Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

UP16- Manhandle With Care

That is what you get for threatening to stab Sloth! And, you know, the whole trying to set Murd aflame, wailing on Slander, and messing up Rhett's living room business. As I mentioned before, I like the juxtaposition that Strength has all that power but its body is frail and pathetic needing its implants and mechanisms to keep it running. And keep all that goo inside. You need goo.


Long, All Hail Our Beagle Overlords Review: Tokyo Jungle- This is a game that forces you to make decisions quickly. On my first playthrough, I was up to a fourth generation Pomeranian, we were rocking an awesome kendo mask, and my lineage was nothing but good mates and up. Then we hit hard times and my next mission was to run several districts to the next objective but food wasn't spawning and with nothing to hunt and no watering holes in sight, I came across a zebra and was forced to decide to fight it or run on more but risk starving to death. I apparently chose poorly and kendo mask or not, a zebra will wipe the floor with a pack of Pomeranians. That introduction boils down to: This game is amazing. It does so, so many things poorly, but this game is still amazing. The control scheme is oddly laid out so you can't comfortably hold the controller and have access to dodge, attack, and move at the same time. But once you learn how to manage, you feel like the wolf god lunging from lion to lion, ripping out throats, grabbing bites of lion meat when you can, to spin around and destroy the pack of lion cubs coming in from behind. Because they will murder you if you don't. The map is pretty crappy, especially during Story mode. Routes that are open in Survival become blocked off but aren't labeled well on your map, it's rarely clear what paths you can take on top of buildings, and the game is ludicrously inconsistent in where/when it allows you to jump off ledges. At one point, you can leap off the top of a single story building and other times the game will prevent you from dropping a few feet. Sometimes you can jump on top of trucks and run across them but other times you can't. You'll see your character go up and over the truck but an invisible wall stops you.
The way you access the story mode is very poorly done. You unlock story missions by finding three specific items in the survival mode, then you go do the story mission, and then three more of those items show up in survival and you repeat the process. Story mode is a great teaching tool and tutorial but to find it, you have to have already done those things in survival mode. It's not really useful to teach me the basics of combat after I've spent the last two hours hunting in survival mode. But it's worth it. The story is sooo good. The articles you're collecting are built around finding out what happened to the world and why all the humans are gone and the clippings you find lead you down so many roads that you aren't sure where it will end. The first newspaper clippings you find are all about a disease maybe so you think that's what killed the humans, but then you find ads for advanced humanoid robots that could have turned against them, and then you start finding news reports about holes in the space-time continuum and humans vanishing into thin air. Then the actual story mode missions themselves are wonderfully done. There's more drama and political intrigue in this game than most movies are capable of. Only, considerably more bears and dogs doing it. There are a few horrible stealth levels that you just have to grit your teeth and trudge through. You don't know how far the enemies can see, it's extremely inconsistent, it's heavily based on trial and error, there are far too few check points, and the levels seem to go on forever. But do them anyway because you don't want to miss the ending. I am 100% secure enough in my manhood that I can openly admit that the end of this game made me tear up. They foreshadow the ending when you're collecting the articles to unlock the last story mission, but the final moments are so pulse pounding and intense that you're solely focused on your goal so you forget what you saw leading up to it.
The game does start to drag on once you've finished the story and you're just left to unlock new animals for survival mode. There's very little to distinguish the different animals from each other. The Pomeranian is just a weaker Beagle, which is a weaker Retriever, which is a weaker Tosa, which is a weaker wolf, which is almost exactly the same as a jackal. I'd rather have fewer base types of animals and have the different breeds be skins for that class. As it is now, unlocking a new animal isn't all that interesting since they change very little one animal to the next and it means you have to upgrade 50 or so animals, so you'll pretty much just ignore the early ones. If they were class-based, you'd be fine playing with the dog class more because it would power up the Pom, Beagle, Retriever, and Tosa. The larger animals also aren't that much fun to play at times. They're either ridiculously slow so it's not fun to tool around as a bear or they have to eat so much to not die that it's far too easy for the game to screw you over with just a few bad strokes of luck. Keeping a healthy outlook and focusing on the larger picture rather than each individual game is important because the game really unfairly piles on calamities. If it decides to poison multiple territories in a row, that's instant death unless you were lucky enough to find random supplies in your previous travels. A poisoned land means that your toxicity gauge raises (when it reaches 100% you start to lose health) and then you can't eat because the water and animals in those areas are also poisoned so you then watch your hunger meter deplete and your life drains from that. It's super frustrating to have a long run going and then you lose by pure chance. This is somewhat balanced by the fact that even when you die, your death is kind of awesome. As a wolf, I was starving and poisoned so I took a chance and attacked a bear. I could one-shot kill a panda if I got the drop on it, but the grizzly was having none of that. I ran for my dear life, passing by some random beagle, and finally got far enough away from the grizzly to hide in tall grass so I could wait out the bear's anger state. The bear came plodding by but I was still hidden and just as the bear was about to pass me, the beagle runs up, claws the bear in the butt, and then dashes away. The bear whirls around, finds my wolf in the grass, and then just brutally slaughtered him. That bastard beagle set me up!
For as frustrating, maddening, and annoying some of the design decisions are or how the game blindsides you with bad luck, Tokyo Jungle is hands down one of the greatest games to come out in years. In complete sincerity, brushing its wackiness aside, the writing, gameplay, concept, and story telling make this a must play. The game peters out when you're unlocking the later animals, but the story mode is worth the $15 price tag alone.
Sins Committed: Bad map, Luck based, Characters are too similar
Virtues Acted: Good music, Good writing, Good story, This is one of the only games where I'm actually proud of getting my trophies in (100%!)