A.I. (Absolutely Irritating)

Over the Easter/Royal Wedding break, I had plenty of time at home and found myself delving into my back catalogue for games, particularly online games. I ended up teaming up with one of our forumers (forumites?) for a blast through the cooperative mode of the original Gears of War on Hardcore. For a game of its age it still plays remarkably well, except for one irritating niggle. The friendly AI characters on your team. Apart from being idiots, and in at least one case, massive stereotypes, they are almost useless. If you get shot and are down, they will simply stand on your crumpled body and ignore you, rather than reviving you. They’ll also run out into the middle of the battlefield, firing sniper rifles at enemies three feet in front of them, until they get knocked down and you HAVE to revive them, or else fail. Still, it is a relatively old game now, and can be forgiven these minor niggles.

From right to left: My co-op buddy, me, and two dickheads.

Having finished Gears, we were in the zone, and decided to push our luck, jumping straight into the campaign for Gears of War 2, on the hardest (“Insane”) difficulty level. Insane seems to be the right name, if we are talking about both the difficulty, and the placement of the checkpoints. The amount of times we died, only to find ourselves back about ten minutes ago, and before a cutscene, was quite irritating. Fortunately, dying happened slightly less often now, because this time the AI characters can actually revive you. It’s definitely not easy, still, but then it is the hardest difficulty level for a reason.

Towards the end of the game though, we hit the wall. And I don’t mean a wall of difficulty, more a wall of AI stupidity, and a sudden twist of the games rules. The game splits you up, with one co-op player taking the left route, and the other the right. I was teamed up with blonde-haired Baird, the cowardly sniper, and my co-op partner with Cole the walking stereotype. Out of the blue, the game now decides that the AI characters can no longer revive you. So if you get knocked down, it is game over. Same rules still apply to you and the AI characters though, if they get knocked down, you must save them before their timer expires, or they die, and you fail.

Baird: The bravest, and also stupidest, man alive.

This is where Baird completely lost the plot. As far as I am aware, there is only one type of normal enemy in Gears of War 2 that does not fire a weapon at you: the Mauler. This brute is about 8ft tall and wouldn’t look out of place on the door of a Barnsley nightclub. He wields a grenade tipped mace, and whatever you do, you don’t get close to him. You hang back, pop him repeatedly with the sniper rifle until he is dead. If he gets close, you RUN. Not Baird. Baird runs at this guy while they are both standing on a tiny ledge and tries to go at him, toe to toe. Naturally the Mauler does what I wanted to do, and smashes his weapon down on to Baird’s stupid stupid head, knocking him straight off the edge. Game over.

Over, and over, and over again. Failing repeatedly because of the stupid AI character. It’s one thing to lose because you or your co-op partner got killed, but to fail because of an idiotic AI that you can’t even tell to stay still is just bloody irritating. If I had wanted to babysit idiots I would have bought Babysitting Simulator Pro on PC, not Gears of War 2. And it’s not just Gears that does this, many hundreds of missions in otherwise perfectly good games have been ruined by this irritating tendency to force you to babysit thick-headed suicidal dunces. So please, developers, for all that is good and holy, please take a leaf from Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and allow me to tell people I have to babysit to sit down and shut up. The world will be a much nicer place for it.






5 responses to “A.I. (Absolutely Irritating)”

  1. Mike avatar

    This happened to me in Dynasty Warriors yesterday. The ruler of one kingdom got stuck in a fence and could no longer follow me. It’s hard to believe such a man has the capacity for ruling an entire country.

  2. Deltorro avatar

    The AI not being able to revive you in the split-up areas is a bit of an oversight. It comes from the bots not being to able to revive in single player on any difficulty but casual, but your co-op partner can. It may be on purpose though for the sake of difficulty.

  3. Mark P avatar

    That happened to me in Dynasty Warriors a few times. Characters will be fleeing for their lives only for a high fence about a metre long to be in their path and they just can’t figure out how to get around it with you physically having to nudge them round it.

  4. Barry avatar

    You becomming a bit of a gear-head then Tony?

    If you’ve got all the DLC, count me in for some horde mode 😉

  5. Tony avatar

    I don’t think I have any DLC for either, Barry! Never particularly got into the multiplayer but I do enjoy a good co-op game, which is the main reason I’ll be getting Gears 3.

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