I suppose it had to come up eventually - but with the games hitting shelves just two weeks apart, tensions were high.
I hadn’t touched on it yet because I didn’t know if we were going to do a strip on it, but I had a chance to play me some of that Goddamn Splinter Cell. It wasn’t easy finding the OXM demo disc, and it turned out to be a nearly day long ordeal as I stuck to the shadows and operated in complete secrecy. I’ve mentioned a few other games in the past that turned exactly the way I hoped they would, games like Bungie’s Myth, Koei’s Dynasty Tactics, or Activisions’s Interstate ‘76. That isn’t to say those games are automatically better because they conform to what I imagined - I’m just as happy to be struck by the audacity of a title that thwarts my expectations - but Splinter Cell plays naturally, as though I had made it myself.
I just… I hardly know what to say. This is not a game that I can act your vanguard against hype for. I am literally on the edge of my seat when I type about this game, recalling my mission in the demo as though I were a literal veteran of it. I don’t need to run down the modern buzzwords to tell you that it uses a fuck-ton of them. When it all comes down to it, you just want to know if things look shiny in the game. You may be assured that they do, sir!
I choked a man (what we refer to internally as “giving them the Chokie Roberts”) not for National Security Purposes, but because I was kind of bored. I’m going to try not to talk about it much anymore, because I have nothing substantive to add to the dialogue on it. The shit I’m saying here is indistinguishable from advertising and they should be paying me for it.
Phantom Crash really agitates me, as it’s got me in a very strange position. I love practically everything that is corollary to the game itself. The interfaces are inspired, they’re like functional art. I love to navigate them! I also love browsing the robust shops for interesting robot parts, paint jobs, decals, intelligent computer chips, all of it - there are a heady array of options in this regard. I love the ridiculously varied soundtrack, jammed full of Japanese music subtle and bizarre that I would never have heard otherwise. Shit, I’m even amused by the silly dialogue, which is constructed largely of regrettably perfect English. Even the concept and the fiction that underpins it - WireHead pilots and their AI companions, rumbling in wasted cities - is something I find quite pleasing. The game, though! Maybe not so good! It is conceivable that I will unlock something that will make it more fun, but, technically, shouldn’t it be fun already? The combat itself feels sort of loose and listless, nothing seems to have much weight, and playing it doesn’t require a whole lot of attention. Also, near as I can tell, I’ve got about three whole levels to be bored in. Let me put some more time in, and see if I’m just missing something. I really want to be wrong about Phantom Crash.
Hey! If you want a copy of Neocron to play at the Fourth Anniversary Fiesta, ask nice and you just might get one. We’ll get these sent out well in advance of the event so you’ll be sure to have it, but that means you must enter right away. Also, if you would like to run Natural Selection, UT2k3, or Battlefield servers, the instructions for doing do are on the Anniversary page as well - we’ve got a few lined up, but it never hurts, you know?