Another lacklustre weekend of gaming; I didn’t particularly feel like playing much, catching up on television instead and getting back into rugby season with London Irish’s first home game of the season.
I tinkered around with the new G15 keyboard a bit, and found some splendid applets at G15 Forums for displaying date, time, CPU usage, network traffic and such on the LCD screen. I didn’t manage to come up with any uses for the bank of programmable keys, but I’m sure there’s something I can bind them to…
At a loose end for an hour, I spotted the Tabula Rasa shortcut on my desktop, so I thought I’d poke my nose in and see if much had changed. “No” would be the short answer (though as I’d spent all of an hour or two in the game since gaining access to the beta, I doubt I would have picked up many changes short of the addition of giant dancing hippos to the tutorial). I’m not sure if there’s been a character wipe or I just connected to a different server, but the pinnacle of my previous achievements, a glorious level 4 character, wasn’t there. Zapping through the tutorial again, I pushed on, passed the “meh” barrier I’d hit before, and got quite into it, reaching a yet more impressive level 7 and specialising as a soldier on the way. In so many ways it’s a good game, visually lovely, plenty of that all-important polish… Another time, I could easily see me subscribing, but I just can’t really muster any MMO enthusiasm at the moment.
Browsing around the release schedules, there’s a few other games I might take a look at; the Medieval II: Total War expansion, and World in Conflict, a Cold War RTT (Real Time Tactical, which apparently is the same as RTS only without the resource gathering, but I suspect mostly exists as a separate term so people can get into arguments over their precise definitions) game is getting very good reviews. My inner grognard really craves some World War II tank-action, though, so first on the list might well be Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, a “stand alone expansion” (i.e. it’s an expansion, but we’ll charge an extra tenner for it in case you don’t have the original game, even though many people who buy it probably will). Apart from anything else, they deserve kudos for including the British and Canadians, as some World War II games do take a slightly Saving Private Ryan-y approach to the playable forces (Eddie Izzard:”…it would have been nice to show a British soldier. Maybe we could just look ’round the edge of the frame, Hello! Hello, I’m a British soldier, this is a Canadian soldier here, Free French, some free Polish. There’s Australians and New Zealanders, there’s some Indian soldiers, South Africans. All been fighting here. What’s the name for us? Oh, The Allies, that’s it – The Allies, Hello, hello. How’re you getting on?”), and Market Garden can be a excellent setting, as in the classic Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far.