(You know, this would've made a lot more sense last week, when I was covering Asura's Wrath.) It's amazing how similar yet different they both are. I mean, they're both character action games (don't let the Resident Evil set-up fool you) with a strong emphasis on story. This is where they diverge, though: Asura's Wrath is enjoyably over the top and enthusiastic with itself. Galerians, meanwhile, is just really boring and poorly put together.
Here's the story: a supercomputer doesn't believe in god. Rion (I guess the translation budget amounted to $20) has to smack it about with his psychic powers. There. I've just saved you an hour of boring build-up. That's gonna be my major problem with the story: there's way too much boring filler where nothing happens. Oh, sure, you'll see a lot of cutscenes (enough to fill three discs), but for a while, it doesn't really do anything. I mean, I guess they were going for intrigue and mystery, but it just makes the plot slower than watching paint dry underwater. Galerians takes until late in the second level (that's honestly the way it organizes itself) for the plot to get any good.
Of course, by good, I mean bad, because that's what makes the story as enjoyable as it is. I don't even know where to begin with this. Do I start with the teleporting "I'm not sure if I'm a redneck" near the end of the second level? Or do I go for the little fat kid one level later, complaining about how it's only 2:50? What about one level later, when the villain is covered in electrical tape? I feel like a kid in a candy store, and every single candy is Swedish Fish. Hell, even its legitimate attempts at a good story fall into this strange charm. Remember that "atheist processor" thing earlier? It's mentioned about halfway through the game, and is never brought up again. It's like the budget ran out when they finally got to giving this all a reason. Granted, I may be excited for all these dumb plot moments simply because there's more dead space here than there is in the Dead Space franchise, but whatever, man. I'll take what I can get!
Does that include the way in which the story is told? Maybe; I don't really know in which direction this is bad. I've already mentioned the "fresh out of the first day of Intro to Japanese" translation, but it goes much deeper. Turns out that about half the cast was recruited at the nearest college's freshman orientation. That certainly explains why all the voice acting is delivered with the enthusiasm and authority of somebody waiting for a dentist appointment. The graphics aren't much better, something I can only explain through picture. Fucking look at that. The expression that's never right. The mouth that never closes. The face that never resembles anything that's not a baby. The plastic tex-You know what? Let's just go with bad bad. The presentation here simply sucks.
Speaking of suck, the gameplay! It's....actually more on the boring side, now that I think about it. You wander around pre-rendered environments, bumping from puzzle to puzzle until the game decides you've had enough. Some of those puzzles manage to be stupid funny (like finding a hidden staircase with fucking billiard balls), but most of them just fall into the dull category. Hell, it's not even like you get the satisfaction of working out any of the solutions, since every item/door in the game simply gives you the solution right away. Galerians is essentially a memory exercise populated by whiny fat kids. Not cool.
The combat's pretty cool, though, at least when it comes up. I added that last part because unfortunately, it's pretty easy to weave in and out of enemy line-ups, making the combat completely useless. But you know what? Don't do that. Actually fight these fuckers with your ill-explained psychic powers. Light dudes on fire, or kill them by making their blood explode. (I'd have called that second one unbalanced because of this, but for some reason, that's the only boss vulnerable to it. Weird.) Or do something that isn't either of those things. Whatever, man. It's your call. My call, however, is not to play this game. You can't sell a game on combat alone, at least when everything else about the game is so utterly lacking. Come back to me when your protagonist grows a billion arms, Galerians. I'll be over here, playing whatever game pops up after this Hatsune Miku video I have.
- You'd think with all these pre-rendered cutscenes, there'd be an interesting story buried underneath all it.
- I'll let this picture sum up the presentation, caption included.
- Watching somebody break down into tears after their friend anime'd themselves to death is neat, though.
And here is what Galerians looks like when you bring it to life.
Sonic Pinball Party
(Sure, why not?) I mean, how long has it been since I've covered a Sonic-themed pinball game? A couple of years? Yea, this shit is long overdue. Although now that I think about it, it feels like I've covered something similar far more recently than that. In fact, my last blog had something like this, too, with Coron Land. Remember how that game had only one idea and did jack shit with it? Well, Sonic Pinball Party's like that, too. Only it doesn't suck.
First, because the story makes no sense. I know that's a weird reason to defend a game, especially when said game doesn't exactly rely on its story, but bear with me for a second. Eggman's stuffing animals in robots, again, and somehow, that's the least retarded part of his plan, because he's capturing them with fucking casinos. This is when Sonic (apparently a hero of justice, now) comes to their rescue...by playing pinball. Does it make sense? No, but neither does anything else. Eggman's brainwashing people, you encounter Shadow versions of your friends (although for whatever reason, Shadow Shadow is conspicuously absent), and somehow, and a NiGHTS character sneaks in unnoticed. I don't understand any of it, but somehow, I still love it.
You know what? That's gonna describe the rest of the game, as well. Now as I said somewhere, this is a pinball game, but that's not gonna be the first thing you notice. Instead, it would be...all that stuff I said before. OK, so after that, the first thing you'll notice is how much shit is on screen at once. Holy fuck, these tables are visually crowded. There are so many flashing parts and bright colors and different layers, that it can sometimes be hard to tell where your ball is. Not something you want in a game dedicated to hitting a metal ball around.
I'd call it a cheap attempt at difficulty, and while it certainly is, that's not giving the game enough credit. There are plenty of opportunities of legitimate difficulty in this game. And I mean plenty. Scoring just about anything in this game requires timing so perfect that timing it by frame might not be enough. Inevitably, this means that you're gonna get your ass kicked, but you know what? I'm perfectly fine with that. It just means the times when I actually score that perfect shot are far more awesome because of it. What better way to feel like a badass than by killing Eggman after useless floundering about for twelve shots....besides by playing most combat-oriented games? Anyway, it requires you to develop skill and take note of your play styles, something I always appreciate in a game.
And I really need it here, because there isn't a lot to appreciate in this game. Only five levels in the single player story, and all of them are the exact same table (except that one time it decides on the NiGHTS table for no reason). I'd call this reminiscent (remember that Coron Land comparison from before? Well, me neither.) if not for one thing: the tables themselves. I know I've just said that there's pretty much only one in the entire game, but remember what I said about those bells & whistles? Here they come to
destroy your eardrums the rescue. Turns out they add some lasting value to the tables, giving you some shit to search for and strive for and all that. So yea, it may be a criminally short game, but thankfully, it's packed full of action instead of stretched too thin.
- Sonic Pinball Party implies a Sonic game with Persona 4's plot. It needn't do anything else. (I'd have typed that out in a Brooklyn accent, but I can't speak it, much less write it.)
- Damn it! I wouldn't have lost that ball if I'd been able to see it!.....I'm totally going for another game.
- Even though I've played this table twelve times so far.