Saturday, February 05, 2005

Notes on Star Wars: Republic Commando 

Tycho seemed to like this game, but I have no idea why. It sounded like a very interesting concept; a strategic shooter, where you order a small team of commandos around while fighting alongside them. Abstractly, that idea rocks. This game sucks, though.

The first thing I have to say about this game is that it looks worse than Half-Life 2 and runs much slower. There's really no excuse for that. Perhaps Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source have spoiled me, but it just doesn't feel like an action game when you throw a grenade next to a bunch of barrels and it doesn't throw them around when it explodes.

The game has conceptual problems also. While the squad-based strategy stuff sounds interesting, in reality all of the possible orders you can give are predetermined. If you come across an area and notice that it will let you assign a sniper to a stack of barrels, well, you should do it. I guess. Usually there are less of these spots than there are guys on your team, which makes it all kind of moot, in my opinion. There was one spot in the game where I got stuck in a deadend. I hadn't realized that there was actually a wall that could be demolished. It looked like any other wall...no other random walls could be knocked down before that point. It just sucked until I noticed the demolition spot. Sometimes you need your hacker guy to hack a door to open it. You might find yourself in a room, getting shot at by a billion guys, and the guy doesn't just go open it. It's frustrating. You just want to go, look, there's one thing that can be done in this room, why don't you just go do it?

That's another thing, actually. The game seems to have an unlimited supply of bad guys to throw at you until you make progress past a given door or wall. This kind of takes the strategy out of it, since you'll just have to sit there getting whittled down until you figure out what wall or door needs to be opened. I'd much rather you could clear an area of bad guys, but have the bad guys all be tougher. Another thing; the characters are really hard to read because of this. When there's guys pouring into the room without end, it's really hard to figure out where your guys are. It's partially an artwork issue, since the bad guys and your teammates don't really read that well on a dark screen. But it's also just an insanity issue.

I'd rather just zoom in on Warhammer 40k.

yeah, i think half life 2 ruined me for other games... they just don't look all that cool anymore.

of course, if stalker ever ships, that will change things around all over again...
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