Looking For Good Vibrations

Happy Weekend TAY!

Summer is winding down, so I was in overdrive last week getting some outdoor chores done which somehow magically transformed into me replacing the original and butt-ugly sconces in the family room (not outside) with some nice modern looking lights. This ended up being much more involved than I had planned as painting the walls was required when I removed the original fixtures.

I didn’t have a lot of time to game last week either as I’ve been battling a bit of insomnia and migraines. It really doesn’t help that Art Bell is back on the air again from midnight to 3am.

What gaming time I did end up with was solely devoted to Wolfenstein: The New Order. I’m in gaming nirvana!

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The storytelling is fabulous and just what I was hoping for from MachineGames. The gameplay though, this is what has grabbed me. The game really isn’t doing anything mechanically better than many shooters, but the idTech5 engine is just so tight and fast that everything feels so good.

Wolfenstein: The New Order isn’t without some problems though. Aside from the lack of volume options to raise the very quiet voice mix and the poor anti-aliasing implementation that I mentioned last week, there are a couple of minor issues that keep the game from perfection for me. That said, this is just nitpicking since Wolfenstein: The New Order is definitely miles better than most games I play.

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The AI isn’t stellar. It is better than many games, but the larger enemies seem to often get tripped up on the environment. I’ve been able to use this to exploit several large “bosses” and even just larger soldiers when they seem to get hung up on obstacles while they are searching for me.

My other pet peeve is the lack of controller rumble while using the mouse and keyboard. Like Rage, Wolfenstein: The New Order allows you to switch from mouse and keyboard on the fly. In Rage, I found this elevated the game to a new level as I had my preferred mouse and keyboard for the shooting sections and then could pick up a controller to steer my vehicle in Rage’s amazing driving sequences. While Wolfenstein: The New Order doesn’t have the same vehicle emphasis as Rage, there has been a driving section and submersible vehicle that both utilize the controller well.

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What Rage and Wolfenstein: The New Order fail to do, and what very few games that offer seamless switching from mouse and keyboard to controller seem to feature, is the continued activity of the controller vibration regardless of what input device you are using.

Games that continue to keep the controller vibration active, even when playing on the mouse and keyboard, really are a special breed to me. Even if I don’t use the controller often in these games, having the controller resting on my leg gives me a taste of the vibration feedback. I could play all of Wolfenstein: The New Order with my Xbox One controller on PC and enjoy all the rumble feedback, but the mouse and keyboard trumps my desire for the extra sensory feedback the vibration provides.

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I really miss vibration feedback in my PC games which is simply due to my preferred choice of controls. Frankly, I’m really surprised that more PC gamers don’t seem to talk about the lack of vibration in PC games and that we haven’t added a vibration belt or harness to the amazing variety of PC accessories. In lieu of such an accessory, I’d be really happy if devs just left the rumble on in the controllers attached to the machine when I use my mouse and keyboard. Considering the N64 launched vibration feedback in 1997 for home use, the “glorious PC race” has been so behind and certainly less than glorious on this aspect of gaming.

This weekend we have visitors around my house and I don’t know how much gaming I’ll have time for as I have other visitors coming again a few days later. Any time I can get to myself will be devoted to Wolfenstein: The New Order. It is definitely one of those games that draws me to it when I am not playing it and I can’t wait until my next session.

So, what are you playing this weekend?