By JJWeatherman 11 Comments
I’m apparently the worst at keeping a regular blog. I plan to do something weekly, and yet somehow I keep finding ways to just say “eff it, I’ll do it next week”. In all honesty, I’ve just had some things going on recently that have kept my mind occupied and not really able to focus. The distractions have been good things though. I’ve been having great new experiences and I’m really glad for that. I guess time’s been flying a bit, but I want to make sure I get some words down on this virtual sheet of paper this week (I’m writing this in Google Docs). The figurative weather has been fairly clear for a while, but I’ve definitely gotten some light gaming showers in from time to time (I'm so corny). Stick around and I’ll tell you about it.
Yes, yes. Against all odds, I’ve kinda sorta kept up with Cooking Mama: Friends’ Cafe. The gamer in me is slowly being killed, but this game’s legitimately sort of enjoyable, as well as addicting.
I talked about this game before, but I may as well sum it up again. This is a Facebook version of the Cooking Mama game we all know, yet maybe don’t quite love. The goal of the game is to prepare various foods and drinks and set up a full menu that can then be tasted by equally crazy Cooking Mama-playing Facebook friends. You earn coins and experience for completing menus as well as specific goals such as cooking specific dishes. Coins are the main currency, but there are also smiley faces as a secondary form of currency. These confuse me, because there’s seemingly no way to earn them other than just waiting for them to slowly replenish, and the rate that they do that is extraordinarily slow. It’s actually been days and I still only have 2. I must be missing something, but it’s not keeping me from cooking, and that’s all that matters.
If you’ve played OG cooking Mama before, you’ll know what to expect of the cooking sections. It’s basically a dumbed down version of regular Cooking Mama. You swirl the mouse to stir a bowl (of which I always crap up and flip over, btw), you line up cuts with a knife, you operate an oven, and you also do lots of spreading of things like frosting, jelly, butter, etc. Lots of simple stuff, but there’s a relaxing feeling to going through the motions. I’m just here cookin’ in my kitchen. Not a care in the world.
Of course this is a modern game and therefore has to have some sort of progression. There’s a leveling system, and that’s actually a nice motivator to to keep cranking out menus and completing goals. You can see friends levels and such on the side of the screen, so it can lead to some friendly competition. Ever since I started, I’ve been on a quest to surpass a certain someone. This will happen. I will be the top chef on my friend board. There’s that bad part of my personality taking over again. All in good fun, though.
I’m sorry fellow Giant Bombers. I really should be playing real games, like LA Noire--which I still haven’t finished--or Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood which I recently picked up and haven’t touched much. I haven’t even finished Dragon Age: Origins, but not out of any disliking of the game; it just hasn’t happened. That’s not even mentioning all of the other great games I have in my backlog; I have a lot. that being the case, it’s probably weird that I have been playing one proper console game recently.
Yep. Even having all of those previously mentioned great games, I’ve taken a trip back to 2008 to experience a game that I’d missed out on... until now. Looking back, it’s funny to me when I recall the level of excitement I experienced as this game crept closer and closer to launch. One trailer specifically where the main character, Baldur, walks into this bar and ends up in a battle with a giant robotic creature, really got me excited for Too Human. I watched that trailer several times over and even showed my friends and was like “Look how awesome this game looks! It’s going to be so cool! Oh man!” I don’t too often often get that sense of joy in anticipating a game, but Too Human had me hooked. I was more than ready to take control of the cybernetic god, Baldur.
I think we all know where this story is going. Reviews hit. After reading review after review and having that feeling of such disappointment, I decided to hold off on the game. I figured I’d maybe just rent it at some point, but I stopped renting games around that time, actually. So the years ticked by and now, finally, in 2011, I decided to pull the trigger on Too Human. I bought a new sealed copy off of eBay for something like nine dollars with free shipping. Deal! I really haven’t played a ton if it thus far, but I’ve gotten through the first big mission and I’ve been taking my time and exploring the menus as best I could as well.
One of the big features that I remember Silicon Knights touting before release was how innovative and amazing their camera system was. Well, at least from what I’ve seen, that didn’t exactly pan out. They do some interesting things with dynamic camera perspectives, but it just doesn’t work well enough a lot of the time. I’ve already run into spots where I couldn’t see what I needed to while fighting or even just navigating the environments. It’s by no means a terrible and broken camera system, but as far as being one of the game’s most exciting features, it totally fails in most cases. There are limited methods of manually managing the camera, but maybe I just haven’t had enough time to get the hang of that stuff yet. I really like how the combat is mapped to the right stick, but that really hinders the camera, and it seems like it could have been handled better than it was.
Speaking of the combat though, I actually kind of like it. It’s awkward, and a bit funky looking, but getting a chain of hitting dudes going is fast and pretty satisfying. There’s all kinds of things you can do with the right stick to knock enemies into the air to juggle, perform finishing moves, or just slash away. the combat seems at least somewhat deep, and can get exciting. That’s the melee combat though. I haven’t found the guns to be quite as fun. It seems like using guns just slows down the rhythm of combat and disrupts any flow you may with a sword or other melee weapon. Not that the guns aren’t effective, because they actually do a surprising amount of damage, but they just don’t feel as fast, exciting, or satisfying as using melee attacks.
Something I was told before playing the game for myself was that the game is packed with loads and loads of loot. I love me some loot, and man were those people right. There’s so many loot drops that I mostly am just confused by. The UI for the equipment menu could have been better, but I more or less figured out how to equip the best items I’ve picked up. I’ve heard of some crazy pieces of loot that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Any game that has mad loot has the key to my heart. (I love you Diablo 2. So, so much.)
Overall, Too Human is just kind of ugly. It has bright spots, but everything just seems unpolished and lacking in one way or another. If I can point out one thing I really hate, it’s the game’s main menu UI. Good god, that’s just the worst. Looks like a much older game’s menu. Also, some (most) of the textures make my eyes hurt, which I suppose is partly due to it being an older game at this point, but still. The story seems interesting at least, so that plus the combat and loot will probably carry me through to the end. Seems like an alright game, but nothing special, which is basically what all of the reviews told me. I’m glad I’m playing it though. Maybe it’ll just get better as I work my way through. Fingers crossed.
Alright. Writing about two games seems like enough at this point. I hope I can get more time in on L.A. Noire as well as AC: Brotherhood within the next week. Although I do have some super secret plans that may or may not involve a podcast going on this week, so I guess I’ll just see what happens. I'll save any E3 talk for the audio format. Oh god, you’re all going to be able to hear my voice. This was a poor idea! D:
Anyway, I hope I get another one of these up next Sunday. I’ll do my best! Assuming you’ve read more than this line here, then thanks for reading! Actually, even if that was the only line you read, don't worry, you're almost as cool! Have a nice week, everyone.