Alrighty, so, this last weekend I went home, and despite very strong urges to do something stupid like download Amy for $2, or buy MGS: Peace Walker HD (which would be dumb because I already own that on PSP, but I'll get that eventually), I instead downloaded Guacamelee! And in between things like going to a funeral for a guy I never knew (who apparently looked like a Puerto Rican Abe Lincoln (despite being a white guy) (I'm not joking, he DJ'd as Abe Lincoln, complete with a stovepipe hat, I was told)) and going to a birthday party where a bunch of "Russians" (who are really from Georgia, but we all call them "The Russians") were talking about the benefits of flying first/business class and giving inside secrets of the pharmaceutical industry, I managed to play through all of Guacamelee.
Also, I think that may be one of the longest and weirdest sentences that I have ever written. Hm. Anyway, Guacamelee! That game is quite excellent, but not without flaws. If you have absolutely no idea what Guacamelee is, then you should watch GB's Quick Look (though, really, if you're here and reading this, I think the chances of knowing nothing about this game are extremely low, so I don't even know why I bothered linking to that).
Or, if you're short on time, I could just describe it as a Luchador themed Metroidvania. And, as stated above, it is an excellent one of those. The game play is tightly focused and toned just like any good Luchador, and I mean that both for the platforming and the combat. This is important, as the game features ample amounts of both. In fact, the game has a large number of "arenas" where it blocks off the exits to the room and forces you to defeat a bunch of enemies before you can proceed. Really, they feel a lot like they are there just to pad out the game, but the combat is so much fun that not only do I not mind them, I'm glad they're there, because I want more of that wonderful combat.
It's pretty simple to start off, as at the beginning of the game pretty much all you have are a few basic attacks. There's a three hit combo, an upper cut, and a downward air attack called a "Downer-Cut." But as the game progresses, Juan (the main character) gains new attacks that allow him to break different colored blocks in the world to access new areas. But they add a large amount of depth to the combat, especially later in the game when he have enough stamina to combo them together one after another.
And this is not a game where you can just use the one three hit combo to beat it. Not that the game gets especially difficult on Normal (though it does get tricky, especially on Hard). This is because later in the game there are enemies with colored shields that can only be broken by specific special moves. Color coding like that might be troublesome to the color-blinded out there, but I don't know for sure, as I am not a person of color-blindness. At first I thought the colored shields were a bit of a gimmick, but I ended up liking fighting the guys with the shields, because like I said, it forces you to change up your tactics.
Another added wrinkle to the combat is that the game has two different "worlds" that you can be in at any time, the world of the living, and the world of the dead. Part way into the game you get the ability to switch between the two at any time, so of course this leads to some Ikaruga style mid combat switching to get at enemies that you can't otherwise. Okay, I admit that Ikaruga gave you a damage bonus for changing polarity, it wasn't a case of doing no damage, but what am I supposed to reference, Outland?
Here's a video I found that has nothing to do with Guacamelee, outside of Luchadors.
And the platforming in Guacamelee is excellent as well. Remember that world switching that I mentioned not too long ago? No? Well, you need to get your brain checked out then, because you have some serious memory issues.
But that plays into the platforming as well, as there are objects in the world that only exist in one world, or the other. At first this is as simple as switching to make platforms become solid so that you can land your jump, but later on you are doing things like switching multiple times in mid jump while wall jumping to avoid spikes, and it gets VERY tricky. But thankfully the controls are fantastic, and aside from my L2 button on my controller being a little worn out (because it's a PS3 controller), it's all very responsive. And even with the L2 button, I never felt like it was really THAT hampering. Just ever so slightly.
I also really like most of the art and music in the game. Some of the music is definitely very "HEY, THIS IS SOME MEXICAN-ASS MEXICAN MUSIC," and I think that stuff is hilarious (especially the "You just got a new power" music). But a lot of it manages to have that Mexican feel without sounding like parody, which I think is impressive, given that this game was made in Canada.
The art is good too. Except for all the dumb references in the background stuff. But none of that got in the way, so I'm not going to talk about it beyond that.
What did get in the way, and is really my only complaint (other than wishing the game was longer, though I think it's a good value for the price) is the technical problems with the game. The game runs well, I never had any frame rate troubles. But every once in a while the scripting would break, and I would have to pause the game, back out to the main menu, and restart from the last time the game saved.
This happened during cut-scenes three or four times. What was worse was the time (when I was playing on hard) right after I beat a boss. Now, on the one hand, I was enjoying that because the boss was changed in more than just having more health, as the arena was slightly different, and the boss had new moves. What I didn't like was how the game froze in the cut-scene after, and I had to go through the whole boss again. That made me upset.
And there was another time when I grabbed an enemy near the top of the screen, and went to do a suplex, but the enemy ended up getting stuck off screen. The problem was that I had to defeat all the enemies to proceed, but that one could never die, and I was stuck. So I reloaded, and the problem didn't happen the next time. But it was still unfortunate.
I also wish the game had voice acting, but that's not a big deal.
Here's an actual screen shot. But now that I look at it, I just realized that this is from an old build that features a different UI, including a button prompt for a 360 controller. Oh well, too bad, I already inserted it.
So, that's been it for my video game playing. In a couple weeks I'll be graduating from college, and hopefully then I'll get a chance to play stuff like Metal Gear Rising: REVENGEANCE, BioShock Infinite, and the Deadly Premonition Director's Cut that should be available by then. And I'll probably go and Platinum Guacamelee, because I'm two Trophies short.
Oh, and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. I'll play that too. And I'll probably download Peace Walker HD, because I have no self control.
And Ni No Kuni. I actually own a copy of that, but I didn't want to get 10 hours in and then not play it for three weeks.
And here's Luigi, in wrestling form.