I really liked Grin's new Bionic Commando game. Apparently the swinging mechanic has split people into two camps, and I fall into the 'this feels easy and great to use' side of things. The scenery could look fantastic at times, causing me to stop zipping about like some amphetamine-fuelled Cyber Tarzan so I could soak it up.
The challenges added a welcome - if sometimes distracting - amount of depth to the action. Meeting certain requirements, like defeating a specific amount of enemies with a particular weapon, usually garners an Achievement and unlocks more challenges to try your detachable hand at. I loves me some Achievements, and the obsessive completionist in me enjoyed unlocking them through these different tasks.
It's not a flawless piece of entertainment, obviously. The game's inhibiting conceit is that some radioactive 80s neon-blue special effect coats the city, limiting the amount of exploration the player can engage in. While poorly explained (by them, not me) and initially frustrating, it doesn't take long to get used to what the game's trying to get you to do. Once you've got your head around the fact that this isn't as open a world as your first leap from a ruined skyscraper would suggest, the whole experience hangs together better.
When (certainly not 'if') you die, the game forgets the collectibles you've picked up before the next checkpoint. Usually you'd expect enemies to respawn upon your demise, but tricky-to-reach bonuses should be a one-time deal. Oh, and those challenges which I said were a nice addition? They're also afflicted by the same post-death amnesia. If you die, you've got to rack up those stats again. I eventually excused this by comparing it to the old school ethos where slipping up meant being thrown back to a checkpoint, sans power-ups, so you could do it all again. Not a perfect gaming experience in this day and age, but at least this game has ties to that era.
As you can see, I was willing to overlook the problems this game had because the overall experience was so great. However, there is one design decision (read: kick in the nuts) that has left the lustre a little lacking. I'd finished the game and thought I'd check out the Level Skip feature that allows you to revisit the environments. After all, there were some collectibles I'd missed and my gaming OCD was making my brain itchy.
Problem is, you can't keep anything you get in this mode; it's merely a way for player to muck around in the levels. Challenges and collectibles have zero worth when playing in this way. The upshot of this is that to get the missing pieces of your collection, you have to play the whole game again. And you have to get everything along the way. Again. Oh, and the game also auto-saves, meaning you cannot return to a previous point to mop up the remainder of the Achievements.
Here's where I'd write some closing paragraph to neatly wrap up this post. Instead, I'm going to make a nice calming cup of tea and hopefully stop grinding my teeth long enough to drink it.
BONUS: Here's a dubstep Bionic Commando remix and, as an extra treat, it uses the old Commodore 64 version as the intro! Wheee.