Single Status Update
It's time for a laptop upgrade, so I got myself an HP Notebook (dv9260nr). Stats:
- Intel® Core™2 Duo mobile processor T7200 @ 2.0 GHz
- NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 Graphic Card with 256MB Video Memory
- 2GB PC2-4200 DDR2 RAM
- 200GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
I haven't played any serious video game outside Doom/Doom II since Christmas 2004, so to catch up with the most recent stuff, I went to Fry's Electronics and bought:
1) Doom 3*
2) Doom 3: ROE
4) Half-Life 2
5) Quake 4
*Already bought and beaten it back in 2004, but gave it away shortly after and bought it again just recently.
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Since I've played the Doom3 single-player campaign before, I convinced a friend to buy himself Doom3+ROE, downloaded LMS mod and played co-op over LAN. We're on Delta Labs 2 and it's working great with minimal lag.
As for Half-Life 2, I'm working on Black Mesa and from what I'm seeing the game is pretty well done. The interactive environment and excellent physics gives plenty of room for creative experimentation, such as pushing crates into water or throwing objects at guards. The storm-trooper like police gives off a cool feedback noise when they die. The game is balanced between action (carnage) and exploration. Plenty of cool things going for HL2, and I still haven't gotten the Gravity Gun yet. The lack of co-op for this game is kind of a bummer.
After playing through the single-player campaign twice, I'd have to say Quake 4 is amazing and my current personal favorite; its SP is the best I've ever came across. The storyline is engaging and only helped by the great voice-acting. The level design, especially the vertical build of the Data Towers, are elaborate and memorable. I liked the AI-controlled allies and would have preferred them to appear more frequently. The interface is clean and oriented towards pure combat (unlike that PDA mess in Doom3). The sound is top-notch. The graphic style is very much to my taste and in its execution much better than Doom3+ROE, not to mention brighter too. The enemies are cool-looking, especially the Harvesters and Iron Maidens. The firefights kept getting better with every level. I had an extremely hard time laying hands off Quake 4 and that kept me up for nights, where in HL2 I'd simply save and quit without too much hesitation. I don't DM so the other half of the game is ignored. The only thing keeping Quake 4 from its full potential is the lack of single-player campaign co-op. Where did the days of Contra go? I want co-op!
I'd like to see a game that combines the detailed visual style and carnage of Quake 4 with the environmental interactivity and exploration of HL2. Oh, co-op is a must too.
I haven't opened ROE and F.E.A.R., and should be able to find time for them in the next couple of days.
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Depends how much portability you want, I suppose. I had a 17-inch laptop and found it a bit of a pain to lug around (and a bit too big to use on a flight in economy class too), but it certainly beat a desktop machine in that respect. And this was a few years back, so it was undoubtedly heavier and bulkier than an equivalent machine nowadays would be.
Anyway, I don't really understand some of the comments about this computer. I don't recall when I last spent less than that on a new computer. No point skimping on a computer if you're going to be using it a lot for work/play that is important to you. Consider the real cost of staring ten hours a day at a screen that damages your eyes, for instance.
Time to make a Frankenstein PC, all parts donated by generous friends and I didn't have to pay a penny. Stats:
- Intel® Core™2 Duo processor E6300 @ 1.86 GHz
- EVGA GeForce 6800 GS Graphic Card with 256MB Video Memory
- 2x1GB PC-6400 DDR2 RAM @ 667 MHz in Dual-Channel Mode
- 2x160GB 7200-RPM SATA Hard Drives in Raid-0 Mode
This is one of the few instances when I got something for nothing. And it's faster than my laptop to say the least.
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I found time to beat Doom3: ROE, Half Life 2, and gotten four hours into F.E.A.R.
This game is somewhat better than the original Doom3 in terms of more open environments and less monster closets. I felt that the original Doom3 had slightly better art direction than ROE, especially in the Hell areas. Note that ROE's Gravity Gun sucked... but still, this game is loads of fun in co-op.
After twenty hours of nonstop fun (and wanting more), I'll say that this is the best FPS I've played so far, and is my current favorite. The game turned from good to totally awesome upon receiving the gravity gun and going to Ravenholm, where I could solve puzzles and experiment with killing foes with all kinds of objects. The Pheropod is a kickass weapon too. The storytelling is very much a part of the game and seamless, as seen with kidnappings and raids happening through first person view (instead of cinematics that takes you out of body). The environment in Half Life 2 is very immersive with realistic textures and great architecture, as seen with the coast levels. The game's difficulty ramps up nicely as the game progresses, and I died quite a few times in Anticitizen One. The combination of physics-based puzzles, innovative weapon design, great storytelling, convincing environment, and many other things done right makes Half Life 2 the best damn shooter I've come across. Needs co-op ASAP.
After a couple of levels, my impression of F.E.A.R. is a mixed bag. On one hand, it's scary and got great firefights with bullets, smoke, and blood spraying all over the place... on the other hand, its environments are bland and uninspiring, and I had trouble telling one place from another; they're all just a bunch of washed-out factories and corridors to me. That and the storytelling was hard to follow. I've yet beaten it, so my jury is still out on this one...