Monday, March 25, 2019

Better late than, well...

Obviously I am not playing Sekiro. I don't want to play Sekiro, it sounds custom made to anger me, meticulously honed into just the right shape to hit all my rage pressure points simultaneously. But what I am missing us the internet community aspect of playing something at the same time as everybody else. The end of last year of good for that. I played Red Dead Redemption 2 at release and Spider-Man not too far after. It was nice to be part of the buzz instead of weeks, or months, late.

So be it. Someone had to play Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. Someone had to play Darksiders III. Might as well be me.

Monster Boy was not originally on the list as I had some fun with the last game but not enough to make me loyal to the series. The last game was a reskin of the original Master System title, and it felt like it. Looked good, felt bad, and was burdened with antiquated mechanics. It also required quite a bit of internet help to finish.

Then Cursed Kingdom showed on a top ten list on Digital Foundry. Fine, I'll play.

Cursed Kingdom is not a reskin, it is a whole new game. Looks good. Honestly looks very good. Does not feel bad, but certainly doesn't feel good. And the game? Ehhhhh... I do not like it when a Metroid-vania does not at least give some direction on where to find something (which is part of why I cannot play Hollow Knight). Cursed Kingdom does this a few time but those road blocks came when I was too invested, time wise, to give up.

So this game, much like the last one, was finished with the help of various let's play videos. I don't have the time nor do I have the patience to re-explore vast areas, looking for the one piece out of five of the magic dingus that I need to finish the game. In this case I am happy to have played the game late; someone else had done all the hard work for me.

...

Darksiders III is, at best, mediocre. But Fury is awesome. She hates humans. She hates the other horseman. She thinks, no, believes that she is better and more powerful that everyone else. She deserves a better game than a mostly linear action RPG with the worst parts of a Souls-like, unfair combat situations and losing souls when you die, bolted on.

I will soldier on, for now, but I cannot promise to see this one through to the end.

Friday, March 22, 2019

meak poast

Hm, what does this 'new post' button do?

meak poast

Well shit, look at that!

Chamberlain and Chance - It belongs in a museum

Monday, March 11, 2019

I am a simple man

Crackdown 3 forgot what it was in the final few missions, specifically, it got too hard. I spent a solid forty five minutes on a giant mech and his infinite minions before dropping the difficulty from 'Terry Crews' to 'Dwayne Johnson' and finishing it off with little effort.

I'm just kidding, Rock, you know I love you, don't kill me.

I maintain that there is little wrong with Crackdown 3 but there is also little to recommend outside of playing it for simple amusement. It is a game that exists for the sake of its game-ness, something that is apparently not good enough anymore.

It's just a game, okay? It's not breaking anything down or improving anything, even iteratively. It's a game that existed and exists again, after a ton of delays. That's good enough for me.

Speaking of good enough for me...

Phone rings.

'You've got Wang.'

Tee hee.

Lo Wang. Shadow Warrior 2. There are any number of things that I should be playing, things that are actually on the list, and instead I nosed around Game Pass looking to take advantage of the rest of my $1 month.

Imagine my surprise when I found a shooter that had new mechanics layered on top of it. There is a loot system that allows weapon and armor customization. Areas are large and filled with odd looking enemies whose limbs come off it a pleasing manner. The frame rate is solid, and visually it is good enough.

And it has juvenile potty humor. It is miles funnier than anything Duke Nukem ever did. Which isn't saying much, but at least there are no scantily clad women who have been impregnated by aliens.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Not a punishment after all

That powerful being that I thought I did wrong yesterday? The one who led me to Crackdown 3 after twenty minutes of Smash Ultimate and ten minutes with a surprise graphical novel? It turns out that he is much more benevolent than I thought. Crackdown 3 is not shit. Crackdown 3 is actually a lot of fun, so long as nothing more is expected of it than being another Crackdown.

I never really understood the backlash against the second Crackdown. It was more of the same, and for more there was nothing wrong with that. It was still a game about jumping around a city, collecting agility orbs, making occasional stops to shoot people and blow things up. And that is precisely what Crackdown 3 is, just a little shinier.

Ok, honestly, it's a bit too shiny. A bit too Tron for its own good.

This is not a deep game. Anyone expecting it to be a brand new experience is in for a disappointment. I am getting exactly what I came for, and after a scant three hours I will say that the moment to moment gameplay, the act of leaping tall buildings in a single build while firing a rocket launcher and anyone and everyone, is more fun than the moment to moment gameplay of Just Cause 4.

It also, if what I have read is true, has the sense to not be a gigantic time investment. Crackdown 3 is the unhealthy snack food of gaming. It's the Doritos of the game that came out last month. I like it in spite of its questionable quality, and left to my own devices I will finish the whole damn bag in one sitting.

That would make Metro Exodus the skunky beer of this February's releases. You can't make me finish it.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Contrition? Never!

Super Smash Bros Ultimate sucks. I played for about twenty minutes before giving up.

Death Mark was a god damn visual novel, how the hell did it end up on the list.

And now I have to play Crackdown 3. Clearly I have wronged someone or something quite powerful.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Gorilla gorilla

'So what are you playing?'

'A game about an ape messily crushing people into walls. And jazz fusion.'

'Uh hum.'

(walks away)

...

Ape Out is a simple game. You are an ape. You want to get out. There are many people in the way, most of them have guns, and they explode into the kind of red art Pollock would create after playing way too much Hotline Miami.

There are two buttons: one punches enemies and the other grabs them. Grabbed enemies can be used as shields, will file off a few shots of their gun in a panic, and then can be thrown into other helpless blood bags or the nearest wall, whichever you prefer.

It's a simple game. It's also almost brilliant.

The top down perspective makes determining enemy line of sight a snap. This is quite important because they will continue to fire at you from off screen, especially the damn rocket launcher guys who will one shot you long after you think you are safe. The visuals are simple but distinct. Enemies types are immediately recognizable, from the burly shot gun guys to the cowardly ones who have pistols. Everything needs to be processed quickly but it is not the enemies that kill, it is hesitation.

Any moment of hesitation equals death, or at least taking damage. When any enemy spots you there is almost always enough time to grab him before he gets off a shot as long as you do nothing else in the mean time. No time to think, no time to do anything, either you grab him (or hit him) or you get shot.

No stealth. No deep tactics. Just an ape going ape. And jazz.

Each level begins in silence. When the first enemy is killed the music kicks in, punctuated by cymbal hits when the ape crushes humans again the walls. It will rise and fall with the action, quieting down between fire fights only to reach a frenzied pitch when the ape is jumped by three shotgun guys, a flamethrower guy and a rocket launcher guy.

And that is where the game falters. Levels are proceduraly generated and can create no win scenarios. Not no win, I suppose, just dead ends filled with enemies. They are all also just a bit too long. Death comes quickly and and there are no checkpoints, something that becomes more annoying in the second half the game.

In spite of the difficulty spikes the game is also only about three hours long. There is a higher difficulty option, but that just doubles the level length. No thanks.

Ape Out had one good idea and it did it very, very well. For three hours/$15 dollars, that is all I an ask for.