I-War 2 Reviews
Here are some reviews of the I-War II demo written by fans. While I have not played the game yet to give my own review, I do encourage you to remember that it is only a demo. As it has been said, wait for the reviewers to pick it apart and then we'll see. :-)
Adam Kieffer (AKA Quartermaster McDuff)-
The Introductory Movie
The movie is incredible. However, I didn't like the plastic haircuts...I think that's my only gripe with the movie.
Incredible. There are some minor graphical glitches that occur, but they don't seem to detract too much from the experience, so I wont mention them here. The ships are nicely detailed...the weapons look good...and...well...the space looks like space...except none of the planets have texture. Otherwise, the graphics are great...and if you don't believe me, ask the Supreme Commander himself...the almighty Lord of Space Sims, Derek Smart:
Yep. The graphics are impressive.
When the Supreme Commander takes time out of his busy *snicker* schedule to compliment a competitor's game...well, the stars and planets must be in some form of alignment.
The small screens that pop up to show who is speaking...I have a problem with them...all the characters look as if they're chewing on their tongues...especially Az...I don't know why, but especially Az. One other thing...Cal's chin seems to be missing two polygons or something...or maybe its a 5 o'clock shadow...I don't know, but it looks odd. I can post a screenshot if you don't know what I'm talking about.
The Voice-acting...some of its ok...some of its cheesy...and some of it is downright wrong. Smith is good and has a voice that wont annoy...Lori and Az...same thing...Jafs on the other hand...he's trying too hard to be Smith, methinks. The dialogue doesn't help in some cases.
Clay's got a bug in his throat...and you know that woman who briefs you in the original for a couple of missions (if I remember correctly)...well, it would seem that a hundred years after the Independence War occurred, she becomes the chief of police...listen to the voice of the officer who stops you before you get to Lucrecia's fortress...its got to be her!
The narrator, as many have already stated, seems quite out of place or just doesn't seem to fit right. The narrator's voice doesn't seem to be in the same frequency or something compared to the crew's voices. It seems like its coming from a radio or something.
Gameplay and Mission Issues
The mission is something right out of Defiance, so it definitely has a feeling of the original...which I like.
The various weapons added to the demo tug was a good touch as it allows the player to be familiar with them come the final release. My favorite is, and always will be that damned mining laser...only problem is, you have to be sniffing the opponent's arse to be able to use it effectively...though its always rewarding to be able to slice right through your enemy and watch him/her become adrift after a good beating....and then blow up real good!
The cockpit is something that needs getting used to, as most of the icons and symbols are new. The use of a 3D moving cockpit (i.e. one with head motion and whatnot) is great and adds well to immerse the player in the situation. It sort of adds more confusion to the situation, whereas with the original, the player's "head" never moved...only the ship did.
The menu. That dreaded menu! I don't use it...past the starmap. Its much easier to be able to press one key to go to the ENG station (or any other station), than fool around with the hat switch and have to select this and that to do what you want...and as I mentioned to TwoHours..."on-the-fly-TRI"...it's helpful to be able to allocate power without having to go to the ENG station to do it...that was a very good thing in the original.
Dogfighting still has the feel of the original...meaning it doesn't make it seem as if the player is fighting in the space equivalent of World War I, so nothing has been lost from the original. The physics and flight models are all there so I have nothing to complain about that. Oi! Combating those damned Storm Petrels is a real pain...fun, but a pain!
The ending...was way too short...no movie or "captain's log" like in the original (that was usually the best part...seeing what the captain had to say about everything). I assume that's just because this is a demo and you needn't fit everything into it.
Feels like the original.
Sounds like the original.
Blows up real good like the original.
Isn't the original.
Yes, I know...there are some.
By the end of the game, the characters wont have tongues.
Jafs' dialogue makes me want to throw up at times.
The planets don't seem to be getting enough light.
Sound: 80% and with time served and good behavior, 85%
Overall: I don't know...you guys do the math.
Well, I am new to the IW world--this demo was the first time I
played anything related to IW 1 or 2. *gasp* I don't know how much more newbie you can get
to the IW universe than me.
And after playing through this demo several times, I have to admit I am HOOKED, regardless of its linear play. I felt enough freedom and was wow'ed enough by the graphics and control to want to buy this game as soon as it comes out. Sure, I hope the final version is less linear and allows the player more freedom to explore and choose his/her own path (like Elite), but I think this demo hints at that possibility.
As for being confused by the multitude of controls and complexities (such as waypoints) because I was new to the game, it really didn't bother me. After a 1/2 hour or so, I had a fundamental grasp of what was going on and how to control my ship, so I wasn't frustrated in the least. Of course, I also bought a joystick, which helped immensely with piloting the ship.
The defining moment in the demo that just blew me away: I was in the Training mission, and I saw a bright, red star off in the distance. I decided to skip the training for the moment and see if I could get closer to that star and check it out. I really didn't expect to get any closer to it--all the previous space games that I had played had just used distant stars as "props" or "wallpaper" to add a sense of dimension to the universe, and no matter how long you traveled you could never get closer. So, for kicks and with little expectations, I aimed my HUD in the star's direction and pressed "L". My eyes widened as the seconds passed and the star seemed to grow larger in my view. When the star "flew" past me I was so surprised that it took me a second to hit "L" again and stop the jump. When I turned my ship around to see what had happened, the red glare from the star filled my field of vision and the entire HUD was enveloped by a red glow. I sat stunned in front of my computer for a couple minutes just staring at that red, glowing sun, not believing that I was able to do what I had just done.
At that moment, IW2 captured me.
Since I didn't play IW1, I don't know if the experience I just described was possible. If fit was, then I am sorry I missed playing the original. But I can guarantee you I won't miss this second version.
Graphics: Lets face it, the graphics here are simply
beautiful. The ships are nicely rendered, as are the stars, space stations, planets,
asteroids, etc. I have noticed a couple of differences between the demo and the current
multiplayer beta version. The corona surrounding stars is different. In the beta, you see
a kind of spiky photosphere surrounding the star. There are some excellent examples of
these at Nanoprobes website. The stars in the demo seem to have a continually expanding
photosphere that gets more and more transparent as it expands, with additional expanding
layers beneath it. Personally, I prefer the stars from the beta, but its not really
that big a difference. Also, there is a glitch with the hud lines. When you perform a
maneuver in your ship, they do not react correctly. This problem has already been
addressed and fixed in the beta, and I imagine it will also work correctly in the full
version. The engine seems to handle scalability very smoothly, even with many objects on
the screen at once, which is nice. Nothing tears down that veil of believability like
choppy framerate. I would like to see a little more variety in explosions, though. It gets
kinda boring seeing the same explosion every time a ship goes up, and Id like to see
a little debris coming off the ships when you hit them, not just when they explode.
Hopefully the final version will include these.
Interface: I gotta say that Ive really got mixed feelings about the interface. I like the convenience of the joystick hat, but I REALLY miss the various stations available in IWar and Defiance. They gave you a sense of being there. The Engineering Station was just so cool when it zoomed in on one of the ships systems when you chose it to be repaired, and the situational awareness that the Weapons station gave was great. (I know there is a tactical view available [F2], but it just isnt the same. While very convenient, the Engineering and Weapons stations available via the joystick hat are just plain boring. I also have issues with the starmap. In and of itself, the starmap is very cool, with the way it zooms in and out and moves around, etc. But I often found myself getting a little frustrated when I would try to set a space station orbiting a certain planet as a waypoint, and the interface simply would not let my choose it. I would choose another station, LDS there, then go back into the starmap and THEN choose the station I originally wanted to go to. This happened a couple of times with certain Lagrange points also. Like I said before, cool, but sometimes a little frustrating. Overall, though, I like it. One another note, we are only allowed to see one system in the demo, and I am forced to wonder if we will have access to a fully 3D rotatable map like we did in IWar for the fully zoomed out view. As for the rest of the interface, for anyone who played IWar and Defiance, it should fit like an old shoe. Many of the commands are the same, and the ones that arent are easy to learn. Newcomers to the series shouldnt have too much trouble with the interface either, as the learning curve isnt too terribly high. I would also really have liked to have seen a savegame feature implemented on the demo. (Even though, once youve beaten it, you realize its really, really short.)
Gameplay: Well, its a demo. Because of that I am inclined to give it a little slack. The real problem here is that the game takes place in a free-roaming universe. This means that for purposes of the demo, much of our freedom of choice had to be taken away. Sure we can still roam around anywhere we want, but theres not much to do once we get anywhere. We are faced with two missions: Escaping from the police, and stealing a cargo pod of fighters. We are pretty much let through these two missions by a series of cutscenes and conversations. What we end up with is a demo where you fly to a waypoint, listen to a conversation, fly to another waypoint, listen to a conversation, etc. It kind of drives the fun factor right out of it. But again, not everything could be fit into the demo. Its already almost 200 Megs. Imagine how big it would have been if they had incorporated all of the things you are able to do in the real game (Trading, exploring via capsule space, etc.) Also, you dont have the involvement with the characters or the story that you would in the real game. You dont have the GOALS. In IWar, the gameplay was very linear, but it was fun. If you break down the mission structures, you find the same underlying theme: Go to a waypoint, do something, go to another waypoint, do something. But it was FUN. Why? Because with each action, you were working toward a definite goal, the fighting was hot, and the story was good. With the demo, the actions hot, but there is no underlying goal, and we only have the surface of the real story to go on. I dont think its fair to rate the demo in this respect, because once the game comes out, each mission will fit into an over-arching storyline, and we will have a better feeling for the characters, their motivations, and our own motivations. I think the word Im looking for here is INVOLVEMENT. The demo just doesnt have enough of it.
Sound FX: From the whine of the engines to the sound of a PBC firing, the sounds took me right back to IWar and Defiance. But whats the deal with the missile sounds? They sound like slow moving TIE figters. Overall, though, the sounds were great.
Musical Score: The music here does a really good job of giving a sense of atmosphere to the game. I wish they had included more than they did.
Intelligence and Difficulty: Wow, who dropped the ball here? The first fight is between you and two Puffin class tugs. (Thankfully, you tug you hijacked seems to be armed to the teeth.) Every time I play it, I literally mop the floor with these guys. I mean cmon! Its not even close. Even if I have them outgunned, its two to one, and my ship isnt exactly overmaneuverable. After that, I took on a band of outlaws, and the cops. Again, nary a scratch. Im hoping the AI in the final release is just a little more difficult than this.
Overall: Despite its shortcoming, the demo is pretty good. It showcases the graphics and the abilities of the game engine very well. While it may seem WAY to linear, with the player being led around with little choice in matters, it would be very hard to incorporate all of the games features into the demo without it becoming unweildly. The interface is convenient, but it lacks the depth of the original interface from IWar and Defiance. The sound and the music leave very little to be desired, and the team really did a good job in that respect. The AI, however, really needs to be tweeked before the final release.
But, then again, thats just my opinion.
Stephen Robertson of Particle Systems Replies:
For the demo we gave you a ship with a
selection of weapons so you could get a feel for the sort of weapons available in the
final game, which makes the initial combat a bit easy.
In the full game you take on those two puffins with a single light pbc... a slightly more difficult challenge
Graphics (5/5) though why do the HUD lines travel through the cockpit? Unless Cal's
visor is the HUD display
Sound (5/5) Love the music and voice work. Some people have complained about Jafs voice, but I like it. Smith's is perfect, too.
Gameplay (4/5) The ship handles a lot better than in the beta. LDS and autopilot work fine and combat's great. My only gripe is a few holes in the AI and the fact that the first mission's too easy. I also hate the fact that Capsule drive is disabled, but I understand why.
First of, let me state that I am a huge IW fan. I loved the first
game and was eagerly awaiting the sequel, so when the demo came out, I rushed to download
it. Instead of unbridled glee, I was crushed at what I experienced. So if you see a
solution to the problems I have please advise.
1) Graphics are excellent.
2) Instant action looks like it will really rock!
1) I really enjoyed the "mission" based adventures, but when I heard there would be a free-roaming universe, it sounded even better. Unfortunately, I don't know if the demo doesn't properly show it, but what I saw was quite disheartening.
The way the story is told is terrible. First you have to select a waypoint, go to a destination, the characters then take over, now you have to choose another waypoint, go to that destination, characters take over, go to....
This is *not* what I would call fun. It seems like its an endless string of waypoints with little options. Of course I guess I could ignore them and just roam the universe, but to what end?
If I don't have any options, then just take me through all the waypoints in a cutscene and give me a real mission to accomplish. Going from one place to another place to another, is destroying all the enjoyment that IW was all about.
The old mission based adventures where always original and exciting. Tough yes, but loads of fun. What I've seen so far almost makes me want to cry.
Please tell me the final version will include something more interesting than what I've seen so far.
2) So I get to the fighter's base, not that I had much choice, and just as I grab the "interesting" cargo, my computer locks up.
Hey it's a demo, so no big deal, right? Well the one pain of IW came back, for when I restarted the game after rebooting
I am stuck to relive the whole boring go here, then go here, then go here.....ARGHH!!!
Please tell me the final version will have some intelligent save system.
I loved the first game, but unless someone really convinces me that the above two problems are not an issue, I'm probably going to wait for the reviews before deciding to buy it.
(1) The AI is low.
(4) The graphics are to die for.
(3) The sound systems are pretty good for the most part.
(3) Mission structure needs work otherwise quite good leading by the nose type thing. (Some places it is not obvious at all)
(3) Weapons seem moderately balanced.
(3) Game play is smooth experience.
(2) Skirmish mode too easy.
(3) Plot has a decent start.
(3.5) Overall nice.
That's my partial synopsis. I doubt I'll change it, the first impression is one that matters, anything later and it become biased because you accept the few flaws.
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