Sunday, September 23, 2007

LB:EF - Revisiting my earlier concerns (by request)

[Greetings, visitors from SuperCandid Podcast and other blogs. Please check out my more recent post about LB:EF that addresses and disproves the claims that the game promotes killing non-Christians.]

Kevin Hoekman contacted me and asked me to address the concerns I expressed earlier about LB:EF:

A couple of things I've encountered despite the updates is a bit of game hesitation when a character in the game finishes training and exits the training building, and a couple of isolated game crashes after certain events (but not always after the same events). However, as noted above, I believe these two issues are related to my system and not the game itself.

I've definitely noticed a reduction in these two things happening, but they still do happen for me from time to time. I'm honestly still convinced that this has to do with my system (either due to less than ideal hardware or due to some of the software I've installed) instead of with the game itself. I deal with crashes and hesitation in other programs as well. (I run Windows, so if the legends are true, then that's probably a good portion of my problem right there. *wink*)

At certain angles, the ads suddenly vanish only to reappear again when the viewing angle changes.

This still happens from time to time and while it appears odd when it happens, it doesn't detract from the gameplay.

As for allegations of spyware, all I can say is that my protection software - the software included in Windows and Norton - is up-to-date and I have not gotten a single spyware warning regarding the game.

Still no spyware warnings from my protection software. I've also seen a large reduction in the critics' claims about this issue. In fact, the issue is virtually dead now.

The vehicles have poor A.I. - they just go and go until they encounter an obstacle, usually a character in the game, and then they stop on a dime and just sit there if the character is doing something and can't move (which they can and will do if not doing something).

Vehicle A.I. is better now. Of course, there's no real need for any kind of top-notch A.I. for vehicles since this is not a vehicle-based game. Racing games or other games centered around vehicles definitely require far more advanced A.I. For the type of game LB:EF is, though, the vehicle A.I. that it has works just fine.

One thing that I did encounter after that earlier post (and I can't remember when the last time I encountered it was) is vehicles and neutral units (characters; people) trapping each other. Somehow, a neutral unit gets stuck between two vehicles and neither the unit nor the vehicles can move. Additionally, the neutral unit cannot be reached by other units (e.g. recruiters) even though there often appears to be enough space to get to the neutral unit. As I said, though, I can't remember when I last encountered this or exactly what mission it involved. I see that the Enhancement Pack 8 mentions "Collision improvements between neutral units and vehicles," so the bug was most likely fixed.

The limited character design, animation and voicing is kind of a downer, too. For example, Musician characters all look and sound alike, and when they sing, they do this weird sort of dance that reminds me of the dancing Santa toys. I realize that there's a point at which having a variety of designs, animations and voices can actually be detrimental, but they game makers didn't even try to reach that point. Another thing is when some special characters who have distinctive voices in voice-overs suddenly have their voices change to the standard generic voices when selected and moved.

Though they are very minor and do not detract from the gameplay, these issues still exist. I realize that the character designs and animations would require quite a bit more than a small update to change, but I still think the special characters (e.g. Rayford Steele) should've retained their voices for mundane actions like selection and movement.

Oh, and speaking of being selected and moved, every character always, ALWAYS says something when selected and moved. This gets a bit annoying

As I've continued to play the game, I've learned to make my units move longer distances before having to select them and/or direct them to move to a new point, thus lessening the selection and movement sounds. Also, being exposed to it more seems to have made it less bothersome. I do see a good reason for this, though, as it tells you that the unit has been selected and/or directed to move. Still, I think of games like "Baldur's Gate" where the character selection and movements sounds can be made to happen always, seldom or never. Not having those sounds didn't detract from the gameplay or cause any problems with keeping track of the game's characters. (Of course, that game involved controlling a maximum of six characters whereas LB:EF lets you control dozens.)

Kevin also wrote:

Hey, you did some more great reviews and even dug into the lies about the game told by Max. The reason why people keep telling lies is because they can. No one holds them accountable. Even when you called and spoke to that guy, he probably didn’t retract it. When will people as a whole finally rise up and say enough of these lies told by the press and organizations who have agendas?

Completely true. They aren't held accountable and until more people become outraged at this sort of thing, they never will be. It's happening more often, though. People got behind the outrage over those faked documents CBS tried to use to smear President Bush right before the 2004 election and that led to Rather, Mapes and others being held accountable. As far as LB:EF goes, I think people either are just not familiar with the issue, are disinterested in the issue because it involves a game, or are far too willing to unquestioningly swallow the lies being spread about the game. Perhaps as the more prevalent issues these days start happening less, these other issues will get more attention.

Previous posts:

LB:EF - Mission 19
LB:EF - Mission 18
LB:EF - More falsehoods spread in the media
LB:EF - More response to criticisms
LB:EF - Mission 17
LB:EF - Mission 16
LB:EF - Missions 13, 14, and 15
LB:EF - Mission 12
LB:EF - Missions 9, 10 and 11
LB:EF - Addressing an opening animation criticism
LB:EF - Easter egg?
LB:EF - Email from the game's senior producer!
LB:EF - Missions 6, 7 and 8
LB:EF - The first few missions
LB:EF - Tutorial
LB:EF - the manual
New S&B; series: "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" in detail
The left's lies about "Left Behind: Eternal Forces"

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