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SiN Episodes - Emergence Review

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the on-a-very-special-sin-episodes dept.

198

Along with pale imitations, it seems the destiny of genre-defining games to provoke a reversal in design decisions. The success of 3D platformers has lead to a renaissance in 2D gaming, World of Warcraft has pushed online game designers away from the fantasy genre, and Half-Life 2 has prompted a lot of story-light brainless shooters. It's this last genre that houses SiN Episodes: Emergence. A traditional run and gun First Person Shooter (FPS), SiN is a blood-soaked five hour jaunt you can download from Steam for about twenty bucks. At that price and that length, this Aeon Fluxian gorefest may just be a happy start for the age of episodic content. Read on for my impressions of a good-looking throwback that proves you don't need millions of dollars to make a fun title.

  • Title: SiN Episodes: Emergence
  • Developer: Ritual Entertainment
  • Publisher: Valve
  • System: PC

Calling SiN story-light might not be fair. It would be more accurate to say that this first episode of the 'season' isn't heavy on plot elements. Ritual plans on making these 5-8 hour gameplay releases a regular event. A 'season' will be a complete story made up of three episodes: a beginning, a middle, and an end. You're awakened at the start of this episode staring into the um, eyes of an attractive woman and a well-dressed guy. You're strapped onto a table, and have apparently been injected with something. Before you can really understand what's going on, another attractive woman comes to your aid, spiriting you away in her auto.

What follows is a textbook-standard FPS. You make your way through the grubby urban environments, a secret underground lair, and moist crawlspaces, shooting the faceless bad guys that get in your way. Weapons are fairly limited in this first episode; For most of the game you have a pistol, a shotgun, and grenades. Really, though, what else do you need? Enemy models and map creation are fairly generic, though they are competently executed. There's a couple of nice action set-pieces, such as a fight against jet-pack wearing baddies from inside a cargo crate being lifted over a body of water. The few explanatory plot moments are used with the in-game engine, as in cousin Half-Life.

If there is a differentiating element to SiN, it is the adaptive AI and stat-tracking that haunts you throughout the game. Every bullet you fire, which gun you use, whether it hits or not, all are tracked as you move through the title. The enemies will start off fairly dumb, but if you find yourself having an easy time of it you'll start to notice the enemies beginning to adopt new tactics. If you pwn the bad guys hard enough in the first few levels, you may even find yourself outclassed when the action gets fast and furious later in the episode. This intelligent adaptation to your gameplay is a little spooky once you start noticing it. The first time you find yourself in the middle of a well-executed pincer maneuver, with soldiers on all sides closing in, you'll know you've gotten the AI's attention.

Visually, SiN looks a lot like cousin Half-Life, which only makes sense; Emergence was created with Valve's Source engine. All the 'fun with physics' moments you can have in Half-Life 2 are here in SiN, with some extra surprises. Despite what the Mythbusters had to say on the subject, compressed air tanks make surprisingly good weapons here. The polish on the game's look is less pronounced than it was with Half-Life 2, the result of a smaller budget and shorter development time. The audio is run and gun standard, but the weapon sounds are surprisingly satisfying. They have a lot of heft, which partially makes up for the very few weapons you'll have access to in the game.

If Emergence was $15, this would be a sure thing; At $20 I'm not sure this particular ride is worth the price of admission. Just the same, if you've got the money lying around and are a fan of the FPS genre, you're probably going to enjoy SiN There's nothing particularly wrong here, just a general sense of 'been there, done that'. At only five or six hours play time, you probably won't even have time to get bored before the episode is over. Future episodes will elaborate on the plot, give us more enemies to fight, and more weapons to fight with. As such, the pricetag may be more justified for future episodes. For right now, though, here's hoping they drop the price to make this bite-sized FPS morsel taste just right.

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198 comments

Ummm... Air tanks do make great weapons (2, Informative)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430132)

Despite what the Mythbusters had to say on the subject, compressed air tanks make surprisingly good weapons here.

Ummmm... They didn't say that compressed air tanks don't make good weapons. They said that they don't make good IEDs. They make great missles.

Re:Ummm... Air tanks do make great weapons (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430206)

I was playing last night. Shot the end off of a tank and it floated upward while still in the horizontal position before exploding. Not quite a bouncing betty to be sure.

can someone explain the second sentence? (4, Interesting)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430139)

The success of 3D platformers has lead to a renaissance in 2D gaming,

I guess I don't follow games that closely anymore. What 3d platformers have I missed, and what games defined the 2d renaissance that followed?

Re:can someone explain the second sentence? (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430188)

I guess I don't follow games that closely anymore. What 3d platformers have I missed, and what games defined the 2d renaissance that followed?

The 3D ones I can think of offhand are Super Mario 64 (and Sunshine) and Metroid Prime. Metroid Prime is more an adventure than a platformer, but it does have a ton of platformer-type puzzles.

I don't know what games were involved in the 2D renaissance either.

Re:can someone explain the second sentence? (2, Informative)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430367)

No, it's ok, I follow games pretty closely and I find that sentence to be pretty meaningless myself. 3D platformers have mostly been intended to replace 2D platformers. Which is why you can't get a decent 2D Castlevania game on a TV based console anymore (tons of crummy and awful 3D Castlevanias, though).

Now, you could argue that there has been a 2D rennaissance, on portables. This is because portables have finally caught up to (or surpassed) the graphical abilities of the Atari Lynx. So, both the Nintendo portables and the PSP have some killer 2D games. ( Extreme Ghouls 'n Ghosts [ign.com], Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow [ign.com], Sigma Star Saga [ign.com]).

However, this has nothing to do with 3D platformers. In fact, I'm not sure how much longer 2D games are going to be available on portables. We're safe for the current generation, but as I look into my crystal ball, I see nothing but hard to control, ugly, dirty polygons as far as the eye can see. Of course, I suppose I'll be better off because I also see myself reading a lot more...

Re:can someone explain the second sentence? (3, Interesting)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430412)


Polygons aren't that bad, when used appropriately [planetgamecube.com]

BTW, all the character models in the New SMB were 3D models.

Re:can someone explain the second sentence? (0, Offtopic)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430385)

-1, Troll???

Can someone slap the moderator who's doling out negative points like Santa Claus? This is a good, honest question.

Sheesh.

Re:can someone explain the second sentence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15430456)

I'm fixing the bad mods! (at least its a good way to spend my points)

Worst sentance ever (2, Funny)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430681)

Don't worry, that sentence was awful. Both structurally and contextually. If someone is going to make statements like that they needs to provide some examples.

But on a side note, did you know the success of Pong relates to the success of unicorns in modern games?
Why? Just 'cause.

I'm also interested in the budget assumptions made (1)

Bamafan77 (565893) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430791)

"proves you don't need millions of dollars to make a fun title."
Is this quote actually valid, or is it speculation? I find it hard to believe that you can make a AAA title (of any length) without at least several hundred thousands. Anyway, is there anyone who knows what kind of resources were put into this?

Re:I'm also interested in the budget assumptions m (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15430891)

Yeah, just paying a team of 10 people for a year is already going to set you back quite a bit. Sure, there's still some impressive two-person teams writing games, but it's becoming increasingly less practical if you want to develop a blockbuster game.

Re:I'm also interested in the budget assumptions m (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431080)

Except I understand this game cost a few million to make. All in all, this article is a decent review of a game, but a poor discussion of the "state of games".

Re:can someone explain the second sentence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15431067)

I guess I don't follow games that closely anymore. What 3d platformers have I missed, and what games defined the 2d renaissance that followed?

After cancelling the 3d version, you missed the release of Duke Nukem Forever 2d (2008).
This game lead to the renaissance of 2d games.

Future Regards,
Psychic Madman

Rachet & Clank, Jax & Daxter (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431196)

The two big ones I can think of offhand are Rachet & Clank & Jax & Dakter (both for PS2).

If you want to confine the choices to PC games, Rayman 3 may have been out for the PC, I forget... but 3D platformers have been very popular on consoles.

Really? (3, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430144)

Half-Life 2 has prompted a lot of story-light brainless shooters

IMHO, HL2 wasn't about being a immersive story-telling game. It was about showing off the new engine until mods that made the first HL (Counter Strike, Day of Defeat, etc) so popular were released under source.

That being said, I did enjoy HL2, but I didn't buy it for the story line. From what I've seen, most FPS shooters aren't built for the story line. They're built for action. And guess what, we got action with HL2 and the various mods.

Re:Really? (1)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430339)

Oh why in the world is the parent poster marked troll? Someone needs their mod privaleges revoked. What the parent posted was insightful.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15430396)

Actually, from most reviews i've read, the only department where hl2 was lacking was the multiplayer, however as soon as the candy like hl2 deathmatch came, they found nothing wrong with the game.
And if i don't remember wrong, cs: source was out before hl2.
Hl2 was indeed a great game storywise, compared to most other shooters, especially fps-games.
And you can see that they really put time into telling the story. The "cutscenes" are quite unique and the story is told in a fairly unusual way.

As for 3d platformers. You definitely should try out the Jak series, especially Jak 2 and Jak 3. And don't forget Prince of persia 4-6 (sands of time, warrior within and the two thrones)

There you have your platformers ;)

Re:Really? (5, Interesting)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430705)

I DID buy HL2 for the storyline and I wasn't disappointed. The game isn't narrated, per se, but the story is there for those who look for it. It's a Pulp Fiction of games, requiring you to play it a few times to catch some of the subtle hints.

For instance, at the beginning when Gordon's teleportation goes wrong he winds up in the office of the nefarious Dr. Breen who is talking to SOMETHING on a video display.

In one level you find an evolutionary poster showing the transparent skeletal heads of an ape, a human, and a strange human\alien "combine".

In the opening sequence the G-man tells you "The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world," and he goes on to make repeated and illogical appearances all over the game, talking to unexpected people, strolling through areas you've infiltrated while barely outrunning death itself, having just done who knows what.

Even the graphical textures and level designs hint at a personal history of inanimate objects. The meticulous totalitarian dystopia of City 17 is complemented by the spotless streets and gleaming buildings in perfect repair. You can only speculate how much work Civil Protection, or likely the citizens themselves, put forth to keep the city clean - especially in contrast to how filthy the rest of the game is, by in large. HL2 has story all over the place in little chunks. Whether the story is cohesive is irrelevant to me, personally.

SiN, on the other hand, is a brainless blast-a-thon that wasn't worth the effort pirating. I deleted it in 20 minutes. Nice boob physics though.

For 20 bucks (0, Troll)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430150)

For 20 bucks, I could get myself a couple of used GameCube games and have at least 50 hours of fun. Or one new one minus a tenner - Mario Kart Double Dash has dropped in price, and I know I'd spend at least 100 hours playing it with my kids.

Anything above ten is definitely out of range.

Re:For 20 bucks (3, Insightful)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430327)

For nothing (other than the cost of the electricity), you can play Solitaire for 50 hours. Or 100 hours.

My point is that yes, you can find other ways to spend your time for more or less money. But it isn't the same experience you'll get playing this. The real question is whether or not this game is worth the money, not what else you could do with that money.

I agree with the reviewer that at 20 bucks, it's probably slightly overpriced. If it were a little longer or a little cheaper, it'd be a great deal. But, having played the entire game, if I could get in a time machine and go back and advise myself on whether or not to buy the game, I'd tell myself to go ahead. I'd probably grumble about it, but I'd give it a nod.

Re:For 20 bucks (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431193)

I agree that $20 for 5 hours is a bit steep.

Then again, the last liesure suit larry was just as long, and probably cost twice as much at release. That was a real rip for those foolish enough to have paid for it.

I guess for those of us who are hesitant to pay $4/hour for a game can always wait til they relase the "SiN episodes 1-5 megapack" for $30 in a year.

Re:For 20 bucks (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430368)

How is this offtopic? Really? I'm talking about the price of a game versus its length, which the article has a whole paragraph devoted to, and I said it wasn't worth it because I could get much more bang for my buck elsewhere.

What the heck?

Re:For 20 bucks (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431050)

Yes but comparing brand new vs. old or used is kinda unfair in the price dept. Of course the older and used games are going to be cheaper. A more apt comparison would be something like Perimeter: Emperor's Testament which goes for twenty as well and has just been released (at least here). Granted, it's a stand-alone expansion pack (by my standards that means it's 0.5 games) but I wouldn't say episodic content should count as a full game either.

Re:For 20 bucks (1)

TheAntiCrust (620345) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430479)

If you really want the most for your entertainment dollar: masterbate.

Your counter-examples of cheaper games aren't even in the same genre or platform!

Re:For 20 bucks (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431133)

Note that for that $20, you also get the full version of the original Sin, which does definitely play on modern machines. It's spectacularly dated, but if you're into that sort of thing it's definitely worth poking at.

Your $20 also gets you a few different multiplayer modes, but with one small snag: they're being patched in at an undisclosed date. Not exactly my cup of tea, on the multiplayer or "ship now, patch later" front, but different people have different tastes and tolerances.

I'm not sure if I'll pay $20 for the other two episodes, though. If they have more value-added stuff, like the Wages of Sin expansion and additional gameplay modes, then sure. Otherwise, I'd feel much more comfortable paying $15. Ten bucks is just insulting, though.

Where's the damn flashlight... (4, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430161)

The game doesn't have a flashlight, unlike HL2/DOOM3/QUAKE4. There are some darks aeas where I could've used a flashlight. I think every law enforcement officer should has some kind of flashlight, either the small pen variety or the large billy club type. Not having one is inexcusable. Otherwise, I love the game.

Re:Where's the damn flashlight... (1)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430232)

if anything that's what next gen FPS' have taught us.

They just don't have the power to handle a flashlight and everything else at the same time.

Re:Where's the damn flashlight... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430326)

If that was true, why did Half-Life 2, Doom 3 and Quake 4 had flashlights? Unless you're still running a pair of Voodoo 2 (add-in video cards from the 90's), flashlights are not a problem.

Re:Where's the damn flashlight... (1)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430351)

I think GP was poking fun at the fact that in games like Doom3 you can't hold a flashlight in one hand and a pistol in the other - it's either, or.

Re:Where's the damn flashlight... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430406)

The secret is to hold the flashlight between your legs while shooting your weapon. Just don't pee your pants since that might short circuit the flashlight. :P

Re:Where's the damn flashlight... (2, Funny)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430458)

I like my solution better: a flashlight gun! It shoots flashlights. Better yet, you have small AAA flashlights for standard baddies... and for big baddies you whip out the extra large double-D-battery-flashlight bullets. I think, if anything, it would make for some amazing lighting affects.

Re:Where's the damn flashlight... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431089)

There really is nothing new under the sun: Descent allows you since the first game to fire flares and light up the rooms with them. You don't even have to select them! I've heard they are popular for humiliating opponents in multiplayer.

So right! (3, Insightful)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430376)

HL2 was only the latest in a long line of games to exhibit this behavior, but since it's the one I last played I'm gonna pick on it.

It doesn't matter that the HL2 takes place in a future society where teleportation devices are becoming reality, self guided robots follow you around in order to either take your picture or slice you into ribbons, and we see a variety of directed energy weapons including a "gravity gun" (not to mention personal force fields!). Why? Because apparently, in this reality, nobody can figure out how to build a fucking flashlight with as much candlepower and battery life as the headlamp I bought at EMS in real life for about thirty bucks.

Game designers, get the hint. Limiting the battery life of the flashlight is stupid.

Re:So right! (1)

Jett (135113) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430962)

I'm finally playing through FEAR and ran into this - the stupid flashlight runs out of power after a minute! It doesn't make any sense...

Re:Where's the damn flashlight... (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430403)

-1, Troll, for an informative post on the game's ACTUAL CONTENT? What the HECK??

This is the fourth comment I've seen unfairly modded down in this story in the same timeframe. Whoever's doing this needs his moderator privileges revoked.

yawn ... zzzzz (0, Troll)

Horatio_Hellpop (926706) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430185)

run-n-gun-n-shoot-n-blood-n-boring

wake me when Bioshock releases.

Far too slippery (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430219)

I couldn't help but notice that whenever you're running (which is almost all the time since you run by default), any semblance of control goes out the window. It's like playing on ice half the time - you pretty much have to use "walk" for any kind of controlled navigation or platform jumping, which is annoying as you have to be running to make it across most of the gaps.

It's also pretty buggy, with the game actually stopping at one point because the AI had "forgotten" to blow a wall that I needed to pass - thankfully there was a workaround, but I suspect that the short turnaround planned for this series will result in more bugs that usual.

That said, aside from the length (under 4 hours playtime) it was an enjoyable FPS - although I did find myself getting by almost entirely with my pistol until the ammo started to become scarce in the later levels. One headshot will happily take out 90% of the enemies you face.

Re:Far too slippery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15430475)

Yeah if you beat the game in under 4 hours you must have started it at the lowest difficuulty. Try putting both the sliders past halfway at start. I put them both at halfway and had quite a time working through the game. I had to blast anywhere from 1-6 of the heavy gunners at a time while fending off waves of the peon 1 shot kills. The AI adapted enough for the game to be challenging and last at least 6-8 hours unless you make the computer dumb the down the dffculty as soon as you die. Not to mention it comes with the orginal Sin game and multiplayer. Now that they have the AI made (which being a programmer i know is a dmn hard thing to prgram) i am sure the next empisodes will have more content. Maybe even the next episode will have better AI. I found bugs in the game, but you find those in any game. As for the price sure i would have liked it to be a few bucks cheaper but consider a game like max payne 2. Great game but only 8 hours of game time and it costs you 50 bucks, what about Project Snowblind, Republic Commando. This game also has replay value being that after you beat it the first time you unlock a Ultra hard mode i which you fight throught the game as long as you can before you die.

Re:Far too slippery (2, Informative)

fistynuts (457323) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430888)

I couldn't help but notice that whenever you're running (which is almost all the time since you run by default), any semblance of control goes out the window. It's like playing on ice half the time - you pretty much have to use "walk" for any kind of controlled navigation or platform jumping, which is annoying as you have to be running to make it across most of the gaps.

I have to say that I didn't notice this at all. I've jumped across the gaps no problem and never had to use the 'walk' key.

That said, aside from the length (under 4 hours playtime) it was an enjoyable FPS

The length is at least 5 hours. If it took you significantly less then you must've been playing on super-easy mode. Did you set the challenge level before you began the game?

although I did find myself getting by almost entirely with my pistol until the ammo started to become scarce in the later levels. One headshot will happily take out 90% of the enemies you face.

This is pure SiN - the pistol is a great weapon. However you have to be pretty sh!t hot to headshot every enemy (again, maybe you were playing on easy mode). The shotty is a great weapon for quick close-up takedowns. Ammo is always at a premium. These weapon characteristics have been kept faithful to the original game.

It's a great title that's easily worth £11 of anyone's money. Take a look at the shareware game market - I've never seen such a good game available for so little cash.

I bought it.. Not worth it.. (2, Informative)

inkdesign (7389) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430233)

I got it, mostly because it came with the first SIN game for free. Anyways, I played through the episode in about 5 hours.
 
As for the game, it felt like a poor-man's half-life 2, and I can't think of anything remarkable about it.
 
I definitely won't be buying any future episodes.

It's not so much the $20... (1)

sdhankin (213671) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430269)

... it's $20 for 5-8 hours of gameplay. I often spend $40-50 for a 40 hour game. Through the joys of episodic content, that 40 hours is going to cost me $100-160 based on their estimates. No wonder they like it!

Re:It's not so much the $20... (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430545)

Name some FPS games released within the last year or 2 that were 40 hours? And don't say "Oblivion" like every other critic of SiN says. Usually it's like 15 or 20 hours. I beat FEAR really quickly, and Half-Life 2 didn't take me long either. And I don't plow through games, I try to explore and check out the scenery and effects.

Sure, the price/time ratio is a little high but not that much. That is, unless you start getting into RPG's and such. Then yeh, the ratio looks horrible.

Re:It's not so much the $20... (1)

Tankko (911999) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430869)

Yeah, but how many of those hours are "quality" hours. I can make a game that takes 1000 hours to play, but it's not going to be very fun.

I'd rather play a 5 hour game that was great from start to finish than a 40 hour game with a bunch of filler and save/load sessions.

Gameplay time & price way too unproportional (1)

IAstudent (919232) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430300)

To refer to another /. story from earlier today, this reminds me of the .Hack series of RPGs Bandai put out. You payed the price of an average PS2 game for about 15-20 hours of game content. That means that at 4 games to the series, you got about 65-80 hours of gaming for $120. If SiN really takes only 4-5 hours for an episode, they seriously need to reconsider the price per episode before I start handing moolah over Steam.

Re:Gameplay time & price way too unproportiona (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431128)

I don't know. I did the side quests and my timer was over 120 hours after beating all four games, and thats without doing the boring collect one of every item quest you unlock at the end of the game. Still I got over 120 hours from just Oblivion by itself though.

plots in FPS (3, Insightful)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430307)

...and Half-Life 2 has prompted a lot of story-light brainless shooters.
Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem 3D and a host of other FPS that were released way before Half-Life 2 have had little to no story at all. HL2 changed nothing.

This sounds a little fishy to me (3, Interesting)

smwoflson (905752) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430331)

First, I just have to write that I really miss good, old fashioned 2D games. Sure, there may be a bit of a rebirth of the genre, but nothing with the shear fun/greatness of those old Konami games (the up, up, down, down crowd) like Contra and Lifeforce. Does anyone else remeber Rush 'n Attack? That game was awesome, and all you did was run and stab. A game company could never make something like that now adays. Gamers everywhere would say "what, only 1 knife? And no camo changes? And what's with all the lineral movement?" But I digress. Part of me actually likes the idea of an episodic game. Not only does it allow a company to develop a game and its story over time. But it also allows the designers to correct gameplay issues or shortcommings as they develop. The Gamer effectively becomes a test market. As much as Blizzard annoys me with their constant server screw-ups often related to patches and tinkering with their systems, I do love the fact that WoW is continually developing. When weaknesses are shown, they can be fixed. At the same time, another part of me I really doesn't like the idea of episodic gaming. Do you have to buy all of the episodes to play one? What if I get to the game late, do I have to start from the beginning? Or what if I just don't want to shell out the $15 some month? My WoW fee annoys me enough, but this seems somehow even more insideous. It could be like those micro-payment systems that are comming around that are designed to get people comfortable with many small payments, rather than just one big initial payment for the game. And in the end you spend more than you ever would have initially. Somehow WoW's subscription fee feels less creapy to me... I guess I just don't know... we shall see...

Re:This sounds a little fishy to me (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430516)

Episodes don't come every month, but every 6 months. Also, they've said they're toying with the idea to offer "bundles" at reduced prices. Like if you don't get on the wagon until episode 2 or 3 they'll knock some off the total price so it's easier to get.

So, if you don't want to pay $40-$60 USD per year (depending if they accelerate their schedule) then simply don't buy the game.

Re:This sounds a little fishy to me (1)

Isotopian (942850) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430616)

The game shadowgrounds, also released on Steam, is pretty fantastic, if a bit short. Good fun for the 20 bucks.

the full 9 episodes will cost ~$180 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15430337)

I played episode 1 and it was not very impressive. For the most part it felt like a 3d version of whack-a-mole with lots of "triggers" that spawned more enemies. It was good for mindless blasting away at enemies, but it lost its fun after a few hours.

I eventually got bored and used god mode to sprint through the last few levels just to see the last cut-scene.

I am not saying it was a bad game; I'm just saying that there is no way in hell i am paying for more episodes (especially not all 9 for $180!).

It looks like episodes might be a successful way to sell many many hours of nothing.

EULA nastiness (3, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430342)

I saw the original SiN Episodes box for about $20 at a local store and almost bought it, before reading on the box that I have to have an online connection and sign up with Steam in order to play the game I'd have paid for. Not because it needs it (it's not a network game), but, well, no reasons given, let alone good ones.

I don't care if Steam's a useful service or not. This whole "We'll package something in a box that you'd expect to be a more-or-less standalone product" - ok, it needs a compatible computer, but that's it - "but then we'll add strings so you can't use it without giving us enough information to sell you more crap" is getting out of control.

No thanks, Ritual. I loved the original SiN, but I don't "subscribe" to games, I buy them.

Re:EULA nastiness (-1, Flamebait)

packeteer (566398) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430370)

Actually you dont BUY games, you LICENSE them. This a distinction many people dont understand with music or games.

Re:EULA nastiness (4, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430420)

No, I BUY games. Few people license any software (though most of us agree to EULAs at some point, but EULAs are not licenses.) Virtually nobody licenses music who isn't redistributing copies in some shape or form.

The "You only license software" line is bullshit peddled by certain groups in the software industry. The copyright laws are the same for software as for books, music, and movies. If you've bought a copy, that copy's your's. Copyright prevents you from copying it (except under limited circumstances), but the physical media and copy is yours to use.

In any case, your point is completely irrelevent. There is no reason to force your customers to register with a third party (or even you) in order to use the product they've bought.

Re:EULA nastiness (0, Troll)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430533)

Wow! What color is the sky on your planet? What's the solar year length? DO you have an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere like we on Earth have?

Re:EULA nastiness (2, Informative)

26reverse (305980) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430561)

Actually - you do license the right to run the software. If you ever read any of the "click-through" EULAs, that would be apparent. I, personally, disagree with this and agree with you that you SHOULD "buy" your game. Unfortunately, by clicking through (and accepting the EULA), you've already waived your rights. What you've actually "bought" is the packaging and distribution methods - not the stuff on the disk.

To be fair to the manufacturers, the Steam method is an "interesting" business method. It's an immediate anti-piracy check for their software. However, it's a very intrusive method. As an example - you're supposed to be able to play through single player HL2 without being online (you do have to connect online when you install the game, after that it's fine disconnected). A couple weeks ago, my DSL was down and I was in the mood for some run-n-gun since I couldn't get into World of Warcraft. Steam, however, felt differently - and insisted that I first connect to them to check for updates before playing HL2 offline, since it had been a while since I had played it. No ethernet, no update check. Which meant that Steam bombed out and refused to play.

Re:EULA nastiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15431087)

What they've put into the EULA is largely irrelevent. Most of it is covered by existing copyright law, and in many places you CANNOT sign away certain rights. The local laws will override anything in a EULA if there is contradiction.

This is typically why you won't see EULA cases argued to completion. The companies will offer to settle before that happens.

Re:EULA nastiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15431372)

It doesn't matter. From a legal standpoint, EULA's are unenforcable. Anyone who tries would get laughed out of court so quickly their head would spin. Un-negotiable contracts arn't worth the paper they're printed on (at least in the USA).

Re:EULA nastiness (1)

dotdevin (936747) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430659)

Sure there is...to keep you from installing that one copy you purchased on 1,000,000,000 computers. Steam does that. You can debate if it is a good thing or not but that is why they do it and it is, for them, a VERY good reason.

Re:EULA nastiness (1)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430758)

Not to mention, many gamers (not the slashdot reader type) generally don't mind steam because it keeps everything up to date. I have to find with the exception of when I lose my internet for extended period of times (extremely rare) that Steam does a pretty decent job of keeping everything up to date and playable for me.

Re:EULA nastiness (1)

Zaplocked (925208) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431305)

Hell, my computer didn't have internet access from july to september last year, and I was able to keep playing my Steam games all the way through.

Re:EULA nastiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15431400)

EULAs are not licenses

End User License Agreement.

I think you lose.

Re:EULA nastiness (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15430498)

Yes. Because it's WRONG.

I've licenced things before. There are lawyers and contracts involved. You sign things.

Exchanging a 20-note for a box is NOT licencing something. Putting the plastic disc from inside the box into your CD player or PS2 isn't either.

Re:EULA nastiness (3, Informative)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430585)

It's true that you have to go with Steam in order to play the game, store-purchased or not. It's true you have to have a Steam account and you have to associate your purchase with Steam using an Internet connection. If these are deal-breakers for you then that's a position you're free to take. The number of people who take issue with this notion to the point of refusing to partake in HL2 or SiN:Ep is small enough to ignore.

However, a few points to make:

- You have to have an Internet connection all of once. If you only play SiN:Ep then you never have to have Steam online again. Like HL2, it can be played offline. Actually until the multiplayer addon is released, it's offline-only. It's not like CSS where Valve can reserve the right to ban you for cheating.

- The main logic of having it done through Steam is to unify future updates. This way when they release new contents or patches, they do it through Steam and everyone gets it, no matter how they bought it. Ask anyone whose Direct2Drive copy of Oblivion is impossible to update how much this notion is convenient.

Their use of Steam is less devious than you give them credit for. I think you may be confusing software licensing and episodic content.

Re:EULA nastiness (0, Offtopic)

goarilla (908067) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430822)

I loved the original SiN 2. But Valve makes me truelly angry
First they succeed in making a mainly c/c++ and opengl based engine (quake - quake 2) in their own
bastardised form and then they publish a game
i was silently hoping for for quite some time
in very expensive episodes
truelly that episodes thing is just another way to squeeze customers
Truelly i'm gonna boycot them for many years to come.
It's 2 bad tho i truelly think that if the last part of SiN wasn't so bug ridden
it would have powned Halflife ass by miles
do you recall the awesome stealth missions??? the underwater levels
The ability to only shoot headies and wear the armor of your foes
The awesome ctf and deathmatch modes with that cool grappling hook
and offcorse the awesome levels at the beginning - middle of the game
-- thank levelord (duke nukem 3D) for those tho

Re:EULA nastiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15430977)

you bastards I want you all to know that I still hate steam! I've hated steam since it came out and demanded that I have to run something that isn't the game I wanted. halflife was so good. but even though someone bought me hl2 for a holiday steam pisses me off too much to even have finished it. i'm fine with buying a game - this outburst isn't because i'm itching to pirate. i'm not fine with giving up another little bit of control i have over my computer and the software installed upon it.

steam and your eula can both go up your ass!
*rabid foaming*

Excellent game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15430348)

I found this game well worth my money. There are some things you left out on the review. There's 3 weapons each with secondary fire options. Magnum pistol, Shotgun, & Assault Rifle.

Also, you get the original Sin game with multiplayer that was released back in 1998. Later on they're going to release a Arena & Multiplayer mode for Sin Emergence.

Delicious AI Pie (4, Interesting)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430408)

My spirits were dampened when I stormed through it in 5 hours, but I still came away from the game with a feeling of satisfaction. The idea to go with an adjusting AI that tailored itself to your gameplay was GREAT. Too many shooters have an element where you find one good technique and use it on every single enemy: "headshot...headshot...headshot", but in SiN, after a few headshots the enemies come equipped with helmets (the weapons they carry, body armor, and even their numbers differ on how you're playing). I wish more companies would take this approach -- it seems like it makes for a very versatile experience.

Re:Delicious AI Pie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15430720)

I just thought about game difficulty the other day, and my conclusion was that with all the advanced hardware in consoles (though I am aware that this is a PC game), it shouldn't be hard to make a much more rewarding difficulty system - something which adapts itself to how you play.

For example, I have pretty poor reflexes, so I suck at some games, like shooting, racing, and fighting games. I want to play these games, but it's frustrating when I can't get past the first few levels. It detracts from my gaming experience - an experience I paid money for.

A dynamically adjusting difficulty level is just what I'm looking for. Instead of absolute difficulty settings, "super hard" will now mean "super hard *according to your skill*".

I hope this will find its way into more games.

It was odd to hear Cortana swearing (1)

emarkp (67813) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430440)

That is, the actress who does the voice for Jessica also does Cortana. Only difference is the swearing in SiN. The review is basically right. $15 is a more reasonable price point. My TTGM (Time-Till-God-Mode) review is pretty good. I got through the game on hardest all the way to the final level before turning on God-mode. More variety in the enemies might have improved that. (For comparison, I've completed HL2 and Halo multiple times without God-mode, and Doom3 was so unengaging that it took less than an hour for God-mode to be switched on.)

8/10 (4, Interesting)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430441)

Hey, where's the rating!?

I wanted to post some screenshots (see last paragraph), but instead I'll write a few sentences about the game to make this post at least somewhat useful.

Boobies! Here's the attractive woman [imageshack.us] from the first scene. They have realistic shake physics, that's probably what Zonk meant by "fun with physics". There are some other fun aspects, like the warning signs which say "When all else fails, use crate" or com-stations (basically phone booths) where you can dial a number you see on ads.

Shooting stuff is, I'd say, quite satisfying, although there are only 3 weapons. A very accurate and powerful piston, a shotgun, and an assault rifle. They all have alternative fire which you often have to use to kill off tougher enemies. The ones at the beginning go down with a headshot, or a shotgun blast from a close distance will send body parts flying, so that's always fun to watch. Some heavily armored fuckers at the end require a good portion of the AR mag.

To the whole episodic concept, well I didn't find it too unreasonable. Not unlike HL2, it leaves the story hanging, but it's not much (if at all) shorter than Max Payne. Considering it's not full price, that's not very bad, although of course cheaper would be even better.

I have a screenshot gallery with over 60 shots in it, but I decided not to post it here for two reasons: 1) I host it on my DSL line 2) I wrote the gallery perl script myself, so it's probably quite dangerous. I'll try to get a static version online, though.

Re:8/10 (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430899)

I thought the use of the phone was GREAT. I didn't write it down, but one of the numbers you can dial is for "bacon soap" (the "poster" is underneath a box on top of a desk in the big office building)... dialing the number treats you to a rendition of part of an Invader Zim episode (obviously the "bacon soap" episode). In addition to Invader Zim, there were many other pop-culture excursions found through the use of the phone. One final thought -- I'm totally with you on the greatness of the body parts flying (if only 'sploding bodies were in every game!).

Firs7 poSt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15430450)

clean for the nedxt the accounting Fact t4ere won't

Multiplayer. (2, Informative)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430510)

I was a huge fan of the original SiN, but I won't even think about picking up SiN episodes until the Multiplayer is up.

WoW is genre-defining? (0, Offtopic)

Guuge (719028) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430697)

World of Warcraft has pushed online game designers away from the fantasy genre.

Can someone with knowledge confirm this? The MMORPG [wikipedia.org] wikipedia entry tells a slightly different story. According to this article, the major non-fantasy MMORPGs were all released after Everquest but before WoW. I have myself played neither of these games, but from what I understand EQ is closer to a genre-defining game. It was followed not only by clones (ultimately including WoW) but by a plethora of non-fantasy games like Anarchy Online, City of Heroes, and Star Wars Galaxies.

Re:WoW is genre-defining? (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430774)

While almost all the MMORPGs I can think of recently (Auto Assault, Huxley, RF Online, Seed, Star Trek, Tabula Rasa) are non-fantasy, I think suggesting WoW is responsible massively underestimates the production time on a MMORPG (around 5 years, from what I hear). What I mean is, sure, there are less fantasy MMORPGs coming out, but I think that was because people wanted something different to Everquest, as opposed to avoiding the genre because WoW it's so difficult to compete with WoW...

But in comparison... (1)

Ragnarrokk (906696) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430723)

How many of you will give out $20 for Half-Life 2 : Episode 1?

In many respects, after all, Half-Life 2 is also just another FPS.

Personally, I will be buying Episode one due to exchange rates, and a love of the Half Life series. Let me explain, the game costs $20, with 10% off special offer means 4-6 hours of game play, which I'll likely replay for:

17.95 USD United States Dollars = 9.53067 GBP United Kingdom Pounds

In the UK, that's very little in comparison to a new game (£40, or £50/60 for newer x360 titles) and I don't know where you get those ultra cheap second hand copies but due to there basically being a lack of any independent stores around here, second hand copies get, at most, 25$ knocked off their price.

£10 sounds good enough to me.

``Ragnarok

Re:But in comparison... (1)

colonslashslash (762464) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430919)

Aye, I recognised the good deal on that one too. It makes a nice change for us in the UK to be able to get in on a world wide release and not get screwed on the price. I pre-ordered and pre-loaded HL2:E1 the other day, it cost me the equivilent of about 2 pints of beer and a pack of smokes :) . I can't wait to play it.

I'm not really much of a gamer these days, but Half Life 2 was absolutely brilliant in my eyes. I think I've played it through about 10 times now, and still enjoy going for a bit of a rampage around City 17 every so often.

Re:But in comparison... (1)

ocbwilg (259828) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431303)

Personally, I will be buying Episode one due to exchange rates, and a love of the Half Life series. Let me explain, the game costs $20, with 10% off special offer means 4-6 hours of game play, which I'll likely replay for:

I agree, the price is key. I will probably pre-order the first episode of theHalf-Life 2 episodes and pay $17.95 (though I'd rather pay $15), but I can't really justify $20 for such a short game. Sure, I've spent way more than $20 for 5-7 hours of entertainment before (theme parks, sporting events, etc), but I think that for the gaming market it's just too high.

I can understand that if they want to put the box in stores then there must be a certain minimum price point to meet, but since Steam is required for the game I see no reason to bother with the stores to begin with. Or if they must, sell the box for $20 in stores and let us purchase it for $15 over Steam. I suspect that they would still make more money off of a $15 Steam download than they would from a $20 retail box.

Sin-tillating (2, Insightful)

kin242 (789922) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430748)

Despite the comedy breasts and the paper-thin plot, I found the game an excellent waste of not only the 7 hours at least it took me to first complete it, but the equally enjoyable 4/5 hours I took to play it again. Its not rocket science. Its not hugely original. But it is damn good fun! Yes its priced $5 too high but still- if you are looking for something fun I can heartily recommend it. I also very much enjoyed the sound- all the way through the game the sound production is excellent, and there is even a theme tune which plays on the menu screen which is absolutely fantastic! Anyone know who that is by the way?

Re:Sin-tillating (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430777)

It's available on iTunes. I forget the title and the artist but type SIN EMERGENCE into the search box and you'll find the sound track. The menu song appears 2 or 3 times: main song, remix, (and I think) instrumental.

It's not bad.

WoW pushing away devs? Maybe in the US (-1, Offtopic)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15430927)

But in China, there are many thousands of FRP and RPG games, and WoW is just one of them.

Let's realize the whole world is pretty darned big. We have gamers in South Korea dying as we speak from playing too long ...

poor as s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15431001)

The game is really poor, as another poster said it's buggy and feels like you are walking on ice throughout the game.

The whole episode feels cheap and not put togeather well at all. The levels were badly constructed and of poor design.

A couple of years ago developers would have released this "episode" for free as a demo of the full game, it's a sad state of affairs that we are now reaching a period in gaming we have to pay for the demos. And because of the buggy, poor design i wouldn't even say that's a demo more like a beta.

From under my rock (1)

RoaneSky (977909) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431068)

I've been playing HL since the early days, and I loved HL2 when it came out. But, I have to admit, I've been too bizzy to see any of the other things that's been going on. This is the first I've heard of episodic games. I think the idea rox, even if everyone thinks SiN is week. I'm a filmmaker, and video games are giving the movie industry a run for it's money (It could overpower it with better stories). Man, I'm getting all kinds of bad ass ideas just thinking about the prospect.

Good! (1)

DimGeo (694000) | more than 7 years ago | (#15431343)

SiN is a blood-soaked five hour jaunt you can download from Steam for about twenty bucks. At that price and that length, this Aeon Fluxian gorefest may just be a happy start for the age of episodic content.


Excellent! Just as I want from 3D FPS'es! That's why I still play Doom1/2, after all (think: http://www.3dgamers.com/about/archives.html [3dgamers.com]).
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