Saturday, April 23, 2016

Games of 2016: Trophy train!

March was the month of PSN games. I completed the entire 5-part Tales of Monkey Island, as well as all of the offline Duke Nukem 3D content. Monkey Island is a point-and-click adventure game that you progress through by dialogue choices and providing items you find. The game follows Guybrush Threepwood in his pursuit of LeChuck, the "evil" pirate who isn't really that evil. The game is loaded with bad puns and really mild humor, as well as some decent challenges that are solved by listening carefully or watching closely.

Tales of Monkey Island's light-hearted humor never got me to laugh until the last game. You're in a cemetery with all these goofy headstones, and one says, "RIP Finnius, AKA "Shark Fighter", AKA Shark Bait."

Died from a bear attack."

The original Duke Nukem 3d is a classic, mostly famous for it's adult humor, wisecracks, and pop culture parodies.  However, the gameplay is solid and I want to shout out for level design. The original 3 10-level episodes take place in cityscapes that are very well-designed. There are bank blowups, shopping store shootouts, and alleyway assaults. All the levels are connected in a way that tells a story of where you're headed without mood-killing cutscenes, which is something that current FPSes can't seem to do. However, the expansions throw that great design out the window. One of them is a whole collection of Christmas levels dedicated to blowing up snowmen and elves that culminates in a really hard fight against Santa. The other replaces your weapons with water pistols and coconut launchers as you progress through a beach/Miami-themed episode. These both sucked.
These things creepy silent elves were
the source of many scared jumps

Regarding weapons, you're probably going to use mostly the shotgun and the ripper, which is a vertically-positioned chaingun. Some less-common-to-fps guns include the shrink ray, freeze cannon and expander, which makes enemies larger to the point where they explode.

Other than that, I've mostly been playing the Zelda Wind Waker HD version for Wii U. It's hard to believe this sleeper hit is from 2002, the cell-shaded graphics definitely provide some anti-aging, and the update to 1080p and new lighting and textures makes the game look RAD. If you play with the gamepad, you can hotswap your inventory, look at your maps, and use the MiiVerse without pausing the game. There's a lot of sailing empty ocean in this game, and checking MiiVerse messages and items while sailing enhances the experience dramatically.

My absolute favorite part of the MiiVerse, Nintendo's social networking, is that your in-game camera now lets Link take the most adorable selfies. At almost any point in the game, you can write a message in a bottle and chuck it in the water or on land, and other players will find it as they progress through their own story. There's a Nintendo Gallery in-game, where a man makes figurines out of certain pictures. It's completely optional, but the MiiVerse's sharing pics also makes collecting photographs of monsters and characters easier.

The contrast...

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