Thursday, 9 April 2009

Aw hell, it's been a MONTH!?

That's right, sports fans, it's been more than a month since last I blessed you with my writings. Miss me? Yup, that's a trick question, you're not reading this! Don't worry, noone else is. I can't justify the drought, but by way of reparation, accept this!

Been playing a bit of Dawn of War: Dark Crusade lately. I posted previously about Dawn of War 2, which is still wonderful, but thanks to some madman in Relics patching department, I am denied playing it by what seems to be an overheating issue. So, I turn to its younger brother, Dark Crusade.

There were many who complained about Dawn Of War 2's radical change in gameplay from its predecessor. The combat focus, with the complete elimination of basebuilding and the reduced scale of the strategy threw some DOW fans, as well as many RTS veterans. However, playing the first game, I can't help but wonder if this was the approach Relic wanted all along. Comparing Dawn of War to other RTS games before it, we see... well, reduction in scale and simplification of basebuilding. Although Dawn of War retains the same basic system of workers, structures and technology research as its forebears, there are certainly signs of the combat focus creeping in. Though the traditional elements are all there, they serve no higher purpose than cogs in the machine of killing the other blokes troops. There are worker units, sure, but there is none of this girly resource harvesting we get from Age of Empires and the like- no, these guys build places for soldiers to come out of. Or turrets to shoot other soldiers. Or places to research bigger guns for your soldiers. Looking at it this way, it seems hopelessly convoluted when compared to Dawn of War 2, which removes all the frippery and leaves the pure combat. Playing Dark Crusade, I feel that it craves this purity.

On a further note of 40K, I have begun reading the Black Library's Horus Heresy series of novels. These are, by my reckoning, bloody good. I suspect and fear that a fanboy like myself simply CANNOT report objectively in these matters, but the quality of the literature itself seems to be at the very least sturdy. The Horus Heresy, for the uninitiated, is the broad term for the events surrounding the cataclysmic civil war that nearly destroyed humanity. The books tell the considerable saga of how the the Emperor (of Mankind)'s favourite son and commander of the Great Crusade into the galaxy, Horus, falls to the dark powers of Chaos, and turns against his father. It would be madness for anyone into 40K not to give these a look, but I would reccomend them to anyone interested in sci-fi.

What else? Ah yes, a little more before they haul me back to the padded cell. Upon finding my rather dusty Game Boy Advance SP and discovering it had a miraculously high level of battery charge, I began playing Pokémon Ruby. It amazes me how good the Pokémon series remains. It is still hugely entertaining to capture, train and battle the creatures, even in a world of PSP-3000s, DSis and, though it pains me to say it, iPod/Phones. My faithful Combusken is now level 27, and kicks quite a lot of ass. I have a half-formed plan to buy a DS Lite or, possibly, DSi once my exams are dispensed with and get stuck in to the upcoming Platinum Version. Whatever happens, I will no doubt write of it, but know this- Pokémon rules now and always.