Hey boxy…

October 11, 2007 by Tim

It’s almost a shame, really. If TF2 had twice the maps, or if Portal had been just twice as long, I would have happily paid full standalone price to have more of each (the voiceover in Portal would make it worth it alone).

I started playing Portal on Tuesday afternoon, and beat it a couple of hours later. Did all of the advanced maps that evening. The challenge modes (least portals, fewest steps) looks like it will provide some challenge for the gold medals (at least until someone posts a walk through, and everyone goes and just breezes through it). The whole experience of Portal was great though, even the end and the credit song were outstanding. But, for me, it was short enough that it fell just shy enough of “satisfying” and just left me wanting more. I hope we get more, someday.

Team Fortress 2 is great. I was playing it on the PC for the last couple of weeks, and since beating Portal, I’ve been playing it almost exclusively on the 360 since Tuesday. Aside from a slight graphical difference (PC having the upper hand), the game is equally enjoyable on either platform. Well… almost.

The other day I mentioned how I seemed to be winning quite a bit more on the 360 than the PC? Well I chalk that up partially to the fact that I knew all the maps/classes, having played on the PC for a while, and all the games I joined nearly everyone was like “What do I do? I don’t know how to play! I R Medic!”

But there’s something else, too, which will persist long after everyone learns the game and starts kicking my ass again. And that’s the lag problem, which is a problem on the 360. Games are hit or miss, and I find I’m getting just as many laggy games as I am playable. And games with 8v8 (which is the highest the 360 can go)? Forget about it. Those almost never work. I myself can only host 4v4 reliably. I usually don’t join games with more than 12 people, to lower the chances of a lagfest.

Which is really unfortunate, because playing on the PC I was always playing in games of 12v12. That’s a huge difference. That’s way more spies looking to stab you in the back, way more engineers dropping sentry turrets, way more pyros burning the shit out of everything. And I think that’s why I noticed that I was winning a lot more on the 360.

I came from games of 12v12, where a whole third of the team could stay on defense, leaving plenty of people to go offense, and where anywhere you went on the map, there was battle, to games of 6v6. Half the size. Maps are a lot more… open, on the 360. You can often find your way to the enemy intelligence without encountering any resistance until you get there. And sometimes, not even (at least until people learn to defend).

It’s not a bad thing. I’m not knocking the 360 version, I know I’m going to be playing it more than I play the PC version. It’s just a bit of a different experience. So if you’re trying to decide between platforms… maybe take that into account.

I like that Half-Life 2 is on the disc, though I may never play it. The option is there. I almost finished Half-Life 2 a few years ago when it came out. So I don’t know/remember enough of the story to start the Episodic content, but it wasn’t long enough ago that I’m ready to play through the main game again yet. But maybe someday.

Anyway… I’m taking off to Vegas for the weekend. Comics are done, as always, and will update on their own while I’m away. Dinner is in the fridge, no loud parties. See you next week.

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