Archive for November, 2007
It has come to my attention that some people get free stuff from you in return for being nice about games. So if you want to send me any games or gaming-related tat then I promise not to be rude about them. If they’re rubbish, I’ll probably just pretend not to have seen them. Seriously, though, I’m a staunch defender of the PSP and found several nice things to say about that Tamagotchi board game on the Wii, so unless your product name includes the word “Sims” you’re pretty safe.
Looking at my stats for last month (October 2007) my atom.xml feed file was viewed 2,307 times and my blog’s main page was viewed 531 times. That’s, like, loads. (Although the atom.xml file was accessed about 70,000 times, but I guess the 2,307 is after search bots have stripped from the figures or something.) I bet IGN and Gamespot don’t have many more hits than that. And I post loads on Usenet and rllmuk. Sometimes I even post on NTSC-UK when I’m really, really bored.
Please email me at the address listed in my Blogger profile if you wish to take advantage of this very special offer.
Rev. Owen Allaway
P.S. I also accept cash, bourbon and Star Wars merchandise.
I was meant to be playing this with friends last night, but nobody showed up. So after half an hour wandering round maps listening to the developers’ commentary, I leapt into a public game.
I was rubbish. Just awful. I had fun, though, even though I kept dying. And despite my incompetence my team won a couple of times, including one win that was so decisive that it got me a (richly undeserved) achievement. (Though there is a case to be made that by being such an easy target, I distracted the enemy from the better members of my team, and thus helped in my own way.)
Looking at the stats afterwards, it seems that I did far, far better when I was a pyro and sat back in defence, so I think that’s probably what I’ll stick to from now on.
This is brilliant. Yes, it’s a glitchy, buggy and repetitive mess, but it’s a brilliant glitchy, buggy and repetitive mess.
The core world and mechanics are just so good that I find it easy to overlook the problems. Like last night, when a mission I’d finished reset itself because I happened to bump into a Templar on the way back to talk to the guy who’d given me the mission. (As luck it would have it, it was the best side mission yet – a stealth kill of a guard in a crowded street – so doing it again wasn’t something I minded.)
I’ve now taken to killing beggars. You lose sync (i.e. health) whenever you do it, but they’re so annoying that it’s worth it. “Please sir, spare me a coin. Just a single… gurrgggh.” That actually sounds really horrible written down like that and it’s not something I’d recommend in real life, but in the game world it feels great. I’m also killing any lunatics that get in my way, after one alerted an assassination target last night and stopped me from getting a stealth kill.
Today I didn’t go into any sort of gum or candy. Nope, I went into an Unopened Drink.
Managed to get some specialists with DEF/INT/SP bonuses to add to an orb Flonne’s carrying, but didn’t manage to level up a single character, despite using my low-level guys (i.e. Prinnies) most of the time.
I suspect these entries might need a translation for some people. I’m not sure it’s worth doing, though.
Another lunchtime spend inside some candy looking for specialists.
I’m really trying to keep all my characters equally levelled, but it’s just about impossible. The guys with long range attacks always level up faster – my two fire-wielding guys are still above Laharl, even.
Last night, this was just about the best game ever… for the most part.
It was the best game ever when I was exploring cities, fighting guards to save citizens (or just for fun), galloping over the countryside knocking guards left and right, running over rooftops to assassinate a guard before he knew I was there and posing like Batman on top of tall buildings.
It was a bit rubbish when I was actually playing the main game. The missions you use to gain intel aren’t very interesting. They’re very short, but just not very fun. There are three types, one of which involves, er, finding a bench to sit on. Yes. That really makes me feel like an assassin. Picking pockets and roughing people up to gain information are more interesting, but not as fun as rooftop escapes or counter-filled fights against six guards at once.
I only did one real story assassination in the four hours I played, but that was just a fairly standard fight bookended with annoying cut scenes. It’s not Hitman, by any means. In Hitman fights against multiple opponents generally mean death and stealth is the way to go. In Assassin’s Creed stealth is the far more difficult option, with combat against multiple opponents being reasonably easy (so far) and more of a way to show off than anything else.
It’s as if they’ve got the world right, the controls right and the combat right, but then tacked on a main game unworthy of all the rest. Combat is really superb now I can counter, the cities are wonderful and the simplified running and jumping controls that sounded so rubbish from previews actually work superbly. There’s enough control to make it feel like you’re doing everything, but it’s automated enough to stop you from constantly falling over, cursing and dying. Sometimes things go wrong and you end up throwing yourself off a building when you meant to jump up a wall or leap a gap, but it doesn’t happen very often and given the nature of the game they’ve done a really great job there.
I’m not sure if the fun will last, but right now it feels a lot like a GTA game to me. That sense of freedom, coupled with the annoyance of having to do annoying story missions to open up new areas to play. (I’ve never liked the story missions in GTA games. Ever.) The other comparison that springs to mind is with Crackdown and I think Assassin’s Creed would probably have been better structured in a similar way, with all the targets open and available from the beginning.
Oh, and it crashed on me last night. I was in an enemy camp out in the kingdom and I’d just slaughtered a load of enemies with my amazing sword skills. The last one fell, I started to walk towards my horse and my 360 froze up completely. Grrr.
I’ve just noticed something today. I always thought specialists were only “unlocked” if you defeated them Item World, but it seems they get unlocked if the other enemies killed them, too.
I went into some candy today and saw three specialists, two of whom I killed and one who was killed before I could get to him. Upon exiting the Item World at level ten all three could be moved.
Well, that changes my item World tactics a bit, then.
Things I learned last night:
1) Being party leader is really quite stressful.
2) Lag’s no fun. Except in Rocket Race, which is insane enough to survive.
3) I am not good at all at Ninjaball.
In ugvm, Zomoniac wrote, “Simultaneously the best and worst game I’ve played in a long time.”
After an hour and half spent with it last night I’m tempted to agree.
Sometimes it feels like the best thing ever, but then it goes and fails a mission for unclear reasons, has rules for guard behaviour I’ve not even begun to work out yet and takes you out of the action for another huge cut scene just when you’re getting into things.
And it looks absolutely incredible… except when the screen’s tearing itself in half and shadows are glitching all over the place.
I really can’t tell whether it’s any good yet or not.
Yesterday lunchtime; a fairly short session. I taught Laharl Mega Fire and Mega Heal, then went into some chewing gum to grab a Marksman to put in Mina’s gun.
As you do.