The following was written out of sheer boredom during October when the site was not getting any new articles published due to issues involving changing servers. Follow me on Twitter
Due to some technical difficulties behind the scenes I am currently unable to write reviews for video games in the usual format. I have some Steam reviews in the works and some that are ready to go pending things getting back to normal, but until then I am going to post some random articles that deviate from what I was hired to do, which are essentially me rambling on and complaining about things that irritate me (No good can come from this–Editor).
Over the weekend I spent some time playing some games I thought to myself, out loud and with other people present, these games are great, or at least they could, if they did not have some completely asinine element to them that makes me want to throw the controller through the TV and place a curse on the game’s quality control department and eat their souls. The first offender on this list is Samurai Warriors 4-II. For quite some time now the Warriors games were getting out of hand with Empires, Xtreme Legends, the Orochi amalgamation, and various other licensed spin offs like The Legend and Zelda and Gundam Wing, but switching over to a numbering system that is one of the worst aspects that can be stolen from the Final Fantasy franchise causes me extreme mental anguish. But the title, horrible as it is, is not my major point of contention. What really irritates me in this game is it seems every five seconds someone needs to blow a foghorn, freeze the action, and put a giant image of the stage map in the middle of the screen telling you where to go and who to kill, most of the time you are already in the process of doing this. Every other warriors game I remember playing, which is a lot, does not interrupt the game several dozen times every battle to tell you something that could have been done in the same way it is in the other 8000 warriors games, give us a talk bubble and add a new map marker. It gets the point across, and doesn’t force a random pause on the game. This is otherwise a quality game, but I like the Warriors games. You can call me a loser for liking and repurchasing what is essentially the same game with slightly different graphics and minor gameplay tweaks. You are not entirely wrong for summarizing the series as such, but in response I say what of Call of Duty and the 2K Sports franchises? Nothing? That’s what I thought 😛
On the topic of Warriors games, the suits at Koei figured out yet another way to suck money out of me: let’s combine Dragon Quest with this type of game. This has been a very highly anticipated game for me, and naturally I own the Day One Edition, because I urgently need a new game even though I have half dozen games in my personal backlog and a dozen pending games I need to play for a Steamfirst reviews. So I look on the back of the game case and see that this is a one player game. Really Koei? You release Dragon Quest Heroes as a one player game even though this is a dream marriage of Japanese gaming for so many nerds? Even the very poorly implemented two player co op that was in Hyrule Warriors allowed multiplayer. It was retarded beyond words, but it still had it. Did you feel that because the PS4 didn’t have a tablet pretending to be Player 2’s controller, there could not be two player, not even the split screen regular controller multiplayer that has been in every Dynasty/Samurai Warriors game since Dynasty Warriors 3? Any game that has Koei written on the package and consists of the mindless slaughter of hundreds to thousands of enemies in a single stage needs two player co op. I ended up getting the platinum trophy for Dragon Quest Heroes after playing an embarrassingly high number of hours as a single player venture because I am a long time Dragon Quest fan and have no life or friends, but knowing that it has to be single player does put a damper on things and do see the lack of multiplayer hurting this game’s sales and popularity. It is not too late, theoretically at least. A two player mode could be patched into the game, I think so anyway. I don’t know how to program games, I just criticize and tear apart what other people have spent countless hours laboring on and pretend I know what I’m talking about.
Speaking of things that need to be patched what in the world did Rare do with Rare Replay? In the Paleozoic era with NES, it was a cardinal sin to make a game where A attacks and B jumps, and the modern equivalent of this is what is going with Rare Replay, and there is no option to customize the controller input for these games, at least not one I could find. Battletoads, for example, is difficult enough with proper controls, but this game has A attack and B jump, when it should be X attack and A jump. I admit that is a somewhat minor gripe since transposing those two buttons is not that difficult, but Conker’s Bad Fur Day is an unmitigated mess. Left trigger shoots, right trigger zooms, left analog stick aims in zoom mode and the right one moves you while zooming. Plus the Y axis is inverted in zoom mode to make it even more counter intuitive. I loved playing this game’s multiplayer modes on the N64, despite the fact that system’s controller was an unholy abomination that looked like a unpopular piece from a modern art museum. The Rare Replay version somehow managed to take an N64 game and make the controls worse. Let that sink in for a second. How am I expected to drink while playing a game that requires this much brain power to keep the squirrels from escaping for their freedom? Please Rare, make a patch where controls can be either customized, or include an option where you can select a button configuration that is not the opposite of 99% of the games that have been released since thumbsticks became the norm. This is a great collection of games that I would love to play again, particularly the two I named. Patching in a control fixer would allow me to forgive the glaring omission of the SNES game Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, though patching that in would only make an already good collection better. Who am I kidding I would get that game as paid DLC, just fix the controls.
The last offender I want to complain about on my rather incoherent bloated rant is Drakengard 3. This has been a proverbial rusty nail through my foot for quite some time. I knew of but never played any of the Drakengard games until fairly recently. I got Nier as a Christmas gift a couple years ago after reading about it on a clickbait link about obscure RPGs. Nier, while not widely known or not without its own shortcomings is an action RPG I became enamored with after playing. It had a great soundtrack and a lot of humorous dialog between the characters and an interesting story. The enemies were bland and repetitive, but overall I enjoyed this game a lot. Nier takes place after the ending of Branch B of Drakengard 2, so naturally when I saw Drakengard 3 I wanted it because of the Nier connection. And like most games I want, I got it because I lack impulse control and am bad with money. To put it simply, Drakengard 3 is not Nier. The soundtrack is good but not nearly as impressive, the humor is very forced, and relies too heavily on juvenile sexual humor, plus the voice acting for the English language track is painfully bad. All of that aside, I did enjoy Drakengard 3… to a point. I played the main game and all the DLC chapters. I was planning on getting a platinum trophy for the game, and I would have gotten it too if the ending of Branch D was not preventing me from getting the final three gold trophies. Drakengard 3 is an action RPG that is mostly hack and slash platforming combat, think God of War or Devil May Cry but with lower production values. There are also some stages that have you fly on your dragon Mikhail for some third person shooter action. Overall, definitely a game worth the $19.99 price tag provided you aren’t expecting AAA production. Until Branch D, which I cannot possibly describe without using language that is not permitted on this site. To add insult to injury, just to unlock Branch D you need to acquire every weapon in the game. Playing through all the DLC chapters helps with this a lot, but even with that grinding for money is required to get everything. When you finally get to the real final boss of this action RPG, the game decides to completely flip the script and decide it wants to be a rhythm game. And before anyone can make the argument that making the final boss a rhythm game level kind of makes sense since music is a major undertone of the game or that all platforming games or fighting games are rhythm to some extent I am just going to say no, and ask that you slap yourself for even suggesting such a thing. For one, if I wanted to play a rhythm game I would play DDR or Rock Band, if I am playing an action RPG that is what I want to play. And secondly, this is not a good rhythm game either, this is pure hell. You are allowed zero mistakes, and the sequence lasts approximately 8 minutes. There are no checkpoints, and if that is not bad enough there are several sections where you have no visual cues. The camera makes it known early on that it hates you, but in this level it deliberately goes to great lengths to disorient you and make things impossible. After several tries I came to the conclusion that this boss fight, a term I am using very loosely, is about as much fun as having a 600 pound man wearing stiletto heels riverdance on my crotch. It would take another 1000 words of complaining to do justice to what an abomination this is, so here you can watch it for yourself. It looks easy enough for the first few minutes but keep watching. Pay extra close attention to the final note you have to hit. There are cheat videos online and with the help of those I have made it to the final 45 seconds or so but still have not beat this. Checkpoints, allowable three mistakes, an option to turn off the camera’s hatred of you, any of these could make this more forgivable. The game itself is not that hard up until these 8 minutes of hell, there were only a few times I died throughout the entire playthrough, and even when a boss did beat me I succeeded in the next one or two attempts.
While I am on the topic of ranting about things that piss me off about things that are otherwise good, while I am writing this I am listening to an album on Youtube. Sometimes a site I purchase music from recommends stuff to me, so I like to go to Youtube and see if it is worth buying. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. I am listening to this, and actually like it quite a bit, but Youtube decided to interrupt the songs to play those stupid ads they play. Seriously? I get they have ads because they help keep them in business so we can use the site for free, but put the ads in between songs, not in the middle of them. This has nothing to do with any of the games, but the level of irritation goes hand in hand with the previous stuff I complained about. All the games I complained about are worth playing, at least I thought so, but they all contain aspects that are as pleasant as ground glass in the bottom of my shoes, as if to say nothing I enjoy can ever be enjoyed in a pure form with no agony attached to it.