Friday, July 31, 2015

Elephants bounce?

Is 'Splosion Man a genre?

Simple controls, move fast, collect things. More of a sub-genre of standard two dimensional platforming, if anything. I bring up 'Splosion Man because I believe that it and its sequel are just about perfect in the go fast, collect things niche. There was one button, it made him 'splode, and that was it. Maddeningly difficult at times but never complicated. There was a light at the end of the tunnel through all the dark sections and it was holding a sign that said 'GET BETTER.'

I bring up 'Spolosion Man because Tembo is very similar. It is about going fast through a level and collecting things, the difference being that at every turn it is one piece too complicated. 'Splosion Man 'splodes. Tembo jumps, dashes, crouch dashes, rolls into a ball, bounces and sprays water. The commands for some of these overlap. For example, pressing X on the ground dashes and you want to be dashing most of the time. Pressing X in the air rolls Tembo into a ball and shoots him towards the ground at a 45 degree angle. If the button is held when in ball form he bounces (badass elephant and all). Here is the problem: if you press X a split second early when landing a jump you bounce instead of dash.

The difference is not small. In fact, making this mistake was the cause of most of my deaths and it could have been solved by either mapping the ball attack to another button or eliminating it entirely as its soul purpose seems to be a sly reminder that Sega is involved and that Sonic used to be a thing.

There is also too much to collect. Ten people per area to rescue, no problem. A large number of enemies that must being killed to unlock future levels, superfluous. Peanuts that must be collected to get more lives, archaic. If Tembo runs out of lives the level must be started over, check points be damned.

Excuse me, but lives? What is this, the 90s?

Tembo himself certainly looks badass and the way most of the world crumbles when he runs through it is very cool. The difference is that when 'Splosion Man killed me I knew it was entirely my fault. The level design, the controls, all of it was nearly flawless. I died over and over again last night to a boss because I couldn't tell where Tembo's hitbox began and ended or because I went bouncing around the room when I just wanted to dash.

It's close to good. Very, very close. But a great name can't cover all its sins.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

We'll see how badass he really is

Onechanbara has the sense to be on the short side. It is not possible to maintain its level of smut for very long before it shifts from amusing to uncomfortable. The final boss arrived, I prepared for the false ending that never came, and it was over. The final boss was something of a disappointment. What should have been some terribly over the top be-titted monstrosity was just a normal sized fight. It did require me to pay attention to dodging, which was a first, and which meant that I could not pull out all four girls at the same time to attack. The one under direct control was fine but the other three did not have the sense to dodge the approaching blades of death.

It was fun, now it is over, let us never speak of it again. Until the next sequel.

...

Yes, I purchased Tembo the Badass Elephant because it has a fantastic name. The retail release list is nonexistent between now and the end of August, at least for me, so I will need to actually pay to get my kicks. Tembo will hopefully be a good start, and Galak-Z is next week, so there is no shortage of small things to dive into.

If only the free games for XBox Live and PS+ weren't game that I already owned on the opposing system.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I should be embarrassed...

...but I am not.

Onechanbara Z2 Chaos is, in a word, gratuitous. What the characters wear is gratuitous. The action is gratuitous in both gore and impact. The number of enemies that need to be killed is gratuitous. There is no effort to be subtle or to develop characters or to make any excuse for its existence other than 'this is a game about bikini clad vampires killing monsters'.

And that's okay. It's refreshing, even.

The game isn't good, as it were, it is the equivalent of summer B movie garbage that is refreshing and forgettable. But that doesn't mean that it a throw away title. The developers knew exactly what the game was, how offensive it could, and embraced it. Inappropriately dressed heroines? It takes it as far as it can without becoming pornographic. Lots of enemies? The game is almost on the level of Dynasty Warriors. Fan service? You can play dress up with the girls. Hard boiled action? Well...

When compared to the giants of the genre the game comes up a bit short in the combat department. There are moves to unlock and weapons to purchase but none of it is required to succeed. Mashing square in combination with the interesting chase mechanic does all of the killing that needs to be done. I am still unlocking moves that I have no intention of using which is a clear indication of how limited the combat is, at least on Medium. The B game-ness shows a bit here, but I can forgive it because everything else is done with infectious reckless abandon.

It's Bayonetta light. And since I will never get to play Bayonetta 2 it will have to do.

...

What the hell does Z2 Chaos mean, anyway?

Monday, July 27, 2015

The old man knows best

The Street Fighter V beta was up and down all weekend. If the multiple streams are to be believed, California got preferential treatment, leaving everyone east of Nevada out in the cold. I am significantly east of Nevada and I still got in.

Once.

For around 60 seconds of practice room time. The game did not appreciate my scrubby Ryu combos or that I had no audience so I was booted out. One of those statements is not true.

From those 60 seconds I can say that the game feels quite different. I never played much Third Strike, it fell during my non-Street Fighter phase (college) but V felt like a heavier Third Strike. Time will tell, and I hope to actually play the beta at some point, but it is difficult to form an worth while opinion when I have been exclusively a charge player for a long, long time and the only charge character in the demo is the one that I don't know how to play.

...

Deception IV for the PS4 was briefly on the coming soon list. It did arrive and I did play it for about an hour. It was not exactly the same as the last Deception IV on the PS3 but for some reason I just could not muster the energy to play it. Not enough time has passed since the last game for me to get over the wonky controls and last generation graphics. It has been passed on in favor of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (which is just more Wolfenstein) and Onechanbara Z2 (which I will deny having played if ever question about it in person).

...

Side story: An emergency run was made on Saturday afternoon to the grocery store as there was a sudden and unexplained desire for barbecued corn on the cob. I arrived just as one employee wheeled out a brand new crate and began to stock the display. He was mostly in the way so I waited for him to finish. As he worked another employee sidled up and they began to discuss Assassin's Creed games. Having played all of them, I listened.

The discussion was on which was the best one. Ezio and his trilogy were mentioned several times. The first employee turned to make a comment, leaving an opening for me to finally get to the corn, so I sneaked in behind him, grabbed what I came for, and dropped right into my comic book guy mode.

'You are fooling yourselves if you list any other than Black Flag as the best,' I said.
'That's barely an Assassin's Creed game. You just sail around doing piratey things.'

I sagely nodded. One of them got it. The other was confused. The corn was delicious.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Stop bitching

I had every intention of spending all night into the wee hours of this morning playing the Street Fighter V beta. Alas, I could not. No one could. The flood gates opened at 8:00 PM my time and the I gather the servers summarily shit themselves because almost no one could get connected and the very few who did never actually got past the practice room. Capcom tried to fix it, took it down for a while, put it back up, and then today announced that they don't know when it is going to work and that they will make up the lost day or days of the previously announced beta time.

And that's okay. Because it's a beta test. The game is not done. It's not even close to being done. Capcom specifically stated that the purpose of this beta was to test net play. This means no offline mode, just random match making. The result? It doesn't work yet. At all. Am I disappointed? Of course, but I also know that, as bad as it went, it was useful for Capcom, and that is what matters.

This is not a tragedy or a fiasco. It is a test behaving as tests sometimes do: monumental failure. Capcom will make up the days, we will get out beta test and the final product will be better for getting these mistakes out of the way early. No one knows exactly when this will be, which bothers the more entitled chuckle fucks out there, but that's just too bad. Street Fighter V doesn't even have a date yet. It will be done when it is done. The next beta will arrive when it's ready and no one will have lost anything.

At the very most people who planned their weekend around this will need to find alternate forms of entertainment. I attempted to play Mortal Kombat online again, which was not fun, because I am not good and the net code is still ass. Maybe Netherrealms should take a few notes from Capcom and test important parts of their game before unleashing it on the frothing masses.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Moving images

So, that was a lot of words. I never linked the actual matches:


and


Both are worth watching regardless of ones familiarity with Street Fighter.

Speaking of Street Fighter, the SFV beta has been downloaded and is waiting to unlock tomorrow. I am not terribly excited about any of the characters that will be available but it will be nice to get my hands on it to start learning the system. Being a charge character player my choices are limited to Bison and more Bison. At least his 'new' design is pretty good.


While I do applaud Capcom and Sony for setting up an almost public beta the way it is going to run leaves a lot to be desired. Their stated goal is to test the net code and content delivery system therefore those are the only parts of the game that are going to work. No offline multiplayer. No offline practice room. You start, pick a character, get dumped into a waiting room where you can practice and when the game finds a match for you, you play. If this was a fighting game that I know it would not be a big deal but I really would like the opportunity to beat on a practice dummy uninterrupted for a long as I please.

There is no release date for Street Fighter V yet but it is a very safe bet that it will be Spring of next year. Ono has said that he wants it at EVO next year and for that to happen it needs to be out by, at the very latest, May.

I can wait. Just give me Blanka.

Monday, July 20, 2015

EVO 2015

I do not know if it possible to encapsulate the three hours of Street Fighter that brought both James Chen and Seth Killian to un-ironic tears last night. James in particular, whose love of fighting games in general cannot be debated, could not contain himself. What he, Seth, everyone in person and the thousands of people on the stream had witnessed was exhausting, exhilarating, triumphant and heart breaking. It was more than James could handle. Hell, it was more than I could take in and I was two time zones and half a continent away.

Going over all of top 8 for Street Fighter is impossible. There are more stories there than I am qualified to report on. If I must highlight one disappointing early exit, PR Balrog being ousted in seventh was a disappointment for the home team. Nothing against Nuckledu, the only other American, but a win by PR Balrog would have torn the roof off of the building. This man only recently said he was going to retire, then remembered that he loved the game and that he was one of the best in the world. In the end his special brand of randomness did not pan out. Not long after Nuckledu was eliminated, leaving most of the crowd without a clear horse in the race. They needed someone new to pull for.

That someone became Gamerbee. National allegiances were cast aside and the crowd chose their champion.

Gamerbee is not at all new to EVO. He gained early fame by defeating Justin Wong with a character that no one thought was any good. Since then his stock has risen and fallen, and he too flirted with retirement, then decided that he was putting too much pressure on himself and that it was time to play for fun. Playing for fun brought him to losers finals on the biggest stage in the world and his opponent was a man whose business it is to win: Infiltration.

Infiltration doesn't have a main character. He knows them all and counter picks when appropriate. Gamerbee of course is aware this, and he has a secondary character in Elena that may or may not work, depending on who Infiltration chooses. This kind of stalemate at the character select screen would take forever to resolve so one of them, probably Infiltration, requests a blind pick. Each tells a judge who they would like to use before sitting down.

Gamerbee - Elena
Infiltration- Chun Li

Not a surprise for either but a good opening for Infiltration as the numbers say Chun Li beats Elena. But the numbers say a lot of things.

Elena is unique among the cast in that she has a healing ultra. She can gain back a significant chunk of health, depending on how charged the ultra is and how long the ultra is actually held before it is canceled. She also has very good, very fast normal that can, through several very difficult links, lead to good damage. Infiltration's plan is to harass with fireballs and then use Chun Li's long range normal attacks to whittle Gamerbee away, to wear him down until the drops his guard. It doesn't work.

Gamerbee absorbs all the fireballs, charges his ultra, and restores his health. He does this between two and three time per round. Infiltration is forced to beat Gamerbee twice each game without making any mistakes. Nothing comes easy for either of them as each game goes the distance in both time and rounds. The first three matches of this best of five end with Gamerbee up 2-1 and both players drained. They stop, look at each other, and Infiltration slumps over his controller.

He has to make a change but has so many characters to choose from that he doesn't know what to do. Paralyzed by indecision, Infiltration waits for as long as he can. He waits until the EVO staff tap him on the shoulder and give him sixty seconds to choose. He waits, hovering over different characters to the cheers and jeers of the crowd. He waits, then choose Juri.

Juri is more mobile than Chun Li, has a better fire ball game and does damage in bursts. This allows Infiltration to get to Elena when it counts, to steal back the life gained by her ultra. And it works, if just. Infiltration takes a game to even the match up at 2-2. It is Gamerbee's turn to think. It does not take long: Gamerbee goes home, to the player he is known for, home to Adon.

Juri vs Adon is not the match that Infiltration was looking for but he was stuck with it. Once again it goes to the very end, to the last round of the last game in the last match. Over twenty five minutes from when it started it ends in a timer scam, with Gamerbee triggering his ultra to eek out the final seconds from the clock. Infiltration got in one last attack but it was not enough.

Gamerbee takes it. Everyone exhales for the first time in half an hour. And this was only loser's finals.

Waiting in the wings is Momochi. Momochi has no character crisis. He plays Ken and he plays him better than anyone else in the world. Grand finals will be Momochi vs Gamerbee, Ken vs Adon. Because he is in losers Gamerbee will have to beat Momochi twice to win the tournament. The odds are against it.

But this is EVO. This is the EVO that saw a non-American win Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 for the first time. This is the EVO that saw a kid who was not old enough to legally purchase Mortal Kombat X win it all. This is the EVO that saw Rico Suave reset the brackets in Killer Instinct. There is precedent for crazy shit.

It begins, Ken vs Adon, and Gamerbee is rolling. He has all of the momentum and the crowd is behind him. Just like in the last set, nothing is easy, but Gamerbee keeps his composure, his concentration. He has been playing the highest level Street Fighter possible for over forty five minutes and he does not plan to stop. 3-1, he resets the bracket. It is Momochi's turn to sweat.

He has to make a change. For the first time in the entire tournament Momochi deserts Ken. Ken can get in but cannot do enough damage all at once to keep up with Gamerbee. He needs someone more explosive, regardless of the price, so Momochi switches to Evil Ryu for the second set.

Evil Ryu is an all or nothing choice. He can dish out incredible damage off of a low short but only if the player has the execution to do it. Everyone drops Evil Ryu combos once in a while. Everyone. Momochi has one best of five set to hit enough of them to make a difference. It works.

The second set makes it all the way to the last game. It may sound cliche, but these men are warriors and they would have it no other way. The Evil Ryu gamble has paid off but Gamerbee will not roll over. Momochi takes the first round. The crowd is almost silent, then this happens:


Momochi has been betrayed by his equipment. Something in his stick shorts out and disconnects from the machine. By rule Gamerbee must take the round. It is not an option to protect the players from having to make the impossible choice between sportsmanship and winning. An eternity passes before Momochi can get a new stick. All momentum for both players is lost. One round, cold, for the championship.

Momochi wins. Gamerbee rises from his seat and thanks the crowd. James Chen is overcome by emotion and openly weeps. Seth Killian signs off, voice shaking. Then spooky sets us free.

Welcome to the FGC.


Filling the hours

Two big posts to make, one about what I have been playing and another about what I did this weekend instead of playing anything at all.

The summer months are, historically, not the best for big releases. They aren't even the best for small releases. It is the doldrums of the year, a time that I usually spend catching up on old games that have languished on the bottom of the list. In an odd turn the list is, or at least was before today, clean. There was nothing that I wanted to play that I hadn't yet played.

I needed something before withdrawal set in and I bought everything in sight just to fill the hours between work and sleep. That money was spent a week ago my arm (which is now terribly itchy and gross). Between Xbox Live and PS+ there must have been some free games that I missed.

Worms, that should kill a few hours. Only it wouldn't let me play worms as God intended, against three other people with all of the weapons unlocked. I never managed to get a game started and playing worms single players is not worth the effort. So much for padding my gamerscore, what does PS+ have to offer...

Who remembers Rez? I wrote a slightly suggestive review of Rez years and years ago that may have alluded to use a vibrating controller for something other than originally intended. It is a great game that never got a sequel because it didn't really need one. Entwined is similar to Rez in that it is little more than a visual trip with the thinnest possible story backing. Less on rails shooter and more rhythm game, Entwined took me all of an hour to play from beginning to end, but it was a good hour. If it sitting in your library and you have nothing else to do I recommend it, just be prepared for thumb cramps as you force them to move in opposing directions.

Now what? I have a few to kill before EVO.

Dust: An Elysian Tale is, for the most part, the work of one man (at least the original XBox version was, I doubt he had much to do with the port to PS4). I remember downloading the demo and never playing it in spite of hearing it was well worth the effort. It fell victim to limited time and was eventually deleted. This was a disservice and I can attest to the game being an acceptable Metroid clone with better than average combat and anthropomorphic characters that make me more than a little uncomfortable.

If this really was a one man passion project then this guy needs to be picked up by a publisher as soon as possible and handed a fat stack of cash to make something new. There isn't a great deal of variety to the combat or large cast of enemies but what is present is polished to an incredible shine. Dust and his victims animate smoothly no matter how many of them are on screen and what they are doing. Combat moves from the ground to the air and back to the ground without dropping a beat. The entire experience is best described as smooth.

Even menus have have had their wrinkles removed. For example, the player is required to craft the best weapons and items. Crafting sucks. Dust skips all the boring bits by allowing the player to craft items directly from the pause menu instead of walking all the way back to the nearest, or in this case only, blacksmith. But what of the item requirements? Hunting down that third shoggoth testicle to make a +1 sword is never fun. Fear not, just sell one of each item to one of the multitude of vendors in the world. They will then build a stock of each item so instead of castrating shoggoths the player can walk to the store and buy them in a can.

Everything is very good, I just wish there was more of it. The world feels a bit small and there isn't much in it. Changing weapons and armor has no effect on the in game model. All of this is forgivable as long as it leads to something more. The developer needs to sell out, post haste (if he hasn't already) and get a job with Vanillaware.

Friday, July 17, 2015

EVO!

Can't blog, it's EVO time.

...and there is no one at the office but me so a-streaming we will go.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Nolan-esque

OH GOD THE SPOILERS


I have not read comic books on a regular basis in a quote some time and when I did it was still in a very limited way. As such, I did not know that the Arkham Knight was an established, if very new, character. This makes my predictions of his identity being either Talia or Clayface seem quite ignorant. He was Jason Todd the whole time. It was a surprise reveal to me and one that I was not impressed with.

It was not a surprise that Barbara was not actually dead but it was disappointing. The only real change at the end of the game was Batman being outed as Bruce Wayne, in response to which he blew up his manor and retired to Tahiti with Alfred in tow. He gave up his identity so easily that it seemed as if he was ready to let it go, that he was done with being The Batman and wanted to finally just be Bruce.

It's a bit anticlimactic but I am okay with it for the same reason that I was okay with the end of The Dark Knight Rises: Batman deserves a happy ending. It is not as clear cut in Arkham Knight, but come on, Bruce didn't kill himself and murder Alfred, he just took his money and ran.

There were a few small touches to the end that I want to highlight, but to do that I need to up the spoiler warning.

SUCH SPOILERS, SO VERY SPOILED


A good chunk of the final encounter with Scarecrow takes place in Batman's head. Joker has almost gained full control, at least he thinks he has, and takes his own version of the Bat-tank on a rampage, killing all of the other villains and their henchmen. (Side note: the game almost sold me on this being the actually ending, that Batman loses his mind and Jason has to put him down. That would have been fucking dark) After gunning down dozens of bad dudes the special attack is finally charged and it has a new name:

The Killing Joke.


Batman of course does not lose his mind but he does have to deal with all his super hero laundry having been aired out. There is only one recourse, he tells Alfred, the knightfall protocol.

'That will require voice authorization, sir.'

Kevin Conroy has being voicing Batman for my entire adult life and much of my childhood. His voice is just as much Batman as Mark Hamill is the Joker. I have heard it several different animated series, movies and games and it has never sounded this emotional:

'Martha.'

God damn.

END SPOILERS

The gap between Arkham games makes it difficult for me to compare them, but I think that I can safely put this between Asylum and City in quality. It was bigger than City but the batmobile, of which I fell on the love side of the love hate reaction, made it easy to get around. The collectible nonsense could once again be avoided plus it was hidden even better than in previous games. I did not have glowing green question marks confronting me at every turn. The Riddler escaped my Batman, as he has in all the games, but that is how little I care about the character. If he wants to hide things all over the city, fine, more power to him.

I almost let him keep Cat Woman, too, but I liked the driving challenges.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What not to wear

Nothing much happened last night in Arkham Knight. I did the super hero equivalent of all the chores that had been stacking up while I was doing something more interesting. I collected Riddler question marks, disarmed bombs, destroyed checkpoints, you know, the usual stuff. When I did get back to the main story I had to deal with another terrible costume for Harley and a Robin outfit that I am forced to admit isn't stupid. That may be the first nice thing I have ever said about Robin.


That's a dead horse he's beating. Yeah.

Going back to Harley, what is wrong with her classic look from the animated series?


Suggestive? Slightly. But at least it doesn't look like she is jumping around in her underwear as it does in Gods and Monsters:


That's terrible. Really, really, terrible. Harley has fallen victim, as have all the villains to different degrees, to the need to make Batman even darker and grittier than he already was. It is as if the characters are still doing penance for Batman and Robin and the infamous bat nipples. Collectively I say: get over it.

Batman is dark enough. His enemies should provide the color to his stark black and grey attire. And they should be, you know, clothed. Poison Ivy is another example of a character that has almost ruined by multiple passes through the grim-dark filter. The classic:


Simple. Sexy. Wearing pants.


For starters, no god damn pants. But I do like her angry, powerful face. Still, not as good as the old version.

This has turned into a 'get off my lawn' post. And that's okay. Why do all the characters look like they belong on Hot Topic t-shirts now? The only one who is safe is Mr J himself. It is almost impossible to screw up Joker. Almost.


What the fuck was that all about.


Indeed.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I have little self control (SPOILERS)

That's it, I have no more self control.

MASSIVE ARKHAM KNIGHT SPOILERS BELOW


...heh, I actually didn't know some of those movie spoilers. Oh well.

There is one specific fear I have about Arkham Knight: that it doesn't have the courage to follow through on a devastating plot point. Specifically, that Barbara Gordon is dead. Her being dead and how Batman doesn't deal with it is excruciating. I am at the half way point and Batman just straight up lied to Robin. 'She's fine,' he said. I guess fine means trapped in a room full of fear gas with a whole in her head.

If the game backs out of this and macguffin's her back to life I will be pissed. There is a built in escape: the player doesn't actually see Barbara shoot herself. It is obscured by the Joker in Batman's head. It's not as if people coming back from the dead is that crazy in a world that contains Lazarus pits. Speaking of the Al Ghuls...

I have two theories on who the Arkham Knight is. The first, and the more reasonable and boring option, is that it is Talia Al Ghul. I do not remember how she died in Arkham City but unless it was under a steam roller there is no reason that she could not be back. This would account for the Knights knowledge of Batman, his/her thinner build and ability to fight Batman toe to toe for short periods.

The second and more interesting theory is that the Knight is Clay Face and that the suit is holding him together, having been diluted by his trip into the Lazarus pit. This option is really cool and would finally highlight a villain other than Joker, Penguin and Two Face. Oh wait, those three are back in spite of one of them being cremated at the beginning of the game.

END SPOILERS

There, I feel much better.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

More that I can't talk about

I want to talk about the plot of Arkham Knight so bad. Something insane happened last night, though I am not sure that what was shown was real, but I can't be any more specific than that without spoiling the shit out of very important events. Is there is a statue of limitations on spoilers? I say there is.

In seven days I will tell all.

...

Since I have nothing else to talk about, less us enjoy Ono revealing the Brazil stage for Street Fighter V:


One would assume this means Blanka, but this is Ono, and Ono like to mess with people. The Blankas on his desk and that damn Blanka shirt are all a little too one the nose.

It's going to be Sean and I am going to cry.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pure fanboy-ism

I am listening to the conversation between Jim Sterling, who has replaced Yahtzee as my acerbic internet critic waifu, and some knob from Digital Homicide. In my opinion, being little more than an internet dude who reacts to things, Sterling is not innocent here. He has picked on Digital Homicide a little more than other companies, however this guy, this guy, every single one of his arguments boils down to 'you shouldn't say that because it is mean.' He believes that he is immune to criticism because he is a small developer, that he is owed some universal charity because he is trying.

Trying is just that, trying. If you fail, then you fail, and that failure should be pointed out. The correct way to react would be to say 'Yeah, this game is bad, what should I do instead?' not plugging your ears, stomping your feet, and yelling at the top of your lungs that 'this is best I can do, you will like it!'

I don't know why Sterling talked to him for as long as he did. Actually, I do know why he did: the longer that the gentleman from Digital Homicide spoke the worse he sounded. It was embarrassing. Good lord, it is still going. Sterling, point out that the games aren't fun and hang up on him.

...

Finally, he said it, the game is not fun to play.

...

I may have to throw money and Sterling's Patreon for this, if only to sponsor this kind of warranted abuse.

...

Okay, enough of that. Arkham Knight has brilliant bits that I cannot talk about as it would be a total disservice to anyone who hasn't played it yet. I so want to gush about something showing up that I never thought I would see outside of a comic book and then complain that it did not quite go far enough. All that I can in good conscious discuss are the game mechanics and I am not quite as thrilled with them as they seem to be working in opposition to one another.

The batmobile, for example, is awesome. I love how it looks, I love how it controls in assault mode and it drives well enough otherwise to navigate the cramped streets of Gotham. Using it, however, means missing any and all of the hidden missions. The hidden missions themselves are revealed in a very organic, world consistent way via intercepted radio messages, but if you happen to be driving at the time, good luck finding them. Batman can move just as quickly on his own, flying from rooftop to rooftop, so the batmobile is simultaneously a great addition and completely pointless. It shines in the missions designed for it and is a hindrance otherwise.

For once I am not playing a multi-platform game on the least desirable of the the main three options. That honor belongs to the PC version, which to my knowledge has still not been returned to the Steam marketplace. The Xbox One is my primary platform and I will stick to it for misguided, silly reasons. Arkham Knight looks very good, runs smoothly, but is so visually dense that I lose track of what I am trying to do, punch, or shoot. Much of that is due to the near constant rain but distinguishing enemies from the beautiful backgrounds can be difficult. I do now know if there is a solution to this as it is closer to the way things really are. Maybe I don't want photo realism, after all.

Then there is the combat. I spent half an hour on a single encounter last night in which I needed to rescue a fireman from fifteen or so guys. I am not sure how many there were because more mooks seemed to fall out of the air as I fought on longer. It was death over and over, until out of nowhere I succeeded, the problem being I have no idea what I did differently. I probably got lucky which is what bothers me the most.

It has been previously established that I am not very good at video games, so take that last paragraph with a grain of salt.

But...

I cannot wait to get back to this game. I cannot wait to see more things that I cannot talk about for fear of stirring the anti-spoiler mob. Do I even have a mob's worth of readers? Maybe I should test this.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Glass breaks

So, this was cool:


So cool, so viral, that it was picked up by ESPN, which is insane.

To be fair, there is not a single competitive event that would not be improved by Austin showing up and stunning someone. K Brad was a pretty good stand in.

EVO starts in just over two weeks. Perhaps I will 'work from home' that Friday.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Many possible answers

I did not much enjoy LEGO Jurassic World.

This may mean that I am *gasp* growing up. Which is unacceptable.

It could also mean that I am all pissy because my Spyer has been in the shop for almost two weeks, my tattoo artist has yet to get me any art for the rest of my sleeve, the Upper Midwest is probably not going to get a summer this year (again), I have stopped eating candy cold turkey and my neck has hurt almost non-stop for longer than I can remember.

Or I could just be tired of the genre and wanted to play Batman instead.