Monday, October 2, 2017

Refreshed, not punished

Long weekend away from my gaming devices (yes, I did not take my Switch on vacation) but I do have two important things to talk about.

First, I now understand the low-ish metacritc scores for Agents of Mayhem. Following a story missions I unlocked about six character specific tasks, at the end of each that character was unlocked. Sounds good so far. Each character has their own attacks and skills that can be unlocked. So far each of their missions has been a carbon copy of something that I have already done. Clearing an enemy base, something that I have done at least six or seven times, loses its amusement when they are all almost the same. A new gun does not automatically make it fun again.

This does not mean that I am not going to finish the game but I have been distracted by a game that I never thought would see the light of day: Cuphead.

Cuphead came out on Friday but I did not get a chance to play it until Sunday afternoon, and even then I was sick and tired from traveling all day. That evening, when I should have been sleeping, I was powering through the game, rubbing my eyes and wiping my nose in an effort to stay conscious for one more boss. It's that good.

I do need to take some air out of the game's mystique: it's not that hard. Sort of. I ran through all of the first world and all but one of the bosses of the second in about two and a half hours. A full half hour of that was dedicated to one boss (fuck you Beppi the Clown) but I was never frustrated. Cuphead is not shy about killing the player. It should be assumed that each new section of a boss, of which there are three or four, will be lethal as there is no fucking way to predict what is going to happen.

This should piss me off, right? I'll tell you why it doesn't: Cuphead is almost entirely comprised of bosses. When I die, and it has happened well over a hundred time now, I am literally seconds away from trying again. No being sent back to the beginning of the level (the run and gun sections are the weakest part of the game), not losing all the experience or money or weapons gained, no penalty at all. I do not even need to walk back to the beginning of the fight from an arbitrarily placed bonfire. I push a button and try again.

Cuphead is not the Dark Souls of platformers. Cuphead is fair. Cuphead is fun.

So is the gameplay hard? Of course it's fucking hard. The clown boss I mentioned before had attacks that were so hard to avoid that it was silly. I know that things are just going to get more difficult but I am looking forward to it because the game handles death in a logical manner, not a punitive one. The gameplay is hard but playing the game is not. Playing the game is easy in that I want to keep coming back and my time is not abused. There is no progress to lose, only to gain.

It would be nice to finish the game tonight so I can get to my October project of horror games but that may or may not happen. I have doubts that my pace of progress through the final third of the game will match that of the first two thirds. And that's okay.

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