Archive for April, 2015

D for Demon’s, L for Little, C for Con

I have, quite surprisingly, found out that I hate DLC.

It’s quite a new revelation for me because I thought that I liked it. Getting new maps and stuff that give a bit more longevity to a game, what could be better?

The other day (well month, actually) I booted up Mario Kart 8. Looking forward to hours of  racing in the greatest Mario Kart ever (according to the reviews)  and what’s the first thing I notice? Great big adverts for DLC. They’ve actually put place holders on the race menus to remind you that you don’t have it and therefore don’t have the full game.  It annoys me every time I see it, but I won’t relent no matter how cool Link’s bike is. (Bye-the-bye it isn’t the best Mario Kart ever but it’s a damned good second place, best racing game I’ve played in ages).

On another the-other-day (well week, actually) I bought Company of Heroes 2 on Steam. I had played the first one but not got into it despite really liking it, so I decided this one would get some effort put into it.  What’s the first thing I see plastered on the screen in 40ft tall writing? Buy this ‘ere DLC.

It reminds me of The Incredible Hulk adventure game from the ’80s where you got the tape dirt cheap but the game stopped near the beginning. Frustrating and annoying.

I suddenly remembered as I was driving that Titanfall had done the same thing but I hadn’t really clocked it. You buy the season pass and if you don’t you can’t find a server anywhere that you can play on because you don’t have the DLC.

Well those companies can get stuffed. I am going to research every game I buy and if I think it has a sniff of unfair DLC then I am not buying it.  If I buy a game and pay actual real money for it I expect to receive the full game, not a partial game that I then have to fork out a fortune to get it to be the full game. Just give me the whole price up front so I know exactly what ludicrous amount of money you want to charge me before I unwittingly buy part of the game.

Join the revolution, No More DLC! No More DLC! (except the 200cc update DLC for Mario Kart 8, that’s perfectly acceptable, obviously)


On another note, my last post seems to have exorcised the Voodoo demons because I haven’t played Elite Dangerous since I wrote it!







Elite: Dangerous – There’s Some Kind of Voodoo Magic Going on

I’ve been thinking about this whole Elite: Dangerous situation.

If you’ve read my previous posts you will know that I chucked a proper wobbler and demanded that my account be deleted by Frontier technical support. While that was happening I decided to see if I could at least make some kind of progress, so I decided to be a trader.

Taking my poxy ship through the brutal, patience destroying learning curve I managed to engage the FSD more times than I care to mention and hop from station to station making absolutely shite all money.

What you will see for 98% of the time

What you will see for 98% of the time

You might think that during my escapades I would enjoy the epic graphics and scenery that everyone seems so quick to describe when you criticise this game. But no. The graphics, for the most part, are a black screen with a 2D star-field with little circles spattered about and, slap bang in the middle of the screen, a couple of countdown clocks.

The space stations are limited to the same design no matter where you go and even the individual parts of the design are hardly better than basic. For instance the fans are all the same, with the same broken part on them and the signs have the exact same damage to them. It’s just boring.

In a hangar waiting to start my journey.

In a hangar waiting to start my journey.

Landed and docked. Different station type but the same hangar, even the fans are the same.

Landed and docked. Different station type but the same hangar, even the fans are the same.

A magnificent planet coming into view
A magnificent planet coming into view

Ok, I’ll admit that on the odd occasion you will see a reasonably impressive sunrise or something like that, mostly though it’s like the picture on the left of a magnificent planet coming into view – supposedly, but nothing better than you can get by looking out of your window on a morning.

The lighting is quite good, sometimes you can angle the spacecraft just-so and see scratches on the canopy, or fly away from a star and watch as the shadow covers your cockpit, but even that gets lost on you after watching a countdown tick away endlessly.

The sound is a triumph I have to say, not the philharmonic music but the sound effects. Every single sound you hear performs a function and is perfectly atmospheric and clear. Top marks to the sound dept.

On I went, trading and trading and trading. Too often getting interdicted by some NPC ship that I didn’t bother to hang around to get destroyed by, which meant all I saw of it was a triangle on the sensor display. Wow, a triangle, whoop-de-do.

I happened across a discussion forum where trading luxury commodities was described and I immediately started trading between the stations mentioned in the post. Finally I had found something that would give me some real in-game money, but all it meant was that I was going round the same stations over and over again, trading the same goods over and over, looking at the same station designs and the same damned counters.

So I decided on Empire and started doing the missions properly with some gusto. Take this here, take that there, yet more stations, yet more counters. Awful. I spent 3 hours, stopping at too many Unidentified Signal Sources, trying to find a ship that I was supposed to destroy and I didn’t find it.  3 fucking hours… needless to say I haven’t attempted a seek and destroy mission since but eventually I upgraded to a Cobra Mark III and ranked up through the Empire.

Upgrading every module on the ship made the game open up more, or should I say, allowed me to do the round-robin trading faster but there is hardly any strategy behind which modules you select. Admittedly if you were a smuggler you would take a different ship and modules than a trader, same for a pirate, but the differences hardly tax the mind.

I managed to get to the rank of Baron and bought an Imperial Clipper. It’s an impressive ship but immediately I was demoted to having the shittest modules and found I could do nothing because I could hardly get anywhere on account of the shit FSD. So I swapped back to the Cobra, did the round-robin a few more times, re-bought the Imperial Clipper and carried on, determined to upgrade it further, despite knowing it would be just a tonne more round-robin trading with luxury commodities.

I decided that I should make up my own trading route, being as that’s a part of the game and is supposed to be fun. 45 minutes of staring at a map later I had a three hop route that would net me 290k. Round and round I went  again.

During my travels they released the Wings update. Thank the stars. At last I would be able to play with my mate. But no, it turns out that Wings has a stupid mechanic that doesn’t make sense. You can’t simply lock the nav computers on both ships and then jump at the same time to the same place. What you have to do is piss about for hours trying to work out how to fly into wakes in some kind of co-ordinated convoy. I do not think, even for a second, that in a future where we have space ships available to anyone with 20,000 credits that those ships wouldn’t be able to lock on to each other and just jump. The whole thing is pointlessly contrived and stupid.

Even with that sussed the only thing you can really do is shoot other NPC ships together. There are no missions where you go on an epic voyage protecting a VIP or take on a huge battleship or anything. Just shoot poxy little ships that go down in no time together. There is just no thought or originality.

The sound is good, granted, but the graphics are sparse, the missions are primitive and dull, the multiplayer is pointless and the counters put you into some kind of trance that means you forget to decelerate at the right moment every single time and overshoot wherever it is you are going. The universe is supposed to a billion stars big or whatever but you get stuck in a loop trading or sat near nav beacons picking off uninteresting “wanted” NPC ships, so see hardly any of it.

In short, this game is awful, I detest every second of it. And the support team have still not wiped my account.

So why is it that I can’t stop playing it? I just can’t! When I go to bed I see swirling circles and counters in front of my eyes. I reckon I must have spent well over 100 hours on Elite: Dangerous by now.

There’s some kind of Voodoo magic going on.

Damn you Voodoo magic!

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