So now that GTA4 is old news, it's time to look to the future, to what great new games are coming out tomorrow. Aside from the obvious titles, like Metal Gear Solid 4, and to a lesser extent, Age of Conan (I'll talk about that in a moment), there's one title that has caught my attention in recent weeks. A title that I had written off due to the crapfest the franchise had become. However the new Alone in the Dark looks promising.
The videos that show action look all well and good, but it was this video showcasing the inventory system that really made me take notice.
I'm sure there is going to be a limit to the combinations you can realistically make with the different items, and it's probably not going to be as many as I'd like to imagine. I highly doubt you can coat the knife in blood to attract a monster to swallow it, for instance. Still, it looks like a neat system. Will be interesting to see how much use it gets in the game.
As for Age of Conan... I've been putting a little bit of time into the open beta this week, and so far there's good and there's bad. I'll never judge a game based on a beta, but with the retail launch only a few weeks away, there's only so much that can realistically be expected between now and then.
First, the good: The game has pretty nice graphics, decent animation, very good dialogue writing and for the most part, quality voice acting. The atmosphere is great, and character customization is better than most MMOs. Most of the pretty standard character classes are there, though it's hard to really judge those without a lot more experience with the game. Overall, it looks like it could be a pretty fun game.
So, what's the bad? Well, it seems to lack a certain level of polish at this point. I'm going to ignore the framerate hiccups and high load times for now, that's not something you get your panties in a bunch over during a stress test. There are, however, other little things that just gave the game an overall unpolished feel. I guess I'm just worried about a repeat of the Anarchy Online launch which, as far as MMO launches go, was one of the worst I've ever experienced.
These days a launch can make or break an MMO. It as much what improvements come in the months after, if the launch goes sour, it's an uphill battle to regain subscribers. It happened with Vanguard, a game which I really enjoyed, and has since experienced a lot if improvement over the launch product, but it is not, and probably never will be, the contender everyone hoped.
So, we'll see I guess. I'm not canceling my pre-order or anything. I'll definitely check it out , if not on launch day, then shortly thereafter, and see how the game looks at retail. I'd like to see a mature-themed MMO succeed.
If not, there's always Warhammer Online to look forward to.
UPDATE: Word is that Funcom may be using an older version of the beta client for the open beta, as well as a series of debugger tools that run during play to feed them necessary statistics, which could account for the bugs and lag. Now, what the reasoning is for using an outdated and buggier client, I don't know. Doesn't seem like a good idea to expose 50,000 people to a buggier version of the game when they (should) know that 49,500 of those people only view betas as a chance to try the game for free before it comes out.
Anyway, there's a glimmer of hope anyway. Guess we'll see what happens later this month.
Just a heads up, there will be no comic for Saturday. It's something I've been contemplating for a while now (about a year), and I've decided to just give it a try. There are so many projects that I want to work on, CAD-related and otherwise, and I just never have the time to really get them going. So I'm going to drop Saturday updates for a month or so, and see how it goes.