Ben X

The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

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Well, I'm not sure why you like the last level so much, @Cordeos, I found it very irritating! A boss with a one-hit-kill weapon in a small room full of troughs to get caught in, then a very frustrating anti-grav platforming section, a new black-hole weapon thing that you use twice, a bit where the ship starts to rotate like in Jedi Knight for about a minute but it doesn't make any difference, then you get to an escape pod. The end.

As with the first game (and Quake 2 and Flashback etc) it has the old Alien 'hero drifts off into space' ending, with some Alien3 morosity thrown in, as you listen to your crew's final message to you recorded before they sacrificed themselves. It's more interesting than 'space marines save the day' ending, I guess, but the whole thing feels rather deflated. Along with the initially wonderful spaceship hub which, much like Telltale's Sam And Max office, gave very little reward for return visits, the plot winds up as nothing more than a pointless diversion from the actual game.

 

Funnily enough, Jean Paul Le Breton gets a thanks in the credits for use of his images. I couldn't find out what they were, but I did find this video of JP playing through Unreal 1 with a tourism (ie combat-removing) mod: https://youtu.be/hsQWcXxOlyg

 

 

A couple of contemporary reviews (one by Erik Wolpaw) pretty much share my opinions:

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/r_unreal2_pc

http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/unreal-ii-the-awakening-review/1900-2910117/

 

Here's an interesting, short retrospective from one of the designers, Matthias Worch, that discusses creative missteps and how innovations like static meshes affected the level designer's role: http://www.worch.com/portfolio/unreal-2/ 

 

So, final verdict: solid, enjoyable shooter with gorgeous, atmospheric environments but not much else that stands out.

 

Next: TRON 2.0. I get the feeling this will look cool but be a bit fiddly to play...

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I LOVED Tron 2.0 when it came out. Really curious to see your thoughts almost 15 years later.

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Maybe I'll give Unreal II a go some day, I remember playing the demo but that's it.

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Put it on easy, skip as much of the story as you can manage, blast through and enjoy the environments. It does well at conveying the feeling of intruding into alien ecosystems and sometimes pissing them off.

 

I've started on the tutorial of TRON. Seems nicely presented so far, all the little polygonal shapes buzzing around and flashing at you. Seems like there's a lot of hacker rpg lite stuff where you have to fix corrupt files and transfer energy to stuff (on top of the "find the yellow key" = "get the file permission" stuff). Could be interesting and fun, could be annoying and fiddly - same for the disc combat.

 

My heart did sink when I saw mention of having to move quietly to avoid being spotted by enemies. If the stealth's as shitty as in Monolith's NOLF games, I may not be playing for too long...

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So this is a pretty typical Monolith game. Endless fiddling with menus, stupidly harsh health mechanics and combat (I should not be struggling with the first enemy in the game), and stealth that simply does not work. The setting is well rendered (fucking hell, the game's got me doing shitty programming puns now) but TRON actually isn't a great licence for a video game - the environments get samey very quickly and as with the film the amount of emotionless line deliveries are pretty wearing too, like paying a game mostly populated by Mr Freeze clones.

 

I've managed to save myself into a corner already, so I may actually quit this game very early on. I'll probably give an earlier save one more shot, but I'm in a section where they've taken away my ranged weapon (the disc) so I'm even more vulnerable than usual, and the place is swarming with enemies who have super-accurate ranged weapons. It's fucking stupid. I'm actually talking myself out of giving it another go, here.

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12 minutes ago, Ben X said:

So this is a pretty typical Monolith game. Endless fiddling with menus, stupidly harsh health mechanics and combat (I should not be struggling with the first enemy in the game), and stealth that simply does not work. The setting is well rendered (fucking hell, the game's got me doing shitty programming puns now) but TRON actually isn't a great licence for a video game - the environments get samey very quickly and as with the film the amount of emotionless line deliveries are pretty wearing too, like paying a game mostly populated by Mr Freeze clones.

 

I've managed to save myself into a corner already, so I may actually quit this game very early on. I'll probably give an earlier save one more shot, but I'm in a section where they've taken away my ranged weapon (the disc) so I'm even more vulnerable than usual, and the place is swarming with enemies who have super-accurate ranged weapons. It's fucking stupid. I'm actually talking myself out of giving it another go, here.

 

I remember really liking Tron 2.0 as a game a bunch, although it's been so long since I played it I would be hard pressed to call out any specifics on what I liked about it.

 

That said, the one thing I absolutely remember about it is that I saved myself into an inescapable corner and that's why I quit the game.  And I think that was about halfway through, so the game is just very poor about allowing the player to do that to themselves. 

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Fuck this game. The combat is insanely harsh even on easy mode, the projectile-rebound move requires split-second timing, doesn't rebound in a helpful way and is useless if there's more than one enemy attacking, and you have to go to your stats screen every time you want to swap weapons.

 

I tried to give it a chance, I went back to the earlier save and managed to get my disc back, but it's a struggle to get through every encounter. Fuck it.

 

RPS retrospective ("more fun to write about than play")

Post-mortem from lead game designer Frank Rooke

 

Onto Jedi Academy. I'm not sure how much patience I'll have for this game if it takes as long to get to the good stuff as Outcast and has all that game's flaws, but someone said earlier that it might have better level design, so we'll see. I get the impression that it's heavier on the lightsaber fights, though - I never really managed to master the intricacies of those so they felt rather button-mashy and not that enjoyable for me.

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You start with a lightsaber in Jedi Academy. I'm not 100% sure anymore, but I remember different lightsaber moves being triggered by moving in a direction by holding WASD and then clicking? Multiplayer people then mouselooked all over the place because the animation was fixed but the movement wasn't.

 

The lightsaber fights were always really cool in the jedi knight games but I ended up quicksave/loading all of them I think.

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Yeah, you start with lightsaber and a lot of basic Force powers (most importantly heal and speed), which is great - thank fuck I don't have to go through a couple of hours of overly-tough non-Force combat.

 

It was a bit weird at first not playing as Kyle, but you can customise your character and then Kyle trains you and accompanies you on missions, along with characters like Chewie and Luke so it's pretty cool. I'm one of those weird pizza-face dudes with the metal goggles (Kel Dors, apparently), and I've got a purple lightsaber.

 

The engine is starting to show its age a little now - everything feels a bit jaggy and basic - but it's fine. I had to fiddle with a config file to get 1920x1080 even playing the Steam version, hopefully it won't reset every time I launch the game.

 

It lets you choose from a handful of Jedi missions, in the order you want. Pointless (I assume I'll have to play them all), but nice.

 

The plot is mirroring the new films in certain ways (spoilers for Force Awakens) - Luke has started a Jedi academy, one of the padawan (iirc) goes bad...

 

I've had to come out of it to google what the scope key is - I'm pretty sure I had to do this in Outcast too!

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Ha ha, okay, I was on the wrong weapon for the scope. 

 

This is really fun so far - I haven't got lost and the combat is pretty easy going so far - you can slice your way through a bunch of tusken raiders no problem, but you have to be a bit more careful when a bunch of mercenaries are shooting at you. It turns out you have to do all but one of those missions, but can choose to do all of them if you like. There's a lot of variety here, too - fighting alongside Chewie on Tatooine, a Tremors-esque level where you're scavenging for parts by jumping across parts of crashed ships being careful not to step on the ground and get swallowed by baby Sarlaccs, running along the top of a giant train as it speeds through a rainy city...

 

They also give you a choice of two guns and a projectile explosive at the start of each level, alongside your saber and pistol. Obviously, I choose the space-shotgun, the space-sniper-rifle and the space-grenades every time. I'm also exclusively levelling up my heal and protect powers. These games could really do with simplfying down, there's a lot of stuff that is never really developed as a mechanic. Like, what's the point in fucking around with Force lightning or choke when you can just shoot someone?

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22 hours ago, Ben X said:

Like, what's the point in fucking around with Force lightning or choke when you can just shoot someone?

 

It's a Star Wars video game so they need showy Force stuff?

 

Have you gotten to the point where you can choose different lightsaber styles (ie single saber, dual sabers, or saber staff)?  I remember playing with dual sabers and finding it way more fun.  If memory serves the staff isn't particularly useful.

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I played a TON of Jedi Academy back in the day. It was my first foray into a multiplayer game online, and I played through the single player about 4 or 5 times. I almost always picked the dual light-sabers, but surprisingly, the single light-saber on heavy stance is the most commonly picked in online duels, from my experience. Force lightning grows in power as you put points into it, to the point where you can basically delete entire rooms of enemies by just looking at them. Also, dark jedi enemies can deflect shots from a blaster, so force powers are particularly useful against them. I think Jedi Outcast had a better single player campaign overall, but I liked the diversity in mission types in Jedi Academy. 

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8 minutes ago, eRonin said:

I almost always picked the dual light-sabers, but surprisingly, the single light-saber on heavy stance is the most commonly picked in online duels, from my experience.

 

I never played the multiplayer but I remember reading that the single saber heavy stance was considered the best because the other two saber styles don't have stances and heavy stance basically broke through all defenses if used properly. 

 

Dumb nerdy rant that has no relevance to the game:



If I wanted to be really nerdy about it (and I do) it makes no sense because lightsabers have no physical weight (the blades being made entirely of energy, the only weight is the hilt) so a "heavy" swing has no difference than a "light" swing.  Fast and light attacks make far more sense since even incidental contact with the blade would cause damage.  But it's a Star Wars video game so whatever.

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Actually, dual sabers and saberstaff have access to light stance and medium stance, respectively. You can choose to deactivate one blade if you like. I played enough of the multiplayer to sort of try-hard in duels, so I learned all the moves. I honestly think the use of heavy stance was simply because its hitboxes lasted longer and therefore is less susceptible to lag in the game taking away your hits.

 

Spoiler

There's a lot of rubbish that the expanded universe (R.I.P.) spewed out about different lightsaber forms, unrelated to the Jedi Knight/Academy stances. I recall the forms being created in response to the popular style of combat of the time; the first forms were developed for hand-to-hand lightsaber duels, then forms were developed to counter the prevalence of mass blaster usage, etc. Probably more fuel for you to nerd rant over :P

 

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30 minutes ago, eRonin said:

Actually, dual sabers and saberstaff have access to light stance and medium stance, respectively. You can choose to deactivate one blade if you like. I played enough of the multiplayer to sort of try-hard in duels, so I learned all the moves. I honestly think the use of heavy stance was simply because its hitboxes lasted longer and therefore is less susceptible to lag in the game taking away your hits.

 

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There's a lot of rubbish that the expanded universe (R.I.P.) spewed out about different lightsaber forms, unrelated to the Jedi Knight/Academy stances. I recall the forms being created in response to the popular style of combat of the time; the first forms were developed for hand-to-hand lightsaber duels, then forms were developed to counter the prevalence of mass blaster usage, etc. Probably more fuel for you to nerd rant over :P

 

 

You might be right, I really don't have a clear memory of the game.

 



I actually am aware of the EU forms of lightsaber combat.  If I remember correctly there were 7 forms that were generally characterized by different applications and styles.  For example, Count Dooku was a master of Form II which is specifically tailored to dueling.  Obi-wan was a master of Form III which is a defensive form designed to counter blaster fire.  My personal favorite was Form VII, which was invented by Mace Windu.  It's a highly aggressive combat form that was so ferocious it was said to border on the Dark Side.  Windu was supposedly the only one with enough strength and disciple to use it without falling to the Dark Side, hence why he was able to defeat Palpatine in Episode III prior to Anakin's intervention.

 

Yes, I'm a huge nerd.

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5 hours ago, SecretAsianMan said:

It's a Star Wars video game so they need showy Force stuff?

 

Well yeah, but I mean what's the point as a player? It sounds from eRonin like it maybe gets more powerful in this game than Outcast, though, so perhaps that will render my point academic moot.

 

I haven't got to choose saber style yet - seems like dual is the way to go!

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From what I remember, all non jedi/sith enemies were pushovers with anything you cared to use, but jedi/sith could only be beat by light sabers/some force powers? Maybe you could clip them with grenades. But all the rest of the guns were useless if they had their lightsaber out.

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Lightning never really seemed to have an effect on the Sith in Outcast, though - I'd always try stuff on them but eventually just hammer the saber at them. Perhaps all that stuff powered up more too late on for me to see it.

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Okay, Force Lightning in this game is great! All the Force stuff is levelled up much quicker, in fact, and makes the game a lot more fun. I'm about three quarters through now, I think, and having great fun. It hit a bit of a trouble patch with a couple of crappy switch-pushing mazes and an awful speeder bike section, but then it got back into more inventive levels, like the one where it takes your lightsaber off you, so you're doing some proper FPSing but still using Force powers, the Coruscant level with zero snipers, and the Jedi tomb level which has a real Mines of Moria feel to it. It feels great doing huge jumps between buildings and bridges, then zapping people off ledges into the depths like Palpatine does to Mace Windu. The level where a mutant Rancor is running about so you can manoeuvre the dark Jedi into its path and watch them get eaten is just hilarious.

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I can't remember and I know you're not literally doing every FPS ever, but did you try Project I.G.I.?

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I did, as I happened to inherit it on disc from a mate. I did not last very long:

 

PS - you could have found this out yourself by going to the top of the page and typing "project" in the search box or looking at the list in my OP!

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Glad you're enjoying the new force lightning :) pro-tip: you can put away your saber to use lighting with both hands at the same time! It creates a wider arc but I think (not 100% sure on this) it drains your force mana faster.

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Ooh interesting, thanks! Does a wider arc do more damage or anything? I don't really have an issue with not tagging everyone in a room with it...

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I'm kind of going through the motions with this game now. It's about 80% lightsaber battles by this point and I just don't find them very satisfying. LOTS of quickloading until I happen to get enough random hits in to defeat my opponents.

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I abuse force speed to blow up other light-saber users. Other force powers can be countered but there's nothing anyone can do about speed.

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