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  1. #19321
    Lesser Hivemind Node DevinSmoth's Avatar
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    Another quick note about the Batman games... I felt like they tried to be many different things at the same time. There was part RPG there with the level ups/new tech upgrades. There was the challenge missions if you wanted to do single levels that had challenges built in. There was a hand to hand combat simulator that didn't do much more than mash a button and point your stick in the direction of the guy you were hitting. There was the collectible thing, for the explorers. And there was the story part where it could have been just better if you'd read it... or they made it a movie. Then... the boss fights, particularly the last one... what?

    Anyway... they seemed scattered so it felt like they ended up being pulled in so many directions that they couldn't feel that they could excel in any certain way.

  2. #19322
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus LTK's Avatar
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    So that's Hexcells completed. Very short game, and I'm not quite as impressed as John was with it. It's definitely a nice mental exercise, it's very elegantly designed, and it even has a semblance of replayability, which is very uncommon for a puzzle game. But the whole package just feels insubstantial. I think the last pure puzzle game I played was Fractal, which is also hex-based. Fractal is a lot less deterministic than Hexcells but it still succeeded in being quite complex and challenging. I suspect the puzzles of Hexcells require a great deal more work to make but as far as the quality of both games goes, I'd put them very close together.

  3. #19323
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    Everyone seems to have their definitive Joker. Heath Ledgerís extra strength crazy (he amusingly sounds like he took a really big bite of sandwich and canít quite get it down), Cesar Romeroís unshaven prankster (thereís a whisper of a moustache there), Jack Nicholsonís measured mix of the jester and the killer, and Mark HamillísÖ



    Yeah Iíve gotta give it to him.
    The Joker, like Batman, is basically any one of about 7 guys. I think the one who can be best transplanted to any situation-comic, slapstick, grimdark, noir, action, horror-is probably Hammil's, but none of them are definitive.

  4. #19324
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Only Hammil and Conroy are real.
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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  5. #19325
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Actually, go back and rewatch The Animated Series. As a little kid it is fun to laugh at The Joker's antics, but once you are older it is clear just how scary and creepy he was. And basically any scene with Harley Quinn is going to hurt. And Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker established that he can do creepy and pure fucking evil better than Ledger, at least in my eyes.



    If you check the comics, it is actually interesting. Before TAS, Joker was largely dominated by the 60's batman "fun and goofy" approach with a bit of the Burton gangster added in. Sure you had the occasional "holy fucking shit..." story (Killing Joke and Death in the Family come to mind), but the really dark and evil shit was reserved for other villains.

    The success of TAS is what really shifted basically every Batman villain into being batshit scary and cerebral (admittedly, it was also the 90s, so... yeah) and Joker, as his arch enemy (if you ignore Ras and Bane and Two-Face with some writers...), gets cranked up to eleven to the point that Ledger-Joker is actually "lighter and softer"...

    ...
    Speaking of TAS, I now suddenly want to go re-watch every appearance of Mr Freeze.
    Wasn't TAS, it was Marvelman, Watchmen and Miller's Dark Night Returns. Marvelman and Watchmen were the first comics to popularly call out superheroes as being somewhat odd and question the psyche of people who dressed up in costumes to fight crime, and what it did to them, whilst also questioning their true capacity to make a difference when faced with the the monolithic dilemmas of the 20th Century. There isn't a single "hero" in Watchmen who isn't broken, dangerous, without empathy, a sociopath or blinded by murderous delusions of grandeur.

    Stan Lee started to introduce the idea of the person behind the mask in the sixties, of the soap opera alongside the heroic narrative, but Moore was the first person to really move this element beyond the personal dilemma's of superheros into the territory of the danger that tremendously powerful but broken people might pose to society, and how they might be used by the conventionally powerful-governments, corporations etc.

    The Dark Knight Returns explicitly suggested that the existence of the Joker and the like were a flip of the psychosis of Batman, and that the Bat's presence and wilful refusal not to kill bad guys for the sake of his personal moral code encouraged if not outright sanctioned the criminal activities and general mass murder of Gotham's mad villain fraternity.

    Both were heralded as absolutely groundbreaking books at the time, even though these deconstructed and "dark" elements are what most people probably think of now when they think of superheroes.

    Problem is that they were intended to challenge conventions and tropes of superhero genre, but they were so influential writers have just been penning worst versions of the same story for 25 years. Superhero comics are for the most part still as stuck in that cycle as they were stuck in the goofy action POW cycle that Moore and Miller were trying to break in the mid 80's.

    TAS is pretty much a direct cross section of Pre Miller and the DKR. It's comic actiony slapstick aesthetic is very much Detective Comics from the 60's onward, but the focus on Psychosis and derangement is almost entirely something that doesn't occur until Frank Miller, bar one or two moments in the late 70's/early 80's, after which more or less nothing but that turns up, to the point where Batman is a go-to for insane criminality.
    Last edited by sonson; 17-01-2014 at 12:08 PM.

  6. #19326
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Got into the Men of War: Assault Squad 2 beta (doesn't really matter since I pre-ordered it already because I love the series). Don't see an NDA (just no video uploads), so yay. Obviously it is a beta and is rough around the edges and the GUI fucks up regularly, but it is fun. Can't tell if it was just because it was the tutorial mission, but it looks like the AI skirmishes might be less of a generic "Here is a map, conquer it" and more about adding in a few scripted events, similar to the non AS men of war games.

    Quote Originally Posted by sonson View Post
    Problem is that they were intended to challenge conventions and tropes of superhero genre, but they were so influential writers have just been penning worst versions of the same story for 25 years. Superhero comics are for the most part still as stuck in that cycle as they were stuck in the goofy action POW cycle that Moore and Miller were trying to break in the mid 80's.

    TAS is pretty much a direct cross section of Pre Miller and the DKR. It's comic actiony slapstick aesthetic is very much Detective Comics from the 60's onward, but the focus on Psychosis and derangement is almost entirely something that doesn't occur until Frank Miller, bar one or two moments in the late 70's/early 80's, after which more or less nothing but that turns up, to the point where Batman is a go-to for insane criminality.
    If you look at anything you can see the general trend, and TAS didn't stand alone. But I would still say it was influential for Batman specifically going off the deep end into "everyone is a tragic and fucking terrifying villain", if only because it got a lot of new readers and it was given a proper chance.

    To go on the Marvel side of things for a moment, everyone agrees Garth Ennis saved Frank Castle and turned The Punisher into a fun (and even interesting) character. Jason Aaron admitted as much when he took over the MAX side of things. But if you look at the actual history, you'll see that there were a few minis along the way, including one very specific one that DEFINITELY was an Ennis-style Punisher. It was Dan Abnett's (I am not sure if he had Andy Lanning on that one) Punisher: Year One. It had all the elements of the Ennis Punisher, but just didn't get the traction.

    DC is actually an interesting beast because their obscene focus on continuity (recent events not withstanding :p) actually served to limit character and writing development. Because they emphasize so many one-shots as being in alternate universes (I believe DC called them "Elseworlds" titles) people can universally love a story but the writers will be expected to ignore it.

    Or, to bring it back around to gaming: Halo. Love it, hate it, doesn't matter. It is THE definitive "vehicles + infantry" game. Except that Battlefield, Tribes, OFP, all those fun games came first. Hell, Battlefield 1942 was even pretty much universally loved (Tribes 1 and 2 were great but had problems with "balancing" and had a steep learning curve), but it is Halo that "got it right" and, more importantly, was seen and accepted by pretty much everyone except for the die-hard mac users who feel Bungie slighted them.
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  7. #19327
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Got into the Men of War: Assault Squad 2 beta (doesn't really matter since I pre-ordered it already because I love the series). Don't see an NDA (just no video uploads), so yay. Obviously it is a beta and is rough around the edges and the GUI fucks up regularly, but it is fun. Can't tell if it was just because it was the tutorial mission, but it looks like the AI skirmishes might be less of a generic "Here is a map, conquer it" and more about adding in a few scripted events, similar to the non AS men of war games.


    If you look at anything you can see the general trend, and TAS didn't stand alone. But I would still say it was influential for Batman specifically going off the deep end into "everyone is a tragic and fucking terrifying villain", if only because it got a lot of new readers and it was given a proper chance.

    To go on the Marvel side of things for a moment, everyone agrees Garth Ennis saved Frank Castle and turned The Punisher into a fun (and even interesting) character. Jason Aaron admitted as much when he took over the MAX side of things. But if you look at the actual history, you'll see that there were a few minis along the way, including one very specific one that DEFINITELY was an Ennis-style Punisher. It was Dan Abnett's (I am not sure if he had Andy Lanning on that one) Punisher: Year One. It had all the elements of the Ennis Punisher, but just didn't get the traction.

    DC is actually an interesting beast because their obscene focus on continuity (recent events not withstanding :p) actually served to limit character and writing development. Because they emphasize so many one-shots as being in alternate universes (I believe DC called them "Elseworlds" titles) people can universally love a story but the writers will be expected to ignore it.

    Or, to bring it back around to gaming: Halo. Love it, hate it, doesn't matter. It is THE definitive "vehicles + infantry" game. Except that Battlefield, Tribes, OFP, all those fun games came first. Hell, Battlefield 1942 was even pretty much universally loved (Tribes 1 and 2 were great but had problems with "balancing" and had a steep learning curve), but it is Halo that "got it right" and, more importantly, was seen and accepted by pretty much everyone except for the die-hard mac users who feel Bungie slighted them.
    By the time TAS came out, that whole mature comics dark schtick was well and truly established. TAS was a popular part of that but that's all. It simply wouldn't have existed had the previous half decade convention been established.
    It was my first exposure to Batman, and informed much of what I liked about the whole concept, but if anything the revolutionary thing about it was the humour and cartoony-ness, not the darkness.

    Comic writers were in full steam of writing mature, dark comics by the time it was on TV. Vertigo has been in existence for some time, Gaiman had finished Sandman, The Crow had been out for five years, as had Animal Man, Hellblazer, The Preacher came out the same year, Grendel, Spawn, Enigma, The Spectre. It was sort of the golden age of grungey dark comics if anything. Those simply wernt' comics that existed three or four years prior, now that was pretty much everything.

    As for Batman, you'll struggle to find a Batman comic cover from 1990 which doesn't look violent and grim where you would have struggled to see something which didn't look comicy and exaggerated beforehand. There was a Batman run released the same year as TAS, 515-552 which was sort of unrelentingly depressing and about weird and mad stuff and basically a slightly nastier version of TAS, but it was very similar in terms of aesthetic and character. Further to the Killing Joke you've got Knightfall, the infamous Bane one which inspired Dark Knight Rises where he "Breaks the Bat", that occurred a full year prior to the TAS and was pretty much the entirety of Batman for a year. Arkham Asylum, a comic entirely about Batman, the cast of villains he faced and the madness they share was released in 1989. Tim Burtons' Batman came out the same year.

    So the TAS was influential on the basis of it's popularity it's really difficult to argue it was influential for inspiring a sort of dark/mad villainy trope when it itself was surrounded by that sort of thing, if not an off-shoot of it itself. By the time of it's release was Batman was a mainstream dark comic.

    Hell even outside of comics, cartoons at that time were pretty dark. Most of Nickoldeon's stable had a disturbing edge, and other WB stuff like Animanicas and Freakazoid were somewhat unhinged. And ace.

    Batman and his bad mates have basically been cast in the same mould, in every encounter you'll find them, since about 1989, give or take a few exceptions. I'd probably argue if anything TAS inspired some people to re-visit some of the wackier, less depressing and more fun aspects of Batman if anything. It undoubtedly managed to balance that and the prevalent trend of unrelenting po-faced bleakness very well though.

    Sorry I'll stop now. Videogames.
    Last edited by sonson; 17-01-2014 at 02:49 PM.

  8. #19328
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    I just finished Far Cry 3, and now I'm catching up on all the writings about Far Cry 3. I haven't yet come across anything that explores how the game satirises and subverts the archetypal male power fantasy as a commentary upon the wayward and uncertain masculinity of the game's protagonist, a quality meaningfully and deliberately shared with much of the game's playerbase. I've come across a few passing nods to the topic but then it's off to colonial-racism-land -- a worthy subject in its own right, don't get me wrong. Still, I might have to write something myself if this keeps up!

    Feed me links if you like. Or don't.
    Last edited by Lethe; 17-01-2014 at 05:17 PM.

  9. #19329
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    I should play Far Cry 3 some time. The way the game's writer talks about his intent and other people's descriptions of what happens in the game seem to jibe pretty well- oh yeah, it does sound like an absurd satire of white male power fantasies. But most of those actual players didn't seem to take away much of that from it at all, even pretty smart critical types.

    I finally swallowed my pride, and played Risk of Rain on easy. On normal I'd only gotten to the third stage once, and only had one extra character unlocked, which was getting frustrating. On easy I breezed through the game to die on the second stage of the final boss, unlocking two extra characters and a couple of items on the way. Normal had certainly trained me up well, but I wish there was a middle ground, since once you get your items going on easy you snowball to the point where you don't really need to play it safe any more.

  10. #19330
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    Like Binding of Isaac, the more you play of Risk of Rain, the easier it becomes, simply because you start doing things that unlock more items. Whether or not you're conscious of that is one thing, but it's certainly there. It's a little more exaggerated over Isaac too, as far more items are unlocked by doing things as opposed to the odd few you get in Isaac (although some of those unlocks do have a significant impact on the gameplay). There is definitely a snowball point though and if you can reach, say, 40 minutes without risk of dying, you're probably going to win. If you're having problems on the final level, be sure to explore all of the ship by way of getting key cards. Key cards randomly drop off enemies and sometimes out of the small chests that drop money/experience/exp. This might require killing tons of enemies, but to pass through the final door you don't need to clear all the enemies, so you can just as well get what you need then move along. Anyhow, the rooms you can access with key cards have things that can help you in the final fight.

    Started playing Dust: An Elysian Tail last night and played a bit more today and, well...if this game had a demo, I'd have played it, worked out it wasn't for me and then been fine with it. Despite all the footage I'd seen of it, it's just lacking in areas. I'm going to play it to completion because damn if it beats me, but it has issues. I actually started making a list of positives and negatives that I'd add to as I'd go along. Here is that list thus far:

    Positives:
    -Great presentation, with fantastic art and music.
    -Stable frame-rate [of course after I'd finished writing them, I had some odd slow down for no well explored reason]

    Negatives:
    -The main character has amnesia! CREATIVITY!
    -Voice-over work is insufferable on pretty much everyone. At least Navi didn't bloody speak apart from "Hey, Listen!" (which has been grossly exaggerated as being bad) meaning Fidget gives Fi a run for the money in "Most annoying companion", albeit in different ways.
    -So many cut-scenes.
    -You need a 'teleport stone' to go between a save point in an area and the world map. I think this is really dumb design and whilst I can maybe accept that going from the world map into an area by its entrances only as a form of internal logic, it makes back-tracking a chore as if where you're going is in the middle of an area, you have to traipse all the way back, get what you want and then go back again. The game would provide so much more freedom if you could travel between the world map and any save point in an area and back again freely.
    -Combat is...not great. I'd go so far as saying it's bad, actually. I'm going to need a specific paragraph for this alone.

    Combat:
    -It's button mashing. Pure and simple. You have a light and special attack, but you can get by pressing the light attack pretty much solely, even on the hardest difficulty setting which I've gone straight into. Maybe the emphasis isn't on combat and it's on, say, exploration, but then see my point above. It also doesn't help that you've got this mystical sword that's teaching you these skills you use and narratively tries to empower the player character, but all I'm doing is pressing X and then Y every so often. It's incredibly unsatisfying.
    -When moving about rapidly, mostly by way of dashing, the game will automatically orientate your direction. This can have you flailing at the wind as an enemy winds up an attack. I feel like the game has taken control away from me in these situations. I could maybe ignore this, but it happens often enough to be annoying.
    -Parrying is inconsistent. This can be necessary when to take out specific enemies, who might otherwise inflict massive damage on you (and in hardcore mode, the hardest difficulty setting, this can be in the form of one hit kills, which might also happen without you realising how you got hit or why there was no indication of being hit).
    -For that matter, it can be hard at times to establish just how on earth you got hit. This is particularly bad when facing a group of tightly clustered enemies, but it can be incredibly frustrating to take huge amounts of damage and have no idea why or from who.
    -Certain enemy attack animations don't align with how I feel I should then be taking damage. Paired with the above, this can make certain enemies just a bit frustrating for no reason.
    -Very few enemies so far require anything interesting to take them down. For the most part it's walk up to them, hit attack until dead. This really re-enforces the button mashing.

    I'm an hour in. I'm going to bloody finish this game, but it's really not painted a good start for me.
    Powered by Steam. And biscuits. I'm also a twit and dabble in creative writing.

  11. #19331
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drayk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arathain View Post
    I should play Far Cry 3 some time. The way the game's writer talks about his intent and other people's descriptions of what happens in the game seem to jibe pretty well- oh yeah, it does sound like an absurd satire of white male power fantasies. But most of those actual players didn't seem to take away much of that from it at all, even pretty smart critical types. .
    That's basicaly what I am playing the game for. As I said 2 weeks ago. But so far I still have to made up my mind about whether or not I think the satiric part is working....

    Quote Originally Posted by db1331 View Post
    I give unto you the maddest of props. You're a god damned super hero.
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  12. #19332
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Casimir Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe View Post
    I just finished Far Cry 3, and now I'm catching up on all the writings about Far Cry 3. I haven't yet come across anything that explores how the game satirises and subverts the archetypal male power fantasy as a commentary upon the wayward and uncertain masculinity of the game's protagonist, a quality meaningfully and deliberately shared with much of the game's playerbase.
    That was the feeling I got from FC3.

    There's that thing men tend to do where, while waiting in line at the post office, they'll plan out exactly what they would do if 5 terrorists suddenly busted through the door and believe that it would work. Power fantasies are natural, it's why you never envisage yourself as the sidekick (unless you have some serious inferiority issues). But games really do bring out the crazy in guys. From your CoD Bro who thinks they know about guns because they've prestiged, to your Company of Heroes fan who swears they could have had the German flag flying over Moscow in ten turns.

    That's why the protagonist in FC3 goes from "Oh my god I've killed a man" to "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!" in a few minutes. Just a shame that I don't think that's what the writer was aiming for, judging by his interviews.

    On another note I realised the AI in Empire Total War was actually pretty realistic. You know how there's that problem where the AI can't invade Britain from the sea? How often did Britain (or, more specifically, England) get invaded in the 18th century?
    See - realism.

  13. #19333
    Quote Originally Posted by Casimir Effect View Post
    That's why the protagonist in FC3 goes from "Oh my god I've killed a man" to "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!" in a few minutes. Just a shame that I don't think that's what the writer was aiming for, judging by his interviews.
    Yeah, nothing new there. Max Payne, Lara Croft, Booker and Elizabeth... "Hilariously deaf to one's own moralizing" has become just a basic trait of every bog-standard Haunted Action Hero, and it's a weakness of genre, not a strength in writing. Trying to wedge any meaningful message other than "You are insane" into a shooter seems doomed to failure. That's why The Line and Blood Dragon work where the others don't.

  14. #19334
    Lesser Hivemind Node Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casimir Effect View Post
    On another note I realised the AI in Empire Total War was actually pretty realistic. You know how there's that problem where the AI can't invade Britain from the sea? How often did Britain (or, more specifically, England) get invaded in the 18th century?
    See - realism.
    Pah! I've invaded England dozens of times. In several different games. If I was in Boney's shoes, the might of the Fanbuoyard Empire would be unstoppable.

  15. #19335
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    Finished Black Flag. That actually lasted a lot longer than I thought it would've, and on the whole, despite its preponderance of 'tail and eavesdrop' missions, I enjoyed it tremendously. In fact, I have the same good feeling about it that I do when I finish a really enjoyable book, and that's not a thing I get from videogames often at all.
    Last edited by Serenegoose; 18-01-2014 at 08:35 AM.

  16. #19336
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    Thinking of playing Mass Effect I and II, with a FemShep. If you can believe such a thing, I've never actually completed the first or played the second. Anyone care to suggest a class? I was a soldier last game, but maybe that's boring?

    (PS:T will sadly have to go back on the reserve pile. Just don't have the time to get properly involved in it at present. Probably have to book a long weekend off work and wait til wife is away).

  17. #19337
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonson View Post
    Thinking of playing Mass Effect I and II, with a FemShep. If you can believe such a thing, I've never actually completed the first or played the second. Anyone care to suggest a class? I was a soldier last game, but maybe that's boring?

    (PS:T will sadly have to go back on the reserve pile. Just don't have the time to get properly involved in it at present. Probably have to book a long weekend off work and wait til wife is away).
    I like Adept the best in ME2. Also, be sure to play ME2 at some difficulty higher than Normal, it really improves the game a lot.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  18. #19338
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Skalpadda's Avatar
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    I'd suggest soldier in ME1 because the combat is really wonky and it's simply the most effective class with the least amount of wonk. In ME2 I'd suggest Vanguard and boosting Biotic Charge ASAP (because zooming across the room and shotgunning enemies in the face or knocking them off ledges is fun) or adept if you want jedi powers.

    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    Also, be sure to play ME2 at some difficulty higher than Normal, it really improves the game a lot.
    I'd make that a more tentative suggestion. Combat is really easy on normal, but the main difference when bumping up the difficulty is that you have to spend longer stripping away armour and barriers, which is not necessarily more fun. Depends on what you're after.

  19. #19339
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Casimir Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonson View Post
    Thinking of playing Mass Effect I and II, with a FemShep. If you can believe such a thing, I've never actually completed the first or played the second. Anyone care to suggest a class? I was a soldier last game, but maybe that's boring?

    (PS:T will sadly have to go back on the reserve pile. Just don't have the time to get properly involved in it at present. Probably have to book a long weekend off work and wait til wife is away).
    Vanguard will ruin every other class for you. Biotic Charge is glorious.

  20. #19340
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    I honestly never had much success with charge. It was like a shortcut to getting myself killed. Infiltrator, on the other hand, was outright OP. In a bad spot? Become invisible! Want to get a better firing point? Invisibility. Want bonus damage? Invis- you get the point. I mean, if you got charge to be effective, you must just have been better at the game than me :)

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