Saturday, March 8, 2008

Chapter 7: Thanks for Standing Still

Sorry for the lack of updates, folks. Considering my progress through the game has been tedious and menial so far, I decided that not bothering it for a few weeks means I wouldn't have missed much. Besides, I hear they're too busy working with the Asian market to get them patched up first instead of the people they released a half-finished game to first. But hey, I'm no economic expert. Anyways.

Today I'll divulge a bit on enemy tactics, or the lack thereof. More specifically, why exactly do some of the enemies turn so suddenly retarded and would rather stand there looking at you in the face while you pump led full of them then would they want to try and go around the obstacle blocking their path? Ah, well, that may be the problem there. You know all this great coding in this game doesn't make me surprised why some of the enemies just decide to chill every now and then and let themselves take a beating. It turns an easy game into "shooting fish in a barrel" easy.

This Bruiser did start to go up the stairs once I tossed a grenade at his buddies, but it seems like he might have got his foot caught because he decided to chill right here for me to kill him.

Moving right along, going through the same process of dodge, shoot, loot, and continuing my progress, I didn't think much in doing something that mirrored a tedious day job. That is, until I magically fell through the map. Yep. That was definitely a fun experience. I was fighting some Gremlins in a subway when, all of the sudden, I side-stepped, fell through the map, and was magically teleported back to the beginning. At first I thought it was just a glitch. I mean, hey, it definitely wouldn't be the first. But then I found out, after dodging the Gremlins again, that it was very repeatable indeed.

In the general vicinity of the spot I'm shooting at is where I would magically "fall" and be teleported back to the beginning of the level.

Back to enemy tactics. I can remember quite clearly back in alpha/beta bringing up the issue of how demon troopers' sword reach was too far. And I don't mean I was complaining about how much reach it had, I was complaining about how a demon trooper can and would swing its sword nearly five or six feet away from me but magically land a hit. Perhaps if I show you what I mean we can be on the same page here.

Swing batta batta...SWING AND A MI--Oh.

Yep. I'm just so glad to see that's still here. I mean, yes, let's go ahead and make a compromise. Let's make a world that makes little sense as it is now, considering its design, and then let's try and "balance" things out so the melee attackers aren't a complete lack of a threat to ranged players. Yes, rather then have these enemies have alternate ranged weapons to be just as equally effective, we should only give them one set of preset weapons and just do what every other game has been doing for nearly the past 20 years in FPS shooters. Then again, I'm sure something like that would've been way too complicated to do, so I guess I'm just asking for too much here.

Well, I decided to go back to fiddling around with the main quest. More specifically, I decided to take my time on a quest that I happened to enjoy the most, considering it was completely dark and you had to rely on a headpiece flashlight to shine your way. Yes, I'm talking about The Infection, or better known as, "What more than half the game's environments should be like." I always found that quite interesting, really. Every single area you ever go to the entire place is well-lit. Ducts, subways, streets, etc. For some reason the lights are still on. Never mind the fact that the world is clearly ravaged and war torn. No no, stop with the logic questions. Those aren't allowed here you intelligent person. Dumb it down a few notches and you'll do just fine.

This was full of win--probably more the reason why we see this environment only once.

I mean, I remember the first trailer quite well. The labeling of the game as a horror genre looking to earn more then its fair share as a M-rated title. The two Templar only being in the general vicinity of two poorly-lit power-generated lights and then walking out of the station and onto the pitch-black streets, where flares and the ambient light of hell peaking out from below lit their way. I was expecting a dark and dreary landscape that gave the impression that it wasn't safe to go out alone. Instead our characters are one-men armies traveling down the Home Depot light fixtures aisle. But I digress.

Speaking further on the environment, I would like to bring up the talking point of how random items you find on the street are, well, random. And I mean they're not even bothered to be conveniently placed or logically explained. No, why the hell would you question something in which there was a severe lack of developer effort in? You bad, bad consumer! Asking all those naughty questions.

Inconspicuous. Adj. "Not readily noticeable."

And furthering the point of the environment, or the lack thereof, I think it would also be a good time to bring up what exactly are the requirements to play this game. Before I moved over to my new system, I was running with an AMD 4200+, an X1600XT and 2GB of RAM. Nothing fancy or special, but you know what? It ran Oblivion, and it ran Oblivion quite well. But, hell, fire up Hellgate here and it stutters (this had to do more so with the fact that they didn't have dual core support for the longest time). So besides being piss-poor implemented, it took a toll on my system for what reason exactly? Here, let me break it down to you now. I'm now running a system with an Intel Core Duo E6550, an 8800GT, and 4GB of RAM. The system runs Crysis flawlessly at 1280x1024, 4xAA, and all high graphic settings at DX9, yet when I fired up Hellgate back in December to see the difference in performance I was still getting stutter performance issues.

Perhaps for the uneducated out there I can break it down for you, but even though now that they have patched what ever reason as to why the game stuttered on people's rigs that blew the system requirements out of the South China Sea is beyond me as to why it was even a problem in the first place. While I am now running Hellgate in 1280x1024, 4xAA, and all high graphic settings in DX9 as well, it looks like I'm parading around Deus Ex textures in this game.

Wow, that is a great ground texture there. I mean, look at it. Completely flat and all, but offering 3D perspective. Well, maybe if we just throw in a few poorly-textured rocks around it and a pillar going straight down into the rubble without anything bumping up against it it won't look like we spent about 15 minutes in Windows Paint doing our textures.

I mean, what the hell happened here folks? Halo for the PC looks better than this, and Halo for the PC came out in 2001. What ever happened to the promises of this, this, this, this, this, this, or this? I mean, the graphics look so dated that it's a wonder why they didn't bother to just revamp the whole game and make everything all fluffy and happy, because everything is already well-lit with happy colors. I don't ever feel like I'm in a ravaged city that has been well been taken over by demons. As a matter of fact, I don't ever get the feeling of "being alone" because all I ever have to do is run back to a station and find 20 or 30 people there, or, in some instances, I would find a group of 15 or 20 Templar romping around. I mean, I thought the human survivors were supposed to be few. What ever sort of immersion they try to establish is immediately destroyed when the support under it is pulled by the very people that were supposed to make it sturdy enough to hold the weight of what they were saying they were delivering. Perhaps next time we shall have deeds and not words.


"Yes, yes, I know my men and I are just standing around not shooting back at the enemy. Why do you think we are losing this war in the first place?"

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