Sunday, August 10, 2014

Game Diary.

Sorry for the sporadic posts, lately.  I've been trying to eliminate nicotine's cursed grip on my soul, in the name of having a little extra cash, and it's only resulted in stressing me out.  It does not, perhaps, help, that the three games I'm tooling around in at the moment - Rogue Legacy, Road Not Taken and The Last of Us Remastered are all stressful as fuck.

Or can be.  Road Not Taken is... it reminds me a bit of Dustforce, in that I kinda' love it and wish it were a better game at the same time.  "A better game" is too harsh - it sets out to be inscrutable to the player, thick with all sorts of (insane) little techniques and tricks you'll never comprehend until you stumble across them - two orange spirits and a white spirit make a dark spirit that will come and steal your energy!

The first time you fling an orange spirit out of your way and the three spirits combine, you might not have even seen it - wait, what just happened? - and now the dark spirit's on the playfield and you're basically fucked, unless you have a glowing blue flame bowl thing handy to throw at it.

There must be techniques for handling dark spirits without the blue flame bowl thingie... I'd better start up another run and see if I can find 'em.

I have shouted "fucking bird!" at the screen when one of those godawful raven things picked me up for the third time and deposited me across the map.  I took until the fourth abduction for me to realize they will only grab me when I am directly below them on the map, and they have a clear shot into me.  Solution: approach the birds from above or to the side, pick them up and toss them into objects I want them to take off the play field.  Alternate: throw them to the bottom of the screen.  Alternate pt. II: place another object beneath them, so they never have a clear line of sight.

It is, then, thus far, a successful roguelike, in that every run I begin to intuit more of the rules that govern its vast variety of animals, spirits, plants and objects.  Every run, I last a bit longer than I did before - my career as a ranger, saving lost children, lasting perhaps an extra year before the rooms become so cluttered and so dense that I can't figure out how to move anything, to make any progress, and collapse in the snow.

I think I love it.

I do.

How the fuck?!

Rogue Legacy I did not find as instantly-endearing as Road Not Taken - likely because Road Not Taken is absolutely gorgeous - but Rogue Legacy's grown on me, man.  It fits in to that part of your brain that played Mega Man and Ghosts N' Goblins back in the day when 8 bits were enough for any game to have.

Rogue Legacy, the game, wants you to succeed.  It's constantly lifting you up by jamming shivs beneath your meagre ability through the permanent upgrades you can unlock - hit harder, have more health, better weapons, armor, et cetera - but Rogue Legacy's gameplay is totally unforgiving.

That's part of its almost-comical bent, of course - countless generations of my family line have perished within the cursed walls of its labyrinthian ziggurat, and rarely to the colossal mace of a truly imposing enemy.  More often than not, it's some shameful thing like a wall turret that shoots on a predictable cycle, and only horizontally, or falling on spikes, or leaping down as a zombie emerges from the floor and whacks off my last sliver of life.

I didn't see the game everyone was swooning over in 2013 for a long time, but I can, now.  With a few modern design choices running behind the curtains of a very old-school-looking and feeling game, Rogue Legacy grants you the nostalgia factor, the rock-hard challenge (and bragging rights) of games of old while keeping things interesting in a modern way.

Yeah, man, it's really good.

The problem being, both of these games are nowhere near being completed by yours truly, and in two days Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed drops, along with Hohokum - and a week after that it's CounterSpy.
Maybe I'll just see if I can play Rogue Legacy all day and at least get that one out of the way...

No... better yet, Road Not Taken.  At least that one's not a port.

Yeah, okay, that's a plan.

Oh, also, I'm making panzanella and home-made Hawaiian pizza for dinner.  That'll be awesome.

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