SEncounter

One of the biggest surprises I’ve had since becoming the Indie Gamer Chick is how small a presence first-person-shooters have on the Xbox Live Indie Game marketplace.  It’s kind of baffling to me because the Xbox360 is pretty much the all time leading nesting ground for the genre.

Sit down and shut up PC, nobody was talking to you.

Anyway, I’ve played exactly one FPS since starting this site, which was Send in Jimmy, a game that was so special that Michelle Bachmann is going to be running it in her anti-HPV Vaccine ads.  Just about everything that could be bad about it was.  It was slow and had more fogging than a Cheech & Chong concert.  And yet, I have to admit it did have a degree of charm.  It was like an inbred dog found at a rundown Mexican puppy farm, which you fall in love even knowing that it would piss all over the couches and eventually drown in its own water dish.  So yea, I did like it, even if there wasn’t really anything about it to like.  But hey, it was a buck, so what did I expect, right?

Well SEncounter was also a buck, and it was also a first person shooter, so obviously I’m ready to adopt my latest cross-eyed, over-sized-tongue-having mongrel and give it a good home.  You can just look at it and know it’s going to be awful.  It all starts with the name.  SEncounter doesn’t seem like a good title for a video game.  It looks like a fucking typo.  I was really excited because this was bound to be a really good bad game that I could enjoy in the same way I enjoy a Michael Bay movie.  But, as it turns out, no, it’s just totally incoherent shit, like.. well like a Michael Bay movie.

At first I thought it was going to be okay.  I mean the game had nice and clean graphics and a crisp framerate.  And then I encountered my first enemy.  Well, maybe “encounter” is too strong a word.  It was a little mobile satellite on-wheels thingie that started emptying bullets into me like I was Bonnie fucking Parker.  The only problem is it wasn’t even close to me!  It was way the fuck down there!  And why am I pointing my finger?  This is a written review.  My point is it wasn’t even close to me.  At first I couldn’t even see what was shooting at me.  There’s a little radar thingie that tells you what direction you’re being shot from, but it’s not all that helpful.  I thought the damn thing shooting at me was a piece of the scenery.  And then I noticed the muzzle flash, which was followed about two years later by me actually taking damage.  I felt like a total buffoon because here are bullets that are about as speedy as an octogenarian with a walker and oxygen tank and they’re still managing to kill me.

Being the expert at shooters that I am (stop snickering Bryce), I took aim and fired at the little roving satellite thingie.  Then I pitched a tent and took a naspki while I waited for my bullets to actually reach it.  Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  In reality, it only takes a few seconds for bullets to reach something that’s about 50 yards away.  Still, IT TAKES A FEW SECONDS FOR BULLETS TO REACH SOMETHING THAT’S 50 YARDS AWAY!  God damn, what a piece of shit game.

Having destroyed my first target, I decided to move on.  Only I was being shot at again.  This time, the dude was way-way-way-way the fuck away.  And it was an actual dude, not a machine.  So logically speaking, it shouldn’t have been able to fire as accurately as it did.  I mean this kind of accuracy in AI would make the producers of Far Cry hang their heads in shame.  And yet here is this dude in an entirely different county than I’m standing in, firing at me with a fucking assault rifle and still being dead-on-balls-accurate every fucking bullet.  Meanwhile, your character only has two weapons: an assault rifle thingie and a sniper rifle.  So I pull out the sniper rifle, take aim, and fire.  Without exaggeration, it took a full five seconds for the dude to die.  Was it my bullet or was it natural causes?  Only God knows.

So I go around the corner and I get shot at again. Only this time, it was a sniper in a tower and by time I figured out where he was at, I was worm food.  Upon respawning, I was easily able to dispatch him and other enemies.  Then I went through this barn thingie and got tagged and killed by a few other enemies.  I respawned back in the barn, only I had exactly as much life left as I had when I entered the barn, which was about enough to survive a fly vomiting on me but not much else.  Sure enough, I poked my head out of the barn and got shot.  At this point, I had run out of lives and game overed.

You have got to be kidding me.  A lives system?  As if the broken checkpoint system wasn’t enough, a lives system?  Fuck this game.

Upon returning to the main menu, I decided that I should recheck the control scheme to make sure I’m wasn’t forgetting to push the “make the game fun” button.  Sadly, there was no such button.  But, there was a “run” button.  Using it, your guy actually runs at what seems like a faster speed than the bullets in the game do.  With it, I decided to use a new strategy: ignore all the enemies and just leg it to the finish of each of the seven stages.  Sure, it was shameful beyond belief, and whatever cred I hadn’t already lost when I admitted I couldn’t throw a Dragon Punch was sure to be toast, but I thought it was a valid strategy.  I would just run for it, weaving back and forth like I was Mel Gibson behind the wheel of a car, which I theorized would mean the snail-like bullets would not hit me.  I know, dumbest way ever to play a FPS.

It worked.

Hell, I beat the game in about thirty minutes only firing when the game outright made me.  So what did I think of SEncounter?  Well I would suggest the main character can go ahead and swallow the end of his own gun but I want him to die of something other than old age.

SEncounter was developed by WSB Software

80 Microsoft Points on this day can honestly say they were faster than a speeding bullet in the making of this review.

Video courtesy of http://Indies.onPause.org

About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

8 Responses to SEncounter

  1. Dcon6393 says:

    so the question is, would the game have been good if bullets traveled the right speeds (with logical spreads) and a redone life system?

    • Kairi Vice says:

      There’s three problems in this game: The lives system, the bullet speed, and the fact that even on the easiest setting the enemies always fire on you with 100% accuracy from any distance with any gun. Of those three problems, the lives is the least of the problems. The other two are a lot to fix, but it would obviously help.

  2. Starglider says:

    Almost every aspect of 3D games takes a lot more time and effort than 2D games, to get a comparable quality if player experience. For example GPU shaders are a whole different language and programming paradigm to the C# used for the main game; most XNA devs never learn it, but it’s essential to making 3D games look decent on the X360. Also 2D games are compared to other indie titles or retro games, while 3D games are compared with AAA titles.

    This particular game looks very much like something a second year undergrad made for 3D Games Programming 101, it’s exactly the sort of thing that would be set as coursework over a semester or two. To be fair at least it’s complete, most of those student projects are left unfinnished.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      I just want to say, since I only glossed over it in my review, the graphics really are well done. Hopefully the developers take the experience from making this and create something awesome with it.

      • Starglider says:

        Based on that video the graphics are not ‘well done’. The textures are repeated far too much, there is only a hint of static lighting and it’s badly done, there is no normal mapping or other surface detail, the explosions look horrible, the skybox is blatantly a flat texture due to lack of parallax and worst of all the world geometry is extremely low detail, probably because they don’t have any culling mechanisms and have to render all of it on every frame.

        An example of ‘really well done’ for a first-person XBLIG game would be Project Temporality : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQYAVIH8-lk

      • Kairi Vice says:

        Fine, well done relatively speaking for one of those rare XBLIG first-person shooters. Happy?

        And yes, that video looks hot hot hot.

  3. kolphyre says:

    Sadly, I don’t think ‘faster than a speeding bullet’ counts as an accomplishment when the bullets are as slow as you are describing.

  4. Pingback: Demon House: FPS « Indie Gamer Chick

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