January 13th, 2011
Same rules: “for every game I’ve played this year I pitch a short, snappy summary that tries to be informative and interesting at the same time”. Still have another article to get through yet, so stay tuned.
God of War II
More of the same with some immaterial additions, so just more of the same then. God of War II dilutes Kratos character into the one-dimensional ball of rage he’s been ever since this sequel. At least it nails the core assets to any good blockbuster: good pacing and a grand sense of scale.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories/Vice City Stories
What appears to be a sideways look at GTA III and Vice City is nothing but a slew of uninspired missions and lack of concessions made to fix the atrociously dated primary combat systems that such missions are often based around. The results? A set of games that fall apart whenever combat is mandatory. At least the combat isn’t half as offensive as the narrative.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
I just couldn’t “get” the power sliding no matter how hard I tried. As a Mario Kart enthusiast, that’s certainly disheartening and speaks much to my experience with Super Circuit. As a safe bet hybrid of Mario Kart 64 and Super Mario Kart, Super Circuit adeptly blends the mechanics of both games.
Wario Land 4
The tightest, strangest and arguably best Wario Land game. The folded levels are the next evolution in the series following trademark inability to die and body slamming moves the series has been known for.
There’s a smooth feel of aiming and movement in id first person shooters that makes their games so timeless. Playing Quake II now is a joy, as is Wolfenstien 3D and as is Doom because the movement has a layer of lubrication that never chalks up the playability. Gotta be careful with the wordplay there DP, but I’m sure you get my point all the same.
Every screen presents a new and interesting idea within the level design that maximise the application of the simple gravity flip mechanic. VVVVV is constantly creative in this way and one of the best games of the year for it. Also, the soundtrack is downright amazing.
An inherent issue of not being able to see, and therefore plan ahead for, gems just above the upper margins of the board, constricts advanced play, creating a randomness that is the gems outside the player’s view. Puzzle Quest is addictive for what it is, but is an unavoidably shallow experience.
Chibi Robo: Park Patrol
I was thinking the other day, how can a game that’s so destructive to someone’s life still earn itself a 78% on Metacritic? Chibi Robo: Park Patrol tasks the player with the same routine as a factory worker, with variation (smoglings, building new areas, making friends) only impeding the process of repetition.
I’m really curious about what it would take to make the capitalism metaphor in Diner Dash more apparent to players. There’s a base here for a form of complicated expression, but it’s just not persuasive enough at this stage. I have this topic thumbed down.
There’s a lot of small things Doom Resurrection could do to be more dynamic (see: Dead Space Extraction), but it simply follows the status quo of on-rails games which is a bad decision given the inherent limitations of the genre. One could argue that Doom Resurrection suffers from too much automation in gameplay due to its ambitious graphics on a limited platform, but really it’s just a lack of ingenuity.
Space Invaders: Infinity Gene
Space Invaders: Infinity Gene references its long absence on the shoot ’em up scene with a homage to decades worth of design advancements in the genre. The project is an indirect acknowledgement of Space Invaders port-heavy, innovation-lite former years, so I’m curious about how the developers pitched this proposition to their superiors and what they make of this interpretation.