Monday, January 29, 2018

It should come with a warning label

I am not going to rehash my opinions on Shadow of War as they has been recording for posterity in last week's episode of the podcast. I am also not going to spend any time talking about LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. It was another LEGO game, slightly buggier than usual, but not a terrible way to kill a few days while waiting to calm down from the utter nonsense that was Shadow of War's fourth chapter.

What I am going to do is warn you about Chance's boundless, contagious enthusiasm.

Chance loves video games. I also love video games but my affection is a more broad based need for visual, electronic stimulation. Chance fall in love with certain games. When he loves a game he loves that game and nothing anyone says will change that. The pleasure he derives from and the enthusiasm of his evangelizing for these rare gems is almost impossible to resist. Case in point: I own Overwatch, a game that I play once every few months to remind myself of why I do not play it more often. I also own Salt and Sanctuary, a game he so enjoyed that he bought it for me and that I have a tinge of guilt about regarding my total lack of reciprocal enjoyment.

Darkest Dungeon. Galak-Z. Horizon Zero Dawn. Gravity Rush 2 (*gag*). And now Iconoclasts. If you listened to him last week and did not start throwing money at PSN you are a stronger individual than I. So I bought Iconoclasts and jumped it ahead of Assassin's Creed Origins and The Evil Within 2, games left over from last year that need to be played.

It's, well, it's okay. It's no Guacamelee or Ori or Shadow Complex. It doesn't control as well or make as good of use of the 16 bit aesthetic as Shovel Knight. It is a serviceable Metroid-vania that takes too long to add on new abilities and when they are added the new abilities are not all that exciting. Its innocent look hides a really fucking dark narrative about religion controlling everything and the potential hedonism of those who oppose it. This would more interesting if the game stopped adding more the unexplained back story and just let it sit and fester for a while. The addition of constant complications does not make it more interesting, it makes it more confusing which is especially frustrating because there is a great story to tell here that the game never gotten around to telling.

I really hope this turns around before the game is done. Iconoclasts is certainly fun, if a bit antiquated feeling, to play. The writer(s) may simply have written checks that their skills could not cash.

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