Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Ever Quest, its still going you know.

everquest

Recently on the popular ‘steam’ service there has been an offer on the price of the original Ever Quest game, and 13 of its expansions.

the whole game cost me £1.99 with 30 days of game time. I never played the game when it came out and jumped at the chance to try it so cheap.

Graphics.

Ever Quest has been about for quite some time now so graphically its pretty basic, but its still quite pretty in a retro way, its epic and very open with very striking scenes even now. graphically i was impressed from the start.

The graphical options are pretty confusing though, lots of switches and tweaks but not a real ‘high’ setting that i could find. after some fighting with the menu’s i managed to get the draw distance and lighting set to high.

one of the things that i did notice was the uneven frame rates as larger structures appear on the screens.

Sounds.

Ever Quest has great sounds. there is no doubt that in many ways the deep scope of sounds that are about in the environment are simply wonderful and in many cases hold up against the sounds of modern MMO’s, what does not work though is the transitions of sounds, they do not fade in as modern games do they simply start and stop with no volume altering or fading.

Quest text.

Ever Quest has superb quest text. in fact all the text i have read has been of a remarkable quality i have not seen since LotRO, but as in many cases you interact with NPC’s via the chat window so its fortunate that the text is so clear and entertaining.

Game play.

ah, here we are, the meat of the topic. how does it play? well, its hard to describe. in many ways the game is poor, having to type to talk to NPC’s is immersive yes but its an irritation when you just want a quest. maybe I've gotten lazy, in fact that's pretty likely but i just want to get the quest with not messing about and in many cases will read the text hours later.

The next thing that bothers me is the lack of what we call ‘polish’ in modern games. the UI is clumsy and very dated, in many ways its the most dated portion of the game. even down to equipping items is a difficulty as its not clear how to compare things from the start. 

there was also a quest very early on that required me to open some nests, i had to actually type /open in chat but i felt that this was not explained in any comfortable way.Then there is the button pushing to activate and deactivate combat that again shows the games age.

in general though i have been finding the game enjoyable but that's more because of the sense of wonder that i get as i explore the game worlds. the lack of any type of real quest helper is also a bonus surprisingly as it adds to the exploration joys of the game.

and finally

the games worth £1.99 just for nostalgia value and im glad i have had chance to play it but as a gamer i can not recommend it. i can see why people who picked it up early on are still playing but i am not sure its worth starting now.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

write on

On thing that has always fascinated me is people ability to write. I real allot and as I read I am always mesmerised by the concept that a single person crafted the novel in my hands. Even a bad book is a feat of dedication and imagination. I don't get the same impressions when watching a movie however, I'm never struck by the skill of the writer, I am fairly sure its the delivers, you watch a film and your not constantly reminded that the words are written, the actors do their job's and everything looks natural, like its really happening.

What about games then? How often do we give thought to the writers in the games we love? I think it maybe about time that these writers got more public about who they are. For instance Guild Wars is a game that has strong cut scene dialogue as well as many interlocking quest based story's. Who writes this stuff? Do the writers have a history as novelists or are they just people off the street who say “I work cheap”

According to the Guild Wars Wiki the head of the writing team is called Bobby Stein who graduated university with a degree in film. What strikes me as strange is that I had to look that up. I think games should showcase these people after all how are the writers of guild wars any less important that the writers of the books we love.

Maybe with the fully acted dialogue in Dragon age and the up coming Old Republic we will see greater appreciation for writers and voice actors.

Monday, 8 March 2010

games and life?

Lately my real life has taken a sharp turn as i have started a new job that requires me to be at work for six in the morning (sometimes earlier)

so, as you can imagine i go to bed early, I have not been playing many games, but as my luverly wife got me a new new ultra portable PC (that's far too nice to call a net book) i have been spending allot of time reading about games.

its interesting though how when your reading about games and not playing them you begin to see trends in the use base, and its also interesting how you begin to see the community as a game in its self.

anyway this was just a short post and as the days roll by i will have a much nicer and more well thought out blog on this topic. but until then i will be experiencing games as a viewer, looking to the community not the game.

also, 404 Radio did miss a week but we WILL be back this week, promise ;)