The backer version of the OUYA finally shipped, and saw a couple of reviews go up on the sites Engadget and The Verge. Both were a bit… less than favorable; I’ve been waiting to see if another review will emerge—maybe a positive one to contrast with—but so far I haven’t seen anything more substantial than a positive tweet or blog post. The most positive I’ve seen was at Joystiq, and it admitted the OUYA “is not ready for primetime” and that “people want a sure thing.”
Granted, I know a lot of people will discount the reviews off-hand, with something like “Well, of course it, it wasn’t an Apple product, of course they’d hate it.” While the sites have a little more leniency with Apple products, I’ve noted they can be predisposed to ranking other products ahead—the new Roku 3 getting better remarks than the Apple TV, for example. But I think it reveals a little more of the underlying reasons why I’ve been so hesitant to buy into the OUYA hype: I’m surprised as heck that they managed to get it out by their expected March production dates, but as the reviews show, it’s somewhere in the Alpha build, or very early Beta.
I’m getting the sense that people are liking it more for its hackability as a home media center—this generation’s XMBC, using off-the-shelf cellphone parts and a forked version of Android—despite the product being pitched as an alternative for the indie gamer who doesn’t want to shell out the big bucks for the PS or Xbox systems shipping in the next few years, or who’d take the time and effort to make their own STEAM box. It’s for enthusiasts who get hyped up about Raspberry Pi, not the mainline gamer. (While Pi is actually pretty cool, most people have no use for it on a daily basis.)
Which is fine; different strokes for different folks—I’m lazy and my Roku works fine for me, though I wish the originals would get the new hotness update instead of that shitty old carousel display that wastes space, and better support for USB devices and various audio/video codecs would be nice, to use the content on my external drive. Anyways, I’m getting sidetracked.
As a game system, the reviews point out the same reasons I was hesitant and didn’t go with the Kickstarter after all. First, Google’s had enough of a hard time getting people to design apps for 10″ tablets (again, plenty of apps on my Nexus 7 that scale for shit can attest to that); getting people to design apps for a 50″ HDTV would be nightmarish. Plus, OUYA doesn’t have the benefit of hiding its push behind the weight Google’s throwing around, since they’re using their own appstore environment. So not only do they have to convince developers to release another version of their app—bigger, stronger, and free-but-not-really-free, you’ll have to re-purchase all the apps and games you already bought for your phone or tablet. Sigh.
Next, that app needs to run fine using the technology and parts used to power smartphones. Next, smartphone parts become obsolete every 6-10 months; the tech in the current OUYA is already falling behind. So OUYA is coming out with yearly $99 releases; ok, that keeps the tech nice and current, but the cost is becoming more of a burden at that point. More than one and you’re already past the cost of a Roku; more than two and you’re past the cost of a decent Xbox 360; after five or six years of updates, you’ve just spent as much as you would on a next-gen Playstation, Xbox, or a solid mid-range gaming PC. Is $99 a pop expensive? Kinda, but in the grand scheme of technology, not really. Do you have to buy a new one every year? No, but I’d be surprised if the speed at which mobile gaming increases doesn’t necessitate purchasing a stronger OUYA every 2-3 years.
I like the implementation of the menu system as shown thus far, though I hope they patch over the bits of stock Jelly Bean sooner or later with their own stuff. And the promise from developers to make titles just for OUYA is a step in the right direction. Maybe it’s just my hesitation to be an early adapter, because early adapters don’t come in to the established, full-fledged experience; case in point, compare the Blackberry 10 or Windows Mobile app stores to Google Play or the iOS Appstore. Maybe it’s just that I’d rather put up with bad control schemes to play the same games on my mobiles because they fill a certain niche (killing time on the one electronic device most people consider essential), and would rather play the grandstanding, mainline titles—the Haloes, Bioshocks, and Elder Scrolls of gaming—on my TV or computer. Whatever the reason, I’ve actually been losing interest in the OUYA the closer it comes to mainstream production, and feel kind of bad about it.
I know it’s old news, since it came out just over two months ago, but Apple came out with their first high-capacity tablet: an iPad with 128 gigabytes of internal storage. Compared to personal computers, that doesn’t sound like much space, but most tablets and smartphones have wallowed in the 8/16/32/64 sizing mire, where the 8 gig isn’t terribly useful, the 16 utilitarian, and the 32/64 pretty expensive. Needless to say, the big iPad generated a number of articles and arguments before being forgotten after about a day… except by me, who didn’t have time to finish writing this until long after it stopped being news.
Three points I’d like to touch on.
First, the price is definitely high, but not at all unexpected; Apple has a habit of making products as good or slightly better than the competition, months before any serious competitor can match their marketing and promotional machine, much less their supply/demand, and then sell it at a 30% markup. Then, they come out with incremental, yearly updates, and have everything fall into a very specific pricing hierarchy where the next step up is around $100 more than the one below it. $499 for 16gb, $599 for 32gb, $699 for 64gb, ergo, $799 for 128gb.
$799 for a wifi-only tablet is high: you could get, what, three Chromebooks for that price, or a decent Windows laptop, a solid midrange-plus desktop, one of the better Mac Minis, or both a Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 (both 32gb models). Actually, that last option isn’t a bad way to spend a chunk of change. And the Macbook Air is just a short half-step, price wise, above the $929 wifi + cell data 128gb iPad.
But unlike its competitors Google and Amazon, Apple doesn’t subsidize its products to make bank on easy access to an online marketplace—Apple is selling an image, and the Apple Tax helps build that reputation by making the products more exclusive. (Creating both the hardware and software can’t hurt; where else are you going to go but Apple if you want to get upgrades for your Mac? Check those prices on RAM and the new hotness Fusion Drive, please.) Plus, miniaturization of a 128gb SSD can’t be too cheap; it costs $80-140 to get a PC-ready internal SSD, and the tablet model would have to be notably smaller, thinner, and lighter.
All in all, it’s actually cheaper than its competitors ($1,049 for a Acer Iconia W700, $1,299 Razer Edge Pro, the Samsung ATIV price-slashed from $1,929 down to $1,300-something)… but note that all of those are running Windows 8, and desperately trying to be tablets, computers, and gaming consoles simultaneously. If Google/Samsung kept their pricing structure, a 128 gig Nexus 10 would be $699, which isn’t that much cheaper than the iPad pricing, considering the comparative lack of Android apps designed for large screens. (I’ve found plenty of awful looking apps on my 7″ Nexus, and I can’t imagine how bad they’d look on a 10″ one.)
Second, more storage is very much a good thing; in another five years, we’ll all look back and laugh when we think about computers that don’t have a terrabyte or more of Solid State storage. The main criticism about a 128gb iPad, other than the price, was “What are you going to do with all that storage?” which I think is a very backwards-looking question. Yes, I can only see around two types of users who’d have need for that: consumers who want to have their entire music library—or a large part of it—on their tablet; and the few professionals who use the top-end CAD and graphic design software. The release saw quotes from the AutoCAD iOS app developers, and it’s their kind of product that would really shine on a large-capacity tablet.
So, the big benefit I’m seeing is that it opens up the floor for use by more professionals—not just thinking corporate/Enterprise users, but anyone who use high-end software for engineering, graphic design, 3d modelling, etc. Now that there’s more storage, those big apps with big files aren’t as much of a problem. And while I’d personally dread to use most of them on a touchscreen tablet, I can see the appeal of putting CAD, Adobe CreativeSuite, Maya, etc. on a device that’s twice as light and portable as your standard laptop. (Besides, if it works for people in science fiction films, professional tablet computing can work for us, right?)
So, the detractors are saying “too bad there’s not many programs on there taking advantage of all this”—and by that, I also refer to the 4th generation iPad’s processor and graphics, which benchmark high on the current round of tablets but really don’t have anything in the app store to put that much strain on the hardware. On the other hand, there’s the a hopeful “well, it means the doors have been opened for others to develop bigger, more demanding apps to take advantage of the disk size and hardware.” Whether they do or don’t, we shall see. The option is there, but designing those high-end programs to function gracefully on a 10″ touchscreen is a whole ‘nother matter.
Third, thanks to the rapid developments in cloud computing, I do have to question the values of physical media in our age of cloud computing and cloud storage. On the one hand, remember the embarrassing iCloud outage about a month after the 128gb iPad was announced? On the other, something I’ve learned from personal experience:
I have a 32gb Nexus 7 (wifi model), and a 64gb iPod touch 5th gen, both of which I use with regularity. (I wanted devices that were ultra-portable and lacked an expensive cell data contract; the Nexus fit my bill for a combination Android gaming platform, e-reader, and digital RPG assistant; the iPod fits in my pocket, stores most of my music, has an insane battery life, and it’s blue.) Both currently have around 20 gigs of free space, after formatting and loading them down with apps. They both store around 30 gigs of music, a little over half my music library, but in different ways. The iPod is packed because it has to hold all the song files on its drive; meanwhile, you’re probably wondering how the Nexus 7—with only 27.85 gigabytes of storage after formatting—can hold 30 gigs of music and still have other apps installed and 20 gigs of free space.
The answer is cloud computing: Google’s Play service hosts all the tunes you buy through them, uploads the music library off your computer, and stores it in the cloud to stream back down. My 30 gigs of music—plus some things I bought off Play but haven’t put in iTunes yet—take up not a single byte of storage on my device. Free of charge, I should add; Apple has their own cloud music storage system, iTunes Match, but in comparison it’s not very good. It does store more tracks, and in higher qualities, but it doesn’t allow you to stream them back down out of the cloud: instead, it plays them while downloading, and then they’re back to taking up space on your hard disk. So I guess it streams them once, while downloading. Not an ideal solution, especially if you’re the poor sap who thought they could get by with an 8gb iPhone. In short, it stores my songs, I stream them back down to play, and my tablet has both all my tracks and loads of free space.
My gut says physical storage will remain the preference over cloud computing, especially since there’s a number of issues with it—if I’m not at home, or within range of a free wifi network, my awesome Google Play library is worthless. A server outage would wreck me as well, and if Google somehow went under, I’d have to find another service to dump all those tracks into. Part of the reason I picked up the iPod was because of this very same issue: the music is on the device, so I can go for a walk around the neighborhood without worrying about stopping the rock because I went off the network.
But, given the way our technology is developing, I think cloud computing will eventually overtake physical storage when two criteria are met. First is that they’re more stable and secure; they’re no use if they go down for more than ten minutes. The more important second is the prolific and widespread use of wifi. Most restaurants, malls, and even businesses have realized that, in our technological world, it’s considered an essential service to provide free wifi, and do so along with restrooms and free water and decent lighting. You get free wifi at your local library, or in the hospital waiting room. We already have cars that function as wifi hotspots as well; I could use it to connect my Nexus and stream my MOG, Pandora, or Spotify through the car speakers via Bluetooth, a sentence I’m pretty sure would have confused my grandparents. Give it another 10-15 years, and we could see wifi provided as an essential service everywhere: grocery stores, gas stations, you name it. Possibly a replacement frequency of some kind, combining the strength and stability of wifi (or Bluetooth for that matter) with the wide coverage of a cell data network. We’re nowhere near that yet, but if I had to guess about our future, I’d bet it all on ease of access to the internet. The growth we’ll see in the next decades will probably floor us.
When we reach the egalitarian science fictional utopia where our cities beam out free network connections from every streetlight, that’s the point where we can take physical storage out behind the shed. I’d take that over moving sidewalks any day… but the flying cars, now, that’s another story.
I have to say, the trailer to Far Cry 3 makes me really want to run out and pick it up. The depth and breadth—not to mention the various critics’ praise—shown in the ten-minute teaser trailer is impressive. The single-player story looks cool, the environments look immersive, and the leveling up tattoos and gun modifications look amazing. But I’m still a little hesitant; it looks too much like an improved Far Cry 2, and Far Cry 2 was one of the most disappointing games I’ve ever played.
Far Cry 2 didn’t try to follow in the original game’s footsteps, other than having lush, expansive environments to drive around in, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to focus on; they even expanded the amount of sandbox, putting Far Cry 2 on the Elder Scrolls/Grand Theft Auto level. It took place in a war-torn African nation, playing a mercenary stricken with malaria who was after the arms dealer supply both factions in the war. With an arsenal of weapons, it’s your job to take on the two factions and fight your way through the jungles to kill the arms dealer. Sounds all good so far, right?
Well, the actual gameplay is very hit or miss. Some of the game’s mechanics are great, some of them terrible. Most of them are just bland and irritating.
- The setting is just plain huge, covering deserts, plains, jungles, slums, all the key African environment types. And when I say huge, I mean fucking gigantic: the map you start out on is bigger than most sandbox games, and then halfway through the game another map is unlocked, doubling the world size. The day-night cycle is impressive, and goes by at a decent pace. And those expansive maps are filled with lush vistas and really cool locales, even if the plants can be rubbery at times.
- The problem is, it’s empty, and infuriatingly boxed-in despite its size. Big and expansive with not a damn thing to do it in, except at the scattered waypoints on your map. There’s no real wildlife out there, and except in the wide-open plains and desert areas, you’re restricted to either a.) traveling by foot, which takes YEARS for you to cross the map, or b.) driving along rivers and dirt tracks through the jungle.
- The problem with the dirt tracks and roads is that there are faction checkpoints every mile or so filled with troops that you have to kill. Between the checkpoints are roving vehicles on patrol. Either way, you have to stop to fight after about five minutes of traveling, which gets monotonous and repetitive. Worse, it takes the focus away from the gorgeous scenery.
- Respawns! When you leave a checkpoint after blowing it up and looting it, walk five feet out of view, turn around and go back because you’re short on grenades, bam reinforcements have arrived. There is no sense that anything you do impacts this world, since the checkpoints and road patrols regenerate some ten seconds after you get out of view. This also works in the inverse; walk too far away from a vehicle and it vanishes.
- Enemy AI! This exists only in on/off form; either they’re shooting at you, or they’re milling about. If you silently kill one of them trying to be a stealthy sniper, they all see you and open fire within minutes, and have the accuracy to shoot the ass off a gnat at half a mile. Enemy tactics revolve around a.) seeing you regardless of how well concealed you are, b.) shooting way more accurately than you do, and c.) running wildly in your general direction. Gone are the tactical geniuses of the original Far Cry; these guys are just dumb mooks with superhuman accuracy and x-ray vision. Their vehicles drive faster than yours, too, which makes chases not very interesting.
- Realism! Your weapons will degrade over time, so you have maybe three or five pitched battles before that awesome assault rifle blows up in your hand. Pick up an enemy weapon and it blows up even quicker, because these sniper ninjas use garbage equipment. The same thing happens to your vehicles; they can take scant little damage before their engines start smoking and you have to hop out and crank the fix bolt a few times to repair it.
- Malaria Outbreaks! As part of the realism, now and then your screen turns sepia-toned, and you have to travel back to the center of Map A to restock on medicine. If you don’t, you become sick and wobbly-cam ensues.
- Vehicles! Handle like overladen shopping carts, and can accelerate from 3 to 30 in about a minute. They are made of glass, except for the special Unimog armored truck (which is made out of particle board). There’s also a hang glider, which is neat, and boats, which are not.
- Fire! Okay, this was pretty cool: throw a Molotov cocktail or set off an explosion and the world catches fire. It spreads out to a certain radius and stops, but it looks cool and can be really helpful. The plains burn especially well.
- One of the great ideas the game brought in was the allies system; you’ll have some mercenary allies who’ll ask you to do sidequests, and will offer alternate routes for doing main quests. Do enough of those and their friendship bar will increase; then, when you’d otherwise be shot to death, one of your buddies would arrive to pull your ass out of the fire. Way cool. What made it better was when your buddy went down trying to save you, requiring your medicinal syrettes for healing or a mercy-kill overdose if they’re too badly injured. Added a bit of depth to a game that sorely needed it.
- The game uses conflict diamonds as currency, which is a fantastic piece of flavor.
- The diamonds are used to unlock weapons, then to buy and upgrade them. There’s a wide and interesting selection of killin’ utensils, but the best options are if you preordered to get the bonus DLC. At any one time, you get a selection of grenades and Molotov cocktails, and get to pick between one light weapon (pistols, machine pistols, a flare gun, an M79 grenade launcher, or a sawed-off double-barrel-shotgun), longarms (a variety of assault rifles, a shotgun or two, and a bolt-action sniper rifle), and heavy weapons (an RPG, a crossbow that fires explosive bolts, a flamethrower, a mortar, machine guns, and a recoilless rifle). The upgrades only modify accuracy, damage, and reliability (how long it goes before it blows up), and are a nice touch, but I’m not actually sure how much they improve anything by.
- The designers tried to institute some story-oriented missions and sidequests, but these are so predictable that they become boring as hell. Standard mission setup involves you traveling to the other side of the map, emptying out all the checkpoints in between, killing everything at the mission location, then clearing out the checkpoints on the way back, to get paid with a few conflict diamonds. Missions include “blow up the convoy looping endlessly from point A to point B,” “kill dude X for the dude at the cell towers,” “kill things so the gun shop unlocks more gear,” “kill everything at location Z and bring back the area’s macguffin,” etc. Imagine a half-dozen copy/pasted versions of those mission types and you get the picture.
- The main missions weren’t much better, and only a handful fall outside the most generic mission types. In truth, there isn’t much of a story, just an endless series of repetitive quests similar to the sidequests. Lord, it’s like the world’s emptiest MMORPG. The exceptions were hunting for secret diamond caches (a scavenger hunt), and unlocking safehouses (you’d bump into them, kill the occupiers, and have a save place to sleep at night). Both were useful and entertaining pursuits, from an exploration standpoint, if a little gamey.
- TL;DR: To complete one mission, you’ll most likely have to end up driving for half an hour, adding ten to fifteen minutes to the trip for each checkpoint you run. After spending the better half of an hour to get to the mission, you fight more mooks—just like at those checkpoints, but at someplace bigger!—then fight your way back through that half-hour drive and all those refilled checkpoints. Rinse, wash, and repeat for six billion identical missions.
- Did I mention that no matter whose side you’re working on, all the faction checkpoints will open up on you at first sight? The game tries to play it off as you being some undercover operative on a secret mission for the head honchos so they can’t tell their hired mooks not to shoot at you, but it feels like lazy game designers.
So, some interesting features, fantastic immersion, great graphics, and a number of serious, critical flaws that ruined the entertainment value of the game. I get the feeling the developers were trying to make a first-person Grand Theft Auto, which they set in the African equivalent of an Elder Scrolls game. But they did so without understanding what made those sandboxes fun. Most of all, those worlds were packed with interesting locations, NPCs, and missions, things that Far Cry 2 sorely lacked. In a way, it was too much sandbox, not enough content. And your actions had next to no impact on the cookie-cutter world.
Some people really liked Far Cry 2. The critics loved it; just look at its Metacritic rating to see the difference between “critic” and “corporate shill.” I stopped playing after some twenty hours and went off to beat Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Maybe things got better on the second map, but I was just too bored—it’s not a game, it’s a slog. Compared to sandboxes like Fallout: New Vegas, Just Cause 2, Saints Row 2, Oblivion, Skyrim, even the STALKER games (limited sandboxes though they are), I just didn’t find Far Cry 2 entertaining or redeemable. Hence my apprehension at the third game in the Far Cry series, despite the trailer’s lovely promises. Won’t get fooled again.
Obsidian Portal asked an interesting question a few days ago: who would win, an ancient red dragon or the legendary Tarrasque? It points out some issues I’ve had (both thinking about and saying) for a while about D&D.
In a pure cage match, it’s hands-down the Tarrasque. It has amazing regeneration, is immune to fire, has mondo spell and damage resistance (36 and 15/Epic); as soon as it gets a hold of the dragon, that dragon will be mauled to death in a couple of rounds. If it went like standard D&D combat—run up to each other, stand relatively adjacent, and whale away with attacks—the dragon doesn’t have a chance. Its stats are nowhere near as good.
Of course, that also overlooks the dragon’s amazing tactical advantages, and is looking at this challenge from a really short-sighted angle. Because if played right, there’s no way the dragon can lose. First off, it has several amazing advantages that the Tarrasque can never overcome.
- Smarts. The average person’s intelligence is 10. If I remember my D&D stat examples, a really smart person (Einstein, Napoleon, etc.) would have around a 16-18. An ancient red dragon has an intelligence of 20 and a wisdom of 21. It exists on such a higher plane of thinking that it could do complex calculus and trig in its head, and could poke holes in Einsteinian physics. The Tarrasque is on par with a crow or a wolf. Both of those are cunning, but such animal cunning is limited against lateral thinking and tactical planning. The dragon is about on par with Rommel—tactically brilliant, yet prone to overconfidence and hubris.
- Flight. You know how players first beat the “unkillable” Tarrasque? They flew up where the damn thing couldn’t reach them and pelted it with powerful effects and abilities, dropping rocks on Big T and relying on that nat 20 critical hit on ranged weapons. A dragon gets flight as a natural ability: it can just fly up and drop spells and stuff on the Tarrasque. (You know the Tarrasque’s +43 to jump? Using RAW, that means it can jump 13 feet in the air if it Took 10 on the roll. You’ll be fine with the flying.)
- Spells and Abilities. Yes, the value of wall of fire or firebreath is pretty nil against something immune to everything. But that spellcasting means it can cast scrolls, and maybe even brush up on some spell choices of its own. Because of its…
- Hoard. The last few times I dealt with dragons were in Pathfinder, where I note they’ve tricked out dragons with cool magical artifacts. Take Legacy of Fire for example; the PCs had this dragon tailing them for most of the City of Brass sessions. Said dragon was printed with an insane amount of bling: rings of protection, belt of strength, amulet of natural armor. It had around 60k gp worth of items on, and had stats way better than it should have for CR 15—its AC was 36, meaning the PCs had to roll upwards of 15-17 to hit. That’s before getting to its stoneskin, periapt of wound closure, or ring of invisibility The point is, dragons have a hoard of stuff, and it’s always kind of confused me why the damn things don’t walk around wearing thousands of gold worth of stuff. They should, and it’s nice to find modules where they do.
Now, that’s not even looking at how the dragon could use its powerful abilities. But sit back, think about it. If you had those advantages, what would you do to kill the Tarrasque? I know what I’d do if I were the dragon in that situation.
- Go recruit an army to help deal with it. Those fifty billion kobolds might not do that much, but a nat 20 is still a hit, and it’ll give the Tarrasque something to focus on. An army of lizardfolk or dragonborn or something would be better. Maybe easily cowed orcs.
- Or bribe/intimidate some dragons which might also be affected by the Tarrasque, who have abilities it’s not immune to—Cold being the obvious one.
- Or summon a balor, bind it, and task it to get rid of the Tarrasque. How? I don’t care, that’s why I summoned you. Summon some more evil outsiders or something after I fly away.
- Better yet, Polymorph, go into town, and set some of those pesky humans after the damn thing. When they’re off defending their crops, I can polymorph back and raze their town for valuables.
- Go home, look through my stash, sigh at the thought of losing one of my wish scrolls, and chuck the Tarrasque somewhere else that way.
- Lure it to an ocean or volcano or something, cast grease, and let it drown.
- If that’s too far away, knock it out and do whatever you want with it. If it’s unconscious, it’s considered willing for greater teleport, which a lot cheaper than a wish scroll. Drop it at the bottom of the ocean, so it drowns. Send it to Krynn or Faerun, just to be a dick. Bury it deep under a mountain and worry about it later—bonus if it’s a volcano, which will slow that regen down (25d6 lava damage per round equals to 60 average post-DR).
- Leave an open bag of holding at its feet, and telekinesis a portable hole into that. Let the gods sort ‘em out. If an ancient red dragon doesn’t have/can’t afford those, it’s not a real dragon (hoardless! hoardless!)
- It may have fire immunity, but last I checked, it wasn’t immune to the choking ash of having the countryside around it set alight. Just set fire to everything, dropping spells as available while flying outside of the Tarrasque’s reach, and let it choke to death.
- Hell, if I were the dragon and wanted to just go through bog-standard combat, I’d just circle-strafe Flyby Attacks using Greater Vital Strike (that’s 16d6+21 right there, crits on 19-20) until it was knocked out. On average, 16d6 deals 48 damage; plus 21 and minus the DR 15/Epic leaves you with 54 damage per round per average. Not including gear bonuses. When it’s unconscious, beat on it every few rounds while you prep to drop it into a live volcano to balance out the regen and let the two forces of nature fight it out.
The same things adventurers did in 3.0, really. But but, you say dragons aren’t as cool as people? It’s an ancient red dragon with stats statistically smarter than most people in the real world. Saying these are outside its scope or are impossible is downplaying just how powerful the dragons are. This is also based on my experiences with 3.x/Pathfinder; from what I can tell it’d be a slightly easier win for the Dragon in 4e.
For those of you saying “But the dragon had to fly away/couldn’t kill it in one round, that’s not winning!” Bullshit. If the Tarrasque ends up dead, the dragon has just won. Using its intelligence for long-term tactical planning and magical stash for an edge, to overcome a unique, legendary obstacle… that’s loving sensible, especially for a cold, cunning, logical dragon. It’s not a cheat, it’s using its Gygax-given abilities.
I feel kind of bad because I’m gaming the metagame here; many people who look at this see a clear victory for the Tarrasque, and the only way I can see that thing winning is if combat played out like the normal D&D slugfests.