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Tycho / on Mon, Jun 4 2007 at 12:00 am

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Metahumans, as the RNACorp Sensitivity Guide suggests, present "opportunities" that sometimes appear to be "challenges."  They have unique contributions, often sharp contributions to the abdomen, that can bring value to shareholders.

Shadowrun uses Parties (like Halo) and Matchmaking (like Halo), but I have friends who say that it takes them up to ten minutes to find a game, and when they do they arrive into a game that’s unplayable.  Neither of these things happen to me, so I don’t have any insights into this process - but if you’re offering up an online only game, this is the sort of thing you need to get right.  It’s getting pretty banged up in reviews, for this and other reasons, but I stand firmly behind my assessment that there is an exceedingly original shooter experience here that deserves your attention.  It doesn’t include every feature, but the demo coming out Wednesday should give you a decent primer.  The gameplay is so idiosyncratic that it’s more useful to experience it than read about it.   

There are absolutely things that I would change in a perfect world, but eventually I realized that I needed to review the actual product - not the product it "could have been" or the product I thought of "at lunch" that would be "so awesome."  I eventually decided that I could mope about their utilization of the franchise or I could play a videogame, and as is so often the case I chose the latter.  FASA Interactive was never going to be given the power or the budget to create the product that gamers claim to want.  I don’t think there’s any faith higher up that unapologetically hardcore games based on their considerable stable - Crimson Skies, Shadowrun, and Mechwarrior - will see a real return on their investment.  I wish they were wrong. 

The pricing doesn’t make much sense, where the same product on different Microsoft platforms has an inexplicable ten dollar differential.  That’s a matter outside of the game itself, as the pricing is connected to a larger issue.  I don’t think they really know what they’re doing with Live as a multiplatform service.  If you haven’t investigated it first-hand, either because you don’t have Vista installed or you don’t care (both valid choices!), you might be surprised to learn that in order to use Live on Windows, you must actively be running a game.  There’s no shell-level access to the functionality.  How did this happen?  Do these people still work there?   

I’ve spoken with people over there on multiple occasions about what it would take to get me excited by Games for Windows Live, and I have told them that they need to burn it to the ground and found a new service on its smouldering ashes.  It’s only exciting for me insofar as it has the power to improve my console experience, offering dedicated servers and giving me access to my system and my friends list remotely.  What gives the service its strength on the console platform is its ubiquity - all games share a base functionality.  In the splintered fiefdoms that rule the PC as a gaming platform, one more friends list - one eschewed by developers! - is one too many.  They started at the endpoint, that there should be a way to express their platform dominion in the PC gaming realm, and then they worked backward.  It’s not PC native, and it feels so.  It has the delicacy of a midnight raid. 

They need to approach deeply tribal PC gamers with reverence and with wisdom.  At the very least, all fees for the service must be rescinded.  And we’ll continue from there. 

(CW)TB out. 


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