. Also, how about distinguishing
the buttons? There are these two little back arrow buttons
at the bottoms of the menu screens. One is an inverted (in
the color sense) version of the other. They are really tiny
and they have nothing which helps you know what the difference
between them is. Completely fing stupid.
- The cut scenes are just plain stupid and bad.
I mean, really stupid and really bad.
- Wow, the voice acting is horrible. The main guy
telling you what to do has a good voice, but everyone else
is friggin' lame.
- I love how the space dust is drawn over the cockpit
graphics. As if the space dust is entering the cabin. Whatever.
I mean, come on, people.
- Riddle me this: you've got several people on your
ship and yet nobody else can man the guns while you are
flying it? (Or vice-versa.) So much for any sense
of realism. Get rid of the other characters if they
aren't going to do anything other than talk via
really pathetic voice actors.
Okay, so I played a friend's copy of Tribes 2, against some
friends, on a LAN one night, and it was kind of fun. So I went
out and bought the full game for myself for fifty bucks. That
is quite a lot of money. So then I play it again, LAN, with some
friends, and find out about a zillion reasons why I will never
play this game ever again. Really, the main thing is that the
game is stressful enough as it is, and then it has to go and
be extra stupid frustrating by doing asinine things like:
- I love how I walk up the ramp, and at the top
I keep floating along as if I were made of fluffy cloud
material, instead of twenty tons of powered exo armor.
So, like, I get to the top of the stairs and then drift
along with no traction, sometimes clear past the landing
and out back down to the first floor or something.
I guess the idea is that your jump jets are used to
walk up ramps. Which would beg the question,
why even have ramps in the first bloody place?
Also, there isn't even the sound of your jumpjets going,
nor does your energy drain. So there isn't any
good reason for the whole floating business. Whatever.
- Using red and green to distinguish things.
You know, for all those red-green color blind folks out there
ha ha ha ha ha!
- There are some places in the interface where you
can have a screen up, and the Esc key doesn't get you out of
there. Or, there can be the opposite end of the spectrum where
you have some menu open and I just want the menu to go away
rather than the whole screen and so I hit the Esc key... and
the whole screen goes away. Whatever.
- There are these force fields in the game at times. Even if you
are on the right team (like, if the force fields are protecting your
flag), they still slow you down to a molasses crawl as you are going
through. If you aren't heading through them - there are always 2 sheets of
force field right next to each other like a sandwich, dunno why, guess
because they wouldn't suck enough without that setup - perpendicularly,
you can end up getting stuck in them. Then you have to reorient yourself
or jump around or something just to get through your own bloody
force fields. In the heat of battle, that is really damned annoying. Oh,
yeah, and if someone else is trying to get through at the same time, you
are pretty much both just utterly screwed.
- Jumping with the jumpjets really sucks, to me.
I'm not sure exactly how I would want them to work, but I guess
I find myself getting really frustrated that if I move slightly
to one side or another, I pretty much lose all upward
boost and start to fall. So there is no leeway with the controls
there. Someone needs to go play
Chukie Egg, or Jumpman Jr.
- Getting into vehicles can suck a whole lot of donkey poop. You
have to jump to get into their seats, and (as you know) already
I'm frustrated with how jumping works. So on top of that, if you are a
little too close to the thing, or if you are too big for the particular
vehicle you are trying to get into, you bounce around or slide off or get
stuck or jitter or all of the above - anything other than actually being
allowed to get into the vehicle. Games where you run up to the thing and
hit some action or selection key are infinitely better.
- The controls for just about every single vehicle
really seem to suck, off the bat.
- There are the slide things that get you from one
floor to another in buildings, sometimes. It took me forever
to figure out that you just press and hold your jumpjet key,
and it will sort of slingshot you out at the end. So for
a long time I was just constantly stuck in those shafts.
That was so completely insanely unbelievably hatefully annoying.
Oh, anyway, even now that I sorta understand how they work
(and it is funny to watch how just about everybody who
is new to the game gets confused by those - obviously
not the most intuitive system in the world, eh?), they are
always too small; you get jammed up if there is more than
one person in them, just like with force fields. Whatever.
It is really great when the shafts have force fields at their
- There are limits on where you can place things like
autoturrets. Apparently, there is some (completely arbitrary
and therefore stupid) restriction on how close you
can plop stuff. Of course, there is nothing which shows you
ahead of time what that off-limits area is, even though the
program obviously already knows, because it tells you "ha ha
you can't do that" repeatedly while you try to put stuff down.
If it just showed you the areas that were already overloaded,
you'd spend no time at all fighting that.
- The playing fields tend to have a lot of steep slopes. Sure,
they might look kinda cool, but they are nothing but frustrations
during the game itself. If you start to slide down one, you are pretty
much doomed to keep going at least two thirds of the way down before you
slow yourself. Jumpjets don't really seem to help that much. The game just
doesn't give your suit enough friction or traction. Not being allowed to
control your suit (especially to that degree), while perhaps realistic, is
completely infuriating to me.
- When you use a mobile inventory station that someone
stuck into the ground, it tends to suck you into an eternal embrace
unless you explicitly hold down a movement key to get the hell
away from it. I don't know of any good reason for that since I
think you don't gain anything from the 2nd or 3rd or 4th hug
it gives you. In fact, it just means you are hogging the thing
and preventing others from using it. It should just spit you
out immediately after it has replenished you the first time!
- It still kills me that the folks who created the game think I
really want to spend half an hour tweaking the graphics settings
just so I can get a decent frame rate. How about maybe having the system
at least have some available preset groupings of settings for
slow, medium and fast machines? Or, how about having a test program that
runs the machine through its paces and then tells you at the end what the
options are for getting varying frame rates? Anything, please! I mean,
first I have to play the "install and upgrade/patch" game (where
the upgrade program upgrades itself before it can upgrade the game) for
like an hour, and then I have to play the bloody "set up the
graphics to not be just five frames a second" game, also. Hate.
- I realize that the system doesn't always know what I am going
to want to do (play a single player game, or a LAN game) but never the
less, it seems to always not be on the screen or tab that I want. Why not
just start out with the LAN game page if that was the thing I was doing,
the last time I played? And definitely don't show me my stupid
character sheet after the first time I play the game and set it up. Just
go straight to the LAN page, okay? It is unlikely I want to change my
character every time I play, right? God, hell!
- The music really, really, sucks. It is extra
grating when it is the fourth time you've had to listen to it
because the game kept dying as you were trying to start it up
and join a game (like, it just randomly spits you out to windows -
and, no I don't even have Windows key on this keyboard so it ain't
me pressing that in the heat of battle, or whatever).
- There is a top-down real-time map view. It has
all sorts of stuff shown on it, like where units are. It
doesn't have an intuitive interface; I wanted to click
on something and set it as a waypoint... no luck. Probably,
I had no luck because there are all these icons, one of which
might have what I wanted, but none of them had labels or names
or (this is the kicker) even tooltips. I mean,
what decade are these people from?
I'd pretty much be willing to strangle Warren Spector
right about now. I'm playing the
Deus Ex, and
- I'm on the level where I have to sink the supertanker, and
there aren't any visual cues for when you cross the map boundary and the
game has to stop for like ten seconds while it loads the other half of the
map. The kicker is that it put me facing the wrong direction once after
the load so I moved forward only to immediately go back into the loading
of the place I just came from! Seethe.
- After blowing up all the welds in the supertanker,
the entire dock starts rattling and rolling. So you are trying
to get out and you are climbing some ladder, and the world shakes,
and you fall off, and you start climbing again, and the world shakes
again, etc. That is really stupid and annoying. I think
it is especially stupid when you aren't even on
the ship and yet the world is still shaking! As if the land,
which is buffered from the ship by the water it is in, would be
shaking like a Richter 7 earthquake? My ass.
I tried the Messiah demo for a little while. It pretty
quickly started locking up my machine, and even screwing
with the mouse driver (I'd kill the demo and yet my mouse
would still be all screwed up - pretty impressive, that).
Anyway, the game seemed pretty much "eh" overall. There were
some pretty basic silly stupid things about it that I'd like
to point out:
- It seems like whoever you possess (at least,
some of the cops) get sort of dizzy and so they
are constantly turning a little to one side. While
that might seem kind of like a nice touch at first,
it takes about thirty seconds for it to just be
really stupid annoying.
- The animation (e.g.: jumping, climbing) is
from like the early 90s or something? Ugh. Ditto
the models. I'm running on a Pentium III 700,
100mhz FSB, 384 meg ram, a GeForce 2 MX 400
with 64 meg ram, yadda yadda yadda and still
everything looks polygonal and lame. So much for the
heavily-touted fancy LOD engine.
- For some reason, even though it tells me I
can switch guns by standing over one and hitting
the action key (which is how I picked up a gun
in the first place), that doesn't actually work
at all for me.
- When you save a game, it doesn't then move
the save game cursor down, so the next time you
have to manually do that. Didn't anybody, like,
actually play test this thing?
Wow, the Battlecruiser Millenium demo sure doesn't work.
At all. Impressive! First, the install program just
sits there, with no progress bar or anything, while the disk
is thrashing for like a full minute. You'd think they could
have at least made it look like it was still alive (it doesn't
even redraw its window). Anyway, if you wait for ever and then
it finishes, it doesn't actually install the game, it just
tells you that you then need to reboot before you can even
begin to just install it, let alone play it. So after I reboot
and install it and everything, I fire it up... and I get a window
that basically immediately exits. Now that is impressive:
not even being able to bring up a window. Yeah, I'm really going
to spend my time on this piece of crap. No sale, buck-o.
So I downloaded
Space Tripper and, for the
most part, it didn't totally suck. But I'll complain about some
- When you go to configure the joypad setup, it shows
some actions as being bound to more than one button. However,
if you go to edit the bindings you can't bind more than
one button yourself, as far as I could figure out? Lame.
- You can fall off the edge of the world in some levels.
Of course, nobody tells you that up front, and the first
couple of levels seemed to prevent you from doing that. So
it was really damned stupid annoying that all of a sudden
on level 3 I lose a life for no good reason. That is emphatically
not good game design.
Defender 2000 on the Jaguar sucked. Your ship was too big. The
play field is too tall (bigger than the area visible on the
screen at one time). So it is a completely different game,
one in which you shouldn't ever bother to look at anything
other than the radar, otherwise something will appear right
above or below you and you'll crash into it and die or something
stupid like that. Completely changes and ruins the game.
I really don't understand how people can think that the game
didn't suck. I guess they are just plain dumb. (Note that
Tempest 2000 was like the best game ever for a while there, so it
isn't like I just dislike Jeff Minter or something - far from it.)
I got Star Trek: Invasion for the Playstation. I'd read some reviews
that made it sound at least okay. Well, it pretty much mostly seems
lame and trite and derivative and, overall, kinda sucks. The main complaint
I have with it is that the controls suck ass. It is really hard to avoid
over-steering. They should have done something like the classic Star Fox
where you could move the cursor around, and your ship would follow rather
than being stuck with the fixed cross-hair in the middle. I mean, you'd
think that in whatever year the game is set, they'd have guns that would
be even just slightly auto-targeting, rather than only capable
of shooting directly straight ahead? The second thing that bugs me is
that the missions are pretty dumb: you kill all these Romulans, then they
say that they will keep fighting yadda yadda and eventually, after
a lot of killing, they say something lame like "hey, wait,
you guys have a rogue ship!" It just doesn't add up - they would have
said that earlier, or they wouldn't have said it ever because the
player has killed so many of their folks that you'd have an all out
war on your hands. It is all just so lame.
For some reason, FreeSpace 2 just doesn't read my Gravis Exterminator
gamepad right. Like, I set the deadzone down to the minimum and it still
doesn't see small movements. So then I try to set the sensitivity up
way high and that only makes it so that it is impossible to target things
with my guns. Seems like, all in all, it just mostly sucks. Of course,
I've had plenty of trouble with the Exterminator and its
drivers, so maybe I should just blame them and leave poor ol' FreeSpace
Flight combat games (see my notes on StarLancer and Crimson Skies
below) piss me off in that they always seem to be really arbitrary in
terms of how things go. I can play the exact same mission several times
(which I usually have to - I guess I'm not the world's champion flight sim
player) and one time I'll clean up, another time I'll be dead in thirty
seconds. Sure, it depends in part on how well I am doing, but
sometimes I feel like I'm not really changing my tactics very much and the
random number generator rolls the dice and decides to just rip my head off
one time, then shoot itself in the foot another. It leaves me feeling that
the system isn't very balanced; like, what is the point in having
easy/medium/hard settings when it is already so very non-deterministic.
Actually, more to the point, it isn't that it is so non-deterministic,
it's that the range over which the function is allowed to roam is
too broad. If you catch my drift. I don't like being subject to the
capricious whims of software.
I played some of StarLancer. Whoo, boy. Besides the fact
that it is pretty much just plain boring:
- I got a really nice assertion crash that just blew out
the whole mission and game!
- Can't save during a mission. So when it is crap and/or just
plain broken, I have
to suffer through it repeatedly.
- It often doesn't realize objectives have been accomplished:
- Satellites on mission 11? I blew them all up (there
were no more that you could target) but
the squadron leader kept saying to finish them off.
- Blowing up stalag on mission 12 (it got
confused because I didn't do it in the order
their script expected?)
- No written objectives at the start: you must watch video which is
kinda laborious and therefore annoying.
- Insufficient information for missions, or is mission 11 kobiashi maru?
There's the last gunship that just appears out of nowhere and blows away
- Issues with animations:
- Going from briefing to ship selection: the COs head snaps.
- I'm pretty sure the animation of my jumping has me going
in like completely wrong direction most of the time? That is, I was facing
one way and then suddenly when I hit the jump key the ship is elsewhere,
facing a different way, and there is no transition at all.
- Or, like, I can be in the bay and then the movie shows me
approaching from way out.
- I really hate being interrupted! It is so annoying
to be playing along and then have all these stupid animated sequences
getting in the way. Especially if it is the third time you've had
to play the mission because of how completely crappy the design
of it is (cf: Ion Cannon).
- Why do i have to match speeds every time?
- Why isn't there a lock like in FreeSpace 2?
- Pretty crappy menu system:
- You have to be on a button, can't be on the text. What
is this, the Web or something? Give me a break.
- The buttons (or the cursor) are drawn poorly so
you have to be way inside the button
and that is too small a target area.
On a laptop, that is extra annoying.
- In game. Hit Esc. Click on Control Devices. Click OK.
It puts your cursor over the "Leave Game" button! Hello?!?!
- It seems to pretty much pick the most important missiles to shoot
first every time and that is annoying.
- Can you completely unmap a key?
I don't want the pig-loving afterburner toggle key!
- Why can't i make up my own training missions like rebel alliance?
- I'm pretty sure everybody ignored my commands even though they
responded in the affirmative:
- Maybe because i hadn't knocked out an objective?
- And the scripts are really stupid and restrictive?
- And nobody else takes any initiative?
- And things couldn't be destroyed?
- So i wasted all my missiles.
- So i couldn't prevent ships from being destroyed.
- So i couldn't complete objectives.
- So the mission was lost.
- So i had to start over from the beginning.
- Is there really any fun in having to repeat a mission because:
- You couldn't tell Gamma Squadron to back off?
- You couldn't easily cycle through to what was attacking them?
- Only certain ships have the 'special' ability to reverse thrust.
So how the hell do the other ships stop?
- In the mission with the docked big carrier that you have to
destroy, you only have 60 seconds after the shields have come
down before they go back up. Did I miss it, or is there no explanation
for how they got the shields back up after the shield generators
had been torpedoed off of the damned thing?
- Why is it that i have to hit everything and nobody else seems
to do much work?
- Even when i use communications to ask them to?
- Couldn't they find someone with a REAL Japanese accent?
- I turn on blind fire but it doesn't work.
I have to futz around with the dumb ass gunnery
until for some reason it decides to work. Is
there any explanation of what can or cannot
be blind fired? Not that I saw.
- It sucks that the ESC key pauses in some circumstances but cancels
video in others.
- Why must i watch the landing animation every damned and blasted time?
- The whole damned Ion Cannon mission is just crap:
- You can target the power core and shields at the start! They
actually show up as you cycle through enemy targets!
- But then it goes away as soon as the first video is done. No
explanation for why (other than that the code sucks, I
- There is some arbitrary time limit: they tell you to retreat
with no reason why
- So you weren't hurrying up the first time around.
- I kill the Ion Cannon just as they say abort:
- It doesn't know which ending to give me
- It says well done
- Then it says what an absolute fiasco
- And it switches instantly from being by the Yamato
to being out in the middle of nowhere
- Hey and then it just completely crashed and exited!
- In the middle of a mission!
- With no error message or anything
- Why do we have to warp when everyone following us just jumps?
- Uh, how the hell do i use the "Nova Cannon?" Sheesh.
- Uh, do the laser turrets on your own ship do anything?
At least in Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, you had actual control
over them. You could make them autofire at things, or shoot forward
under your control. No such explanation or control seems to exist
- The loadout screen is crap
- You mouse over a payload and it highlights.
- However, the text doesn't change.
- I finish mission 23:
- Then while playing back the medal award video a driver crashes.
- And so I have to re-do the entire mission.
- Why the pig hell didn't you record the fact that i won
already? You had plenty of time: I'd already landed and
everything for Pete's sake!
I just got
You can smell that it is a Microsoft game: The minimal install is
over 600 megabytes. As one reviewer said, "Good game if you have a lot of
patience. Bloated interface. Buggy."
- It sounds to me like they've had to use more than
one voice actor for some of the roles? Sorta screws
up getting into the characterizations.
- The audio volume controls suck ass. Maybe it is also
because the Windows volume controls suck as well? Anyway,
I set the music volume down to nothing and of course it
is still blaring on the menu screens
damn it. But it does turn down the voice level
like I asked it to, so during the briefing I turn up
my speaker volume, only to have the music on the following
ship/weapon selection screen blow out my ear drums. And,
just to add further injury, during the game I don't hear
any voices much at all, but I do hear sound
effects, even though I have the voice volume set to actually
be a little higher than the sound effects. All
in all, it is a huge piece of doo doo. The extra cool
thing is that there is no "reset to defaults" button
so basically I guess I will never get the voices back
ever again (short of reinstalling the whole game or
- On the race mission, I've had it happen that Johnny
Johnson crashes his plane... and then the entire
mission is ended. So I've gone through all my
flying through the obstacles for nothing. I didn't
even hit the guy or shoot him down! What a piece of crap!
From the looks of the animation during the 'rescue your
team from the cargo zep' mission, they did a cheesy hack
for the landing: I was flying a plane (not the autogyro)
and hit A to autodock at the end, and the animation pretty
much showed the plane miraculously hovering over the
ground as the plane's docking gear came up.
- Uh, could someone tell me how the hell
I'm supposed to dock with the damned cargo zep to
get the crew back? I've approached the hook from
all sorts of angles and nothing happens? What the hell?
According to one 'walk-through', you have to approach
it from the rear of the zep. Note that it is drifting
backward; I've been flying parallel from the front.
The hook is symmetrical so why the hell should it matter
if I'm flying from the front or the rear? So there are
like four basic directions that anybody would try
to approach it from, and only one of them apparently
works. That's nice.
- I download the 1.02 patch and install it and when
I run the game it doesn't work. Instead, I get an error
dialog telling me to download the latest version of
DirectX. (Note that they don't give you a button
to automatically launch a browser to the URL given,
nor can you select and copy out the URL text in the
dialog box. Instead, you have the sweet sweet buttons
"Abort," "Retry," or "Ignore." Bloody genius.)
The thing that kills me is I'm running WinME; I find it hard to
believe there has been a more recent version released
that the patch really requires?! Well, okay, so there
is DirectX 8 now I guess. Gee, maybe if the error
message actually told me something about
what version it required
and what version it thought I had, I'd have more
confidence that it isn't just completely broken.
It all sucks.
- I can have a plane with a rear gun, yet it doesn't
seem to shoot at the enemies attacking me from the rear.
So what the hell use is that?
- Building your own plane has some stupid points to it:
- You can't ever update a plane that
you have bought, as far as I can tell.
- The first thing it does is ask you
to name the plane. It doesn't seem to care
if you enter the same name again; does
that erase your old one? I'm too scared
to try it out only to find out that it
- When you are choosing items, you have
a weight limit to watch. As you move the mouse
down the list of choices for an item (e.g.: types
of guns), the weight indicator will turn red when
you are moused over something too heavy for the
current configuration. So why didn't they just
make the entries in the stupid list red in
the first place so I wouldn't have to go through
the repetitive task of mousing down through the
list to find which ones were too heavy?
- If you've already built a plane before,
it should load that color scheme by default
but of course it doesn't. Also, it doesn't
let you see any previous color schemes so
you'd have to guess to match it. This also
includes the decals on the airframe.
- When you hit Esc to pause the game and then Resume,
the game is playing before you can actually see anything,
for maybe a second or two. That always bugs the hell
outta me with games. It has lead to my death at least
- It is published by Microsoft, for crying out loud,
and it can't even handle Alt-Tab; half the time it just
completely locks up (and this is under WinME, not like
Win95 or something). What nincompoops.
- It is really slow changing screens and stuff;
Presumably because it has to fetch all sorts of
crap off of the CD? It sucks all 'round because
you click on something and sometimes it doesn't
realize you've even clicked on it, other times
it doesn't change the button in any way so even though
it has gotten the click you don't know for sure, yadda
yadda yadda. Also, the mouse is really sluggish (the
frame rate is really low) during that time. Pretty basic UI
It super sucks when you are trying
to do things like the dangerous air race
because that is hard and you tend to crash
a lot and then you have to go through all sorts
of slow crappy UI before you can get back to trying
it again. Dorks.
- Okay! Now I'm getting really mad!
On the mission where you are flying the race,
I flew successfully through Ramses Tomb, and
- The next target marker didn't change,
as if it thought I didn't make it through!
- Then, with absolutely no explanation
for why, the mission was terminated
automatically. Since there was no explanation
I have no idea what I should do to actually
be able to complete the mission. As far as
I know, it will always terminate
it with no reason.
- I hadn't even done any shooting
(unlike the previous attempt where I
figured I could widen the hole in
Ramses Tomb, ha ha)!
- All of the UI screens start off with the
exact same piece of music and it takes only
a couple times of hearing it before you want
to rip the guts out of whoever wrote it. You
can turn it off, but it seems to require you
restart the game or something, and even then
it sometimes decides to just start playing
the music every now and then when you switch
- When you are entering your name, it defaults
to Nathan Poopoo or something, and so then
you go to delete that... and you discover that
they didn't bother to make the keyboard entry
use auto repeat. Uh, yeah, brilliant guys.
Like, that is so retro or something.
I am now playing
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. A while
back, I tried the demo and though it had some drawbacks it was
mostly fun. So, I bought the full game. Turns out I'm noticing
a lot of stuff that is annoying. Some has to do with the
engine, some has to do with the Elite Force gameplay itself.
- It suffers from the Quake 2 load problem: sometimes,
it defaults to loading a saved game that isn't the last
one i saved! Instead, it goes back to its little favorite
- Okay, so I missed the sekret number 2 isodesium
the first time. So I go back to a previous save
and get all the isodesium this time. What does it
say when it gets to the "Go Find Odell" part? It
says that I failed to get three samples. What the
hell? I. JUST. PICKED. THEM. UP. I bloody
well saw it with my own eyes. ...so I ended up
using the notarget cheat to go through
all the crap of getting the three samples, and that
time it recognized them all. Bah.
- It pisses me off that no games come with
an auto quality setting utility program.
So the first time you enter an even slightly
complicated fight, your machine is thrashing
and that is really stressful and suckful.
The program should have already set everything
up perfectly right for my machine
by running a couple of tests first. Gah.
- I've played through the Borg level,
through the Pirates level, and now I'm
finishing up the first Away level. And you
know what? The game is pretty boring.
I've even got the difficulty set on like medium;
it's just the events that are unexciting.
Like, adding more baddies and making them
harder to kill wouldn't make it any more
fun, anyway. Maybe I just don't like first
person shooters or something. Eh.
- Scroll bars in the configuration screen don't
let you drag the thumb widget. You can only click
in the non-thumb area to get the thumb to move.
I mean, what the hell?
- Perhaps not surprisingly,
the game is really picky about drivers. It also
seems to be picky about rebooting after you install and stuff.
They don't actually require
that you restart the computer, which I would sorta
appreciate, except for how if you try to play
it before rebooting, it seems to just wedge your whole machine.
They really should draw closer attention to
the suggestion to reboot. Like, put it in bold
or something. I didn't notice it until the second
time I installed the program (which I was doing
because I wanted a default config - see below).
- There isn't any readily available
way to launch the game in a Safe Mode. So if you
screw around with, say, video options, and end
up with a broken game, how the hell are you supposed
to get back to a mode that works, sort of uninstalling
and then reinstalling the whole game? Like,
there wasn't even a readily available default.cfg
on the CDROM.
- As I mentioned, I've already played the demo.
So why the hell should I have to replay all that
stuff again? Give me the option of just skipping
through that crap. Gah!
- It doesn't respond to Alt-Tab. So, when it turns
out that the mouse sensitivity scroll bar (see above)
doesn't have a big enough range to suit me, I have to quit
the entire game just to get to the Windows Mouse Control
- At least subjectively, loading a level or a saved game
position is slower
than probably any other game I've ever played, including
System Shock 2. That's saying a lot. What makes it
suck even more is that there's some whizz-bang
thingamajig that is maybe supposed to perhaps
remind you of a progress bar, but really
it doesn't help because it spins around in some non-linear,
fit and spurt, stop and go fashion. (Hey, just like SS2, right?)
- The UI for saving a game sucks. There isn't sufficient
visual feedback to let you know that the save worked, without
a lot of
needless higher brain processing. Sure,
a new entry is put into the list, but when the list is already
full, your eye doesn't catch the change. To make things easier
on the user, the new entry should stand out in some way; make
it bold, or draw it in a different color, or whatever. I like
the way Half Life does it, because you can hit Esc, then
S like twice, and boom you are done and it puts
you right back in the game.
- Which leads me to another complaint: there don't appear
to be keyboard shortcut keys for the commands in the game
- In the movie sections of the game, the Esc key doesn't
get you out of them. Let me say that again: the Esc key,
you know, the thing you press to
escape out of something, yes, that key,
doesn't work. Instead, you have to hit Enter. My
dear lord in heaven.
- You can try out your weapons in the Holodeck. Maybe I'm
confused on this, but it looked like the ammunition I used
in there was gone for good? Like, when I started my real
mission, I didn't have full rounds. That's so completely
asinine I can't even begin to express myself calmly.
- The script is bad. I mean, really bad. Why even
bother to have it in there? It's like AI: when it doesn't
pass the Turing Test, it is just pathetic and is rubbing
its crappy self right in your nose. You'd be better off
So this Outforce Demo I'm playing has what looks to be a menu on
the left hand site of the screen that says things like
'guard', 'attack', etc. When I select a unit and try to click on
what look to be buttons in there, nothing happens. I guess it
maybe is just a bunch of status lights? Asinine! Hello!
I'm having fun playing Quake 2 and all, but:
- If you hit the Esc key on the Video options screen, even if you
haven't made any changes, the video system 'reboots'. You
have to explicitly use the Cancel menu entry to avoid it. Pretty
annoying, pretty asinine. The whole thing of having the Esc
key mean that the menu changes are kept is just wrong.
- I wish it would default
to loading the right game for crying out loud. It tends to
default to loading the second or third save ago, if you know what
- When you are playing a game, you tend to save a lot
so you don't have to go back over stuff when you die.
Many times, I've actually loaded rather than saved,
because the last thing I did was load rather than save
(the menu remembers your position). I think that is really
annoying, especially given that it can load the
wrong position (see the previous item). So I think the
load and save screens should have been designed with some
graphics or color or something on them, each differently,
to clearly distinguish between then when I'm just trying
to save quickly so I don't accidentally load instead. Capice?
- It is so very lame that it only has a limited number of save slots.
As if I don't have any more free space on my hard drive or something?
- If you upgrade with a patch, all of your saved games
are invalid! And there isn't even a big warning that you
have to go through first, that would let you know about
- Oh, yeah, and how about showing me something when
I have the handedness set on centered so I can tell when the
weapon has changed so I can tell when I can fire, rather than
leaving me to just be frustrated because I'm pressing the
fire button and nothing is happening.
- I really like how you can easily get trapped behind opening
doors and crushed to death. That's so gosh darned realistic
- There are things that bug the hell outta me in various
maps I've played:
- You should really try to make sure there
are no places I can get stuck. Like, climbing
up or down some land or architecture or something.
- Personally, I think making walls have
pillars that stick out and catch you so that
you then get shot up a lot and die, suck.
They do not add to the fun of my experience
in any way, so just don't have them, okay?
- Having bad guys spawn behind you for no
good reason is just pathetic design.
- If you have a transition point between
loaded maps, you should make sure it is a
natural one, like part way along a hall. I've
seen levels where:
- The transition point is a grating
that looks like all those other immovable,
gratings. So only after you have exhausted
every other possibility of leaving the room
do you then check the grating. Stooopid! Either
the transition point needs to clearly
do something (like a door
or a teleporter) or it needs to be invisible
yet natural (like halfway down an empty hall).
- After the transition point causes the
new room to load, you find yourself up against
a ton of enemies. So naturally you backpedal
as you are shooting. What do you backpedal into?
Why, the transition point, of course! So then
you are stuck loading the previous room etc.
Stooopid! The transition point should either
not let you go back, so you at least don't have
to get screwed waiting for all the loading again,
or it should put you around the corner from the
hell room so when you backpedal you at least
hit the corner of the hallway, not the transition.
If you have a first person action game, it probably expects me to use
the mouse to aim and the keyboard to move, right? So then you could guess
that I'm probably right-handed, right? So then why in the hell do
you make the arrow keys move me around rather than WASD like any
rational person would? Gah!
Man, I am so sick of the user interface for setting up options and
things being completely unlike the OS. The OS and native windowing system
has gone to all the trouble of making a consistent and, for the most part,
fast experience and then the game designers come along and make it all
suck. Like in Unreal Tournament where the default mouse speed is
stupid slow. Let me point that out again: the game designers decided
that they had to re implement the god damned mouse speed
for their goddamend program, and they didn't even bother to try and set a
default value from the underlying OSs settings. Or, like in Q3A where
whenever you mouse over something it makes a noise. How utterly
Sometimes, it's the little things. In X Wing Alliance, when your ship
takes off and leaves the hangar it always has its nose down. Why on earth
would it have its nose down? It should have its nose pointed up
so that its main thrusters drive it upward. Having the ship
point downward means it should plough into the hangar floor.
(Admittedly, in the movies they pretty much show the ships having anti
gravity (they hover and rise up when they are leaving the hangars), so I
guess anything goes.)
Independence War is a space
ship computer game. It received all sorts of acclaim in the gaming press,
and I went out and spent my hard earned (I'm a grave digger believe it or
not) money on it. It took me about half an hour to start suspecting it
sucked, and within another, say, 10 hours of play I was certain. A friend
suggested getting the latest patch: I did, and it didn't help.
What kills me that everyone seems to like the game. Some of the
reviews mentioned a few detractions, but by and large everyone said it was
a great game, well worth buying. It even did so well that it won some
awards. Yet it's obvious to me that the developers couldn't design
their way out of a soggy wet partially torn paper bag.
So, anyway, what's wrong with the game...
The mission end scores tell you that while you completed every part
of the mission, you only completed 65% of the overall mission. I'm
assuming they are hinting at hidden stuff, but I've never seen anything to
- The UI is just utter crap. In-game, there are keys for some things
and buttons on the HUD for some things, but they don't overlap well
e.g.: for Auto Docking, I think your only choice is to hit F8. During
the Salvage mission, they could have told you that rather
than forcing the user to find it in the crap manual. When you are
doing option menu stuff, like setting up graphical prefs or whatever,
you have to hit escape to back up a screen with your changes
saved (but you presed Esc, get it?).
It's just all so obviously utterly wrong.
- I don't think you can turn off the FMV interstitials (couldn't find the
command in the stupid manual, anyway): the seizure inducing yellow
flashing launch FMV, the time wasting stupid capsule space flick, the
briefings... Well, you can skip the whole briefing, but you
can't fast forward through it; if you can read faster than the voice
overs, you still have to sit there and wait through the whole damned
You can cancel some other stuff by hitting the escape key, but you
have to do it every time. There isn't just an option to turn all
that extraneous crap off.
- When you die, you aren't told why. That doesn't matter when you know
you were in a fight and were killed by pbc fire, but it does matter when
on the Morgan mission you are flying around the pods and you suddenly die
at the snap of someone's fingers and you have utterly no idea what
happened. It could have been the guns, it could have been an
asteroid, it could have been that the program is a piece of crap and
killed you due to a bug, but you just don't know. So then you are
faced with a situation where you are now tip-toeing around the
game trying not to offend it! Well, here's a little secret
for all game designers out there: that's not fun!
- You can't save during a mission. I guess this is supposed to somehow
make the game last longer. What it really ends up doing is making you sit
through all sorts of really stupid lame ass maneuvering just to get back
to the point where you died for no good reason. Like when you switch off
the com arm in the hopes that maybe it will just fast forward the plot so
you don't have so sit through the stupid Morgan spiel for the seventh
bloody time, and instead they all start killing you.
- The FMV sequences kill. I'm not kidding. Their triggers are
really lame; you can be flying through a location trigger and have it
fire, even though you really aren't at the right place in the story. E.g.:
when fixing the communications array, you have to fight off some indys. If
you fly through the trigger while giving chase, you will a) suddenly be
giving the stupid FMV about the array, and worse still b) the game will
assume that you are not just in that location, but that you were facing
the array, so it will force your ship to face that way. While
that's maybe just egg on the face of the developers, it really starts to
piss me off when they do not set any other variables, so since
you were at full thrust while chasing the enemy, you are now like 1 inch
away from the array, facing it, and while your velocity is zeroed out your
full thrust isn't. So the FMV ends, and you go immediately smashing into
the array and you die. And then, since you cannot save during a
mission, you have to go through all the dreck up to that point again even
though there's really nothing important for you to do.
- Nav points don't turn up as contacts. So you spend a lot of wasted
time going from nav plus to nav plus. Why the hell aren't they nav points
in your contact list? Every flight sim since like 1907 has had that basic
functionality! What the hell? Also, nav points flicker on and off as you
move around: sometimes, as you are rotating, a nav plus will disappear
than reappear. You can stop yourself, facing just the right way, to make
it invisible. Brilliant. Furthermore, there's no way to know how
far you are from a nav point. So you either keep overshooting it, or you
spend hours just changing your speed to get there. I've got news for you:
that's not fun. If it were a contact I could use the
autopilot to get there.
- You cannot command wing men individually. Given that several missions
give you more than one wingman, and lots of enemies, that's utterly
asinine. How about letting you individually command wingmen, so that
you could actually have a directed battle (ever play Battlezone)? There
isn't even an "everyone attack their nearest enemy" command. It's
all-or-nothing since you only have "(everyone) attack my target" and
"(everyone) defend my target". Perhaps if you have them "join formation"
they will automatically break and attack, but the manual sure as heck
never tells you how the wingmen behave.
- Personally, I think the targeting / contact system is crap: when I
choose a contact, I want that to always immediately be the target.
- The designers have no idea about who should be in control: both the
computer and the user control the flares, which is annoying because then i
have to wonder if i should ever bother with them at all - will the
computer just take care of it? There's no good explanation. And if the
flares don't do the job, I'm just going to hate the program.
- The mission selection UI is crap; it takes more than a minute to
figure out what the hell is what.
- The manual is nigh worthless. It has no index. It has no succinct
table of keyboard commands. It doesn't fully explain what results the
commands even have: e.g.: if you turn off the com arm while talking to
Morgan, he'll start shooting you. I don't know how many times I went into
rapid fire mode before finally finding the once tiny place in the manual
where it explained what controls that.
- The missions are, basically, boring. Maybe there are more interesting
ones later on, but I'm not willing to sit through how much this game sucks
to get to them. The ratio of time spent getting through the stupid crap
for the twelfth time, since you can't fast forward, to actually doing
something interesting is way too low.
- Mission endings suck. They are sudden; it's an indictment of they
whole mission design that it's often a jarring surprise when suddenly it's
- The navigation radar sphere thing is complete crap. Every other game
designer has long since realized it's complete and utter crap. That's
why nobody else uses it (e.g.: Elite, FreeSpace, any flight sim,
- The keyboard control is screwy. If you are rotating, and then you use
your lateral thrusters, the game keeps rotating you. So you cannot do any
deft movements: you have to wait until your rotation have come to a
complete stop before doing the lateral movement.
- The game crashes if you Alt-Tab to Windows. And, of course, it doesn't
save your game.
- The web site says "don't worry if Evac 3 gets destroyed" even though
I'm pretty sure you fail the mission if it does? Well, you should
worry since it's on the bloody objectives list. Also, what really gets my
goat (or is it goad?) is that the first time you even hear of
Evac 3 in the mission is when it gets destroyed. I think it's not
even in your contact list before that point, so how the hell are you
supposed to be able to protect it?!
- Don't you think that in the year twenty-whatever they'd have developed
a way of getting rid of lens flare? Note to game designers everywhere: if
it's not fun, then don't put it in there! Who gives a flying good
god damn if lens flare is "realistic" if, in the game, it's just plain
annoying? (like, by having destination nav points being directly toward
the sun, so there's full-on flare obscuring everything.)
nice little rant, full of expletives.
In summary: Games should not be capricious. There should always be a
clear reason for something happening. I should never be made to wait for a
game. The game should be at my beck and call, not the other way
around: there's a difference between hard fun and boring stupid
pain-in-the-ass waiting and repetition. If it's not fun, don't put it in there.
(And, of course, all game critics are complete and utter