I’M BACK.

In case you haven’t noticed the spam of posts I made while I was offline (sorry Smile with tongue out), then I’M BAHK. Open-mouthed smile I even made a little surprise for the dudez on Skype when I join a call for the first time on Virgin Media. I’ll sign in as Invisible, join a call, and when they’re least expecting it…

BAM!
(There’re 28 sound clips in there [not including the part after it quietens down], all of them being retarded/funny things that I like. Hey, maybe you could spot them and name them if you’re bored? Just an idea. Smile with tongue out)

Don’t worry, the surprise won’t be ruined, cuz they won’t see this. Why? Well, because I’ve unhooked my blog from Facebook, because Facebook is boring, stupid and pointless. I noticed the pointlessness of it a while back, and started to access it less often. Now, I’ll probably log in, say, once a month. Smile with tongue out I’ve been away for NINE DAYS, and I have no notifications, no messages, and an invite to a party in Redditch… and I’M NOT EVEN IN REDDITCH ANYMORE! And I don’t even like going to clubs – I’ve said that 86,000 times already. Smile with tongue out Why? Because they’re smelly, shitty, full of chavs and infested with people who are so pathetic that they need to drink overpriced death juice until they can’t think straight just to be able to have a good time. Smile with tongue out Oh, and none of the 300+ posts that were made when I was gone are even remotely interesting. "Going into town", "Listening to music", seriously, WHO GIVES A SHIT?! Smile with tongue out

But yeah, anyway, I finally have a form of communication that I can use freely. Open-mouthed smile Nope, my phone won’t let me make calls. Because Vodafone have blocked it. Because my Dad never pays for the phone contract that he bought me for my 18th b’day. Smile with tongue out Never mind – I’ll get it unlocked and put a PAYG SIM in there. Wink

This Internet is pretty fast, though. It’s 10Mb – fast enough for me, and especially fast since I’m the only one using it. Open-mouthed smile Downloaded a 2GB game off Steam a little while ago, and it took 40 MINUTES! Holy crap! Open-mouthed smile I’m used to 1Mb Interwebs, so multiplying it by 10 leaves a pretty big "Surprised smile" on my face. Open-mouthed smile

Anyhoo – I’ve worked pretty hard on Dragon Storm for a while, so now it’s time to chill for a bit. Smile Need to cook DINNER as well, so I’ll see ya lat0rz! Smile

Now, as for the story…

So, the customisation screen is finished. INI files are loaded and saved correctly, and menus display the correct info. Each of the five profile slots on the sign in screen work, and for the first time ever, the graphics so far aren’t stolen and don’t resemble a baboon’s ass. Smile with tongue out Seems like the shop screen is next up, followed by some actual gameplay. Open-mouthed smile Oh, and a cutscene.

For me to start the campaign mode properly, though, I need some sort of a story. I think I’ve made a start:

image

It’s not gonna be complicated or super-deep or anything. Smile with tongue out You play as the hero in the story, and you have to find and pwn some guy who calls himself the Master of Time and Space before he destroys the universe. Or is it Space and Time? Ah, whatever – no matter what order it is, it’s still hyper-cheesy and has probably been done 86,000 times already. Smile with tongue out

I know what the intro’s gonna be like – I’ve written down a bunch of stuff for it already. Open-mouthed smile Dunno how the hell I’m gonna pull off the cutscene yet, but I SHOULD be able to do it. Maybe. Smile

Well, might as well give it a try – back in a bit! Smile

UPDATE!!

SubDragon? Check. Sunbed model? Nope. Beach background? Nuh-uh. Mobile phone model? No. Beach ambience sound effect? Nah. Okay, I have a resource problem. Smile with tongue out

Gonna have to wait until my router arrives (possibly Friday), then I have to do some content hunting. Smile with tongue out Might as well make a start on the shop screen now. Open-mouthed smile

UPDATE 2!!

Sure wish I had Jets ‘n’ Guns with me now. I was aiming to use the same basic layout for the shop screen as that game, but I can’t remember it all. Sad smile Kinda stuck about how to organise it. There’ll be a sidebar where you choose items you want to buy, and a little box at the bottom containing your Mods, but I’ve put it all together in Photoshop and it looks a little “off”. Confused smile

It’s probably just me, so I’ll keep working on it. Open-mouthed smile

Say “hi” to GIF, my new (second) best friend. (First is PNG. :P)

For many, many years now, I thought that GIF was completely useless to everyone apart from web developers, because GIF usually throws away 98% of the image and makes it look ugly. It also causes aliasing and has a stupid name. “Graphics Interchange Format”… what the hell? Smile with tongue out But, of course, the upside to all this crappery and melted retinas is a much smaller file size.

But just now… I’ve found why I’d want to use it. Open-mouthed smile

In Dragon Storm, I was planning to do three different dragon appearances. Each of these appearances has its own image in the Customisation screen. I was also thinking of making a special cutscene at the start of a new game, and another after every five missions or so, starring the main character (your dragon). These cutscenes would need multiple poses, and I’d have to render each pose with each of the three dragon appearances. Now, each of these renders comes out at around 300-400KB when saved as a PNG, which is the awesomest file format ever (in most situations Smile with tongue out), because it’s lossless, has alpha channel support and they use up a retardedly small amount of space for what you get. Smile But, multiply that 300-400KB by six (that’s about the number of poses I need for the first cutscene), then multiply the result by three (the number of dragon appearances)… you’re looking at 5,400-7,200KB PER CUTSCENE. And that’s not even including backgrounds or other characters in these scenes. Sure, there won’t be MANY cutscenes, but this is (SPARTAA!) an indie game – it’s supposed to be downloadable. Smile with tongue out

As a last ditch attempt to save space, I decided to convert my PNG-format images into all the file formats Photoshop could spit out. Then, as I was going through them, I immediately noticed that the GIF format had cut the space required in THREE, which was more than any other format. 100KB an image is MUCH more realistic; it’s only ~2MB for an entire cutscene rather than ~6MB.

“GIF. HA!” I said, mockingly. “Sure, I’ll use this piece-a-shit file format. I won’t wreck Dragon Storm in the slightest(!)”

But… when I replaced an image in Multimedia Fusion just to test it out…

Yeah, that dragon is saved as a GIF.

…I couldn’t notice the difference unless I looked REALLY closely – there’s a loss of colour in his eye and on his horns, and there’s aliasing around the edges of the image. But that’s all. Those three tiny quality hits for a third of the file size? Yeah, please. Open-mouthed smile

So, basically, Dragon Storm is not gonna be as huge (filesize-wise ;)) as I’d first expected, thanks to the power (or lack of Wink) of GIF. I’ve replaced two images and already saved 400KB. Now to replace some of the others and see what happens… Open-mouthed smile

Oh yeah, and in other news… great start for Virgin Media. The bloke was supposed to be here today at 2:00PM… and he never arrived. Shows you how much more I’m looking forward to their actual service if the guy that’s supposed to sell it to me FORGETS TO FECKING ARRIVE… Sarcastic smile Wish I could’ve gone with O2, but it’s Virgin Media’s phone line, as well. They’ve basically monopolised this place. Sad smile

Ah well… maybe he’ll turn up later on. Smile with tongue out

UPDATE!!

Just replaced the huge, problematic SHHHORRYYUKEN anime-attack-style background effect image in Dragon Storm with a GIF equivalent. (DAMN, that’s a mouthful. Open-mouthed smile) It WAS 6MB, now it’s 1MB. A SIXTH OF THE SIZE AND I NOTICE NO DIFFERENCE! HOLY MOTHERFU…!

Red heart GIF. Well, I wouldn’t use it for anything apart from game development and web design, but still… Red heart. Open-mouthed smile

UPDATE 2!!

Yeah, the Virgin Media guy turned up. Only five hours late… Sarcastic smile

But never mind – I’ve bought the Internet now, and it should be arriving in the mail on Friday. Then all I need to do is plug it in and THE WORLD IS MYINE!!!

EETS LIKE A PRETTY DRAGONNEY RAYNBOW!

Oh yeeaahhh!

Scale colour modification WORKZ!

That went ULTRA WELL! Open-mouthed smileOpen-mouthed smile Now you can choose your dragon’s scale colour, element and name! Just need to do appearance and Perk now. Smile

Oh yeah, “Perk”, another option I added after another bolt of lightning hit my brain. Open-mouthed smile You’ve got elemental traits when you select your dragon’s element… but it seemed a bit limiting. Now you can choose a Perk, to give your dragon that extra touch of uniqueness. It alters the dragon’s stats depending on what you choose. So, if you really want to choose the Earth element, but you don’t like having lower HP, you can easily choose the “Tough” Perk, which gives you more health. Or maybe if you’re some sort of fire-crazed freak, you can choose the Fire element which has a higher chance of setting enemies on fire with Fire Weapons, then you can choose the “Pyromaniac” Perk, which makes that chance EVEN HIGHER. Open-mouthed smile

I’ve gotta come up with a bunch more perks before I’ll be happy with it, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Back to finishing off the Customisation screen for now, though! Smile

UPDATE!!

HOLY MOTHERFU-… I did it! Open-mouthed smileOpen-mouthed smileOpen-mouthed smile

COMPLETED!!! :D 

HELL YEAH! Everything works properly, and it even saves your options to an INI file… AND it can reload them with no hiccups! And guess what? Unlike ULSG, you CAN’T screw with the INI file, because it’s ENCRYPTED! Smile with tongue out If you DO screw with it, well, there’s gonna be a BIG mess when Dragon Storm reloads the file. I don’t know what kind of BIG mess there’ll be, but… yeah. Might try it at some point to see what happens. Smile with tongue out

Gonna buy my Internet tomorrow, so not long ‘till I can post these. Smile

This is going almost TOO well…

I’ve been waiting to run into a few problems when prototyping Dragon Storm… and… well, okay, I was GONNA say that it’s been plain sailing so far (to a certain extent Smile with tongue out), but I DID run into one problem.

I was planning on letting the player choose their dragon’s colour, and I didn’t think there’d be anything that’d stop me doing that, now that the Hardware Acceleration update has been pretty much finished. UNFORTUNATELY, the Colorize shader (yeah, it’s American, but I’ll play along with the spellnig Smile with tongue out) doesn’t QUITE work properly. What you do is you choose what colour on the image (out of red, green and blue [or you can use RGBYCM, if you’re feeling a bit fancy Smile with tongue out]) should be swapped, and then choose a colour to swap it with. So you can choose to replace red pixels with orange, or yellow, or whatever you want. Annoyingly, it’s a bit (as in VERY) retarded, and the result ends up looking something like this:

Nice look...

Mmmm. Sarcastic smile

So, instead of Colorize, I’ve been forced to use Hue. Which is perfectly acceptable – I can get pretty much all the major colours…

Much better. :)

BUT, I can’t change the saturation or luminosity of the image. So, it’s impossible to get black, grey or white. Sad smile Also, since Hue changes ALL colours on the image, I can’t make customizable eye, horn, talon or underbelly colours. Sad smile Never mind, though – going into too much detail is gonna be pointless in-game, because the player sprite isn’t gonna be gigantic. There’ll be a few dragon designs to choose from, but I can’t make too many, otherwise it’s gonna get complicated. Smile with tongue out

Other than the colouring problem, it’s been going retardedly well. Open-mouthed smile Title screen:

PRESS ANY EFFIN' KEY!!!

Sign-in system:

SELECT A PROFILE BIIITCH!!

And a half-finished Customise screen (I realised that I needed this BEFORE the shop screen Smile with tongue out):

CUSTOMISE DAMN YOU!!!!! 

And you’ve seen the main menu already. Wink

It may not LOOK like a lot of progress, but believe me, it is a friggin’ HUGE amount. Remember, I’ve had to make ALL the graphics from scratch, THEN I’ve had to code everything… and I’ve had to do it all myself. Open-mouthed smile

I’m (almost) beyond caring how big this game gets (as in megabytes-wise Smile with tongue out). This is only a prototype, and it already feels super-polished and full of WIN. Open-mouthed smile I’ll try and finish that Customise screen tomorrow, then I can get started on the shop. Open-mouthed smile

SitRep: EFFIN’ COOL.

I’m at my flat, but I don’t have a ‘net connection yet. So… I’m just saving any entries I decide to write as drafts and I’ll post them when I buy the Internet. Kay? Kay. Smile

So, I’ve been prototyping Dragon Storm. Smile Since I can’t access the ‘net, I’ve been restricted to stuff I already have/can create on my PC. Not so much of a problem at the moment, because I’ve only been making the main menu. Smile with tongue out

This is the most graphically-awesome game I've ever made. :P

Yep, it’s in Multimedia Fusion (hehe, you can even see some of the Event Editor ticks in the title bar. ;)). This has taken me a retardedly long time, but I think it was REALLY worth it. Open-mouthed smile

I’ve gone with a kind of punk/goth/total-kickass style, with the lashings of black paint and stuff. Reminds me of Street Fighter IV a little bit, too. Smile And the background moves sort of like an anime’s background does, when someone’s doing a SHOOORRRYYUKEN or something. Smile with tongue out Oh, and the silhouette has random spazzification added to it, so it’ll change size slightly. You know I’m not very artistically-inclined, so I don’t really have much to SAY on the graphics side of things. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. Wink

I’ve also got a different silhouette for each menu option. Rendered in DAZ Studio with no lighting, dragged into Photoshop, resized, splattered white and red paint all over it, removed some, added a smudge of smudge, and tweaked until I was happy. Smile Took about 60-90 minutes to create each pose, render, and modify. Shows you how much effort I’m putting into this. Open-mouthed smile

I especially like the Options menu silhouette, though:

Oh yeah. :D

A dragon mechanic silhouette holding a spanner. Only MongMaster. Open-mouthed smile

I’ve learned my lesson about file size when I was making ULSG. That won’t happen again – I’m gonna use the RIGHT extension for each situation, not just make EVERY object an Active like an idiot and/or newbie. Smile with tongue out At the moment, the source file is only about 2 MB, even with the heavy graphics… but the actual EXE is 9MB already. Confused smile I know what might be adding to the file size, and, in the words of Mr. John Marston, “I’ll see what I can do.” Smile with tongue out

As for gameplay, well, there isn’t any yet, but don’t worry, I’ll get to that. 😀 First, I’ve gotta make the title screen, then a sign-in system, then I have to make a prototype shop screen, THEN I can prototype some gameplay. Smile

I’ll work some more on this tomorrow – I still need to make the silhouette for the Challenges option, then I can start on the title screen. For now, though, have a fully awesomized version of the dragon silhouette in the first screenshot:

Armed To The Teeth 

Annoyed at the cannon on his left side (the right cannon in the image Smile with tongue out) because as usual, DAZ Studio was being mentally retarded and REFUSED to pick up light on that cannon. Even though there was a light SHINING DIRECTLY AT THE FUCKER. So, I had to add Ambience to its texture just so you could see it, and now it looks dumb. And I forgot to add Depth of Field, but it took just over an hour to render it WITHOUT DoF. Adding it would have made it look prettier, but it would’ve probably added about 30 minutes to the render time, and I like sleep. Smile with tongue out

That’s roughly how the dragons are kitted out, anyway. I bet you can’t wait, huh? I sure as hell can’t. Smile with tongue out

WHAT IN THE NAME OF…

Seriously, what the fuck. Sarcastic smile

Recall that image I posted yesterday. Okay, now have a look just above his first "wing finger". Nothing weird there, right? Right.
Now, have a look at this test image I’ve just rendered for Dragon Storm. Check above his first wing finger.

Somehow, for SOME REALLY RETARDED REASON, DAZ Studio has given the SubDragon an effin’ TUMOUR! And it was FINE last night! Every time I import the SubDragon, BANG, retarded wing. HOWEVER, when I load a scene I made before today…  IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL! Angry smile

I’m sorry, this is a whole new level of fucktardedness. All staff members at DAZ 3D – go get a job that you can actually DO PROPERLY. And will the modellers of the SubDragon PLEASE go jump off a cliff or something? It’s embarrassing living on the same planet as you idiots.

UPDATE!!

Just been retracing my steps to see where the hell it messed up, and I’ve found out, this FIRST happened when I made the Dragon Storm silhouette. That’s about TWENTY MINUTES after I finished "100% Pure Badass".

Is it even POSSIBLE for a 3D model to spontaneously screw up like that?!

UPDATE 2!!

Okay, only one explanation left now. Since I’ve never REALLY made a render with a SubDragon’s wings stretched out… I’ve never noticed this problem before. When you set WingsFolded to a value greater than 52%, the fucktardedness disappears. And I found that there WAS some wing fucktardedness on "100% Pure Badass"… but the Depth of Field effect made it invisible, and it was only just under 52% anyway.

I stand by my "get a job you can actually do" and "jump off a cliff" statements. Smile with tongue out

PS: I won’t be here for a while, because I’m gonna be moving into my student flat, which has no Interweb connection. Yet. Wink I’ll blog again when I pur-chase an Internet. Open-mouthed smile

I love this feeling.

It happens once in a blue moon for me, but that’s a stupid saying, because the moon right now ISN’T blue, yet it still happened. Smile with tongue out

I’ve been thinking about what to do after I’ve finished ULSG. Sure, it’s probably gonna be a little while ’til it’s finished, but it’s always nice to have ideas. And for quite a while now, my mind’s been blank. No ideas for anything new. At all. Well, there was one idea for something a while back, and I’ve jotted a few things down for that, but there was nothing that made me say "Holy shit, that sounds awesome." And you know what? That’s annoying.

That is, UNTIL TODAY!! Or yesterday…! Smile with tongue out

I was poking around for MAME games, and I found a game called "Cyvern", which sounded quite interesting. It’s a Vertical Scrolling Danmaku Shooter. Some people call them "Bullet Hell" games, and they contain enemies and bosses that spit retarded amounts of bullets at you, and if any one of them hits your hitbox (which is usually pretty small in comparison to your sprite), you lose a life. I’m not an expert at these games or anything, but I find them quite enjoyable. Open-mouthed smile

So I downloaded Cyvern and gave it a try (it took a shit-ton of searching just so I could get it running Confused smile). And what can I say? It was pretty damn good! It’s called "Cyvern" because it’s a shortened version of "Cybernetic Wyvern", so naturally, you play as… um… a cybernetic wyvern. Smile with tongue out And you’ve got a choice of three, actually, and they represent fire, lightning and earth… at least I PRESUME it’s earth. Smile with tongue out It’s not QUITE in the same league of impossibility as the Touhou games, but it’s challenging, pretty, and has some great gameplay. Nice music, too. Even if I still can’t beat the preset score of a million points, I still liked it.

But this game, for some unfathomable reason, started some sort of chain reaction inside my brain. The chain reaction seemed to get Jets ‘n’ Guns involved, which is THE greatest shmup I’ve ever played – it’s up there with the crazy-awesome Stargunner. And suddenly, a few hours later, my mind seemed to EXPLODE in a HUGE shower of great ideas for one side-scrolling shooter. I opened Notepad IMMEDIATELY. I fucking LOVE it when this happens. Open-mouthed smile

Yeah, I know. A side-scroller. It seems that I only EVER make side-scrollers, huh? Smile with tongue out Well, I grew up with Stargunner, Salamander, and at least one other shmup that I can’t remember the name(s) of. Later on in life, I found Jets ‘n’ Guns and nearly peed myself when I played it, because I thought nothing was better than Stargunner, and I thought that shmups had died out and no-one knew how to make them anymore. Then I played Galaga Deluxe, and subsequently played Warblade, the 21st century upgrade to Galaga Deluxe. Then I found out about the Touhou games and played several of those. Then I searched for MAME games and played Gradius, Dragon Spirit and finally, Cyvern. ALL of the games I’ve mentioned were amazing. I LOVE shmups, because the variety is insane, and the gameplay is almost always great, as well. So, being a shmup veteran (sort of), I’m making another one. If you have any problems with this, kindly go suck a cock. Smile with tongue out

Thanks to Cyvern, Dragon Spirit and one of my previous attempts at a side-scroller, Dragon’s Alliance, you play as a dragon. Thanks to Jets ‘n’ Guns, there will be more weapons than you can shake a stick at, and you can use said weapons in any combination. Thanks to my brain (I think Smile with tongue out), these weapons can be customised with a massive amount of special Mods, which add damage, fire rate, elemental effects, score boosting, reduced heat generation, increased heat dissipation, etc. etc. etc. Thanks to Dragon Tail (a little Smile with tongue out), you can customise your character and choose their element, which gives various benefits and disadvantages depending on what you pick (the advantages and disadvantages are already so perfectly balanced that I can barely choose between the four, and they accommodate to three different styles of play – aggressive, technical and defensive). Thanks to my currrent disability to make a serious game, it will have plenty of attitude and lulz, and thanks to ULSG, it will have occassional moments where you say "WHAT THE FUCK?!"

86,000. Wink

The ONE THING that’s holding me back, and has almost ALWAYS held me back when starting a new game… are the graphics. I can’t make a game without graphics, and I can’t rely on the MMF library this time. Nor can I really rely on myself, because I suck at everything apart from HUDs. Smile with tongue out The things that worry me the most are the stage graphics, backgrounds and enemy ships. I’m not worried much about the dragons, however. Unlike the time when I started Dragon’s Alliance… I’m prepared this time:

100% Pure Badass - DracoAurarius
(Although I had no idea what to do for the background, you should click this pic. I didn’t wait nearly an hour so you could view this at a resolution lower than what I rendered it at. Smile with tongue out)

DAZ effin’ Studio. If I can pump out renders like this, it may just save my ass when dealing with the dragons. Open-mouthed smile And UNLIKE this render, the sprites WON’T take almost an hour to render. Wink HOWEVER, I didn’t particularly WANT to use DAZ Studio, thanks to its fail animation features, and the fact that the SubDragon is difficult to… um… "unique-ify". Yeah. Smile with tongue out So if there’s no other solution (which there won’t be) I’ll have to use DAZ Studio. But I’m not using the MilDragon. I bet it’ll be noticed in a split second if I use him. Smile with tongue out

Backgrounds and enemy ships, though. Hrm… I’ll probably have to plan the story and all the stages far in advance so I have an idea of what backgrounds and props I’ll need for the stages, and then create/find the right things. The enemy ships aren’t gonna be as irritating, but they’re not gonna be easy, either. Sad smile

Once all the graphics are done, I’m home free! I can program this in MMF2, no problem. Open-mouthed smile Just need to get the ideas down, then I can try making the prototype. I’ve got a good feeling about this idea, so I’d stay tuned if I were you. Wink

UPDATE!!

Okay, it’s about 15-20 minutes after I posted the previous entry. Now someone answer me, WHERE THE HELL DID THIS COME FROM?!


(It’s looks GLORIOUS full-size, so click it now, bitch! Smile with tongue out)

I typed "Dragon Storm" down, and explicitly said, "That’s just a placeholder, I’m not using that." I don’t even know where the words came from. I set a gradient and a border. Then, I flicked through my fonts, and stumbled across that one. It IMMEDIATELY sounded right. Then I rendered a dragon silhouette, and put that behind it. It IMMEDIATELY looked perfect.

And so, Dragon Storm is born. The way that happened was just… unreal.

THIS BLOG IS CRAWLING WITH CELL!

Here’s another review from Le MongMaster – GUARANTEED to be more honest and unbiased than ANY professional review. Why? Because I don’t get paid to do this, I play the game I’m reviewing for MORE than 36 minutes, and I don’t have anyone telling me what I should write. Smile with tongue out

So, Crackdown 2. I was pretty excited to play the demo when it was released, just so I could get a taster before my already pre-ordered copy arrived. And… oh dear.

The demo left a pretty negative impact on me. It wasn’t… BAD, by any means… hell, it looked and felt a lot more polished than the original… and it played pretty similarly… but there was something missing, something I couldn’t put my finger on. I don’t know… it felt more serious, less fun… and it didn’t help that I didn’t have a CLUE what I was doing. It just THREW you into the game without an explanation of what was going on, which kinda left our four-player team a bit… confused. Smile with tongue out

After playing the demo, it made me think twice about my pre-order. I was thinking about cancelling it… but I didn’t. I thought I’d wait for it to arrive so I could give it a proper chance.

And it arrived a couple days ago. Open-mouthed smile I started playing it as soon as I got the chance, and I was glad to see that the intro cutscene and tutorial explained EVERYTHING I didn’t understand. The story is a bit ridiculous (not like I really care, because THIS… IS… CRACKDOWN!! *kicks a gang member 200 feet into the sea*), but it makes sense, at least. Well… I haven’t COMPLETED it yet, but it makes sense so far – virus appears that turns people into Freaks, the Agency comes up with the Sunburst Defence System to clear out the freaks, then a gang of some sort appears to stop the Agency from putting their plans into action. That’s the basic gist of it, and it all sounds fine to me. Still no proper explanation about the ending of the original, however.

But… that same weird feeling I had in the demo kept me from enjoying the game to it’s fullest, though. Questions like "where’s the fun?" and "where’s the action gone?" kept appearing in my mind. "This doesn’t feel as engaging as Crackdown 1, does it?" "Isn’t this just the same as the original, just with fewer gangs and a bunch of weaklings that only appear at night?" Technically… it is.

Over time, though, the game slowly started to get into its stride. Tactical Locations and Beacons get more difficult, there are a massive amount of enemies, and there is a real challenge to it. And, as it’s free roam, you don’t HAVE to complete the objectives. Do a road race, do a rooftop race, go orb hunting, try to catch some of the Renegade orbs, try some vehicle stunts, get your skills up… and if you’re with another player, mess around with cars/explosives, or pwn a load of gang members!

Then… I realised. I was CONSTANTLY comparing it to Crackdown 1 when I first started. To really enjoy Crackdown 2… you have to FORGET about the original. Just forget it existed. The original was a great game, and sure, the sequel is very similar to the original. There are a few things missing, such as the gang bosses, but… honestly, I don’t care. If there were gang bosses like in the original, I’d find it REALLY boring. You NEED to change things in a sequel, and I think that the Tactical Locations and the Beacons, although pretty simple, aren’t BAD, and give a pretty good challenge… assuming you’re not a pussy and put it on a difficulty higher than Tough. Smile with tongue out

People have criticised this game for being too much like the original – same city, same Agency, same gameplay, etc. But what’s wrong with more of a good thing?! Call it what you will – Crackdown 1.5, Crackdown 2… whatever, it’s still as much of a riot as the original… hell, I think it’s MORE fun! And the co-op is still as fun and as crazy as ever, even with only TWO players. Throwing a satchel charge at an enemy vehicle and taking out about ten people in a HUGE explosion, while your teammate jumps through it and shoots another couple of people in mid-air? AWESOME. Open-mouthed smile

And my new favourite weapon of all time? The UV SHOTGUN. Open-mouthed smile

*after activating an Absorption Unit on top of an oil rig*
Me: Hey, Ped, d’ya know what’s funny?
Ped: What?
*Mongz fires a UV shotgun blast at Ped*
Ped: Waaaaaargh!
*Ped flies off the oil rig and into the water*

I’ve been entertained, and had just as much fun as I have done in the original. I’ve laughed just as much playing this game co-op as I have done playing
the original co-op. And really… isn’t that what playing a game is all about?

Ignore those stupid critic reviews – this game is under-rated, and I bet they never even played it for more than an hour or so. Give Crackdown 2 a try, and give it a chance to get going. And if you were a fan of the original, you HAVE to get it. It’s a blast. Open-mouthed smile