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 the developers insistence on moving towards the norm in terms of art style. Picking up these games was like running into an old friend who underwent plastic surgery to make their face look like another friend of yours's face, 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 are bad games 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!