The indie spyglass

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The indie spyglass

Post by Thingy on 2010-07-04, 14:27

Most of these games are free, but those that aren't are cheap, and they're all worth every penny and second. Coming soon: UFO:AI, Civ-Evo, Minecraft.

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[quote="JPB18"]Now I remembered that PlayStation 3 has a better game catalogue then XBox... Just look at titles like -------- Assassins Creed: Brotherwood------ [/quote]


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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Thingy on 2010-07-16, 21:56

If you've played or heard of the immensely popular X-COM series from back in the day, 1994 to be exact, you know it's left a pretty big mark on the industry and the minds and hearts of gamers from all but the youngest generations.

However, there hasn't been a decent official X-COM game since the first one. We've had interceptor, enforcer and so on, but from what i've heard, they were massive flops. Why? Well, they ripped out the heart of the X-Com games, the blend of tactical and strategic gameplay. Now, we do have a coming game simply titled ''X-COM'', but that one doesn't look too promising either. To me, it looks like they ripped it's hearts and lungs out, then had a shit in it's mouth. They've not only replaced the gameplay, but they've also replaced the setting with a 50's setting using Bioshock's engine, apparantly with little to no modification in a blatant attempt to take all the X-COM fan's money then take a shit in their mouth while they beg for more.


So where do the new and old fans of the X-Com series go for another fix of tactics and strategy? Well, you could pick up UFO: Extraterrestrials if you're not too much of a cheapo. It costs like 10 bucks, is made by a small developer and is a pretty good recreation of X-COM. Hell, they even hijacked the old game's story and continued it on a new planet. But if you're so cheap you're probably reading this on some social worker's laptop who has come to your house to take away your kids because you were too cheap too feed them anything other than shit for the last six months, you just want another flavor of X-Com or you just want free shit, you definitely couldn't go wrong with UFO:AI.

You should have guessed the story by now. There are aliens, they invade shit, shit being humanity in this case. You could however say that they kind of picked the wrong race to start abducting, because when they arrive, humanity has had enough time shooting stuff, stuff mostly being each other, to repel the first wave with some casualties (read: several full cities full of civvies, 3 battalions of elite soldiers in mumbay and some more battalions in the other attacked cities).

The story is advanced by capturing UFO's (after the UFO has landed and you've taken down it's crew or after you've shot it down and you've gone in with your troops and taken out it's crew), aliens and alien technology then resarching them. The resarch texts are very well written, with very good english and alot of technical terms that make it feel more authentic and thought out, but not all of them have been finished.

You see, UFO:AI is being made by it's community and a small team of devs. It's been in development for 6 years, but since it's really only a side project for some, if not all, involved, a pretty hefty chunk of the game is missing and the quality of the game isn't exactly sky high. For an example, the setting feels quite schizophrenic. While the setting might be in the late 21st century, you definitely won't see that on the game's maps. All the maps except maybe the base maps look exactly like the time we're in now. It's like there hasn't been a single change in architecture, technology, clothing or, well, anything in the civilian sector for the last 74 years. What is now the undeveloped world is, according to the game's backstory, now just as developed as the west, but you won't see that either. The maps make it look like africa and the middle east are still struggling with poverty and underdevelopment, while the west is wealthy and developed. Also, another problem with the maps is that the jungle maps are completely impossible to finish 99% of the time since the second level of the landed harvester UFO's can't be accesed because the corridor that leads to the ramps is too tight. So you and the aliens end up stuck on different levels, and you end up having to load the last save, however far back it might be.



Weapons apparantly haven't changed much either... In fact, they're inferior to the stuff we have now.


Another thing that feels quite incomplete is the choice of equipment. Vehicles will be released at a later date, and apparantly 2/3rds of the human and alien armory. There are 3 alien armors, 2 for the humans, about 2 kinds of weapons categories (laser and conventional in different forms, everything from pistols and laser pistols to rocket launchers and heavy lasers), one kind of useless electromagnetic rifle and only one category of weapons for the aliens plus one or two weapons in the antimatter category that you don't encounter till very late in the game. The choice of equipment you have is minimal, and running around with laser rifles kind of gets boring after a while.

The way the game plays doesn't exactly help much either. The game plays like this, UFO's ascend upon earth every once in a while. They come in several types, but the most common and most significant ones are the fighters and the harvesters. The fighters mostly just fly around and piss people off, but they can also land sometimes, that's very rare though. They're quite well balanced against your interceptors. The harvesters are incredibly well armored and armed UFO's that fly to their destination then land, initiating a terror mission that you have to complete, or lose favor with the world powers, who by the way are the guys who finance the whole thing and provide you with soldiers, engineers and scientists. If you lose too many and one state gets angry, you lose the game. The harvesters are so.incredibly.frakking.unbalanced. I mean, i sent about 2 late game interceptors armed with the best guns and armor available. They failed. They ran out of ammo after firing at it for a while, then got shot down while retreating. And bear in mind that you encounter these harvesters early in the game and are supposed to shoot them down if you want to avoid a constant stream of terror missions.



The terror missions themselves play like this. You land your dropship somewhere on the map, that is your starting point. The aliens start in different places on the map, each starting point most often having an alien squad of 2,3 or more. For an example, there can be a small squad of aliens bunkered up at the small shop on the southern part of the map while the rest of the squad is in and around their UFO. Or there can be a small squad at the small shop, one at the house on the northwestern part of the map and a squad in the UFO. This can lead to some pretty good tactical situations and gives you several ways to approach and take out the aliens bunkered up in that building or out on that field. However, a sizeable chunk of the tactics has been ruined by a massive bug that makes it completely impossible to use reaction fire (ordering a soldier to reserve TU's, or time units ((which you need to perform actions)), to shoot enemies when they get within sight and firing range. It could have been used to cover advancing or retreating soldiers, lay ambushes or whatever your creativity and the game permits, but you won't be able to use it at least till the next bug fix (which should be coming out in the not too distant future).


The plasma pistol. One more of the problems with UFO:AI. If you've played halo, you should recognize it. Hell, you probably guessed the name.


Another problem with tactical engagements is that the aliens have some places on the map where they're more likely to spawn. So after playing the same map a few times, you learn where these places are and how to approach them. Sure, you can try to approach the spawns in different ways, but in the end it tends to boil down to ''Approach spawn point, shoot enemies, on to next spawn point, shoot enemies, etc, mission complete''.

Now that we have the bad parts out of the way, on to the good ones.

The graphics, while not very good by 2010 standards, are freaking great for free indie game standards. Especially since, quoting DW, most free games look like some retarded flash shit. Actually, ''It's free'' is basicly half the argument in favor of this game. It's a great game for costing you nada, and will provide you with hours if not days of fun for no cost, at all. The tactics might have taken a pretty big hit from the no reaction fire bug, the maps get repetitive after a while and the armory for both aliens and humans, both up in the sky and down on the ground, is limited. But the tactical engagements are shitloads of fun at first ( that is if you get tired of them at all, it's all about personal taste, there's a whole forum of people who still haven't gotten tired of the game ).

The resarch tree isn't 100% completed, there's still quite a sizeable chunk of text missing, but the text that is there is very well written and manages to give you realistic, detailed and enjoyable descriptions of the weapons, craft, technology and general discoveries. If you're anything like me, you'll always be looking forward to the completion of the next piece of technology or the next piece of uncovered information about the alien threat.

But the best thing about this is that it's still in development, from what i've read, the next release will fix at least the most urgent bugs, add new maps, new weapons, new technology texts, new technology and so on. Don't let the 2.3 fool you, it's still like a beta, and there's still alot of features that have yet to be implemented / reimplemented (they removed some features that were in the last release for the next).

Also, it's FREE! And it works for Windows, Mac and Linux, so there's really no excuse not to download it.

You can find more info and download it at http://ufoai.ninex.info/wiki/index.php/News


Last edited by Thingy on 2010-07-18, 18:59; edited 6 times in total

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[quote="Thingy"][quote="Nuchiha101"]
they saw the guy ram my mom. [/quote]

*Giggles like a schoolgirl*
He...Hehe...Pfff...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA [/quote]

[quote="JPB18"]Now I remembered that PlayStation 3 has a better game catalogue then XBox... Just look at titles like -------- Assassins Creed: Brotherwood------ [/quote]


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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Darkwing on 2010-07-16, 22:16

I got me an Inception review which should be ready in about ten minutes. Come on Thingy, don't let me beat you out yet again Razz

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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Thingy on 2010-07-16, 22:25

Oh my review's going to shit in your review's mouth so hard that it will be shitting my review's shit out of it's shitter along with it's own shit because it's terrified out of it's shit!

And... You finished it while i was on a shit rampage, right?

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[quote="Thingy"][quote="Nuchiha101"]
they saw the guy ram my mom. [/quote]

*Giggles like a schoolgirl*
He...Hehe...Pfff...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA [/quote]

[quote="JPB18"]Now I remembered that PlayStation 3 has a better game catalogue then XBox... Just look at titles like -------- Assassins Creed: Brotherwood------ [/quote]


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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Darkwing on 2010-07-16, 22:25

almost, just finsihing up the cinematography section. Still got Story to tackle though, so you got a few minutes

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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Thingy on 2010-07-16, 22:26

If not. *Bold voice* REVIEW KRUNCH TIME! CHIPS, CAFFEINE, I CALL UPON YOU!

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[quote="Thingy"][quote="Nuchiha101"]
they saw the guy ram my mom. [/quote]

*Giggles like a schoolgirl*
He...Hehe...Pfff...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA [/quote]

[quote="JPB18"]Now I remembered that PlayStation 3 has a better game catalogue then XBox... Just look at titles like -------- Assassins Creed: Brotherwood------ [/quote]


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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Darkwing on 2010-07-16, 22:28

this review is longer than my other though, it's already into its third page

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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Darkwing on 2010-07-16, 22:48

oh sheesh, I'm onto page 4 and page 3 alone dealt with the story

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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Thingy on 2010-07-18, 13:43

The review's done and up for reading.

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[quote="Thingy"][quote="Nuchiha101"]
they saw the guy ram my mom. [/quote]

*Giggles like a schoolgirl*
He...Hehe...Pfff...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA [/quote]

[quote="JPB18"]Now I remembered that PlayStation 3 has a better game catalogue then XBox... Just look at titles like -------- Assassins Creed: Brotherwood------ [/quote]


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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Shemuel on 2010-07-18, 18:23

Whooo! That earns you a floppy horse dick award, Thingy!

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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Thingy on 2010-07-18, 18:38

I just realized i'm in a serious need for images... It just looks so dry without them.

And hey, you have to start somewhere before getting the Pulitzer, right?

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[quote="Thingy"][quote="Nuchiha101"]
they saw the guy ram my mom. [/quote]

*Giggles like a schoolgirl*
He...Hehe...Pfff...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA [/quote]

[quote="JPB18"]Now I remembered that PlayStation 3 has a better game catalogue then XBox... Just look at titles like -------- Assassins Creed: Brotherwood------ [/quote]


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Re: The indie spyglass

Post by Darkwing on 2010-07-19, 00:34

bah, pictures, the only time I use them is in my blog and all I put is the movie poster at the beginning

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