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LONG BLOG

Shoot the Breeze: So Goddamn Dumb

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[As a preface, this isn't exactly a review. At best, it's a collection of thoughts and stories I needed to share. At worst, it's a collection of my thoughts and stories. Make of it what you must.]

This weekend, I dove into Two Worlds once more. Er, 2, that is. After playing for about an hour upon first purchasing the game, I dropped it for, well, I can't recall, but something bringing with it a more conventional conception of quality, certainly. How was my experience, you might find yourself wondering? Allow me elucidate. Upon first re-entering the game, the following events immediately transpired:

I received a mission to kill ostriches.
I was chased down and killed by baboons throwing stones.
I was chased down and killed by wolfmen.
I killed one of those dang ostriches. Yeah dawg.

It was a good night on a few accounts. I had a splendid chat with Knut and Occams and played them Haloes with a good bunch of people (utterly humilating Corduroy Turtle with my l33t 'lite skills [<3 CT]). Naturally, I was my usual stutter-and-mutter self, but still, a pleasure. There was a lot of sticky white stuff. Uh. I can only hope to convince you that there was once a context for that.

Anyway, quite quickly, my heroical progression nabbed me a nag, a horse met with such warm reception one might suppose it had a horn. One tango with gravity later and I was at the bottom of a cliff face, fighting off a rhino and harvesting my short-lived companion for meat. I see it as a sort of tauntaun-esque situation where, in order to survive, I have to sacrifice my steed, only in this case, the harsh arctic environment is my blithe lack of care for sudden drops.

It turned out to be a long walk to the next mission. A mission which, as an absolute requisite, called on me to race with my trusty steed. Yes, the very same. Necromancy being a skill far beyond the reach of a man who found himself begging a stone-throwing Skittles-assed lemur for mercy, this was the end of that particular quest progression. You'll be relieved to hear geography held true it was an equally long walk back.


Haven't seen 'em yet, but still so hyped for raptors.

Switching gears, the game is riddled with some absolutely bizarre choices. Not bad, exactly - something much more else. Let's say I tasked you designing a dialogue menu. Your only requirement is, in some way, to provide the user with a means of selecting a conversational branch. I know not all of you may have a mind to UI or design in general. That's okay. There's no pressure. Take all the time you need to put something together. I'll wait. Alright, you've got it? Now, the ambitious among you might have pictured something like Mass Effect's wheel. A more common choice could be a traditional list of items you might scroll through to select your pithy rambling, probably navigating up and down with your analog stick and confirming with A or X.

Allow me a paragraph to paint the picture of Two Worlds' approach. See, they do this, but only almost. There is an array of options, certainly. However, each is mapped to one of A, X, or Y. More than three choices? Reality Pump has you covered. You can scroll through with a simple press of the B button! Never mind the time-honoured tradition of input channels which actually have a vertical component - ie. the sort of thing which might actually let you navigate up and down. I'll admit, it's a novel approach. No means it is a point of controller-throwing aggravation, but it's one of the many, many things that gave me pause to wonder wut.

The balance of the missions is really just screwy. I don't know if it's because you're expected to pursue more of the side missions, but my progress through the main story has been dogged by some of the most unruly collections of overpowered enemies. Guy that'll tear through me in a hit or two by themselves teaming up with a few of their pals for a good ol' fashioned sodomy hoedown. The whole of my strategy is, as the Sun Tzu of the new millennium, getting in a quick hit, then trying to not bust a knee on a Slip 'n Slide made moist by my own fear urine as I run like a turkey. And since health regenerates like it's free morphine day down at the hospital (one of the perks of Canada's health care system) if and only if the hero's weapons are sheathed, it's like the game is encouraging decisive acts of cowardice. There are these weird pockets of minions that get cut up like a hot knife through a clich, but for reals. The boss I just ran into takes me down in, quite literally, half a second. That is, before I can even finish an attack, I'm met with the you-died-you-suck-please-reload screen. Eugh.


This is a direbutterfly. They frolic in meadows and feast on souls.

But really, it's not even a bad game. Well, no, that's not true. But it's not without enjoyment. The things I once mentioned about its predecessor hold true. The traps and special moves make the combat more interesting than it's - and this might be a generous noun - peer Oblivion. Scrapping loot for upgrades and mixing and matching to make spells are both solid crafting systems, by and large. Levelling up feels like a lucid dream since the enemies which you've been pit against in that fit of insane sadism we talked about above slowly but surely become manageable. There's nothing half so rewarding as coming back to utterly demolish the baddies which once sent you screaming into the night like a gluten allergyer in a bakery.

Allergyer? One possessing allergies? I have no idea.

Like I said, I'm not going anywhere in particular with this. Take, as a point, if you need it, that Two Worlds 2 is a pretty okay game despite being, well, awful in a lot of regards. Heck, generalize that into something about the merits of B-level games if you're feeling highminded. If you're an English student, spin it into a thesis about the inherent parallels of man's imperfection and lust for dragons. Suffice it to say on my end, this was a game I played. And goddamn, is it dumb. Beautifully, beautifully dumb. I've come to compare it to getting punched below the belt for hours on end. Objectively, a terrible experience, but the mileage you get out of it really depends on your fetish.

Yes, that, I think, must be the note I close on.

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About Beyamorone of us since 1:10 PM on 06.24.2009

Im a gamer. Take a minute and get over that shock. I can say Im an Xbox man, though Ill support anything that advances gaming (I love you Sackboy). Ive also got a DS Chunky, so I can take this whole nerd thing on the road.

As far as genres, shooters and western RPGs top my list. Halo, Fable, and Morrowind, for instance, rock my socks hard. Of course other things, stuff like Animal Crossing and Kingdom Hearts, do their share of stocking rocking.

In the world outside of buttons and pixels, Im an engineering student (that nerd thing I mentioned? I do it hardcore) on the west coast of the Great White North. Im a fan of a harder rock, bands like Breaking Benjamin and Hurt, though Ill kick it (very much figuratively) to stuff ranging from The Fray through Franz Ferdinand to Five Finger Death Punch. Optimus Prime is my hero, but I do love Starscream. Finally, thumbs up to you for reading this. Youre never getting that time back.


Kirbey by the talented and generously endowed (probably) Enkido