By ArbitraryWater 12 Comments
Another week of unemployment means another week of me bumming around my house while my parents make passive-aggressive remarks about how I spend my time. If I was going back to school for the fall (I’m not) I’d probably be getting ready for that. But I’m not. So I don’t. Instead I play video games! Oh no. What am I doing with my life.
Might and Magic X Early Access
The mere fact that a game called “Might and Magic the tenth” actually exists is probably enough to cause me to foam at the mouth while my eyes roll back in my head and everything turns to blackness.It’s like if someone was making a new Resident Evil game in the classical style (oh wait, that’s happening sort of), or a sequel to Temple of Elemental Evil (that is never happening). I had fully expected the RPG branch of New World Computing’s signature franchise to languish in the gutter for all eternity while Heroes of Might and Magic got new installments every 5 years (I should probably play more Heroes VI. It’s actually quite excellent, though it’s no Heroes V) In any case; Ubisoft’s revival of those games I like a lot went into early access on Monday for the rather daunting price of $30 (which I paid, because I’m a bad person). Of course I had to get my refund for the broken, unplayable Realms of Arkania remake 5 minutes after purchasing it. This early access build comprises the entire first act of the game (around 20%), with only 4 of the 12 potential classes being accessible, one for each race. This is all part of the game’s “Open Development” initiative where they’re pretty much showing stuff to fans every step of the way (essentially like it was a kickstarter campaign without the kickstarter) only for someone to complain in broken English that it’s not exactly like the old games and is therefore garbage. Just remember, for as stupid as these forums can get at times, they’re still miles better than any Might and Magic forum I’ve ever been on. Those guys are the definition of an unpleasable fanbase, right next to those No Mutants Allowed guys. Oh right. Video games.
From what I’ve played thus far, I’m impressed. Oh, it’s janky as hell, but unlike that aforementioned Realms of Arkania remake, at least it’s honest about being an incomplete mess. This early, clearly pre-alpha version of Might and Magic X feels like a Might and Magic game. Sure, there are some pretty bad Might and Magic games, but if what I’ve experienced in this early access version pans out to the rest of the game I will declare Ubisoft the winner of the universe. But what is Might and Magic X? It’s essentially a hybrid between the grid-based earlier games and the free roaming latter ones. You move around much as you would in World of Xeen (though perhaps a more modern comparison is Legend of Grimrock, albeit turn-based) but the character building more resembles Might and Magic VI-IX, with putting points in skills and upgrading them in the usual style of Novice > Expert > Master > Grandmaster, with each class having different restrictions on the levels of skills. I’ve been through a couple of dungeons thus far, and I’ll probably play through to the end. There are several obvious issues that need to be fixed (day/night cycle, weapon breakage rates, movement speed), but the game is coming out early next year, which will (hopefully) give the developers enough time to fix this stuff.
I saw Elysium with my dad and sister. It has great visual design and premise, squandered by being rather predictable and extremely unsubtle with its social commentary. Hey, hey guys. We are the 99%, am I right?
The new Dishonored DLC is pretty great. I suggest that if you liked that game as much as I did (then again, I think I like that game more than most people) you should purchase this content for a sum of money.
I’m also playing that Sonic RPG. Why? Because I hate myself and it’s a gold mine for blogging material. I have Big the Cat in my party now, so I’m clearly going in the right direction. Will there be Chaos Emeralds? Probably. Will I always pick the dickish dialogue choices as Sonic, even though they don’t actually do anything? Yes. Will there continue to be annoying, semi-demanding timing-based RPG mechanics like it was a Mario RPG, but bad? Yes.
Oh right, I’m also also playing Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker now that I have the MGS HD collection and can play it with controls that aren’t garbage. Unsurprisingly it feels like an uprezzed PSP game
I also also also played the first few levels of Devil May Cry 2 (because I also bought the DMC HD collection) so that will go great. Given how I thought Resident Evil 6 wasn’t as bad as it was cracked up to be, maybe I think the same about DMC 2. Oh wait, I fought a demon helicopter and beat it by standing in place and shooting it with pistols for 5 minutes straight. Nevermind, this game is garbage and feels like a second rate imitation of the rest of the series. Given that I’m already doing horrible things to myself with aforementioned Sonic RPG, I may as well go all the way down the hole and play this high quality video game as well. Oh sure, I could play the first game in order to prove that I am a stronger person than Brad Shoemaker, and sure, I could play Devil May Cry 3 again and do something crazy like use Gunslinger or Royal Guard, but I may as well continue this bad game kick I’m on until I end up playing Sonic 2006 or some other legendarily bad title.
Speaking of Devil May Cry, Bayonetta is sort of that but dialed up to eleven (which makes sense, given that Platinum has plenty of Capcom alumni in their ranks)It’s a character action game with an emphasis on being as batshit crazy Japanese as humanly possible, and also I guess the action is pretty excellent as well. It’s not quite at technical as Devil May Cry, you can mash out damaging combos quite easily, but I somehow doubt it’s any less complex if those combo videos on youtube are any indication. It’s also far less brutal with its checkpointing, and given the number of times I died on most of the levels that is probably a good thing. While I died my fair share to some of the rather aggressive and damaging enemies, I usually got better ranks on the boss levels, since most of the bosses in the game aren’t actually all that tough, thanks to easily telegraphed attacks that you can dodge and slow-mo pummel the heck out of. If I have a complaint with the gameplay, it’s that a lot of the extra systems, weapons and even characters are hidden behind various prerequisites that I have no real chance of achieving because I’m not super great at these kinds of games. The camera, while mostly fine, sometimes messes up, and in a game that has as much happening on the screen as possible that is occasionally frustrating.
But let’s be honest, what makes Bayonetta stand out isn’t its high quality murdering-of-angels, the part that people care about is the part where you play as a sexy librarian witch lady and crazy shit is happening on-screen at all times. To say that the plot of Bayonetta is nonsensical is understatement. At no point does anyone actually say anything resembling coherency, the protagonist herself treats everything like a joke and at one point you surf a missile and it turns into Space Harrier (also Yuri Lowenthal is there, somewhere). I’ll probably get some flak for this, but it’s also a bit too much. I thought I had a pretty decent tolerance for the Japanese brand of chaotic self-aware insanity (I think Warioware and Excel Saga are pretty great), but Bayonetta is a constant assault on one’s senses, doing everything in such a way to let you know that it’s all deliberate and expecting you to nod your head and let it all wash over you in a flood of pseudo-religious imagery, goofy references to other video games, absurd stripper hair moves and cheeky british accents. That worked for a while, but it never lets up and the game is around 10 hours long. I’m clearly the one with the problem on this one, but by the end I found the game’s tone grating and try-hard rather than genuinely amusing or entertaining. That still doesn’t change the fact that it plays incredibly well, and it’s still not nearly as bad as the unironic bad high-school anime stylings of Valkyria Chronicles II or the “HEY LOOK HOW WACKY AND ANIME WE ARE” tone of Disgaea, but I feel like it deserves a mention if I’m giving a recommendation to someone else. So that’s why I wrote about it. 4 stars?
Well, that was a lot of writing, wasn’t it? Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to watch Brad brute-force his way through a video game with a combination of cheese tactics, seething rage and Vinny’s constant optimism in lieu of actually learning how to play it well.