Back in May, I mentioned that I was playing STRAFE, the procedurally generated FPS with permadeath. About that time, I got sick of the game and quit. I’d played 42 games, and the random number generator still hadn’t blessed me with the random drop required to begin the game in the second zone. Which means I had to play through the entire first zone every single time I started a new game. I was sick to death of the first zone and I just wanted to see what the later levels looked like. The typical game went like this:
- New game.
- Play through twenty insufferable minutes of the first zone YET AGAIN. The procedural generation keeps the game fresh, but not THAT fresh.
- Reach the end of Zone 1 without ever seeing the random doodad needed to unlock the shortcut to Zone 2. I wonder what it looks like? I wonder what the odds of finding it are? I wonder where it drops. How close am I to finding it? Next game? Another 42 games?
- Arrive at Zone 2.
- BOOM! Surprise threat in Zone 2 kills me.
- Repeat. Actually, screw that. I’ve got better things to do with my time than grind through 20 minutes of work for 5 minutes of fun.
The game seems to be confused about its identity. It positions itself like a 1996 shooter, but then it’s got all these roguelikeYes, this term is a mess. It’s not my fault. Can we not argue about this for once? elements and no save system. It positions itself as this fast-paced thrill ride like Quake or Serious Sam, but then healing is incredibly rare, there are traps, some foes do lots of damage, and you often need to spend a lot of time wandering around empty levels hunting for keycards in order to progress. So the game acts like you’re supposed to run and gun, but the mechanics push you towards careful, methodical play.
So I shelved the game. I mean, I’ve got over 180 un-played games on Steam, so there’s no reason to slam my head against one that’s wasting my time.
But then three weeks ago, the STRAFE developers posted this to Twitter:
— STRAFEÂ® (@STRAFEgame) June 25, 2017
Patch 6 sounds pretty sweet. It adds easy mode. I don’t really want easy mode so much as a more dependable means of unlocking the Zone 2 shortcut, but I guess easy mode will make grinding for that random drop slightly less irritating. More importantly, Patch 6 has some stability fixes, and I’m hoping those will fix various problems I’ve been having.
However, I don’t have the game on Steam. Just before release, Kickstarter backers were given a choice if they wanted a key for Steam or for GoG. Being a huge fan of GoG, I chose that. And for whatever reason GoG users are still waiting for this patch.
I’m not even sure who to blame here. I’ve heard it suggested that GoG tends to sit on patches for a couple of weeks before releasing them, so it’s possible that the developer submitted the patch and things are out of their hands. Or maybe they’re just not bothering with GoG. It’s impossible to tell and nobody is communicating. Maybe the patch will appear in an hour or maybe we’ll never see it.
So that kinda sucks.
 Yes, this term is a mess. It’s not my fault. Can we not argue about this for once?
The Best of 2014
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2014.
What is Piracy?
It seems like a simple question, but it turns out everyone has a different idea of right and wrong in the digital world.
Good to be the King?
Which would you rather be: A king in the middle ages, or a lower-income laborer in the 21st century?
Final Fantasy X
A game about the ghost of an underwater football player who travels through time to save the world from a tick that controls kaiju satan. Really.
Fixing Match 3
For one of the most popular casual games in existence, Match 3 is actually really broken. Until one developer fixed it.