Wednesday, March 31, 2004

My cup runneth over

I'm utterly spoilt for gaming options at the moment. UT2004 is dominating (DOMINATING!) my online gaming hours with the awesome Onslaught at the moment, with the occasional look-in from Halo, yesterday my offline gaming options got a lot more complicated.

I had originally planned on spending the evening on UT2004 playing Onslaught with Mr. Cobbett - a plan unfortunately kiboshed by Fleur having been accidentally locked in the Staff Room at her school by the caretaker when she was the last person in school - the resulting stress made the possibility of stretching the modem cable across the flat a dangerous one. If I'd been two minutes later finding Cliff (the caretaker) she would have in there all night, as he was just about to give his wife a lift to work...

With online gaming not a possibility, I had instead planned to spend the evening with Far Cry, which I've been very impressed with so far. I open the door and there's a mountain of mail for me - mostly utter crap - bank statement, ANOTHER company wanting me to take out a "GUARANTEED LOAN!" just before the interest rates go up, and some bumph from GAME, with vouchers I couldn't use in it. (They have a loyalty card scheme - surely they should know by now I don't have an Xbox or PS2. Stop sending me vouchers for them.)

The last package is more promising. It's got a London postmark and the letters "CDV" discreetly marked on the envelope. It's my long awaited review copy of Breed. YAY! I rush off to install it, as I've been looking forward to it for months. If you read my comments about the Beta Demo on State, you'll know that I was a little disappointed with it - the viewpoint lacked inertia, the weapons seemed to lack punch, and the AI seemed a bit flaky, of teammates and enemies both.

Well, Brat Designs have been busy. There's been a vast improvement across the board - you can *feel* the difference between controlling a lightly armoured Sniper and a power-suited Heavy Gunner. The weapons aren't super-generic pea-shooters anymore, and the AI is really rather decent. The Breed support each other, cover fire, and investigate downed comrades. Your squadmates report whenever they change weapon, reload and acknowledge all your instructions. They also seek cover, use protective formations, and are fairly decent shots, too. If one of your teammates stumbles infront of another one, they'll even shout "Get out of my way!".

The vehicles (which I've only used so far in the training mission) are nice, though the fighter is quite hard to control. They've also wisely ditched the Unreal Tournament announcer from the voiceover, to give a slightly more serious tone to the voiceacting - less A-Team and more Aliens. In fact, the overall feel shows that Brat Designs are huge sci-fi fans. The opening movie has a real Starship Troopers tone, and some of the vehicle design is very Aliens.

I've been pleasantly surprised an impressed so far. Expect a full review very soon.

I still had time to enjoy a really cool moment on Far Cry too. The best FPS since Half-Life? You know - I think it might be.

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