Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Christmas in Syberia

Syberia and its sequel are done The second game follows immediately on from the first, so I just ploughed straight through them both In fact, they’re so interlinked that you’d have been really disappointed if you’d bought the first game when it came out and then had to wait before buying the second. There *is* a break in the story, but it’s so infinitesimally small that it just feels like the designer arbitrarily split the game in half just so he could make it two games (or because the publisher was demanding money!).

Anyway, the second game was more of the same. That sounds negative, but the whole thing is a beautifully produced ‘pure’ adventure game. The puzzles seemed to get a bit more difficult as it went on (some of them were down-right tricky), but nothing else changed. And yes, that means the glacially slow pace was still there, though there didn’t seem to be quite as many infuriating fetch quests as the first half. So yes, it’s another one ticked off...only another few thousand to go...
On the other game front, I didn’t really play anything over Christmas. I did end up buying a couple of cheap things in the Steam sale, but I mostly managed to resist its dangerous charms and didn’t get into the achievement hunting that possessed me last year. I managed to get a tiny bit of DS gaming in here and there. I can tell you that Need for Speed: Most Wanted is officially one of the worst games I’ve ever played. The graphics are awful with boxy car models floating like hovercraft over pop-up city. The handling...I admit I haven't been driving for that long, but my god I don't know what the developers were on when they come up with this. It is terrible, swervy, un-responsive and just plain bad. I don't remember having any of those problems with Mario Kart DS, and that's a much older game. Compounding the terrible handling is the fact that if you so much as brush any other piece of track scenery or another car, then you immediately slow down to a crawl. Oh, and other traffic lurches crazily across the road, making it impossible to drive past it without hitting it, but other racers don't suffer from that - they will quite happily hit you and then zoom off into the distance leaving you pootling along, bunny hopping from the barriers. And those barriers...they're often the same texture as the road - I guess the developers thought that the roads are concrete and the walls are concrete so it makes sense to use the same texture. That must have been what they were thinking, right? Surely they wouldn't have just done it because they're IDIOTS. So, barriers you can't see + traffic you can't avoid + opposition you can't beat = races you can't win = no fun at all. Delete, delete, delete.'s still there somewhere, I'm just dreading going back to it, and the longer I leave it, the worse it's going to be. Settlers 2 is a slightly happier tale. It's much more story based than the first game, with more of a sense of progression, so I've actually completed the first couple of missions, and I'm looking forward to moving on.
New year's resolution? Not buy any more games, and actually get through some of the pile of backlog I have here. It should be a fun one...unless I'm still stuck in Bard's Tale and Settlers come next December.


  1. As one of the developers on 'Need for Speed: The One You Just Talked About' I feel I must come to the defence of the game you have berated.

    Originally the game was coded up as part of a series of Japanese Anime-series inspired games entitled 'Boxy Hover Craft'. 'Boxy Hover Craft' was a character who giggled every time he brushed into anything, scoring the gamer 'Tickle Points'. The first title was to be 'Boxy Hover Craft in Pop-Up City'.

    However, following a fall out with the makers of the original Anime, it was decided that the game would be rebranded and sold on to another franchise. And, lo and behold, the Need for Speed franchise required a new 'engine'.

    From our pov as developers, we switched the graphics, modified the load-up screen and bob was our ceo.

    So, it wasn't our fault, it was the anime people. Glad we sorted that out.

  2. And, bob, our ceo, likes grey. You should see his suits.

  3. I think I saw that anime. It's the same people who make Dinosaur Kings, which is exactly the same as pokemon, but with dinosaurs...there even seem to be exactly the same characters in it. Ah well, charmander is original and best.