Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The expectations game

What's worse: the aforementioned seventy deaths in sixty minutes to a multi-stage boss that had the decency of not starting the player over from the beginning with every death or eight deaths in ninety minutes to a multi-stage boss that laughed in the player's face with each death, erasing all of their progress and starting them from the beginning each time? They are both bad, the second worse than the first, and Yaiba trotted them both out. The final boss was amusing, almost funny, on the first attempt. Then I died and had to see it all again. Section one took about five minutes and that section was repeated over and over, each time I died. It was just as much if not more of a chore than Ryu Hayabusa who killed me in an average of ten seconds.

But it's done now and I don't need to think about it anymore. If nothing else it was an attempt to inject some levity into a somewhat boring (plot wise) series. Yaiba himself was without redeeming features, just crass and evil of clever and evil or sexy and evil. I do not need to see him again.


Behold, the game of expectations. Yaiba comes out, no one cares, it is bad, and still no one cares. Lords of Shadow 2 comes out, people expect it to be good because the first one was good, it is mediocre and if you go by the reviews the world is ending. No game exists a vacuum and slapping a number on the end of a title is a way to guarantee even more, perhaps unfair comparisons. Is Lords of Shadow 2 as good as the first game? I don't know yet, but it is certainly different, and that is where I think most of the complaints are coming from.

Gabriel, I'm sorry, Dracula, goes through the standard Metroidvania loss of powers, starting out awesome and then losing everything. Dracula's descent is made more believable by him being dead for a few thousand years. That's a lot of down time, even for the prince of darkness. Enter plot twists that I don't get yet and characters that I do not remember, both of which leave the player feeling a bit helpless, especially when combined with Dracula's general wimpiness. One does not expect to feel vulnerable when playing as Dracula, yet here it is. He is physically and emotionally weak, both of which will be resolved as the game progresses.

But is it any good? Again, I don't know yet. Combat feels very loose: enemies often do not suffer from any hit stun, meaning they can interrupt you mid combo and you can't see it coming because of all the whip flailing going on. If I could deal with Yaiba's bull shit I can handle this. I do think I will tire of the modern environments quickly. They just don't seem to fit the mood, at least not yet.

As long as I spend less than three hours on two bosses I will be able to overlook a lot.

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