Just got the gravity gun. My god, the pacing, it is beautiful. My god, the faces. My god, the light.
It's instructive to contrast my reactions to Doom 3 and to Half Life 2. In both cases, I was immediately wowed by the visuals, although I give props to Doom 3 for having higher detail textures. In both cases, I felt great about the introductory sequence; Doom 3 gives you a very nice feeling you're in a real, living, breathing station -- that has something terribly wrong with it. And it creeps you out. And in both cases, I felt really good about the gameplay mechanics.
But in the end, Doom 3 made me want to stop playing after 15 minutes, because it was freaking dark and it was freaking scary. And because it was freaking dark, pretty much the whole thing looked alike, which ultimately means I'm not seeing all the pretty stuff done by that graphics engine. Yes, I got to see some of the most breathtaking dynamic light & shadow ever -- but mostly I got to see... the darkness. And I fought the darkness. Over and over again. I got about a third of the way through Doom 3 (to where I picked up the chainsaw) and then I stopped, because I felt like I was throwing myself against it and nothing ever changed.
(Yes, yes, I've avoided saying this for a while because I knew peterb would mock me. But I'm man enough to take it.)
After 15 minutes on Half Life 2, on the other hand, I feel I have to keep going. Because I'm either running for my life... or paying the bastards back. Or hoping that I'm fifteen minutes away from safe harbor and a breather... an inevitably short breather. Did I mention the pacing rocks? Doom 3 is, unfortunately, a dark, enclosed, "no" kind of game. HL2 is full of light and shadow, and beckons you onward with "yes."
In other news, I was so impressed with the HL2 faces that I picked up Vampire: Bloodlines. It's good. I think I'm going to like it. But, as at least one review I saw points out, you can tell the difference between people who know how to use an engine and people who don't. V:B uses the face technology to good effect (although not as well as HL2), but since it all takes place at night, all of the sweet lighting technology does... well... nothing. It's too bad.
But Troika rocks, and the game does look pretty and so far has kept me plenty busy. It feels like the next step after Gabriel Knight 3 -- adventure games meets RPG meets first person shooter (without the stupid puzzles).
Oh, by the way, HL2 also has some pretty interesting puzzles where you get to a point, have to explore the environment, and then either follow the clues to the button, or figure out how to use the physics engine to get past a barrier. It feels weirdly like I'm in what Myst should have been, except with guns and the crowbar and what's sure to be my new favorite: the gravity gun. Mmmmm, the gravity gun. 11:28:30 PM ()