The Dark Project absolutely wins for story and atmosphere, but I prefer The Metal Age for mission design and gameplay. And as much as I enjoy the undead stuff (Return to the Haunted Cathedral being a personal favourite), I think for me the ratio of undead to normal leans a little too far towards the former in the first game. Overall I just prefer robbing mansions and banks than creeping through caverns and tombs. But as I said, I go back and forth on which is my favourite!
Ahh the eternal Thief vs Thief II.
I think Thief: The Dark Project is the better game. There aren’t as many pointless “throwaway” missions (Casing the Joint) and Garrett never has to trade being a thief to become a blacksmith: The last mission in Thief II is tedious garbage.
Thief: The Dark Project feels like a much tighter game with every level a new gear shift from what came before. While it does have more supernatural/undead stuff going on, I found the robots in The Metal Age to be much more annoying.
As much as I agree about hating it, it created tension, and actual fear. Yes, it was absolutely a middle finger to the player in terms of freedom to play when you want…you HAD to recover that corpse if you had any decent gear on it. But…that dynamic, led to the most exciting, terrifying, and memorable experiences I’ve ever had in a video game. There were multiple examples for me, of either needing to enlist the help of people I didn’t know, or helping people I didn’t know. I’m actually friends with a few of those people to this day, and that’s what made that kind of difficulty special and important.
EQ is the only game I’ve experience actual fear in. It’s one of the only games in which I actually cared about my character and it’s belongings, even though the gear I had was laughable in the min/max scope of things. This to me, is the fundamental misunderstanding when it comes to the ‘I want it to be easier’ mindset of players. I’m not trying to be derogatory, and I completely understand why people hate these systems, especially if you lead a busy life…but as far as “gaming” systems go, and the impact they can have on you as a player, you can only really get to that kind of reward via investment. To me, this is the fundamental reason why “casual” gameplay will never be able to reward players on anything but a superficial level.
In essence, I agree more or less completely with your post. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to go back and play “real” base EQ at this point, but I wouldn’t trade having gone through it for the world.
I feel as if I have seriously violated the “That’s all” instructions in the title of this thread :P
Ultima Online had all that nasty shit and more.
Hell, stealing items from other players was a skill. By design. I stole this guys hand-crafted arrows outside Britannia bank one time and he got sooo pissed. He raged bloody murder. I simply hid in plain sight, and sneaked away. Giving him the laugh.
Then I used my Thieve’s guild supplied disguise kit to change both my physical appearance and player name. Threw on some new clothes and came back to the same guy acting all helpful and empathetic to his plight while I stole more of his gold.
But that was small time petty theft. I would steal expensive boat keys from people, then hijack their high value boats and sail off into the great sea never to be found again.
I would have to stick with my Top 100 games list choice of Everquest also.
That was a magical few years of gaming which started with Diablo in 1996, continued with Ultima Online the next year and then Everquest in 1999. I had a couple close buddies I played Diablo and UO with and had a great time, but while it was globally online, we only played with a select few. Everquest really opened up the social game there along with advancing the immersion and experience.
All three of those games were punishing, or could be. I remember my old boss calling me at 2 am to log on and help him go to hell to help him get his equipment back in Diablo! We would do the same thing in UO and was glad we stuck with it and fought it out after a fairly miserable start. When we quit just before Everquest came out, we had our own houses and could generally manage ourselves quite well and avoid most of the troubles that others could cause. It definitely created many experiences to remember!
Asheron’s Call. It wasn’t my first MMO (UO, played WOW from launch which was pretty magical too). There was something about spending 10 minutes to put 100 buffs on everything from my underwear to my bow and the next 50 minutes you were a god. Run like a freight train jump down cliffs with impunity and battle critters that were 100s of levels above you.
For many years it would have Starflight, then Planescape Torment, then Civ IV,
But in the present… Minecraft. Minecraft - I just can’t quit you - its the most organic RPG experience I’ve ever had, and the closest to the promised virtual worlds of my youth. MMOs promise immersive experience, but its just a million beggars with terrible names trying to scam you out of gear, and canned quests where people line up like an amusement park ride for their chance to take a shot at an instanced Dragon. In Minecraft I’m the only one delving into this cave to get lapis lazuli, so I can enchant this pick axe, so I can mine glowstone, so I can setup nice lights in the new cliff side lair I’m setting up in this cliff… and um… what was I doing again? Anyway - its the most organic RPG experience I’ve ever had, And certainly by far the most hours put in of any game I’ve played stretching a LONG way back now.
For me it would be a tie between Fallout 1, Jagged Alliance 2 and Final Fantasy VI. Or maybe Ocarina of Time. Dunno.
I too stick with my #1 game from the top 100 list: Heroes of Might & Magic 3 (with expansion packs).
It stays permanently installed on my PC, and gets replayed at least once per year.
Same here, including my kids-- they just played a few games through the weekend. They have healthy Steam libraries but they keep coming back to HOMM3 when it comes to scratching the local coop strategy itch.
It’s just a near perfect game.
Surely you meant to say Kick Off… ;-)
On the impossible task of naming a single game, I will have to say Ultima Online
I’m going to a say EverQuest also. I had to quit when I realized that I was devoting far too much of my life to it, but in the beginning it was absolutely magical. I’ve never been as lost in a virtual place as completely as Norrath 1. I swear I knew what the Desert of Ro smelled like.
Yeah, it sounds dumb as hell looking at how Everquest looks now, but it was scary as hell back in the day and it was very immersive. I started as a dwarf and the early travels to the crossroads, and brave trips to the chessboard, were very memorable. Then when shit hit the fan and everyone said to run! then you ran like hell and had no idea where the F you were running! Oh crap! Where did I go and where did I die! Then later on hanging out and seeing your first magician and first gnome. Holy shit, that dude is level 12! What is that thing floating near him and beating the shit out of everything?!
Later on you know what everyone was wearing, and the gear and weapons you would covet for months if not longer. The original design and colors and gear progression was quite amazing at the time. I joined a guild very early (level 10ish in the first weeks) while hanging out in Steamfont and building a guild of 100+ over the first couple years and helping lead and later being guild leader of managing so many personalities and trying to have fun every night and weekend was an experience I will never reach again. I wish I could go back to that innocence and relive it again. As a guild we would work to get together and just have fun over trying for loot or levels or maximizing experience. It was a different world back than for many of us (some were still pushing I am sure), but the times we had back then I will never forget.
I think both games have a few weak levels. TDP has Escape, Strange Bedfellows, Into the Maw and I could do without The Lost City too.
But then, Sabotage at Soulforge is one of my favourite missions in the series. So maybe I’m just broken!
Ah, I’m feeling like it might be time to replay the series and see if my opinion of various missions has changed. It’s a shame that we’ll never get a fourth.
Fair enough but I don’t agree with some of the levels you have chosen.
I’ll give you Escape, it is the weakest level in the game simply because it is so basic (Escape!), and is there because the plot demands it, but Strange Bedfellows is awesome, and The Lost City is just epic. It felt like a journey deep into the earth and discovering a lost civilization. Tomb Raider-esque. Even The Sunken King DLC in Dark Souls II took me back to that level.
The Lost City is pretty cool. I remember at one point thinking of it and not being quite sure whether I had played it or dreamed it.
Absolutely. It’s got that same deep feeling as Down in the Bonehoard, perhaps more so. I scarcely remember Strange Bedfellows but I do recall the name.
My favorite is Alpha Centauri.