This week, a few mods that I've been monitoring but haven't had a chance to have a proper go at yet. In some cases, that's because they haven't been released yet, in others it's because the hours in every day are sadly limited, and as well as playing games and writing about them, I very occasionally sleep. I even venture outside from time to time, although admittedly not in the current political and meteorological climate. Too chilly. Too bitter. All too real. Onward to fantasy. Preferably with decent central heating.
Jungles are hot and steamy, especially when there's a Predator stalking through them. He even uses thermal imaging to identify his prey, which would protect me from him, since I'm about as cold as a corpse right now. So this would be the prefect time for me to take a wander in Crysis mod Predator - The Heat of the Jungle. It's a work in progress, although you can download and play it right now. The chap developing Heat of the Jungle isn't aiming to make a full Predator game, but rather to demonstrate how well the license could work in CryEngine 2. I'd imagine very well indeed is the answer and at a later date, perhaps after a couple more releases have seen the light of day, I may well take a closer look at this.
Next up is the newly released White Night mod for Amnesia. After ten months of development, the full version was released last week and I have actually tried this one, so I can be slightly less vague than in the previous paragraph. What I haven't done is actually completed the blasted thing, which is a shame because it's heavily story-based. I will be finishing it at some point though as it's one of the more impressive horror mods I've seen, despite the rather unoriginal setting. Lack of memory and an asylum? Unheard of.
The best thing about White Night is that it plays out like an old-fashioned adventure game and that brings me to a point about Amnesia itself. I love it, from the scares to the entirely cameraless but somehow far more kinetic method of manipulating objects in the world, but part of me wishes that Frictional's next game will have even less running and hiding. An engine like theirs could be at the core of a new breed of adventure game. I'm imagining something along the lines of Broken Sword, with small self-contained environments - a cafe in Paris, a New York penthouse, a ruined cathedral - that are built in exquisite detail and with plenty of interactive elements. Nothing destructible, nothing to shoot, nothing to flee from. Just places to explore, objects to discover and puzzles to solve.
White Night isn't that game at all, but it's a step in a direction that I thoroughly approve of.
Here's a mod several readers have emailed me about, which was pleasing but also slightly confusing as I've never expressed a great deal of interest in the games it concerns - Dragon Age and Baldur's Gate. I love them both though, so ta muchly, and all manner of mod tips are welcome at the sturdy oaken door of my email account. This particular delight is Baldur's Gate II Redux, or at least the first module of it, which contains Irenicus' Dungeon recreated in the Dragon Age engine. It's an impressive piece of work, although I find myself more interested than engaged. It's fascinating to realise how much I remember and just how natural it feels to explore this space again. Highly recommended as a curiosity, if nothing else.
There are plans to continue with future modules, which will require an installed version of Baldur's Gate II to run, in recognition of the use of BioWare's intellectual property. That's very good of them. You do all own Baldur's Gate II already though, right? Having said that, I almost definitely don't have it installed anywhere.
Last up is The Last Days, which isn't a snails-pace mod for the original Quake that casts the player as a sad musician. It's actually another Mount and Blade mod, which hasn't been released yet but is looking rather splendid. To give it its full title, The Last Days (of The Third Age of Middle Earth) is exactly what you might expect. A total conversion of the base game, adding new races and creatures, all new factions, a world's worth of new items and, most interesting of all, a new battle system "to fit Tolkien's books". I don't know what that means and won't until I can actually play the thing, but along with A Song of Ice and Fire, a decent Lord of the Rings mod has to be up at the top of peoples' wish lists for Mount and Blade.
I'm going to put the trailer for The Last Days at the end here but only because the voiceover sounds almost exactly like me after a heavy weekend.
Now, back to cold reality.