Thursday, June 12, 2008

Steam-ing experience...

So, I fired up the demo to Penny Arcade Adventures. It felt very polished from a UI perspective (although the "options" menu was pretty PC circa 1994). The character creation was cool from a feel perspective (it's fun to watch your avatar as he/she changes appearance and inspects accessories) but limited from an options perspective.

The game intro was entertaining and the style of story telling (mix of comic frames with still and moving pictures) was really cool and true to the Penny Arcade IP.

As a point and click adventure game it started off reasonably interesting and fun. I got a sense of the tone of the game (humor), got to do some combat and add some equipment and a party member. The the game seized up. I tried to comply with the order to use an orange on some robots and then the game just stopped responding to my mouse inputs (I could only "escape" out and quit).

My only option was to redo everything again:

  • Character creation
  • Rewatch the opening sequences (they're non-skippable).
It reminded me very much of my original experience with Black and White. I played for a bit, decided I wanted to start over, but then couldn't bear to replay the tedious opening tutorial again (it was something like a half an hour long).

The ultimate deal breaker was the fact that the cool and polished game shell UI made me watch a movie when I just wanted to select "start game". It felt like those DVD main menus that require you to watch clips of the movie before you are shown a play button. Argh!

I'll have to read a bit more about the game to decide whether it's worth retrying it, worth waiting for a patch (if my issue was caused by a known bug), or whether it just gets uninstalled.

It's amazing how a painful initial experience will just cause me to move on. Note that the issue was not the bug that made the game unresponsive -- it was the fact that there was no checkpointing of my progress so that when I restarted the game I could skip the whole intro and dive right back in.

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