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Tycho / on Mon, Jan 19 2004 at 6:17 am

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Channeling Kevin Smith

Where I was initially resolved to merely tolerate the Van Helsing trailer, the two hundred subsequent viewings have warmed me to it considerably.  Using crosses as weapons is not only reverent, it’s awesome.  Van Helsing is demonstrably a bad-ass, even loose coalitions of superheroes and satellites are no match for him under theoretical conditions.  Though, I will concede that the inclusion of absolutely every monster ever does gild the lily a bit.

I enjoyed the first Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance very much, but when I found out the sequel wasn’t being developed by the original Snowblind Studios it dulled my interest somewhat - EGM’s 5.5 review didn’t help much, either.  I know that it seems like you could just throw a couple players into some place that has a bunch of assholes in it and let them go nuts, and this model has certainly been foisted on gamers more than once - but there really is a trick to making “mindless hack and slash” feel as though you are making important, engaging choices.  So, I basically decided that I could hold off on Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II, maybe forever.  Then, Gamespot gave it an 8.  I don’t know how I’m supposed to interpret that shit, media overlords.  Five-point-five and eight?  Do I add them together?  The game “ships” tomorrow, I’ll let you know. 

Truth be told, I’d essentially decided to call Champions Of Norrath the actual sequel to BG:DA, as it is developed by Snowblind and uses the same engine anyhow.  I could care less that it’s based in Everquest, Sony’s efforts to expand that brand always rang a little hollow for me, but four players online with voice support sounds pretty good.  I also have the utmost faith in Snowblind’s ability to make even enemies I’m going to see a hundred thousand times unique and interesting in terms of animation and design.  They have produced “the little engine that could” apparently, it’s used for all the games I’ve mentioned here, in addition to: 

  • Fallout: Brotherhood Of Steel, which is either a miserable piece of shit or okay, depending on who you ask.  It made no friends among the largely PC oriented gamers that built the franchise for its “dumbed down” console action, but since the same things were said about Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and that game was great, so all by itself a break with tradition doesn’t really convince me of anything.  I haven’t heard much good spoken of it, though - but any game with co-op can be enjoyed under the right circumstances, and it also has submachineguns, you know, which I’m sort of partial to.
  • Combat Elite:  WWII Paratroopers also takes the fantasy engine into the realm of firearms, and for some reason I have a good feeling about this one.  It’s co-operative, like all games that use the engine, and it’s World War II, but from a very different perspective than we typically get.  It doesn’t arrive until June, but I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen so far.   
  • Moving on.

    Two games probably doesn’t count as a renaissance, but between Silent Storm and MetalHeart it’s just nice to know people remember there is a genre on the PC called Tactical Strategy.

    (CW)TB out.

    someday i’ll teach you to beg


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