Monday, June 22, 2015

Shallow Splatoon, Witcher Burnout, Neptunia's Charm & Jurassic World Boredom  


So, E3 happened. HOLY SHIT, amirite? 

Unbelievable announcements. Un-friggin'-believable. 

The Last Guardian, Shenmue 3, and Nier 2!  NIER 2!!! 

Instead of writing it all up, we covered the show in the next @Gamecritics podcast, and believe you me, that is one hell of an episode. Apart from the E3 stuff, we've got a massive surprise in store. 

The ep's not up yet, but SOON! Don't miss!


So, against my better judgment (and the warnings of @ApricotSushi) I caved and picked up a copy of Splatoon. 

If nothing else, I give Nintendo credit for getting this game in the conversation and having it catch on with pretty much everybody in my circles -- I felt like I was missing out bigtime for not jumping in on day one. It also doesn’t help that I'm a huge fan of squids and the like in general, so it was tough to hold out.

Now that I've been playing for the last couple days, it's hard to ignore how undercooked and empty the game feels. There aren't very many levels, not very many weapons, and I was hoping for a lot more customization than there is.

The base game feels shallow, and success seems based more on luck of the draw than anything else. Despite often coming in first in terms of ink coverage, actually winning hinges on getting a team of high-level players. The matchmaking is brainless, and I’m often on teams of low-level people while going up against a squad of all-20s (the level cap) or close to it.

The ability to turn into a squid also feels too thin. Apart from moving quickly through ink and hiding, it doesn't really add anything very squiddy. I sat and brainstormed the other day, and came up with at least five or ten things the squid form could (or should) do. Stuff like having a tentacle grab to immobilize enemies, maybe a super ink-spray in squid form, or maybe an offensive rocket attack similar to the super-jump. There are tons of possibilities

Splatoon is really cute, it's got a cool concept, and it's the first genuinely new IP that Nintendo has done in quite a while, but it just doesn't feel like it's there yet. It especially doesn't feel like a $60 game, and with what little is included on the disc, I'm a bit resentful that some stuff is locked behind amiibos – even if I wanted to buy them, they’re nowhere to be seen.


Now, for a Witcher 3 update.

I was hitting the game pretty hard for a while, giving as much time as I could. I think the writing is generally superb, I enjoy Geralt as a character, and a lot of really cool stuff happens in the story. However, the game is absolutely huge, and the longer it went on, the less excited I was about it.

At the moment, I’ve just wrapped up one major quest line in Novigrad but still have plenty of stuff to do there, and I haven't even been to the third area. Honestly though, I'm getting a little burned out on the game and I haven't touched it in a few days.

I think the appeal of the game is wearing off -- it's a little hard to describe, but it’s started to feel like there isn't enough depth to the gameplay. I know that sounds insane considering how large and detailed everything is, but I can't shake the feeling that at this point, I’m just going from point to point on the map, watching cutscenes to progress the story.

I would like to come back and see how it all wraps up, but people tell me I still have quite a bit of game left, and I need a little time away from it.


Finally, I’m dipping into Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3 on Vita, a series I've heard about for quite some time but never tried. Basically, it's a JRPG about characters who are the embodiment of game consoles in a land that’s all about videogames. Sort of. I'm not grasping all of the intricacies, but that's basically about it.

On the one hand, I think the writing is actually quite funny at times, the characters are enjoyable, and it all looks very cute. On the other hand, it doesn't do a great job of explaining the various gameplay systems, and I suspect that it all boils down to typical JRPG grinding.  I'm guessing that it's not going to end up being my kind of thing, but I can definitely see why it’s become so popular with a certain crowd.


So, Jurassic World.

The oldest son is with me for the summer, and he was jonesing to see it pretty hard. It wasn't on my list of things to catch in the theater, but he really, really wanted to go. So we went.

Seriously, don't see this movie! Don't go! I won't let you pass!! 

I had really low expectations for the flick, basically wanting nothing more than some cool dinosaur action, but even though I felt like I wasn’t asking for much, the film failed to deliver even that. I'm not going to get into specifics to avoid spoilers for those who may care, but it felt like a tired rehash of the first Jurassic Park, and most of the plot points were either too predictable or too insipid.

I was quite bored and found myself reaching for my phone several times. Looking around in the audience, I saw many people doing the same. The simple act of seeing a realistic dinosaur on screen isn't nearly as powerful as it was when the first movie debuted, so such a film needs to bring ore to the table these days.

I don't regret that I went because my son had a great time and I'm happy for that, but as for me, I couldn't wait to get out of the theater and left feeling highly unsatisfied.

Not recommended.


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1 comments: to “ Shallow Splatoon, Witcher Burnout, Neptunia's Charm & Jurassic World Boredom

  • Anonymous


    Dude. Don't use your phone at the movie theater. Just don't. That's rude to the people around you, and just because other people do it doesn't mean that you should as well.