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HappyPonyGate London08:47 PM -- Fri November 9, 2007

I recently got the newly released game, which for purposes of this website we shall call HappyPonyGate: London. I like it, I have decided. Here are some assorted thoughts on this game:
  • It's very buggy. They had to hit that Halloween release date, and so they released it with some major issues. That seems somehow familiar to me... but mine's not nearly as bad as what they've got. Lots of people can't even play it!
  • The icons really stand out to me. Or rather, they don't. The icons and whole interface (like your skills and such) are really awful. Very desaturated and blah, and the fonts they use there look like test artwork, not a complete game. This is one thing where I look at it and go "These might be the makers of Diablo 2, but they clearly aren't Blizzard." Blizzard makes awesome icons and interfaces. You look at a skill icon in a Blizzard game and you go "I want that skill! It's so colorful and juicy!" These skill icons are just muddy. Of course, Blizzard also wouldn't have released a broken game. They'd have taken another 3 years to get it polished to utter perfection.
  • The overall gameplay reminds me a lot of City Of Heroes. It's a very different game, but there's all these little things that just feel like City Of Heroes. When you use a skill, it shrinks down and gradually grows back up to size before it's ready again. The maps are randomly generated, but composed of very familiar pieces you quickly learn to recognize. Even the style of the maps themselves feel like ones from City Of Heroes, just darker. Other things too, it's weird. Just a feel.
  • There are moments where I feel absolutely that I am playing House Of The Dead. I was walking up this staircase in a museum and all these zombies were coming down the stairs as I fired away with a machine gun... that was pure House Of The Dead. And that's good, it's fun!
  • It made me jump last night, so bad my hand came off the mouse. There are these demons that can pop up from the floor, roaring as they do so of course. I know they're coming, I met them all over the place already, but my mind wandered and I was thinking about other stuff when one popped up behind me!
  • I originally thought this would play very much like an RPG that just happens to be in the first person viewpoint. But that is totally not true. It really plays like an FPS (depending on your chosen class), and that's what it feels like. But then there's the tons and tons of RPG stuff to it with all the random gear to go through, and the skills to upgrade and all. It's a true blend.
  • There are a ton of really unique weapons in the game. Normally in an RPG, you choose whether you want the sword of fire, or the sword of ice. In this game, it's not just stats and that stuff, your decisions are also based on the actual functionality of the weapon. You can equip a rocket launcher that sets an area of the floor on fire, a gun that shoots a swarm of wasps that home in and gradually devour everything around, a laser beam that does almost no damage but holds enemies in place, a sniper rifle, and so on. And of course, if the weapons are one-handed, you can combine any pair of them. It's like in an FPS where you have an array of weapons to choose from, only you get to upgrade them and outfit them with special mods to do different things. Like I said, a true blend! Sure makes playing the swordfighting class dull by comparison - unlike everyone else, they do the standard RPG choices (at least they can use a grappling hook in their offhand for a little fun).
  • There are 6 character classes, but it's painfully obvious that there were originally only 3. The 6 are divided into 3 pairs, which are basically just 2 different 'builds' of the same character. That really limits your creativity, and you don't have a ton of skill choices. I would've liked to be able to decide how much of the two sides I was interested in and combine them. Maybe find a clever combo.
  • It has "Achievements", like Gallery Goals! For example, destroy 1000 crates (I forgot to mention, there are just hundreds of destructible objects all around the levels, many of which explode. This greatly adds to the fun), or reach level 10 in 4 hours. It's fun to have goals to shoot for.
  • Speaking of goals to shoot for, it also has a 'mini-game'. It shows little icons in the corner of the screen, 3 things that it wants you to do. These can be things like 'inflict toxic damage on an enemy' or 'kill a Beast' (that's beast as opposed to demon, ghost, or undead - different general classes of enemy) or 'get a critical hit'. Each one has a number on it, and each time you do that thing, the number goes down. When you get all 3 of them to 0, you get a prize and a new set of goals! It's just a fun little thing you can completely ignore, or you can get into it and try hard to complete it. Once I finally learned how it works, I started stockpiling weapons that do different kinds of damage, so I could complete those damage-type goals.
  • All in all, it hasn't grabbed me like Diablo 2, but I am really having a lot of fun playing it. Just the general mayhem of running around and shooting everything is fun, so it all works out. It's rough around the edges, but it seems like they're working really fast to get it to where it should've been at release. It's already been substantially enhanced since I got it on Tuesday.
Them's my thoughts. Think I'll go check it out some more.
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