Saturday, November 5, 2005

Winter Assault

It's rained pretty much non-stop today. I was planning on getting a haircut, but for some reason I feel even more hermetic than usual when it's raining out. (This is not linked in any way to Segway ownership; I didn't like driving in rain either.) I like the rain, but I don't like going places in the rain. I don't get it either.

Anyway, it's going to be like this for many, many months now: cold and rainy. In a couple months there will be an occasional morning when I'll be treated to frost instead of rain, but it will rain a lot now until springtime.

So, instead of getting a haircut, I stayed home and finished the Dawn of War expansion, Winter Assault. It's great! Dawn of War does a lot of things very well for a real-time strategy game. Resource collection is very streamlined; essentially, you increase your resource production by being aggressive and controlling territory. Infantry units are generally entire squads, which you can reinforce on the field, which I find particularly awesome. As long as you've still got at least one guy left, given time to recuperate, you can fill out the squad back to about eight men without returning to base. The units are varied and have a variety of interesting special powers, be they teleportation, jetpacks, et cetera. You can add hero units and some small vehicles to squads, letting you issue commands to a large group of soldiers as a single group that works together. It's very cool.

It's also hilariously violent. The animations are often ludicrous, with orcish shredder units grabbing enemy soldiers, throwing them to the ground, and then cutting them up. To be honest, I can't even keep track of what's going on most of the time with all of the bodies flying and fluids spurting, but the carnage is beautiful.

The original game only had one single-player campaign using one of the races, which was really disappointing. The expansion has two, but they're shorter, and each one features two of the remaining four races sort-of-allied against common enemies. In a couple missions you control more than one faction, but they're not allied—you can actually switch sides and play the enemy whenever you want. It's kinda gimmicky, but it's unique and fun. Anyway, the single campaigns are good, but still too short. They make me want to go back and play Warcraft III and The Frozen Throne.

I don't know if it's any fun multiplayer, but I don't care too much. I loved Starcraft and Warcraft III both single-player, but hated them both multiplayer. Command and Conquer is much better at multiplayer (and incidentally not as good single-player as Starcraft and Warcraft III). I realize I am in the minority on this.

And, in Warcraft III, the murlocs aren't nearly as annoying as they are in World of Warcraft.

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