Monday, November 7, 2016

Give me the pretties

The Deadly Tower of Monsters is very much like the last pretty good Ace Team game: Rock of Ages. If you enjoy the joke, be it rolling a giant boulder down a hill and crushing historically inaccurate but hilarious caricatures or playing through a fourth wall breaking parody of bad DVD commentary for an even worse movie, you will forgive the game's problems. I will admit that Monsters has issues but I cannot argue with the price of free (with my PSN subscription) and it made me chuckle at least a few times.

First, the bitching. Monsters is a mediocre twin stick shooter/platformer. There are many weapons to find but it is obvious which ones are the best and little reason to experiment. Creating monsters that look like they were animated via bad stop motion may or may not have been a brilliant way to cover up not having any money to spend on actual animators. It has zero replay value outside of collecting movie themed flotsam.

So what does it have? The eponymous tower is impossibly tall and is rendered from top to bottom at all times. This creates some surprisingly stunning (and dizzying) views when looking down and makes for a long fall if you happen to step off the edge. No worries, you can teleport back to the spot of your misstep at any time. Ace realized that just by making a tower people would want to jump off of it, so what the hell, let them do it.

Then there is the narration, a DVD commentary track by the director (who sounds suspiciously like Fred Willard) and the recording tech who would rather be anywhere else. The director veers wildly from funny to oh my god stop talking which is just about right for a DVD commentary track. The game actually manages a twist in its fourth act that was clever but made for a less than stellar final boss. Good idea, funny, but poorly executed.

If you have PSN the game is free. You could do much worse. At around 4 hours, it won't take much time away from bigger, 'better' games. Come on, show Ace Team some love. Tell them that this and Rock of Ages 2 is what we want from them, not that dreadful Abyss Odyssey.

...

PS4 Pro launches on Thursday. In anticipation I have changed multiplatform titles that are getting a Pro patch (which is almost all of them) from Xbox One to PS4 on my queue. It feels like I am betraying an old friend. I just bought the XBox One S, and it is a good piece of hardware, but it doesn't actually run games in pseudo 4K. Even the achievement metagame is losing its sway over me. In a year I will regret this when the same migration happens in the opposite direction and I return home to the sweet embrace of the Scorpio.

But for now, my new television craves 4K content. It wants to push all the pixels it can. I might as well let it. The One S is still the for 4K Blu-rays, shitty ugly games and the occasional exclusive.

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