Digimon World 4: Data Squad: Dawn of Dusk

Digimon World was a cult hit that originally released in 1999. It was (sorta) popular for it's interesting number of mechanics and difficulty along with the progression mechanics that were tied into the hub area.

From what I've read it was a game with a great deal of potential but a great deal of bugs and rough edges. It recently got something of a spiritual successor in Japan yet the game did have direct sequels. It certainly sounds like an interesting game if not a diamond in the rough that has had little a spotlight ever targeted at it. Someone really out to write a comprehensive blog reflecting on this game.

Cause I sure as hell can't.

This blog has nothing to do with Digimon World 1 but it has everything to do with the games that came later. After the first Digimon World game their were plenty of more Digimon branded games that followed with most keeping the "World" title and almost none being remotely interesting or good.

So clearly a bunch of uninteresting mediocre games are prime territory to creating an interesting blog right? Moving on...

I own an extensive collection of terrible Digimon games, zero of which are those rad sounding Wonderswan games, and if I ever manage to finish any of the worse offenders they'll get a more detailed blog but for now here's a rundown of how far Digimon games fell for a time:

Digimon World 4

The last of the numbered Digimon World sequels and probably the most aggressively bad. While the other games tended to be mediocre to mind numbing due to their repetition, load times, and boring combat design Digimon World 4 combines all of that with action rpg combat and nonsensical difficulty! More importantly the sound design is downright headache inducing. You know how sometimes you play a game and the sound design for a given action is just straight up satisfying?

Kojima Productions is a good example of a developer that consistently tends to make games with satisfying sound design. There's this completely unrealistic noise that happens when you headshot a dude in MGSV with the tranq. gun that just sounds good.

Digimon World 4 is like the direct antithesis to that MGSV tranq noise. There's this sound, if you can even call it that, that your digimon makes when he's injured and it is just the worst. It's like they deliberately tried to find the worst noise possible. It's like their sound guy managed to step on 300 cats at once. I mean sure it's a noise for when you take damage so it should indicate bad stuff but it shouldn't endevour to give you a headache.

I'd go find you some random, years old, youtube video of this game so you could "savor" the sound design yourselves but the only videos I could find were riddled with music stifling out the hell screeches.

A bunch of dinosaur monsters awkwardly carrying swords. Why? Because the dev team wanted to make Diablo. Fuck you.

The premise for the game doesn't even make marginal sense in comparison to every other fucking mediocre digimon game. Most of the other games in the franchise are generic rpgs with very basic turn based combat. While that tends to be slow and boring, not due to the genre but the execution, at least it makes sense for the IP.

Digimon is a series about digital monsters, not pocket monsters, that belong to kids that are sometimes referred to as tamers, not trainers, who roam a strange and surreal land. The way said Digimon grow their power is to digivolve to different forms.

So obviously the way to build a videogame adaptation about this franchise is to stick a fucking sword in a digimon's hand/claw/wing, get rid of humans entirely, and make it fucking impossible to figure out how to change to new forms!

At least all the other games in the franchise tend to have you control a small of party of digimon with intricate digivolution trees. Hell I'll play most digimon games no matter how just to see the different digivolution trees. I've played hundreds of hours of Digimon World 3 and I'm still playing it. (Digimon World 3 has a 47 metacritic rating.)

PS: There's a charge move variation of the regular attack in the game and if a I remember right all it does is break obstacles slightly faster. It doesn't do any more damage. THE CHARGE MOVE DOES NOTHING!

Digimon World: Data Squad

Fortunately the series goes back to being a turn based RPG with humans and a focus on digimon forms in this entry. Unfortunately...

<img src="http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/ignore_jpg_scale_super/8/87790/2375799-box_dwdsq.png">

Oh you can't see it? Let's get closer...

<img src="http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/ignore_jpg_scale_super/13/135597/2683924-9847979142-Ds-co.jpg">

Do you see it yet? Look at the faces. Look. at. them.

Oh I hear you. Laughing at me. Your saying they don't look all that bad...let's have another angle from the opening cutscene:

Those faces have followed me into my dreams. I was dreaming of being the captain of a boat. I wasn't a pirate I was a nice guy. It was nice for a while and I could smell the sea salt in the air. Calm. Serene.

Then the faces. Those horrible faces! The faces and their shitty animating arms lit my boat a flame and they were smiling. ALWAYS SMILI-

Er um any...anyway.

The strangest thing is that the bad cinematic is their pre-rendered stuff. As in it should look better then in-game! The pre-rendered intro seems to be the only time, besides the cover, they use these models as well. Now granted I haven't finished it, don't worry I'm getting closer, so perhaps they will break the bank for another pre-rendered finale. It's just weird and a strange use of funds. I mean I can't imagine they advertised this game or at least I can't imagine this would help said advertising.

Wow I haven't gotten to the game part of this. It's a turn based rpg that ties into the show that was on at the time originally called Digimon Savers but in the US called Digimon Data Squad. I was marginally impressed that, from what I could tell, they actually got the dub voice actors to reprise there roles. Granted the protagonist is completely miscast but whatever he still punches things to get his digmon to digivolve.

Oh right I should mention that the show it was adapted from was basically Digimon's attempt to clone popular shonen action anime. (Am I using those terms right?) The protagonist is the HOT BLOODED Marcus a street punk that meets a dinosaur and thinks the best thing to do with it is to challenge it to a fist fight.

As long as it isn't awkwardly wielding a broadsword I could beat this thing in a fist fight.

So being the nonsense cliche that he is he typical punches the digimon of the week in the face to charge his "digisoul" so that his Agumon (pictured left) can digivolve into a GeoGreymon. So if there is one absolutely unadulterated positive to this game it is that this concept translates perfectly into the game.

In the game when you fulfill the conditions for one of the new forms, for example the conditions for turning into GeoGreymon, you have to go into a fight so you can use the digivolution battle command. After the initial command use you can switch the equipped digivolution via a menu. The reason for the first time inconvenience is simple.

If your digivolving Agumon to a new form for the first time Marcus will punch whatever enemy is in the battle. It will do damage and I have killed an enemy off that damage once. It's fucking dumb and I love it.

<img src="http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/ignore_jpg_scale_super/0/3009/914672-12.jpg">

This stupid dumbass just fucking punches the clearly more deadly monsters as a game mechanic! It's great!.

Now granted the full game is straight up so bad that it seems like they didn't even bother finishing it. It takes like 30 seconds for you to leave the battle screen or enter most of the menus. In the after action report they'll show you a bar beneath each party member representing their current experience progress yet they don't show you their levels.

So you can level up in the game but not now what level you are now until you save or open the menus so you can wait 30 more seconds. Now sure that's rather minor but we can do worse. The game uses an almost interesting battle system in which move selection is presented like this:

<img src="http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/ignore_jpg_scale_super/1/15777/858628-ss_1.jpg">

The actions the digimon wants to do are repeated the most. Doing things they want to do improves your friendship and is slightly reminiscent of the original pet sim idea. Now as you can see from the image though it makes selecting a move a bit of a visual clusterfuck and more importantly there's no way to know what the attack does until you try it. If you want to know what an attack move does you have to, again, wait 30 seconds for that menu to load out of battle, wait another 10 seconds to get into the evolution trees menu, and then finally get a fucking description of the moves.

On the upside the voice acting is marginally better then the english release of Final Fantasy X...marginally.

Digimon World Dawn/Dusk (Dawk?)

Man the duder who spent the time to make this deserves props. Giant Bomb user Kyle kudos to you!

This game on the other hand certainly does not deserve kudos but considering I've spent hundreds of hours between the two different versions of this game as well I'm not sure the game cares!

Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds adn hunderdaa;dkfja;sdkf

Sorry I passed out there for a second. So this game, like Data Squad, is a turn based rpg that's generic and time consuming. That being said there are reasons for why I spent way to much time on it. As is likely evident from it's duel release this is part of their attempt to just straight up go after Pokemon's thing without any shame so as part of that the gameplay switches from the typical party of a three or so digimon to just being able to gobble as many digimon as you want!

It's an interesting concept and really enforces the idea of the digimon as "digital" monsters but it causes a number of problems. Only enemies that you can encounter infinitely can be scanned so unique encounters like the legendaries aren't a factor killing the thrill of finding something rare. Creating a digimon out of 100% scan data gives a weak digimon that you then have to train.

<img src="http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/ignore_jpg_scale_medium/0/3009/910851-16.jpg">

There's drastically more recruiting going on in this game to the point were they've got a pokedex in this game. More so the single interesting mechanic in this game, because all these mediocre games tend to have a single neat mechanic, is that the way you capture enemy digimon is by scanning them. When you encounter a digimon you automatically get a percentage of scan data and once your percentage of data scanned for that digimon reaches 100% or higher you can then create that digimon for yourself.

Something that does help slightly alleviate the tedium of training them up is another major mechanic of the game which is the Digifarm. It's so major that it is always present at the top of the DS.

Well this is all good and well but why would I spend hundreds of hours on it? HUNDREDS OF HOURS! Well because I'm dumb...mostly. Part of it is because there's a metric ton of digimon with their own digivolution trees and intersections between those trees and crazy looking endgame digimon. The other part is that the menus are snappy and the loadtimes aren't nearly as insane as every other Digimon game.

Yet this doesn't get past the fact those endgame Digimon only look cool because there's nothing of merit to do with them when the battle system is about as boring as the rest of the Digimon games. Worst of all during said battles you don't even see your own digimon. It's like if Nintendo looked at their Pokemon games and came to the conclusion that no one wants to see the back of Pikachu's head all the time so the just made it first person.

Why would you want to see your Digimon you've been training up all this time?

This is just a primer of the bad licensed games I've wasted way to much time in. Some of these digimon games have taken HUNDREDS OF HOURS of my time. It's the worst and yet I still do it. There's still some hope for me though it's not like I respect any of this stupid shit I use the game case to Digimon World Data Squad as a coaster.

Anyway I'm going back to playing Digimon World so I can power level SkullGreymon to 99 to get BlackWarGreymon so that I can eventually get Diaboramon to save all pigs from a giant digimon that's fused with a battleship that now wants to fuse with the Earth.

It's probably better then Sword Art Online from what I hear about that...thing

Next Time: Arkham games...

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MGS4, Batman, and the "childish" happy ending.

Disclaimer: There will be spoilers for Metal Gear Solid 4 and Arkham City so read at your own risk. Also I'm assuming you've played MGS4 and Arkham City.

Second Disclaimer: This will be a rather exhaustive post on this odd subject.

So I'm a bit late to the party on this but I want to talk about endings and perhaps rant a bit about how the story in Arkham City is kinda of awful. I'll be jumping around a bit but let's start with an inflammatory list on the endings of two games.

  • Metal Gear Solid 4 has a surprisingly mature ending
  • Arkham City has a surprisingly 90s Watchmen chasing ending

Am I locked yet for clearly trolling? No? Alright let's expand on this starting with MGS4.

On the bombcast a while back the crew discussed Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes The Phantom Pain Snake's Revenge and with it the ending of Metal Gear Solid 4 came up. They felt the ending was a cop out. Snake lives to be squished into another game through nonsensical de-aging nano-machines or something right? That's MGSV right?

Only one problem with that though.

This isn't snake it's Big Boss. Sure they look exactly the same and they even use to have the same voice actor but the point is that it isn't Snake. Clearly Snake decides against suicide for another, perhaps story based, reason. Clearly you could argue they were merely keeping Snake alive as an option if you want to retain your cynic's badge but there are still logistical problems.

Why bother keeping Snake alive in such a state that you have to come up with unparalleled levels of bullshit to de-age him when you not only have Big Boss but also Raiden who is clearly presented as "badass" now. MGS4 sets up a means to continue the story forward without Snake in a leading role. Raiden is not only turned into Grey Fox but given a stronger supporting cast in the form of his son. Sure like all of this story it's incredibly hokey and not all that well executed but it's still there staring you in the face.

So why have Snake live? because this a game about war and Snake's relationship with violence. Obviously. I mean we all knew this right? Hell if I had more time I could point out why I think this is one of the best anti-war games I've ever played (haven't played spec-ops) and how this edge article is total wrong. The point is Snake thinks himself nothing more then just an old killer sent to do some wet work. Every other character in the game tries to convince him otherwise.

Meryl is obviously concerned during the Europe stage and keeps trying to talk him down from getting involved until Snake pisses her off. Otacon desperatly asks Snake to leave the incredibly suicidal fight near the final act. A lot of characters met along the way are uneasy about Snake taking all this on. Yet Snake is needed to get the job done, in some ways war could be necessary, at the cost of only living for the violence of war. In some ways Snake is only himself in the midst of violent tactical espionage so when he's given a reasonably heroic reason to die in the form of not only this suicide mission and the foxdie mutation it seems like a good end for Snake right?

Wrong.

Let's ignore the part near the end when the foxdie in his body is countered by other foxdie because if Kojima wanted Snake to shoot himself then he wouldn't have had that line in there. Instead let's focus on the, again poorly executed, side proceedings to MGS4.

  • Sunny cooks eggs
  • Meryl has her own squad
  • Mei Ling is running a ship
  • Meryl gets married

These events aren't just "where are they now" or fan service bits but something rather different to a non-snake Metal Gear Solid. These are people with lives that move forward. Sunny gets better at a mundane skill, Meryl moved on from just a soldier to someone in command, Mei Ling has also moved up in the world (kinda), and then Meryl gets married and Snake doesn't show up.

Why doesn't Snake show up? He's still Snake and he hasn't had life that moves forward. His life is still in war. His function is the "killer" and that's no longer needed after bringing down the end boss hallway. He doesn't quite think of himself as a person with a life that can continue after all the violence. He wouldn't fit in at the wedding and he wouldn't be comfortable there. He's going to kill himself even though he doesn't have to. He just wants to die.

Then he gives a subtle bit of a whimper while that gun is in his mouth. If he killed himself right there would that have been better? Is moody always better? Why is it bad that Solid Snake's dad basically comes in at the last second and asks him not commit suicide for no reason? Is this ending inherently inferior to the Joker dying in Arkham City?

Why bring up Arkham City? It's the complete opposite of Metal Gear Solid 4. All of it's individual scenes and moments are incredibly well executed but the story connecting them is absolute garbage. The only thing that both do is use the gameplay to make you feel like the character you're playing as. They're both good games for different reasons.

At the end of Arkham City the Joker dies and it's treated like some big moment where everyone gasps and awes. It wasn't exactly lauded as a moving ending but it wasn't considered a cop out. In fact I'm likely the only person, besides maybe Chris Sims of Comics Alliance, to tell you that killing the Joker was unintentionally pandering and incredibly shallow. It'll help if you've played Arkham City for this. In fact go play Arkham City right now because it's a good game.

So Arkham City starts out with a catwoman segment that kills the pacing with Bruce Wayne, who is Batman *gasp*, getting captured by Hugo Strange.

Batman is captured. Professor Strange knows his secret. Great opening.

Oh what? All that's ignored afterward so that Mark Hamil can have a dramatic exit? Oh. Great.

The game's story starts out strong enough by having Batman escape but with the caveat that if Strange wants to he can tell the world that Bruce Wayne is Batman. This provides far better tension then when Joker latter hits with some foxdie of his blood. It's an intellectual threat rather than the physical bodily issue of poisoning. If you are remotely aware of Batman you know that he's almost unfair in how easily he overcomes death traps and crowds of thugs. The game is great at making you feel like you're Batman not just by beating up mash pits worth of enemies but through the Riddler's death traps in the form of puzzles.

Then Riddler is what makes the collectibles brilliant in that it turns the game into a puzzle game that also makes sure you're improving in your expertise of gadgets. When you finish enough collectibles you're treated to saving a Riddler hostage stuck in a death trap. You know Batman will save them and there's no tension on the story front but you get to do it!

The problem with the Joker gassing you is that it's a death trap you know Batman will get out of but you have no part in completing. There's no story tension but with the threat of revealing Batman's identity there is. You could have his identity revealed and still have another game but Batman dying from poison doesn't let you have another game.

So what is done with the threat from Hugo Strange? Nothing. There isn't even a mission where you have to prevent him from telling anyone. He just decides not to. Sure you could say he was delusional and thought he would win either way, that he had beaten him, but the story never explores that. Hugo Strange is pushed off to the side because the Joker is more interesting and has more cultural cred. Hugo Strange is disposed of in the most careless of ways.

Hugo Strange wasn't even the threat that we showed you at the beginning it was Ra's al Goul. Why Ra's al Goul? He's the guy who plots right? As the player you shouldn't even know him that well and only met him for a limited time. Yet imagine if you watched Batman Begins or have been reading the comics for a while. You know him better then poor old Hugo then.

This game is more interested as treating the story as a play pen for all the characters the audience is familiar with then telling any sort of story. This becomes even more clear when the Joker dies.

So before the Joker dies and you meet Ra's for the first time you also meet Talia and her transparent pants.

She shows up talking about how great a time she and Bruce had in Metropolis. That's the extent of her character beyond being a crazy assassin bent on bringing "order" to the world with her immortal father that wants Batman to kill him or something. It's not like there's time for the audience to understand why Batman has such a damn hard on for her, emotional speaking because physically speaking she really isn't wearing any pants, when latter he wants to abandon everyone to go save her.

Yes Protocol 10 is in effect and everything is exploding! Batman wants to leave all the criminal scum, plus some wrongly imprisoned citizens, to burn while he saves Talia. Alfred and Oracle intervene and it's supposed to be some kind of emotional moment that we aren't privy to because all we know about Talia is that her and Batman go it on in Metropolis once.

Now if you read the comics or watched Batman: TAS you'd know better and as fans of these things, and one of the writers for the animated series, the developers clearly knew more then they bothered to tell you. Why is this important? It's another thing they set up and then abandon when the Joker dies.

Yes the Joker dies after causing quite a bit of mayhem and killing Talia. Talia is that person in the image above that we spent a few paragraph detailing how much Batman loves her and is willing to let everyone else blow up ten times over. So after all the curtains collide and the smoke dies down who does Batman carry out mournfully and sets down lovingly on the hood of a police car?

The Joker.

Making a gay joke would be immature and likely very offensive that's not the point. The point is that there is no consistency to this story and characters do things without motivation. The only reason anything has meaning is because you've seen outside material related to the character. The only upside is that the individual moments are so well executed that you're tricked into thinking they have some kind of depth to them.

Noticed how I didn't say something like resonate with you or otherwise more personal things that you can totally have with this game because it's still a good game cursed by the current state of mainstream games storytelling.

It's not like the Joker dying couldn't have been a well thought out story. It's been done before in a certain comic that played to the Joker's character and his relation with Batman. Here he's groveling at the shattered vial at the end after stabbing Batman in the arm. It's ironic right? He tried to get the cure but then through his own efforts he failed! or put into better sounding words: the Joker trying to kill Batman instead killed himself.

Except for the part where the Joker isn't just a crazy guy who tries to kill Batman sometimes. Killing Batman is easy. Corrupting Batman is what Joker is there for. Why doesn't Batman just kill the Joker right?

At the end Batman says he would have saved him.

Sounds good right? Exactly the thing about trying to corrupt Batman and Batman resisting right? Wrong. The Joker doesn't do anything to try to corrupt Batman he just wants his cure.

It would be one thing to have Joker arranging for the moral dilemma of choosing Talia or saving the inmates of Arkham City but he doesn't he just wants some plot mcguffin. That's boring.

The Joker's death is meaningless. Solid Snake living is meaningful.

Yes this where I explain why the hell I've been talking about these two games.

Solid Snake whimpers at the feel of the gun in his mouth, it humanizes him, it shows how pathetic it would be to commit suicide for no reason instead of simply going to a wedding. He finally decides not to do it. He decides to move on from war and all the violence. It's a triumph. It is NOT a corporate cop out meant to let you have a billion more Solid Snake games.

Joker whimpers at dying without having had much meaningful effect on the plot for the entire game and without challenging Batman at all. He serves no function in the plot. He's useless here. His death is about as edgy as any comic written in the 90s trying to imitate Watchmen like they're a kid who watched something kewl on TV.

Conclusion

Don't worry this is almost over and thank you for staying with me through this long ass post.

The reaction to the ending of MGS4 I feel is based on the idea that true art is edgy and subversive... or maybe it's because MGS4 was super confusing and kind of poorly executed moment to moment...

Yeah OK it's probably the latter.

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No game deserves goty this year!

Disclaimer: One Draft + 2AM = this long ass post

Let's be honest here Game of the Year is the most important annual event in gaming. It is of incredible importance that each gaming publication take great time to decide upon this life or death decision. It is actually life and death when you think about it. Will giantbomb.ru starve the family's of Gearbox employees because they didn't name Borderlands 2 GOTY? I don't know but if they don't name Borderlands 2 GOTY then they wont be able to release a GOTY edition of the game down the road thus preventing little jimmy from buying all that dlc on one disc. If little jimmy doesn't give gearbox his cash then who is to put food on the table for the family's at Gearbox? Not Aliens: Colonial Marine that's for sure.

Game of the Year is serious business the publications have to be absolutely right in their individual judgement. With the full of weight of the situation their is only one solution: No GOTY this year. Be honest with yourself: does any game deserve GOTY this year?

Syndicate?

The value wasn't there even when the multiplayer was active. Also Deus Ex came out last year.

SSX?

It's a snowboarding game and thus is disqualified for being sports related.

Mass Effect 3

More like Ass Effect Mass Erect Ass Erect? Ending. Jeez guys even I know the ending was horriable and murders babies without even having to play the game.

Diablo III

Had a crappy mmo launch without being an mmo but it's OK because that's how mmo's launch anyway. Those darn devs never know how many people want their game. Also the late game is bad which means the whole game is retroactively ruined, also known as the Ass Erect effect.

Persona 4 Arena

Is a visual novel like The Walking Dead and thus not a game except for when it's a fighting game but that doesn't count because I don't understand fighting games.

Sound Shapes

Was meant to sell the me and you on a Vita and can't be a GOTY because it's related to the Vita.

Darksiders II

Was padded out and Patrick didn't like it and Patrick is some sort of authority on heavy metal things like death or rock and roll...

Guild Wars 2

Is an mmo. Sorry.

Borderlands 2

Has Tiny Tina and decade old internet memes.

Torchlight II

Is just another Fate clone. What? I call it like I see it.

Resident Evil 6

Camera, shooting, bland supporting characters that aren't Sherry, and co-op. Also your decisions in past resident evil games aren't reflected in this one. What happened when I took that shotgun back in Raccoon City!

Dishonored

Is the greatest Has a crap story, terrible stealth in comparison to Mark the Ninja, and a binary morality system.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Refuses to inform the player of the actual chance that you'll hit with that shot.

Forza Horizon

A console exclusive for the 360. It can't be GOTY because no one played the superior PC version.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Had a Vita release. End of story. VITA BAD I OWN A PSP.

Assassin's Creed 3

Had frame rate issues and was generally aimless having no coherency with it's systems.

Halo 4

Console exclusive. Change of scenery, story, and guns was true for about five seconds.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Ollie North, decapitation, and left trigger right trigger.

New Super Mario Bros. U

It ain't so new and something about the WiiU sucking or something...

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale

The title is to long and unweildy to be considered for GOTY. Those physical playstation trophies cost a lot to get engraved.

Hitman: Absolution

I heard it was misogynistic and homophobic and linear to some effect. To be honest I haven't played many of the games on the list...

Far Cry 3

PC version is better! Suck it! Ash is a loser!

Journey

Doesn't count becuase it came from thatgamecompany

The Walking Dead

Is a visual novel and doesn't count and also please for the love of god don't spoil that game I haven't played it have mercy!

Awesomenauts

Eh...yeah OK it's a contender I guess

All those games aren't GOTY material as each has at least one flaw that will be used to judge them till total damnation is upon them. Wouldn't it be simpler to do away with GOTY this year then to muck about the life and death choice of it? Wouldn't it be easier to just take GOTY less seriously and simply see it as what it is? An excuse to think critically about the year's releases and see the good and the bad of games this year?

No? Too new wave for you? Enjoy Batman vs Superman then.

So what was negative about this year's releases and what was positive?

Second, much more minor, question: can you see a moba or rougelike being a popular GOTY for even this site?

84 Comments

Call of Duty is Exactly like Pokemon

With the recent release of modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 combined with the even more recent and predictable announcement that yes there is another Call of Duty game on the horizon I got to thinking...

Although it is as stale as 3 week old Magikarp meat...

No not about how stale the modern militarily shooter genre is or how angry I am at the bros and ten year olds in England that keep yelling at me about how weak my game is but how much I love the Call of Duty series existence. no that isn't sarcasm and I have never spent my money or anyone else s on a Call of Duty game ever...in fact I've played Black Ops on a rental and that's it.

Now as much as I'd like to explain why I love CoD's existence I have to take a moment and address the gimmick of this article. Pokemon hasn't had a major release all that recently so it isn't exactly topical but what have people said about Call of Duty lately? That they should do something? That they should stop making the same game again and again? What are the main detractors to Pokemon? That they should stop making the same game again and again? Now granted that's a very minor thing to have in common but the main take away is that both series are getting stale and it feels like the same game with different Pokemon to collect or in the case of CoD now a days different Perks/weapons/attachments/etc to collect all over again by leveling.

Why hasn't either series made any drastic changes as late? (This doesn't count the new killstreak system in CoD or the story twist in Pokemon Black/White)

Simply because they don't need to and people rarely take risks when they don't need to. Whenever a new CoD game or Pokemon game arrives on store shelves it sells gangbusters and you know what? That's good...would you rather the Video Game industry turned into the Comic Book industry?

Not even the almighty Batman can fend off the lack of Comic Book sales...

Actually that's a bad example seeing as how the Comic Book industry is now trying to take risks in the hopes of revitalizing their industry...actually they aren't...but that's a discussion for a another time on another site. The fact is that some games or properties in general are made exclusively to make money. This isn't a new thing every medium has their various Cash Cows and they can't always be as interesting as The Dark Knight or Uncharted 2. Here is a good set of properties that you've most likely spent a few minutes arguing about how stupid they are: Micheal Bay's Transformers, Twilight, and last but not least Call Of Duty. If the money that a studio makes from any of these "stupid" properties helps to get some new original IP made and shown to a wide audience then is it not worth it? Not every property can be the pinnacle of gaming but can't we let these stale games be used to greater end?

Extra fun fact storytime...

I'm guessing you've played Arkham City, did you like it? Well in that case you should send a thank you card to the Playboy Mansion....

Let's trace Arkham City back to Hugh Hefner shall we? What do you think got Arkham Asylum made? Perhaps it was any of those two Nolan films, why did those Nolan films get made? probably because people knew who Batman was, why did the mainstream know who batman was? The Burton movies most likely combined with the Adam West TV show...

This brings us to the big link, why did they green light that show? Probably some executive thought it a good idea...and that executive was in the company of Hugh Hefner during one of his crazy comic book parties (read:not joking in the slightest). At this party they were watching the old 40s serials and crazy old Hefner had actors dressed up as comic book characters saying phrases commonly used in 60s comics at the time.

Side Note: I know this from a special feature on a dvd except for some other certain facts I gleaned from a tumbler blog when I was googling how to spell Hugh Hefner.)

So basically you have this guy:

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S-Ranking Arkham Asylum and the fun times that are rage quits...

You dawg hear about this blogger initiative that Sweep started up back in September? I did...and promptly forgot about it...checking back in recently I noticed it was over...dammit.

On the positive side it doesn't mean I can't post a blog and I have a backlog of user blogs to read through. So getting down to business here's a blog about a two year old game.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Like many of you I played this game back in 2009 while we were all still riding the wave of adrenaline that Christopher Nolan stabbed into our veins months prior. Not only was it an excellent revisiting of Batman the Animated Series and some of the more darker toned comics but unlike many a person I actually managed to avoid almost all information about this game before it got into my hands! Now to be fair I hadn't found this site and was even less technology savvy then I am today. (Read incoming side note.) When I got down to playing it, after a lengthy install spent looking at a grey picture of Poison Ivy, I was more or less blown away. This was not just due to the quality of the game but also because I was a Batman fanatic!

I blew through the game in a matter of days and was left with an unsavory taste of post-game depression and challenge maps starring me in the face. During the two years between then and now I've thrown my best at those challenge maps and downloaded the free dlc. Right now the Freeflow Gold trophy is laughing at me...I can hear it...

What I want to do is S-Rank Arkham Asylum before I get Arkham City. Now make no mistake I'm not Vinny when the 18th rolls around in a few days I'm playing Arkham City regardless of failure or success but I gotta try dammit! It would be my first platinum trophy and it would help get my reflexes ready for Rocksteady's magnum opus to bat fans. What do I have left to finish? freeflow gold and predator gold both of which require you to get all bat medals in their respective category of challenge rooms. Before writing this I gave two of the combat challenges the good old public high school try and learned a few things.

Side Note: I originally tried to record my trials and tribulations in the challenge rooms but after a few minutes trying to rip a DVD I gave up...because I'm a wimp. So you'll have to be content with boring prose.

Other Side Note: I'm assuming that you've played Arkham Asylum before.

The first map I played was Sewer Bat extreme a rectangular map with gun racks and some throwing objects. Something I immediately remembered from my most recent attempts at S-ranking the game is that I would try to throw a thug away from the group and then go zipping across the map like David Tennant after cake to punch him in the ass...this sounds a little odd out of context. Unfortunately I noticed that the way the map is set up, it being kinda cramped, I would often find myself hitting the edge of a wall or nudging a thug on my way there that would negate my flow. This made getting past the first round more then just a little frustrating as I kept trying to get the flawless freeflow bonus. After I made it passed the first round and lazily shuffled my way to the 4th and last round I had two out of three medals and was feeling pretty decent. Then I was just overwhelmed. An insane amount of thugs that are blocking you from getting at the stragglers that are ripping concrete from the walls and busting out the assault rifles. I didn't think my issue would be dying so much as getting points but I was DEAD wrong...I'm sorry I'll never do that again. So yeah I died trying to swim through the thugs on my way to a gunman. I left the Joker taunting me on for a solid minute after his animation...there was no anger only Shock and Awe!

Damn it all I'm sorry...the next map I tried was Shock and Awe extreme and I basically just dicked around there trying to find some more entertaining ways to play. The map itself has a timer and is sectioned off into three platforms. The platforms that you don't start on are useless ignore them. I know this because I tried running to either of the other two platforms and placed an explosive charge to knock the incoming thugs this worked with proper timing...until you run out of dudes to uppercut. There was also no way to get to another platform in under a second, how long you have till your counter drops, so if you run up to one of these platforms your really gambling that enemies will consistently climb up to the same platform...beyond this I really didn't do anything of note here.

Rage Quits

Now I could post a video of a guy jumping out a window as an epic rage quit but let's talk about Arkham Asylum more because I know you couldn't possibly be tired of that! Whenever I was hit in the first round or my flow halted I just flat out restarted, now I usually don't restart parts of a game when I don't like the outcome unless the situation is special. Example: The first Bioshock when your protecting a little sister I rebooted my ps3 when I failed to protect the first little sister they give you. Now granted there is no ingame penalty for letting them die but the atmosphere that game built made me actually care on some level. In an odd way my sheer suspense at getting 3 medals in the Arkham Asylum Challenges gave me a similar sense of dread. I felt the need to get as much as I could out of the first round and kept going back to chucking dudes across the room because that's what a lot of the hint guides said and refused to play out the rest of the map. What I want to ask you guys is if you have ever rage quitted because you wanted to avoid a story from going in one direction or for gameplay purposes like those Asylum challenge maps?

So that was my first shot at a blog under strenuous conditions, my batter life has gone down to abysmal and I need to bend the charger in dangerous ways to get a charge that wont stick, hopefully it wasn't to boring a read...oh and here's an apology if it was...

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