another game, another lost weekend

I spent most of last weekend playing one of my favorite computer games: Knights of the Old Republic II. Turning to the dark side is a hobby of mine. It’s great fun. In fact, that’s the third or fourth time I’ve started from scratch since buying it to play it. Anyway, I was looking at GameSpot for some tips and tricks, and I noticed they had a ‘recommendations’ section. I checked it out, and among the games listed, I found one I’d never heard of before: Elder Scrolls III.

So, I checked it out. The basic description really intrigued me. The review described it as an open-ended gameplay with no forced quest, meaning you just run around as your character doing whatever you want. My short description is this: it feels like Dark Age of Camelot without the lag and morons. I’m not one much for MMORPGs, myself. I think the whole subscription model is stupid. It wouldn’t work for me because my preferences shift so easily, I’d play the game for two months at a time then give up, then come back maybe a year later. That would just wreak havoc on their billing system, I’m sure. Besides, I’ve had my fill of them, and they’re called MUDs, and I flunked too many college courses to get hooked on something like that again. Instead, I just spend my weekends with the offline counterpart.

So, the game is pretty fun. I jumped right in there and managed to figure it out pretty quickly. The gameplay is rather slow, and the UI is frustrating. For instance, you can hit a keyboard key to pull up your inventory menus and what not, but you have to use the mouse to close out (click ‘Cancel’). Kind of annoying. The other major flaw I don’t like is it’s a real pain to keep track of who you talked to and what quest they want you to go on. They do give you a journal to look at, but the default (and only) viewing option is in chronological order. It worsens as your pages quickly fill up, and you have to keep notes of your own to keep track of where you’re supposed to go.

The concept is absolutely ideal, though. I love games like this, and always have, starting with the original AD&D gold-box games — adventures that let you choose your own adventure to one degree or another. The interface on this game though needs a little polishing. It’s just overall annoying enough to make me not want to play, but I’ll forget about it enough to want to come back and try my hand at it again. At the very least, it’s great to see games evolving to a great level like this. I hope the next one to come along improves upon the interface and annoyances, and employs the same great concepts.

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