This week has been pretty busy. I moved into my new place in Belfast properly on Tuesday night, and my time has been spent getting stuff organised for living there and the start of my university year. There’s a year of hard work ahead of me, but also a year of fun and some good games too. A new house, and with it new awesome broadband! No longer shall I have to wait excessive amounts of time to stream videos! Aside from that, I’m still playing Deus Ex, both original and HR, and hopefully I can start Invisible War soon. The first game varies in quality quite significantly. The story itself is the enjoyable part, but the combat falls down at times is the most dated of the gameplay mechanics (aside from the obvious graphics). It just feels unnatural, and very clunky, and it’s hard to believe it could be that way after the excellent combat system in the original Half-Life (Another game I shall have to replay). Don’t get me wrong, Deus Ex is a good game, but sometimes it is better to remember it fondly than to play it eleven years later. However, I will finish it!
On a friends recommendation I started playing Mount & Blade: Warband a couple of days ago. It’s a standalone expansion pack for Mount & Blade, and is described as a single-player, open-ended, action role-playing game. It’s a strange game, in that it doesn’t guide you the whole way through but lets you choose what to do. Though unless you have an army, that normally amounts to doing small missions for villages and running messages for lords. The combat is pretty fun, and there’s a decent choice of weapons including bows, crossbows, various swords and polearms. And there can be a lot of it, as you have to travel between towns and castles, which leaves you open to attack by bandits and hostile armies. The large scale battles can be great fun, though the AI (particularly true friendly troops) comes across as ridiculously simple at times and they charge in without consideration for the guy with a pike pointed towards them. Arena combat also is an option in some of the castles which is a fun, if slightly frustrating, distraction. How do you block arrows with a sword?!
Warband has a lot going for it, but it lacks direction. You can spend hours wandering about on one quest or another, only to find out that the damn Count you are trying to rescue is already free and ruling his own castle, yet the quest log still hasn’t realised this fact as you are talking to him. And not every village can offer you work; very few have had tasks for me so far and the message work pays so little it isn’t worth the time. I’m truly considering killing some farmers so I can go to war with a kingdom, and have something to do aside from being killed by bandits. Graphics, I have not yet touched on. They are definitely dated, and could have been acceptable about six years ago, but things have moved on. Thankfully they aren’t hideous enough to detract from the gameplay, but they aren’t anything special at the same time. This can be forgiven, however, in the massive battles with 200 vs 200 troops. Overall I have enjoyed many aspects, but playing it for more than a short time just leads to frustration and boredom very quickly. Keep in mind that I’m still relatively new to the game and have yet to make decent progress, so I might have a different opinion the next time you see me.
In other gaming news, my invitation for the closed beta of Gotham City Impostors arrived on Friday: a game I’m quite looking forward to. There’s a slight problem though. It’s only open to US residents, so it will be interesting to see if I can actually download the client. It’s worth a try though, and worst case scenario I don’t get playing till general release, so I’m not hanging all my hopes on it working. Being a closed beta I’m not supposed to divulge any information about the game, so expect to see my impressions of the game posted here!