(This seems a rather appropriate continuation of last week.) What better way to follow up a torturous game and a torturous blog than with a game where you needlessly torture people? And that's just scratching the surface. Remember how The Last Story tried to tell a good story, but absolutely failed? And how the gameplay wasn't as fun as it could be? Well, Deception is just the opposite: the story is better than it has any right to be, and the mechanics actually manage to be fun.
But you know, the two games actually share quite a few key similarities....OK, they don't; I'm just trying to transition into the fairy tale story. (When did this blog turn into a comparison against The Last Story?) You're going to see a lot of heroes trying to slay an ancient evil and poor forest men trying to buy medicine for their sick daughters, mainly because you're going to kill every single last one of them. All because you want to resurrect Satan. Fucking psychotic, right? Well, that's part of what makes the story so great: you get a glimpse into a person's life, and then end it two seconds later.
Oh, and the subtleties. They're all kinds of awesome, too. Can't forget those. Remember how I compared this to a fairy tale earlier? Well, that's not doing it justice, given how deep it can be. For instance, the main character gets some great characterization without ever saying a damn word. (This is called the Persona effect.) Every couple of chapters or so, there's going to be a character there to remind you about how you used to be a good person and you shouldn't be killing all these people! Why are you doing this!? But it's too late. You've already given your soul to Satan, so defend yourself you must! What? I didn't mention that, did I? See, you're never really attacking anybody; it's all defense. Everybody's coming to your mansion either to kill you or grant their deepest desires, and it never ends well. In short, the real bad guy is humanity. It's almost frightening how good the story is, and given that this is a vaguely horror-themed game, that only makes it more frightening!
Speaking of frightening, the gameplay. It's not frightening at all. What? You expected a game like this to be frightening? It's more like a Looney Tunes cartoon, if anything. Specifically, Sylvester and Speedy Gonzales, because this is a game of cat and mouse. A game of cat and mouse with wonky path finding and enemies that evade everything you throw at them, but a fun game nonetheless. I don't know what it is, but there's just something very satisfying about figuring out how your invaders are going to behave and then manipulating the hell out of that. Maybe it's that each trap results in a humorous cartoony reaction (victims will actually look down before they fall into a pit). Whatever. It just works.
Of course, there's more to the game than killing things with pits. So, so much more. You can kill things with giant foots, kill things with bombs, kill things with fiery castration, and sometimes, you can even opt not to kill things. Crazy, right? Why the fuck would you ever do that? Huh? You can make monsters and shit? Yea, I guess, but it's very easy to into either only killing or only capturing. I went with killing, mainly because murder pays more. But don't take that to mean there isn't any strategy to the game anymore. Keep in mind that you still have multiple ways to kill a guy, meaning you have to figure out which way's the best. Maybe that knight will dodge your giant weight, and that alien (yes, this game has aliens, for some reason) will jump over your pit to slap you in your bitch face. That's where the fun lies.......The planning part, not the part where you get slapped in your bitch face. That's not very fun.
Speaking of not very fun, here's the part where I outline the flaws. Mainly, the mechanics. Yes, it's an enjoyable game, but it's not an enjoyable game to play, if that makes any sense. For example, actually trapping your enemies. I know I've mentioned the path-finding and their evasion, but simply selecting the trap isn't as good as it could be. It didn't happen too often, but more often than I'd have preferred, I ended up selecting the wrong trap and watching it claim the life of nothing. A simple cursor for this first person perspective could have alleviated the issue. Can't say that for the difficulty later in the game, though. Near the end, you're gonna acquire A LOT of MP for trap-making, which sort of destroys any consequence for fucking up a trap. Did they evade? No problem! Just go to the nearest strategy room and lay some more. Then watch as your foes get crushed to death and let the walls fondle them into submission. Wait, what was I complaining about, again?
- So it's been established that Tecmo can write a good story. Why couldn't they do it when it actually mattered?
- It's the world's cruelest tower defense game!
- Only in first person. Fuck.
Instead of a video that's consistent with the blog's theme (because I don't have one), here's somebody telling Sword of Seals to go fuck itself.
Haunting Starring Polterguy
(The only thing scary about this game is how it beat Deception to the punch by almost three years.) I'd say that this also applies to how Deception is, by far, the better game, but that's more mildly interesting than anything. Hell, a lot of games are better than Haunting. Haunting is what happens when you take Deception and remove the story, the strategy, the variety, any semblance of likability, and, indeed, anything even approaching the concept of quality.
The game begins with a spectral buttrash harassing a family of Garbage Pail Rejects, and this is where a lot of my hatred for this game lies. Not the game's aesthetic (although it seriously sucks Polterguy-inflamed ass), but rather, how needlessly antagonistic the protagonist is. He honestly has no goddamn reason for scaring these motherfuckers. What did they ever do to him? The game never answers that (even though it promised as much), so my best guess is "absolutely nothing". Now I know what you're thinking: maybe he's defending himself from them, somehow. Well, that excuse fails to hold up when the family moves away multiple times, and each time, he follows them to their new house simply to be an unjustified asshole to them. And I'm supposed to sympathize with this "gnarly" brosef? What the fuck, EA!?
Are you thinking that the gameplay can redeem this horrible mess? You, sir, are a paradox, for if you truly think that, you don't have the capacity for thought. Like Deception, you move from room to room, setting traps for your unwitting victims; unlike Deception, there's absolutely no goddamn strategy to it. Every level (all four of them) devolve to finding a family member, activating every fucking object in the room without limit or consequence, waiting for them to run out, and then following them into the next room to repeat the process. It's less fun than it sounds. This is partly because the traps are just plain dull, but also because the Garbage Pail Rejects never do what you want them to do. You want them to leave the house, but with absolutely no way to influence where they run, it devolves into jumping from room to room, hoping they go where you want them to go, brute forcing every option you can find and has it gotten through to you yet how terrible this game is?
For whatever reason, though, that's not enough. From time to time, you get sent to the underworld, because this game wants to believe that there are limits or systems in place. But what does the underworld entail? Running around, collecting ecto-splooge until the game decides you can get back to the....parts. (I was tempted to call them "fun" parts, but I've too much a conscience to commit such an atrocity.) Does that sound boring and unnecessary? Well, that's because it is boring and unnecessary. What do these sections add to the game? Besides time?....Precisely. And while I'm on the subject, the game ends with you fighting a demonic reincarnation of the family dog, because that makes sense. That's something that fits within the game's narrative and the gameplay. You'd have to be crazy to think it's a bullshit tactic from a desperate game! Actually, you know what? This may very well be the first time I found a game whose obscurity is fully justified. In fact, I'm certain the only person who will remember this game is, when it comes time to write up my GOTY blog.
- You know, for such a cheerful and "spooky" game, the protagonist sure is a terrible person.
- Have you ever wanted to terrorize a middle class family by pressing A a bunch? No? Then you've passed the psychological exam I've embedded in this blog!
- And to break up the monotony of wandering around, you'll occasionally....wander around!