June 1st, 2009


L4D - more fun single-player?

Se and I went by GameStop to take advantage of their "buy two, get one free" used game sale. We got six games in total, but not all of them were for me. What I got was L4D and RE5.

It's too early to say if I like RE5 or not yet. I'm playing co-op with Se, so I haven't gotten very far. I don't want to play ahead on my own for fear of spoilers. Or getting so annoyed with the AI that I intentionally kill Sheva out of spite. :P

L4D I've mostly been playing survival online. We got past 4 minutes at the "rock in the water" map, and I think in the warehouse level too. But I'm also playing by myself a fair bit. Last night I did the first two chapters of "No Mercy" in single-player with bots. I'm actually liking the single-player with bots more than co-op. I think because I'm so new to the game that the pokey bots are actually more my speed than human players who know every crevice and crack. I'm also finding that I'm way better off keeping my flashlight off almost all the time. I've gotten decent at pistol head-shotting zombies that don't know I'm there because my light is off.

Edit: RE5 ch. 3 is OMFG racist. "Let's go into random African villages while they're away, steal all their gold, diamonds, priceless sacred tribal art (also made of gold), etc. And when they come back and are pissed off at us, and threaten us with spears (ooooohhh!), we'll kill all fifty of them with our machine guns!" Ye gods, all Chris and Sheva need to do to complete the trifecta is give some blankets swarming with smallpox virus to the murdered tribesmens' children.

The game didn't strike me as racist at all until this chapter. I was even nodding approvingly to myself as Sheva was telling the story of how her parents were killed by Umbrella as part of a cover-up of one of their bio-weapons experiments. But unless Capcom meant all this "machine-gun down the people with the funny-lookin' masks and feather head-dresses right after you rob the diamonds and priceless tribal art from their mud huts" as some kind of ironic commentary on the horrors of colonialism (and honestly, what are the odds? I don't think Capcom has an ironic bone in their body)... holy shit, this is racist. You can't even make the excuse that these guys are posessed by the progenitor virus (or whatever it is this week) like people earlier in the game, because of the dozens that I killed, only one busted out the tentacle-mouth.

Maybe the full story line will salvage some semblance of an appreciation for the tribal cultures of Africa. Or give some kind of acknowledgment that tribal African people have just as much of a right to exist as anyone else. But I'm not holding my breath...

Funny thing is, it would have been so easy to do this another way. You could have non-violently met with each tribe and traded them something for use of the stone tablet piece you need to open the next door. Or if blood and guts are a requirement, you could have the next boss in the game tearing through the villages as you visit them, culminating in a co-operative fight - you and the villagers vs the monster. This would have been particularly emotionally effective in light of Sheva's story about how her parents died during the intro cut scene.

Edit 2: Finally finished the "No Mercy" campaign in L4D. Barely, barely got everyone off the hospital roof alive. It made all my previous narrow-squeak escapes look like easy victories in comparison. Incidentally, the trick to getting into the hospital from the sewers is to throw a pipe-bomb just after you emerge. This distracts the horde while you run for the safe room. There'll still be a few zombies along the way, but not many. (Unless there's a Tank around, in which case you're totally screwed - he isn't distracted by pipe-bombs.) Hospital itself was surprisingly easy. I think keeping my light off almost always really pays. I can pretty much crouch with the pistols and headshot zombies from a ways away. Anybody that slips past me (which isn't many) is destroyed by my assault-rifle/sniper-rifle/auto-shotgun backup squad. And if the horde manages to punch through that, they get a killer melee attack to the nuts from me. ;] Going through the hospital I managed to kill a witch without being downed, which is cool - but I still need a lot more practice. I know it's possible to kill her in just one or two shots. L4D is shaping up to be surprisingly entertaining for a game I didn't expect to like.