Monday, November 24, 2003


I'm making a concerted effort to try and complete Neverwinter Nights at the moment, because there's only four days left until KOTOR comes out, and once I have that in my possession, then I'm unlikely to be playing anything else until I've completed it, and I can't guarantee that I'll go back to NWN once I've experienced KOTOR.

I finally gotten into Chapter Four, with my Blackguard character, so I'm in the final stretch now. For all the complaints about how lacklustre the single player campaign is for NWN, I've enjoyed it a lot, and it was nice to spend a fair bit of Chapter Three in the company of dragons. Once you hit Level 15 or 16, things do tend to get ridiculously easy, particularly when you're able to summon Doom Knights or Vrocks and you're running around dual-wielding +3 weaponry. And with Improved Knockdown, even things like Fire Giants don't pose too much of a problem.

Even so, it's good fun, and the engine still looks rather lovely, if you've got the full screen anti-aliasing turned all the way up and you're using the high-res texture packs. With Hordes Of The Underdark just around the corner too, I reckon I'm still going to be playing it for a while, provided KOTOR doesn't seduce me too much.

I received the extra 512MB of memory I won off eBay on Saturday, and installed it before demoing Vice City to Flo and Alex. Oh boy, what a difference it makes. You can see the difference more with Halo, as that runs practically flawlessly now with no frame rate lags, even when there's a few dozen Flood on the screen. I'm hoping the extra RAM will prolong the life of my machine for another year or maybe even another 18 months.

Speaking of Halo - I'm stuck in The Library, predictably, at the tail end of the But I Don't Want To Ride The Elevator level, where you're trapped in a small chamber waiting for the Monitor to open the last security door and about three dozen Flood come at you. I hate the Popcorn Flood with all of my living soul.

But back to Flo and Alex's visit. With the weather this weekend being so bad - two days of constant rain - we did the only decent thing; spent lots of time going shopping, in pubs or otherwise indoors. Rather oddly, I think Alex appreciated Vice City more than Florence, though that's probably more down to the random, wanton violence level more than anything else. I'm not sure if they fully grasped the total freeform nature you can play the game in, but they definitely appreciated it certainly isn't something they should let their kids play. Flo didn't really like Halo much - too sci-fi and shootery for her tastes, I think. However, the real surprise hit was Colin McRae 2 which I've been playing a lot recently to make more use of my gamepad. Both Alex and Flo really liked it - so I decided to give them my old copy of Network Q Rally and the force feedback steering wheel that's been languishing in my boot since I bought it from eBay (and found out that it didn't work on my PC). Since their PC is a lot older than mine, their COM port is far more likely to work with the wheel. If it gets Phillippe (Flo and Alex's eldest son) playing games where you don't actually have to slaughter people for it to be fun, I think they'll be pleased.

I've been monitoring an interesting thread on State today - about the Deus Ex 2 demo. It's getting pretty heated - WHEN FANBOYS ATTACK! - but I'm keeping my counsel until I've actually played the demo. I've downloaded it with my work's prodigious bandwidth and I may get to try it out tonight - provided I'm not too distracted by Room 101 and Absolute Power - Monday's quite a good TV night.

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