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    Feb 11th, 2007 at 21:38:30     -    AquaNox 2: Revelation (PC)

    I played through the storyline missions and the thing that stuck out the most wasn't actually in the gameplay, which was excellent and diverse, but it was with the character dialogue.

    The voice acting was terrible. Often with voice acting you get the feeling each person is doing their lines seperately from the other. In AquaNox 2, I get the feeling that each line was read seperately from another. A character will be sobing one moment, and complete clear the next, without even a sniffle. Now I realize that not everyone can roll their 'r' in 'Garcia', but that doesn't give you permission to say it with a lisp either. Apparently the makers of the game sprung for professional voice actors in the French and German versions, but not the English version. This just goes to show how even the things that are supposed to add to the game experience can detract from it if done poorly. Do it well, or don't do it at all.

    The dialogue itself was pretty lame too. The main character, Drake, gets hit on multiple times by a female shipmate during the first half of the story, with lots of sexual innuendos made, and half of the crew making snide comments about it, and his response is that of an innocent, ignorant, 12 year old boy. Yet, he is still able to brag about he thinks she likes him. In fact, he goes dumb the instant ANY reference to sex is made. In another example, he lets one of his enemies drone on for several paragraphs worth of dialogue, even though he says the conversation is over half a dozen times in between blocks of dialogue.

    Had the designers of the game put any real thought into the dialogue, this game would have so much better. While some bits of expository dialogue may have been necessary, the manner in which the player reacts is so unnatural, you can tell that the writers didn't put much thought into that particular dialoge, instead focusing on what they wanted to say, instead of how it was said. In video games, HOW something is said is just as important as it is in other forms of media. In someways, the way the dialogue was recorded seems to match the way it was written, where scenes were done out of order, giving all of the dialogue a very unnatural and off putting feel. In making ANYTHING with a story, not just video games, try to do thing in order. Unless you have hired Peter Jackson & co to put it together, its not going to turn out very well.

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    Feb 10th, 2007 at 05:11:51     -    AquaNox 2: Revelation (PC)

    AquaNox 2 is a submarine based combat game merged with a first person shooter type interface.

    My first session of play consisted of duel mode, where you get to face off against all of the major oppenents of the story line missions. Luckily, you get to use the best fittings in the best ship available to you, which immedeatly imbalances the first few fights, as they were designed for earlier levels where your ship and weapons weren't as good. It also makes the last fights harder, as your ship is likely damaged and short on torpedos from the earlier fights. The first thing I would change is to have your ship completely reset at the beginning of each duel. That way you would also have an appropriate ship and weapons for your opponent's difficulty. The other issue with the duels is that a few of the weapons used by the mid range opponents seem way to powerful and effective compared to later weapons used. Chow Lung, who uses a vendetta gatling seems to hit way to often and deals more damage than the other opponents, he is only the 2nd opponenet out of 7. May Ling's weapon of choice is the sizzler, a massively powerful laser beam that will take out roughly 70% of your armor in a single hit. She's the 5th opponent. Chow Lung simply needs his aggression turned down so that he doesn't hit you as often, where as May Ling should be less accurate with he shots; this will bring their difficulties down to the level of the rest of the fights.

    Between each fight is a cutscene where the camera circles around the two ships facing nose to nose. You can skip the cut scene by clicking which activates "Time acceleration". This pops up a screen for a few seconds, and then cuts straight to where you take control of the ship. Skipping this does two things, first it gives your onboard systems less time to repair and recharge, and second it activates the enemy AI a second earlier because of the different transition. The first side effect is manageable if you are finishing off each fight in good condition. The second effect usually isn't an issue, since in that extra second you can't get much damage done to you... unless you are fighting May Ling. In which case you will probably die instantly since your armor hasn't repaired enough to absorb the first hit. The entire "Time Acceleration" thing does help the immersive quality of the game by better linking the cut scenes to the gameplay, while still allowing the player to skip past them, but the delayed time for the played to take control of the ship can prove painful if the player starts out in the middle of a fight. I'd shorten the "time acceleration" screen and make the transitions instant, instead of having it fade. That way the player doesn't lose the first second or so of battle. It's not a major issue with respect to the rest of the game, but its one of those things that more thorough testing would have revealed.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 11th, 2007 at 03:47:45.

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