January 17, 2004

I've been playing quite a bit of DX:IW lately, and come to the conclusion that the game doesn't actually suck as much as the demo would have you believe, if you try to ignore all the goofy little things they messed up. Ok, let's rant.

The interface sucks. I'll summarize:

  • When clicking a menu item, there's about a half second delay before the submenu shows. Combined with the fact that there's no quick save, saving the game in this fashion quickly becomes a nuisance.
  • The notes section has adopted the functionality of the log tab from DX and you can no longer take notes by yourself.
  • The font size doesn't change when you change the resolution.
  • You no longer have a log of your communications.
  • Strangely, the game automatically deletes images which no longer apply to your current mission, which is stupid. I loved browsing through all the images I'd collected at the end of DX.
  • The inventory has been radically redesigned; say goodbye to drag-and-drop and welcome click-and-click. Also, you can no longer assign a number to objects for your tool belt.
  • The objects in your inventory have way too little information. What happened to information overdose à la System Shock 2?
  • There's an individual shortcut key to different screens; no more tabs.
  • Computer credentials and keypad codes are now invoked automatically (and not saved as notes). Say goodbye to wasting thirty minutes guessing a three-digit code, starting with 000.
  • Skills are gone.
  • Credits from ATMs are retrieved automatically.
  • The interface is generally too console-looking and intrusive, cluttering up your view.

In addition, the lockpick and multitool are still merged into a weird little piece which emits orange light. Not only does this look goofy, but what good does sending electronic impulses to a steel door do?

There are also some bright sides of the game, the ones that make me want to play the game in the first place. The graphics have been beefed up quite a bit. Every light source is now dynamic, and every object in the game casts and receives realistic shadows. Also, most (if not all) textures are bump-mapped, which makes for some pretty amazing effects, especially on the clothing of NPCs.

The game's got a full-fledged physics system. This is the first game I've seen where rag dolls interact with each other and not only with the environment. In fact, every inanimate object in the game interacts with everything else. Havoc time!

The story is awesome. The Omar are badasses. The new spiderbot is cool.

An Omar.

The non-linearity of the story is enhanced quite a bit, since different factions give you different objectives to complete, and your alignment with them depends on how (or if) you complete their objectives. Furthermore, these factions often give you conflicting goals, forcing you to choose between them. Also, there are (like in the first game) a lot of subquests you can do to earn extra credits.

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