June 15th, 2009


Dead Air.

Played through the "Dead Air" campaign tonite in L4D. My first impression as I started this campaign was "How did we get inside a greenhouse??" But whatever. I felt this campaign was briefer but more intense than the previous two. The city parts pretty much felt like the city parts of No Mercy, but the construction and airport parts were just nuts. I guess the city part would have felt more intense if I hadn't played the crane bit in survival mode before. It was actually fairly easy because of that. The graffiti in the safe rooms is starting to get really hilarious, with its "WE ARE THE REAL MONSTERS" and "government/aliens made the infection" quips.

In the construction area, Zoey startled the witch while we were under a horde attack AND the Director was feeling bored, so it was like a double horde attack. Needless to say, the witch tore her to pieces long before we could get to her. Speaking of witches, I usually carry a pipebomb but somewhere in the city I found a witch we couldn't go around while I was carrying a molotov. Now THAT'S the way to kill a witch! Since I prefer the assault rifle, burning the witch is the obvious tactic. (Unlike tanks, who get faster when set on fire, witches get slow.)

The finale is nuts. The previous finales at least had some kind of structure to channel the horde around, giving you a chance. Sitting in the middle of a runway? Fuggedaboutit! The trucks and stuff basically do you no good at all. They're just cover for the horde, so you can't see them coming as easily. I was constricted twice, downed twice, sent flying by the tank once, and gave up in total disgust on the mounted gun (which is worse than useless here).

Oh yeah, you can bet I had the crosshairs on the bots as I stood next to the back of the airplane. It still took them several seconds longer than I would have expected to come running over, but they at least did it this time. Good bots - I won't cap you in the dome if you don't do stupid crap like running away from our only chance of survival. ;]

Blood Harvest looks nutty. Can't wait to see if the Director decides to put a witch or tank on that suspension bridge...

NGai Croal talks with Jun Takeuchi about RE5.

And as Takeuchi went on to explain that the enemies with the grass skirts and spears were seeking to defend the ruins from intruders and that he’d been inspired by the Indiana Jones movies, I felt like I once again understood where he’d been coming from. That a two-to-three-week trip to unspecified African countries and looking at a number of movies set in Africa alongside pop-cultural inspirations like the Indiana Jones series simply hadn’t been enough to sufficiently educate him or the team about the legacy of the imagery that they were tapping in to and, as a result, they’d lost control of their message. That’s my take on it, of course; I doubt that the man who sat across from me and thoughtfully answered all of my questions would agree. But if his muse should inspire him to set another game in an African country – or any real-world location, for that matter – my only wish is that he do so in as fully informed a manner as possible.


I think I pretty much agree. The kind of racist overtones I saw in RE5 seemed to reflect mainly an ignorance of African culture and people. They weren't being offensive intentionally; they just truly didn't know any better. In fact, the major place where I had a problem was the "raid the swamp villages" levels. And the more I think about it, the more it looks to me like those were actually more caused by lazy programming than racism. I mean, you see the same two models (the regular tribesman, the big tall guy) like 200 times in a row. That strikes me as "we have to get this level out the door but we don't have any more budget for character design and animation - so use the same model over and over again." And a similar bankruptcy of creativity may have led to the whole plot for that area being, "just go kill a buncha people!" In short, chapters 3-2 and 3-3 in RE5 feel kinda tacked on, with less artistic merit than the rest of the game. Something that I could see happening when a schedule deadline is coming up fast, and nobody seems to have any ideas about what we're going to do for this level. So they threw together a bunch of ideas off the tops of their heads, and those turned out to be bad stereotypes.