Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

F111- Fingers And Rocket Boosters

They weren't weak points, they were energy sources! And what could be more slothful than lopping off your own functioning legs and making supernatural machinery do the work for you! Sloth went from a lumbering assemblage of armor bits to a lean, mean floating assemblage of armor bits. The way Nature intended. Old Sloth would be seething with jealous if it could muster the energy to seethe.


Quick Critique: Wakfu

I FINALLY got a chance to watch Wakfu and egads is that series beautiful. It has gorgeous animation, fantastic character design, engaging lore, and absolutely no sense of pacing or storytelling. The vast vast vast majority of episodes amount to nothing or tired fantasy wacky romps that simply eat up time. But then the last three episodes in each season are some of the best TV storytelling you can encounter and almost every minute of them is spellbinding. That is a series that knows how to do villains and ramps up to amazing places! They seem like throwaway characters at the start, build up to being sufficiently evil enough to be the main villains, kick their plans into overdrive and become amazingly evil, and are ultimately revealed to have great backstories and motivations so you feel bad for them on a certain level when they get defeated. I definitely recommend watching the show (it's on Netflix in the US), but just watch the first two and last three episodes of each season.


Quick Critique: Sorcery Saga

I was drawn to Sorcery Saga from its description and story summary, and, frankly, a love of curry (Indian or Thai curry though, not Japanese). It all seemed so goofy in an endearing way, I was in the mood for a fun game, and it was on sale, so that's a good combination. Its goodwill wears off in the first few minutes though. Starting with the requisite annoying animal sidekick and little girl with way too big breasts, you're assaulted with anime stereotypes at every turn. You have your half-naked teacher, demon looking guy that falls in love with a young girl by just looking at her, guy immediately accused of being a pervert after a few lines of dialogue that are instantly and ridiculously misunderstood, and the extremely young girl dressed only in small strips of clothing because what the fuck is wrong with this game's developers!? Needless to say, the characters are extremely off-putting. In almost every one of the story sequences that go on for far too long even if you're fast forwarding the dialogue, there are a ton of anime tropes from people accusing others of being perverts to busty characters mocking the hero for being flat to all the stuff that was worn out a few decades ago but still shows up constantly. But despite the characters' obnoxious anime-ness, the plot is pretty fun. You're not out to save the world or defeat a horrible evil, you just want to go adventuring to get ingredients so your favorite curry shop can stay in business. That's a really down to earth plot that's a great change from the standard RPG fare.
The gameplay unfortunately isn't good enough to make up for the characters. It's a Rogue-ish dungeon crawler, but that's about it. It's also one severely lacking in usability. The voices aren't translated but there's a lot of unsubtitled dialogue or music that's people or monsters screaming at you in Japanese, so it's easy to feel like you don't have a good grasp on what's going on. Your inventory size is limited to 24 items but you come across dozens of items that don't explain what they do or have to be appraised before you can see their stats, so you're not sure what you need to hold on to and what you can abandon. There's a crafting system where you can combine items to raise their stats, but it doesn't seem to actually do anything and I never felt like boosting my weapon made me any stronger or made the levels any easier. Your ally has a hunger meter that goes down over time or when it takes damage, but it frequently wanders off and away from you towards enemies, meaning it soaks up damage and dies constantly so you have to go back and give up items to feed it to revive it so you can advance to the next level but enemies respawn over time so you're getting into fights that aren't needed because of your stupid partner. And what items you can feed it appears to be random to a new player. Sometimes feeding it weak weapons sates its hunger, other times it doesn't. Sometimes it takes damage from seemingly normal items causing you to have to feed it again to make up for it. Sometimes you run out of junk items and have to give up an item you wanted to keep or else it will start calling in enemies then die and prevent you from moving on. All of this means that you spend most of your game time in menus or managing this creature that's rarely any benefit to you but you're punished if you don't fiddle around with it. You lose all your stat boosts and levels every time you return to town so paired with the idea that upgrading weapons provides such insubstantial boosts, you never feel like you're making progress.
I also don't understand how the shop system works and was not tempted to properly find out. You can randomly stumble upon a store in a dungeon, walk over to an item but there's no buy prompt, start pressing random buttons until you get a prompt with the price, press the accept button, then when you leave, the shopkeeper calls you a thief, kills you in two hits, and you lose all your items and equipment and all your progress in the dungeon. That's when I quit the game and never came back to it.