Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prop. 8, God of War Sucks More, Fly Fu, and Trine DLC  

Life: I don't tend to be a very political person and I certainly don't write about the subject very often, but after today's court ruling overturning Prop. 8 in California, I felt like at least a brief mention would be in order -- especially since I don't see it as being a "political" subject. I mean, it's obviously impacting American politics on many, many levels, but the heart of the matter is that it’s not about politics at all -- it's about people's lives.

I believe in fairness, justice, and logic, and no matter how many times I listen to someone try to explain why gay people shouldn't get married, they just can't make the case. No matter how they twist the definitions of words or try to pander to people's fears, there is absolutely no logical justification for why gay, lesbian, or transgendered people can't get married to whoever they choose.

There just isn't.


End of story, stop talking.

What's it to me? I'm not gay. I'm happily married with two kids. Prop. 8 and its implications don't affect me even a bit, but I care about it because equality for all is important to me, and all means ALL.

There would be a firestorm if someone tried to pass a law saying that people in wheelchairs couldn't marry, or if people of different races couldn't either. Half the anime fans in America would march on the capital and burn down the White House if it was illegal to wed Asian girls.

What about fat people? Short people? People who wear glasses? What about gamers? Gamers with their murder simulators and Pokemans definitely shouldn't get married, right?

I doubt that anyone would support a law that prohibited any of the groups I just mentioned from tying the knot, so why should anyone think it would be all right to deny GLBT folk?

When you peel back the top layers of arguments based on religious beliefs or personal biases, the only things underneath are fear, intolerance and hate, and I think any true American would agree that those aren't qualities that our country was built on, nor ones that we should support or abide in any way.

…After all, if it’s acceptable to discriminate against one group of people, you might wake up one day and find out that your own group is next.


Games: Getting back to our regularly-scheduled program, I didn't intend to talk about God of War 3 again, but it ended up being such a terrible experience that I just couldn't resist.

Off the top of my head, I really think that whoever came up with the "wooden crates" concept for the labyrinth was either completely off their rocker or having a giant joke at gamers’ expense. I mean, the balance of power in Olympus was kept by a bunch of rotating brown boxes? Really?

I also found it hilarious that the final matchup between Kratos and Zeus boiled down to being a clunky 2D fighter. Again, was someone at Santa Monica Studios having a laugh?

The in-jokes aside, the writing was just terrible -- worse than either of the previous two games, and it's not like those were known for their scripts. It went so far off the rails by the time credits rolled that I was actually embarrassed that I completed it.

For example, Kratos spends the entire game acting like a giant penis and the writers completely pass up every opportunity to give him a shred of humanity, only to have him get all gushy at the end for Pandora. Why? No clue. Ostensibly it's because he had a daughter once, but I'll be damned if the writers even began to make that case.

Even worse was the endgame. Going from combat to a long sequence of preachy cutscenes was bad, but then the writers spend all that time talking about hope and light and humanity, only to turn around and present the player with a scene of extreme violence as Kratos pounds Zeus in the face until the screen is literally obscured with blood. Thematic contradiction, anyone?

There are tons of other things wrong with the game (a favorite: having a certain wall texture designated as not grab-able, only to have the exact same texture BE grab-able on a different wall!) but I'm not going to waste any more time on it. It's a sub-par, lackluster game that does not match up to the quality of the previous two, or even the PSP iteration.


Games: Didn’t feel like starting anything major tonight, so I spent some time with a couple of quickie downloads.

>Fly Fu (PSP Mini) - I fell in love with this game's graphic style, but it plays like garbage. Basically, players take control of a fly seeking revenge, and control him as he travels from left to right, beating up enemy bugs as he goes.

The attacks seemed to trigger depending on how close and what position enemies are in, but if there's any way to predict which attack is going to happen, I couldn't figure it out. Sometimes a kick, sometimes a punch. Sometimes forward, sometimes back.

I was also not impressed with first level, which asks players to kill a hundred enemies. I'm sorry, but the mash-happy quality of play isn't nearly interesting enough to be able to justify that much repetition, and fighting a boss at the end of it was absurd -- there's not a fighting engine here, just pure mash.

It's cute and fairly clever, but the programmers don't seem to have the faintest idea about what makes a good game and I bailed without getting to the second level. I was willing to take a chance on it after seeing a short clip on YouTube, but if this game had a demo available, I never would've purchased it. AVOID.

> Trine DLC: Path to New Dawn (PS3) - I'm a big fan of Trine and its tripartite body-switching action, and my ears quickly perked up at hearing that there was an additional piece of content available. @Silenthitoshura warned me that it wasn't really all that great, but I decided to take a shot anyway. After all, it was only $1.

It was not worth $1.

The content consists of one level in which characters must ascend vertically. There are tons of falling rocks and exploding barrels to knock players back down, and the platforms used to scale the heights don't feel as though they were placed with much care. Additionally, players cannot import their powered-up characters: the Knight, Wizard and Thief are all upgrade-free regardless of what state they were in when the main game was completed. After getting to the end (about five minutes' work) nothing happens except a classic ‘Thank You!’ from the developers.


As willing as I am to support these guys, I think Silent was right when he said that it felt like an early, aborted attempt at the main campaign's final level. New Dawn doesn't feel like an actual "addition", it’s more like a scrap from a cutting room floor, and asking players to pay even $1 for this was a bad idea. AVOID.

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2 comments: to “ Prop. 8, God of War Sucks More, Fly Fu, and Trine DLC


    I liked God of War 3 overall as a stupid, gorgeous, brain-dead hack-and-slash, but man, did that ending piss me off.

    If they'd kept Kratos an anti-hero or villain that would have been fine, but his sudden change of heart was terrible. And the very end, when he decides to um, choose the people over the gods, well, everyone's dead already, Kratos! Don't you remember flooding Athens, destroying the sun, and unleashing a plague upon mankind? Sigh. I did like the art style for the hallucination scene though. Too bad it wasn't put to better use. What a lackluster way to end the series.


    Great post, Brad -- esp. the part about Prop 8. We gay folk need more people like you on our side :)