Thursday, January 27, 2011

Breach: First look

On recommendation from this article BREACH: AN IN DEPTH LOOK, I went ahead and picked up enough points to purchase it. The seemingly highly positive review from someone I shared at least one common good taste with (Monday Night Combat) it should be a pretty safe buy.

I think I was wrong.

Now don't misunderstand, I'm still trying to get into the game. But it seems to me to pull a LOT from the Call of Duty franchise. I already have two of those games, and with Activision seeming to want to turn the CoD series into a yearly new game, I may be picking that one up come this fall. But to end a tangent, I'll get on to what I did like about the game.

Shotgun seemed accurate and had range. ~Shotguns, in real life, are close range powerhouses because of buckshot spreading out and hitting several points. While this effect is accurately portrayed in many FPS games, what ISN'T is that the pellets will travel more than just 20 feet. While you may not get perfect hits at 50 yards, you can probably land at least a couple of pellets on a man-sized figure. This seems at least remotely well potrayed in this game.

Destructible Buildings ~ I like any game that will allow you to blaze your own path through man-made structures. I loved Red Faction: Guerilla for this reason, although the sledgehammer was ridonculous.

Sadly, for a $15 purchase this is a pretty short list. Now, on to the gripes.

Huge maps, slow movement. The maps are *MASSIVE*. Yes, real battlefields are going to be limitless. This isn't reality, and as I have purchased a game I have a semi-realistic expectation for some action. Sprinting seems like crawling compared to similarly themed games. Regular movement is even worse.

RPG's everywhere. Seems like there is a ready cache of high-explosives ready to ruin your day, and the enemy has an infinte supply. RPG's also travel in a perfect straight line, but engine limitations may be the culprit there. However, too many easy booms. Should be earned, IMO.

Low currency gain for kills for such a slow paced game ~ My first attachement/perk/gadget is buyable for 500 xp. 10 xp per kill means that the slow paced game is even slower for rewarding you for effort. Now, I may just be spoiled for rank-up goodies in Black Ops, but unless xp gains go up as you level or for different lists, I can't get behind this system.

Guns have no sway: Nobody can hold a sniper rifle perfectly still. Well, nobody REAL (don't mention Spartans from Halo. They're fictional.)

No reason to use the cover system ~they implement a cover system, then make it so that its so difficult to disengage it and still aim at your assailant that you may as well not use it. Corner-firing rarely comes into play, and blind firing still exposes you enough to be an easy target. Also, grenade launchers and bombs and grenades and RPGs will make short work of you as you can't sprint while engaged in the cover either.

Too much like a CoD knock off ~Granted, there are perks that CoD hasn't explored, and a nice variety of gadgets, but this is less important than the fact that its using this system at all. I think Atom should've attempted a new direction and tried something other than 'perks.' Hell, changing their name to something else would've been enough. Special boosts can have a large variety of names, but they chose the same one as an existing, well known franchise game. Gadgets? Sign me up.

Huge xp investment into stuff you may not like at all ~Xp comes at such a slow rate (I played for almost 2 hours and only racked up 150) that a 500 point purchase seems ridiculous, much less the 2k it takes to unlock new weapons (which will have to have their own attachments purchased) I know I'm revisiting this gripe, but I'm spoiled and expect unlocks to either take a special effort through a specific objective, or to come relatively quickly in the beginning and then slower towards the cap rank. Variety is the spice of gaming, and denying the variety only makes it that much more difficult to enjoy the game. Pigeonholing me into the Sniper class or the Rifleman class is not the way to keep me interested in a very slow moving game.

I'm normally an impulse buyer, so this isn't a regretful purchase: I will hopefully get to play it with a friend or two to redeem the $15 purchase price as playing with friends is the reason I have a 360 to begin with. Otherwise, this mediocre CoD clone will be forgotten about like so many other bad FPS games I've played.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Drop shots and you, the gamer.

The "Drop Shot," for the uninitiated, is dropping to prone in the middle of a 1v1 gunfight in Call of Duty (henceforth COD or CoD) or any other First Person Shooter (henceforth FPS) that allows you to go prone.

For your enjoyment: You're wasting your time. Especially against me, but in general its wasted effort. No, its not because I can't do it, since I could easily switch my control scheme so me mashing my aim when I am in a gunfight can drop me to the ground. Hell, back in CoDd4 I would do it semi-regularly. The reason why its useless is this: Lag. The beast that slays all effective tactics in twitch shooters. I'll explain using several scenarios.

1. Encounter enemy. Enemy drops to ground, but I'm dead before I even see him crouch. Wasted time, and not only that mobility getting to your next target. I never stood a chance against you, why did you go prone and make sure my allies have an immobile target?

2. Encounter enemy. Shooting him while ducking behind cover. He goes prone, I pop back out and shoot him. He dies. Drop shot didn't help you, in fact it made you as easy to kill as someone in second chance/last stand: You were immobile, and exactly where I thought you would be.

3. Encounter enemy. I'm aiming lower to see things on the ground (like prone enemies and claymore mines) easier. I shoot at your feet, you drop to prone and get bullets in your head instead. You died FASTER than if you had stayed moving.

There is only one situation where a "drop shot" will have the advantage, and that is if you're prone before the gunfight begins.

4. Encounter enemy. He begins firing, I hear gunfire, spin around, but enemy is below my crosshairs. As I attempt to aim downward and fire, he kills me.

5. Encounter enemy. Both begin firing, but the split second I need to aim downward at my prone opponent gives him the edge.

EVEN IF you're prone on your box when you land the final shot, the effects of lag will cause you to be crouching when you fire your final shot, and that means any shot that I made at that point would still hit you in the crouching state. Strafing would be far preferable, as it actually relocates you and even though you're a larger target, lag will allow you to slip past otherwise spot-on gunfire. Dropping to prone might logically be considered "movement" but in the game world, you're stationary. Bullets fired at your model will likely either kill you, or you will kill me, before your drop shot hitbox change completes.

I am doing this as a public service, as I see people drop shot and want to laugh hysterically. Don't make me wake up my wife or stepson. Be smart, just shoot me and move on.