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Tycho / on Mon, Mar 17 2003 at 7:53 am

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A Genuine Appraisal

Star Wars Galaxies, the massively multisomething offering from Verant and Lucasarts, has been delayed again.  You might recall that it was to have a Holiday release, followed a year later by an expansion which would allow (among other things) player owned ships.  I would prefer that they finish the game before releasing it, so perhaps it is all for the best.

Quite apart from the specifics of any console, grabbing levels in Splinter Cell is the way I’d like to see things work, period.  Level grabbing in Unreal Championship is also good for the same reasons, but there’s always the danger that you might accidentally play it when it’s in there.  It’s simply too grim to contemplate. 

See, this is what happens.  I’m trying to pay someone a compliment and it turns into an insult about someone else.  I shall call this phenomenon “reverse alchemy.” 

Monkey and I put our heads together to unravel the new Kola Cell level, and the whole experience left me profoundly satisfied.  There were some new hooks, and a few excellent opportunities to deploy a little Chokie Roberts.  I do wish that it had been of greater duration, but that is often the way of good things.  Independent “episodes” are, conceptually speaking, highly compatible with the whole mythology of the game - but I will tell you what I want very much out of this whole downloadable thing:  I’m essentially looking for a prequel to Splinter Cell 2.   

I don’t doubt that they already know the gist of the sequel.  Seeing a hojillion copies sold on a single platform and a unique release to every system, it seems fair to assume that a major franchise has been born.  I liked Splinter Cell, and I loved my new level, but I think that there are opportunities for storytelling in a new way with this that I sincerely hope they take advantage of.  It’s easy to imagine a new level every couple of months that begins to communicate surprising information, delivered in a completely interrelated campaign.  They can release levels on coverdiscs, Live, whatever - they could even deliver a new retail “Splinter Cell 1.5” between releases that includes the bonus juice.  Not only is it bad-ass, it’s probably the most awesome PR/Marketing campaign ever devised.   

I do wonder, though, what sort of commitment Ubi Soft actually has to the idea of downloadable content.  I’d like to see a press release of some kind, I don’t need dates or whatever but I would like to know very much if things on the order of Kola Cell can be expected in the future.  This first one was free, as first ones often are - even at that, I wouldn’t balk at spending a couple bucks on a level or pack of levels.  I don’t know that I’m down with monthly subscription fees on top of Live, but it’s possible that I just haven’t seen a game worth it yet.  On the other hand, I’d gladly pay a couple dollars for a discrete amount of content - especially if that encourages them to adopt a policy of making more shit for me.   

I am acquiring a kitten today, the feisty Pounce De Leon.  I shall try not to batter you with heartwarming anecdotes re: the nature of felinity.

(CW)TB out.

papa was a rodeo

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