Bionic Commando hates Acheivement Whor... uh, Enthusiasts

Posted by buzz_clik (6975 posts) -
Oooh, lookit.

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.

Dying's easy. It's collecting everything again after you restart that's the hard part.

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.

Moderator
#1 Edited by buzz_clik (6975 posts) -
Oooh, lookit.

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.

Dying's easy. It's collecting everything again after you restart that's the hard part.

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.

Moderator
#2 Posted by Sweep (8866 posts) -

Hot damn, bionic commando dubstep!!! You just made my day!

Great blog dude :D

Moderator
#3 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

This game and Prototype have me saying no, until the price drops and then we'll see... if I pay to play.

#4 Posted by buzz_clik (6975 posts) -
@Claude: I just grabbed BC from my video store for a week. I'll do the same with Prototype, too. It seems they're both perfect rental fodder for me.
Moderator
#5 Posted by buzz_killington (3532 posts) -
#6 Posted by jakob187 (21675 posts) -

I thoroughly enjoyed Bionic Commando...so much that my first playthrough was on Commando and I busted about 820G from it.  The multiplayer was well-done also, but the maps and weapons weren't memorable enough.  Even then...the damn rocket launcher and its locking-onto-humans bullshit breaks the multiplayer SOOOOOO much.  Still, excellent game.  Nonetheless, I can kind of see why you say it hates achievement whores...except the controls are easy to use (so long as you up the sensitivity on your right analog stick) and you can get the challenges and collectibles on the lowest difficulty.  Therefore, dying at that point means almost nothing.  It just sucks that you have to play through the campaign to unlock all the stuff, even if you've beaten the game already on the hardest setting.  Level jumping doesn't lead to achievements.  That is DEFINITELY a "fuck you, achievement whores" type of move.


Whatever, though.  They made up for it by releasing Terminator Salvation.  LAWL

As for Prototype, that game is FUCKING AWESOME!!!  The amount of shit that is going on at any one given moment is astounding.  The scale of Manhattan is well-built.  The traffic, the people on the sidewalks - you feel like you are in a populated version of Manhattan for once.  The exploration of the city is pretty sweet as well, as gliding above the city feels very different from being down on the ground.  Very cool little game with a ton of collectibles to be had, some New Game + fun, and overall massive destruction.
#7 Edited by buzz_clik (6975 posts) -
@jakob187: I loved the controls and didn't even feel the need to tweak them. The way you can run, jump, swing and fire all at the same time without even thinking about it made for a very satisfying experience for me.

First play through (on Normal) I got 700 points, and now I've got two games going concurrently - one in Commando, and the other in Normal again to try and snare all the challenges and collectibles. I was only one challenge away the first time as well - AIIIEEE!
Moderator
#8 Posted by makari (599 posts) -

It's a bit of a frustration, but you can get every single achievement on a single playthrough, and none of them are particularly hard to do. Doing them isn't the hard part, it's being good enough (or lucky enough, in a lot of cases) to keep them, which is a strange design choice in a game filled with strange design choices.

#9 Posted by vidiot (2737 posts) -
Bionic Commando
Last played on June 19, 2009
1000/1000 P
49/49 ACH

1316 players

Bionic Commando had some serious problems.

The swing component was not as fluid as I had hoped, there were countless times even during the multiple playthroughs that I still ran into problems. I thought the "radiation" component was beyond archaic. The collectibles, like you stated, cannot be gained by level repeat: Thus rendering the option to repeat levels completely useless.

Then there was the plot. Which was bad, and I could write for multiple paragraphs about how is fails at the most rudimentary levels, but that's for another thread and another conversation.

When Bionic Commando is good: It's great. The swing and shoot gameplay, the emphasis on using the arm, everything comes together.
When Bionic Commando is bad: It's terrible. Ridiculously poor dialog, misjudging something to swing onto by a few inches and being punished for it, everything goes to hell.

Strongly recommend a rental first. I've had a some fun with the multiplayer, and there are some great moments in this game, but it's way too inconsistent for me to wholeheartedly recommend.
#10 Posted by buzz_clik (6975 posts) -
@vidiot: I agree, such a game of maddeningly varying quality. I'll probably rent it again later on down the track to get the last 125 points I missed after not collecting everything.

And yeah, the plot was predictable and naff, but the most disappointing thing for me was Mike Patton's Spencer. I'm a huge fan of the guy (I've got way more side project albums than most people), so when I heard the dialogue I died a little inside. I'm not saying it's Mike's fault - it could have been the direction he was given or just the bad script lousing it up. Regardless, the end result was just a bit cringe-inducing at times.
Moderator
#11 Posted by jakob187 (21675 posts) -

Bad dialogue?  Yeah, I guess...but I also wasn't walking into a game about a dood with a mechanical arm attached to him that allowed him to swing from almost any surface he wanted for hundreds of feet at a time while fighting giant robots and mechanical worms...and expecting it to be a perfect story, nor perfect acting.  What was there worked well for me.  = D  I'm sure anyone can pull out multiple paragraphs of problems with it.  I could, too.  However, I also know that this is a game based on something very simplistic in design.


Personally, the game was absolutely awesome, and the swing mechanic was perfectly fine for me.  I rarely had a problem once I got past the learning curve of it, which only took about an hour for maximum effiency.


#12 Posted by buzz_clik (6975 posts) -
@jakob187: I don't want anyone to get the impression I didn't like Bionic Commando; I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game, and it kept me up past bedtime every night the disc was in my house. And I certainly didn't go into this game being curious about the quality of the script and voice work. But when the developer goes out of their way to make damn sure you know the dialogue's there, and it turns out to be just loud and awkward, that's not a good thing.

Ultimately, though, the game's virtues far outweighed the negative aspects for me. As I said, all the problems I had with it I could either explain away or just live with because the core experience was so much fun.
Moderator
#13 Edited by vidiot (2737 posts) -
@jakob187: Regardless of the context of what I'm playing, if the script is barely better than a J.R. High school play production, and makes Sci-Fi original movies seem like the greatest forms of entertainment devised from god: Then you have a problem. At least I do. I have expectations. I like it when developers try. Rearmed had a more entertaining script, even though most of that was satirical due to the nature of the game.

Whenever Bionic Commando tried drama I groaned.
If your not going to have any likable characters, if half of your script is just swearing, if nothing is going to be set up, if the character relationships or events of what happening are entirely avoided: Why are you even trying?

It's even more annoying that they had a great cast of voice actors and they limited them to such drivel.
"That's people you're breathing!"

Woaw. Deep Spencer...Deep.

#14 Posted by jNerd (2012 posts) -

God I couldn't agree with you more! I CAN'T BELIEVE LEVEL SKIP DOESN'T KEEP ACHIEVEMENTS!!!! WHY should I have to play the ENTIRE GAME AGAIN just to get the rest of my achievements :(

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