Yes, the mod we are taking a look at today is:
Space is really big. Seriously, you have no idea how big space is. It’s really freaking big. I mean, you might think it’s a long drive to your grandmother’s, but that’s peanuts compared to space! There isn’t a concept that our puny brains can come up with that would even come close to the sheer massive scale–errm…sorry. Let’s start again.
Space is big and unexplored, much like your mom. And just like your mom, thousands and thousands of men are drawn to it just for the sheer reason that…well…there must have been SOME reason that one man got nailed to a cross to keep us going for this long, so there’s got to be something there. But unlike your mom, space is constantly expanding, and we continue to explore it in the hope that we’ll find some new alien species we can enslave. New stars are being created every day, and there are whole galaxies full of adventure, just waiting to be explored!
However, in gaming it’s the opposite. Space combat games are few and far between, and what few do exist are so boring that you might as well spend your money on a calculator and pretend to be a space accountant. However, there is a savior, a game that combines space combat with ground combat in a way that would make Star Wars Battlefront blush: Eternal Silence.
Now, with most modifications, story is sort of passé, and you’d be lucky to find anything beyond a small paragraph of description talking about how the world was cool until the orcs came and made it uncool to not be green. Which is why I was surprised that Eternal Silence not only had one little paragraph, but an ongoing novel on their website! I groaned with displeasure knowing that I’d have to read this drivel, which was probably written by a sixteen year old with the “how to write bland sci-fi” handbook. Turns out I was almost right. It’s not “John picked up the wepon and kiled the zombie ghosts ” bad, but it doesn’t really stand out. The characters are just sort of there, and the universe itself isn’t much to speak of; it’s a wonder why it exists at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love a story well told, and especially an engaging world in which I can roam around, but you guys are designing a game, not sending novels off to publishers. Show, don’t tell. Also, guys, my writing has been featured in a few independent writing magazines, and I’m a young university student looking for work. Just saying.
The gameplay is split up between the first-person shooter sections and dog-fighting in spaceships, and, well… All right, I’ll just come out and say it: Eternal Silence‘s gameplay is stellar. Really, no jokes about it. It’s pretty damn good. There’s your standard walk-around-boom-boom-dead shooty bits, but there’s also a nice little space combat section in some of the maps, wherein both sides move in to destroy the opponents’ corvettes before being able to move into the ship itself and bring it down. The flying is handled pretty well with a lock-on system, missile guidance, and a boost function, among others. It’s got all of the cool things about space fighter combat without all the boring shit that the players of EVE Online seem to think is interesting. I spent the good part of an afternoon simply flying around in my little ship shouting Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope references the whole time. I made a lot of e-friends that day.
The ground combat is pretty badass in its own right. You point your little space guns at people, pull the trigger, and they suddenly get stricken with an amusing case of paralysis where their limbs turn to spaghetti. And as with most shooting games, you can choose between multiple classes: The hacker, the marine, and the heavy. Of course, being a testosterone-filled Olympian god of a man who eats danger and shits bullets, I decided that I must look my opponents straight in the eye from a hundred yards away through a sniper rifle scope as a hacker.
I know you guys are probably sick and tired of me talking about class-based warfare games, but hear me out on this one: Only the hacker has any real special abilities. Not impressed? Yeah, me either. In fact, the 0nly difference is the weapons you get to choose, other than the hacker, whom can capture points without any assistance, secure capture points so it takes longer for the enemy to capture them, and set up remote gun turrets that seem to become less effective when I use them.
This would typically be the point where I start pointing out the mod’s flaws, but there’s nothing to complain about. Really. The mod works pretty well, and other than the rather dully written sci-fi story, there’s nothing to complain about. The flying sometimes feels a little dodgy, but it’s not a deal breaker; ultimately, it all flows together. Not much else to say, really.
Weeeellll…I suppose there are one or two things I can complain about.
Like all other modern FPS games since Halo, they’ve given you the option to punch people in the face with a melee attack. But since this is based off of Half-Life and not some utterly retarded macho universe where several armor piercing bullets have the same effect as a kick to the jaw, it doesn’t work. Nine times out of ten it would just be easier to shoot the guy, and since you’re playing a game and don’t have access to all of that overrated independent limb control and depth perception bullshit you’d have in real life, your avatar ends up uselessly swinging his rifle around like he was taking it square-dancing.
Flying around in the ships is fun, but it’s also rather discouraging when you first get out there. Even now, I’ll find some sort of smart-ass who keeps cutting and boosting his engines so I can’t get a lock with my missiles. That may just sound like good strategy, but one time three fighters were just trying to kill this one bomber, and no matter how many times I could swear I hit him, it didn’t do squat. It’s like the bullets I was firing started to regret their career path and decided to go back to school instead of hitting my target.
But that’s nothing when compared to the controls! The controls… What’s that? Oh, the special abilities are conveniently displayed upon spawning. OK. But I’ve still got a bone to pick with the art—oh, nope. Everything is rendered beautifully, from the ships themselves to the meaningless little space rocks that probably have giant carnivorous worms living in them. Well, I guess you really have no reason not to get this mod, unless you’re a soulless beast who probably ran over some orphans with puppies on the way home.