This Week, I Have Been Mostly Playing…

This week I have been mostly playing…

I’ve obviously played a lot since my last post, Red Alert and Deus Ex (which is still in progress) for instance, but also I have played Halo 3‘s campaign in Co-op, and the Half Life 2 engine mod Age of Chivalry and Half Life: Decay (read on for more).

Firstly, Halo 3 – I’ve not got an Xbox 360, I played this with another person who’s never played Halo 3 round a friends house. The campaign, for the most part, was exceedingly fun and we didn’t get stuck (I played it previously but we got stuck a few levels in, playing on “Hard”). The main bits I completely got board and tired with were all the flood-related levels, which is sadly about the last third of the game give or take. They seriously required little or no strategy, most just ran at you head on. I really, really hate the overuse of zombies, which this entirely was. Some levels also were too confusing to walk around – reminiscent of some poor Halo 1 levels, and a lot of levels you had to walk through twice (once in each direction) which seemed a bit lazy. Still, the story ended itself, to some extent (although obviously we should have paused to read all the backstory, several books, the online PR websites, the Halo 3 wiki and all the in-game terminal texts to really know what was going on, sigh). I had a lot of fun in co-op however (which is what matters, the story has more Deus Ex Machina moments and cutscene deaths then I care to mention), I’d have never completed the game on Hard difficulty by myself – respawns really, really help. Bungie got that part right at least! Mucho fun fighting in the first 2/3rds of the game, in co-op, so try that if you can! 😀

Why would a castle have this engraved? really?! 🙂

Age of Chivalry is a Half Life 2 total conversion mod (one of five put on Steam officially), basically a new multiplayer game, set around beating people up with swords and arrows and stuff. There isn’t, to be honest, much chivalry involved in the game. The combat is either melee – blocking and attacking right next to a target, which usually is quite random at times, or projectile based – with arrows and crossbows, or even catapults depending on the level. Health doesn’t regenerate, so when you’re nearly dead, it’s almost silly how you have to try and get killed to simply have a chance at a fair fight next time. The maps include a standard-ish Capture the Flag (although you can blow parts of your enemies castle apart with a catapult for easier access), a few “kill all the enemies a lot” team deathmatch levels, and several attack/defence maps usually based around a castle but not always. The objectives are pretty easy to complete, and if the defenders don’t know what to do they’ll easily get defeated by one lone player (in my case, after learning the levels, this half fell to me – most of the players don’t have a clue it seems, and the game is very unintuitive if you don’t read the manual). I like trying it from time to time mainly for the melee combat – entirely random and flawed (the longsword armed knight entirely rules), but no other game matches it in that respect. It’s worth a try, but read the manual first.

I wonder how he gets up all the stairs and ladders in Black Mesa?

Half-Life Decay was released at the end of last month. It’s a remake of the original, missing out some of the user interface things from the menu but otherwise being authentic enough to replicate the original. I’ve played through some of the levels with a friend, and yep, it’s not that great. The “Puzzles” are hardly so, and the game really makes it hard – limited ammunition and health, especially between two people, against a lot of enemies. The game itself is “mission based”, so you fail a mission (no saving!) and restart it from the start. I also watched a “Let’s Play” of it done on the original PlayStation 2 release, and really saw a lot more agony – they have to rely more on auto-aim. Didn’t I mention there was no difficulty selector either? 🙂 – still, I’m playing it just as a fan of Half-Life. This isn’t as good as Blue Shift, even, which was pretty mediocre. Oh well! It’s free, so who cares 🙂

As for bits and pieces, as I said I’ve played though Red Alert and am playing through Deus Ex. I’ve got STALKER: Clear Sky which I need to invest time in (one crash to desktop already, and needs I think a good evening of play to get into). I still have a Civilization 4 Play By Email (PBEM) game going on, which is getting more fun. I also finally got some of the last easier to get Pyro achievements in Team Fortress 2, yay for 1000 kills by burnernating!