6/28/09

All our dreams are over now...

Both summer goals are gone. God Hand hard is to much. So is KH2.

Need a 360 joystick.

SF4 is a great videogame, but a cowardly design. This is the follow up to SF3? Pathetic.

Mark of the Wolves is also great.

DoDonPachi is also great.

Mars Matrix is brilliant.

God Hand, alas poor God Hand...

We knew thee far to well. Indeed, who amongst us has not played God Hand? For you need not to have put the physical disc into physical hardware to have played this sweet game.

Has thou played A Brawler?
Thou has played God Hand.

Has thou played A Fighting Game?
Thou has played God Hand.

Has thou played Mario?
Thou has played God Hand.

Has thou played an Honest to God Videogame?
Thou has most definitely played God Hand.

To play God Hand, to truly PLAY it, to see it's intricacies, to TASTE it's punches, it's kicks, is to KNOW it.

Here stands a game you know without playing.

Some do not get God Hand. We dare not speak their names, not in it's presence. For other games, for dare we say, LESSER games, the Player 'Not-Getting-It' is a Grade-A Design Flaw; indeed, it is a flaw bordering on a felony, and even the best of us are guilty**. But here, for God Hand, Not-Getting-It speaks ill not of the Game, but of the Gamer. For you see, God Hand is enlightenment; there is nothing to get. The meaning is clear. There is no obtuseness, to hidden messages*, no meaning in the 'artistic' sense. And yet, it is art.

But we digress.

God Hand is game, a game about a Dude with an Awesome Arm That Can Beat Up Everyone. And so he does. He punches, kicks, and punches his way through demon after demon after super-demon after demon.

Has thou read xkcd? Between the half-clever math jokes, underneath the Calvin-and-Hobbes-lite, just to the left of the Lonely Geek, there is an idea for a videogame. River Tam Beats Up Everyone.

GENTLEMEN! BEHOLD! The Power of God Hand! Having never played it, this man, this Guy-Who-Makes-xkcd UNDERSTANDS GOD HAND. Such is the power of God Hand.

But wait...it occurs to us that this game...this game that the Guy-Who-Makes-xkcd has thought about...it might even be BETTER than God Hand. Think of it man; the sprawling city of GTA, the delicious mechanics of God Hand.

"But what of Level Design?" you ask?

LEVEL DESIGN IN GOD HAND!?!?! You miserable, insufferable fool! It is the Halo of Brawlers; it needs no level design! Just throw dude/ette(s) into a room, THAT's your fucking level design. Just place a 'checkpoint' at every intersection of streets, and at every door, and that's plenty of 'level design'

Even while we ponder a videogame superior to God Hand, we must marvel at the POWER OF GOD HAND. A game so AWESOME, so BRILLIANT, it contains WITHIN IT, the keys to a STILL BETTER GAME. Some ask for the Citizen Kane of Videogames; gentlemen, we have been gifted with the Deep Thought of Videogames***.

And it was outsold by Kingdom Hearts 2.

*At least, none where there should not be.
**Fighting Games, I'm looking at you. Mark of the Wolves, you are excused.
***Alas, Douglas, you were taken from us far to soon!

6/1/09

So I got around the playing The World Ends With You...

So here I am. Listenin to Funcrusher Plus, and thinking about The World Ends With You. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I was supposed to mock TWEWY. I tried. I mean, fuck, I hated Kingdom Hearts 2. I hated it soooo hard. I played that game to like, 89% completion, that's how hard I hated it. I needed to be sure that there wasn't shit left. I needed to be sure that there was nothing there.

And TWEWY shows me that there was.

So let’s back the fuck up, and start with...eh...coin says KH2. Let’s roll with that. I guess I can try, but fuck, what hasn't been said? Calling that game shit is an affront to Tubgirl. I mean really, there are games that are simplistic, and then there's KH2. There simply NOTHING GOING ON. Yes, I hit X. Yes, sparks flew. Sure, occasionally I hit /\. Sure, fancy sparks flew. But did shit really happen? Did anything really go down? Did the world feel me? Did the enemies feel me? Fuck, did I feel me? No. Nothing was felt be ANY agent that was within that system. There was only empty smashing of worthless buttons, to propel characters noone likes through environments noone loves, to fight enemies that envy the compelling design of the CUBICLE.

But the thing is...when you start to look...and I mean REALLY REALLY look...there's some shit there. There really is. Like the secret reports. Don't know about those? I didn't either, till like, 60% completion or whatever. I didn't keep a journal, but that number sounds about right, so let’s just say I did.

Anyway, these secret journals, they're like exposition. Now true, it's exposition about KH2, but still, there's no reason that other, good games couldn't implement this. I mean, it's almost like the end sequence of Braid, where you're hiding Tim to reveal the 'truth'. You see, the genius of that sequence is simply the fact that, at that point, the games has you by the metaphorical tits. Oh sure, you think that it's just your own curiosity...but lets be frank. Those books outside those levels. You don't HAVE to read them...but you always do. Even when you know what they say, you read them. BECAUSE THEY'RE FUCKING THERE. And shit, once that game has got you reading the books inside it, it's over baby. The ghost has more than simply given himself up, the fucker has taken a fucking plea deal and is getting off with some motherfucking probation.

You see, the secret reports are like Braids books. There if you want them, and sooner or later, you want them. To quote a man of infinite wisdom

"Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday. Later that day..."

Now once again, the chief problem with KH2 implementation of the secret reports is simply the fact that IT'S EXPOSITION ON KINGDOM HEARTS 2 STORY. I mean, if you thought the main game was turgid, man, wait till you get a full frontal blast of the EXPOSITION.

But let’s link this to TWEWY. You see, the thing is that the people in TWEWY? You actually care about them. You really like them. Unlike the characters in KH2, whom only grow like a tumor you wish wasn't there, the characters in TWEWY grow like a fungus you learn to love. Shit even Joshua, the snobby shit who winds up being like, God or something, you kinda like by the end of the whole thing. And while the game certainly doesn't end with a cliffhanger, it does kinda leave you wondering, not WHAT happened, but rather, HOW. And that’s what them reports are all about. The HOW. Sure, there's some world building shit, and you lap it right up, cause you're caught by the tits, etc., but you're there to find out how that ending went down behind the scenes.

So how do you unlock these reports? Here's where the shit starts to get REALLY sharp. You see, you unlock them by replaying the same levels you just beat, but now you have to find some secret shit, or face some secret bosses, or other shit like that. The REAL kicker is that you get to keep all your badass leveled up shit! The secret items always have cute clues, eliminating the Pig Noise is actually kinda fun once you realize that it's more a bonus level than free shit, and the bosses...okay, some of the bosses are REAL motherfucking pains. And this is because of...

COMBAT!

Oh man, they nearly had it. I mean really man, they were like 2 fucking yards from the Inzone of Awesome Combat*. So combat is crazy. Basically, since the whole theme of the game is friendship, you control two character at the same time. On the bottom screen, you get to play as Neku, your emo protagonist who learns to open up eventually, yadda-yadda, anyway, that game stays the same at all times. You run around, and attack, USING ONLY THE TOUCH SCREEN. Basically, you can equip pins, and each pin uses different touch command to do its thang**. For the most part, these motions are not problematic; The scratching is kinda a pain, the press ones take to long, etc., but these aren't major. Naw, the REAL problems come with moving Neku. Like I said, you can only use the Touch Screen, as your partner needs the buttons. So what you gotta do is drag Neku. Now, the thing is that the arena you're in is ISOMETRIC. Look, can we just stop making Isometric games already? I mean, the fact is that they made Neku so small, so they could fit more shit on screen, and sometimes when you got drag him, you can't hit him cause his hitbox is fucking retarded...and when you factor in the perspective fuckery that can happen when you miss a drag...argh. Just argh.

So hey, the top screen. It's got your partner. Now each partner technically has their own separate little subgame, but each one is basically the same. Navigate through a combo map to reach the panel you want. One has you play memory, one has you playing it 'High or Low' and another has you play a 2d hexic. Each one is nice and satisfying, at least when the enemies don't get in the way...

And so we come to the enemies. Both the games' weakest and strongest element. Much like DMC3, the best enemies can more or less be classified as two types; heavy and light. Light enemies can be interrupted by really an attack. The best strategy against these guys is to keep the hits coming, which is convenient, as keeping the hits coming is kinda what I'm there to do. Anyway, the second type of enemy is much harder to interrupt. Heavies simply don't go down like no bitches. If you wanna interrupt these guys, you gotta work for it. You’re thinking to grizzlies, and the annoying as fuckall rhinos. And the Elephants, ohgod, the Elephants.

Once again cribbing from DMC3, some the best bosses can probably be easiest to classify as 'light'. The Uzuki fights, the Beat fights, the Koki fights, the Uzuki AND Koki fights, the Megumi fight...all these are in essence 'mirror matches'***. you face an enemy this more or less you. You got a Partner? They do too! You got a light puck that multiplies your attack? They do too! You can interrupt their attacks with really basic shit? They can do the same to you! It's these fights that keep me coming back, isometry notwithstanding****.

But alas, all cannot always be well. There are some enemies that, while not BAD are certainly lesser. The boomerang crabs are super fucking annoying, what with the quick ass knockdown that they spam like fucking hell. The frogs that get healed by all attacks Neku uses...the last boss, with it screen-spanning faggotry...the Iron Maiden boss fight...the Elephants, ohgod, the Elephants...so terrible. To be honest, if it wasn't for these bosses I would honestly not believe that the dude who did KH2 did this game too. I mean, they just are soooo reminiscent of the worst of KH2 bosses. Flashy, showy, and coated in a thick layer of fecal matter.

And yeah, I didn't mention the Trends system, or the pin evolution, and that's because both those concepts are kinda stupid. The Trends simply don't give enough benefit or penalty to really bother with, and the pin evolution is really just a goddamn hassle. Just something as easy as letting me STOP THE EVOLUTION OF A PIN would go miles.

So it's not perfect. It misses tons and tons, AND TONS of details. I mean, I haven't really gone into some of the REALLY bad enemies, haven't talked about the spritework, the soundtrack, the overworld map...each one of varying quality. Shit I haven't even touched the leveling system, which is nothing short of motherfucking brilliant, and should be stolen RIGHT FUCKING NOW by EVERY RPG FOR THE REST OF TIME. You can LOWER YOUR LEVEL TO GET BETTER LOOTZ!!!1 JESUS CHRIST, if that’s not at least HALF as sharp as ONE LEVEL of Bangai-O Spirits, I don’t know what is.

But I get ahead of myself. The important thing is that, if the KH2 dude doesn't totally get it yet, which he probably doesn’t, he knows someone who does.

And that alone is reason to hope. Maybe FF13 won’t be all that bad…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cWU-M9EpEg

…I mean…12 almost kicked ass…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVxX8aaHgdE&fmt=35&annotation_id=annotation_117219&feature=iv

...Fuck.

*SEE: Godhand, DMC3, SF3
**Not at all related to its thing.
***SEE: DMC3 Vergil boss fights, holy shit those were great.
****Dodging some of Beats moves is a real hassle without any good perspective. AOE is hard to determine in Isometric games.

Quickie

I wrote a really bad Space Giraffe review. I am tempted to post it, simply to motivate myself to write a better one.

I also wrote a review of The World Ends With You. That one is better. I will post that one right after this.

I am playing KH2 to 100% completion. I will then review it. This is summer goal number one.

Summer goal number two is to beat God Hand on hard. I might write a review before that though.

BONUS: Guess which review will be positive, and which one negative!

I love punk music. I really, really do.