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About
Hello, I play video games and watch adult swim. Pretty much it, enjoy all the hard work that goes into puns on this blog... when I do decide to blog that is.








My Cblog Series
The Problem With...
Episode List


Episode Five : Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition
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Episode Four : Mercenary Kings
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Episode Three : Stick it to the Man!
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Episode Two : Thief (2014)
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Episode One : Project X Zone
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Following (29)  


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My main problem is that whenever I get the urge to do a full review of a game on here, it never goes anywhere and I'm left with a bunch of jumbled words in a messy beta blog. Well it hit me that maybe all I really want to do is complain about the game?

Not as spry as I used to be, video games are getting more complaints from me than anything else. So here's the idea: Take a game that could probably be reviewed, don't review it, instead focus on what bothered me about it. It's shorter, it gets one main argument across and there's still room to be creative... and so forth.

But first, a little before-you-read!

This post is very special, as I'm sure you're well aware of by now. Today I'll be complaining about two games at once! It's a double dose of dread! Well I bet you're thinking, so a post for two games means surely this one will be twice as long, right? Nope. I actually quite like both games, roundabout so I decided two pick two since there's less to say about each. Enjoy this experiment in the series!

So here's the problem with...
Killzone: Shadowfall & Advance Wars: Days of Ruin




...The intrusive impulse to change the game from what it was to meet the demands of focus group fuckfests. Excuse the fbomb so soon but this really gets me mad. The two IPs chosen for this post had their aesthetic style entirely swapped out in favor of a more cookie cutter presentation. This just isn't the direction the franchise's needed to go.



Let us begin then with Killzone: Shadowfall, actually the lesser example both in how drastic and expected the changes were. Shadow basically Call of Duty'd the hell out of the art style (if you can even call that art) from the somewhat more comic-like art visuals of the first three Killzone games to what's "more appealing" or "realistic" and effectively makes it look like another fps game, successfully doing away with what made Killzone, Killzone.

What's worse is that after awhile I just accepted it, just like Guerrilla accepted that their vision can't hold up to the needs of Sony to sell a console -- because what else can sell a console but a realistic [looking] first person shooter? And I accepted that this is what Killzone has to look like to even exist anymore. I accepted it just like I accepted that Battlefield and Call of Duty won't ever be anythinf else and so my favorite fps becomes another bland shooter and the spark will gradually run out for me. Even the Helghast don't look threatening. Nowhere near how they could be intimidating in prior games.

The plot falls too much on "go in and do this alone" which is either bad because you know, there's a large scale war going on meanwhile, or bad because it's lazy. Sending Player off to kill the Helghast in hallways and space substations makes the war they're fighting feel less important and I become detached and lose interest in the plot. There is one point where you are in a Helghan prison colony that's basically turned into its own city. And things get kind of interesting, but that's a short part of the game.



But that's not so bad. At least there the change was inevitable. Don't get me wrong I hate it to death but don't think anyone didn't see it coming. Even Killzone 2 was awfully brown. On the other hand, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin had no reason to make everything so ugly. I don't know the history so please correct me if I'm wrong but no one asked for a gritty reboot of that IP. Why I ask, does a strategy game with a pumpin' soundtrack for the Nintendo DS need to smell like a Depeche Mode concert?

Ffirst off, it sucks the fun out of the game. IT'S WAR, ONLY BITE SIZED. WATCH THIS ANIMATION OF A CHIBI SOLDIER STOMPING A BUILDING! It was borderline cute and most certainly a cartoony depiction of warfare. IT WAS NOT SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. (It was shit however so it may have been Shaving Ryan's Privates) Instead of the clean and bright varied color palette we get brown, brownier, more brown and, the special, brown of the day! See comparison below:


Advance Wars 2


Days of Ruin

Further, the one reason that could justify COD'ing a portable kid's game is that the story calls for it. It's about the Wasteland. War is tearing the earth to shreds like the tree of life, Captain Planet be damned. Its an Apocalyptic gritty reboot of the beloved franchise! Don't you see Nanashi you fool? The bad guys are so Evil they've made world all bleak and we have to stop them! Well, that statement is accurate somewhat, this game is evil. Seriously though that kind of argument is ruined by the previous games. In Advance Wars: Dual Strike, the preceding title, Black Hole sucks energy out of the fictional continents (and Goku's nowhere to be found!) and yet the game doesn't have to resort to looking brown and dark, the maps retain that lovely cartoonish style and cool colors even when green earth turns into desert.



And why did the developer feel it necessary to work so hard on the designs of the vehicles. They're over detailed and it comes off a bit tryhardy with its unnecessary depth. Once again we're stepping away from the cartoon-like origins. The original Advance Wars games weren't great because I could see the tire treads of a recon unit in high detail. They were great because they were fun. It's funny, even with these updates I still have a hard time telling some of the units apart, especially the naval units. Talk about stepping a rake, huh?


I have no idea what on that ship is for firing.

In closing, both these titles were tarnished by he developers insistence on moving towards the norm in terms of art style. Picking up these games was like like running into an old friend who underwent plastic surgery to make their face look like another friend of yours, and this friend then proceeds to act like the both of you don't notice what's happened here. However, folks we have a milestone in the history of Nanashi because I'm giving a DOUBLE RECOMMENDATION. Despite a disappointed me, neither Killzone: Shadowfall nor Advance Wars: Days of Ruin bad and would suggest giving them a chance because the sum of their parts make them greater than these grievances of mine.






But thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back for another installment sometime later where I am currently not entirely sure what I will be talking about!

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It's official, Nanashi is almost off his rocker!
A Playstation focused podcast? On Destructoid? Oh boy, where can I sign up!

Yeah I'm a bit of a podcast fan and -- for personal reasons as well as just plain old interest -- want to host a podcast of my own. So here it is, there's not much left to say except that if you're interested in joining as a host contact me.

So this blog will be rather short today. Sorry if anyone was expecting a Killzone: Shadowfall rant, which is in the cauldron worry not. By the way, that blog series has been awfully Playstation focused lately and on a whole. That's going to change after the next review when I take a step back and start picking apart games of other platforms. I'd like to keep it more open.

But the podcast will be all Playstation, excluding of course tangential stuff.

Here's the link for the post on the forums.








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My main problem is that whenever I get the urge to do a full review of a game on here, it never goes anywhere and I'm left with a bunch of jumbled words in a messy beta blog. Well it hit me that maybe all I really want to do is complain about the game?

Not as spry as I used to be, video games are getting more complaints from me than anything else. So here's the idea: Take a game that could probably be reviewed, don't review it, instead focus on what bothered me about it. It's shorter, it gets one main argument across and there's still room to be creative... and so forth.

Disclaimer:

I would like to take a moment to address something that happened to me recently. In the midst of Summer heat and backlog spelunking, I had to stoop pretty low. I had played a few games (a couple of old ones in the mix) where I needed to use FAQs.

Yes, hold your head down in shame, I know I did. It really upset me because with the complaining I do you'd think I was at least good at games still. Not anymore. In the old days I'd have figured out that stuff, but it seems my gaming career now includes using the video game equivalent of adult diapers.

So I just want to apologize to all the games I've bitch'd about, on my blog and elsewhere, and potentially any developer hurt by my words. Because maybe it was not the game after all but just the reviewer. What a shell of my former self I have become.





That being said, here is something I had zero apologies about writing!


So here's the problem with...
Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition




...it's masturbation sans the enjoyment. Seriously, my main beef boils down to I can hardly consider mashing one button gameplay, if it is all you do. R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 (x10 to the power of 50 69ing with God). I'm not kidding, it got so bad that I had to reassign the controls out of paranoia that I'd ruin my controller. And then again a few more times. That's unlike any other game in my experience. It's like a car, every ten freaking thousand button presses or so you gotta change.



What's worse is the darkness of the levels and, probably due to the distance of the camera, how hard it is to make out a moving zombie from say a stiff one. Lots of them tend to sneak up on you because you're often not even aware that the huge line of the fuckers coming at you from the front is equaled by a line of 'em from the back. At times the game is so dark it gives the feeling of having tunnel vision.

From there the movement is tiresome. You run around in eights and ampersands because the zombies of course are much faster than you. Which would make you think at least you're not standing in one spot and mashing away. But honestly, that would probably be better. I say this because the running around just feels so aimless. It's easy to get stuck on things. The camera takes a whole three seconds to adjust when you move behind a building and another three to realign when your character emerges back into view. Just stand me in front of every zombie at this game stationary, like a gun range. That would save me running about like a headless chicken.



And the levels are plainly oversaturated with zombies to kill. You're forced into holding down in a nearby radius to make your way through the level because the waves are too numerous and thus impassable till you kill 'em all. So you make these little baby steps of progress. I unlocked the second Kill X number of zombies trophy just halfway through the game. That's about 10,000 zombies or so.

Now what if it's just not my cup of tea and it does the job for others. Hey this started out sexual, why stop at line 1? Yeah it occurred to me at some point that if the camera perspective was any different I might enjoy it a bit more. In other words, just because killing thousands of zombies from an overhead POV high up doesn't appeal to me doesn't mean Dead Nation is bad. In that case it's just a specific style and new comers ought to be warned that this game is an acquired taste.



This issue came to a head during this one moment in chapter 7 (I'm not going to spoil anything story wise, only in terms of gameplay here) at the last section, it starts out, like every other part of this games, with waves of zombies. Very weak zombies but a pain because they are faster and hard to see with the map 80% unlit. So it quickly becomes stand-and-shoot fest '14. I mean these things didn't stop coming. So I am running my eights and killing, but I realized there had to be something more to do to advance because they were (later I found) endless.

Going to the other side I found there were these four houses with breakable doors and bigger enemies inside. Those were the source of the lesser ones spawning. Well this is a poor design choice; up until this point when waves are coming at you, you just man one spot killing them off and continue once they stop. Bit by bit you advance in this way. So seven chapters in you are already conditioned to just wait, but doing that here screws you because the waves spawn indefinitely.

There wasn't much to clue you in of how this level works different. Still, it just didn't make sense because the general idea thus far was thinking at some point they'll let up. If we can equate gameplay to the developer teaching the player then the developers have taught us to play this way by making the game so stop and kill heavy. Say what you will, the developer picked a really bad point to throw in infinite spawning zombies. Or at least make the area visible, it would encourage the player to move up.


That's how bright the stage should have been.

At the end of this, the game is plagued with annoyances. Though it might be up to personal taste -- if you love dark overhead games more than I do -- there's no denying even for that type of game the developer skimmed the fat, supple polish. Polish that could have made this game great. That's my recommendation for Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition, not really one in fact. Watch some gameplay to see if it's your cup of tea. So I guess that's two so far.




But thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back for another installment sometime later where I am currently not entirely sure what I will be talking about!

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*****Update #2*****

I got Battleblock Theater! Oh and I might get burned. It seems like Risk of Rain is potentially going to be half the price I bought it for yesterday. It sucks when they do this.

*****Update #2*****

So Wasteland 2 went on a flash sale good enough to sucker me in. I feel bad that I couldn't donate to the kickstarter because financial reasons and I feel bad also for buying the Deluxe Edition/Early Access discounted but that's all in the past now. I am about to fire it up, look through the perks as well, and that has me very excited!

Also, Stanley Parable is looking very tempting now on it's current deal. Hehehe..

*****Update #1*****

Risk of Rain and Papers Please both went on flash sales. I got Risk because, again, Rogue-likes are my thing now I think. As for Papers Please I chose not to. Realizing that this is incredibly cheap of me, it's at a consideration price point; I have to think about it first. And I think not. Don't get me wrong, I support Papers Please and think it's a wonderful game otherwise but I can't just see myself playing it (at home) at all.

Maybe it'll get cheaper? After all Risk of Rain was twice the price I just bought it for yesterday. We shall see...

*Original Post*

As many of you already well know, it's fucking hot out. And more importantly, Valve is off its meds and passing the insanity onto us. I am talking of the Steam Summer Sale.

Normally I don't participate. I'm just not a PC gamer (though I'll forget all about that when Wasteland 2 drops haha). Also my steam backlog is like everyone else's as is. So why the hell would I buy more? Well this year I caved. The sale is just phenomenal.

So what'd I get?

[So Far] I purchased The Witcher 2, Super House of Dead Ninjas, Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe, Eversion and Fatal Labyrinth

Witcher 2. Seemed like a no brainer since I have the original -- though it's on the backlog and has not yet been touched -- and I want to get up to speed for the 3rd installment.

Super House of Dead Ninjas. Actually my first purchase and funnily enough I was excited about this game despite having it confused with another...

Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe. Yeah, I got to test out this one at a trade show and for whatever reason I left thinking it was the aforementioned Ninja game. Regardless I love Adult Swim games and both of these were instant-buys at the sick deals.

Eversion. This one was a bit of a weird purchase. I already played Eversion a long time ago. It's freeware isn't it? Surely the version on steam must have new content then or something. Anyway, I thought, it's a great game, it's a fair deal and I'd like to support the creator(s) since it's such a lovely title. I bought it.

Fatal Labyrinth. Last but not least, this rogue-like classic. Many of you know I played quite a bit of Spelunky and since I've been in the market for more rogue-like games. So man was I fascinated by the idea of a rogue-like for the genesis. Still rogue-likes can be a bit off-putting because of the necessity to learn the mechanics and tricks on your own (see also: research) and keeping that fresh in your head. I think Spelunky hit a nice place because the doohickeys are straightforward and all you need to memorize is the basic path. Anyway, I bring this up because the idea of buying several rogue-like games, each with their own logics and mechanisms, all at once, gives me brainfreeze. So I limited myself to just a few of them, this being the first.

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And that's it. There's obviously still plenty of sale left, I believe one more week. So I'll probably be adding to this at the top, Update style. I'll bet there are still plenty of great deals upcoming. But for now, this'll do. I ask you, WHAT DID U GET!?! ...and proceed to kick back with a refreshing cold Summer Ale.








I'm sure you all remember, that in the distant past of April 2014 -- WOAH TIME TRAVEL --, this blog did a call for any Dtoiders at PAX East to be a part of Radio Destructoid, which three fine gentleman were hosting! And thanks to Aaron for letting us do this!

Well it is up for your listening enjoyment and I felt the need to post it to my blog because of how excited I was about this happening. (In this way, this will be the last thing I post about PAX East 2014) Links bellow:

Cblog Post - Radio Destructoid Episode 37
Forum Post - Radio Destructoid Episode 37

Dude, why are you still here? It's nuts, go listen to nearly 4 hours of my awkward voice!!

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Lastly, here is a picture of Hamza and my adopted children what I took. Who may or may not be making an appearance in the podcast ;)









space




My main problem is that whenever I get the urge to do a full review of a game on here, it never goes anywhere and I'm left with a bunch of jumbled words in a messy beta blog. Well it hit me that maybe all I really want to do is complain about the game?

Not as spry as I used to be, video games are getting more complaints from me than anything else. So here's the idea: Take a game that could probably be reviewed, don't review it, instead focus on what bothered me about it. It's shorter, it gets one main argument across and there's still room to be creative... and so forth.


So here's the problem with...
Mercenary Kings




..."difficulty curves." Well I am about to commit a cheap ass gamer sin: I'm going to complain about a free game!
 
Hello and welcome. In this week I will run through a very fun but frustrating indie platformer shooter known as Mercenary Kings. I got this indie goodness for the PS4 so be aware that that is the version I played.
 
I am going to be direct, which is good because that is quick and I need all my time for I am writing while healing life in a Medic room for the thousandth time: The problem with Mercenary Kings is the difficulty curve. Specifically, all the horrible things that make it "difficult". There will be a lot of opportunity to call out that bad design may not necessarily mean difficulty, not in a pure gaming sense but to hell with that. I say a game can be intentionally crafted difficult, or, like in this case, it can have a bunch of problems resonating at once to make it difficult to play. At the end of the day some "difficulty" is merely the mechanics obstructing you from breezing through a video game. Who is to say they're really inherently different?

OK NOW THAT THAT NONSENSE IS DONE WITH, LET'S BREAK DOWN THIS BAD BOY ONE BY ONE.



The navigation, pee-yew. An ugly, occasionally difficult to tell which rooms connect to which green and red map is your basic source of navigation. Now to really piss on your shoes, the time is still winding down and you can't zoom out. Really? Is the developer that boarding school teacher from Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall"? WRONG DO IT AGAIN, I believe he'd say. And he's right, I was wrong and I had to do it again. Over and over because (bonus complaint: traversing the map is time devouring) what I thought led to where I needed to be was actually blocked off or I took an unnecessary route and ran out of time or I died along the way or literally anything else that could be a problem.

SO GETTING AROUND IS A CAPITAL B TO THE FEMALE DOG, WHAT ELSE?

Enemy health and "shields". Enemies eat a lot of damage. But that itself is fine. We're not talking Pak-80 guy health (Uncharted 3) or Drek health (Ratchet and Clank) but just enough health that would make you think they ask for bullets on their Subway footlongs. What really makes enemies tedious is attack windows, let's call them. They have certain attacks or from one side they are invulnerable until either they open up for a beating or you aim with absurd precision. By the way I am specifically talking about the bosses and these tank/drill enemy types.

The bosses have all these intricate moves that fall into varied patterns of onslaught. Fantastic, the animation team earned their pay. Problem is, someone decided to make the bosses shielded from harm's way for the majority of these moves and patterns. This gives the player an honest 1 in 10 shot at getting a few, and I mean a FEW, shots in.  Then it's back to jumping around, rolling across the floor dodging the Michelle Kwan of video game enemy bosses, waiting painstakingly for that next opportunity to get hits. So at this point, that just a little too much health becomes really problematic since the extra health is magnified with the tedium of landing blows. Side note: there's a fucking trophy to kill one of these bosses with your knife only, no bullets. Good luck bro.



And the drill guys? Yeah, a little less to say about these since they're only normals. They have a drill that covers roughly 2/3 of their height so you again have to be precise with your shots. Since the Kings and Empresses don't use rocketboots you will need to jump and you will miss most of your magazine save for a couple of rounds. It's better to fire less but more accurately, yet you're still going to have to jump several times. Jumping several times, is difficult to do because you need to pay attention to how close they are to you versus how much space you have behind you so they don't get you with their long reaching go-go gadget drill.

Also you can't just roll past them with the invulnerability rolling mod. Well you can, but you got to be for-fucks-sake-again really precise in when you time the roll  so the last pixel doesn't touch you upon exit roll. It feels like you can skip ALL of that and just jump over them problem is they're usually parading in small corridors with low hanging ceilings. Sometimes with spiked ceilings too, so your jumps have to be even more careful -- see a pattern yet? --since this is one of those games that has one jump button but varying jump heights that you can control. This was poorly implemented as well, discussed next paragraph.

ANYTHING ELSE?

On a larger scale, one of the key issues is the stiff movement which has been the main complain about this game it seems, and hence it won't have a big presence in this blog, but I will say that the stiffness is a problem throughout the entire game and it makes every other problem worse. Like having a pizza full of toppings you hate and then you find out the pasta sauce expired a week ago and the chef kneaded the dough with his feet .....and the box it came in is radioactive. And the reason this is a problem additionally is that the level design gets trickier and deadly cluttered with enemies, obstacles and harsher platforming. So having harder levels to navigate through becomes yet harder so thanks to the poor movement mechanics. Woah my complaints are piling onto one another.



I'm sorry if this episode is a bit hard to follow, but I will stand by my complicated-ness. The game has several flaws that keep interlacing. This becomes more apparent and makes for a frustrating gaming experience as you progress. Like I said in the intro dog, the difficulty curve is a bunch of flaws in the design of this game, this game isn't about fighting C.L.A.W. it's about fighting you playing it!

BUT COMPLAINING ASIDE this game is still worth getting, SOMEHOW! It has a fun story and an artstyle to die for, killer soundtrack that gets you lost into the game -- when the gameplay works, when it isn't falling apart. Because that's the thing, Mercenary Kings was like taking a $5 umbrella out into tropical level rain, it's fine as long as it holds out but eventually it becomes too much for the umbrella and just crumbles on top of you. Personally I would recommend playing it all the way through with multiple people (4 max) all the way, which should alleviate some of the unnecessary difficulty.
 



I hope you enjoyed this old man complaining. Thank you for reading through and please discuss away in the comments. Joining Next Times When I talk about.... mobal games.

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