Thursday, March 27, 2008

Penalty: Overuse Of Colons

I remember being intrigued by Dark Horizons: Lore, when it first came out. I also remember being somewhat intimidated. An mech-based FPS taking place in a sort of persistent world seemed like a good idea, but not being able to try out the gameplay mechanics against bots didn't. Long story short: I didn't buy the game. Now, the game has been renamed Dark Horizons: Lore: Invasion and made free-to-play. Plus, what do you know - now it has bots. These two things combined were enough for me to give it another look.

The first thing I noticed is that the Torque engine doesn't seem to have aged well since my days playing Legends. I mean, it still looks alright - it definitely doesn't look bad, but I can't believe I used to be so impressed by it. Anyway, most folks (like me) will happily play a slightly dated looking game if everything clicks in the gameplay department, so that leads us to the question: does it? Yeah, it does.

Dark Horizons uses a class system, like many other games out there, but it also allows some stats to be customized before you take your MAV (that's your mech-like thing) into the game. You can prioritize speed or armor, or go for a middle ground between the two if you like. Once you've adjusted your MAV to your liking, it's off into the game world.

I really like the way movement is implemented in Dark Horizons. Your mech feels as if you're kind of fighting it for control - you don't stop immediately after letting go instead of a movement key, instead your MAV slows to a stop - but it never feels like you're out of control altogether. They've gone a long way towards making you feel as if you're controlling a giant walking machine without overcomplicating the controls.

If there's one problem with Dark Horizons, it's that there just aren't enough people playing it. I'll be honest: small communities bother me - I'm afraid that people will actually get to know me. I much prefer the relative anonymity of a large community. If this isn't a problem for you, I'm sure you'll find much to enjoy with DH:L:I.

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