Thursday, September 29, 2011

Drive on the wall, you say?

I never made it as far as Deus Ex last night (and GameFly just shipped Dirt 3 because they are incredible assholes). Once the card was installed and the necessary modifications made to the internals of my case it was time for Trackmania 2. Once I got over not getting preposterous performance from a mid-range card and turned the settings down from very nice to nice it was as good as I remembered it. Trackmania is not really a racing game; it's all about time trials. All that matters is getting from one end of the track to the other as fast as possible, to the point that if there are other cars on the track there is no collision detection between them. This can be hilarious and somewhat difficult to get your head around, especially in multiplayer, but it sets Trackmania apart from all the other racing games out there.

Incredible user made tracks certainly don't hurt either. After a few hours of mucking about on the including tracks I jumped online. There was an over crowded Giant Bomb server that annoyed me into leaving after a few minutes. I had much more luck with international servers: they had more interesting tracking and will much less crowded. It was amazing how quickly the new tracks downloaded. My pipe is indeed fat, but downloading a large custom track in the same time it takes to load one of the included one is something that I do not understand.

I suppose I should take one step further back and explain exactly how Trackania plays, as it never seems to get the attention that it deserves. Think of the best arcade style racing game you have ever played. If you say anything other than San Francisco Rush 2049 then you never owned a Dreamcast (and get off my damn lawn). It is an arcade racer, complete with 360 degree power slides and jumps that last for days. It also plays surprisingly well with a keyboard, has a dedicated and talented fan base and oozes the same kind of polish that makes most people look past how stupidly hard the actual racing in Wipeout is. Leader boards are a big part of the game but they are implemented in such a way that they become a treat instead of a chore. Racing on the included tracks counts as practice; you need to choose to make a record attempt, and when you do there are no restarts. Plus these attempts are limited to once every five minutes. Trackmania has eliminated the grind by eliminating the grind. It just doesn't let you get bored.

There was a console release for Trackmania, on the Wii of all places, so I have no idea if it was any good. At $25 to $30 online you really can't go wrong. It's a great arcade racer that can be as engrossing as the best sims out there if you want it to.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An experiment

Rock climbing is just about to become 'a thing' for me, as I was at the indoor climbing gym yesterday and am planning on going again in two weeks. As usual I managed to hurt myself in several places, including turning my ankle (again) with such force that I was lightheaded for quite a while afterward. A good portion of the evening was spent on the rock wall tread mill. It is exactly what is sounds like: an instrument of inquisition level torture. Being too tired at the end of the night to even have a drink or three I got home at a reasonable time. I hurt, but I as relaxed an oddly focused, so it occurred to me that playing Street Fighter would be a good idea.

Only after dropping the first nine out of ten did it dawn on my that my fingers weren't exactly in working order. Here's the funny part: normally sucking that much in a row would have me furious, but I was still relaxed. My PP dropped below 1000 for the first time since coming back after my most recent psuedo-retirement and I did not care. It could that I was too fatigued to work myself up into a childish rage. I prefer to think that I was in some sort of zen state obtained by throwing myself at vertical surfaces and trying to climb them for two hours.

It was Honda night. Not for me, hell no, but I fought four of them. Only one was any good (and he used to play Blanka, so he knew exactly how to beat me. Good games RX). The other fell for all sorts of stuff they shouldn't have, may favorite being throwing out full screen fierce torpedoes and wondering why they kept eating river runs. I even pulled off a crouching fierce into super and a jab ball into super, both on purpose and exactly when I wanted them. Perhaps there is something to this whole physical activity thing.

I will need to drink tonight to be sure. Drink while installing my new video card and finally playing Trackmania 2. And Deus Ex. And Dirt 3. I may not sleep.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm not dead!

Contrary to popular belief, I am not still lost in the wilderness of rural Kentucky. Nor have I given up on this blog, not have I stopped playing games altogether. The time normally wasted at work by posting has been taken up by *gasp* work. A terrible thing, to be sure. I do find it interesting, on a personal level at least, that when a choice must be made to play more games or talk about the games that have already been played I will always chose to former. This is probably why I have never made it very long writing reviews for anyone and that rambling on a blog suits me better. No one complains when I miss a few days or that I am playing terrible games that are months old. Someone has to play them, right?

Since walking away from No More Heroes I have found piece in three wonderfully average games in a row. I talked about Call of Juarez: The Cartel briefly last week, and everything bad that I said about it holds true. It is just a shooter that is suffering from the same 'me too' mechanic as ever other shooter that isn't Call of Duty or Battlefield. The idea that all three of the main characters are out to get each other would have been more interesting if it actually affected game play. If I had played with actual people it might have, but I never even bothered to see if anyone else was playing it. It's a shame, there aren't enough western games, and the previous two Call of Juarez games were reasonable shooters that benefited from a sparsely used setting. Moving the third game to modern day Mexico was its first and biggest mistake.

At least at the end I got to betray my partners and murder them in cold blood. If I could have shot them earlier I would have. I can take bad AI, but constant, repeated catch phrases is not something I can forgive.

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is video game cotton candy. You know it is bad for you and there is no way to not look like as ass eating it, but damn if it isn't enjoyable while it lasts. There is more variety here than the first game; a few different suits to try out and more weapons that you can actually use are dropped. The game is shorter, though, designed to be played through multiple times with the same characters that you slowly build up. The ending of normal mode screams 'the good guy died, come back on a harder difficulty level to see what really happens!' I have neither the time nor the patience to wade through it again, but I must admit that it pulled off the single player portion of an intended four player experience better than much bigger budget titles (I'm looking at your, Lost Planet 2).

Finally in the week and half recap there is the guiltiest pleasure: The First Templar. This one is a below average action RPG, a genre that by my own admission has a much more difficult time dealing with shittiness than others. The selection of moves was rather small, new weapons and armor are hidden a little too well in levels and don't actually affect anything, it has the stick of launch title all over it, and I still liked it. Why? At least partly because of the setting. You are a templar who by the time the game is done has been betrayed by his brethren, hunted by the inquisition, declared heretics by the church proper and had a price put on your head by the king of France. What's your response?

'I must finish my quest to find the holy grail. That will make everything better. And I will kill as many french persons as I possibly can along the way.'

It's ridiculous to an almost Python degree and played just well enough to hold my interest.


After much deliberation a new graphics card has been ordered for my aging computer. An actual release window being announced for Diablo 3 certainly didn't help. Along with the new card will come free copies of Dirt 3 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, both games that gave been languishing on the list since they came out. Playing them without adding to my gigantic meaningless gamerscore will be difficult, but who am I to not take advantage of good, free games.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I am in a hotel with a television so old that I cannot change the input. There are jacks on the front of the TV that I cannot use because the remote does not have the correct button and the option to change it is not available from the menus.

And I have no beer.

And there is nothing on TV.

And I am in (no offense to anyone who lives there) in rural Kentucky.

And I am online via a shitty cell phone modem that drops randomly.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Conscientious objection

I am almost ashamed at how easy it was to quit No More Heroes. Surely, it is better than nine out of ten other shitty games that I play, what made this one simpler to walk away from? That's easy: the bad guy started bringing guns to my knife fight. At first I couldn't figure out what was going on; I was was getting hit from across the room and there was no one around. When I finally realized that those bastards were taking pot shots at me I was already dead. On the second retry I found out that as soon as you block the attacks coming from the guy in front of you the two you didn't see shoot you the back. On the third try I got past the first group only to be assaulted by a second. Dying not being the best of times, I went into the menu to lower the difficulty setting, only I could't.

There were no further tries.

This is not an indictment of the game, only of my tolerance for terribleness in certain genres. Third person hand to hand action just does not do as well when done poorly as say, first person shooting. I have played terrible shooters (and am playing one right now, Call of Juarez: The Cartel is terrible) that still manage to be fun but the most basic mechanic of shooting fools in the head never stops being amusing. It is difficult to screw this up. Punching people in the face or cutting them up with swords is equally enjoyable, but much easier to make a mess of. I suppose the lesson here is that if you are going to make a shitty game, make an FPS, but then again no one will but it, because there are new FPS's every week.


I dug out my old VHS copies of Star Wars earlier this week (correction: the were returned to me by the person who I forgot I lent them to months and months ago). It took almost as long to find my VCR and I only watched a small piece of Empire. The actually picture quality was terrible: washed out, poorly tracked (and if you don't what tracking is on a VCR....), and worst of all pan and scan. But it was Star Wars; pure, unadulterated Star Wars, unsullied by added effects and brazenly blasphemous plot changes.

The entire collection of six movies was recently released on blu-ray. The original versions of episodes 4, 5 and 6 are not included. I hate Lucas so much I can taste it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It hates me

And now a tale of sadness, heartbreak, and $25 down the tubes.

I was a big fan of the previous Trachmanias. They always felt like a console game stuck on the PC, but they were so much fun that I could get past driving with the arrow keys in cars that clip through one another. It's not about bumping the other guys off the road, it's just getting from here to there as quickly as possible. Oh, and the tracks are completely bonkers, it has very easy tools to make your own, and  a community that creates them by the thousands. Trackmania 2 sneaking out without me noticing was an abomination, and at the low, low price of $25 dollars it was purchased and downloaded before my work at home day was complete.

Remember those video card problems I was talking about a few weeks ago? After gutting and rearranging my case I decided that the problem was with the case fans, not the card, so I just ran with the side off and the card's fan cranked up via riva tuner. The benchmarks for Trackmania ran wonderfully; an acceptable 30 or so FPS at very nice settings. At 5:01, finally end of my day, all my remote connections were turned off and it was time to play. I made it through the first part of the first track before everything stopped. Then there was screen tearing. Then there were the random colored dots all over the screen that I know signify a card that has gone to shit. A forced restart later and the machine wont even boot correctly. I had to go into safe mode, uninstall the drivers, then boot back into normal mode. Even then the screen is barely legible and Windows 7 in all its wisdom keeps trying to put the drivers back.

SOL. A game finally comes out that I desperately want to play and I can't because it is on the 'console' that I have been neglecting. This needs to be remedied sooner than later, as Serious Sam 3 lands next month.

At least I had No More Heroes to play... What was that about it being an allegory for real life, with moments of goodness separated by hours, days, weeks, and years of bull shit? I think I am going to play Street Fighter tonight. Someone is going to get their face bitten off.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A revalation

Why am I playing shitty console games when this is out:

What the hell am I doing with my time.

Just not quite bad enough

It was with great trepidation that I started up No More Heroes: the PS3 port of a Wii game that at the very least doesn't require me to wave around a piece of plastic with a glowing ball on the end. All the flailing has been replaced by analog stick gesticulations, which I am not sure is actually better. The tutorial did little to make me feel better: all the combat boiled down to was mash mash mash, jam the right stick up or down (or left or right). 'It's gets an evening,' I told myself. Then the first boss kicked my ass because I failed to see that just a little bit of thought was required. Eventually I beat him and things were looking up.

When the world opened up and I was allowed to roam a bit on Mr. Touchdown's ridiculous bike things got bad again. The entire experience was at best clunky and at worst broken. Boring mini games followed by boring assassination missions that lacked any of the charm or wit of the first boss strung together by the worst controlling vehicle this side of the first Just Cause. Just as I was about to shut it off for the second time it was time to fight another boss. This guy looks a lot like Revolver Ocelot, complete with fully automatic hand guns that never run out of bullets. It was another good fight, and this time it left me with just enough money to unlock the next ranked fight.

Until I bought a new weapon and trained my stats up a bit. Back to the grind.

I realize that I am years behind the curve to complain about No More Heroes, but my complete aversion to motion controls means that I though I would never actually play it. Now that I am I must say that I didn't miss much. The game is a series of excellent boss encounters so padded out by total bull shit that you end up nearly quitting between each one. For some reason I find it much easier to walk away from PS3 games than XB360 (there is no good reason, don't ask) and I am tempted to throw in the towel here. I have stopped playing much better games, why should this be any different. The problem is that the light at the end of the tunnel is just a bit too close for me to ignore. If I can just get through this tedium something awesome will happen.

Sounds a bit like life, actually. No More Heroes: an allegory of modern, daily life.


Worked from home today and actually worked from home. This little bit of slacking is all I could manage. I had allusions of a Street Fighting lunch and a nice lazy afternoon. Nope, didn't even stop to eat lunch at all and am still working. Damn the remote workplace.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Simple is not always better

There are a few bits of early praise for Crimson Alliance that must be rescinded. First and foremost, the pricing is not as revolutionary as fair as I thought. I was wrong about being able to purchase the characters that you didn't buy in the first place by paying the low, low price of the difference between what you paid and what the whole thing costs. Nope, if you spent 800 points on just the warrior as I did and you want to play as one of the other two classes it's 800 points apiece or 1200 for the other two. Again, once I finish the game I am never going to touch it again, but this little bit of disservice makes the future ignoring just a little bit easier.

Secondly, all the streamlining that makes it so simple to jump right in and start to kill beasties leaves out something that I didn't even know I enjoyed: agonizing over tiny pieces of equipment. Weapons, armor and shield are the extent of the upgrades available, and they are pretty cut and dried about what is better. There also isn't much of it, so even if I wanted to focus on sword moves to the detriment of my shield bash I can't, there just isn't enough loot around to do so. The characters don't actually level up in any way, they just gain health via pickups and better things to wear/wield. This lack of progression is a drag as it prevents me from developing any attachment to the character. Even Torchlight, a game so light on plot that it could have been called 'Click on things until they die,' had enough variety the make by bruiser just a little different than all the other bruisers out there. Crimson Alliance has gotten a little too simple. If I wanted to play Gauntlet I would wake up my PS3 and play Gauntlet 2.

Most damning of all (at least if you are as lazy as me): the mid-level check points don't actually do anything. Sure, if you die they start you over, but they do not actually allow you to return to a level if you quit before finishing it. They are not check points, just resurrection points. This would have been nice to know before shutting down for the evening last night.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's over. Or is it?

I just made the mistake of watching some Dead Island videos. Now I really want to play it. Really want to play it. All in due time.


Madness Returns had the common sense to end the end last night, and it brought out something for the grand finale that had missing from every previous level: a boss battle. At the end of the first level the March Hare and the Door Mouse come together into a voltron style giant tea pot robot that looked like it was going to be a good fight. Instead of actually having to beat it the game decides to drop something on its head and end the level for you. Level after that didn't even bother to try to put a cap on three to four hours of drudgery; the areas just ended and you moved on to the next one. By the time I actually made it to Alice's train of consequences I fully expected the credits to roll over some moderately creepy music and to call it a night.

The train jumped back and forth between Wonderland and the real world so quickly that it became difficult to discern what was happening where. There was  plot twist in the previous chapter that was actually delivered upon (it's not often that child abuse is used for dramatic affect in a game, but it certainly makes you want to kill a guy), and finally there was a boss fight. Even though it was just a different take on the final boss from Super Smash Brothers, at least it offered some closure.

But that was all in Wonderland. What of the real villain, the one who raped Alice's sister, burned down their house, killed her family, then spent years and years brainwashing Alice into forgetting? She pushed his ass in from of a train.  It wasn't the frail, wide eyed Alice who was a prisoner of the terrible real world who did it, though. The Alice that finally had her revenge was the confident, murderous Alice who only came out in Wonderland. She snuck out just long enough to get the job done, which really makes me wonder if any of it actually happened.

The thought of Alice only getting justice in her mind is much to depressing. For once I will be happy with the traditional 'bad guy gets what he deserves' ending and keep my mouth shut.

Friday, September 9, 2011

But I don't want to go among mad people

My favorite part of the original Alice how the game looked, not how the game played. It felt like a natural move for Alice to go a bit further off the deep end, slipping from 'odd' to borderline 'Hellraiser.' It also arrived at the beginning of my thankfully short lived figure collecting period. I own all of the above with the exception of the Jabberwock, a piece that I have never even seen in person. They all now live in a box in the spidery, unfinished portion of the basement, waiting for a place to be displayed or to be sold at a rummage sale for beer money, whichever comes first.

Madness Returns decreases in quality by the hour, but I keep playing because I want to see what happens next. I just don't want to play what happens next, because I know it will be he same as the last five things I have done. Alice's rotating dresses have proved to be more encouragement to keep playing than anything else, and seeing her re-committed with a shaved head and wild eyes was something that I will not soon forget.

Those eyes.

We're all mad here. You're mad. I'm mad.

...mad that this isn't a better game.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pay the man!

I played Crimson Alliance for all of 30 seconds before I shut it off. I loved it and did not want to waste another second on the demo, though I do not know when I will get the chance to change my trial install into a fully functioning, achievement generating, loot hoarding one. The way Microsoft has priced this is absolute genius. The game is free, for the most part. You can play every character for absolutely nothing, you just don't get new equipment and most of the levels are missing. How is this different than a demo? You can purchase just one of the three characters for a discounted price. This is perfect for people like me who run through a game once and never touch it again. I can play the free version long enough to figure out which character I want to use, then drop 800 points on him instead of 1200 points on the whole deal. Now if the characters were 400 points apiece instead of 800 it would be perfect, but they are running a business, and all they really want is your money. Any enjoyment the consumer derives is a simple side affect of the man getting paid.

It is an excellent precedent and I hope more downloadable games use it.


I am only on the third chapter and it is already clear that Madness Returns to just too long. Each area could be cut in half and it would be much better for it. There is nothing wrong with fetch quests and jumping puzzles, I just don't want to do the same ones three times in a row before getting to something new. Back in college (when I used to be smart) it was very plainly stated that in music you can get away with doing the exact same thing four times in a row before anyone notices and it gets boring. Current pop dreck abuses this, but more often than not a song will operate in fours. (note: I may be full of shit here. This was a long time ago and a lot of drinking was going on at the time). Truth of lies, my point is that new or at least slightly varied versions on tasks must be introduced much more often in a game to maintain interest. I don't care how pretty a level is, when I have been in it for several hours with no variation I want to do something else.

No wonder Alice is crazy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Tetris gods frown upon you

Not through my looking glass, you don't

Meant to type this up yesterday, but I... I have no excuse.

Over the weekend a friend of mine bribed with with spicy wings and stout beer to emerge from my cave and go over to his house. Once I was sufficiently lubricated the ulterior motives came out.

'You played American McGee's Alice on the PC, didn't you?'

'Yes, but it was years ago, and I don't think that I ever finished it.'

'I'm stuck in the PS3 port, can you help?'

That bastard.

American McGee's Alice is quite different from modern platformers. First and foremost it was designed to be played with a mouse and keyboard. Enemies, especially flying ones, move too quickly to be efficiently targeted using a pair of thumb sticks and no auto-aim. I yearned for my WASD, but mouse and keyboard support is not something that is often built into console-centric games, much less ports of ten year old titles. Jumping was painful as there was no double jump. It's sounds like a small thing, but not having a double jump makes every single leap an all or nothing endevour. Once you leave the ground you better damn well be sure there is something to land on.

In general, Alice has no forgiveness, no give. When compared to modern games with there air leaping, frequent checkpoints and in general watered down difficulty it feels like a dinosaur. What saves it from being unplayable is the one thing that PC games got right and consoles only recently have implemented: the quick save. Made a hard jump? Save. Killed a few guys? Save. Need another beer? Save. The game could be as hard as it was because you only had to get past each difficult section once. This can lead to out of the blue difficulty spikes, but a a whole is an excellent feature that every game should have.

I did eventually get past the area my friend was stuck on. He had never played the original, much less any other games of its ilk and time period, so he was unfamiliar with tried and true 'inch forward until you can shoot the bad guys but their AI hasn't seen you yet' technique. To him it was magic, to me it was just about every game ever that was built on Quake 3. Alice had not aged well; it did not look as good as I remembered and wrestling with ported controls was not a good time. At least this was just a side benefit of owning Madness Returns, which had coincidentally just arrived in my mail box as well.

From the very beginning Madness Returns does its best to make penance for its predecessor's issues. Alice still does not have a double jump; she has a triple jump and can float between each air hop. Jumping is still not easy (mostly invisible platforms will do that) but it does not feel like a leap of faith every single time. Likewise the combat has been slimmed down a bit, with ranged combat that is much slower with a larger margin for error. It certainly looks good, though I prefer the color drained London areas that fall between the uber-saturated Wonderland levels. It's a modern game, and playing the original mere days before drove home just how far things have come, both on the design and technical sides.


Remember the quick save? It has made its way into more and more console games. Just not this one. I don't need it to cheat this time around, inching forward and recording my progress. I just want to be able to stop playing when I want to stop playing, not when the next half hour spaced checkpoint decides to roll around. It's a small complaint, but in a game that modernizes a diamond in the rough from ten years ago to miss something that the first one got right is just not acceptable.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The least subtle game in the world

Suda 51 is not known for making subtle games, so I was not expecting Shadows of the Damned to take its time making a point or to mince words in any way. From the very beginning it is a foul mouthed, disgusting romp through several genres worth of stereo types that breaks the fifth wall like it is going out of style. There is a line (yes, even I have limits) that once crossed cannot be returned from. It's also an easy one to miss: the line between a gritty stylistic choice and simply being juvenile. And here it is:

As if the line 'let's take this pole for a stroll' isn't bad enough, this scene and the two more afterwards are actually not easy. This leads to hearing Garcia Fucking Hotspur scream 'LOOK AT MY BIG BONER!' for around twenty minutes. Once was already too much. Gritty, bloody, dark, cliched, misogynistic, I can take all that. But dick jokes? I was already not taking the game seriously, and this just cemented that decision.

Shadows of the Damned also plays a lot like Resident Evil 4. Adding an antiquated control method to middle school humor and my interest wanes even further. It's not a bad game; it's a solid B on the imaginary scale of quality, which I suppose fits quite well when the game spends an entire chapter making reference to Evil Dead 2. But every time I started to get over the crassness of it all the flaming skull who turns into guns screams something like 'Fill those cracks with a shot from your hot boner! You heard me!' I'm no prude, and I was certainly not offended, but groaning at attempted humor is not a good compliment for shooting monsters in the head while fighting with tank controls.

The long weekend means I have already finished Shadows of the Damned. Unlike other Suda 51 games (Killer 7) it will soon be forgotten. Not even walking across the ass cheeks of a giant hallucination of Garcia's girlfriend who has been killed a dozen times and also happens to be the mistress of the lord of hell can save it from future obscurity.

It was a big ass. I look forward to forgetting it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

That's how I roll

So lazy about posting this week. I have no excuse; work has been busy and I have not wanted to sacrifice gaming time for bitching about gaming time. This leaves me with a few days to catch up on and very little will to do so because it is Friday afternoon and all I want right now is to curl up in my dark basement with a darker beer.

El Shaddai ended much as it began: looking pretty but making very little sense. It's a shame, because a cursory search for the apocryphal Book of Enoch reveals that the actual story is pretty cool. Enoch was indeed a human that had to deal with seven fallen angels, and his actions at least staved off the great flood for a few hundred years. El Shaddai was so busy being artsy that it missed the opportunity to tell an exciting story that almost nobody would have heard before. The Bible is filled with wonderful, violent, disturbing stories that have yet to be tapped for movie/game material. The book of Judges would make at absolutely epic movie. There is murder, sex, giant battle scenes, everything a growing boy needs. Why no one has put a few million dollars down on even one of the stories I do no understand. It's not like God is a big stickler for copyright laws.

Different to the point of being obtuse for no other reason than to seem more complicated than it really is describes El Shaddai pretty well. It's not quite a hipster game, because it was not actually unpleasant to be around, but it is certainly trying far to hard to be important. 'Look at me! I'm not just another action game! I'm full of vague religious symbolism and shirtless men!' If I am going to head down that swishy road I will go all the way and watch 300. Taking a brief detour with the other team just seems like a waste of time.


I skipped Bastion and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, two excellent downloadable titles that deserve all the attention they have gotten, and have instead dropped by monies on Rock of Ages. Why? I was raised on this:

Rock of Ages feels like a game that Terry Gilliam would make. A giant, smiling boulder rolls down a hill, crushing anyone and everything in it path on the way to breaking down the gates to a castle. Hiding in the castle is a cartoon caricature of an important historical figure. You of course play as Sisyphus, fresh from the underworld, who takes out eons of frustration by squishing people with his giant ball. It is exceptionally silly, and for a game coming from the people who put out Zeno Clash, that is saying something.

Beyond the sight gags and sound affects, the game itself is okay at best. You roll a ball down a hill. Yes, there is an added bit of strategy with the purchase and placement of units to try to keep your opponent from knocking down your gates with his ball, but in reality you are still just rolling a ball down a hill. I found myself grinding though levels just to see the cut scenes between them which makes me question the soundness of my investment. I do not feel bad for throwing money in Ace Team's direction, I just wish they would get around to the open world Zeno Clash they promised years ago.