Monday, July 29, 2013

Don't look!

I consider myself something of a connoisseur of bad games. It takes quite a bit for me to walk away from a game as I like to see the whole train wreck, not just the beginning. Sometimes a game will pull one redeeming level out of nowhere, one little diamond amidst all of the garbage that makes the time almost worth it. Other times it just gets worse and worse, circling the drain and eventually ending with a little gurgle, see Ride to Hell as an example. Still other times, and this does not happen very often, a game is so egregiously bad that it is just not worth putting up with. It take an established mechanic, one that has been done correctly for years, and fucks it up so royally that even I can barely stand it.

Hello, Dark, I didn't see you standing there. Yes, I was talking about you, now go back to skulking in the shadows, pretending to be much cooler than you are.

If I say 'Mass Effect style RPG about modern day vampires' do you get a little excited? You should because that would be the sequel to Vampire: The Masquerade: Redemption that is never going to happen. If I change that slightly to say 'Mass Effect style stealth based RPG about modern day vampires' does it make you feel ill? Again, it should, because that is exactly what Dark is. There is nothing but stealth and it gets the stealth so wrong that I may actually shut the game off after tonight.

In a good stealth game being seen does not automatically equal failure. Think Thief 3 or the more recent Splinter Cell games. If you are seen the character has the skills to either fight back or run away. Not so in Dark. If you are seen you are going to die. There is no melee combat to fall back on. A few of the learned skills help but effectively if you are seen that's it. And the levels are designed so that there is only one way to do them right. No wiggle room + auto fail = Chamberlain is having no fun at all.

This is actually worse than Ride to Hell. Ride to Hell was an absolute mess but it was always playable. It worked, more or less. Dark doesn't work. It never works and I cannot see it working in the future. One more night, on easy, is all that this is going to get. If my progress is as slow as it was last night then fuck it, I'm done. Zeno Clash 2 finally hit XBLA and I really want to play that instead.


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