Monday, November 2, 2015
One thing I've always loved about Uncharted was the fact that, when you're hanging off a ledge, it has a separate input for when you want to jump backwards, away from the wall you're hanging from. That's always a tricky thing, in games, as a rule. I can't count the number of times I've flown off into empty space in Prince of Persia, Remember Me, Shadow of the Colossus and ICO.
In Uncharted and its sequels, that input is tied to the Dualshock's tilt function. You just kinda' lean the controller back, and Drake will lean back from the wall to show you he's ready to spring away from it.
I frickin' love that.
Did you know that option isn't included in The Uncharted Collection for PS4? It's like, man.
Fuck you, Bluepoint.
So lately, I've been playing Darksiders.
Specifically, Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition. Don't care for the remaster's not-quite-clever name. Love the content.
There are two downsides to this remaster, though. First of all, I don't remember the control scheme in the original release, but I feel like opening a menu to switch my tool/weapon is a bit too involved. Second, the fact that you can't save to multiple slots is... a bit scary.
In any game that permits manual saving, I usually run with three or six saves. I don't know why it's three or six, but it's something that I was really hoping the Deathinitive Edition would sport, because my last playthrough of the game on PS3 was halted by a progression-killing bug.
I live in terror of that occurring again - but I'm already past the point that it struck last time, so maybe this remaster kind of lives up to the name. Smoothed out those kinks.
My first night with it - I came home with Darksiders and Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition - it was like snuggling back in to a warm blanket. Darksiders is not, and has never been, a technology-pushing engine of programming spectacle - it's not triple-A in the Battlefield or Uncharted sense, but it offers something that the Call of Duties and Assassin's Creeds can't. Or won't.
It's imaginative. Fantastical. Gorgeous, artistically, and filled with character and style. It makes a very, very strong statement for the need for a middle-class of game development. A healthy double-A. Far more ambitious than your little retro-styled indies (Hotline Miami, Spelunky) or your triple-A indies (Bastion, Galak-Z), but nowhere near as balls-to-the-walls huge as Grand Theft Auto or...
...I was about to say Zelda. But y'know what? Fuck Zelda. Zelda hasn't been fun (for me, at least) since A Link to the Past. It's been tired as Van Winkle since the sixteen bit era, and there is ample room for other games to take the basic Metroidvania formula (which Zelda definitely does) and have fun in a big, sprawling 3D world.
Look at Okami. It's a frickin' masterwork, and it's just the Zelda/Metroid formula with a bit of a spin, and a bit of spice. So it is with Darksiders.
Some of its pacing is a bit strange, the third act is non-existent, a lot of the side quests don't give you nearly enough information, and yet... it's so lovely. In the important way. In how it plays. In how its mechanics are so... considerate of the player. There's something... thoughtful and loving about it.
The game begins - naturally - with a tutorial as Death, horseman of the apocalypse, rides his way towards the ancient tower of the Crowfather, in search of a way to clear the name of his falsely-accused brother, War. You kill some evil ice-monsters and you start climbing some walls, and the platforming isn't this kinda' squidgy thing that you tend to get from Zelda, or the floaty style of Okami - it's pure Ubisoft Prince of Persia 2008.
It's all wall-runs and pole-flips and beam-scurries, but here, when you're hanging from a beam suspended in space, and you need to leap to another beam behind you...
...there's a button for that. And it's like, man.
I love you, Darksiders. I'm glad you're on my PS4.
You're fucking awesome.