Working through the PC game shelf

Or…  “What PC Games I’m NOT playing“…

I spent four weeks of my Christmas Holidays playing World of Warcraft – I did wander into the Mists of Pandaria, but spent most of my time doing Cataclysm content. I followed that up with a run through of the single player campaign of MS Freelancer. This was the fourth time I’ve played the game and I still enjoy it. I like to try different ways of doing things, seeing if I can get somewhere to get a ship or weapons I didn’t have before, and I’m always trying to do better than my “Battleships killed: 3” record on my 3rd play through. (I only got 2 this time, but that’s still better than the 1 of the 1st & 2nd run-through.) I did manage to spend half my time in Bretonia flying a Kusari Light Fighter!

Over the years I’ve built up a collection of games that people have given me, or I’ve bought at a discount and they’ve gone onto a shelf or into my computer draw. I decided to pick something from this collection and try it out. My computer system really needs a major update and so playing older games means that my system shouldn’t have trouble running them at higher graphics standards. Of course, this also means that the graphics of any such game may not be very impressive any more! It is fun when I read the system requirements and they want 64MB RAM, a 1GHz processor, and a 128MB Graphics card.

I started with something I’d heard a lot about… BioShock. “A first-person shooter experience unlike any other.” (They were right!)

BIOSHOCK (Irrational Games / 2K Games) came out in 2007. This is probably the newest on my game shelf, but I was disgusted to find that I spend longer installing and loading the game than playing it. It installed fine, but I don’t like loading screens that don’t tell you how long its going to take or how much is left to load. I wasn’t happy with sitting through a long load for a short intro sequence then a swim to a lighthouse… and another loading screen.

I really, really hope that the quality of the graphics (absolutely crap), the difficulty with movement (easy to move, hard to stop moving), and the sound quality (I had subtitles on or I’d never have known that some of the noises were people talking to me) directly relate to the fact that my graphics card barely meets the minimum system requirements. I’ve seen much better quality graphics run on my system with much older games. Unlike a few others I tried in the last few days, I’ll keep this and might try it again when I have a new computer.

Take 2: UNREAL  (Epic MegaGames / Digital Extremes, 1998)

This installed fairly quickly and ran well. I played for a while but was mostly unimpressed. Keyboard control left a bit to be desired, but at least it’s customisable. I have Quake II (1997) that I played a lot a long while ago, and (from what I recall) that had better graphics and was more interesting.

Take 3: DEUS EX  (Ion Storm / Eidos Interactive, 2000)

Easy install, controls and settings seemed good. Started the “training” introduction and again, wasn’t impressed. The graphics were pretty basic and I wasn’t getting into the style of the hacking/devices for opening doors. It seemed like it might go somewhere interesting, but a few things with the game-play were getting annoying. I don’t think this one’s for me. Didn’t grab my attention enough to want to try playing the proper game. I also had Deus Ex: Invisible War (2003) on my shelf, but I’m not even going to try that.

Take 4: ROME: TOTAL WAR  (Creative Assembly / Activision, 2004)

From what I’ve read this is my type of game…. but, thwarted! Slow start – three discs to install (while I painted at least), then start… opening screen then a nice message saying to remove the CD, close the game, re-insert CD and start game again… no luck! Treid that a few times and still the same error message. I wasn’t in the mood to uninstall and go through a complete install all over again… so that’s another game I’m not playing. I do have Medieval (Total War) somewhere, so I might try that instead.

There’s still a dozen or so games on my shelf. I’ve ended up to two sets of discs for Morrowind (Elder Scrolls III), so that might be what I’ll try next.