Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

B5- Balance Comes Closest To Wearing The Pants

Not exactly the kind of brand recognition you want from the people you're supposed to be lording over. Having people yell “Chastity!” at you isn't fun, but it's a bit better than the alternative. Holidays, people!
Hopefully Joy will at least scare away any pigeons that try to land on Envy. She already let somebody tie balloons to it, so maybe she's just there to mock and be a pill. Every party has that person.


Long, Screw you, Alvion Review: Malicious- I was sold on Malicious as soon as I heard the premise. Character with a magic cloak and the game is just one giant boss rush. Boss fights are the parts you always look forward to! And all this reminds me of Stretch Panic. And that's awesome. And then I played the game and it was such a steaming pile of garbage that the first draft of my review consisted mainly of cursing and wishing horrible things upon everybody involved with the design and production of the game. Several drafts later, it's some cursing, the rest of the cursing held back behind gritted teeth, and still the wishing horrible things upon everybody involved with the design and production of the game. Do not buy this game. If somebody offers you the game for half off, say no. If somebody offers you a free download code of this game, still run away and maybe tell an adult because that people is trying to do bad things to you.
Malicious isn't the game equivalent of a tumor on PSN because it has nothing going for it or because it's irredeemable. It's a disease to be purged from this world BECAUSE it could have been good. In the hands of people with remote intelligence, Malicious could have been amazing. It starts off with nice music. Soothing and ethereal but not cloyingly so. It has a good backstory. Told solely through page after page of text in a menu option. An... odd choice, but we can easily soldier on. It's a fairly by the books "power corrupts" story, but it's done very reasonably and in the tragic villain sort of way. Sure the character went mad with power, but she did so for very understandable reasons and what drove her to it didn't give her many options.
If you're still only at this point, there's still time to turn back and escape with a modicum of faith that people in charge of game companies aren't slobbering morons that are a rainstorm away from drowning in their own idiocy. You pressed Start, great. Now you're faced with a horrible camera where it feels like 90% of the time you're firing or attacking blindly and timing your attacks based only on sound because the screen is filled with explosions or enemies or the camera has clipped through a wall or is pointing off into space while the endlessly respawning enemies that chip away at your health, block the screen, constantly stun you, and swarm around the battlefield. Then you get the controls, which are super unresponsive in a way I haven't experienced in years. Maybe even close to a decade or more. It wouldn't register when I tried to change attack modes and blocking/dodging are ridiculously finicky. To dodge, you press a direction and O at the same time but the game is rather picky about the timing to the point that you can't reliably dodge unless you are simply standing around just waiting to dodge. There's no reason it couldn't have been “hold block and then tap a direction” and that would solve the problem. That's assuming you can actually hurt the bosses because they spend most of the battle running away from you, making the ultra weak projectile your main attack. The game goes even further by doing a rather poor job of explaining the systems and why you'd want to do certain things. You have to figure everything out yourself, but not in that fun kind of way. Once you learn something, you don't feel a sense of accomplishment that you mastered it, you're just mad because if the game told you that five minutes ago, it could have saved you a lot of trouble. In my first boss fight, I went against an enemy that ran away from me to a high up platform and started spamming projectiles. I just figured it was the boss's next attack pattern so I dodged around and shot back when I could. After a few minutes of this, I just started jumping around randomly and then my character stuck to the wall and started running up it, which took me back up to the boss and the fight continued. The game gives you some tool tips at the start (in the middle of a hectic fight so they're still pretty useless), so a simple "Hey, you're part Spider-Man" tip would have saved me some time and frustration. Also, the game is craaazy picky about when you can run up walls so you could go through the motions several times and still not know you can do it. I don't know WHY you can't run up walls some times and other times you can, but it's really annoying and you can't rely on the ability. Another boss fight has you chasing a flying creature that's constantly running away from you through an airship and I started off being able to bounce around the ship and run along the side, over the wings, etc while attacking and then I just couldn't anymore. My character would smack into walls and fall down. I had to fall to the bottom of the ship and then slowly climb my way back, falling off the wall several times in the process while not even being attacked. Only to spend the rest of the battle chasing this boss and spamming a pathetically weak projectile. So second stage in, I'm fighting a giant flying armored knight with a cannon lance for a weapon and a cannon shield for... another weapon and the game is incredibly BORING. The third boss was nothing more than running in a circle holding the projectile button down and occasionally jumping to the side. After winning that fight, I got a trophy for beating the boss without blocking. So yeah, completely brainless fight devoid of anything fun or interesting and I'm rewarded for not using a useless move that rarely works. That is the achievement version of the slow, sarcastic clap. Then there's a battleship looking boss that spawns even more endless waves of enemies where without hyperbole no less than 50 things on the screen shot projectiles at me but if you get in close to the boss it does area of attack moves, dashes at you, or does a stabbing move that doesn't even have to touch you to freeze you in place, do damage, and initiate a quicktime event to wiggle your controller until you can break free. Halfway through the battle, the boss starts glowing blue and you can no longer hurt it. No indication what you have to do, how you have to hurt it, you simply sit there and die over and over while being able to do nothing. It turned purple once so I thought maybe the shield was color coded for different weapons but then it just started spamming attacks and turned blue again. Once and only once a "Counter!" prompt showed up and I was able to take off a chunk of the boss's health again after a QTE. I then started dying over and over trying to figure out what I did to get that "Counter!" prompt to appear again but it never reappeared. I tried one more boss and she deflected or shielded every one of my attacks and hit me once which caused a cascade of my character twitching and being hurt over and over and dying after that one hit. There's no cathartic release you can have with a digital product. There's no joy in tapping a few buttons to wipe it from your system. There's no sense of calm that comes after pulling the disc out, slamming it into the case, and then snapping it shut, hearing that satisfying click signifying that the game will never darken your days again and you can sell it to some store to at least get a few bucks back. Nope, digital releases just leave you without any satisfaction and the knowledge that you just wasted $10, you have nothing to show for it, you got no enjoyment out of it, and two hours of your life are gone and you're one step closer to death.
NOTHING about this game is fun. Your fist attacks suck because you have to get in close to the boss and mash the button but every boss has moves to bash you if you're close and the block button won't work properly if you're attacking so you're constantly taking damage. The spear sucks because after you hit the enemy, you're frozen in place for five to ten seconds while every enemy on the field starts beating the crap out of you. That leaves your weak projectile move that barely does any damage and the game turns into nothing more than running circles around the boss holding the button down. You can replicate this without even wasting money on the game. Pick up your controller, hold Square, and press Left for twenty minutes. Congratulations, you just beat a boss in Malicious and had more fun than somebody actually playing the game. Malicious pretty much destroyed my faith in the video games industry. Cool concepts, great art, nice music and terrible controls, a horrific camera, and utterly incompetent design. This is a game about playing as a flying, sextuple jumping avatar of godly righteousness that controls two giant magic scarf hands fighting bosses the size of skyscrapers and there is absolutely no fun to be had in it. Anywhere. How much does the design and production team at a company have to massively suck at their jobs to screw this up so badly. I have never met these people and I hate every one of them. I want their company to go under, for them to lose their jobs, and for them to die alone and sad in a gutter as punishment for making me hate my job, just about everybody I interact with on a daily basis, and an industry I used to care about and stealing my $10. Video games, serious business. Seriously, look it up. $65 billion dollar industry in 2011. And Alvion ruined it for everybody. Screw you, Alvion.