Friday, 16 February 2018

Trouble and...

Strife is done and dusted. I think I only played the demo back in the day, and this full game was more fun than I thought it would be. It's built on the Doom engine, so the playstyle is a fairly predictable FPS, but the addition of a story and plot to drive things forward makes a big difference. Whereas in Doom the framing narrative is just an afterthought to the action, here it's the prime mover in the game. There are fully voiced cutscenes (well, static cutscenes) and returning characters. I don't know if I'd quite give it the 'RPG' tag it craves, but it was the first of many FPS games that sought a deeper experience than simply running to the next enemy and hitting Fire. That's not to say that the story is anything particularly deep and meaningful, but it does its job, and even has some (slightly unexplained) plot twists. As an FPS, it holds up well. The weapons are a little bland, without the satisfaction of Doom's arsenal, but they're varied and do the job. The Uber weapon is fun, but the drawback of draining your life every time you fire it is just too damaging, and means that you only ever use it for boss battles where you have to use it in order to damage the spirit enemies. You could argue that's a good limitation and ultimate weapons should require sacrifices and be used against the ultimate evil... and I'd agree with you, that is a good thing... but this is still an alpha-male power fantasy game, and I want to be able to use my ultimate weapons with impunity!

The level design is nice and varied, with a few hub areas splintering out into larger levels. I did find, though, that is was very easy to get lost both inside the levels and out on the hub. I guess the very idea of a hub necessitates backtracking, but I always prefer a more linear approach in my FPSs. There is a marker on the map that points to your next destination, which is handy, but you can only see a small portion of the map at a time, so if you're too far away to see the marker, then it doesn't really help you find where you're supposed to go. Length-wise, it was about right. I felt it kept things at a good pace, and there was always something new to do. There were character upgrades, which I guess slotted it into the 'RPG' genre, but they're so slight that I didn't notice them making any difference at all. It's hard to know what 'accuracy' really does in an FPS. I played it on Easy (as I do with most games on the blog if I have the option), but this one did actually feel a little too easy, so I could have maybe upped it to Normal to better enjoy the experience. All in all, though, I did think it was fun, and it's another one scratched off the list. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...God of Thunder! Never heard of it. I'll have a quick look, but I should probably press on with Doom 3, too.

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