Monday 8 October 2007

... of Heroes

I had a fairly quiet weekend for once, so managed to get in a bit of gaming (between rugby world cup quarter finals). I'd picked up Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts when it was released, and finished off the German Market Garden campaign last night. Generally it was fun, though it did seem to be monstrously unfair attacking paratroops in Arnhem (heaviest armament: a PIAT, the anti-tank equivalent of launching baked bean tins with a spring) with massed armour. Accurate, perhaps, but not terribly sporting... Next up, the British campaign to take Caen, when at least I shouldn't feel quite so guilty about completing mission objectives. I also got to use the programmable-key functions of the G15 keyboard, even if it was only to put the pause key in a more convenient place for the left hand.

As widely reported there was a stress test for Pirates of the Burning Sea, covered by an NDA, but I would imagine such a test would prominently feature overcrowding, queues, collapsing servers and/or more lag than you experience on a Monday morning before drinking a lot of coffee (or is it just me who misses when trying to put a foot into a trouser leg, falls over backwards onto the bed and shouts "LAAAGGGG!"?) 'Cos, y'know, that's rather the point of a stress test. Still, I'm sure a bunch of people took the opportunity to have a bit of a peak, so it'll be interesting to see how that's going once the NDA is lifted.

I did actually get a bit of MMOGing in, in City of Heroes (just to keep up the theme of playing three word games, the second two being "of Heroes" and the first beginning with "C". Look out for Cheese of Heroes in the shops soon, unless Crinkle-cut Crisps of Heroes gets released first...) There's lots of shiny looking stuff coming in Issue 11, notably time-travelling to go back to content you have have missed, and weapon customisation. For a game with such amazing costume options, it's always been slightly ironic that everyone got issued the exact same katana/axe/so-called "assault rifle" that really resembles a super-soaker water pistol on Day 1 of hero school, and has never bothered changing it. Digging around my list of characters there was a distinct lack of weapon-wielders (not to worry, I'll doubtless roll up somebody with the new dual blade powerset in Issue 11), though I did turn up a Claws Scrapper in his mid-20s, and had some fun slicing up some villainy in preparation for slicing up more villainy, with slightly different slicing-things.

Finally the ever-splendid Rock, Paper, Shotgun had a link to a demo of Escape from Paradise City. I set off the download, then promptly forgot all about it until last thing last night, hastily installed it, and played for all of a couple of minutes, but it has me intrigued with the suggestion of Syndicate-meets-GTA-meets-XCom-meets-Baldur's Gate and Freedom Force and... stuff!

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