Sunday, 21 May 2006

Doom's demise

We bought Doom 3 for the Xbox two weeks ago through eBay, and last Monday it arrived.
It's a game I wanted for a long while, but due to rather lukewarm reviews I didn't want to pay much for it; with the Xbox 360 now dominating the gaming world's attention, Xbox games have become cheap enough to merit the purchase of lukewarm titles you've been waiting for.
Three years ago, when we bought our Xbox, Jo & I played Halo together. It's a really nice game, tailor made for the Xbox, but it was the fun of playing it together cooperatively that made it great. Since then we've been looking for games to bring back that Halo spirit, but we weren't terribly successful about it. Halo 2, for example, is not half the game its predecessor was.
Doom 3 was a hope: Advanced graphics, a history that we both experienced, and a game that is not much unlike Halo. Add the fact that the Xbox version is published to have a cooperative mode, and we just knew we had to have it eventually.
And that's where the disappointment came: Yes, it does have a multiplayer cooperative mode; but this mode is only available when you play with others through the internet (on Xbox Live) or when you connect two Xboxes with each running Doom 3. I can understand that Microsoft and Activision will refer to this as multiplayer-enabled, but I don't understand why supposedly consumer helpful reviews would refer to it as such. It's as if a Ferrari salesperson would tell you that the Ferrari 360 drives four people, neglecting to mention that you need to buy two and drive them right next to one another to achieve that.
Fucking false advertising, if you ask me.
At least Doom 3 is not too bad. It's quite scary and there are definitely games that I like better - I mean, the formula of entering a room and being attacked from the side you least expect to be attacked from on a room by room basis wears off pretty quickly - but it is still relaxing to just shoot stuff. Even if the game is overall quite scary (and I haven't even used the surround sound option yet).

Talking about disappointments, another recent one is our new "high speed" (in Australian terms) internet connection of 1500/256. Yes, we have this faster connection speed now, but no - it doesn't do us much good.
Very rarely I do encounter a website that downloads quicker than before. But most of the time the reaction time I get is fairly similar to what I had before on a 512/128 connection.
So I went and did some speed checks. When checking directly with my ISP, my speed is indeed 1500/256. When checking at other Australian places, it goes down to 1200. But when I go to the USA or Europe, where most of the material is coming from anyway, speeds go down to 700 or less - even 170 in one case (some server in Florida).
Point is, while a bigger download quota is useful, faster connection speeds are pretty irrelevant when the overall infrastructure around you sucks (as it does in copper based Australia). Luckily, we have a government that invests in infrastructure (sarcasm, sarcasm). But more to the point, while my 1500 connection is good enough for now, the world will march on pretty quickly if Australia doesn't do something about it.

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