Archive for September, 2011

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Hard Reset

Hard Reset has an engine, that looks really awesome and is very fast at the same time. In that it’s the opposite of Dragon Age, whose engine is ugly (in comparison) and tends to be slow(er). :P The game has some impulses I liked a lot and missed in other games. Loading of new levels occurs during cutscenes, so there are no waiting periods (considering the player wants to watch the cutscenes and doesn’t try to skip them immediately) from start to finish. Why don’t all games do that? Anyways, the game is rather short, but even that is no problem, because it’s available at a fair price. A shorter game is no rip-off, if that’s reflected in the price accordingly.
Hard Reset delivers exactly what it promises. Reliable action, no bullshit.

RAGE TV Spot

On the progress of games because of leaps in technology:

When hard drives had 1 GB in size they made cities like Baldur’s Gate and Atkathla. When hard drives had 2000 GB in size, they made Denerim (Dragon Age: Origins). Therefore, Denerim must be roughly 2000 times the size of Baldur’s Gate or Atkathla. Oh wait…

I’d place Deus Ex 3 somewhere between 1 and 2, when it comes to complexity of gameplay elements. At the end of the day, 1 still offered more than 3 (concerning options). That doesn’t mean, of course, that 3 isn’t an awesome game. It is. In fact, there have been few games in recent times, that offered such a reasonably big game world with so many possibilities for the player. I love that. The overall theme/setting was very appealing to me and I enjoyed it greatly, to spent time in all the various locations the game offered. Walking through some of the areas reminded me of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, one of my all-time favorite games.
An especially noteworthy aspect of the game was, that despite a good amount of quests, the quality didn’t decrease. They were able to keep the pacing up throughout the entire campaign, including all the side-quests. Even the DLC (I’m talking of the Tracer Tong mission) fit in well with the rest of the game, something DLC usually terribly fails at (I hate the very idea of DLC).
Deus Ex 3 was also the first game in a long time, that actually made the effort again, to have secrets for the player to find (instead of just offering achievements as a substitute). It payed off and was interesting to explore every corner. Same goes for hacking computers that decorated at least all the office spaces, Adam Jensen could traverse. Mails were gathered in an extra menu, that was always available. I found that addictive enough, that I wanted to gather them all. These are a good example, for the high amount of detail that was put into the game. The player could learn lots of background information about almost any element of the game world and its characters. They even thought of adding the “same” emails to all computers, whose users had correspondence with each other (if user x answered to a mail user y sent, the computer of y would contain the reply alongside the original mail x sent and the computer of x would have just the mail from y :P). Good call. Apart from the interesting intel Adam can acquire this way, the writers had lots of fun with it. Even the most top secret places with the highest standards of security suffer from certain spam mails, that the IT department just can’t stop from intruding their systems and people complain a lot about such issues. :P If that was not enough, countless “ebooks” are spread throughout the game and complete the good impression of a team that paid proper attention.
Another very well done (always vital) part was the handling. No matter what I wanted Adam Jensen to do, it usually went smooth. I only changed one setting in the game menu and that was to toggle the taking cover option. Default was to always keep the right mouse button pressed or go out of cover. I thought that was really inconvenient. Staying in cover was essential for every stealthy approach and could take up lots of time. I wonder if anyone had the patience (put yours to the test! :P) to keep that button pressed potentially over hours of gaming.
I played the game right away when it was brand-new, so a few troubles are to be expected. It took me ~46 hours to complete the game (and see all 4 endings) and the game crashed to desktop 3 times, which is no problem/not much. In 3 months from now, the drivers are very likely optimized for this game and the game itself will have received another patch.
This positive picture continues, as I encountered only minor bugs. What annoys me most, especially in RPG oriented games, is when quests don’t work right, but 3 had none of those.
What I did notice, was a little glitch, when picking up items from a defeated opponent. There are always 3 spaces that can contain items. If the inventory suddenly has no room left while picking stuff up, these 3 spaces turn red, but even money can’t be picked up anymore, although it takes up no space in the inventory (and can be gathered endlessly, I assume). To still get the money, the dialog has to be closed and reopened, for it to work again.
Next up was a small problem with smart vision, the button to activate it is F3 (default at least), but in one level nothing happened when I pushed it. I tried it several times because it annoyed me. I started to wonder if maybe the button on my keyboard was malfunctioning. But after exiting/restarting the game, it worked again. Reloading did nothing though.
Pressing TAB opened the menu that contained every in-game option in a nice GUI. I already mentioned how cool and motivating all the emails were, so I checked in here quite often. All emails were marked as new at first, and lost this status after being hovered over with the mouse cursor. Sometimes it occurred, that the first mail in the list was marked and no other could be selected. Meaning that all mails kept the “new” status. Closing/reopening the menu helped.
My last less than perfect experience was, that the game sometimes behaved like an application that had lost focus and needed a mouse click to regain that status, before it would properly respond to the user again. While hacking I had this quite often. before this mini-game would start (I loved it, I hacked everything that could be… hacked), I had to click twice on hack for it to actually happen.
To me, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was completely worth the price I payed and I’m glad I got it right away. It belongs a lot more in the category of games, that I always want to play (but rarely get), than in the one where I am too often disappointed or frustrated and primarily see the wasted potential in an otherwise promising game design. Oh, the game also has 49 achievements (an IMHO really ugly trend that apparently made it from consoles to PC), of which I gained 36 in my (so far) single playthrough without even trying. At least now I know for sure, that the game still contains more secrets for me to uncover, should I play it again. Another run will certainly be enticing, especially if they patch it some more (you’ll never know what improvements that might bring). I “stealthed” my way through the entire game and except for the boss fights, didn’t even use (lethal) weapons. So it’s quite sad that in a game with weapons like the plasma rifle, I never got to see those in action. :)

PS: I don’t know if that even qualifies as a glitch (probably not), but the videos were always darker than the rest of the game, so that there was always a distinction between those and everything else. I’m not sure if that was intentional. My guess is no.