Friday, May 25, 2018

Intelligent options

I refuse to go into any more depth about Gorogora. I find its arrogance insufferable.


Skipping both the Wii and the Wii U and having no taste for handhelds has left me around a decade behind on Nintendo first part software. The Switch is allowing me to catch up, albeit slowly. Getting to play Bayonetta 2 was a treat, as was playing just a bit of Super Mario Odyssey (never finished that one), fighting the weapon degradation bullshit in Zelda and destroying my arrogant children in Mario Kart. It is not my indy machine, it is exactly what the Gamecube was: a place for exclusives.

To that end, I am having a fine time with Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. I played through three levels last night on the new 'Funky' (read that as Easy) mode and I have no complaints. It is no Rayman or Cuphead but it isn't trying to be. For the most part it is a little kid friendly game, and I mean that as a compliment. Enemies are all funny looking and well animated. The main path through most of the levels is not overly hard and when the difficulty ramps up, as it always does in the minecart levels, after a few deaths the game allows you to bypass the entire thing, at least in Funky mode.

Hold on to yourself, I am about to say Donkey Kong Country and Bloodborne in the same paragraph.

Nintendo, or at least Retro Studios, understands that making concessions to the less coordinated does not diminish the experience of those who do not require this assistance. Funky mode and Normal mode were clearly explained so I knew exactly what I was getting when I chose the smoother road. People playing on Normal do not get the level skip, can carry fewer items and have two instead of three hearts. With a little thought and a simple tweak everyone is happy. Why can Retro Studios manage this and From Software cannot?

After four games the answer is clear: From Software is not interested in pleasing anyone outside of its core fanbase. Locking some (or most) of the game behind (in my opinion) ludicrous difficulty Ois not a problem for them. What I do not understand is why. Obviously there is more time and effort put into the world and the lore of Bloodborne versus Donkey Kong. Wouldn't you want as many people as possible to experience it?

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