more dark, less foggy

Well, I’ve gotten inside a building, and I’ve been there for some time now. I’ve even run into some humans, although they all seem pretty wacky. Inside, I’ve gotten a better appreciation for the rest of SH2’s graphics. By that, I mean, “the stuff other than the fog.”

I’m in an old, pretty run-down apartment building. The whole place is in terrible shape, and mostly quite dark. I’ve got a flashlight. What does that mean for graphics? Dynamic shadow, of course. While I’ve picked out some little glitches, they’re very subtle. For the most part, the lighting and shadows are awesome, epecially when I do annoying things like hold my weapon in front of my light or heave my chest up and down as I catch my breath. I should make a public admission: I have not seen graphics of this quality on GCN or PS2. The same thing goes for some other XBX stuff I’ve played recently. It’s impressive.

The game itself, though, is still a little light in the stuff-happening department for me. The stuff that does happen is generally compelling, if not very interesting. The puzzles and riddles are not terrible, although they’re also not amazing. They’re certainly a bit better than Resident Evil’s. Once again, though, I find myself wondering, “Why does this apartment building have an obscure riddle-based door lock in it?” Puzzles should be made to fit; that does not mean they should be jammed in place with a hammer. Still, I try to comfort myself with a reminder that this is One Messed-Up Town, and all kinds of wackiness is going on.

My least favorite thing about the game, so far, is the characters, /especially/ mine. They’re all pretty stupid, which is to say stupid in both conception and intellect. Case in point: my character has seen and been attacked by numerous inhuman demon creatures. They are clearly dangerous and out to get him. Nonetheless, when he finds a mutilated body in an area rife with demons, he says, “Who could have done this?” He says that a lot. Dude, Jim? The demons did it.

There are also a lot of puzzles that have, to me, clearer solutions than Jim is capable of accepting. Many doors are locked or stuck. Jim has a gun. He can shoot them. It might be brash, but he’s being chased by demons. In one apartment, a room’s door is boarded over. He should be able to break through the crappy drywall between the rooms. He can’t.

In a lot of games, the answer would be, “Well, he just doesn’t need to do that.” After all, I’m not upset when Vice City Guy can’t go buy donuts. I’m not upset when Samus can’t fly her ship from one area to another. In games like these, though, it is a clear, grave matter of life or death. This guy is being swarmed by demons, and he can’t bring himself to break down a door.

I don’t know what the solution to this problem is, but it exists.

I’ll keep working my way through the game tomorrow. I set the game to Easy, fearing that otherwise it would be cruelly difficult. I may have been jumping the gun. At easy, I’m really cruising along. That’s not bad, though. This game isn’t so much for the challenge as for the mood, I think.

Written on June 19, 2003
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