Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Conflating annoyances

Hunted's odd mix of Gears of War and Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance is actually starting to grow on me. In the first  level cover was pointless because I never fought more than a few guys at a time, their arrows did not damage and I could one shot them from across the map with arrows to the head. They have gotten steadily more aggressive and accurate, topped off by 'sniper' who have arrows that 'explode', forcing you out of cover. It doesn't make sense, but it works. The combat is more than good enough to deserve more variety, but two two characters only have six skills each, three of which they share, so learning everything before the game is done is a real possibility. Even the skills they don't share are not very creative: the archer has several different power shots, but they break down to hitting a guy really hard or hitting him really hard and starting him on fire or hitting him really hard and freezing him. One for each of her moods, I suppose.

This lack of variety extends to equipment as well. A good part of the fun in an action RPG is messing around with newly found equipment, trying to squeeze out just a little more damage or defense. Hunted only allows two weapons, a main and a sub, and you can only hold one of each in an obvious nod to the shooters that it stole its cover mechanic from. These weapons are found by randomly destroying racks. Most of the time they are not better than the one you already, so I have gone for several hours stretches where my equipment doesn't change and I can get by with the same two attacks. It really is a shooter masquerading as an action RPG, and it really isn't hiding very well.

I have other, ever nerdier complaints. For example, E'Lana (the elf, if you can't tell from her fruity name) is supposedly on of the last elves left. Their entire species was wiped out by minotaurs. As one would expect they eventually show up and you have to kill them. I was prepared for a difficult battle. The first one ran head long into an explosive barrel and killed himself. The second went down to a quick four arrow shots. It was disappointing to have an enemy built up and then go down with so little effort, though it does solidify the idea that the vast majority of elves are pansies. I mean, look at this guy:

'I can hear something in the distance. Yes, yes, I believe it is the sound of me sucking. In several different movies.'

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