Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Experience Points: Shadow of the Colossus, Duke Nukem Forever, Alice: Madness Returns, Shadows of the Damned

I've been playing through a lot of video games recently, and it was nice to wrap up a few this weekend. Here are some thoughts on my most recent video game excursions:

Duke Nukem Forever: I played through this game again on Damn I'm Good, which is the hardest difficulty that you unlock after completing the game once. There were parts of the game on my first runthrough that I was dreading coming to again with the difficulty ramped up, but in actuality the game wasn't nearly as unfair as I had expected it to be. Finding all of those Ego boosts throughout the game is key, and can really help out a ton on DIG mode. I enjoyed my second playthrough, and plan on ripping into some more multiplayer shortly.

Shadow of the Colossus: I wrapped this baby up too! I won't write much about it here, as I plan to compose a full article about it in the near future...but man does this game ever hold up. It's so damn good! AGH!

Wonderland's ALL FUCKED UP!

Alice: Madness Returns: I gave in and bought the new Alice game, particularly after watching GiantBomb's Quick Look which gave some really good insight into the gameplay and style. I certainly do not regret my purchase...there's not a single area in this game that isn't bursting with amazing art direction, and I found myself proceeding through the game not only for the very well done 3D platforming and satisfying combat, but simply to see what was coming up next, whether it be beautiful or downright disturbing. It's always nice to see a game come along and succeed at 3D platform puzzles and challenges pretty much just as well as the 3D Mario entries. I was afraid that the combat would be a direct nod to games such as God of War...but it wasn't, which was nice. Having said that, I'm now actually coming to a realization that I'm 99% certain there wasn't even a single Quick Time Event in this whole game...in this generation of video games, that's really saying something. Combat is all about knowing which of your weapons to use against which enemies, and figuring out what baddies to take out first to make the rest of the battle easier on yourself. Dodging is the same way...there's a way out of every attack, you just have to be aware of all of your options and quick on the draw. I really like this game, and it's certainly a worthy successor to American McGee's Alice. It's very well thought out and brilliantly executed...check it out!

Shadows of the Damned: Ohhhh, man. My housemate picked this game up on the same day I bought Alice, and upon throwing this game in the 360 and giving it a whirl, we were hooked on it until we finished it off. Shadows of the Damned is the result of the combined efforts of both Shinji Mikami (creator of the Resident Evil series) and Suda 51 (absolutely insane man who created No More Heroes and Killer7)...and what a result it is! The game basically plays similarly to action games such as Resident Evil 4 or Dead Space, with an over-the-shoulder third person view. You play as Garcia Hotspur, who has descended into Hell to get his lady friend back from the demon king, Fleming. Garcia has a floating skull sidekick named Johnson who transforms into your weapons, which have names such as The Dentist, the Skullfest 9000 (a clear nod to Doom's BFG 9000), and the Big Boner. You heard me correctly...there are dick jokes around every corner of this game, on top of everything else that's weird about it (which is a LOT). It feels basically like a shorter and more stylish version of Resident Evil 4, with very well sculpted action and neat game mechanics that keep you on your toes. It's also incredibly well-balanced in multiple respects, I find. For example, there are only three guns that you use throughout the game, but you wind up using them all quite equally and for certain purposes which ensure that they all play their part in the game. You also get upgrades for them as you go through the game, making for some really, really cool functions. The Dentist in particular is a machine gun that first demon teeth, and has multiple laser sights coming from eye stems at the front of the weapon. If you focus on some enemies without firing, it will lock on to all of them and fire tracking bullets at each one to the point where you can even arc them out from a safe point of cover. Very cool stuff. The story of the game is really good, despite the rest of the game not taking itself too seriously (which is a great thing). This is a game I'd recommend to any action gamer...it's just downright fun and very well structured. Oh, and there's half of a chapter that's pretty much straight out of Evil Dead. IF THAT DOESN'T SELL YOU THEN I DON'T KNOW WHAT WILL!

This isn't the Big Boner...it's just the Hot Boner.

(P.S. Just recently I remembered that about 5 years ago, I tried my hand at making a level for a game. That particular game is Doom, and you can find my custom-created map here. You'll need to download a source port called ZDoom to be able to play it, as my map utilizes a bunch of features not present in the standard Doom engine. It was a strange mix of styles...classic Doom meets Doom 3, basically. I placed logs around the map that you could examine for story points, and tried to be pretty articulate with the architecture. Took a long time to make, and after having played it again now, I kind of wish I made a series of it like I'd intended...had a story designed for my level set and everything! Who knows, maybe I'll get back into it at some point just for shits. Check it out if you wish!)

(P.P.S. In trying to find the link for the map itself again, I found out that someone posted part of their playthrough of my map on YouTube! HOW COOL IS THAT!)

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