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.

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