Sunday, May 19, 2013

Demo Friday: Right over my head

I was going to knock this out last night but I was distracted by the exhibition matches at East Coast Throwdown. There was a first to fifteen featuring two Hulk - Haggar teams that was just about the craziest thing I have ever seen. Even better was a MvC2 'reunion' of four old masters. MvC2 is hard for me to watch; I never played it the right way and it moves so fast that it all becomes a blur, but it was worth it to hear the announcers regress in age by ten years and squeal like little girls.

Back to business.

Stylish! I think...
Monaco is a game that I am not qualified to have an opinion about. There is something key to the experience that I was missing: other people. It is quite obvious that Monaco was meant to be played with other dudes sitting next to you on the couch or at the very least on their own couches somewhere else but online. Playing it by myself was, to put it in my terms, like playing Street Fighter against the computer. Yes, it's possible, but there is no reason to do it.

I was playing it wrong so I got bored quickly. The single player levels felt like a tutorial for playing with other people. Even taken as such they didn't do a very good job. I was confused most of the time, by both what I needed to do and the way things looked. Did it look cool? Yes, but it was not exactly clear what was what and where I could go and what I could do when I got there. Again, having a group of people working together to suss out the nuances is probably the point. It went right over my head. For this reason I am not going to rip on Monaco, I am going to apologize for not liking it. This is a game that a demo cannot sell.

First person tower defence? Ewwww.
Remember how I reacted to Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault? This is the same thing, just replace Ratchet with an entire genre I enjoy. Shooters are my weakness. I play good ones, I play bad ones, if you move through a virtual world in a first person manner and shoot things in a game I will give it my time. On the flip side I have never met a tower defense game that I didn't hate. Not even Plants vs Zombies held my interest. Mash them together and what I can't stand takes precedence. Sanctum 2 had me shaking my head and walking away in record time.

Putting aside my disdain for the genre, Sanctum 2 didn't do a very good job explaining itself. At first blush it was just a shooter, one with mushy controls and a look straight out of Phantasy Star Online. I got to the training area and killed wave one of the monsters. So far so good. The game instructed me to follow the glowing arrows, pick up a few resources, and build a gun tower. 

It was at this point that my ineptness for games that require strategic thinking collided with a poor tutorial: I build the wrong kind of tower and the tutorial would not continue. I did not have enough of whatever nonsense I was collecting to build another one and no more would spawn. After several minutes of wandering around a very small level I figured out that I could break what I had built back down and try again. Nice of the game to tell me.

Having satisfied the tutorial's requirements a second wave of identical enemies spawned and I turned the game off. I didn't put up with Ratchet and Clank being turned into a MOBA so I am certainly not going to suffer through a nameless tower defense game shoehorned into an equally nameless shooter.

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