| The word was out by nine pacific. I rush to start downloading
-- giddy as a furry lemur sucking helium gas from a red colored
straw with a white stripe. Three hours and several batches of gingerbread dough later (had
to pass the time somehow), I have the Myth 2 demo on my hardrive.
It is midnight. After what felt like infinity the installer finishes.
What happens next is history (?).
After being greeted by the Myth 1 title screen -- well essentially
at least, except it had a crow on it this time around -- I click
around to preferences and set my controls. Alas, Bungie has bastardized
them horribly in an attempt to make the game more idiot proof.
The most noticeable instance is the command bar that I turned
off. Then there was the mouse corners. These evil creations will
orbit and turn the camera when we move our cursor to the corners
of the screen. Nice in theory but everyone who's played Myth 1
finds it annoying as hell, as do I. But that's ok you can just
turn it off....but wait, then you can't use the mouse to orbit
at all -- something I depended on before (!).
Indeed, it seems Bungie has foolishly removed the ability to specify
which camera action we want the horizontal mouse edges to perform. It's locked in the sidestep (!). Yay, with all the
neat features added, they remove something as basic as customizable
mouse controls. Corners are a clever idea, but they really should
have let us be able to specify which of the 3 actions we want
each spot to do. I don't want to sidestep the camera with the
mouse and use little corners to orbit... I just want to orbit
with no corners at all like I could in the original Myth.
Ahh well, I'll eventually learn new controls...but Myth 2 demo
has just lost the "home" feeling I was looking forward too. I'm
back to struggling with the camera I already mastered in Myth 1. Considering
this sequel is a direct rip of the original, I find this "regression"
First impressions already made, I start up a single player game,
listen through the narrative, and load up the level. A neat mission objective box comes up and it has a daily tip
(more idiot proof'ness) but at least it can be turned off. Now
I am ready to play so I go to close the objectives window only
to find the mouse cursor wont work. Doh.
Luckily, I was half expecting it because I had the same problem
in Myth 1. It comes from not switching resolutions and running Myth in 1024x768 with my Kensington mouse and it's software.
When a level loads and the game switches to 3dfx rendering at
800x600 the mouse still thinks it's in the higher res.
At least I know how to solve it but I can't even quit myth because
they don't have keyboard commands for all their menu items...Thus I command-control-powerkey restart the computer and set Myth
to switch to a lower res when starting up, but to my dismay the
only options I get to switch to are 640x480 in 75 or 120 hz. Crossing
my fingers I go with 120 hz and start up the game. I hurry through
the narration and load the level and fortunately my cursor works
now, but it moves choppy. Why it works in 640x480 with 800x600
3dfx rendering rather then in 1024x768 with 800x600 3dfx rendering
is beyond me, but I don't care and I can live with the chopiness
of the cursor movement because I had that in Myth 1 as well.
Now I am finally set to play. The 800x600 3dfx rendering makes
a tremendous difference, and everything looks crisp and clear. The units walk smoothly too. However I am not noticing that part
since I am struggling with using alternate methods of orbiting
the camera...I feel clumsy and not at ease. I want Myth 1 back...Here
I am trapped in a big world without my security blanket. I'm feeling
sick and I wanna go home. :-/
Eventually I get myself disciplined to the new camera controls
enough to follow my troops so I walk up the path and get assaulted by ghols. At this point my clumsy fingers are going crazy with
the alien camera system and it adds to the feeling of fear that
my dwarves must have had with a pack of ghols circling them like
vultures. It's a challenge just controlling things now, and I
was living breathing and shiting myth 1 only last week...
Enough, I'm gonna go play some netgames and pick up experience
with new controls there. I jump on demo.net at 1 AM and blink in astonishment at how unchanged
it is relative to Myth 1's bungie.net. All that has changed is
that some new graphics were plugged in to replace the burlap brown
ones. Then I begin to notice the little tweaks and neat goodies
like clan/friends tabs, preferred games, and dimmed out find commands.
I notice all that in about 3 seconds. Then I am bombarded with
"HI!"s from various modem'ers who had similarly just finished
their downloads and were trying demo.net for the first time as
well. It didn't take long to find my way to a game.
I sit there smiling for quite some time politely waiting for the
game to start, then finally someone yells out impatiently for
me to check in a la Warcraft II. Doh, new feature alert...heh. I
waste no more time and by god I check in. The game starts.
I nearly have a heart-attack when I see what the map looked like.
I'll be damned if it wasn't a 'dance on your grave' wannabe. (I later decided it was nowhere near as good either -- no real
terrain advantages, etc.) Anyway I had 10 min of game time to
contemplate the map but only 45 seconds to trade, so I waste no
time picking my army.
I set up my presets. I select my army. I run off to newbie rush
someone. I think it's safe to say I killed thins, but I think it's even safer to say they killed thins of mine
too. Anyway I was a little discouraged to see how choppy my screen
got (not from internet lag either) when I was in battle. I figured
it musta been cause I was in 800x600 res on a first generation
voodoo 1 power3D mac card. Unfortunately I later found it was
just as choppy in 640x480 so I went back to 800x600 and learned
to get used to the chopiness.
Another problem was it seemed like my units were harder to control
then in Myth 1, but that is do in part to the choppiness and my struggles with the camera. But there was more to it then that,
units seemed overly eager to rush into battle at some points,
but at others they wouldn't budge even if there was an enemy 3
steps behind them. Finally, in another attempt to help newbies
out bungie has made the regular click to attack be an attack all
command. In myth one you could shift-click to attack all and it
sucked because your guys would do a crazy run around and not go
forward and kill thins. Well now we get the crazy run around by
default. In fact the only way to attack a specific target is to
shift-click. This change was totally uncalled for. Anyway get
used to shift-clicking in myth 2 now.
I also saw fire for the first time when someone torched me in
mid battle with the guy I was shamelessly newbie rushing. I had completely forgot about the fire but now that I saw it,
it was neat -- 'cept for the fact I was standing in it and caught
in melee unable to move out :->
On the bright side I get to test out the autocam feature. When you die hit f12 to turn on the autocam and sit back as your
camera automatically jumps around the screen showing where all
the battles are as it jerkily follows the action. It's not always
the best camerawork but it's neat anyway -- a wonderful treat
for all of us newbie rusher's the world round with lots of minutes
to look forward to observing. =)
So ended my first demo.net game.
First Impression Time
Multiplayer - Styg Knights are stronger then Warriors and immune to arrows,
however they get wasted by the dozen with just one dwarf cocktail.
I love this paper/rock/scissor effect -- dwarves become important
finally. This also counters the gain archers get from their fire
arrows. This effect adds an entire new elements to combat. It
changes the whole dynamics....making it more then just Myth 1
with new unit sprites.
Single Player - Perhaps the most dramatic improvements I noticed was here.
The first demo level shows off larger scale missions with multiple
objectives -- secure the courtyard, get some reinforcements, sneak
balin inside and get up on the walls, then fight your way in.
I was also impressed when some brigands charged my huge satchel
trap and then pulled back just as I tossed my cocktail. Then I
had no more satchels and the trap was sprung. Score one for the
The second level is even cooler because it shows interior levels.
I loved how I had to sneak around the rooms and cut off the baron
as he ran away to different parts of the map. That fat bastard
was faster then he looked. What I liked here was I had to split
up my forces and control them simultaneously at different sides
of the map. In Myth 1 you'd always want to bunch up and concentrate
your army so you could gang up on lone enemy units.
Overall - The bugs, annoyances, and let downs i've been bitching about
above are really ruining the magic moment for me. Don't get me
wrong though, Myth 2 is an excellent game. It has to be by basic
principal because it was the sequel to an excellent game. However,
it should have all the perfectness of Myth 1 plus the goodies
that Myth 1 was intended to have but ran out of time for. Instead
they had to clutter it up with newbie helper features that inadvertently
(?) mess up systems we took for granted. In these cases Bungie
would have done better to leave well enough alone.
If they were making Myth 2 awesome because it was to have all
the neat features that they ran out of time in Myth 1 for, why
then is Myth 2 clearly a rush job as well? Well i guess it's simple really, and to their credit Bungie can't
be blamed. It was us that pressured them into releasing it. Still,
I hope we get a Soulblighter 1.1 update in a week or so...it would
certainly decrease the chances of the game landing on a dusty
shelf somewhere while visions of Zelda 64 dance in my head.
Still, I hope my preorder gets here tomorrow, it shoulda come
today...grrr. I expect many more good features in the full version
that will go a ways towards offsetting the bad I've already picked
out. Now I go to play more, heh.
First Night on Demo.net