Archive for July, 2012

Lollipop Chainsaw

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2012 by caseystorton

-I’ve had this one finished for a bit now, but I thought that since I put up Mortal Kombat Deception and Skyrim in the same day that this one deserved a bit of a wait. Anyway, I’ve been excited for this one for a while. For those of you that don’t know, Lollipop Chainsaw is the latest game directed by Suda 51, who has one of the most unique catalogs of games in the business. There’s Killer 7, a sort-of rail shooter with puzzles, branching nonlinear level design, and a main character with 8 different personalities each with their own weapon and health bar tasked with taking down a terrorist group that wants to use scary demon things to rule the world, and that’s just the beginning. Then there’s No More Heroes 1 &2, stupidly violent hack-and-slashers staring an anime/pro-wrestling nerd who uses a “beam katana” to become a professional assassin in two of the best games to ever release on the Wii. Next there’s the previously reviewed Shadows of the Damned, a silly third person shooter with a plot structure that isn’t too different from Super Mario Brothers if you can believe that. And now there’s Lollipop Chainsaw, the story of a ditsy cheerleader and her disembodied head of a boyfriend killing zombies. Oh dear.

-With Killer 7 and the No More Heroes games, it seemed that Suda 51 was mostly in control of his own creations, but lately he’s been having to share the spotlight. In Shadows of the Damned he had Resident Evil 4 director Shinji Mikami on hand to keep him from being as weird as he wanted to, which in turn made the game suffer. This time around Suda has some help from Hollywood director James Gunn. He’s no household name, but he’s had his fair share of stuff. While most may remember him as the director of Super, I haven’t seen Super, so I’ll always remember him for Slither.

-Anyway, our main character is Juliet Starling, a cheerleader at San Romero High (obvious reference is obvious). Today is her 18th birthday. She comes from a weird family of demon hunters consisting of her mom, who only exists in cutscenes.

Juliet’s dad, who looks like a cross between Garcia Hotspur and Elvis Presley

Her younger sister Rosalind

and her older sister Cordelia

Other support characters include her crazy old sensei (I hope I spelled that right) and her boyfriend Nick, who is bitten by a zombie and then “saved” when Juliet decapitates him (it’s complicated). There’s more details later about why the zombies are here and what will ultimately come of all this, but it doesn’t really add or subtract much from the game as a whole. I found this picture while looking up these images, and it about sums things up.

-Anyhow, onto the gameplay. As with most Suda games, the levels are generally pretty easy, with the only form of challenge coming in the boss fights. There is one major head-scratcher about the combat, though. You’d think a game called Lollipop Chainsaw would be all about the chainsaw, but you’re supposed to use Pom-Pom attacks to make the enemies dizzy at first, then use the chainsaw to kill them. It kinda reminds me of the kicks from No More Heroes that I only ever did when I wanted a different sort of way to kill somebody. Also, none of that matters, because as soon as you buy the A, A, X combo from the shop, there is no reason to ever use anything else.

-As much as I enjoyed my time with this game, sometimes it got a bit tough to stick with. The one part that seems to be getting the most criticism, and rightfully so, is Zombie Baseball. A couple levels in, Cordelia gives you a chainsaw blaster that you can use to shoot zombies from a distance. The first thing you have to do with it is play baseball, sort-of. You see, some parts of the game have you sticking Nick’s disembodied head on a headless zombie so he can move something, and Zombie Baseball involves you defending him as he VERY SLOWLY runs the bases for three points. If he dies, it’s game over. It is the second most frustrating point in the game, only beaten out by a stupid mini-game in the arcade/disco chapter that I don’t care to explain.

-If it sounds like I’m really down on this game, it’s only because the few problems it does have are so glaring compared to how cool the rest of the game is. In the end, Lollipop Chainsaw is a fun time. It’s not a particularly long game, and if going back for collectibles and alternate costumes isn’t of interest to you, then you had better wait for the price to go down, but I for one am glad that I played it. 76/100 cool

You’re welcome.

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The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2012 by caseystorton

-Well, here we are. I’ve had this game for 8 months to the day, and now after three characters and over 150 hours of gameplay, I’m finally giving it a review. It’s no secret that this game was huge when it came out and obviously has a massive following, but let’s take an honest look at it.

-We start off with a long and boring cut-scene with some dudes on their way to be executed. This leads into the character creator, which leads into more boring cut-scene which leads to dragon attack. After escaping with either your captors or fellow prisoners you head off to the start town. After a bunch more nonsense you learn that you are the legendary dragonborn and have the ability to eat dragon souls or something. Now you have to kill the big evil dragon dude who wants to destroy the world. Oh, and there’s some bull shit about a war between some rebels and some guys that don’t like the rebels, but that’s not important. This story sucks. Sure, there’s the whole end-of-the-world shit going on, but with the amount of other stuff in the game to waste your time on, there’s hardly a sense of urgency to anything that you do.

-Remember in my Fallout 3 review how I criticized this game’s laughably exploitable skill system? Well, here I am to criticize it some more. With the use of a rubber band, I was able to get my sneak skill to 100 while taking a nap, which coupled with my being a vampire, made me nearly undetectable in broad daylight. The smithing skill has been patched so it’s harder to boost, but this makes any sort of progression nearly impossible, especially once your skill gets really high and it takes about 20 iron daggers just to raise you 1 smithing level. That said, blocking is still boostable with a use of a shield the same way as sneak, which is always good for a laugh. There’s also Illusion, Conjuration, and debatably Light Armor and heavy armor that can be easily boosted with the help of some wasted time.

-One thing that I did somewhat enjoy was doing missions for other factions to distract me from the boring story missions. The Dark Brotherhood in-particular being a great choice, especially considering the gold I was rewarded for doing their jobs. But after a while, every assassination feels the same, and my sky-high Sneak skill made every one of them a fucking cake-walk, even the last one where I killed the motherfucking emperor of Tamriel. I was also a member of the Thieves Guild, which often felt more like busy-work than real missions, not to mention that the eventual villain of the Thieves Guild has the same voice as half of the shopkeepers and other NPCs. Speaking of which, the voice-over down-right sucks. The writing is bland and repetitive, and the actors are reused impossibly often, which gets really annoying, especially when they all say the exact same stuff. Speaking of same stuff, the dungeons suck too. Every single motherfucking dungeon in this game is a linear hallway littered with traps and urns that’s crawling with some annoying zombie things, some easy and some nearly impossible to kill. Every. Single. Dungeon.

 

-But, I’m not even at the worst part yet, oh no, I’m just getting started raging at this game. The glitches. The fucking glitches. Ya know, you’d think that Bethesda would have their shit together by now. Seriously, Fallout New Vegas was glitchy as hell on release as well, but it was perfectly fine in about three or four months. There is absolutely NO fucking excuse for why Skyrim is still as buggy as it is. Honestly, they had enough time to add mounted combat, a full expansion pack, and fucking Kinect support, but there are still game breaking bugs. The reason that I didn’t finish the main story quest on this most recent playthrough is because of a glitch. Here, let me explain it to you. Late in the story, you have the two warring factions meet to discuss a temporary truce. Once everyone is gathered, I was instructed to take my seat so that negotiations could begin. The only problem was, I took my seat and NOTHING HAPPENED. I asked my brother, who told me that I was supposed to wait for everyone to enter the room. So I did. Every single mother fucking one of those people stood around that room for 10 godamn minutes just fucking staring at each-other while I was sitting at the head of the table playing with my beer mug. WHAT. THE. FUCK! Seriously, why does this still happen. I loaded my save 5 times and it kept on happening. Similar glitches have prevented me from joining the College of Winterhold because I couldn’t talk the the person who was to show me around. also, I once wasn’t able to enter a city because the bridge into the city WAS NOT THERE! There were a couple of towers floating in midair, but the bridge itself was completely gone. Seriously, how?

-*sigh* I want to love this game. Really, I do. It was my first experience with the franchise, and I had hoped that it would endear me as to why everyone was so excited. For a while, it did. But that’s only because there’s a lot of stuff to do. When the player is overwhelmed by their options, it sometimes distracts them from a game’s short-comings. Thankfully, replaying the game has given me the insight that I needed to give this game an honest critique. Skyrim is an unfinished, broken, dull piece of shit. 35/100 NO

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Mortal Kombat Deception

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2012 by caseystorton

-Yes, I do still review video games. I’ve been a bit pre-occupied with my second play-through of Skyrim for a while to play much else, although expect a review of Lollipop Chainsaw in a few days or so. Anyway, I picked up Mortal Kombat Deception a couple months ago from my local Gamestop after Mortal Kombat Shoalin Monks and Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance were so scratched that I couldn’t play them. Word of warning before buying used games from Gamestop, they don’t test them before selling them. Fuck you, Gamestop. Anyway, onto the game.

-After my pleasant surprise with the most recent Mortal Kombat, which from here on out I’ll be referring to as Mortal Kombat 9, I was eager to play some more of the franchise to see if the game had fared any better in the world of 3D gameplay. In some cases yes, and in others no. The interesting thing about Mortal Kombat 9 was the inclusion of a story mode. Sure, some parts were a little bit dumber than others, but overall there’s no denying the work and effort that went into making Mortal Kombat 9 a worth-while $60 purchase. Mortal Kombat Deception does certainly try to make itself worth-while, that much is certain. The main feature is the Konquest mode, a sort-of action adventure game in which you play as new character Shujinko retrieving some magical artifacts that allow him to travel between the various realms that the game has in store for him, all while meeting up with several characters from the game, playable or not, and learning their Kombat skills, doing side-quests for them, or just fighting them. The main gimmick is that Shujinko has the ability to perfectly replicate any fighting style shown to him, so whenever a new character trains you, Shujinko shape-shifts into that character for a brief character tutorial. It’s through these tutorials that the game introduces you to its interesting fighting system. Every character has 3 distinct fighting styles, two hand-to-hand styles and one weapon-based style, each with their own basic moves and combos, while special moves can be executed in all 3 styles. It takes some adjustment at first, but once you can wrap your brain around the strengths and weaknesses of each style, the combat is very fluid and intuitive, which is good considering that this is a fighting game, so the fighting had better be good. The biggest complaint that I have is that Konquest mode is just kinda boring. Most of the time you’re just running around barren landscapes between character tutorials and quick battles. Another problem is the difficulty curve. Most of the game is relatively manageable, but the last two battles are down-right brutal. This major spike in difficulty is likely due to the fact that you have to complete these fights as Shujinko, and unless you’ve looked up where to find the chests that unlock them, which are sometimes guarded by an extremely difficult battle, Shujinko has no special moves, forcing you to rely on simple combos that are often blocked.

-That picture is unrelated, I just wanted to break up that wall of text there. Anyway, there is certainly more to do other than the conquest mode. For a more traditional experience there is a simple arcade mode that has you going through ten different fighters in order by difficulty, similar to ladder mode in Mortal Kombat 9, but this is marred by the character selection. About half of the playable characters are locked until you unlock them from the Krypt, sometimes by simply spending the Koins you get from winning battles, but mostly by finding keys scattered around the Konquest mode that are all a huge pain to find. I looked up how to find some of them, and I unlocked Liu Kang by going behind a tent in some far corner of Edenia to find the chest that appears for 5 seconds every Friday at midnight just to unlock him as a playable character. That’s just a little bit ridiculous.

-Anyway, Midway knew that Konquest and Arcade mode alone wouldn’t give the game much staying power, so they decided to get creative. The first extra mode is called Puzzle Kombat, a very bizarre puzzle game in which competitors stack blocks and try to line up combos without staking too high while also trying to get the other person to lose first. It’s very silly, and certainly worth experiencing, but it doesn’t really have much staying power.

-Next up is Chess Kombat, a re-tooling of classic chess with a Mortal Kombat twist. Pieces move and react differently, and instead of simply being capture when a piece moves on to an occupied space, the two combatants fight it out, with the winner taking the square. While more substantial that Puzzle Kombat, it still doesn’t last very long, and it’s obvious that both were designed as multi-player gimmicks to pad out the content.

-Overall, Mortal Kombat Deception is a pretty good game. It’s not the most robust package you’ll come across, but given how cheap it is now, if you find it, pick it up. It’s not a bad time to be had. 82/100 good find

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