For some reason, I never seem to try out demos. Even of the games I'm
really really really looking forward to (like Fallout Tactics), I never
seem to get around to going through all the steps of downloading,
installing, and trying out. I'm not sure why that is.
Anyway, I somehow overcame that when Bad Mojo lent me his PC Gamer demo
disk. I guess it was a lazy Sunday afternoon and I was a bit tired of
coing for Night's Edge, so I popped in the demo disk
and installed some demos.
First one I tried was for a real-time strategy game called "Real War".
The idea behind it is that it is a modern-setting that uses contemporary
units (no Obelisks of Light). It makes use of air, sea, and land
vehicles, as well as infantry. I can't really say anything bad about
the game, but then I can't really say much good about it either. It's
likely that there are intricacies and additional command keys I didn't
know about. The truth is, I found it a little unpolished, and
uninspired. Tanks shoot at each other, and moving targets take less
damage than stationary ones. But can you get your tank to move and
shoot at the same time? Nope, even though the M60 main battle tank is
more than capable of doing so and still retaining its accuracy. Planes
circle the sky, launching missiles at each other. Hrm.
Next up was Operation Flashpoint. I'd seen an mpg movie of the game
while searching for M60 machinegun pics one day. It looked interesting
and had some eerie similarities to Night's Edge. The game certainly is
breaking some new ground, though I found the weapon models to be sub-par
and the combat sequences to be mainly an exercise in chaos. Your squad
has a "Leader" that issues orders to the team, though it took me a while
to even figure out what number I was (each team member has a number
designation). The leader's voice is a flat monotone that is strangely
reminiscent of my old university's computerized class registration phone
system. This is no doubt due to the fact that the leader's orders are
simply a stream of concatenated prerecorded words stuck together,
without inflection or accents. I found the game played rather slow on
my system, and attributed this to the wide open landscape on this
mission. The "map" was very Tribes-like, in that it was a large terrain
area with no end in sight. In fact, you do a lot of travel in the one
mission included with the demo, on foot, in a jeep, on the back of a
truck, and in a doomed helicopter. But still, I got piss poor
framerate, a lot worse than I get in Tribes 2 (and I was playing in
640x480, while in Tribes I play at 800x600). I hope they're working on
the game's appearance in modes other than 1024x768, because the demo's
support for them was pretty bad. Overall, an intriguing game and I hope
they work out the kinks.
Due to the last outLAN, I have bad
associations with Giants: Citizen Kabuto. But I wanted to try out the
demo anyway. This was like the 2nd demo, which was a few missions for
the Reaper race (water chicks). Played well, kind of reminded me of
Heretic 2. Graphics were nice. I haven't finished the two missions
included with the demo, so maybe I'll have more to say later on.
The last thing wasn't really a demo, it was the full "They Hunger" mod for
Half-Life. Overall, nicely done. The best feature of the game is
probably its maps. The weapon models were somewhat shoddy, and their
functionality almost totally mirrored games from Half-Life or the
Opposing Forces add on. For example, there was some kind of
submachinegun that looked kind of like a Thompson M1 submachinegun
(military model), but had a strange white handguard and fired and
launched grenades just like the MP5 from Half-Life. I guess the head
programmer had some difficult with the coding. The majority of game's
monsters (zombies) were all very simple, doing straight forward claw
attacks like the head crab scientists from HL. A lot of the other
monsters were taken straight from HL, simply reskinned (zombie cops), or
taken directly and not reskinned at all (head crabs, those barnacle
beasts with long tongues, water leeches, or the giant water monsters).
Still, the team succeeded with what was likely the intended goal: a
scary game. The atmosphere is top-notch, and there's even an intro to
the game which drives the plot (sort of). I haven't finished yet, and
I'm anxious to see what else the mod has in store for me.