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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In command, but not in control

Last week was another deployment week at work. That basically means I got to go down to Cape Town and not spend so much as two seconds enjoying the sights.. Ok in all fairness the view of the mountain from my apartment was quit pretty-especially by the time we got home after working overtime at the client :p
Four of the five us that went down were sick with whatever strain of winter bug infested our offices, and the cold snap that hit didn't help much. I don't remember being so cold since last year in Plitvice, and that's saying something. Anyway, the deployment was relatively successful, which is great, and now we're buckling down for what should be the final two or three month push. Yay, more overtime, maybe I'll finally be able to afford to service my car.

Tiberium's back
Anyway, enough bitching and onto something more interesting. I've been playing a lot of Command and Conquer 3 on the PC over the past week (I had my laptop with me in cape town, so I got far less sleep than I probably should have). I even managed to get some multi player sessions in over the weekend. Wasting an hour fiddling with emulated LANs (the EA registration gave one of the guys issues) and getting teamspeak to work reminded me exactly why Xbox Live is so damned awesome. The game really is great fun, and feels like a healthy mishmash of some of the greatest RTSs. Obviously there's a lot of classic C&C in there (complete with cheezy FMV cut scenes) and a Generals influence that extends well beyond the engine that Westwood (oops, sorry.. EA) has built upon for this game. Some of the micromanagement reminds me more of Warcraft 3 and the unit grouping from Battle For Middle Earth has made it in here as well.
The single player game is far more satisfying than that of Generals, with an actual plot (as standard fare as it may be) and three full interrelated campaigns. Multiplayer is quick and enjoyable, and I can see that games between two players that know their units well could conceivably be wrapped up in under 20 minutes. The relatively scarce resources on the tight two player maps don't encourage long games. The balancing definitely still needs some work though, as surviving long enough to pump out a big batallion of Mammoth Tanks is still a guaranteed way to decimate the opposition-especially coupled with a battle base or two.
I just got the Xbox 360 version of the game, and of course the big question here is the control scheme. Predictably, the developers mostly stuck to the BFME2 control system, and tweaked it slightly for easier use. It works pretty well, considering, but the lack of precision compared to using a mouse is still painfully obvious. I'd love to say more, but since my 360 copy is for a GEAR review you'll just have to read next month's issue ;)

Whats the big deal
After resisting for a while I have finally given into the persistent badgering by certain people to sign on to face book. I must say I'm quite disappointed, after all the hype I really expected more. I would have expected a painfully obvious way to link to my flickr account so I don't have to upload my photos yes again. I would have expected decent support for rss feeds, instead of something that just provides a link to my feeds. This is definitely one of the let downs of 'Web 2.0' for me. Yawn.

But his IS a big deal
Assassins Creed. This is going to be the next game on 360 that will blow people's minds away, trust me. You don't? Fine then, watch this trailer video and be educated. Still not convinced? Well watch this gameplay video then. Just have a sponge handy, your brain might just melt and leak out your ears.



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