Daikatana: Skills

A couple more levels in now. So far, it’s still basically just a glorified Quake WAD punctuated by occasional amateurish in-engine cutscenes. But I just acquired my first NPC sidekick, so we’ll see how that goes.

I’ll say this: It’s behind its time, design-wise. It was released in 2000, two years after both Unreal and Half-Life. Did it learn anything from either of them? Not really, or at least not at the level of interaction. I keep trying to use alt-fire, or reload my weapon, and am frustrated in the attempt. I’m pretty sure I didn’t care for the idea of manually reloading when games first started experimenting with it, but it’s come to fill a psychological need: the urge, during moments of downtime, to do something to prepare for the next encounter, however small.

But it has added one thing that wasn’t in Quake: a leveling and skill point system. Not a very large one, mind you. Just five skills: Power (how hard you hit), Attack (how fast you hit), Speed (how fast you move), Acro (how high you jump), and Vitality (max health). So it’s all very closely tied to the FPS gameplay. My first inclination was to sink as many points as I could into Acro, the better to access secrets and shortcuts, but frankly, even after maxing it out, it doesn’t seem to have a very large effect. Once you’ve upgraded Acro at all, any jump you make plays the Six Million Dollar Man bionic jump sound effect, but I’m not jumping anywhere near as high as Steve Austin. I’m hoping that the upgrade cap will get raised at some point.

The weirdest thing about upgrading skills is that, as far as I can tell, you can’t do it with the default controls. You have to go into the options menu and bind keys to “upgrade power”, “upgrade attack”, etc.


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