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Real Time Strategy (Games) PC Games (Games) XBox (Games)

In Space No One Can Hear You Sigh 242

Spacefaring races always seem to get into trouble, and game designers love to put us into the shoes of the explorers and soldiers of tomorrow. Unfortunately, futuristic titles can be just as tiresome as Dungeon Crawl #457. Both MechAssault 2 and Nexus: The Jupiter Incident are examples of this truism. Both games are well conceived, with fine pedigrees behind them, but neither manages to deliver satisfying gameplay or long-term enjoyment. Read on for my analysis of these two titles...in spaaaaaaaaace.
Fast-paced action gaming isn't a rarity on the Xbox, but there are a few titles that stand out in the crowd. The original MechAssault title was one of these, and Day 1 Studios attempts to recreate the magic with the title MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf. While the online gaming component delivers satisfying multiplayer action, and the single-player campaign manages to shake things up a little bit, the title overall seems much like a clone of the original MechAssault.

  • Title: Mechassault 2: Lone Wolf
  • Developer: Day 1 Studios
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
  • System: Xbox
  • Reviewer: Zonk
  • Score: 6/10
As a table-top gamer, my fondness for the Battletech and MechAssault games is rooted in the lead figurines and hexagonal maps of the original game. Loading out the mech components via by filling in little dots using a number 2 pencil back in the day was completely different from the fun of playing modern video games, but there is still an element of that obscurely vicious pastime in the MechAssault series of today.

* At kickoff, MechAssault 2 puts you in the role of a Mechwarrior as he and and his crew find themselves in a hostile situation. You're given the chance to run through a tutorial session while simultaneously repelling a hostile force. This puts you directly into the action, a nice choice. There's no need for plot or motivation before you start blowing things up. Players who have played through the previous title will start to glaze over during the tutorial, though, as the controls are almost exactly identical to those in the original game.

In fact, that statement is the basis of all of the issues with the MechAssault 2 experience. If you've played through the first MechAssault title, you've basically experienced everything that MechAssault 2 has to offer.

The big difference comes in the form of the the compact "Elemental" style power armor. The tiny mech handles just like the larger constructs, and has some impressive armament for its size, but the big draw of the tiny suit is the ability to "Neurohack" your way into full-sized mechs. Not only is this a potent combat ability, completely disabling a successfully targeted mech, but it allows you to enter and control the hacked mech if you choose. The game mechanic itself is easy to use, requiring you to hit a series of buttons on the controller within a certain period of time. Besides the new power armor, you're also given several opportunities to use more traditional vehicles such as tanks and a VTOL. And, of course, you still have access to the giant robotic walking tanks that typify the Mech genre.

* The single-player campaign provides a decent framework both to develop piloting skills and to do some urban renewal with your mech. There's nothing spectacular in the background or composition of the plot, though, and only a few levels after the tutorial ends the gameplay will get repetitive. The Word of Blake opponents, the primary bad guys to the Mechassault 2 tale, eventually all blend into each other and every tank you stamp out of existence begins to look like the last. As in the first game, the backdrop to your rampages is entirely destructible, and even a single stray shot with the high-powered weaponry you utilize near the end of the game can take out a city block or two. The game's musical background consists of licensed songs from bands like Korn. Maybe it's the pen-and-paper purist in me, but I had a hard time associating Korn with Battletech. The rock soundtrack does add to the atmosphere, but recognizable bands seemed to detract from rather than enhance the experience. The story is simply Mechassault 1 with a new coat of paint, and singularly familiar gameplay ensures there are few new experiences to be had for the veteran Mech gamer.

As with Halo, the real reason to play the first MechAssault was the multiplayer capability. MechAssault 2 upholds the original game's tradition of Xbox Live enabled multiplayer carnage. There are several different modes available, with all the types you'd expect, like capture the flag, deathmatch, etc. The designers gave the online game a new twist, though, by incorporating a "conquest" mode: In conquest mode you hook up with one of the houses, the clans of the Inner Sphere, and go on the warpath for your chosen allies, attempting to gain as much territory as possible with the aid of other house members and opposed by other house factions. Unfortunately, the number of players online is rarely sufficient for this kind of play. Satisfied that they'd already played this before, many gamers have long since chewed through this game and resold it to Gamestop for another title.

* Mechassault 2 is a competent, but overall unnecessary sequel to the original title. The first game was a completely valid expression of the shoot-em-up mech genre. While the urge to create a sequel to a successful franchise is a logical one, it's hard to see the real need for this game. The action mech genre is a fairly well-developed one, and while the neurohacking gimmick provides some differentiation from other titles, this straightforward license vehicle could have been so much more. I recommend this game to fans of the original title who are looking for more maps to play on, or an action gaming fan who's looking for familiar territory, but unless you go to sleep at night wearing a Mech King crown made of cardboard you can afford to pass on this sequel.

Screenshots are from Microsoft's official MechAssault 2 site, (c)2005 Microsoft Game Studios.

Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is a dramatic name for a game that manages to be a thorough disappointment. That's a real shame, too, because Nexus has a lot of elements that make you want the game to succeed. Visuals and voicework ingratiate the world to you, but the lackluster gameplay makes you wish you hadn't uninstalled Homeworld.

  • Title: Nexus: The Jupiter Incident
  • Developer: Mithis/HD Interactive
  • Publisher: HD Interactive
  • System: PC
  • Reviewer: Zonk
  • Score: 4/10
* The background to Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is played out for you in unskippable cut scenes that for the most part manage to confuse more than inform. There's a guy, see, and he's the first guy born in space. Then he has a son. Just thought you'd like to know that. Then the guy gets put into hypersleep after an intense battle. As you are. He's found many years later, given his old job back, and then to celebrate his return he's sent on a several year-long sojourn into the outer rim of the solar system. Jupiter, to be precise. Can't make this stuff up, folks. The plot actually does have elements that draw a player in. There's some interesting ship design, some talk of large intrasystem corporations that have formal militaries and regular skirmishes, and (I'll ruin the surprise for you) aliens. The problem is that all of this is muddled together in mission briefings at the start of each part of the game, and after two minutes of exposition, you're disinclined to pay attention to the backstory and really just want to get to the shooting.

* The shooting at least, looks good. Majestic 3D expanses are your playgrounds, with really nice looking ship designs and a slick interface makes play ve. In particular, I appreciated the swept-back designs and utilitarian choices made by the ship designers. I'm getting pretty tired of Star Trek pretty and Star Wars uglytech. The problem comes when you consider the pace and method of the shooting. Nexus has you issuing orders to your forces, which can range from a single vessel to a large fleet. Like many RTS games, you don't control your units directly; You simply give them an instruction and let them go do their thing. Combat breaks down to two choices: Either you instruct your minions to attack the hull of an opposing ship, in the hopes that the crew will flee and the ship will eventually be destroyed, or you order them to attack specific subsystems of the ship. This provides an element of the strategy sometimes missing from so-called RTS titles. What I found most effective was to have ships target the weapon systems of opposing vessels, as they seemed to be some of the most vulnerable components.

* At issue here is the pace of combat and the intelligence of your units. Despite ordering my flagship to target a subsystem of a specific enemy vessel, I would often return to my combat unit after handing out some additional orders to find it either hanging dead in space or chasing after another ship entirely. Reaffirming my target of choice seemed to be seemed to be the only way to ensure the battle would go how I intended. Additionally, combat in space, apparently, is deadly. Deadly dull. The weapon systems look nice, and seem to be firing at an acceptable rate, but the armor plating of even the most insignificant weapon system is apparently very tough. It will take over a minute of a concentrated barrage to take out even a single subsystem. Actually destroying a ship, causing its crew to abandon the vessel and the hull to crumple, can take upwards of three minutes. This turns what should be tense and quick encounters into adventures in frustration as you are forced to concentrate your fire on one ship as the only viable strategy. Despite combat appearing to be a situation with tactical possibilities, you are reduced to ganging up in order to have any chance of victory. Missions with large numbers of enemies are particularly annoying, as the AI and combat pace combine to ensure that -- unless you are very on top of things -- you'll do barely any damage to the opposing force. You can order your entire fleet to focus on one ship in a blizzard of twenty or more, but the wandering AI ensures that their focus will quickly be elsewhere. Fifteen minutes into a mission and you'll find yourself with a swarm of 10% damaged enemy ships crawling all over your very spread out fleet.

All of this is a real shame, because Nexus has some very charming aspects: There is a ship modification element to the game, mostly straightforward and nowhere near as well developed as a Pax Imperia or Galactic Civilizations, but there nonetheless. The voicework for the characters is fairly well done, despite some occasional poor dialogue and endless exposition. And did I mention the ship designs?

I spent most of my time playing Nexus: The Jupiter Incident leaning far back in my chair in a passive state. The style of the game seems to be aiming for a combat-rich deep-space adventure, but the pace is that of a more leisurely strategy simulation. This confusing mishmash turns what could have been a worthy addition to the genre that is almost defined by the Homeworld games into simply a poor substitute. I lament the game that's resulted from the ideas visible in this game, as there really seems to be something worthwhile here below the surface. As it stands, though, Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is a game that you can take a pass on unless you simply need an excuse to get back out into the big black.

Screenshots are from HD Interactive's official Nexus: The Jupiter Incident site, (c)2005 HD Interactive.

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In Space No One Can Hear You Sigh

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  • by ThomasFlip ( 669988 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:28PM (#12102165)
    Wing Commander Privateer. You could buy ships, weapons, join guilds, fly to other planets, it had it all! I wish games these days would start with the basics first instead of trying to add convaluded awkward features.
    • Take off every... oh never mind. Wrong Wing game. You must mean the one that has the movie with the wet cats.
    • by m50d ( 797211 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:47PM (#12102415) Homepage Journal
      Homeworld. True 3d, really really 3d. I cannot express how 3d it is. Let's just say it makes reality seem flat. The UI is so good I think sun should just straight copy it for looking glass, because it makes 3d useable. And aside from that, it's beautiful. Really really gorgeous. When I have nothing better I'll put a screenshot from homeworld on my desktop, it's that good looking. And best of all, they released the source. So you can play it on linux (aside from the movies, but I'm working on that). If you don't have it, buy it. Buy it now. It's only a fiver on sold out or xplosiv or similar.
      • It was very unfortunate that the sequel was not as good. I was really looking forward to it.
      • I never played the original but bought the sequal when i was away on business for a week. after about 2 days I took it back. It was entertaining, but not compelling.

        I now play Eve-online and have for about a year. I'm satisfied.
      • Homeworld was *almost* really 3d. Your ships always righted themselves to a a plane, courses were set relative to an immobile reference plane, and the camera stopped at the 90 degree north and south poles of the virtual sphere.

        Admittedly it made things slightly easier in an otherwise diabolically hard game, and the other concepts of the game were more like starblazers or robotech space opera and not "pure" sci-fi (stuff like constant thrust = constant velocity) but it felt limiting in that you always had
    • Then play it again, Sam [solsector.net]. :-)

      It's interesting how tons of Wing Commander clones have come and gone, yet not a one has managed to capture that same "magic" as the true series. Starting with Jagged Alliance, then going to Allegience, Descent: Freespace, StarShock, all the way through X:2, they all manage to look nice but somehow lack gameplay. Even Chris Robert's Freelancer didn't manage to compete with his own series!

      So, if you've got a craving for Wing Commander, go grab the original titles off of EBay. Th
    • Freelancer [microsoft.com] is Privateer on steroids, also developed by Digital Anvil and in the same universe. Awesome game. I've been hooked on it for months. (Try to ignore the Microsoft branding, they bought D.A. out to provide the capital for finishing the game, but I understand it was all Chris Roberts' team that produced Freelancer. If anyone has more/better information on this though, I might be wrong.)
    • If we're talking basics, how about Tradewars?

      I used to play until all my turns were used up and worry until my turns renewed since I left my ship drifting in sector 323.

    • I was a big fan of Wing Commander Privateer and to a lesser extent Tachyon: The Fringe and Privateer 2: The Darkening. I've been hopeful a Massively Multiplayer style game would come along that would capture of the magic of the classics.

      Vendetta Online [vendetta-online.com] is one of the MMORPG space games with more of a focus on the ship to ship combat than the level grinds. And as an added bonus they support Linux out of the box. As a smaller independent development team it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of some

  • *SIGH*

    Borint non front page material!

    What's next? Movie reviews?
  • Feh, read a book (Score:2, Interesting)

    by doublem ( 118724 )
    This is why I gave up on most games.

    I still play Nethack on the PC and Rogue on my Palm (Since a working Nethack port has never been done for the Palm due to the piss poor hardware and API)

    Endless gameplay.

    Those Nethack guys have thought of EVERYTHING!

    I'm so damn close to getting a free ipod [coingo.net], which I'll fill entirely with CC licensed podcasts and rips of CDS I own.
    • hopefully the new version will come out soon, I have been checking the webpage every day for over a year now :)
      • A quick Perl script can do that for you.

        Have the script do the following:

        Download the front page of wwww.nethack.org

        Generate a Checksum.

        Compare the Checksum to the saved Checksum.

        If no saved checksum exists, save the checksum to file. (First run condition)

        If a saved checksum exists, and it matches the checksum for today's page, exit without a word.

        If the checksums don't match, e-mail $user telling them the site has been updated.

        Create a scheduled task to run the script daily.

        Never have to manually
    • yup -- I play games so I can stop thinking and spend a little time letting the lizard brain deal. So they need to be fast, with simple controls and all the complexity embedded in matters of gameplay. Quake2 and BZFlag are the ones that fit that bill, and both are cross-platform and lightweight enough to play well on a laptop.
      • do people still play Quake 2 online? I really liked the weapons and the game's style, I thought it was underrated, in fact.
        • yeah -- it's via word of mouth for me though, since it doesn't have an auto-find-servers function like q3a and I'm not going to buy gamespy. My friends tear me up quite well without help.

          With GL graphics the game looks quite nice IMHO -- explosions and such aren't as nice as with newer games, and the characters can look clunky, but the maps are well designed and a pleasure to play in.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:29PM (#12102174)
    All you need is "Star Control 2". Best space game ever.

    http://www.abandonia.com/games/144/Star_Control_2/ StarControl2.htm [abandonia.com]

    (You also need DosBox to run it on most PCs these days.)

    • Technically brillant games and I haven't played their equal since they were released. I still have the original Star Flight game with its 2 5.25 disks. Amazing what they could do with two 360k disks.

      Star Flight 2 while not as good as the first was just as much ahead of other games that I would love to find a machine I could play either on (they unfortunately are clock dependant for combat)

      I don't think they lost any of their luster until the Wing Commander Series arrived. Originality has a lot to do wit
      • If you have clock dependency problems, get DosBox. 'Nuff said.
      • I'll have to chime and say "here here" on this one. The Starflight series were outstanding. I'll admit I never finished the game, but then again, I don't think you could finish the game, can you? The only other game that I found to be of a competitive value was Elite on the Commodore 64. However, that was a bit of a pirate/trading game and didn't let you explore planets. Heck, I even had my C64 friends banging on my door at all hours of the day so we could all sit around a computer and play Starflight
    • Yeah, SC2 is one of the most enjoyable space operas on the computer still, even though it's an old 2D action/strategy game. I keep wishing they would port it to the Game Boy Advance.

      It had some of the most original aliens, and a really nice interweaving of the plots in a non-linear fashon. I just wish modern space games had such rich backround - the 'epic plot' of Halo pales in comparison to the races of SC2.

      On a different note, though, the most original concept I've seen for a space game was in a game ca
    • While the Star Control series was (is) great, my pick for best space game (and probably one of the most influencial) is Starflight [wikipedia.org] by Binary Systems.

      It had great music (as far as 1986 PCs were concerned) a deep plotline, and a HUGE universe. It had worm holes, mining missions, new races, randomly generated weather environment, a crazy AI system, doomsday plot and time limit (you could continue to play even after the game was "unbeatable" due to the destruction of your "home" solar system).

      Ship upgrades,
      • Starflight rocked. This was one of the first computer games I ever played, and it was responsible for many sleepless nights duing summer vacation. If you're still looking to play the original, might I suggest DOSBox [sourceforge.net]. If makes nearly all of the old games playable on a new system, without the timing issues.
    • Thanks for that link to http://www.abandonia.com/ [abandonia.com]. Do you know of any more types of sites with classic games that have been abandoned or are now free?
    • by Grant The Great ( 562818 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:13PM (#12103361)
      Or you can download The Ur-Quan Masters [sourceforge.net] which is based on the open sourced code of Star Control 2. They have binaries for Windows, OSX, Linux, as well as the source code available to download. It's the exact same game, only with a different name.
  • by Donoho ( 788900 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:30PM (#12102182) Homepage
    I paid for gamespot complete for nothing :(
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:30PM (#12102186)
    I spent most of my time reading Slashdot: The Zonk analysis leaning far back in my chair in a passive state. The style of the analysis seems to be aiming for a insight-rich deep-thought article, but the pace is that of a more leisurely pointless story. This confusing mishmash turns what could have been a worthy addition to the genre that is almost defined by the good gaming sites into simply a poor substitute. I lament the site that's resulted from the ideas visible in this article, as there really seems to be nothing wortwhile here below the surface. As it stands, though, Slashdot: The Zonk analysis is an article that you can take a pass on unless you simply need an excuse to get back out into the big black.
  • Just sayin (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:33PM (#12102224)
  • Just wait (Score:5, Funny)

    by justforaday ( 560408 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:33PM (#12102227)
    Just wait! Dungeon Crawl #458 is a HUGE improvement!
  • Also (Score:3, Funny)

    by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:34PM (#12102246) Homepage Journal
    In space, no one can smell you farting!
  • by newdamage ( 753043 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:35PM (#12102260) Homepage Journal
    Maybe it's just me, but I thought the whole slew of Mechwarrior games peaked around Mechwarrior 2: Mecenaries. That game ruled. I had more than one quest path to choose from, I got to buy/sell mechs and hire/fire pilots. And I still got to completely customize all my mechs on top of that.

    Yeah, too bad MechAssault 2 gave me none of that. Boring linear missions, no choice in what mechs I got to pilot, and no customization. Whee.
  • Eve Online (Score:5, Informative)

    by erik umenhofer ( 782 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:36PM (#12102271) Homepage
    http://www.eve-online.com [eve-online.com]

    great space game. had some bugs in beta, but has become really solid and fun. I've been active since late 2002 or something. Check out the features and the give it a try, free month trial.
    • Isn't that the one everyone went to when Mankind started to blow?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:36PM (#12102272)

    I don't mean errors in it, more that most games are; mission, pointless 2D video clip, mission, pointless clip, ad inifinitum.

    What I really want is more games like UFO: Enemy Unknown (I think it had a different name in the US). You are always in the game and things are always relevant and exciting. Even the research stages had you watching the globe, just to see if a UFO had appeared within your current fighter range and could be taken down.

    Most modern games take you from one scenario to another totally unlinked scenario via aforementioned dull and boring 2D scene setters. I want (I suppose Elite sort of had this too) to stay in the game world all the time and feel like I'm part of it, not like I'm just playing through some 3D level designer's wet dream of the moment with Gourad, anti-aliased, full textured, B-spline, bump-mapped, mip-mapped eye-cheese.

    • I think your referring to XCom: UFO Defense as it was called in the US. And yes that game rocked. One of the best turn based squad combat games ever created. And they did an excellent job of immersing you in the game. I used to spend hours playing that game.

      They sure don't make em like they used too.
  • Ummmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by bob670 ( 645306 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:37PM (#12102285)
    "unless you go to sleep at night wearing a Mech King crown made of cardboard"

    Okay, who ratted me out, which one of you? Step forward and there will be no trouble...

  • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:37PM (#12102295) Homepage Journal
    What we really need is a science fiction expansion pack for Progress Quest [progressquest.com]!
  • by NightWulf ( 672561 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:38PM (#12102297)
    Galactic Civilization (too lazy to google the url) is a great turn based game that can provide hours and hours of fun. You can only choose one race, humans...but the games can last into the weeks if you make everything huge with hard AI's.

    Your mileage may very on my second reccomendation, Space Rangers. It's made by a Russian game company but I do hear this month a British based publisher will be released Space Rangers AND Space Rangers 2, to the rest of Europe and America. I played Space Rangers and it reminds me of a turn-based top style privateer. You buy and sell materials, can attack and raid ships, buy new ships..equipment, etc.

    I reccomend you google up each respective game creators site and check em out. It's a shame there hasn't been that many really good space games out, as those are my favorites. Ever since Origin Systems was bought out by EA and decimated by them, things have sucked.

  • by FlimFlamboyant ( 804293 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:39PM (#12102315) Homepage

    Before we had the capability to render scenes with millions of polygons with a striking degree of realism, game designers had to rely on a fading concept called.... fun.

    I think people are finally beginning to get over the enfatuation surrounding titles that boast of their use of the lastest and greatest FPS engine, slowly turning their attention to game mechanics that are actually enjoyable.

    Good graphics on a bad game results only in a bad game with good graphics. I think indie developers are beginning to demonstrate the fact that the opposite is also true to a large extent. I think we're beginning to see somewhat of a revival of 2D games that focus more on originality and fun game mechanics. Along with the rather large influx of these smaller developers, however, comes also many games that just plain suck in both categories. There's always the risk that the 80s could come back to haunt us, but perhaps this is simply a cycle that the industry must go through every couple of decades.

  • System: PC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs@nOspam.ajs.com> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:40PM (#12102325) Homepage Journal
    Ahem... not that this is Slashdot or anything, but can we be a tad more specific here than "System:PC"? I presume this is a Windows-only game, but since I don't know that, and there are actually some fine Linux/Windows hybrid games out there (I play NWN under Linux for example), it would be nice if you could cite hardware platform AND OS supported in a review.
  • I like the game, It's probably one of the best space-based games *since* Homeworld. Although I did find that you can't move to specific locations, it's all based on moving to nav points/markers/ships/stations/etc so you can't really specificaly place your ships. Overall though it's a really good game.
  • by writermike ( 57327 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:44PM (#12102378)
    In space, no one can hear you sigh.

    What?! Yes then can. Watch:

    Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh *POP*
  • by Buzz_Litebeer ( 539463 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:47PM (#12102410) Journal
    Nexus is a very good game. The problem with it is that it is not an EASY game. Once you get the hang of what you are doing, you can fight multiple ships at once without necessarrilly having to gang up on vessels.

    The problem with most players is that they go right for the "bang weapons against shields and armour!!!!" strategy, which generally does not work to well in nexus.

    even though it has default fire settings, those are "AI" fire settings, and the ships try to determine what the best course of action for their weapons are based on that generalized AI setting you put it on. If you tell it to attack a HULL of one ship, if it sees a good opportunity to use its weapons against a nearby ship, it may ignore the original ship.

    In Nexus you should handle everything in a little but more micromanaged way, and you can start getting kills rather fast.

    The main flaw is the lack of emphasis in training on using the manual controls for the ships, and it can make the single player frustrating as battleships tend to be completely and utterally unable to kill ships bigger than a cruiser without help. But, if you use the specialized disabling weapons, all the sudden large ships can actually beat each other to death, but it wont likely be using the AI modes the game comes with.

    NExus is probably the best space fighting game I have played in a tactical sense. Wherease homeworld1/2 comes out better in the movement and intuitive sense.
    • The problem with nexus was not the difficulty (although that was a issue, too), but
      the user interface (the first game i couldnt even move a ship without reading the manual. And that went on into the details. Very non-intuitive all the way)
      the non-existing feedback in many situations ("why the fuck does that damn ship turn now?" "why doesnt anything happen?")
      and the weapon balancing... sure mass drivers shouldnt work well against shielded target or so, but it was really boring to wait 20 minutes until you fi
  • It's deadly dull. Go into skirmish mode, buy a fleet, and pow, right into battle you go. And I mean RIGHT in. You start off right next to the enemy AI. Which is fine if you're playing a short-ranged incapacitate/destruction strategy. But what if you want to stand off and use long range weapons? Have to run away first I guess.

    And killing an enemy ship? A freaking epic achievement. But the good news is, your ships never die either. Woo. Hoo.

    All in all, I bought, installed, and played this one for
    • Yeah, i agree about the undying ships...
      when trying all weapons out to find which works against shilds, at first nothing worked. I thought "damn, what am i doing wrong?" but found out that you are supposed to need 5 ships hitting one small target for 5 minutes nonstop until the shield are even half down...
  • The Mechwarrior Series has been downhill since mech 2.(When M$ took it over from microprose, IIRC). It has steadily been devolving from a unique game to just another graphics-rich FPS with a "mech" gimic. Every new release of the game has brought more simplified game play, and less control over your mech.
    • The Mechwarrior Series has been downhill since mech 2.

      I've never been able to figure out what the problem is with the Mechwarrior series. The gameplay and mechanics seem very straightforward, yet every game post MW2 has had some problem or another. I still remember getting MW2:Mercs back when it first came out and cursing out Activision nonstop for releasing a CD with a single player game that couldn't be won without patching. This was back when you had to download a 30+MB patch over a modem just to f

  • by FeetOfStinky ( 669511 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @02:53PM (#12102465)
    Somebody set up us the bomb when 8 of 11 stories on the front page are posted by Zonk.

    Not to mention, how in the world is this front page material? This is slashdot, not 1up.com. (Right?)

    • "Somebody set up us the bomb when 8 of 11 stories on the front page are posted by Zonk."

      All the other Slashdot editors are living it up on their Easter break: drinking beer, getting tans, sleeping with women.

      Well, probably at least one of the above.
  • ... Star Control 2. THE best story and gameplay. There is an open source Windows remake, btw: http://sc2.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
  • Space (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:01PM (#12102526) Homepage
    You know, I wish people would come up with some games that actually made space FUN! Why do we always have to be conquering some system, or fighting off an invasion or trying to spread mankind across the universe.

    Why can't we just mess around in space! We're quick getting to the day when the average Joe will have the chance to experience space flight. We have companies looking to build space hotels.

    What are inhabitants of these hotels going to do while they're there? They're sure as hell not all going to want to do scientific research. How about moon-rover racing? Low Gravity Sky Diving? Moon Crater Exploring?

    What I'm waiting for is a really cool MMORPG that lets people inhabit the moon and learn what life is all about up there will be for the average person, with a great physics engine to let you really get a feel for it.

  • by stryck9 ( 670369 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:23PM (#12102813)
    The important thing to understand about Nexus is that it is a tactical strategy game with capital ships. Howeworld1/2 have more a focus on fighters. In Nexus fighters are for the most part are not too relavent. If you look at capital ship battles in WWII or the high sea faring days, they take hours. Massive ships doing massive damage over relatively long periods of time. Nexus does this and does it in spades. Put it this way, in Nexus you are in charge of Star Destroyers not the X-wing or TIE fighters.

    The slowness of the game (1-2 hours per battle) is in a sense its strength. Instead following the typical RTS formula, harvest, and hoard until you can build your best units Nexus starts you out with your best units and requires actual strategic thinking in how to beat the enemy rather than flood them with your strongest units. In fairness the interface is a little steep but once you get by it, Nexus is a gem of a game. The best analog to Nexus I can think of is Destroyer Command from Ubisoft. If you want to play as fighter, stick to wingcommander, or freespace. If you want space based RTS, HW1 and 2 are your cup of tea. If you want engaging tactical capital ship battles try Nexus out.
    • the typical RTS formula, harvest, and hoard until you can build your best units

      You don't play blizzard RTS's competitively do you? If your play startcraft/warcraft 3 try that strategy against me and see how successful you'll be. A good RTS will work a making many strategies effective. The bad ones will over power one unit (med tanks in c&c) and it's a race to see who has more of those. A good one will have effective units at all tiers but make you have to trade-off for them. A early rush will set your
  • I'm still missing the more humorous side with the nerdy star Roger Wilco. Too many games of today are only trying to shoot everything else to the next world. Too few really new ideas has surfaced since Wolfenstein (the original game).

    OK, the graphics is better and now we can get force feedback, but it's still only polish on the same idea of first person shooters. (OK, there are other games too, but nothing that is "reeeeally new".)

    Games that requires more brain and less reaction time are not too common.

  • If you like space games, you might enjoy reading about Will Wright's Spore [donhopkins.com].

    "Advice: If you have a weird idea that's so outside of the box, don't forget it. You should go back and revisit your weird ideas later, because you can never know where they might lead to." -Will Wright


  • Am I the only one who played, and loved Sentinel Worlds I? Next to Starflight this was one of the games which turned me forever in to a computer gaming freak. It had a rather good story, and the gameplay was very enjoyable. Also, the way it was handled visually was great.
    The biggest tragedy was that no sequel was ever made. At the end of the game, you can save you characters for use in Sentinel Worlds II. A game which never made it. I actually kept my characters for quite some time hoping that it wo
  • Two that might be of interest for those looking for TBS empire-management games instead of mission-driven games are Anacreon [neurohack.com] and the Space Empires [shrapnelgames.com] series.

    The former is very high-level oriented: quasi-linear research tree, ship classes instead of ship design, assignment of priorities (e.g. "raw material world" for focusing on mining, "jumpship base" for producing jumpdrive ships, etc) and import/export policies (so you can demand that worlds try to be self-sufficient, or permit them to base their economy o
  • "The tiny mech handles just like the larger constructs, and has some impressive armament for its size, but the big draw of the tiny suit is the ability to "Neurohack" your way into full-sized mechs."

    First off, Elemental class battle armor are nothing new, even to the electronic games. I seem to recall being able to play as an Elemental in MW2:Mercs. This has always confused me because battle armor is not a 'mech; it's Starship Troopers rather than Gundam.

    But Elementals are infantry and the ground-poun
    • I would have been much happier if EA had kept enough of the rights to publish BT:3025. I was in the beta for that, and they got the online FPS thing totally right. Big mechs lumbered around and blasted away, small mechs could do a pretty good job of running circles around the big ones - mess up ONCE and the big guy blasts you.

      And it was a 3025 game, none of this Clan nonsense. Javelins, Wolverines, Archers, Riflemen, the Atlas, etc. We had medium lasers, SRM-6s and AC/5s and we LIKED 'em.

      There was somethi
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @06:56PM (#12105188) Journal
    I haven't played the mech game but have played nexus.

    No review starts good when the reviewer gets a basic fact totally wrong. The cutscenes in Nexus are skippable. Even the talking during games to "advance" the story can be clicked away ending the speech and making it all happen a bit faster. So basically either the reviewer was to dumb to figure out how to skip cutscenes and break off conversations OR he is lying and never played the game. Don't believe me? Download the demo.

    Now it must be said that the background story is incredibly dumb. Basically you just don't give a shit. It is all to generic. A bad captain Kirk as the captain, a sexy japanese computer, a spunky rebellious cloaky type girl, an obnoxious incompetent superiour, weak silly aliens. Jada jada jada. It is so mediocre and un-original it is unbelievable.

    The missions briefings before the missions proper are indeed baffling. They seem more story devices then informing you of mission objectives. Wich can be troublesome as you then need to choice your weapon configuration. Would be nice if you learned you need to pack a squad of marines BEFORE you start the mission. Once inside the mission things however are pretty clear. So this is a negative point but lets face it, proper mission briefing has been missing in action in games for so long I am no longer bothered by it.

    The combat. This is actually takes a while to get intresting as like every game they make the tutorial part of the game meaning the first few missions are wasted on teaching you the basics. I hate it as I can read and understand a manual and want my game to be challenging from the start but sadly most of the human race needs its hand hold.

    Combat is simple enough. You got three kind of weapons, anti-shield, anti-hull and anti-system. You can't hit a hull when shields are up and anti-system damage is reduced with shields up. Simplest setup is to balance between shield busters and hull busters. Going anti-device is an option for the more tactical minded as knocking out say the anti-fighter defences gives you fighters/bombers free play and they can knock devices out even faster. Who cares about their hull and engines when they can't hit you? Knock out their anti-shield weapnons and as long as you don't power down yours their anti-hull weapons are useless.

    Combat is okay but once you sussed it out it can be a bit simple. Even in big battles there is really only one strategy. Concentrate all your fire on the ship doing to most damage and then work your way down to the last vessel. It soon evolves into your ships circling one enemy vessel while blasting it to bits and you occasionally saving one of your vessel if it is taking to much damage. Basically it is nice until you figured it out.

    Now the reviewer complains about ships not following order. This means that either he is dumb or simply didn't understand the interface. You can set your ships to various modes of behaviour and one of them they basically follow their own logic wich isn't bad but can be confusing if you are not expecting it. For instance if you have them on agressive then they will happily go after the ship you told them to but on the way they will fire at any ship that gets in their way. If you target a ship with shields up it will continue to fire its hull busters at a ship with down shields. If you want total control it is there. You just got to set the right mode. Another point of for this reviewer.

    He then goes on to complain that it can take up to a full minute to take out a weapon system (with your anti-system weapons) and no less then three minutes to take out a ship completly. Read this part of his review carefully and then ask yourselve what on earth was this guy thinking when he picked up a strategy game? This is a strategy game of battleships. What does he want? Knock out your enemies weapons in 2-3 seconds? In the larger battles a minute to destroy a main armanent is nothing. This is not a scroll down shooter where you got hundreds of enemies. A dozen is a lot. Co

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