Thursday, April 28, 2011

WASD, how I've missed you!

Told ya I'd keep blogging. I may not be arsed to get on EVE but I still enjoy gaming quite a bit, and doing so in a mostly troll-free environment where actual twitch skills are everything is something I've always prefered over EVE. Now that I've been getting back more steadily into action first-person shooters, I realise that maybe I should've taken a break from EVE sooner or more often. Shocking isn't it? I can recognize that EVE has a complexity that is second to none, and to many people meta-gaming is just as important as the game itself. But I'm more of a "point gun, shoot" gamer; the more complex a game is the faster I lose interest. Ever since I've started writing this blog I haven't exactly hidden the fact that I'm a Quake guy and love blowing shit up. And now that I'm into the mindset that I don't play EVE anymore I've been warming up the old twitch reflexes quite a bit in preparation for a full-on multiplayer deathmatch assault.

Since it came out in 1999, my fragging game of choice has been Quake III Arena, modded with Challenge Pro-Mode Arena. I would also play other FPS games like Doom3, Half-Life2 and Jedi Academy, but I never had any interest in the FPS games based on warfare or special ops; When Counterstrike took the throne as THE online FPS game I did give it a shot, but sneaking around for minutes just for a scant few seconds of action just isn't my thing... the same as roaming in EVE for 2 hours and killing two ships (and I ain't talking about the time lost making the fleet). I much prefer the speed and crazy aerial acrobatics of a game like Quake. I also gave a shot at Unreal Tournament 2004, but once again I found Quake to be more "my style" if you will. At the dawn of 2009 I got my beta key for Quake Live (which is basically Q3A on a browser plug-in, minus the blood, gore and satanic references) and that's where I've been doing my online fragging once in a while. But lately two freeware games have attracted my attention. Both play in Quake's court, and both use modified versions of id Software technology. Let's have a look at 'em:

Warsow CTF. Red vs... Green?

Of the two games this one is my favorite. Based on a modified Quake2 engine, the game feels a more like Q3 CPMA than the game it takes the engine from. All the maps are geared more towards fluid gameplay than towards looks, but than doesn't mean they are by any means ugly. The player models, weapons and pick-ups are all textured with cell-shaders and the weapon effects are minimal, looking very much like a Quake3 client set up for tournament play, but unlike Quake3 you don't have to tweak config files like mad to have a clear field of view. Well, the configs can be tweaked to heart's content, but it's good to have a business-ready client right after installation.

And the gameplay? Fast. Blinding fast. This doesn't just play on Q3A's court, it wrestles with it on the same ring! Let's be honest, a deathmatch game is a pretty simple and standard thing, with pretty much the same pick-ups and weapons. But where Warsow really shines is in the movement. It is much more fluid than the original Q3A or even the current Quake Live, and just slightly less crazy than CPMA. And as a direct competitor, it more than does the job as the game has been used in some professional gaming tournaments. My verdict? At the awesome price of zero dollars and zero cents, this game is a must-have for any deathmatch aficionado.

This is the Q1 engine?! DAMN !!!

I may have favorited the first game but this one is no slouch. When the game is first loaded, it's hard to believe that at its very core lies what used to be a Classic Quake engine. Yes, the Quake from 1996! But what the developers did was throw the venerable Quake engine into Top Gear's V8 blender along with a few buckets of OpenGL goodies, and what came out is an engine that looks even better than the Quake THREE engine. So much so that the developers ditched the Quake name and called it Darkplaces. When maxed out, the graphics were a bit choppy on my 2008 machine so I have to tone things down a bit, but the looks were absolutely stunning.

The physics are where I feel a little let-down though. As opposed to Q3A, CPMA or Warsow, Nexuiz feels a bit more like a threesome between Classic Quake, Quake2, and Unreal Tournament. But the vast quantity of awesome-looking maps and effects will keep me coming back once in a while for sure. Currently Nexuiz is available only as a free download for the PC, but the developers have announced that the game will be made for consoles, and from the screenshots on the website the game will look even more stunning! Coupled with its slightly slower action, which should work pretty good for those used to gamepads (I just can't use gamepads for FPS games... mouse/keyboard baby!), the game could be quite successful if the developers play their cards right.

So there you have it, two absolutely free games worth every single bit of their respective code, and no F2P bullshit thank you very much!

Welcome to MY world!


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