Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Gaming in Ape-ril: DKC and other titles

It's been a while, Folks! Working, studying and attending one of my closest friends' wedding were all priorities over the last 5 weeks. I also saw Ready Player One and am now halfway through the book. It's nice to see one of the shallowest things about the movie get addressed in the first 10 pages of the book, and I like that both formats give an awesome context for the pop culture miasma. See it, read it!

You can bet that I put in some work on the SNES mini, putting 40 hours into completing Final Fantasy 6. My memory of the game had as many stories as playable characters, and going through it again showed me that the story still spends more than half its time with Terra, the human-Esper hybrid and the fate of a world that tries to suppress magic for the good of humanity. I skipped a few sidequests, and completed the game around level 60, only having put about 6 hours into endgame grinding. The old me would have maxed everyone out and spent 80 hours completing the game from memory, but time is more valuable these days.

Besides, as this entry is titled, I had a hankering to play Donkey Kong Country. The first handful of levels are super fun, bouncing around and being shot out of barrels and then the difficulty hits like a freight train. There's a mine cart level that's not really about reflexes so much as memorizing enemy patterns, and that's about when I started to check out. It might take a week to scrape off some salt and try again, but boy did it suck for all the fun to stop so quickly.

Ohh well, at least I have 20 days to enjoy another bullshit Overwatch limited event. I call BS just because the loot usually gets locked away for an entire year before you get another chance at it. The events themselves are usually decently thought out, in all fairness. 

I mostly scratched the FPS itch via StarWars Battlefront 2, which revamped their progression system yet again. This iteration, where the classes and characters you use level up as you use them, and you can choose which skills to upgrade, is how the game should have worked from the get-go. They added some heroes and levels, and the only complaint is that the CTF mode where you have jetpacks is awful on Bespin. Bespin, a city in the clouds, has lots of places to fall off the map, and this is terrible because there's no air control with said jetpack. There are also issues with the flag spawning, and not being marked properly, so when it's picked up, the icon stays in the center of the map. I already hate this map, but it doesn't even work properly to boot! The result is that this map takes easily triple the amount of time to finish, and this is not a good thing.

Griping aside, I started playing the mother of all FPS games: Metroid Prime. This is the first time the game went 3D, and Nintendo and Retro Studios handled it gracefully. The graphics at the time were great, the soundtrack is incredible with just the right amount of remixes, and the environmental design is perfect. Moreover, Metroid Prime is an action game with a clever collectible system. You'll spend 20% of the game in a scan visor that allows you to glean combat strategies, read up on the game's lore, and most importantly allows you to explore the story at your own pace. When using your scan visor, your targets are orange and red. Red targets are vital information and switches, while orange are the background info and narrative, which is about anything from the native population's reaction to being invaded, the colonizer's difficulties with a mysterious (badass) bounty hunter, and their screwed up experiments with alien technology. My only drawback is the controls, which force you to use the Wiimote and nunchuck. This would be much better if the physical bar could mount my TV and stay in place. The controller itself mimics Samus' right-hand cannon and adds to the experience of the most immersive game I've ever enjoyed. However, nothing breaks this like this stupid device falling off your TV and Samus reacting by spinning in a circle while you cuss the engineers for using porous plastic and expecting tape to stick to it.

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