Friday, February 8, 2013

Two sides of different coins

I spent quite a while yesterday writing and deleting things about Ni No Kuni in an effort to explain why I am still playing it and will play it to completion in spite of my various complaints. It feels like the last of a dying breed and that it must be experienced, warts and all. A good chunk of my Playstation and Playstation 2 years were spent playing nothing but Japanese RPGs. The genre was still new to me, my first real RPG was Final Fantasy 7, so I played every single one I could get a hold of. These games have gone from the forefront to a niche and I predict that the traditional,. linear JRPG will soon be unrecognizable. Ni No Kuni is a dinosaur, but it is a fuzzy dinosaur. Or maybe a pick, furry dragon.

Being that big and antiquated it is going to have the occasional accident. When Falcor up there takes a shit on your rug you forgot how nice and fuzzy he is because goddamn that is a big pile of shit. Ni No Kuni is not exactly house trained, either, but its failings the same failings that I have been putting up with from its peers since I started playing them. Difficulty spikes and grinding are par for the course. The game has yet go get obnoxiously hard, it is just forcing me to flee back to town more often than I'd like because I am out of magic points and I'll be damned if I waste consumables on non-boss monsters.

Once the offending area has been cleaned and sterilized the game is back to being pink and fuzzy. There are little touches all over that bring the world to life. Things that are taken for granted in real life, like Oliver have a separate walking animation for going down stairs or Drippy messing around during cut scenes in the real world because no on can see him. Ni No Kuni is great when it is not busy being not great, and the parts that are not great are simply it sticking to established tropes and conventions.

I just to get a bigger pooper scooper and I will make it to the end just find.


What better compliment to a refined example of a flawed but beloved genre than a flawed example of a ubiquitous and refined genre. It is bad shooter time and today's example is 007 Legends. From the outset 007 Legends gets it all wrong: Daniel Craig is cool as Bond, but Sean Connery was significantly cooler. Legends recasts Craig, voice and all, into the character's previous watershed moments. Seeing Craig in Goldfinger just isn't right. I bet Connery was too expensive to license.

Apart from being Bond sacrilege it includes an RPG element that feels like it was added in at the last minute because the box art had one too many bullet points on it. The environments look good enough and run at a stable enough frame rate to keep from causing motion sickness but the characters are refugees from Goldeneye. The N64 Goldeneye, not the remake. This is the perfect example of a cheap cash in: new Bond movie is coming out but there isn't a game to go with it. Take the new Bond and put him an old looking game and, tada, you have the kind of game that grandparents buy their grandchildren because Call of Duty is rated M and they heard it turns children into murderers. 

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