Only one new game this week, and it’s not even a full game. But I have finished another game I’ve been playing and have plenty of things to say about it now. Anyway, let’s get started.
I’ve only played the demo of this game in very short chunks. I haven’t even reached the end of my time limit on the demo. For a while, space sims have been something of a curiosity for me. I’ve wanted to check out one of these types of games before, but felt like I lacked a proper joystick for piloting a spacecraft, even though I could easily just use the mouse or keyboard. I saw the game on Steam, heard there was a demo available on the game’s website, and downloaded it. Went through the tutorials and then just drifted aimlessly in space, attempting to do missions and fail at them not knowing what to do.
In short, I have played very little of this that I have no idea why I even put it as one of my spotlighted games at the start of this blog. Then again, there wasn’t anything really new I had played that I could cover in depth, so I’ll do my best to put together my thoughts on this demo. Even without knowing what I should be doing, I am still very fascinated by it. There are a lot of complex systems to wrap around regarding how your ship works, but that’s a little bit of the fun of the genre I’m guessing. There are a lot of things to keep track of manage, which is something I would expect to be the case if space craft like this were real.
One thing that I especially like about Evochron Mercenary is its seamlessness. I remember seeing a video years back, and thinking about it now it might have been related to this game, but I remember watching a video demonstration of a ship going from a space station in orbit of a planet to the planet’s surface, right through the atmosphere. No loading or transition screens of any kind, everything streamed in as the ship entered the planet’s atmosphere. I thought that was really impressive, even if the graphics themselves weren’t that great. Just the thought of it gave me something to be excited about. And now I got to do it.
And that’s really all that I have done. Fly around in space, going in and out of planets, failing to complete missions, that sort of thing. I probably would have been able to complete the race missions had I better control of my ship. Even with so little time spent, I definitely see this as a type of game I want to dig deep into in the future. But first I should probably get a joystick for controlling the ship and actually read through the game’s manual. The latter probably being why I barely accomplished anything in that demo.
I normally don’t write more in depth about games I’ve already covered, that’s what the “And the Rest” segment is for. But in some cases where I don’t have anything new to write about, I figured it would be fine to write up my thoughts on Deus Ex Human Revolution after finishing the game. Yeah, got around to beating it Wednesday night, and I’m playing it again on the hardest difficulty and forcing myself to not kill anyone (an idea that I would not consider in my normal mind). I definitely took my time with the first few hours of the game and even held it off for a while to play other games, but as I kept playing more and more, I didn’t want to stop. I kept getting more augmentations, the story got more interesting, and I went from playing in short bursts to hours at a time.
So how’s the game, now that I’ve seen it to the end? Pretty good. I already mentioned it before, but Human Revolution accomplishes what the developers tried to do, and that is to make another Deus Ex game. And it shows, in ways that are both intentional and unintentional. When you’re in Hengsha, there are some rather bad engrish accents going on, but you know what? Deus Ex had them too. At least Human Revolution didn’t try to have horrible French accents. Also, like the original Deus Ex, you can choose which ending you want to end the game, but it is way easier and convenient. In the original Deus Ex, you had to do certain things in order to access any of the three endings, but the stuff you had to do was saved until that very last mission. In Human Revolution, you just have a row of three buttons, with a fourth button down a corridor to the left. And stuff like the enemy AI or the voice acting for pretty much everyone I already mentioned. That stuff is the game unintentionally being like Deus Ex, because those problems were abound in that game.
The stuff that is intended for a Deus Ex game, however, is well executed on. You get rewarded for exploring the environment and looking for hidden pathways and item caches, and the points you earn give you access to more augmentations that make you feel powerful. Well, not powerful in a take on a small army kind of way, but being able to reach places no normal person can’t, and sneak past areas that are heavily guarded. The game starts off with you being relatively weak, and those first few hours can feel slow and maybe a bit boring. But your patience is rewarded as not only do your augmentations get better, but the rate at which you get access to them increases. That sort of thing is usually in reverse for other RPGs, with you leveling up fast in the beginning and the requirement for the next level demanding more and more points.
There was one particular moment I experienced in Human Revolution that made me realize what the other part of the fun was in these games, aside from building your character. Note that this is covering some spoiler territory. When you return to Hengsha looking for Dr. Reed’s team, the drop ship Malik is piloting gets taken down by Belltower and crashes in a construction site. She urges Jensen to keep going, but I refuse and want to take out the bastards that shot us down. I looked at my inventory and noticed now was the best time to use my Sniper Rifle and all the ammo I had been saving. I whipped out the rifle and shot all the soldiers from a distance without getting overwhelmed. But then a giant robot came out to finish the job, and I lacked the proper equipment to take it down. And you know what was even worse? I actually had the proper tools to take it out just several minutes before leaving Detroit. I used the only 2 EMP grenades I had on some turrets set up in the sewers by a dude threatening to set off a bomb. The grenades are handy for taking down turrets and robots without taking up space in the inventory, but without those grenades, I was at a loss for how to take out that mech. And then Malik was killed. It was too late to try and reload a previous save, as any save I had was already past the point where I used those grenades.
It left me rather upset, feeling like I failed, but then it made me realize what the other element of Deus Ex was, and that is the permanence of choices you make and how the consequences will either help you or hinder you. I realized using those grenades in the sewers was a bad move when I had the ability to turn invisible long enough to take out the guy and disarm the bomb. But you know what was the positive consequence of a choice I made? Holding onto that ammo I got for my sniper rifle that came with the DLC I bought with the game. I had plenty to spare on those soldiers in the construction site. I was prepared in one way yet foolishly unprepared in another. I’ll admit the thought of it all kept going through my head when I was trying to go to bed, starting with the feeling of shame for failing to save Malik, but being taught a valuable lesson by the game because of that. It was an odd but wonderful feeling.
Eidos Montreal might not have made the game strict to the letter of the original, but they succeeded at what they were trying to do: create a Deus Ex experience. More possibilities open up for you as unlock your augmentations, you see the results of actions you made present before you, and you are rewarded for being sneaky instead of rushing in guns blazing. If they were able to pull this off so well, there may be reason to be interested in how they’re going to tackle Thief 4.
And the Rest
The Binding of Isaac
Gave the game another go after a couple weeks of not playing it, and I still have not reached the end. So far I’ve managed to get to the second to last area. I’m at least finding new items and power ups for Isaac, which I’ve found can sometimes help or hinder you. Especially when you find the devil and choose to make a pact with him. You’re not exactly sure what you’re going to get during a playthrough in this game.
Finished the story with Rin as my girlfriend. Parts of it leading to the end got kind of uncomfortable, especially the sex scene I felt, but I felt pretty satisfied. To prevent myself from getting burned out, I’ve been holding out on trying the other paths. That first act is rather long, again taking me two hours to complete it. Hopefully soon I’ll start another playthrough. I’m rather interested to see what Lilly’s path is like.
Things Other Than Games
Nothing to eventful for me outside of giving up my time for Deus Ex. My dad has been out of town for the week, so I’ve been getting to use the car to and from school all week. Beats standing outside in the cold for the bus, but unfortunately that won’t be happening again for a while. Also, looking for jobs is a pain, especially when none of them say they are hiring right now. Jobs that I’ve already had interest in I’m not going to be getting anytime soon so I’ve had to look for other things. So far the one that seems alright with me is a package handler for UPS. I’ve moved stuff in the back of warehouses before so it wouldn’t be anything new for me. We’ll see if I end up getting a job before summer.
And that’s it. The month is just about over. Thanks to you all who are reading this blog, and special thanks to dankempster to mentioning my blog in his 200 entry. Didn’t expect my second entry of this year, which had zero comments, suddenly get feedback. Thanks again.
Also, while this isn’t confirmed, but a friend told me that he could lend me one of his PSPs sometime with the Persona games on them. Because I loved Persona 3 FES so much, I am so down with that. So if I remember to give him a call about that deal sometime soon, you might see more of my thoughts on Persona in the near future.