Republic: Curiosity?

Anyone play Republic yet? Any good?

Edited because I put the wrong damn title in.

I was going to check it out, but the minimum system requirements are 512 MB (!) of RAM, which my current system is actually incapable of attaining, so maybe on the budget rack when I get a new PC.

I didn’t even know it was released… any demo? NM, I’ll just browse around…

etc

Got it, haven’t played it yet.

— Alan

Word is that that gameplay is oversimplified from what was promised and it has no replay value.

strikes from EBGames wishlist

To be fair, they promised the moon and there was little chance it would be delivered at all if they stuck to their original plan.

But when I heard that they had moved more towards a mission based system a la GTA3 and away from a more freewheeling political sim, I struck it from my wishlist.

I may still buy it, but I am waiting for a larger sample of reviews and the opinions of people whose evaluations I trust.

BTW, what do you mean by “little replay value”? Doesn’t each faction have separate paths open to it? If not, this is really bad news.

Troy

Damn it you guys are ruining my gameplay experience without me ever having a chance to play it yet.

— Alan

Damn it you guys are ruining my gameplay experience without me ever having a chance to play it yet.

Welcome to the bane of the “Too Much Information” Age. I think back with nostalgia of the time when I’d walk into a game store (and then, they weren’t all chains, either) and actually be surprised to see games I’d never heard of. Or, I’d see games I’d maybe read about in CGW but had no idea when they’d come out. I’d find games that would be mysteries to me, leading me to peruse the boxes (or, in the early days, ziplocks) for info and try to get a “feel” for what they’d be like. Maybe I’d buy it and have a cool experience discovering a great game, or maybe I’d get a turkey, but it was at least exciting. Even as late as the early-mid 1990s I could still go to the store (Waldensoft by then) and find System Shock–a game I had not heard anything about–and take it home to discover a mind-blowing experience, completely out of the blue.

Now, the games have generally gotten much more sophisticated–I’d even say “better” in many, many ways–yet the thrill is no longer the same. Before I get my mitts on a game, I’ve read thousands of words on the Web, in mags, in e-mails from publishers, whatever. I’ve seen screenshots. I’ve seen movies. I might even have seen or played beta code or a demo. And, given that most games these days include virtually nothing beyond the disk and a paltry manual of sorts, there’s nothing nifty or cool in the box itself to offer that frisson of novelty and discovery either. The game can be very very good, as many games are, but it isn’t the same, because it’s like I’m re-playing it already before I’ve even played it.

I’m exaggerating the effect a bit, but I’ve long wondered whether the amount of information about games these days has a chilling effect on enthusiasm and hence maybe even sales. Sure, the gamers (we) demand it, but are we perhaps actually shooting ourselves in the foot? In our quest to insure we never buy another bad game (and those of us who lived through the era of no Internet, no patches, on-disk copy protection, faulty 1541 drives, and games that didn’t work and couldn’t be returned know about bad game buying experiences in spades), have we maybe forever ruined one major part of the joy our hobby once gave us, the thrill of discovery?

Along with this is the to me undeniable fact that we are becoming basically unsatisfiable. Nothing is good enough for us. We (and I’m not letting myself off the hook here) tend to expect perfection, and ruthelessly expose failures of every sort. We can no longer, most of us, enjoy a game that isn’t a AAA, full-bore, hits-every-nail-on-the-head triumph–and there are damn few of those. Most reviews offer mediocre ratings, except for a handful of elite titles which get super-positive reviews that often verge into fanboi-ism. Games that have a lot to offer–games of a quality we used to accept and enjoy–get overlooked or simply shunned, because we’ve already heard about them, and more, already heard they were just average, and we tell ourselves we don’t have time for that; we must have the best, only.

Sometimes I think that I’d enjoy gaming a lot more if I didn’t read another review or preview, or visit forums at all. Of course I won’t do that, so any consequences are on my own head, but I do think that the combination of skewed expectations, oversaturated coverage, and the culture of perfection have combined to diminish computer gaming’s richness and variety, and our enjoyment thereof.

Ok, that’s enough blathering. Flame on.

Well… no, not really. Good games are simply good, either expectedly or surprisingly so. Right now I’m playing Lionheart and I’m pleasantly surprised by how much better it is than the demo. On the other hand, Rise of Nations was as good as I expected, and I didn’t like it any less for the lack of surprise.

The only surprise I remember from the old days was the surprise of how awfully crappy some games were. Admittedly that didn’t bother me much since I pirated most games anyway when I was a teen. :wink:

Heh. This reminds me of a post I made on I believe the Gamespy forums a couple years ago…

Just like a fairytale…

Once upon a time there lived a village of game developers. These developers led their games through pre-production, alpha and beta stages, finally culminating in a completed game. Pre-production was for the game concept and outline, to hire the workers, etc. The game moved into Alpha once it became playable at any level (any sort of working engine). Once the coding was done for it (but being bug-ridden at this stage) it moved into Beta. And once the bugs were worked out, the game was released.

In another village lived game players. They experienced the game only after it was released. Pre-production, Alpha, and Beta were mysterious concepts. For them there was ONE stage, the finished game.

Then something remarkable happened. Through a medium called the “Internet”, the two villages communicated closely for the first time. Gone quickly were the mysteries of Pre-production, Alpha, and Beta.

Something else left too. As developers needed to cater more and more to the public far BEFORE their game was ever released, a bit of marketing was in order.

Its all about the Beta.

Historically, once a game went to Beta the gamer village got excited.

GV: “The game is almost out! Yippee!”

The developer village saw this excitement and began to capitalize on it.

DV (with a conniving look): “Hmm… if the word Beta excites gamers about our game, how about we simply call the game “in Beta stage” earlier? The gamers will be excited earlier which will give us an advantage over our competitors.”

And to add fuel to this fire, gamers PLAY the game in Beta stage, some playing more in Beta stage than in Gold stage! What more reason to call a game “in Beta stage” at as early a time as possible!

So now games have Beta 1, and Beta 2, and Beta 3, and Beta 4, and Beta enough already! They have Open Beta, Closed Beta, Half-Open Beta, Mixed-the-fuck-up Beta.

Nowadays developers are calling their games “in Beta stage” when its a semi-playable engine with a few things in it. A game which USED to be called “in Alpha” now proudly proclaims itself “in Beta stage, accepting applications for Open Beta!”

Beta is no longer simply a ground for stomping out bugs. Its now a ground for adding entirely new features, adding new areas to the map… creating much of the context for the entire game!

Nowadays when a game enters into Beta I don’t get excited. I instead think “Hmm… maybe in another year the game will be out”.

Heh. This reminds me of a post I made on I believe the Gamespy forums a couple years ago…[/quote]

It reminds me of every post that you make.

[quote=““TSG””]

I heard that no matter what faction you play you recruit from the same bunch of possible henchmen and complete the same objectives.

Doesn’t really sound conducive to multiple playthroughs.

Can someone name a non-MMORPG commercial game with a large public beta test please?

I know Counterstrike had a zillion betas.
I know Everquest had a zillion betas.

Counterstrike was a free public mod.
EQ needed a testing with large amounts of people.

Any other games?

Do QTest and Q3Test count? Maybe not, since they were MP betas.

Diablo II had a huge beta.

Heh. This reminds me of a post I made on I believe the Gamespy forums a couple years ago…[/quote]

It reminds me of every post that you make.[/quote]

Ben, that = funny

Heh. This reminds me of a post I made on I believe the Gamespy forums a couple years ago…[/quote]

It reminds me of every post that you make.[/quote]

Ben, that = funny[/quote]

Making it exactly the opposite of every post that Brian makes.

Welcome to the bane of the “Too Much Information” Age. I think back with nostalgia of the time when I’d walk into a game store (and then, they weren’t all chains, either) and actually be surprised to see games I’d never heard of. Or, I’d see games I’d maybe read about in CGW but had no idea when they’d come out. I’d find games that would be mysteries to me, leading me to peruse the boxes (or, in the early days, ziplocks) for info and try to get a “feel” for what they’d be like. Maybe I’d buy it and have a cool experience discovering a great game, or maybe I’d get a turkey, but it was at least exciting. Even as late as the early-mid 1990s I could still go to the store (Waldensoft by then) and find System Shock–a game I had not heard anything about–and take it home to discover a mind-blowing experience, completely out of the blue.

Well I haven’t really been in that situation since about 1994. I knew pretty much everything that was coming out in the US and semi-knew what everything was about. That’s not the point here.

My point is what I have the game, haven’t played it, and my own self-discovery of playing the game was going down the tubes. There’s nothing new about that, it’s the same as you and your friend buying a game, he plays it first and tells you it sucks. Then you wonder why you blew $50 when you could have spent twice as much on hentai and gotten more enjoyment out of it.

Not me of course.

— Alan

The remedy is simple:

Play less games!

The benefit of the Too Much Information Age is that when a really good game DOES come out, you tend to hear about it because almost everybody goes nuts. Current example: KOTOR. I had little interest in it until Penny Arcade, OXM, and Qt3 all started raving about it after release. Now I’m utterly, utterly, utterly hooked.

Of course, I only get about two nights a week (if that) to do any gameplaying, so I tend to complete only about eight games a year. I am really trying to finish what I start, which I tend to do by cherry-picking the Best of the Best of the Best (SIR!). If I played more mediocre games, my enjoyment might be more damped by Knowing Too Much. But you can’t dampen enjoyment of a true classic (like, IMHO, KOTOR)…

Anyway, I love the TMIA and would never go back :-)
Cheers!

The generally bang-on Eurogamer now has a review for Republic up:

‘Ultimately we still walked away from each marathon playing session with Republic feeling like we’d just spent hours dealing with the “civil unrest” bits of Civilization III - without any of the fun bits.’

Woops. Sounds like they think some of the more hardcore might dig it, though.

s!