Archive for the ‘Steam’ Category

Evan Plays: Ricochet

What is this game? I don’t even know.

I know some things about it; I know it was a mod for the original Half-Life that used to be free but now costs 5 dollars, I know it is a very obvious Tron rip-off, where people in brightly colored outfits jump around on light platforms and throw light disks at each other, and I know that somehow, I own a copy of it in my steam library.

The first problem I ran into is that this is a multiplayer ONLY game. The only option is to play online. There is almost nobody playing this game online, and the few who are have been playing the game for years. Not a great way to start out. Luckily, I did find a third party bot, and was able to get a game going.

As you can see, I didn’t do great. (more…)


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Man, what happened to me?

There was a time — I recall it! — when I was able to play games without marked quest-givers, without useful in-game maps, the kind of games that just dropped you right into the deep end of the pool with a stern reminder that it would “build character.”

I am getting ahead of myself.

Half-Life 2 isn’t a game I chose for myself. I don’t care much for first-person shooter type games, not because I find them distasteful but just because by and large they don’t especially appeal to me. Evan somehow had a spare key that he passed along to me as a “bonus” Christmas gift. I claimed it but it pretty much just sat around for a year, and it wound up first on my list of unplayed games to tackle in 2012.

So how did it go? Well…

From the Pottery Gulag Spring 2012 Collection.

This pretty much sums up my Half-Life 2 experience: wandering depressing hallways covered with tattered propaganda posters. Actually this is nicer than my last apartment. Where's the For Rent magazine?

I went into it knowing pretty much exactly nothing about the game or the franchise, save a passing familiarity with the main character Gordon Freeman (because how can you not know who he is?) and the fact that I have seen Evan shoot up lots of identical dudes wearing headcrab hats. The game really pulls no punches at all about throwing you into chaos — the mysterious intro puts you directly into Gordon’s shoes, and the player’s confusion prompts immediate identification with him.

I had a lot of fun listening to the propaganda reel, being thoroughly creeped out by the masked guards, and bumbling around until I found the single valid route out of the area — but even at this point, I was thinking to myself, what am I supposed to be doing now?

I was grateful to receive direction once it came — keep going until you get to the plaza! — but once I got to what I assume was the plaza, I was stuck once again. All the doors appeared to be locked and the gates out of the area patrolled by security cameras and impassable. I circled around for a while, receiving no prompts or even any dialogue from any of the other citizens in the area. No other friendly personage showed up to meet me. Bear in mind that all I really know how to do at this point is pick stuff up, throw it, and move around. Eventually I put my limited knowledge to use to climb up a fire escape and leap over a fence, because it seemed like the only thing to do. Loading message, that means I solved the puzzle, right?

In the next area, I got to run around a neighborhood full of miserable citizens undergoing a police inspection. After a fair amount of aimless wandering (and fruitless searching for anything to interact with), suddenly there’s an alert! Miscount detected! My fellow citizens, aware that I don’t belong in their section, rush to hide me! To the roof, they cry, hurry! So, I ran to the roof…

And I got there! Success, right? Except that once I got to the roof, again, without any obvious cue what my next goal should be, I pretty much just ran around aimlessly looking for something to point me in the right direction. And got gunned down. Okay, back to the checkpoint, I’ll try another direction this time. Ooops, died. So, okay, I’ll try another way… oops, that’s where I came from… oops dead.

Half-Life 2, you look awful neat, and your setting is creepy and compelling, but I will have to return to you sometime when I’m feeling more patient and generous, and when I’m not having a great time in another game that goes out of its way to throw tons of cool stuff to do at me.


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