Monday, May 05, 2008

Video Game Stuff

Why? Because I'm a huge nerd with lots of time on my hands, that's why. I haven't written much about video games since the new Smash Bros. was released, so I thought I'd toss a couple of things in.

Mario Kart
It's hard to write a review about such an iconic game. If you own a Wii, you either know about this series or you don't. After so many years and so many iterations, you've either played it and enjoyed it or you haven't.

That said, I do have some thoughts on this new version.

The game is just as brutal and unforgiving as it has been in the recent past. I find it quite frustrating playing through the single player campaigns; I'm a fine driver, pretty decent if I do say so myself. Yet it's horrible to even attempt the higher difficulty races, just because the computer devastates you with an endless barrage of items. There's not much more infuriating than seeing that finish line in front of you and getting hit with a blue shell.

The game is still fun, though. While I'm not excited about paying $15 for pieces of plastic, the wheel really does feel comfortable and natural for playing the game. I haven't been online yet, so I can't comment on how well that mode works. The bikes are an interesting addition as well, though I'm not sure they're a huge deal.

Cosmetically, the game is nice. One of my favorite "small touches" added to the game are the Miis who populate the race courses. For example, they can be in the audience, or on the interstate track they work the tollbooths.

Things they got wrong? Unlockable content. It's very frustrating to know how many more characters and karts there are, but they can only be won by beating the most infuriatingly difficult portions of the single player game. That's not keeping with the multiplayer fun introduced by Double Dash.

Also, there are lots of courses that are taken straight from previous games. I dislike this trend; if they spent the energy making new courses instead of bringing old ones up-to-date, they would have a much richer game. As it is, it feels a bit lazy and recycled.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village
This one is interesting. The Good: Lots of puzzles and riddles, classic or otherwise, as well as some classic adventure gaming and excellent animation.

The Bad: Classic adventure gaming. As in, use the stylus to tap everything in sight and hope that something turns up. Bleh. Also, there is no soft reset feature, which is a problem for perfectionists (such as myself).

Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Yeah, more on this. What can I say, I've been playing it a lot since it was released? There's only a few things to criticize at the moment: Difficulty and lack of variety.

Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty good at this game. I've met no one who can completely shut me down in person, and online I typically lose only because of lag. I preface this with such bravado because the computer in this game is ridiculously difficult at the highest levels. I understand that programmers often make the game cheat to some degree or another to increase the difficulty level, but what on earth is the limit on this? I like to play games like this to completion, and the increase in difficulty on this one makes that a nearly impossible goal.

The lack of variety is more of a whine than anything. Yes, there were characters I thought they should have included in the game that they didn't. More of my thoughts on this, though, are what they could have done with the characters that they didn't.

For example, they included two different Links this time: Twilight Princess Link and Wind Waker Link. Rather than making them veritable carbon-copies of each other, as well as previous Links, why didn't they take advantage of their pedigrees? Why couldn't TP Link transform into his wolf form? Why couldn't WW Link use his baton to channel weather powers in battle? It seems like a lack of creativity that such options weren't taken advantage of. I could go on, but I think the point is clear.

That's my $0.02 on those varied topics, for what it's worth.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

We're SO playing MarioKart. Oh yes. And you shall cry like a girl when I defeat you. Just joking--you'll probably school me like always.