2008 Dec 05 aya

Guy Blade Guy Blade---12:25:00

Clive Barker
Today, when I arrived home from work, my copy of Fallout 3 that I picked up on Black Friday arrive (incidentally, $30 for the basic PC versions from gogamer). Unfortunately, I have developed a sort of set of guidelines for how I play games recently. Essentially, the crux of the system is that I can be playing any number of games "actively" at once, but no more than one game per system. I won't start a new game on a system until I've beaten the currently active game or given it up for worthless. So far, this has worked out fairly well and it is probably the only reason that I made it through Ninja Gaiden Sigma.

Unfortunately for me, however, the game being played on the PC was Clive Barker's Clive Barker's Jericho by Clive Barker. I was about 60% of the way through the game and so I forced my way through the rest this evening. I have to say that the game's biggest faults come in two forms that make it almost, but not quite, worthless. Firstly, there are lost of enemies that can arbitrarily kill some or all of your party. Mainly, these are the every present exploding zombies that require you to shoot somewhere between 3 and 8 hot points before they get into range. Of course, doing so still makes them explode and you can't possibly outrun them while shooting, so if they get close to the party, someone is usually going to die as an exploding zombie is instant death. Secondly, every encounter is, at a minimum, twice as long as it should be. There are usually about 3 times as many enemies in an encounter as one would typically see in FPS games. This doesn't particularly raise the difficulty since you've more or less figured out the encounter's strategy by about the time a usual encounter would end. Unfortunately, couple this with instant party-wipe enemies and you have a recipe for infuriation.

Neither of these things would be so bad if the game allowed you to save, but it only gives checkpoints throughout the level. This is doubly terrible when you consider how often the game crashed (at least once every 3 or 4 levels) and the fact that the game doesn't let you restore from a checkpoint on a reload: you have to replay the entire level. There were at least 3 levels where the game crashed when it was doing the last cutscene before level transition.

I blame SecuROM.

All in all, I paid $10 or $15 for Jericho and I think I paid various close to the correct amount. The game's pointless and forced plot and genuinely unlikable characters wasn't helping any either. Plus, the amount of blood in the game (most easily measured in cubic meters, I'd say) was ridiculous given the in game justification. Look, I know that 10,000 people is a lot, but they just plain don't have that much blood in them--even if you go by compressed anime swordcut standards.

As for Fallout 3, it took the entire length of an episode of Michiko to Hatchin to install, plus a patch to the game, plus a patch to SecuRom before I could play it (didn't even have to crack it to get it to work with my disk image this time). The game itself has been rather entertaining, it does seem to feel like Oblivion with guns which I won't complain about as I enjoyed Oblivion. The only reason that I stopped playing was because I walked over a landmine, died, and the game crashed while doing whatever it does after you die (presumably loading a save of some sort). I should probably go to bed if I want to be productive at work, however.

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