There’s a reason The Walking Dead doesn’t let you wear a shark suit.
It’s because The Walking Dead is a serious game with serious consequences and serious characters and a serious message on society. I come back to The Walking Dead each few weeks to see how the characters continue to cope with their situation, to see how the gang of survivors carry on surviving. I’m engaged with its story. That is not Dead Rising.
Is Dead Rising. Trying to treat B-Movie: The Game as a serious piece of art is like adapting The Very Hungry Caterpillar into a parable about the futility of greed.
If I had to pick one sentence to describe Total Overdose, it would be ‘Oh, honey, no.’
You can tell that the devs really loved this game, but they did so in the manner of a newborn seal; all huge eyes and floppy incompetence. The music is lovingly chosen (if occasionally a bit ‘mexsploitation Yackety Sax’), the B-movie vibe speaks of hours spent watching Robert Rodriguez films, and ‘isn’t this wacky awesome cheesy fun? :D :D :D’ practically seeps from every pore. I almost feel bad for making fun of it. On the other hand, The Tay Bridge Disaster was a labour of love.
They wanted silly, addictive combat mechanics. Total Overdose combat is pretty fun. They wanted to make a ridiculous, campy game. Didn’t do too badly at that. They wanted their game to be funny…
“Oh, honey, no.”
Little Red Riding Hood whips out a machete to defend Granny’s house, but a woodcutter beats her to the ravenous wolves. Jack (of ‘and the Beanstalk’ fame) shoves his hand up a chicken’s… up a chicken, and pulls out a golden egg. A villager plays a harp – slung around his neck like a bass guitar – and shatters Snow White’s glass coffin with the power of rock. And then the naked Emperor struts out onto a balcony and villagers flee at the sight of his uncommonly large areola.
And that’s it. That’s all the story you’re getting. Four character introductions, a bit of blood and you’re done before breakfast. Off you go into a fairytale land the Grimm brothers never even dreamed of to murder gingerbread men and ravage the locals. There’s a sort of guardian who periodically shows up to dump some information on you, but he looked like someone I wouldn’t want to get involved with.
You’re evil, in possession of an abnormally high intellect, and you want everyone to recognise this and give you presents for it. Starting as little more than a humble dealer in human suffering, you gradually work your way up the ladder of crime until you find yourself squatting in your subterranean base, considering how deep inside the volcano to build your doomsday device.
Not an auspicious goal, admittedly – no one likes being told they share a life plan with Ming the Merciless – but one that’s easy to grasp. Like the world. Between your cruel, talon-nailed fingers.
Written 28/11/2011. First posted here.
Beautiful, picturesque, genius; three words that best describe Ubisoft’s latest addition to the failing Rayman franchise, Rayman Origins. Origins is the first ‘true’ Rayman title in many years, and with new French developers Ubisoft Montpellier at the helm, a new direction for the classic character. With Rayman’s absence from the modern market for over five years, the character, and his once renowned games have lost their relevance. But Origins undoubtedly puts Rayman back on the scene with one of the best platforming games I’ve played in years.
Origins has no story. It barely even introduces the game. It does however introduce the characters; vaguely. But, though it may seem like a poor, corner-cutting tactic, it’s actually incredibly intuitive of the developers. Origins’ story is told through its characters, and its characters don’t tell a story. Yourself, the player, creates their own story, interprets their own course of events from the character’s speechless actions. Rescuing Nymphs (including the original, head Nymph: Betilla) is the foundation, but beyond that, it can be whatever you want it to, which is why it’s so unique.