23 August 2010

Thoughts on computer gaming:01

Becoming weary of the PC game Sacred, I've started looking around for another game that I might like to play. This has become a quest. What do I even want from a game?

Like choosing a book to read, the answer to that question depends on your mood at the time. However, what I'm thinking about here is a game like Sacred but way better, something that can be played for hours, not too demanding - if I wanted to do a puzzle I'd find a puzzle game or pick up a crossword puzzle - but not boring, either. Something engaging, something that makes me worry about my character and their world, but which is more than just one long level grind.

So I'm looking for a first person player in a fantasy world. Apparently I like leveling up, I like my character to become stronger as the game progresses. What annoyed me in Sacred was that nothing I did mattered to the world. If I accepted a mission and completed it, say to kill 40 goblins and end a blockade near a village, nothing changed. No soldiers were freed up for duty elsewhere, no advantage seemed to be taken of the food supplies now able to move. In short, nothing changed and the game moved relentlessly along its chosen story path. Still, I played it for some time because I liked the idea of the Seraphim acting in the Human world, or the idea of a Vampire suddenly turning good (why did I get the impression that this was due to accidentally drinking Seraphim blood? Was that mentioned in the game or did I add that in myself?) and I liked the idea of daemon thrown out of Hell and having to fight a demon here. I even liked the idea of the refugee orcs and goblins taking up farming out in the desert where they scratched out some irrigation channels for themselves.

So I'm looking for a fantasy game where the idea of the characters is just as intriguing but in which the actions I take have a perceptible influence, even change the outcome, of the story.

The main lesson I've learned so far is that I am not good at games, and without the kids handy to teach me how a game is played, I have no hope.

Fortunately, one was handy to help me play Oblivion

Thoughts on Oblivion next time.

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