Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Game dump

Been a few days and there is much to discuss.

OnRush. On paper this game makes some sense. Take a racing game, make it team based, change the goal from finishing first to out scoring the opponents by either destroying them or accomplishing other objective and finally make it vaguely hero based by giving different cars different special attacks and ultimate abilities.

The chaos was amusing for about two races. The technical proficiency kept me around for a little longer - the cars controlled well and the frame rate was solid, though the game is not what I would call 'a looker.' Then I got bored. Really bored. Races all played out the same way in spite of differing objectives. Ending up in front of the pack, what you want in normal racing games, was a great way to fall behind in the points, but taking your foot off the gas to let opponents pass is a great way to get crushed from behind.

This games was directed by the same person who directed Driveclub, which I didn't like, and produced by the purchased leftovers of Evolution Studios. Evolution Studios was responsible for the Motorstorm games, which I also did not like. At least everyone involved is being consistent.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon was a stretch goal for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. I forgot I had this coming so it did not bother me when the XBox One version was inexplicably delated by a few weeks. Now that it is out I can say that it was an appropriate bonus and am glad that I did not actually pay for it.

Both Curse of the Moon and Ritual of the Night are both spins on the Castlevania motif, Ritual taking it forward with fancy new graphics and Curse takes it backward. Curse of the Moon has much in common with Castlevania III, the awkward middle child of the early Castlevania years - not as terrible and II and not nearly as good as IV. It did have multiple playable characters and Curse of the Moon does it one better by allowing the player to switch between then characters at any time.

This freedom leads to levels with branching paths, sections that are much more easily completed with one of the characters and a few bosses that are almost impossible when one of them is dead. The four characters share a single life - when one dies you start from the most recent checkpoint with another and you don't get any of them back until all of them are dead. I always ended up with the alchemist at the end, because he is only good for very specific tasks, meaning that I more often than not threw him off a cliff when he had to go for it alone.

Visually, Curse of the Moon sticks close to its 8-bit great, great, great grandfather, just minus any slowdown or flicker. The chip tunes are good, just not as good as the originals, and the second quest removes one of the characters and jacks up the difficulty. I started the second quest. Started is the operative term. I did not finish it.

Speaking of difficulty.

Celeste hides some serious FUCK YOU difficulty under its retro pleasant aesthetic. I wouldn't call it Super Meat Boy hard, because I never finished that, but my death count did pass that of Cuphead before I made it to the top of the mountain.

The game is not subtle about its theme: Madeline decides to climb a mountain. On the way the mountain itself splits her in two (metaphorically, not physically) and she is forced to deal with her depression as if it were another person. They fight, depression wins for a while, then they make up and work together, earning a triple jump in the process.

I am not being flippant, this is just not something that I identify with. The meaning of the game is lost behind its pixel perfect platforming and levels that go on just a screen or two too long. From the outset I decided that collecting the strawberries and other nonsense was just not going to happen. What was there was difficult enough without adding more. The d-pad on the Xbox One controller also didn't do me any favors.

But it was fun when I wasn't furious with it so I toughed it out to the end. Based on the percentage of people who also finished it the game isn't that hard, I am just that bad at videogames. That ties in nicely with the game I am not talking about, Hollow Knight.


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