Monday, August 10, 2015

What not to do, ever.

My bubbling rage over Galak-Z has subsided to a mere simmering disdain though I am sure that if/when I play it a second time I will end up equally pissed off. I have so much good to say about the game and it pains me that it makes no effort to meet me half way, to allow me to play the game instead of suffer through the same sections over and over, especially when all of its problems would so easily be remedied by something that has existed for a long, long time.

It's called allowing the player to choose between multiple difficulty levels, fuckers.

I do indeed blame From Software for bringing a niche gameplay mechanic into the main stream. The concept of obscene, unfair difficulty and summarily punishing the player for failing to be perfect the first time through used to be limited to indie titles like Dwarf Fortress and true rogue-likes. I do not enjoy them and I could easily avoid them. Then Dark Souls came out and suddenly difficulty over content became all the rage.

Granted, I never played Dark Souls, but I did attempt Demons' Souls and played all I could stand of Bloodborne. They were altogether unpleasant experiences that I do not wish to repeat. Again, I could avoid them because I knew what they were. Galak-Z looked like something that I would enjoy. And for the first forty five minutes, it was.

Remember Armada on the Dreamcast? No one remembers Armada...

Armada was a very fun, if a bit simplistic, space shooter that layered on just the right amount of player customization and RPG elements. The combat itself and the way the ship controlled were a bit loose but there was nothing else quite like it at the time. This is what Galak-Z could have been only with much better, more precise control and more options for the ship. Everything that Galak-Z does, from its 80s anime aesthetic to the way it handles ship momentum and upgrades, is exactly what I wanted out of the sequel to Armada that never came or was somehow terrible (I don't remember...)

Then I died in the last chapter of the first episode to a boss that I am willing to bet kills about half of the players the first time and what does the game do? Fuck off, back to the beginning with none of your weapons, a tiny amount of currency and a giant chip on your shoulder for have just wasted about an hour for no gain.

Why? Why? There is no need for such a draconian mechanic here. It is out of place and unwelcome. If there must be a death penalty then taking away accumulated currency and starting the mission over seems fair and would have kept me playing. As it sits now if I ever turn the game back on I will need to wade through several identical missions unlocking the same upgrades to fight the same boss and hopefully do better. That's boring and I have better things to do with my time than allow a developer to waste it.

17-Bit, let me introduce you to Blizzard, a company quite good and having their cake and eating it, too. They have a mode in Diablo similar to the way Galak-Z works called Hardcore Mode: if the player dies, that it, everything is lost. And it's fucking optional because some people don't want to play that way. Galak-Z is hardcore mode, all the time, and I am not going to waste my time with it which is a shame because everything else about the game is very, very good.

Welcome to Chamberlain's shit list, population From Software, Konami, the Star Trek reboots and now 17-Bit.