Especially when you get Burial At Sea Episodes 1 & 2.
This is a somewhat mixed review.
Indigo Prophecy isn't really like any other game out there (that I've run into yet). Someone has called it an 'interactive drama,' and I tend to think that's a really apt fitting. The idea is that you as a player are tied to the story, not the protagonist. You control the dialogue from both sides - 'what will the characters talk about next?' and decide which character has what advantage, while still balancing things out so the story can proceed.
I love this idea.
Furthermore, it's been said that this type of game allows many different stories - if you have a protagonist call his brother on the phone to warn him of a murder attempt, you save his life. If you instead have the protagonist run to get to his brother, he's too late... and now you have one of two different stories that may unfold for the rest of the game.
I love this idea, too.
One of the problems with action games is that you can only give the player so many controls. "Run," "Jump," "Ranged weapon," "Melee," "Block," "Interact," "Special move 1," "Special move 2," whatever. The trouble is, this often gives rise to awkward action sequences in which the player finds bugs in the AI, or maybe one of the moves is just naturally more powerful than the other (see: stealth in any Elder Scrolls game). In Indigo prophecy, the developers eschewed the idea of controlling exactly what your characters do for the ability to script action sequences. Fights and action sequences look more fluid - this is one of the precursors to 'scripted events' that you'll now see in big AAA titles... you might be tromping along in a forest when a dog jumps out to bite you, and a little icon that says 'mash the space bar!' appears.
I love this idea absolutely. Get a little less control over how the character acts for a hell of a better story.
What this all boils down to is that the guys and gals at Quantic have some really good ideas. Very industry-shaking. The game is played through with minigames, gestures, abnormal controls - there's no 'interact' button that opens doors, pulls levers, eats food, or talks to strangers. There's instead a different gesture that you make with your mouse for each movement - and it feels much more interesting. Trapped in the dark with a fear of claustrophobia? Control your breathing using this control scheme, and continue with your objective. Really interesting.
The trouble is that it was, in general, very poorly executed.
The story started out grabbing your attention very well... but it soon became clear that the writers hadn't researched a damn thing. At one point, there were three helicopters between two tall New York buildings moving at high speed to chase a target - one chopper could have done the job and there's no way you're going to fit three in there. When the target ducked into the building, they all left. I couldn't suspend my disbelief. As if that sort of thing isn't bad enough, they decided to add an extra antagonist in at the very end - like a deus ex machina for the villains. "Hey lol i wuz here da hole tiem, now u fite me 2 k."
It got pretty clear that, although they COULD have had many storylines, they really only had one. Save your brother? He shows up once more in the game and you don't interact with him at all. Miss a clue that changes an entire investigation? Fuck it, you'll get some tip to figure it out later. Cop suspicious of you but you make it out of the questioning free and clear after hiding all the evidence? Oh well, he finds a piece of evidence you simply didn't know about and he'll come back for you later.
Most of the non-action-sequence puzzles involved dealing with the frustratingly bad controls (these are the same controls as Parasite Eve 2... ugh). At one point, you must walk around a three-story bookstore packed to the gills with tomes, all to find a book that the owner wants... for literally no reason other than to make you walk around and do it. Like, that's the entire obstacle: "the controls are awful and tedious, so deal with them for a while."
A lot of the really clever off the wall sequences are just there to milk the game time. Climbing a fence? You have five seconds to make each quarter-circle gesture. Every gesture moves you a little farther up the fence. Fall off? No big deal, start again. Too slow? No big deal, nothing's looking for you. Enjoy this tedious, timed obstacle with absolutely no sense of tension.
The action sequences involve playing a game similar to simon says with two sets of arrow keys... and usually they're happening so fast that you DON'T GET TO WATCH THE ACTION. You have to pay attention to the simon says game instead, and watch the action from your peripheral vision. Talk about an immersion breaker!
The story, as I mentioned, started well, but as Winfrey pointed out earlier - that shit jumped the shark toward the end.
The writers seem to be D&D enthusiasts doubling as writers - no character was well fleshed out, human relationships were completely unbelievable, motives were muddy ("lol u fite tha group wif ULTIMITTTTTT POWERRRRRR" "y they want dis girl den?" "Bcuz she can give dem ULTIMITTTTTT POWERRRRRRR" "uh"), consequences were muddy ("deez guys control tha wurld from day 1!!!!! dey can do anything! O but dey need tha girl so they can do MOAR anything!" "no i never gib u da girl, or they make humanity slavezz!" "uh dey already own humanity but i just werk 4 dem k gimme girl"), the limitations of the antagonists were absolutely inconsistent ("I ken keel u wif a jesture n can telport 2!" "lol 2 bad i run away" "damn!" "o u cot up? now we fist fite." "but i kill u wif jesture!" "no, fist."), and character decisions were unbelievable as hell.
The only thing that was really, REALLY well executed was the camerawork during cinematics. I thought that was very, very inspired. You really get a sense of the set and the actions, and you end up remembering what happened without remembering that there were twenty-four different angles of it happening. That's good directing - they put a scene into the audience's head without distracting them with the angles. During third-person control, the camera was somewhat weak... but it's hard to make a good third-person camera in video games, I'd give that a pass.
From a technology standpoint, I can't bash the game too much. Environments were small and sparse, but I imagine that's a budget and technology thing - the game shows its age pretty hard. People's movements are really unrealistic - but again, this is a bit of an old game.
Frankly, I would absolutely recommend this game if it is on a HUGE sale... but only if you have the ability to see a game's potential. If you want to be entertained by a story, expect to laugh out loud at the ludicrousness of it all. If you want to veg out to an action game, give it a straight pass. If you're willing to look past some of this ridiculous shit and wish VERY HARD for the same game with better writers and a bigger budget, then jump right in.
At the very least, you'll kill a couple hours watching a bad movie, so that ain't bad.
From what I understand, Quantic Dream has put out another game - Heavy Rain - that won multiple awards. Unfortunately, it was for the PS3 only, so I will probably never play it. I would expect that that Heavy Rain is a much better executed version of Indigo Prophecy - really, IP could have been incredible if it were just taken back to the drawing board for another year or so. So much potential.
The backlog is my BIIIIIIIITCH
I agree with everything you said about IP. Really wish they had done a better job because the potential was there.
I've found it.
I've found the absolute laziest game ever made.
Infernal is a 3rd person shooter where you take the role of a 'fallen angel' who has been fired from heaven for no discernable reason and then sides with Satan because that's what fallen angels do, I guess, and his 'come on bro u need me' was REALLY a compelling argument. You continue to fight the bad fight up until Satan tries to do something particularly evil, then you're like 'bro no im ackshully gud bro' and Satan is all like 'POWER POWER POWER STEREOTYPED VILLAIN POWER'
That paragraph? Literally the only good part of the game - the setting. Didn't even sound that good, right?
The title screen immediately slams a can of Mountain Dew or something into your belly through your lungs because bitch, we don't have time for your esophagus - we're WAY too extreme for that. As generic distorted guitars and a trapset with a really, REALLY prominent snare drum play at you, the main character, silhouetted in black, hunches down behind a chimney or something and fidgets about. So extreme. I left the title screen on for ten minutes to see if the game would eventually back down in embarrassment for putting some big exciting riff over such a pithy sight. It didn't. During every fight, that tired-ass HARDCORE XTREME ROCK would start playing again. Everything is fucking XTREEEEEEEEEEEEM and it's awful.
It's a third person shooter. Why not first person? Because the developers wanted you to be able to 'cover' behind walls... which provided LESS cover than manually hiding behind them and forced you to ignore anything that wasn't part of the 'cover behind walls paradigm.' Bad guy bunkering you? Too bad, you're in cover mode. Why else would they make it third person? I don't know, to piss you off when you try to shoot around your left side?
The voice acting is atrocious. I'm partially prepared to forgive a foreign company for this, but their voice actors CLEARLY did not understand the script. All speech was jilted and fragmented, and no line was believable. "SIR THE WANTED MAN IS ALREADY HERE" "KILLIM AT ALL COSTS." Translation errors abound. Furthermore, they picked voice actors that didn't belong for the roles. A grizzled officer in heaven's army? I KNOW LET'S CAST A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD KID.
Bugs? Bugs. I got stuck in the ground or the wall multiple times.
Innovation in gameplay? Look elsewhere. You have multiple 'infernal' abilities, which include teleporting, teleporting objects, infernal vision, sucking the souls out of corpses (totally makes sense for a fired angel to not have any qualms about that, right?), shooting infernal bullets, and being invincible when you roll. In combat, you may do the following without penalty: Shooting infernal bullets (one-hit kill, if you hit... what's the point when headshots are available?), and be invincible while rolling. The other things? The other things served to give you a very slow, very tedious break from combat to solve the same puzzle many times. "THERE'S A SECURITY DOOR AND THE SWITCH IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT FENCE. BETTER TELEPORT OVER, HIT IT, AND TELEPORT BACK." Seriously. That puzzle, over and over again... andthat teleporting is like a 45 second process. Fuck immersion, right?
As for infernal vision? "O NOES DIS DOOR HAS CODE" "LOL I NO, SUM1 HAS PROBLY WRITTEN THE CODE IN INFURNAL LETTRS K?" Yup. That's it. The code is always written in the same room as the keypad. Poke button, look at code, unpoke button. Thanks for the puzzle, guys.
Okay, so the non-fighting parts serve to just slow down the combat. But the combat has to be good, right? Nope. I played the game on hard and it was brutally easy. The AI is laughable - choosing to shoot, stop shooting, reload, and cover and completely random times. More than once, I had a guy stand perfectly still with cover not three feet away, and start reloading. When I bunkered an enemy who was clinging to a wall, he stood there and let me pound his face in. In the times when I got bunkered, myself? "LOL I GOT HIM" "SCOTT WUT R U DOING Y ARNT U SHOOTING UR 2 FEET FROM HIM." I assume this was to give me time to go through the animation of un-sticking to a wall.
Not only is the fighting easy and the AI laughable, but the enemy abilities are completely nonsensical. I watched an enemy run around INVINCIBLE for ten minutes, shooting, covering, doing whatever they do. No balance to that foot soldier's invulnerability mechanic. Another enemy turned his invulnerability on and right back off again. What am I supposed to make of that? It's faulty? Poor training? There doesn't seem to be any reason or resource to cause the bad guys to turn off their invuln, but they do anyway. Maybe make it so they can't shoot when invuln? Maybe always on a three second timer? Fuck, man.
But hey, it's okay. We don't need good AI when we can have INFINITE BAD GUYS! I'm fairly certain the main character has a kill count higher than the population of Rhode Island. It doesn't help that it's a two-second process to loot bad guys, and it's the only way to get health back. Enjoy looting those thirty bad guys you just shot, hope that doesn't slow down the game for you.
Speaking of lack of balance, at one point you get an ally who is a major lieutenant in the holy army. Guess what she has for abilities? Jack squat. Also, a pistol. The fucking GRUNTS get shields and SMGs.
"Was the story good, though? With a setting like that, the story must have been acceptable?" Nope. Motives were stupid, dialogue was written by a fourth grader, no research done, and - this is what really pushed it over the top - there were inconsistencies galore. For instance:
Main character and ally take off in a jet to go to the wilds of canada to stop a doomsday device. Next scene? They're just in the wilds of canada, in a canyon, with trees fucking everywhere. WHERE THE SHIT DID THEY LAND?! Not good enough for you? How 'bout this one: ignoring that you use MONITORS to 'hack security systems (lol)', at one point you run up against a door that's locked. Your ally: "RYAN, LET ME DO THAT! I KNOW HOW TO BREAK THE SECURITY CODE!" She literally just runs through the door (LOL GUD THING UR HERE I COULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT). When you run after her, all you see is an empty hallway with a room full of bad guys at the end. The level is SUPER linear, so you end up catching up to her later - and it's clear she took the same path as you. Just walked past the fifteen or twenty bad guys, I guess? Ooooh, how about another inconsistency - you're standing on a train, in a depot. A sniper shoots you in the chest in a cinematic. You fall over onto the train. When you get up seconds later, where are you? IN A DEPOT WITH NO TRAIN.
How about bad story? Your angel friend berates you during cutscenes for even ALLUDING to infernal power... then when you're hanging out with her and you SIPHON THE SOUL FROM A DEAD ENEMY, she doesn't bat an eyelash? Huh. Satan, your employer, TAKES YOUR POWERS AWAY WHEN YOU'VE BEEN CAUGHT... AND YOU'RE HIS ONLY OPERATIVE. Hard to see how you CAN'T win the war for earth with logic like that, man![/spoiler]
I'M NOT DONE. ><
The game is actively trying to irritate you the whole time. As if plot holes you could drive a truck through, inconsistent combat, abysmal voice acting, a story from elementary school, and tedious downtime activities (looting, teleport 'puzzles') aren't enough to make you walk away, get ready for the script: when fighting, they recorded maybe ten, fifteen lines of generalized dialog that the bad guys say. It took nine hours to beat the game. NINE HOURS OF THE SAME TEN OR FIFTEEN LINES. When you get an ally, she says the same FOUR lines, once every twenty or thirty seconds. HAVE FUCKING FUN WITH THAT. As if to really rub it in your face, one of the final lines in the game is something along the lines of "I'll kill you!" "That line gets kind of old when you've heard it a hundred times." OH. YOU DON'T SAY. Fucking unbelievable.
That's what this game is. Fucking. Unbelievable. I'm not sure what I bought it in, but I sure as shit want my money back.
so lets say i had a backlog of shame (i dont, but...) if your read a review like that ^, could you pass the game up?
Oh man, if only. It's kind of the whole point... we buy bundles for one or two games and leave the shitty ones on the side.
I blame that phenomenon for having to do so many shitty reviews. It's not that I LIKE complaining...
I was prepared to write a review about how Just Cause was really just disappointing... but I went ahead and re-read my "Infernal" review.
Just Cause wasn't THAT bad.
In JC, you take the role of an 'agent' named Rico. He probably has a last name, and probably works for someone, but that doesn't matter. He's just someone who does the shooting. Rico is headed to what looks to be a South American or Latin American country whose government needs some overthrowing - we don't really know WHY, but, I mean, it just does. And, I mean, I guess no better person than Rico, right? I mean, I don't know his qualifications or whatever, maybe he's just a towel boy at a hotel or something, but... well, fuck, why not?
I could go on, but I need to stop here to explain something to you:
You cannot - absolutely CAN NOT - take Just Cause seriously. You can't. This is one of those games that idle parents blame for their kids' bad behavior. It is an exercise in absurdity, and really, I think it likes it that way. So all my normal talk about storyline/motive/inconsistency? I'm going to skip it. You just kind of have to accept that the storyline is trash, motives don't exist, and San Esperito exists in a Newton-Free Zone. You have to accept that at one point, you will chase down a missile in a jet, and that missile will make serpentine motions. You have to accept that at one point, you will set off a nuclear explosion that your compatriots will watch from five-hundred meters away while drinking martinis on the beach... and then, you'll set off more nukes and turn around from 100 meters and watch. You have to accept that at one point, you will leap from a fighter jet traveling a bazillion miles an hour, catch the tail of a passenger jet, then suddenly be inside the passenger jet. The missing realism will boggle your mind, and you just have to handle it.
The thing is, I don't think the guys at Avalanche really had the balls to come out and say 'this is supposed to be absurd.' On the one hand, you can't help but think "no WAY are they taking themselves seriously..." and on the other hand, there's JUST enough seriousness that you think someone on the design team wasn't in on the joke. This juxtaposition serves to really throw you off - you WANT to be irritated at how bad the storyline is, because you think someone, somewhere was the studio's Dwight... but at the same time, you want to just believe the whole thing is supposed to be satire.
Let's, uh, go with satire. Moving on.
The one thing JC boasts that could be really cool is the open world. Open world latin america would be really interesting - it reminded me of FarCry 2. Sometimes you'll fly along in a helicopter and just marvel at the ocean, and the vast forests, and the river with its weird little river huts...
...and you'll wish you had a reason to actually explore it. Unfortunately, the open world is best enjoyed from far away - when you get down close, it's really just empty terrain. Trees and shit. Side missions TRY to force you into interacting with the world, but... well, no they don't. They really don't.
There's actually another part of JC which is rather interesting - contextual vehicle commands. Again, slipping into unrealism here - I don't think Rico can do a sweet backflip out of his chopper and ride on the tail for a while, then decide to hop right back in FROM THE TOP. However, it is rather neat that you have the ability to drive up beside another vehicle and hop to it without completely missing. This could probably be refined into a fairly novel mechanic.
When you get right down to it, though, Just Cause really wasn't very good. Sure, I can handle a game that forgoes realism on purpose (beats the shit out of games that aim for realism and miss by miles). I can handle the same pointless story or bland terrain I see in other games... the trouble was, the game is simply boring. There's no challenge in objectives - every mission/side mission involves 'go to this checkpoint, kill this guy, blow up this thing,' and most of the time is spent simply driving/flying there. In addition, as long as you're moving, bad guys will invariably miss you. Unrealism is great, but... Rico can take sixty thousand bullets, pop his parachute in an instant, and carries like eighty guns. There's no reason to do anything beyond guns blazing - fuck stealth, fuck speed, just tank your way through things. There's nothing stopping me from hopping a jet, parachuting over my objective, killing it, then using my grappling hook to hijack a nearby helicopter. And yeah, that sentence sounds like it's totally badass, but... I mean, it's really not. They managed to take away the fun of such a ridiculous approach.
2/10, would not play again, but would be interested to see if the sequel improves on the game. I feel like if Avalanche got their shit together and came up with a cohesive vision - realistic or unrealistic - and maybe a little more PLAYTESTING to make sure the game was actually challenging and fun, the JC franchise could really crystallize into something cool.
Let's take a look at some of the entries in my notebook.
-"So, Grand Theft Auto in San Esperito."
-"Huh, the open world is actually fairly cool. I can see where Farcry got its ideas. Er, wait, which was released first? Note to self, look this up..."
-"Aaaaahahaha oh my god the music is hilarious."
-"Contextual actions in vehicles... stunt position, parachute... That seems like it could be fun. Combat from a parachute could be a lot of fun."
-"No, combat is just an obstacle. brb, holding W and M1, Rico is a TF2 pyro."
-"...I run over spinning, floating ammo to pick it up? Back to the arcade, it seems! Beats the hell out of looting every body, I guess."
-"Oh my god why is the objective four kilometers away?"
-"...and... now that the objective is complete, drive another two km? Fuck it, they should have named this game Drive Drive Revolución."
-"Completing an objective to liberate a town would be a lot cooler if the tug of war were balanced. Combat needs to be WAY harder."
-"Oh man, the Americans are always reclining and fucking around when Rico meets them. Hah!"
Could have been worse. Could have been a looooooooot better, though.
I dunno, man. I dunno.
On the one hand, I want to like this game... on the other, it blows preeeeeeetty bad. It does some things I wish we'd see in video games more often, but it also hits a lot of really dull, dead tropes. More than its fair share.
Your confusion begins at the title screen, where you tell the game what medication you're taking to ward off the headache it's about to give you. No joke - the 'difficulty' setting is in 'Aspirin, Codeine, Morphine.' There are no drugs anywhere else in this game (other than adrenaline shots to revive you if you take more than you daily allotted lead dosage - which is VERY high). Since I couldn't tell if aspirin was easy or hard (ie, 'give me all the pain, I am not a priss who needs morphine' or 'my liver can only handle aspirin, I can't handle morphine,') I picked codeine. Middle of the road, why not.
You play as a guy who's apparently done some bad shit, and who also is an asshole. Your job is to shoot cops and I guess rescue a few other assholes so that they can help you kill some assholes who are going to off your wife and kid who you don't know. So, I mean, that's basically the gist of every game that's trying to be 'gritty,' I guess. Excessive use of asshole character, excessive use of 'kill' as the main objective.
Seriously. Everyone in this game is an asshole. You want to like exactly nobody. Worse off, nobody has a motive to do anything - you think from the beginning 'oh, this'll be cool, the main character has come to terms with dying but now some shadowy organization has pulled him out of prison, told kidnapped his wife and kid, and are making him retrieve something for them.' You think you're going to learn what the something is, you think you're going to learn who the shadowy organization is, you think you're going to learn about the main character and what he's done...
YOU LEARN LITERALLY NOTHING. NONE OF THESE THINGS ARE EVER RESOLVED. You spend half the damn game trying to get a 'briefcase.' When you can't, they kill your wife, because that's what generic bad guys do. Then, you take a little side trip to rescue some convicts who the game doesn't bother to explain. The convicts, for some unknown reason, don't like you, but also don't like the guys who killed your wife. And THEN, you go get the 'briefcase,' and we never see it ever again. EVER. We never even find out what was IN the damn thing. Next stop, Havana, where your convicts decide they don't like following you anymore, and one of them leaves. Then you leave THEM, and there's some big to-do about everyone betraying everyone and honor among thieves or something, and you (as a player) are left feeling particularly let down that everyone's mad at everyone for no reason, but you don't care because the game hasn't actually introduced you to ANY of these people. Seriously, this game is 100% NPCs. Someone needs to explain to the writers that "conflict" is not a color you can just paint onto a canvas with a fucking brush.
Where the overall strategy of the writing fails, the tactics of the writing... well... I wouldn't say succeeds. The dialogue isn't NEARLY as childish or XTREEEEEEM as a lot of these games would be, but it's not particularly inspired, either. What IS really neat is the way they try to paint Lynch, using little blurbs or asides here and there - they ALMOST created a proper character with him. During a bank heist, he murders all the hostages, then during the ensuing firefight starts to freak out about what he's done... you then find out he's on antipsychotic drugs or something, then back to the fighting. This sort of formula - dialogue punctuated by firefight - kept my attention for as long as they kept it up.
Trouble is, they didn't feel the need to exercise that particular bit of formula for long. Generally, the storyline is trash. Nobody's doing anything for any reason, and everyone's shitty and fighting because they can. Honestly, the only saving grace for the storyline is that they tried. In a world where story-driven games are hard to find, at least I can give them points for at least trying to make a story happen. It looks like they probably did, but some higher-up decided there was too much talk and not enough action, and the best parts got cut. Ugh.
Let's move onto the gameplay.
Controlling the character is better than it is in a lot of these types of games. It doesn't feel fluid, but it also doesn't feel clunky. The only issue I had was with the cover system - just like every other cover system these days, I found myself sticking to walls I didn't want to stick to, and generally just eschewing the cover system where possible. It also seems like the game was third person JUST so we'd have a cover system - which, by the way, is an awful reason to have a third person game... effectively you're giving up accurate aiming (oh how many times I've shot an enemy below me, only to have my bullets impinge on the hill beneath me) and SEEING ON THE LEFT so you can have a cover system you'll like-as-not never use.
You have the ability to point your squadmates - er, convicts - to points on the map to have them hold position, or to other enemies to have them concentrate fire. That could be really neat, but you'll need to mess around with keybindings to put the keys in a useful position. A minimap would help, too, to remind you just where you've told each con to hold. However, I didn't really see a reason to use this, for the following was true:
Kane eats, breathes, and shits bullets. Seriously, he can just take every damn bullet. Most of the time, I'd just pick off bad guys myself and leave the squad behind me. The only time I'd want the squad was when lead was flying so heavy that I'd need someone to walk out and take fire for a minute (and, of course, in order to progress in the game I had to REVIVE them, meaning it usually wasn't worth the trouble to even use them as cannonfodder).
So yeah, color me unimpressed. Poor gameplay doesn't make up for holes in the storyline, and an attempt at storyline doesn't make up for poor gameplay.
Oh, one more thing...
Games for Windows Live.
God, this backlog.
I booted up Lead and Gold - looks like a western-style TF2.
Ran through a practice match and then tried to find a server... turns out I can count on one hand how many people still play this game.
...well, no hands, actually. That's right. All SIX remaining servers are 100% empty.
Guess it's ten hours of bots for me.
We should get a few people together and play it. With a handful of friends, it'll be a riot
I jumped on a server right after you stopped playing and there were four of us. It was actually pretty fun
Count me in
I liked Lead and Gold. It's only issue was that my friends were not playing it.
I'm still here, I promise.
In an attempt to make sure I failed the backlog challenge, @PirateNinja sent me this game as a gift (thanks buddy )! Not to be deterred, I attacked it wholeheartedly...
...until the laptop I was using at the time fried.
So here, I sit, almost a year and a half later, staring at @RyanFodder 's absurd Defense Grid scores. I seem to remember something about this... an ancient text from @Linc , perhaps, telling me how irritated he was that he couldn't outrank our humble @RyanFodder ? Or perhaps it was @primesuspect ? Either way, the experience of finishing a level only to find myself far behind my silent rival turned my joy to ashes in my mouth.
Except it didn't. Turns out DG is pretty darn entertaining, even if you're not going for maximum efficiency.
This is a tower defense game, a genre I am familiar with from my college days. Ah! To be back in that simple time, popping balloons with monkeys and printing out my score for all to see. So sweet, those gentle, honeyed memories. Alas, alack, etc, etc.
Turns out it actually has quite a bit more production value than the flash games I'm used to. The game is in 3D, and the models are actually rather nicely rendered... and let me tell you, nothing makes you feel more like a caviar-gobbling fatcat than a well detailed 3D model shrunk down so small that the details are almost invisible. Exquisite, Jeffrey, just lovely, you must tell me your secret!
The game appears to have a better-than-modest world behind it - you're not really sure who your companion is, but the game slowly hints at his story, the story of the planet(s?) you inhabit, the alien menace you're fighting, that sort of thing. The overall story is quite small, but isn't really hacked together (a la Call of Duty) so much as simply not told. It actually feels quite similar to the well-detailed, small models - there seems to be some very fine-grained substance about your environment, but you're so far zoomed out from it that you never get to explore it. It's a clever empire-building technique - if the fans love the product, the devs left a lot of room to flesh it out into books, games, what-have-you. And if fans won't bite? Well, they can easily imagine the world that could have been. Feels like the game isn't really ever over once you finish it.
Gameplay is plenty nice. The game walks you through the various towers as you unlock them and it's fairly clear where you can place them. There are no significantly different mechanics than in any other tower defense game, so you can focus on what matters - the satisfying crashes and kabooms that accompany cannon-fire and alien disintegration.
I'm quite glad I took a break from Lead and Gold: Running Around in the Deserted Wild West to give this a shot.
EDIT: I miss the spoiler tags.
I love Defense Grid.
Do you love it as much as Lead and Loneliness: Gangs of the Mild Rest?
Those scores tears were fun to earn.
Lead and Gold: Ten Hours of Bots.
Can't believe I never finished this.
The only screenshot that matters:
Glad that one's over!
It was a really fun game when it was new and people were playing it. I liked it better than TF2 for its emphasis on teamwork. Sadly, it seems that no one agreed with me. I think I reviewed it somewhere.
I've played some awful games in my backlog. This is not one of them, but it's no Bioshock: Infinite, either.
So this was cute. Very cute. Actually, cute is probably the best thing Mini Ninjas has going for it. You play a cute little ninja making cute little sounds and rescuing all his cute little friends from cute little bad guys that turn into animals when they die. So yeah, there's an adjective that describes this game perfectly... can't think of what it is off top my head.
So the art style is (forgive the repetition) very cute. It's also very sparse. It's hard to tell if this is a design direction - to make a game that is clean and distraction-free - or if it's due to artist laziness. I started off thinking the former, but quickly grew into the latter - right around the time you hit the 'snow and caves' level, or as I like to call it, the 'let's make everything white and use only one texture for the entire' level. Admittedly, my name for it doesn't roll off the tongue well. Either way, while large, flat levels DO create an aura of vastness, your small winding linear levels shouldn't ALSO take two minutes to span the width. That's a lot of keypress time on my 'forward' button.
The voice acting seemed fairly silly. Racist? Possibly. The word 'charrenge' showed up once. In-game acting was mostly a lot of chittering high-pitched voices yelling 'NINJAAAAA,' which - oddly enough - didn't really ever become irritating. You'd think that's one of the things that would grate, but I guess it just fit so well.
So far so good, right? It's enough to merit a passing interest, at least... the gameplay and mechanic design, however, don't really live up.
First off, this is an Eidos game, but you'd be forgiven for thinking it was done by Ubisoft - the resemblance it bears to the Assassin's Creed titles is striking. Combat usually involves you versus a ton of guys that come in one-on-one. You fight back by left clicking a bunch and holding a directional key to indicate who you want to kill. Definitely Assassin's Creed.
There's some other stuff you can do in combat, like throw shurikens or drop various bombs or cast spells, but they're pretty cumbersome to use - cute visuals and audio, interesting effects, sure, but generally less effective than your left clicking and your insta-kill wuju-style alpha strike attack. Besides - this game is 7 hours of combat. After the first thirty minutes, you don't want fights to go any longer than they have to. Kill the little fuckers and go back to exploring the level. Still Assassin's Creed, amirite?
You could do a little bit of sneaking, if you wanted. That's always really neat. The stealth mechanic is pretty forgiving, too. Unfortunately, as a ninja, you'd expect stealth to be required - not even a little bit. In fact, if you take the shadows through a level, you miss out on all the goodies throughout the level - and most of the art of the level itself (and don't even bother with the game if you don't wanna futz through the art). Reminds me of a certain game regarding Creeds of Assassins...
This brings me to my next point - collecting bullshit, a tried-and-true way to milk a game for more than it's worth. There is so much bullshit in this game. Shurikens, plants, bombs, little statues, spells, experience orbs, potions, food, whatever - and Eidos reminds you gleefully how much you missed after each level. So even if you ARE excited to be stealthy, you'll be reminded at the end 'hey, since you didn't go explore the whole level - including that bit with all the bad guys that you so skillfully bypassed - you're not as strong as you could be.' Going back through the level is a total break in immersion, and the design for this PARTICULAR mechanic really defeats playing the game the way you want (that's a real detriment in a game that can be played many ways). Huh. Heavily inspired by Assassin's Creed?
While we're talking about strange paths through levels, can we talk about that parkour shit your ninja does? It's pretty cool, right? Wall jumping, tightrope walking, hanging from ledges, making long climbs through burning castles, hunting pieces of eden in ancient roman ruins, assassinating Italian cardinals, getting the drop on archers behind walls... er, wait, I think I mixed this game with something else. As if copying the simpler elements of AC parkour wasn't enough, they also copied the batshit insane camera. Look, game, I can control my own camera, thank you very much. Stop locking it in place to hint at some wall jumpage, okay?
Effectively, Mini Ninjas was meant to be a casual game. Simple, cute, delightful art. Unfortunately, it seemed like a game born in the wrong place and time - a PC 3D platforming adventure game should not have been the fate of Mini Ninjas. A slew of puzzle games, a 2D platformer, a top-down sprite game - anything but a watered down Zelda/Mystical Ninja/Ass massin' Speed clone. The art is too little and the world too big, like that Woot T-shirt you bought that has more margin than picture. It's just... it was meant to be something else.
...I brought you pictures, in the next post!
Final verdict: not worth paying for, only mildly worth playing if you're bored and got it in a bundle, but feel free to quit after the first few levels. You're not missing much.
Our hero. Conveniently named... Hiro!
As soon as you walk out of your small abode, the game promises that it will be true to the important things.
My first enemies! They're... goose-stepping... Hmm.
Rescuing a friend. After rescue, you get to play as her. Notice how her cage has crushed the cute little bad guy's head.
Hat is also boat! Can your ghastly gibus do that?!
The drums picked up and got ominous as you approached swift rapids. It was a bit of an 'oh shit' moment, until you realized rapids can't hurt you.
This boss is @primesuspect . He waxes flatulent, then uses a hand fan to send poop gas at you, all whilst making a power fist with his right hand.
When you gotta go, well...
Definitely not Assassin's Creed.
Good example of the art style... and of the wide, vast, expanse of 3D flatness that makes the art feel too small. You will row all the way to that wall, and yes, you're halfway across the lake in this photo already.
All bosses required you to do quicktime events to hurt them. This one involved climbing him while in flight, then stabbing him in the back Shadow of the Colossus style.
As the game wore on, little design cracks really started to wear through. This note discusses a new enemy... that you've been introduced to three or four levels ago. Note, too, the WHITE. WHITE WHITE WHITE EVERYTHING IS WHITE.
Climbing the interior of a living castle in the style of Ubisoft.
UGH MARKDOWN LET ME USE RETURN TO MAKE WHITE SPACE
Side note - I would kill for a feudal japan version of Mount and Blade: Warband. brb googling
There is this "Gekokujo" mod from the Nexus
Looks like Multiwinia is another of those games that has succumbed to the ravages of time. Either there is no master server, or my machine can't communicate with the master server.
Good news is there's a single player mode. I shall complete every map in single player on every gametype, and call it a day. Don't fret, dear reader - there are quite a few. In fact, I'm three hours into the game and am 1/3rd of the way through all gametypes... I wonder if I'll hit 10 hours before I hit my goal?
The headway is REAL!