Another week, another "talk about video games a bit"-session. By now I've managed to spend a lot more time with my birthday games from last week. In particular, I've beaten Contrast, The Stanley Parable (at least as far as you can "beat" that game) and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. I've also spent some more time with the other games, but not quite enough yet that I can really talk about them.
Contrast is a bit of an interesting case, and not necessarily in all the right ways. The game has a lot of faults to be sure, but I still liked my time with it. In Contrast, you play as a lean acrobat-girl who can merge into the shadows at will. If anyone played Lost in Shadow (A Shadow's Tale in Europe), which honestly I doubt anyone has, it's kind of like that. The game is pretty stylish and has an interesting story ripped right out of the gangster-era (which is what, 20's and 30's or so?). You escort a little girl named Didi through some family troubles, as her father that always gets in deep with the bad people tries to make things right but fails miserably.
The platforming is wonky at best and the game has a tendency to boot you out of your shadow-form for seemingly no good reason, making level-progession more of a pain than it needs to be. Overall it's a decent game, but most people will be better off watching it on Youtube or something. It's not that long anyway.
- The game also channels some LIMBO sometimes.
In fact, the game couldn't contrast more with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which is just joyful in every way, shape and form. It feels a little shorter than Returns did, but it's soooooo good. The level design in particular is quite something this time around; you can tell Retro poured all their creativity into this thing. I don't want to spoil anything, but just know that there's a lot of cool stuff this time around, including some nice throwbacks to Returns. In fact, as much as I liked Super Mario 3D World (I did. A lot.) there are some levels in DK that I think may very well top what Nintendo EAD pulled off. If nothing else Tropical Freeze's levels get a lot more epic than anything Mario has done this side of 3D World's ridiculously awesome final boss. And even when it's not "epic" as such the levels still look gorgeous, especially in World 5. Long story short, if you're a fan of 2D platformers you have no excuse not to pick this game up.
Apart from the design of the normal levels, the bosses stand out as well. In fact, I would put most of Tropical Freeze's bosses up there with Rayman Legends as some of the best in a 2D platformer. Much like in Returns, at the end of each world you are confronted with some kind of animal that wants you dead. I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed that two of them don't really fit the "Snowmad" theme (both of those are also gameplay-wise the weakest in the game, funny how that works), but for the most part you're fighting thematically-appropriate seals, polar bears and the like. Each of the bosses as a fair number of tricks up its sleeve, which makes what looks at first to be a really straight-forward fight (dodge, jump on head, repeat) much more interesting as it goes on. And then, of course, there's the kick-ass music that accompanies each boss. All of them have a different theme and all but one of those are really good.
On that note, the soundtrack to Tropical Freeze is still fucking brilliant. Last week I had only had a taste of what was to come, but I can assure you that it does not let up. Most levels have a unique song, and almost all of them are memorable and fun. The boss themes are a special treat and can get unexpectedly metal, but several level themes also stand out in my mind. Last week I mentioned that David Wise's latest was in terrible danger of becoming one of my favorite soundtracks ever, up there with NieR, Xenoblade, Trine (2) and some others, but by now I can pretty much confirm that. And even if it doesn't enter the Top 3 (it might), it's already Top 5 material for sure.
- This is the last one I'll post, promise.
The moral of this story is that you must get Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze right fucking now, or at the very least go listen to dat OST.
Last week, in the quick posts of Destructoid's community, we saw the rise and fall of community manager Wesley J. Russow. He rose to prominence with his immutable power, only to see it come crashing down as the working class clambered beneath him and tore him down. Truly, the life and times of Westopher G. Raggamuffins was a lesson in live fast, burn hot, crash spectacularly.
Wes went from community darling to lovable despot over the course of a few days. It was a thing of beauty to behold. Truly, nothing is better to witness than a real-life heel turn. Wrestling is nothing without these terms after all. A "Face" is a good guy wrestler who fights the man, stands up for the little guy, and fights fairly while still winning. A "Heel", on the other hand, is a despicable, dastardly villain or even anti-hero. I loved Kurt Angle's antics as this gold medal Olympic winner turned wrestler who wasn't necessarily as likable as his gold medals imply. I loved hating that guy! A good heel is fun to hate, and there's nothing quite like the gasp of shock when watching the turn, when a face uses dirty tricks and turns into a heel.
Let me ask you this: is Kratos a hero? Before we see Kratos return in what I'd call Dad of War, let's not forget Kratosâ€™ sordid past as a hero. In the first game, it was a revenge tale. It was a story of a mythical Spartan warrior who wanted revenge on the God of War who betrayed him. But as the series went on, it became a story about the lengths Kratos would go to justify his vendetta against people who wronged him. He would literally destroy the world just to destroy his enemies. Sure, we played as him, and we were taken on a ride, but would you really put your bet behind him and say, "Yeah, look at that hero!"
This month's Bloggers Wanted is about your favorite heel-turns or anti-heroes (in case a heel turn is too specific). Do you like it when Ryu turns into Evil Ryu? Or maybe you like Injustice, with its built in heel-turn Superman? I won't claim to understand the time line of Revolver Ocelot between Snake Eater and Guns of the Patriots, but I love that knucklehead.
To participate, just start a blog in our community section and title it "Heel-turn: [your blog title here]." Write to your heart's content, and if its up to snuff, you'll see your stuff published on the front page! Just remember, you're telling us about your favorite heel-turns and anti-heroes, not becoming one yourself, like Wes. Rest in spaghetti, never forghetti.
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LOL nope desu~
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