I was going to talk about this today, but quite frankly, I just didn’t have the heart. It’s a story as old as time, and I don’t really have anything salient to add that Kotaku’s Owen Good doesn’t already mention, so just do yourself a favor and check out his article. After you’ve watched the associated clip and banged your head against the wall several times in frustration, you can make your way back here. I’ll wait.
In regards to actual content… well, I’ve been playing games over the last week! I know, it’s CRAZY! After the final semester from hell, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have the time to actual play a game to completion. I’ve more than doubled the amount of games I’ve beaten this year in the span of the last two weeks. Which means I’ve brought the grand total up to like four.
In a bid to live up to the title of this post, here are some random impressions of the games I’ve been playing. Disjointed thoughts are GO!
Left 4 Dead 2: I picked this game up quite a while back during one of Steam’s terrible wallet-draining sales, but really never played it much due to its heavy reliance on multiplayer and a lack of people to play with. Well, involvement with the Talking Time forums has changed that for me, and
zombie infected-killing times have been going strong! The best part has been a handful of VS. games I’ve had a chance to participate in. I’ve never really played VS. in the L4D series. It is, as the French would say, fucking rad. There is nothing like completely separating and tearing apart a group of survivors using the special infected. You have not lived until you’ve rammed someone off the side of a building as a Charger.
Bayonetta: This game is bat-shit insane. I haven’t made up my mind if it’s horrifically sexist or just reveling in Japanese aesthetics and culture. Given that I’ve finished it, I probably never will. I will say a few things, though. As someone who has never really played these types of action games before, at its high points, the gameplay was really engaging and rewarding. If you play on normal difficulty, it will not hold back, and you will be making ample use of its forgiving checkpoint system. It’s a game that thrives on re-playability, and it expects you to go through stages multiple times. However, that being said, it’s never cool to have instant-death traps that first-timers have no hope of getting past. I’m a firm believer in the fact that games should be possible to complete without dying your first time through. Highly unlikely, sure, but never impossible. That’s just being a dick to the player.
Mortal Kombat: This game has gotten a lot of praise for the amount of single-player content it has, and it’s entirely warranted. The story campaign actually does a really good job at making a cinematic and compelling narrative (for a ridiculous fighting game). The ladder mode endings are actually pretty cool and worth fighting through the game with all the characters to see.
The challenge tower is also a great idea. Unfortunately, in execution, it gets muddled in a lot of frustration and redundancy. I’m not sure who came up with the number 300 in terms of a total amount of challenges to complete, but I felt it was far longer than it needed to be. It really shows in the fact that so many of the challenges are repeats of one another, just using a different character. Also, the AI in this game is pretty much the epitome of cheesiness. It is built entirely around reading your controller inputs and then responding with the appropriate counter. Don’t believe me? Check this out.
So yeah, getting through all 300 of these was mildly entertaining at best and frustratingly difficult at worst. I really do hope future fighting games take the idea of the challenge tower and utilize it, but refine it a bit better. Give me 50 or 100 well-thought out and engaging challenges, not 300 cookie-cutter missions to slog through.