Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

AD16- Real Adventurers Use Velcro

Rhett and Lust set the bar low so it can always be exceeded. Then again, when your main contact with children is them putting you in dangerous situations or you trying to kill them before they can harvest your soul, spontaneous combustion is a viable benchmark.
Or she's just dastardly and is using her cuteness to throw them off her trail. Adoption, it's the ultimate long con!
Sins fully supports adoption and is relatively sure that orphans and those being looked after as wards of the state are not, in fact, dastardly con men and are in all likelihood wonderful people that just need help and a loving home.


Seriously long, What is he good for Review: Darksiders-
I can sum up everything wrong with Darksiders in a single picture. Your character controls badly, is incredibly stupid, and probably downright incompetent:
http://sincomics.com/Images/DSFall.JPG
I left the game like that for 20 minutes just so I could charge my camera's batteries and take a picture of that. The character is in his "falling" animation but he's only stuck in that tiny crack in the floor. I couldn't jump or move myself to get on "solid" ground. In the bottom left, you can even see the giant spider monster I was chasing and lo that I've smoten monsters several stories tall, but no, the Horseman of War is felled by a minor crack in a floor. For a game that borrows (steals may be more accurate) so heavily and outright shamelessly from other games, it doesn't seemed to have actually learned anything from them. There's just no excuse for the ripoff Portal gun. The puzzles are poorly made, you can rarely see or tell where you're supposed to be going, and not a single one is fun while many are just outright frustrating. It's here that you run into just how poor the level design really is and if they had just taken the time to have somebody play through these levels and point out where the objective isn't clear or where you can't even tell where want to wind up, the game would have been vastly improved. At this point, how can a company so severely botch a simple lock-on targeting system? Darksiders is heavily influenced by the 3D Zelda games, but Ocarina of Time came out 12 years ago and not only does DS not improve the targeting, but it's actually worse than Zelda's. The view gets too close so you can't see the other enemies, the camera doesn't turn well, if you're near a wall (or god help you, a corner) you may as well give up any hope of seeing something useful, it targets enemies that are far away and ignores ones that are in your face and attacking you, you have to continue to hold the targeting button rather than just tapping it to turn it off/on, and the game rarely bestows on you the ability to change the enemy you're targeting so while it may be willing to switch targets among the smaller enemies to the outside of the group, you just can't highlight the huge enemy that can wreck you in three hits. DS features some truly odd control choices with combinations all over the place, so that if you don't play the game for a day or two, you're probably going to forget how to do half your moves. It's core flaw is that there's just so much combat. When things are going well, you can do some neat moves and at times it feels like Street Fighter, but after you kill the 300th grunt ghoul, it's just so tedious. There are more enemies than there needs to be in every battle, enemies have more health than they need to have, and you can't go five minutes without getting into a fight, so you rarely ever get a break from all the tedious brawling. Just one example to let you know how mind numbing this all is. One enemy in the game takes 15 complete combos to kill (regular “heavy grunt” style enemy, not a mini boss or anything). You have to fight one, then another one that has four small grunts with him, then another one that has eight grunts with him, and then two at the same time. Not counting the grunt enemies, you have to stand there and do 75 complete combos to end a single battle. They aren't even hard to beat either. He glows before he attacks so you have plenty of time to dodge, so instead of the battle being difficult or meaningful, it's just long. Even the boss battles labor on for far too long. To the point that you think you're doing something wrong too. Typically in adventure games, when you go through the boss's attack pattern three times, the battle isn't changing, and you don't seem to be making any progress, that signifies you're missing something and aren't playing properly. Not here. It just means that every enemy has way, way, waaay too much health and since they don't even have energy meters, you can't tell how how close you are to killing them or if you're even hurting them. Several times I had to stop playing, go to an FAQ, and confirm that this is how the battle is supposed to be going because the fight was taking forever. That's atrocious game design. When it came to the penultimate battle, I actually found a shortcut to trick the game into speeding up the boss's pattern, but my punishment for doing this was that the game would put the boss in a specific state so I could trigger the QTE to kill him, so I probably drug the battle on for an extra ten minutes or so. Kind of sad that I got the point where I was so beaten down that it didn't phase me that the battle was lasting 25 minutes.
Your character is so weak on top of it. While enemies may take a dozen combos to kill, you go down in three or four hits. Your health bar has subtanks like in Metroid, but some enemies have moves that take away over one subtank from you. They can juggle you too. So if you get juggled into a corner, between the bad camera and the enemies knocking you back, you just have to sit there and watch your enitre health bar deplete and you die. Story-wise, the dialogue takes it extremely seriously and some characters are so overly gruff and stoic that it just comes across as funny. The main character especially smacks of the Rob Liefeld Image comics look and feel. Everything he says has to try to feel so monumental, gravely, and scriptural, but he's the least likeable character in the game. He's so over developed yet fairly uninteresting at the same time. Look back at that picture and see how many different layers of clothing, armor, and coverings he's wearing and look at all the bangles and trinkets he's decked out with. The man just needs some pouches. But while all the side characters are fantastic, genuinely likeable, and have some downright great voice acting, they're overly developed and cluttered too. Every inch of the demons' bodies is covered in wrinkles, ridges, or grooves just to squeeze in more bumps and lines. Mark Hamill is an awesome voice actor as always, so even though he's basically just doing his Joker voice, I found myself rooting for his dirt bag manipulative demon over the main character. Color-wise, the game is mostly drab and over developed with an excess of debris, but it has some neat designs scattered through it. It's amazing how little work it takes to make a big city look like ancient demonic castles, but the architecture frequently gets in your way. You'll spend minutes at a time looking around the world just trying to figure out where to go or what to do because it's rarely clear whether you have to solve a puzzle to advance or if you just can't make out where a ledge is or if you can reach something you're looking. I was stuck for ten to fifteen minutes in one room thanks to a spinning camera preventing me from seeing that the ledge I wanted to jump to was mostly off the screen and around a corner. I only caught it out of the corner of my eye while jumping around randomly. DS even features the end of the game "backtrack to every place you've already been to pick up the item that was invisible the first time you came through" slog. Not only do you have to trudge through all the areas again, but to get one piece you have to use an item in a new way and the game doesn't even tell you you're able to do it. Nowhere in the game have you had to grapple onto the climbable walls before, nothing tells you can grapple onto those walls, and every other place you've used the grapple, there's been a special icon indicating that the grapple works there. Again, that's just terrible game design. I should require a Youtube walkthrough to learn a required and basic function of an item. As you can tell by that picture, it's a buggy game too. Falling through things, not being able to target objects, enemies hitting you through objects, controls not responding, the character not grabbing ledges, heck, just quitting the game crashes the system. Almost. Every. Single. Time. All but two times I turned the game off, it made my PS3 crash instead of shutting down. So as terribly made and as poorly designed as Darksiders is, it has hope. There's a solid game buried in there, pleading to be given to a competent development team that won't make such amateurish mistakes. I loved the ending (even though it shamelessly sets itself up for a sequel) so as somebody that's almost all faith in The Legend of Zelda games, I could see myself sticking with this series if they fix the multitude of problems and scale back on the endless combat.
Sins Committed: See the last two pages of a rambling write-up
Virtues Acted: Good characters, Good story, Running around blowing a horn at zombies and crows just for the heck of it