The Local Ditch Archives

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – First Impressions

I’ve been counting down for several years for the release of the upcoming Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Today, it’s released. How am I supposed to react? By playing it, of course.

Last night, I spent a few hours with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. After all of the anticipation, I finally got to sit down with it and see what it’s all about.

Guess what? It’s absolutely a Deus Ex game. No question about it. (more…)

Zero Day

I’m about to jump in to Human Revolution tonight, but as I prepare for it, my thoughts drift to the Invisible War launch. At that point, I was regularly lurking the official Eidos forums. The place was pretty swamped and amid the constant complaints, one of the biggest issues of the time was IW’s hardware requirements. It required a card with… shaders.

A few other PC games had done this, but it was a relatively new, forced step to the future. Some seem to applaud the idea. “We get better graphics. Who cares about old cards. It’s time to upgrade.” Others were left behind in the dust. I fell into the latter camp.

Now, the reason I checked the forum so often was to see if someone had figured out a way around the shader issue. Short answer is no. I’d eventually play the game a couple of years later. And yes, I’d had the game in my possession since launch. Personally, I got what was coming to me. I bought a game that specifically said it wouldn’t run on my hardware and I risked it anyway. No problems. The people who were really hurt were those hit by Nvidia’s marketing strategy. The Geforce4 Ti cards could run the game. The lowly MX? Not so much.

Coming around almost full circle, Nvidia has started reusing the Ti moniker. Any bets on how long it is before the MX comes back?

Wait, who cares? Time for Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Final Countdown

Streets of Deus Ex: Human Revolution

After several years of anticipation, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is about to be released. Time to take a quick look back and see how we got to this point.

In a way, it’s almost shocking that it’s happening. After all of the anticipation, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is going to be released tomorrow.

When the game was announced, I was surprised. After all, Invisible War had left a bad taste in gamers’ mouths and it’d been years since the term Deus Ex had mentioned outside of a retro review or a greatest games list. Despite the lackluster efforts of the then latest in the Deus Ex series, I already knew I’d have to try out Deus Ex 3 when it appeared.

(Slightly related: I’ve replayed Invisible War since its release and, without being tainted by the awesomeness of the first game, it’s not too bad. )

What followed was not pretty. I’d check the official Eidos forums every week looking for an update on the Deus Ex. What a horrible place. So much pessimism, so much hate, so much anger for a game that, for the vast major of us, consisted of a few pictures and a bizarre trailer for about three years.

Someday, I’d play the new Deus Ex. I knew it. My computer at the time would not cut it. So, I built a new system, where a small voice in the back of my skull whispered, “You’ll be able to play this game on it.” That was two years ago. Yes, I had convinced myself that DE3 would make an appearance at E3 2009. It didn’t happen.

I persisted. Soaking up each droplet of news. When it finally became real, when gameplay videos and interviews started appearing, I couldn’t look. It’s too close to home. The surprise, the joy of discovering something for the first would be ruined. So, I’ve been on a self-made Deus Ex media blackout for the last few months.

In the meantime, I’ve pre-ordered a game for the first time in my life. I’ve used Steam to pre-load a game for the first time. This also marks the first time in a long damn while that I’ve paid full price for a PC game. And to top it off – that computer from a few years ago – finally got a graphics card that wasn’t a POS. Yes, I”d been holding off to update it until Deus Ex: Human Revolution would be released.

It probably seems a bit much. I’m sure it seems in a way like I”m setting myself up for failure, that the game can’t live up to my expectations. It’s a real possibility, but I’ll still be playing this thing tomorrow anyway.

Portal 2

Portal 2 Title Screen

In some sort of miracle (Read: Steam Summer Sale), I’ve managed to play a game in the year it’s released. As with many others, the original Portal left a warm spot in my heart for a murderous robot. How could I resist the call of Portal 2? Though I tried, I couldn’t hold out for long.

Portal 2’s hype was through the charts by the time it launched. A collection of mysterious messages and seemingly random images from Valve began emerging on various online gaming publications. Portal was modified with new ending and extra game content that hinted of the upcoming sequel. It was beautiful marketing that promoted the game and rewarded fans. The hidden messages were fun, there was more to do in the game, and it was all laid out with just enough clues that the Valve community could piece it all together. A huge puzzle. Very appropriate.

The Potato sack thing was a bit over-the-top, I think, but still very fun. Play Steam games. Earn potatoes. The more potatoes earned, the more fuel GlaDOS has and the sooner Portal 2 will be released. Official and unofficial countdown sites popped up and a buzz formed as avid gamers watched the potato count go up… and rapidly descend. Is this a trick? Was it only a joke? Was GlaDOS using these potatoes for something? (more…)


I did something I haven’t done in years: I purchased a game at full price. That’s right, I just pre-ordered Deus Ex: Human Revolution, so you can expect a ton of updates, ramblings, spoilers, thoughts, etc. as I confusedly work my way through the game. Oh, did I choose any of those fancy Augmented Editions? No. Extras that I view once and throw in storage are not something I want.

Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem 3D remains the Duke’s magnum opus. With inventive weapons and unprecedented interactivity, it fought on the front lines against id’s fully-3D Quake. With the recent release of Duke Nukem Forever, the Local Ditch takes a look at Duke Nukem 3D.

Back in the day, the local software shop had packaged, boxed software lining the walls, while an inside aisle held racks of 5.25″ floppy disks, almost all of which were branded shareware. The concept: you pay for the price of the disks ($1 for a 1-disk piece of software, $2 for a two disker…) and get to use the program as much as you want. Only there’s a catch: you don’t get the entire program. If you liked it, you were encouraged to buy the rest of it. If not, you just gave the disk to someone else.

Duke Nukem was sitting on the shelf with the rest of them. On its disk was Episode 1: Shrapnel City. In the intro, there’s a brief dialogue between Duke and the game’s antagonist, Dr. Proton, ending with Duke promising to get home, “in time to watch Oprah.” (more…)

Earthworm Jim HD

Earthworm Jim battles specters in Heck.

Earthworm Jim arrives on the XBox 360 with enhanced graphics and extra play modes. After all of these years, how does the 16-bit platformer hold up? The Local Ditch finds out.

Oh, Xbox Live, how you’ve enabled me to relive the missed games of my youth. Welcome to the club, Earthworm Jim. Back in the 16-bit days, I had EJ2 for my Genesis, but never the first one.

So, how do I view it with modern day eyes? I really had to step back and get in the right mindset to play this one. I’ve grown accustomed to the auto-saves and constant progress of modern games. It’s a bit of a blast from the past to go into a game that’s designed to last for a few hours and be played from the very beginning every time that it’s started. (more…)