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Old 08-24-2012, 07:23 PM
wicro wicro is offline
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iPad 2, iOS 7.x
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Scotland
Posts: 44
Default Dangerous (HD)

There was a time, not that long ago, when we the gamer lost ourselves in an infinite universe, where random event were treated with giddy thrills of adventure and ‘scripted’ events were not even dreamed off. We were pioneers lost in a universe that seemed to have infinite possibility. Lost, fearful and truly intoxicated by the prospect of freedom and exploration we set off into the unknown, truly "To boldly go where no (Wo) Man had gone before" .

Elite was the first game that I played that gave me this first taste of what computer technology could achieve. This remarkable achievement was on a 48K Spectrum, in a friend house after spending several hour trying to decipher the “DRM” of its day that involved laying a small plastic prism type device on the TV. I was given a ship and thrust into an uncaring, but fully realised (at least in my young mind) universe. How I played the game directly influenced my fate, the choices I made, ended up dictating how this world existed.

Was I the humble trader? Or the Pirate on the edge of society running narcotics? Alternatively, the bounty hunter? On the other hand, a combination of these archetypes. In reality, all I wanted be was Han Solo, a villian with a heart, but still cool enough to get the girl. I wanted my on space opera, I wanted the Star Wars universe to be my universe.
Why mention this in a review? Because this genre died, while certain (PC) game tried to recreate the feeling of liberation these games introduced few have captured that raw feeling of freedom. Sure X tried, but still that feeling of confusion and liberation has been a rare commodity in any market let alone the humble “frivolous phone” market.

Enter Dangerous, a truly “open world” entry to the long dead genre of the space opera. Long dead? Yes, this type of game has fallen out of favour for those raised on far more liner type of game where you are given a large yellow arrow to follow to your next objective. I must admit this transition, even for crustys like me, felt jarring and slightly cruel. The comprehensive tutorial will introduce to the basics of the game, but then you are dumped into the universe. Yes, that feeling came flooding back. I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Not that was game faults I had clicked though various screen expecting the easy ride that has been a feature of modern gaming. Within the docking screen I was confronted with, well too many option, I flew about and died. This happened numerous times, and I thought, “I just don’t have the patience’s for this type of game anymore”. Moreover, I think this is the point most will reach. However, in the back of mind there was a small itch, I liked this freedom, I like having to figure out these obscure stats. I must admit I restarted the game several time in an attempt to “get it”, I did not, and restarted again. This game languished on my Ipad ,but I did not delete it and several patches passed.

Then it clicked, I got the wing man, I got the ship and then it started to fall into place, my freedom was not curtailed and I suddenly found a deep and absorbing game that revolved round factions and intrigue but crucially I remained central to the story. Yes, I came full circle like some Homer epic I fell in love with the various choices I had made. I courted various factions, attempting to curry favour by carrying out missions. I built my character as more and more options became available. My ship became a power house, and once again I felt that feeling. Markets that once felt obtuse became a method of obtaining credits; the factions I had once feared become allies. “Null sector” (the once fearful outer planets) became my hunting ground as my fear of progression lessoned. I am sure there was a narrative I was meant to follow in there, but that became secondary as my empire expanded. I found trade routes that could earn me exceptional money, and then found that I could even let other ship fly these routes without me. This was when I realised what a deep game Dangerous truly is. At this point, I should probably admit that main “meta” narrative has to large extent faded into the background. Sure, I could follow that path, but this personal adventure of my own felt more ‘natural’ to me. To this day months after release I still do not know what happens at the end of the narrative section of game, such is the pull of the other aspects of the game.

On a far more practical level this game feels like a fully realise “EVE” than anything I have encountered. You can play it differently, but I must confess this aspect has not been tested by myself. I am a strictly RPGer , orbit type of player that uses the interface “EVE” like rather than anything “GOF” like. The option for combat a central feature do allow a more hands on approach , but I was content to play the captain issuing commands and raining death without any “twitch” input. Like other aspects this was my choice, this was the way I decided to play the game. My “Xp” was invested into skills for the way I played the game. "YMMV" as the saying goes.

The HD version introduces well, simply staggering graphics upgrades. Planets are real 3D objects not some background, and are simply jaw dropping and exactly how I imagined things in my young mind. You can fly anywhere, yes that choice is yours again are you the trader? The Pirate? The military man? The Rogue? I rebought this again to show some support to a developer that obviously is “flying under the radar” despite investing so heavily in a genre that that many profess to love but are not willing to invest either time nor money in.

In a world of “slight” gaming where the touch screen is denigrate as a “temple run” or “angry bird” clone, games such as this prove the medium is far more mature than is given credit for, I suppose the choice in the end is, what do you the consumer want? Frivolous mediocre fun or deep rich experience such as this. Where you spend your money is of course your choice, fully realised world with great graphics or the latest temple run clone/ angry bird etc. Like the “golden age” of computing innovation in games comes and go, but in the end its us the consumer that decided the future of the platform, not those that manufacture the games. We decide, what do we want “free to play” models of "bite sized reproductions" or games like this.

Now I realise that this is a slightly self-indulgent , almost polemic review with, perhaps little detail of the game, but this is intentional, to spoil that initial “confusion” is to break the spell of a bygone era, when games had a underlining intricate complexity that was part of the game. Figuring out this is part of the overall experience, and creates and elevates this game from a mediocre “space trader” to something that has far more depth. To an extent "Google" has eroded this feature of gaming, but I urge the readership of TA to buy this ,if nothing else it send the message that we want game with more depth, and into the bargain we truly stimulate a market that is danger of stagnation from the mediocre.

A solid 5 stars out of 5 if there has been any.

Last edited by wicro; 08-25-2012 at 04:59 PM..

 

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