Bad Things

//Bad Things

[Review] J-Stars Victory VS

JStars is a confounding experience. I don’t outwardly hate it but there is a lot about it that just doesn’t work. The first thing to note is that the controls are pretty much awful. They’ve got you pulling two button combos for almost anything outside of blocking and moving. There is no reason for it. The last I counted the PS4 controller has roughly 97 buttons on it. If you dedicated just one button to each of the moves in this game you’d still have tons left over. I can understand some logical combinations. light attack, heavy attack, and special. Then combining special with either of those buttons doing a second and third special.

But this game has you combining block and special, up and special, and lord knows what else. It’s maddening and the first of many problems. Next there is no English VA. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the Japanese VA for Goku, but if you haven’t I can’t recommend it. It’ll shatter everything you hold dear in life. This means that I need to read the text in order to understand what is going on. Unfortunately that leads us into the next problem with this game. The story mode is downright awful. The first half of story mode is literally filler. There is nothing to it. It has no impact on the “real” story. Once you are done with it you never want to go back.

10/10 Riveting. (Ok I did laugh)

10/10 Riveting. (Ok I did laugh)

You are in luck though! They let you play this four times. Four! And it’s exactly the same each time! If you want to get Platinum you are in for a hell of a grind. The total number of times you need to fight in this game to get Platinum is well over 100 matches. The biggest issue there is that, as I mentioned before, combat just isn’t really fun. The controls are nasty, they are the hardest opponent in this entire game.

Balancing is also off the chains. Assassin Senpai (or whatever his name is) shown above (the yellow alien) is a giant pain in the ass. The weirder the character looks in the game the more unpredictable (and generally broken) they are. The teacher can fire a missile from long distance which breaks through blocking doing a staggering amount of damage. He can also chain this off pretty fast and the missile homes a bit. In the challenge mode tower this will absolutely wreck you if you aren’t efficient at dodging (which again, is awful).

 

This might sting.

This might sting.

The actual cast is not terrible. I don’t know most of them but they each have their own quirks and are largely amusing. There is one character in particular that is very tough on the eyes. One of the worst character designs I’ve seen in a long time. He effectively amounts to “really buff guy with neck ribs.”

Seen from behind. Not much better from the front.

Seen from behind. Not much better from the front.

The maps are somewhat varied but mostly forgettable. The more open maps are better than the closed ones because the Camera is just not great. Locking onto people can be a bit of a pain and if you get hit you’ll be getting hit for a while. As far as I can tell there is no actual countering system. The AI has certainly never done it to me and I can’t seem to do it to them. Once you get hit you might as well go make a sandwich. Until you fall and trigger your invincibility frames you’ll be taking, occasionally massive amounts, of damage.

The music is inoffensive, which is great. I can’t really complain there. The sound design is pretty well done all around. The actual UI layout is not terrible but it is basically unremarkable in every sense. The “idea” of a story mode probably could have worked but the actual execution was very poor. It impresses the first time but then you realize they just did the same thing, copy and paste, and then acted like it was “new” to pad the content on disk.

I’m not quite Platinum in this game, but I still plan to do so. I won’t be liking it more than I do now but that time. I can say that with certainty. The reason that I’m being so critical is that there is no reason for this game to be this bad. The characters are pretty great, the animation on their moves is pretty great, the idea of such a crossover is pretty great. The attention to detail on the overworld is just dandy.

There is a card mechanic in the game that, while poorly defined, is fun to collect for and to manipulate. It’s a really neat idea that, like all the other good in this game, is lost in the morass of the experience.

Fabulous

Fabulous

The art on the cards is fun and varied. They almost never carbon copy from one card to the next. Each time they add some flare to the previous image, or even another character. You can tell that this wasn’t a cash grab game. I kind of wish it was, because then I’d feel less bothered by it. But I see something that could have been. I see all these fun characters and the locations in the final three fights are actually pretty cool looking. Some of the maps are memorable, though most are not.

There is a disappointment here that I have not felt in a long time. The grind remaining to get the last bits of content for this done will be long and arduous. This is a game whose entertainment the trophy group grossly overestimated. Had it been given more time, or a team that was a bit more talented, it could have easily been a blockbuster fighter. When a fight actually goes well it does feel great. But so rarely does this game feel like anything but clunky.

The controls are just so incredibly stiff. I only feel in control when I’m abusing the game mechanics.

I’m not actively mad that I played this game. It’s not “terrible” but I also don’t think it is okay. This thing walks along the precipice of my scoring system. Given enough time to heal, to deaden the stings that it has left upon my flesh, perhaps. Perhaps then, behind rose tinted glasses, I could say this game is okay. But for now I just cannot. I would not recommend this game to anyone unless you can get it for very little money and your curiosity cannot be stopped.

Your best bet is watching a compilation video of all the supers in this game. Just like the Naruto games and the Budokai games, the ultimates in this are fantastic and a joy to watch. But, again, they are buried beneath a game that just feels like it was killed by short sighted managers mistaking their position for knowledge. Or perhaps focus groups. Someone who should likely cease giving advice in game development or stop signing off on game content.

It’s not bad in the sense that it is evil or wrong. Just that it is staggeringly disappointing.

By | 2016-02-26T22:35:30+00:00 February 25th, 2016|Bad Things, Reviews|Comments Off on [Review] J-Stars Victory VS

JustTheTip EP.9 ~ Hammerfight

One of the things that I am going to have to accept is that I’m occasionally going to play games that just aren’t for me. Hammerfight easily falls under the umbrella of “I don’t get it”. I knew it might be a bit weird when I had trouble not jumping to a webpage during load. The game calibrated my mouse and the options were incredibly lacking. I know you shouldn’t judge a game by its options, indeed I might be a fool for doing so. Yet, there I was, staring at a barren wasteland hoping that this wasn’t indicative of what I was about to experience.

The world of Hammerfight does look like it would make for an interesting film. Something akin to Waterworld, for those of you that even remember that film, where all the people and environments are just silly. I’d like to tell you about the story but I must admit that it didn’t catch me. I was sitting there trying to read what was going on but it slipped through my fingers like grains of sand. Hammerfight reminds me a bit of what happens when someone reads a Dune book and then thinks they can pull off something that interesting or clever.

This is apparently a Russian made game which makes me feel like I should be a little softer on it. The review does actually take that into account and is why I’m not just slapping terrible on this game and moving on. The controls are not abhorrent necessarily, but they are certainly not ideal. This is a physics based 2D arena game. Not MOBA, mind, but an arena fight nonetheless. You are situated in a usually very small map where you fly around trying to stop flying sawblades and weird floating worms from decimating your buddies. I’m a big fan of the ridiculous and by all accounts this game should have appealed to me.

I'm really not.

I’m really not.

It didn’t. If you lose enough on a level the game allows you to skip onto the next but you’ll lose your gold. I don’t know what gold is for. Presumably at some point you get upgrades for your vessel like bigger better hammers, or maybe a nudie poster for the side of it. For me the gold was meaningless. It just meant I could skip a level where I had no damn clue what I was doing. Only to move onto the next level and to have my ass handed to me.

Super Meat Boy is a terribly difficult game. You die frequently and with very little downtime between those deaths. That last bit is the reason that game is not frustrating for me. I can die a hundred times in almost as many seconds with barely a blink between them. Iteration allows me to grow better very quickly. That level I ended the video on has a 10-15 second video that you cannot skip after every death.

Sweet mother of god...

Sweet mother of god…

I don’t care to see the intro to the level each time. Unskippable scenes is a sin I thought had died out many moons ago. But here I was dealing with it. Each death making me more and more annoyed. This game is rough. The music isn’t terrible. The sound effects aren’t terrible. The visuals aren’t terrible. The levels aren’t terrible. These things are all true in my opinion. But nearly every last one of them is average or bad. Which leaves us with the conclusion that my first impressions of this game are very poor.

I’d never come back to it. I might watch someone else play later levels in this game but it is largely dead to me. An experience I’d like to forget. This review is me washing my mind of it. The video of my experiences is just below.

By | 2015-12-14T00:12:18+00:00 April 13th, 2015|Bad Things, Reviews|Comments Off on JustTheTip EP.9 ~ Hammerfight

Reviews: How to survive a sharknado

This was a rough, rough, read. I didn’t think a joke book would fall so flat for me. I had to push myself to finish this book and I mean that almost literally. Just every page after about 30% in was a slog. A rough, tough, drag. It’s not that I don’t think they tried. I’m sure they did…its just that they weren’t talented enough to carry it. If you want to read a fun book about fantasy creatures I’d recommend Monster Manuals from Dungeons and Dragons. I realize those are “serious” but you’ll get more laughs from those than you will this.

The Boaricane has a genuine chuckle moment in it but otherwise I didn’t find myself smiling. The best reason, perhaps the only reason, to read this book is to check out the pictures. It has some great pictures! Absolutely excellent. The portmanteaus are also great but otherwise its hundreds of words that just…god…they fall so flat.

I feel really bad for the folks that wrote this. I’m sure they tried but this was one hell of a train wreck for me. Proceed with caution. If you get it for free, cool, otherwise meh.

That said I’m apparently wrong. Because this thing has smoking hot reviews online. That’s the nature of reviews though, they are a personal experience and for me this was a bad one. I suppose this is one of those “To each their own.” deals.

THAT SAID…this is amazing.

By | 2015-02-22T00:09:39+00:00 February 22nd, 2015|Bad Things, Reviews|Comments Off on Reviews: How to survive a sharknado

Reviews: Witch and the Hundred Knight

Witch and the Hundred Knight is a bit of a bitter pill. On the one hand it has a diablo style gameplay that I find very rewarding. The protagonist (the terribly named Hundred Knight) is adorable. The animation style is pretty good (one of the things that interested me in it). The music and sound effects are forgettable, minus the sound when you sell things that’ll deafen you. But the character with the most dialogue is an unimaginative irritating annoying monster.

“Mettalia” who really wants you to stop calling her “Lia”, a joke they make almost every single time she’s on screen (a few times a mission chapter, it feels like), is disinteresting on nearly every level as a character. If you are familiar with the story of Disgaea you immediately know what her arc is going to be once she starts talking. The problem is that while the story worked for Laharl because he was charming it falls apart for her because she’s just not fun. If I’m going to be playing or working directly for an asshole I want them to have some level of depth. She is basically the stereotypical bad boss you might experience in a minimum wage job but she demands you also murder people in between cleaning the aisles.

I want something. I already know she’s going to “turn a new leaf” by the end of this story, and trust me you do too when the game starts, but that’s not rewarding if the journey to that end is an insufferable slog. It’s a shame too because, as I said, the actual gameplay isn’t half bad. I had fun mixing my weapons to chain together combos based on their rank value, weapon type, and even their effects. I liked going ahead far too soon and using strategy to defeat monsters that would OHKO me otherwise. That’s super cool and even the time limit ended up being pretty cool instead of a pain in the ass.

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Nothing feels right or interesting. I kept trying to force myself to complete it and I realized I just couldn’t. No matter how much I thought the combat was passable I just couldn’t justify what was turning into me helping out an NPC that was just completely boring. She was killing me with how badly she was written and its irritating. I could see under the surface she was one of the NIS characters with great levels of power and those tend to be fun to play. The kind of character you happen across in a future crossover game and think “Oh shit.” Like stumbling upon a pissed off Black Adam.

I wanted her to grow quicker, to become a nice iconic staple of villainy. If I’m going to be working for someone evil either make them funny or make them interesting. These are basically the only two options. If you aren’t certain you can do interesting then just fall onto the side of funny and go full tilt silly. And for the last time I don’t care what your damn name is! I get it! Ok yes, in Japan apparently her name was “Metallica” which obviously wouldn’t work in the US. Maybe the Japanese name and “Lica” had some kind of cute wordplay that made sense there. But once you localized it for the US its just obnoxious.

Sometimes people call me Mikey, I might be annoyed the first time, but we are to believe he’s been calling her Lia for hundreds of freaking years. At a certain point you let that shit slide because its obviously never going to change.

Hundred

I sincerely think she would have been better off just being the villain. If they were going to make her obnoxious at least let her be the villain so that I know I’m supposed to stop the obnoxious character. They have already done the sassy powerful female character before with Etna, they had the template all ready and they could have copied it again with perfect precision. I don’t think anyone would care to have another Etna style character floating around. I just don’t get it. I suppose about the only thing I can say nice about her is that I like her character design. I know some folks are put off by “too much skin” or whatever but I thought she worked. I was really excited to see her saiyan up, maybe in a future Disgaea game as a DLC character? That would be lovely. I’ll buy it.

I wish I had more to say but this game just really disappoints me. The gameplay is fun, not life changing but not bad. The Hundred Knight is cute and I have no complaints about him really. The story is literally so predictable that I feel like you’d only consider anything I say a spoiler until you read the first 5 lines of dialogue. The villains for the most part are not people you are interested in killing.

Imagine a Grand Theft Auto where you spent the majority of the beginning basically hunting down perfectly normal people, torturing them, and then killing them. Not because its possible (since we all do stupid stuff during free play in GTA) but because the game specifically called for it. Imagine that torture scene from GTA 5 (that is one of the more powerful moments for me in a video game) but completely without the self awareness of the situation and without any semblance of character development.

Take that situation and carry it out across hours of gameplay. I’m sure that about 60% of the way through she becomes bearable and by 90% of the way through she’s fun, but I’m not going to drag my balls through a bed of nails to get there. I have the considerably better experience of Divinity: Original Sin asking me if I’d rather drink the finest drink and tip my monocle instead. Review for that coming soon I guess…shorthand is its amazing.

This…this not so much. Darn shame.

Bad

By | 2015-02-08T20:07:45+00:00 July 19th, 2014|Bad Things, Reviews|Comments Off on Reviews: Witch and the Hundred Knight