Thursday, March 21, 2013

Patching and Sloppy Game Design

You know, it seems more and more that patching makes room for some pretty questionable game design choices.  After all, no matter how back something gets screwed up, you can just go back and fix it later, right?  This attitude seems to pervade the gaming industry as a whole, and it's behavior that the average consumer seems fairly willing to tolerate.

Well, sometimes at least.

Turns out, an alien swarm is the least of the problems here.
Colonial Marines, was highly anticipated.  Lovers of the Aliens franchise haven't gotten much love in the game department, and CM promised to scratch that particular itch.  I was looking forward to it, for sure.  It offered split screen CO-OP, which is a pretty big deal in my social circles.
Then the critical response came in.  Warmer receptions are given when Africanized bees enter a new state.  One of the best responses you can find is "yeah, the multiplayer is better than having a tornado go through the living room."
After the fact, a huge list of things to be patched is released.  You can find it at the bottom of this post.  The question becomes, did no one even play this game before it was released?  Or did all these problems come up in testing and the developers just thought "we'll fix it later?"  Sorry, developers, but when you're selling something for $60, you have a high standard to meet.  make sure you ship something reasonably polished.  Then again, if it's fun, you may not have to.
I'm actually not going to comment on whether the game is good or not.  I haven't played it, but probably will, even with all the negative criticism.  It just doesn't seem worth full price.  I can overlook technical faults if the game is entertaining.

Speaking of technical faults:

  • Improved texture resolution.
  • Various visual improvements.
  • Added mouse smoothing to options menu.
  • Fixed crashes tied to launch and motion tracker.
  • Added additional safeguards to better protect save data.
  • Resolved an issue where a player's level could sometimes appear incorrect when backing out of a party.
  • Addressed several scenarios under which players could spawn without a weapon.
  • Changes to better prevent audio from sometimes cutting out during end of mission cinematics.
  • Fixed issue where Xeno death animation was not properly calculating momentum of the killing blow.
  • Smart Gun animation now properly tracks targets.
  • Addressed some instances where Xenos would display erratic animations.
  • Increased light radius for player's shoulder lamp.
  • Adjusted aim assist to better reflect player input.
  • Addressed an issue that could sometimes cause co-op player revival to not work under certain circumstances.
  • Addressed issues with players not spawning into a level properly.
  • Fixed a marine player invincibility exploit.
  • Resolved several instances where players could walk or fall outside of maps.
  • Addressed an issue where Ripley's Flamethrower (bonus content) would sometimes fire continuously without player input.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause localized text to sometimes display incorrectly.
  • Addressed an issue where weapon ammunition was not always highlighted properly.
  • General user interface improvements.
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes.
  • Tweaked enemy and friendly AI to be more aggressive and responsive.
  • Modified campaign difficulty to account for improved AI responsiveness.
  • Improved enemy collision detection regarding doors and Power Loader.
  • Addressed some issues that could cause improper warping for co-op players.
  • Various tweaks to address instances where NPC characters would not always properly navigate to objectives.
  • Players will no longer bleed out immediately when downed in a Power Loader.
  • Fixed issues that could cause clients to report inaccurate results and statistics.
  • Addressed instances where a map would appear to "pop in" when loading into a new match.
  • New Xeno appearance customization added.
  • Multiplayer teams should now correctly auto-balance between rounds.
  • Increased duration of Lurker Pounce Challenge "Cat-Like Reflexes" from 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Fixed issue where certain multiplayer challenges would not unlock properly for all characters.
  • Crusher pick-ups now correctly appear as highlighted for clients.
I forgive a lot of the multiplayer faults.  Sometimes you just can't tell how things are going to work when lots of people are using your system in a competitive setting, and adjustments must be made.

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