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Tycho / on Fri, Jul 25 2003 at 2:26 am

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Jesus Christ.  I like writing and everything, I like it a lot.  I like writing for you.  But you are lucky indeed that I sit now before this screen, depositing words of varying length, new comic in tow, having summoned the strength to stop playing Knights Of The Old Republic.

Sometimes I will say things like that.  “It has been very difficult to stop playing X, yes, it has been very difficult indeed.”  This isn’t like that, though.  I haven’t changed clothes.  The game is supposed to have thirty to forty hours of gameplay I am told,

(I don’t mean to get all E. E. Cummings on you, but I do need to make a quick aside.  I do not subscribe to the “More Hours Equals More Fun” school of gaming.  For example, I was quite pleased with the original Elite Force’s nine hand-tuned, no-nonsense hours of gameplay.  I do not rate a meal based on how long it takes to eat it.)

yet I’m over twenty-two hours into it and I’ve finished just two of the available worlds.  That means one of two things:  either I just have to wave out the window of my ship at the other worlds to complete them, or the gameplay estimates I’ve read are fairly conservative.  I could also be very slow I suppose, but I haven’t really been fucking around.  Dark Lords don’t fuck around, they have very special projects that need working on and all of them involve hurting people.  Not even for any reason.  It is as though there is always a big Hurting People competition coming up, and you would like to make the hurting seem effortless.   

Perhaps you would like to know what is so good about the game.  Well, for one thing, all voices - even alien voices - are all spoken lines.  Even lines in languages which do not exist get this treatment, and you will hear very convincing Hutts (as well as a good deal more) as you sow discord among the peoples of the Republic.  Of course, that’s just one facet of an overall sound design that makes me wish I had a suite of fancy audio mechanisms to enjoy it.  You can play a very good or very bad person, like in other Bioware games, and the choices you make in this regard feel very substantial.  I am curious enough about the different characters to put them together in my party just to see how they get along, and I have been treated to some intriguing exchanges for my efforts.  The game has really expanded my thinking about Jedi in general, far more than even the prevalent Jedi Knights in the new films.  The game takes what it needs from the Star Wars d20 pen and paper system, and doesn’t let it get in the way.  Most of all, I really want to know what is going to happen next.  I feel like how things turn out is completely up to me. 

It’s the sort of game that, like a baby mammal, is endearing enough to make you overlook some of its annoying habits.  For example, there are apparently one male and one female in this galaxy that run after you as you go from place to place, putting on different clothing and speaking in different accents to give the impression that these worlds are populous.  I’m talking about a single model for each that you will grow extremely familiar with.  There’s this green Twi’lek that really gets around too, maybe he’s unemployed or something because he’s got a lot of free time.  Also, I enjoy the combat now, but that was not always the case.  There are a few options you can turn on or off to create a game that is as real-time or as turn-based as you want, but the fact that characters don’t have shared vision and sometimes do retarded things of their own accord keep it from being fun until you know how to keep things in line.  I could go on and on like this, all the way down the line until I suggest there should be a lollipop in the box.  But it’s precisely as I said:  the game makes up for it.  There are things which could be better, but I never think about them anymore. 

In less than ten hours, I will be heading to Canada for that Necrowombicon they’ve got.  I’ve hardly recovered from San Diego, so if I appear distant when you see me up there it is because I go away sometimes.  Like the lady at the drive-thru window, I will be back shortly.  If I fall over, please prop me up against something.

(CW)TB out.

it’s making me nervous

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