By ArbitraryWater 12 Comments
In "commemoration" of GOG's ended "Pay what you want" promo for Interplay's entire catalog on the service, I have decided to blog about every game. Actually, no. That would be stupid, because if there's anything to be learned from that promo, it is that Interplay's catalog is pretty awful at this point and the desiccated husk of a company has been sustaining itself off the original Fallout for far too long. Instead, I will probably blog about the eight games at the bottom tier, the tier that I shamelessly paid a dollar for (if you want the good stuff, you're going to have to pay $35), though I will not guarantee a full blog on each (Hey, I bet that Jagged Alliance 2 Unfinished Business plays a lot like Jagged Alliance 2). But before I regale you with tales of a crummy Dragon's Lair wannabe, let's talk for a bit, shall we?
I finished Borderlands 2. I stand by my (and everyone else’s) statement that it’s basically a better version of the first game, no more and no less. However, as someone who never actually finished the first game (I’m probably pretty close. I bet I could knock it out in a weekend if I felt so inclined) that was enough to tip the scales in my favor. A better sense of pacing contributes to this, as does smarter designed skill trees and more distinguished weapon design. I feel most of the attempts at dramatic storytelling fell flat, and the attempts at humor were decidedly mixed, but the part where I had an automatic sniper rifle that does corrosive damage with 22 bullets in the clip was A-OK. However, I’m not sure if I am going to play anymore, at least for a while. Much like Diablo III, my tolerance level for this kind of stuff isn’t quite enough for me to play through it again to get to max level. Maybe once some more DLC is released, or maybe if I can get some people to consistently play with me.
Whilst home for the weekend, I decided to mess around with some of the games I had left there. While me playing an hour of Dark Souls isn't particularly interesting, I did decide to pop in Resident Evil 2 for a spin and was surprised to see a Leon A save file that had reached the sewers. I then proceeded to finish it with a final time of less than 2 hours. (unlocking the Rocket Launcher in the process). This, if nothing else, prompted me to remember that Resident Evil 2 is hella short and also hella easy. The game practically throws ammo at you (something that I remember getting worse in Resident Evil 3), and Leon can murder pretty much anything with his upgraded shotgun or magnum. I’m not sure if there’s a point to that story, other than “Resident Evil 2 is pretty short and it kind of sucks that you can ignore a lot of the stuff in that last area”
I’ve also been playing a lot of Heroes of Might and Magic IV, specifically the set of campaigns from the Gathering Storm expansion, and I still stand by that one time I wrote that Heroes IV is pretty good and somewhat underrated. That’s not to say it doesn’t have problems, problems showcased even more by this expansion, but eh. Perhaps the most prevalent one is how you can solo maps with the right type of hero, especially if they have Nature or Chaos magic (creature summoning or direct damage). You don’t need to recruit guys if you can have an army of unicorns or fairy dragons in a few turns, and similarly one of the campaign heroes straight up gets grandmaster stealth in her first map (she also has nature magic) allowing her to run around maps alone with impunity and basically breaking the difficulty presented. While I haven’t played the original campaigns in quite some time, I remember them having a lot of writing as well as scripted events, things that seem conspicuously absent in these ones. I guess 3DO’s dire financial straits didn’t really allow New World Computing to do more than they had to.
But let’s talk about bad games. Like this one.
Kingdom: The Far Reaches
Oh boy. I really started with the showstopper. While most the other 7 games in that bottom tier of interplay seem to range between “bad” and “not especially great” (I imagine Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business is the exception, but I really never enjoyed JA2, so I probably won’t write about it), Kingdom: The Far Reaches should barely be called a game. The first warning sign is that it’s actually a port of an arcade game called Thayer’s Quest (released in like the 80s), which was basically Dragon’s Lair with the concepts of that applied to a crappy adventure game. The second is that, in addition to DOS, it was also ported to the CD-I and the 3DO. Kingdom falls into the realm of “So bad it’s ironically enjoyable” . The animation is bad, the voice acting is bad and the game itself can obviously be completed in a few minutes. There’s also a lot of insta-death, somewhat but not really alleviated by you having 3 lives that falls in line with the part where it was originally an arcade game that was meant to be unfair ‘n junk. Thus, if you were to guess that most of the puzzle solutions are total BS, you’d be right! I don’t even know what to say. . I dunno. The idea that anyone would pay money for this is both sad and hilarious, and I suggest you don’t do so. Unless you already bought that interplay pack, at which point go for it. Just watch this death compilation, which is from the arcade version and thus has better video quality.
Well, that may have been the first blog where my preamble was longer than what I theoretically was writing about. Whatever.