After posting a few comments in the story, I thought better of such spam and decided to be productive and actually throw together some pictures while I was at it. There's not a whole lot to lead into here, other than character shaped blobs, so I'll get to it.
I saw someone else guess this one as well. Super Skrull isn't the most notable character these days, but was a pretty big deal for the Fantastic Four back in the day so I can't blame everyone for not seeing it right away. The Skrulls got recent exposure in Secret Invasion, but wince there were hundreds of them, with powers duplicated from different assortments of Marvel heroes, the original seems to have lost his gimmick. I suspected because of the Skrull ears, but then noticed the signature bendy-arm rock hand action in the top of the poster picture.
This next one I'm not as sure about. Mephisto (right) has been drawn with varying degrees of fire like hair, depending on the artist, and was most recently featured in the so-stupid-JMS-didn't-want-his-name-on-it One More Day, from which I recall a a panel with a similar silhouette. I couldn't find an image of that. Imagining any rhyme or reason for characters being thrown in, Blackheart was in MvC2, and it's not a stretch to include his father. The other option is Dormammu (center). Dormammu is a Dr. Strange foe, much like Shuma Gorath, and both look pretty sweet. Either seems fairly likely, moreso Dormammu from these particular pictures, but there just isn't enough of the character to say for sure and both tend to vary wildly depending on the story, setting and artist.
Dr. Doom is a shoe in, but is fairly consistently portrayed with a round-ish hood, which fits with the upper section, or at least with a hood that bumps out at the bottom. But Doom being such an obvious choice, I want to think maybe something new will go on. In the red silhouette, whatever is obscuring the character's head goes straight down to their shoulders. A very modern looking Iron Man is featured on both pieces, so why not another character recently portrayed in comics? Sentry isn't my favorite character ever, but with over 30 characters in the game, being a part of Dark Reign, and a silhouette that doesn't immediately scream "DOOM", I'm ok with guessing wrong. Also? I want to throw bitches into the sun. You can solve all your problems by throwing them into the sun.
Upon sliding the pictures over to my second monitor, which apparently has better color calibration (or... something) I was clearly wrong in the story post and the bottom left is Felicia. the parts that were faded out were practically invisible and I just couldn't make it out.
Also I edited Tigra's butt as drawn by Frank Cho out of a picture. I might be going to hell for that.
Hey Dtoid. Been a while since I blogged. I guess I just needed something properly enraging to write about.
On the topic of Dante's Inferno, I find a more general issue has arisen: Does one pun-fully damning flaw consign an entire game to a poor evaluation? If I enjoy 90% of a game and the final bit wavers between arbitrary and insulting, does that invalidate the majority of the experience.
In this specific case, and in my sleep deprived state, yes. Yes it fucking does. Dante's Inferno is a good-looking, smooth-running game with generally competent voice acting and amazing CG scenes. The designers set out to make a horrific interpretation of Hell, and for the most part they succeeded. The environments and enemies vary between expected and fresh, and I say "expected" in the sense that if I had gone through the game without at least one cloven-hoofed demon thing with big horns, I would have been disappointed and thought Visceral was trying too hard. As usual, I find rambling on about the good points like graphics, sound, design, and technical proficiency pointless. When something is done well, I say so and let the material itself explain why. It's much easier for me to come up with "Rob Liefeld" than "Esad Ribic" because... I don't know. Maybe I just like hating things.
So what extinguishesDante's Inferno? The sentiment that a game, or specifically a game's ending ultimately felt rushed is not uncommon, associated mostly with tie-in games that are made under tight time constraints. Dante's Inferno starts with this subtly, around the "Greed" level. Lock-in battles get noticeably longer, there are substantially more instant death pits, and the previously great camera starts feeling iffy. It must have been a stretch for time. Even in a "3D" game, the image is ultimately two-dimensional; if the camera is at nearly ground level, there is no perceived depth between one platform and the next.
Ok, fine, so the early levels got the TLC and the later levels were about getting the job done. The inexcusable part? The Malebolge. 10 challenge rooms with identical stages shoehorned into the game because someone was too lazy or didn't have the time to come up with an actual level. Even worse, they're not in-game challenges faced by Dante, they're stupid meta-challenges like "get a 100 hit combo" or "kill 5 enemies while they're in the air". Heaping the shit on is that if a challenge isn't completed successfully, an in-game message pops up saying "Challenge: FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Maybe I'm off on the number of exclamation points, but fucking seriously? ZOMFG challenge fail GG nubzorz. Git gud lol.
I don't know. Maybe I'm too picky on that one. I can deal with conversational prose and misused ellipses to approximate normal speech, and I don't mind at all when a game is cold, black and white text. Challenge failed, period. Works for me! I'll even accept two exclamations, but past that and I feel like my intelligence is being insulted, as though I thought that it would be cute or something. It's a vague "are they professionals?" vibe. Whatever. I've already stayed on it too long.
Finally, and I have to mention this one individually is Malebolge 9. The challenge is to defeat all the enemies without resetting your combo counter. Not bad, except there's one of those Hell-knight guys (big horns, hooves, the type I would have felt the game was missing something without) with a counter attack that stuns Dante. Even if they aren't your primary target, too many wayward scythe sweeps will prompt a shove from him and the challenge is failed. Spend a fraction of a second too long recovering from a dodge, challenge failed. Stray hit from a witless mook baddie, challenge failed. Block, challenge failed. Competently play the game exactly as I have up to that point, dodging stun moves and stray hits, taking no damage, but use a move with a draw time that's slightly too long, challenge fucking failed. It isn't "too hard" as much as it is just not any fun to go through. The worst part is, most of this is guessing. It doesn't seem to fail you as soon as the counter resets, so I never really knew what truly ended it for me, just that it also finally put to rest the semblance of fun I'd hauled along since the Greed level.
So yes, any good I found in Dante's Inferno was invalidated, at least for me. No matter how much I liked other parts of the game, I'm never going to play it again because there is a section in it so lazy and uninteresting to me that any time invested getting to that point could have won me a few more levels in MAG or let me go back to another game I enjoy all the way through instead. "Eat this cake to get kicked in the balls". That's when I just don't eat the fucking cake.
Visceral games, I loved Dead Space. Please do not hose up Dead Space 2 with stupid ass challenge rooms that any other game would have had as bonuses or extra content.
As someone that dropped a tenner on a God of War III reservation so I could play the demo much earlier than those that wait, I came into possession of a totally superfluous code when I cracked open my God of War Collection. While I can't imagine a fan of the series (you know, the type of person that would also reserve the third for the demo because it's practically guaranteed they'll enjoy it and not the type to whine like a bitch about "buying demos") not already owning this and having their own demo code. I'm sure there's someone out there that's like that.
You want it? Give me a movie or TV show that you like; something I can stream to my PS3 with my shiny new Netflix account. Winner will be chosen based on which suggestion sounds the coolest. Sorry, folks. DC Cab isn't a valid suggestion.
I started out my new-game gaming this month with Demon's Souls. If you want an old school, hardcore gaming experience, Demon's Souls is where you'll get it. You will die on the first level. You will give up and try a different class. You will be forced to learn what you're doing without a comprehensive, hand-holding tutorial designed to cater to illiterate frat boys. Every fight with an enemy is a fight. It is tense, you will square off and trade blows and hope to survive to get to the actually-threatening boss.
Games like this are the kind of thing lots of us grew up playing, and there's a part of me that's glad they still exist. The rest of me is punching a DS3 through my face because I fucking died again.
"In like Flynn." "...I don't get it."
I had no doubts about enjoying Uncharted 2; its predecessor was not a perfect game, but I honestly can't say anything bad about it. Wishy-washy descriptions aside, I loved it. Uncharted 2 surpasses it in every way. With better combat, a more intense story, more fluid animations, fancier graphics and even better dialog than before, I could not have asked for anything else. Of course, I don't need to tell you about it. If you like good things and don't murder puppies to eat their hearts, you already own Uncharted 2.
You can decry cinematic gaming experiences all you like, but it's games like Uncharted that are going to truly legitimize gaming. Great characters, production quality and presentation will bridge the gap and really impress anyone that likes solid entertainment.
Start a revolution, Lars.
Like most, I was expecting more action and less RTS when I fired up Brutal Legend, but hot damn if I didn't love the game. There's an older PC game called Sacrifice that most people have never heard of, but I think at least a few of my fellow Dtoiders will have played. That's what stage battles are, but with the ability to fly and chop the limbs off enemies. And guitar solos. And hotrods. And Manowar. I thought Sacrifice was awesome, so I had no problem with more. I have so much good to say about Brutal Legend, but my goal is not to ramble about any of these games.
Until we close our eyes for good.
I haven't finished Borderlands yet, but after rocking the co-op with wtfistheinternet and ponyboykami, I can't recommend it enough. FPS, RPG, humor, art—the game has a lot going for it. Right now I've got a bird called Bloodwing that's trained to kill, starts on fire when it flies, and rams its face through enemies. I've got a sniper rifle that makes people explode with fire and a revolver with a fucking sword on the front of it. Maybe when Patmann stops sucking he'll join in and we can have a proper tank too.
I can't wait to get more sweet loot.
Next up is Ratchet & Clank. I played the demo at Gamestop and it felt good, looked better and had a slightly cell-shaded style that really suited what the game had been doing since its inception. Even after burning through three new games (ok, I haven't finished Demon's Souls yet), I can still be excited for another when it's R&C. It will be planetary obliteraters at dawn, good sir.
MUA2 has been streamlined substantially from the first Ultimate Alliance and while some might not approve, I feel it makes the game a better experience. Characters no longer have three or four different costumes with different powers and stats and, honestly, I think this helps the game. While it was nice that I could switch out Ghost Rider for Vengeance or the ghostly cowboy classic Ghost Rider in MUA1, it always felt like I was deciding between which couple of good powers I wanted to dig out of the slurry of stuff I didn't care about and if it was worth giving up the stuff I already knew how to use. Now they can just make all the powers useful since they stay the same, and I can play as Deadpool or plastic skull face Ultimate!Deadpool at my leisure. I'm fine with this. The buffs that went with costumes before have been replaced and similarly streamlined by passives. Choosing pro-reg or anti-reg in the story unlocks one or two either way. It might be a little weak making us replay the game to completely unlock all the character stats, but not any more so than jumping through hoops to unlock costumes.
There is much less of an emphasis on character builds as well. In MUA1, you were either using normal Ghost Rider with as much as you could put into hellfire and penance stare, or you were denying yourself an infinite firebombing machine. Now that the power lists have been trimmed and the costumes are only cosmetic, I was able to edit the characters more around how I wanted to use them instead of how the devs thought I should. As an added bonus, no one will spend time carefully statting and equipping their team just to have the AI not know what the hell it's doing.
The special “fusion” attacks can be repetitive, but if Juggernaut is included, the developers would have been required to create 276 unique and useful fusion moves. For example, lets say your team is Deadpool, Luke Cage, Juggernaut and Green Goblin. The Pool & Cage fusion is basically identical to the Goblin & Juggs fusion, but they both involve one super strong character and one character with grenades. I would have liked more variety, but will take “this is always effective” over 250 completely useless, “why do you even have him on your team?” fusions.
The graphics are... acceptable? They won't be wowing anyone all the time, but there were a few times that the camera was in the right place and the environment looked right and I talked to an NPC and got a pretty well animated, decently textured dialog sequence. Most of the time, the camera is much further back anyway. I was never blown away, but I never wondered if it was Bring Your Child To Work And Let Them Ruin Your Game Day at the studio; a resounding “eh, fine, I guess.” I'm not losing sleep over a dungeon crawler lacking individually rendered buttons on clothing.
It's hard for me to judge the quality of the story, as I thought the actual Civil War event was handled poorly. If what I heard is correct, it was supposed to lead readers to initially side with the anti-registration group and then bring things around and see how having a bunch of weirdos with superpowers running around with masks and without any accountability was bad, then side with the pro-registration. The wrench thrown into the works there was that the generally liberal writers were living in a country with a conservative president that was doing a shit job. The idea of a government doing something reasonable was abhorrent to them so they shoehorned in Iron Man doing a bunch of horrible, unreasonable things while the people fighting against the SHRA were valiant paragons of freedom that absolutely weren't led by a hypocrite. I suppose it's a good excuse for a bunch of characters to be slapped into a team and beat the insides out of a bunch of mooks, but whether you enjoy the narrative is going to be up in the air. It's very video-gamey.
Coming in near the bottom of the quality scale are the sound and character interactions. The sound effects are very “effecty”; explosions aren't explosions,they're explosion sound effects. The same goes for swords, guns, fists and generally everything else. It doesn't hurt the experience like it would have in other games or other genres, but Killzone 2 this is not. The dialog is weirdly forced, casual and impersonal. There's a little personality presented in the different options you're given, but you'll still get murderous supervillains chatting it up with heroes in a surreal, chummy way.
I only hit one bug while playing through.and I simply restarted from my last (very recent) checkpoint and all was good from there on.
**If any of my fellow PS3-owning dtoiders want to give Legendary difficulty a shot, search for hidden items or just punch dudes, my ID is in the sidebar and my goblin glider is warming up. I'm interested in trying the online play. Download the Juggernaut compatability pack from the PS Store and we're in business.**
It's been a while since I had such mixed feelings about a video game. That's not to say the game is bad, but it it seems rife with things that I would have done differently (or demanded someone else do differently while sipping a fine brandy and lounging in a big leather chair).
The best thing about the game is the graphics. Not only does it properly support 480p so it doesn't look like vertically-letterboxed ass on my HDTV, but it legitimately looks good doing it. I'm sure it would look better in HD (everything looks better in native HD), but I won't penalize the game for what might have been. The getting into the game is easy and there's the linger “just one more boss” feeling even when you're an hour past when you'd like to get to bed.
On the other hand, I found the interface to be awkwardly tuned. The slightest touch of the control stick up or down will cause you to jump or duck and the stick must be returned to a vertically neutral position before the action registers again. More than once I died because I had the stick a fraction of a degree up and my character refused to jump or roll. Similar issues can be found with the sequence of button and direction holds required for some of the different moves; in short, I approve of the arsenal but not the triggers to fire it. Block and attack are mapped to the same button, attacking can reflect projectiles and blocking them reduces your sword's soul meter (basically HP for the sword). Several times, I had swords eaten away because the game couldn't tell that I meant A: Attack and not A: Block and once blocking, the recovery time stuck me there blocking a torrent of projectiles until the sword broke.
Some tasks seem to be intentionally annoying. Cooking takes no less than half a dozen button presses just to use a healing item (one to select, one to take the lid off the pot, several to eat, one to replace the lid, one to reflect on your fucking meal, and one last press to get out of that tedious bullshit), and using anything from your inventory automatically kicks you back to the game. Since you can just pause the game again immediately, it serves no purpose other than making you run through menus again.
The combat is pretty weak, and I had quite the chuckle when I skimmed GameFAQ's message board and saw users talking about BnB combos. For those unfamiliar with the term, it's short for “bread 'n' butter”; they are standby combos for reliable execution and damage. Comedy gold, as well, seeing as this involves mashing A and holding forward. There really doesn't seem to be any other combo. There are 108 swords but they come in two types, so you have two shallow sets of moves with no variation other than “blade” or “long blade”. You also gain new swords with increasing attack power fast enough that it's difficult to really gain any affinity for the secret arts that differentiate one sword from another. I read in another review (Joystiq's, I think) that it was like a 2D Devil May Cry. This is true, if you consider a Devil May Cry made so lacking in depth that it appears to be two dimensional.
After finishing the game with both characters and going back for several of the post-game white barrier caves and paths, I can't imagine how this was supposed to be fun or interesting. For starters, there's no indicator to tell the player which caves have been cleared and which haven't, and no label until you go in. Only one of them has held a unique boss instead of fight X number of Y enemy, and ultimately, the best I'm going to get out of it is the option to replay the final boss fight with the best sword and see a third ending for a game with a terrible story. It sure does run up the gameplay timer, but that's about it.
Finally, the bosses. Oh bosses, you're so retro in a completely annoying way. Start, find out every attack starts you on fire, die because you can't change equipment during a fight; equip anti-burning item, restart, try to learn bosses attack pattern but you can't because the boss likes to fly off the side of the screen and shoot stuff at you, die; restart and die a few times until you learn the sound effect that comes before the boss stops uninterruptedly attacking for a couple seconds, maybe finally win if you don't get juggled for all your life by a chance hit. I've come to terms with video games being “unfair”. It's one guy against an army, led by a quirky boss squad, where they feast on the pain of damned souls and poop atomic, soul-damning explosions in some freakish circle of life. This is fine. Losing because I don't psychically know the status effects and attack patterns of bosses in a game I've never played before isn't fun. No, don't champion how “old skool” the game is. People stopped making games like this for a reason.
TLDRz! Here's my honest opinion of Muramasa Very pretty and kinda fun. It's an alright 2D action game with a ton of stuff that pisses me off, just not quite enough to trade the damn thing in...yet. I played it because it was new and then stopped playing it because I have lots of other games that I could replay instead of slaving away for the chance to do the last boss battle four more times.
Who does a man have to screw to get Viewtiful Joe 3? And lets make sure it's on PS3/360 so we have plenty of buttons at our disposal.