Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Perfect Game

Computer games are substantial part of my life. They bring new ideas, unique experience, and challenge my tactics and reflexes. I always think about qualities of game in general, and try to judge existing games upon these characteristics. There is a game that reached my heart, and I would like to tell you about it.
I played all genres, with RPG being the favorite. I adore Fallout 1/2, Arcanum, X-Com 1/2, Unreal-1, Planescape: Tourment, Baldur's Gate, Jagged Alliance, MechCommander, and other classics of 90th. Since that golden age the overall depth of the content was quickly decreasing, while the appearance was getting more and more detail. These titles are well respected by a limited community, but the subject is not among them. The subject came out shadowed by the titans, and having unique language, enormous system requirements, and little-to-no advertising, was left with no chance to shine.

The game Vangers was created by pure geniuses from russian K-D Lab studio. It features unique voxel-based terrain engine, novel-level futuristic story, and a gameplay mixed between RPG/action/simulation. The world you are literally thrown in lives by it's own laws (unlike XCom/JA/MC, where everything is user-centric). You are not special there (unlike Fallout/Arcanum/Planescape/BG), in fact there is a thousand of others, who are faster, stronger, and even able to reach the story goals before you. The world behaves as a living organism: try to leave the control for a second, and you will notice swarms of little creatures flying, swimming, crawling in the terrain; other vangers rushing in a race competition; global world cycle changing from winter to warm summer... The landscape is dynamically persistent through the game: once destroyed a bridge in a crazy fight - and you have to look for another way to cross the river. The role-playing is based on your very actions, not on some digits in your stats. On the one hand, you are absolutely free to do anything there, even the suicide can be your game ending. On the other hand, there is a strong story line that keeps you fully motivated to explore.

The game didn't get proper reception. Some people love it, some hate it, others don't understand, or simply never heard of this gem. It could make a perfect MMOG, but it already has various multi-player modes, and the games are still hosted. I enjoyed *playing* the story, because this is the game play in its perfect sense. From that moment, I started looking at the real world with eyes of a vanger.

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