Cranky Opinions: Quake Wars

Welcome to the Cranky Opinions section. I'll post some user opinions on various games/news from around the net.

The first game to feature in Cranky Opinions is Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.

Cue the opinions!

They made a point of including many features lifted straight from BF games. Obviously they wanted people to be familiar with these features, and obviously there was a reason they were expecting people to be familiar with vehicles, defibrillators, supply crates, and the like. The UI arrangement, the weapon load outs, all of them bear a VERY strong resemblance to BF2/142.

Their publicity worked. They attracted the interest of the BF crowd. Go look at some of the screenshots littering the site. A large amount of them show a small team working together, taking cover, and the like. They aren't strafing back and forth wildly or jumping through the air or running around full-sprint at 40mph while blowing people away with an LMG.

Suddenly, the beta comes. All these people see that the game isn't anything like what they were told it would be like. And it wasn't word-of-mouth. Splash Damage created and allowed those ideas to form and ferment. They never said the game was going to be an arcade-style completely non-tactical run-and-gun fast-paced bunnyhopper shooter. If they had, people wouldn't have these complaints.
I will buy it if i see some changes though. the thing is i already have quake 3 and quake 4 on my machine for this type of game play, which does it much, much better.
I didn't expect it to be slow like BF.. good god no. But I also didn't expect it to be a twitchy, bunnyhopping, strafehopping game.. not when it has all the elements to be a better faster and still tactical/strategic game. The speed is out of place in this. It's not a BF killer because BF for all of it's woes, it does what it's trying to do right (whether or not we agree.. it does).

This game won't pull much of the BF crowd...which is sad because it has all of the elements to do it.

It's not all bad though:

You'll find that most of the community are made up of ET and RTCW fans, hence some of the disappointment - something you'll always get when a game with such a loyal fan base goes through some changes. It's not 'everyone' either, a lot of people are enjoying Quake Wars a great deal.
Sure there is sound / texture quality issues and jerky animation at present but overall i liked my experience.
After going through the walk through on sewers and getting a gist as to what is going on it clicks. There is good structure to combat and it feels like a real struggle when you lose a control point or re-defend it back. It doesn't seem like the regular free-for-all like most massive fps's, I know some might miss that but this is a lot better, trust me.

Overall it seems like it's a solid enough game, but not one that's likely to steal the hearts of Battlefield 2 fans. The thing that interests me about the whole thing is how the game was advertised. I didn't follow every preview of the game, but I did assume that it would be somewhat similar to the Battlefield series. Was I wrong to assume that? If you read the first quote again, you'll see the point made about the screenshots on the official site. The screenshots do allude more to a BF2 type of game without bunnyhopping. The videos were loading slowly so I didn't take the time to look at them, but I'd imagine they'd be much of the same.

Cranky Indie

Welcome to the first edition of Cranky Indie. I'll round up a few interesting indie/free games that are fun to play.

Toribash - A fighting game where you manipulate your character's joints. Watch the included replays for some hilarious kills.

Sumotori - A strange sumo wrestling game where bouts only last a few seconds. Only a 96k download too. It's pretty much luck if you win a fight.

Flow - This one's an old favourite of mine. You sculpt the terrain to push sprites to the finish. Use the number keys to choose your tool.

Free Rider - Basically like Line Rider but more fun. You actually get to drive the bike anywhere you want.

Fallout 3 - Fallivion?

More Fallout 3 news has been released. Get more information at NMA. They also have some nice magazine scans with in-game material.

The only thing that concerns me is that Bethesda are one of those companies that can't get the little things right. The horse riding in Oblivion was worse than Mount&Blade's, which is made by a tiny Turkish developer. It's good to hear they're going to make a decent 3rd-person view. Their previous 3rd-person efforts have been laughable at best.

We've seen how Oblivion turned out compared with Morrowind when it was made with the Xbox in mind. The UI at the very least is likely to suffer, as Oblivion's UI was clearly built for consoles only. Look forward to relying on user mods to fix most things a PC user.

No level scaling is definitely a good thing, although there will be a few people who complain about the level 20 character cap.

It's sounding more like Fallivion at the moment, but we'll have to wait until late 2008 to see how it'll turn out.

Cranky Alternatives: Forza

Welcome to the first edition of Cranky Alternatives. I'll list the best - and usually better - alternatives to games currently on the market. The whole thing was inspired by this hilarious comment by some reviewer on 1up:

"Forza 2 is the best sim racer out there right now, no question, and it continues to lead the way online."

How he wrote that one with a straight face I'll never know, but lets forget about that and get on with the show. (That rhymes.)

Colin McRae: DiRT and Forza Motorsport 2 have recently been released, but you all want a better alternative, because lets be honest, those two games are commercial whores.

Live For Speed

Introducing Live For Speed. There may not be any licensed cars, apart from the BMW Sauber, but the racing simulation that it serves up is second to none.

People have been creaming their pants over Forza's car customisation features, but Live For Speed is unrivaled in this area. You can edit anything from fuel levels to the Bump Dampening and Brake Balance of your car. LFS also offers a huge range of skinning options for anyone with Photoshop skills.

You don't need any more reasons to buy LFS, but if you do, then I'll just mention the online mode that now supports up to 32 players. There's also a free online-enabled demo.

360 vs PS3 - Call of Duty 4 Graphics Comparison

In light of Gamespot's latest pointless comparison, I've decided to make my own. I was under an NDA/embargo or whatever you wish to call it, but I'm a rule breaker, a rebel if you will. So here's a graphics comparison of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

The screens are taken from in-game scripted sequences.

Wii Hype Will Fade

In a Reuters interview, Scott Steinberg, Sega's vice president of marketing comically states:

"I am a little concerned about the creative depth of the Wii pool."
"The Wii will start to look really dated in a couple years when developers get more value from the 360 and learn more and more about the PlayStation 3."

I don't know about you guys, but I'd rather have "a couple years" of some original gameplay, rather than play some of the unoriginal crap that the Xbox and Playstation have been spitting out over the years. Need For Speed 16 anyone? They ran out of ideas years ago.

I'm not surprised Sega couldn't compete in the console market with mugs like Steinburg working for them.

UPDATE - 16th June reports:

Analyst Michael Pachter has told that he believes a higher spec, HD-enabled "Wii 2" could be on the shelves "in a couple of years".
It's easy to envision a Wii 2 in a couple of years that runs at full HD, and has both a Wii-mote and an analog controller, so that all games can be ported to it.
If Nintendo were to introduce such a device, it would be fully comparable to the Xbox 360 - perhaps it wouldn't have Blu-ray, so a comparison to the PS3 may be unfair - and would likely have most of the same third party content as the other two devices.
Can you imagine what would happen if a Wii was released in 2 years time with video power comparable to the current 360?

Gamespot's Pointless 360 vs PS3 Comparisons

Gamespot's latest pointless comparison is Armored Core 4. I've never been a fan of these comparisons. In the end it usually boils down to "teh PS3 is brighter zan zee 36teh".

There is never going to be a massive difference in quality because developers are lazy and publishers are scary.

It may shock some of you that most developers build a game for one console, then port everything over to other platforms, all the while keeping their fingers crossed that it'll work without a hitch. They rarely spend time upping the quality of every asset just because one console can handle more. Developers have nothing to gain from doing that.

If a texture seems blurry or is missing a normal map after porting they're not going to go out of their way to fix it. You can't really blame them. Their publisher's breathing down their neck the whole time to get these games finished so they can make as much money as possible.

None of this means the PS3 sucks, or the 360 sucks. All it means is that the developers got lazy; they had to rush for a deadline, and simply pushed the games out the door as fast as they could, at the expense of a few blurry textures here and there. No big deal.

It doesn't help that Gamespot mostly choose games published by EA. They generally have the worst porting standards along with Ubisoft.

Cranky Gamer is Open for Business

I'm a very cranky gamer. I'll make sure you're clear on which games are shit, and which ones aren't. I'll name and shame the bad reviewers of the industry. I'll call out anywhere that rates games like Call of Duty highly. I'll list games you should stay away from. I'll list games that are worth paying hard-earned cash for. I'll judge games on the quality of their demo, as we all know 99.9% of it will be in the full game. I'll predict the rating an unreleased game will get on the popular gaming sites.

There will be no bullshitting.