some things

Well I went and ported kfile_torrent to be a Strigi analyzer so that the .torrent info metadata is available in KDE 4 now. Unfortunately although KFileMetaInfo has apparently been ported to use Strigi no metadata shows up for me in Dolphin. Maybe it will when I enable Nepomuk perhaps, kind of unfortunate that a feature more or less from KDE 2 is still unavailable though :-/

In other news I’ve been trying to find a good reason to play the PS3 that our family got last fall. Most of the games I’ve tried so far have not warranted the annoying aspects of a super-whamodyne system.

For instance, the last game I tried was Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, which was very well reviewed. But, I didn’t find it very entertaining.

Once the game came in the mail (from GameFly, since I refuse to end up with another $60 stinker), I tried it out. It told me it had a required update to install (for the PS3 itself). Awesome. So about 10-15 minutes later, I end up able to boot the game.

Whoops! The PS3 has “helpfully” detected a required patch to install for the game. Although the developers took pains to make the patchsize small (it was only around 10 MB or so) it still took another 10 minutes to download over a cable modem. So about 20-25 minutes after the adventure was supposed to begin, I was finally able to try and start the game.

What I get instead is a rotating gold coin for another minute or two, as the title screen loaded up from the disk. Now, let me just say that the music was fantastic. I was beginning to see what the reviewers were talking about with “production values”. Mind you, I would have rather had a much plainer screen if it meant the program loaded in 10 seconds instead of 90 seconds but whatever.

So I set the game to be “Easy” to give myself a chance to enjoy it (my threshold for getting ticked off at video games has been steadily decreasing over the years). And then I start the game… and wait another minute to get to the first level, some kind of tutorial.

I’m on some kind of boat, unlocking a treasure chest. Story seems good so far, graphics are good, voice acting is good. Great production values all around. And then the action starts. Like any self-respecting treasure hunter, I’ve got a fedora and a whip… er, well apparently this guy uses a gun instead. Even better, I’m familiar with shooting games.

So I start walking around, trying to take cover and dish out punishment to pirates trying to board the ship. Now luckily, games this cool have to have an EDGE to them, to keep pesky casual gamers from being able to enjoy their new $60 game. The EDGE in this case was that there was no auto-aim or lock-on to speak of whatsoever. Instead I was supposed to move my crosshairs around manually to target people.

Well, I tried, I really did try to enjoy going back 15 years in time, to an era before GoldenEye 007. But after getting shot for the 10th time or so trying to put my crosshairs over a guy (apparently the fine adjust controller sensitivity is not as sensitive as on DualShock 2 or the GameCube) I got fed up.

There’s only one excuse out there that I can think of to have no ability to aim at someone, and that’s if you’re using a keyboard/mouse combination (or Wii Remote I guess…) to easily aim. But on a controller system it’s just an invitation to annoyance. I think we can all agree that on a screen with 1 enemy near your crosshairs, that you probably meant to fire at that one enemy. But instead I guess to do it all myself (and this is supposed to be fun!). Do the game designers also want me to move Drake’s feet individually?

Now compare to GoldenEye 007. That game had no lock-on but instead if you pointed in the general vicinity of someone you would naturally start aiming right for the middle or so of their chest. You always had the option of aiming manually. This system worked well for expert players without annoying people who no longer have hours and hours every day to spend on video games.

In Zelda (Ocarina of Time) and Metroid Prime, they went even better and introduced a “lock on” feature, which makes perfect sense and makes the combat better as I can more fluidly think of dodging and getting better placement even while I attack. In Uncharted I was either peeking out behind cover trying to line up my shot or I was standing still asking to get picked off while trying to line up my shot.

Now we can compare all this to Battalion Wars 2 for Wii, which is the other game I had out from GameFly at the time. The voice acting is horrid, the graphics are acceptable but not “high definition” and the story is fairly contrived. But on the other hand, the actual game mechanics work (even this game had “lock on” for crying out loud). Not only that, but the game loaded up within seconds, without patching. (I have encountered Wii games that required patching the Wii so keep that in mind). Each individual level also loaded quickly. This must be Bizarro World, where fairly simplistic Wii games are more fun than PS3 extravaganzas.

So I’ll try Prince of Persia next for PS3 I suppose since I really enjoyed the GameCube trilogy. I’m just hoping that when they were so busy spending millions on making another $60 game that they stopped at some point to ensure that the finished product would be fun in addition to being flashy.