Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up in Gaming - Feb. 28-March 6

I've teased it and teased it enough so now I may as well finally reveal the games I've played this week.

I guess it really wasn't a giant surprise, I mean, I only showed a picture of all the games I need to play a couple weeks ago (a week ago?  Whichever), which included The Sly Collection, I started talking about an older game (Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus) which inspired this big comparison between old-school and new-school design (and then pretty much focused on platformers), and if anyone checked, I got the Platinum trophy for the first game.  But, yeah, for anyone surprised, then, well, awesome.

So, what really, really inspired the comparison is the design of Sly 1 and all the frustration that it gave me.  Because really, the only thing I didn't really like about the game was the straight-forward platformer bits of it with, oftentimes, almost inanely designed levels.  "Oh, hey, I started and I can see the key, like, ten feet from me, up on a ledge that I can't jump to.  Guess I have to run around for twenty minutes to get on the -one single path- that will lead me to it."  Also Sucker Punch's apparently complete lack of any idea on how checkpoints work.  I can't -tell- you how many boss fights I had to do over and over again because I got so close to winning and then died instantly because, oh, hey, "ONE HIT ONE KILL" gameplay.  (Sure, yeah, charms, but those aren't always a guarantee.) 

Now, while there's nothing wrong with straight-up platforming all day erry day, it's really not what I expected given the tone of the game.  Having a character be an apparently really slick, sneaky thief go through single-path platforming levels that go right through the paths of enemies that you will always, always have to dispatch just doesn't -fit-.  It got me thinking, "Is this what they he always does?  Just leaves a path of unconscious mooks in his wake?  Why is he so fragile then?" and it just really destroyed a lot of the tone that it tried so very hard to create.

What I really did not like whatsoever, however, were the mini-games to get some of the keys every level.  They all sucked.  Oh boy, let's race this stupid van against these other cars that are generally faster anyway because I'm driving a van, but I can also get nitro for some reason to go faster.  And the Covering Fire missions.  My God, the Covering Fire missions.  I can't tell you how many times I shot Murray out of general frustration because he would get to the end and get hit by something stray.  Honestly, they did a lot to try and make the teammates as annoying as possible; with Murray being generally useless, trotting about and cowering in fear at the drop of a hat, and Bentley telling me EVERY TIME to Press O in front of a vault to enter the code, and then chattering and wasting precious seconds by being 'clever'.

Still, for everything I found to dislike about the game, I can't help but really truly understand why people want Sly 4.  I haven't even made it through 2 and 3 yet, but bet on anything that by next weekend, I will have.  And what will keep me coming back is the charm and concept that the game is based on.  (Y'see?  That's where that part of the theory came from.)  I mean, the game is light-hearted and fun, not overly funny, but easy to offer moments to grin about, and there's an underlying suaveness to Sly, regardless of how many times he uses brute force to end his problems instead of charm and wit.  Basically, the vibe I got was one of Lupin III, but everybody's an animal (And let's stay far, far away from that half of the subject.)

So, unsurprisingly, immediately after beating Sly 1, I started up on Sly 2, and immediately was hit with that feeling that you only get when a sequel does everything you wanted the original to do. (Or, at least, most of it.)

The first thing I noticed was, hey, a Health Gauge!  This is a massive improvement already!  And the second thing I noticed was, oh, hey, there's not one single path to go on anymore!  Of course, then I immediately realized that, for whatever reasons, I don't have all of my abilities from last game (Especially and including the near-completely arbitrary last vault treasure that I couldn't get until -after- I beat the game for an equally arbitrary reason) which was kind of a downer.

I'm only into Chapter 4 of Sly 2, but I will say that it's a lot more enjoyable than the first, at least for me.  The open-ish world areas of it with a more mission-based structure (That clearly spawned inFamous' own structure) is infinitely more agreeable to me than going into a level, running and jumping along a path and getting a key seven times to fight a boss that could be any one of several gimmicks.  Really, the sheer variety of the game does a world of good and puts something a little more palatable to a concept I really enjoyed.

That's about it for this week, honestly.  I ended up only grinding a bit on VC2 on the PSP front, and I actually haven't been on Kongregate at all this week.  But still, that's my gaming wrap-up for the week!


  1. Oh hell yes. I'll tell anyone who'll listen - Sly 2 is the best of the series.

    3 kinda' goes off the rails - especially if you're not a fan of the series' minigames.

  2. Hrm. Well, so far no, I haven't been a fan of the minigames. That's a bit unfortunate but oh well, I guess I'll see how it goes.

    On that note, though, I might actually not be able to live up to what I said about talking about Sly 2 and 3 this weekend; Sly 2 is exponentially longer than the first, or at least it seems so.