Saturday, September 13, 2014

Game Diary - Destiny & Vita.

I'm really enjoying Destiny so far.  It's like Borderlands with better gameplay, better graphics, less comedy and more load screens.

The reviews I've come across lately, as outlets allow theirs to trickle out (Activision did not provide any review copies until launch day, as they insisted Destiny's experience could only be appreciated with a full online community), are... mixed.  Polygon - who, one should note, holds its nose so high that snooty publications feel looked down upon - gave it a six out of ten, and while I don't entirely disagree with a lot of their complaints, I don't find myself taking such a haughty view of the game.

It's fun, man.  Destiny's gameplay mechanics are rock, rock solid.  It feels slick and well-honed.  It's fast and rewards skill and when you take a flying leap above a Hive Knight, bring up your iron sights to drop from the glide right into his yellow-glowing face and unload a barrel's worth of rare-quality shotgun shells at it, it feels awesome.

So yeah.  Destiny is fun.  Elsewhere, I've made the profound mistake of trying out the final downloadable content for Muramasa Rebirth.

"I bought it and installed it, of course, but between Don't Starve and Velocity 2x, I haven't been able to tear myself away for long enough to try it.  
I've no doubt, as soon as I do, I will become more than a bit enamoured..."
-me, one and a half weeks ago-
And I did, man.  I was just rolling through Don't Starve - finally, falling in love with Klei's survival Roguelike - and Velocity 2X has proven a worthy timesink, but one day at work I found I was just having a really, really shitty day.

I didn't want something as... emotionally dark as Don't Starve.  I didn't want something as stressful and demanding as Velocity 2X.  I wanted something that was just beautiful and fun.  Something that would soothe my troubled soul, and man, Hell Is Where The Heart Is proved to be just what the doctor ordered.

After I started it up, I haven't touched anything else on my Vita.  Much like the last DLC, Vanillaware have significantly toned down the difficulty, so it more or less matches up with the core game's challenge - to the point that I never had to grind any levels, and swept through the campaign in a mere few hours.

Unlike A Cause to Daikon For or A Spirited Seven Nights' Haunting, I kept playing this one.

The hero - the youngest daughter of the Lord of Hell, who shape-shifts from her cute, clumsy child form (which wields a giant axe) to her hard-hitting adult form to an omnipotent demon form (pictured above) with a quick whack of her lucky mallet - is the most cheerful protagonist that's ever dashed through Vanillaware's Japan, and she's always so happy to have defeated a screen's worth of enemies.

What really keeps me coming back is how fun it is, to fight as Rajyaki.  Her child and adult forms are reasonable analogs for the faster katanas and slower-swinging nodachis of Muramasa proper, but she's built (and her skill trees evolve around) "crushing blows" that activate when she meets certain criteria during combat.

In child form, for example, her down+square diving attack doesn't result in her crashing to the ground.  She'll dive down, hit and enemy and bounce up.  If you dive-attack again, she'll bounce again.  Dive-attack and successfully hit an enemy, and bounce, three times, and on the fourth dive attack she will become a flaming inferno that explodes on impact.

Rajyaki's play style is super satisfying, just because she's built from the ground up to offer the player these seriously satisfying - WHAM! - punctuations throughout her combat style.

She's fun on the bun, and twenty-five experience levels after having beaten her campaign, I'm quite confident in telling you I ain't done yet.  Not by a long shot.

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