All About Katzenbalger
A lot of people are talking about The Last of Us. It's good. It's really, really good. I could spend time talking about why it's so good, but I'd just be reiterating what other people are saying, so instead I'll focus on another part of the game.
I'm going to talk about the multiplayer mode.
It's actually pretty good.
The entire multiplayer mode is framed as a story. You start by choosing a clan; either the Hunters or Fireflies (the difference is negligible). The goal is to have your clan survive 12 weeks. Each match you play counts as a single day. After every match, your total earned salvage (including whatever you might have spent) is calculated and converted into supplies. As you play and win (or lose) matches your clan grows. As it grows, you require more supplies to sustain the population. Earning more than the required amount will make your clan grow in number (with customisation items unlocking for certain milestones). Earning less than required, however, will cause members of your clan to get hungry or sick, eventually dying off if you can't provide for them. Randomly during each week there is an event that will affect your clan's wellbeing, which will give you a challenge to complete over the next few matches (such as getting a certain number of executions, or crafting certain items).
While it is interesting, it's all entirely success based. If you aren't very good you might struggle to earn enough salvage to sustain your clan. As of right now I've played over 20 matches, and am up to week 4. I have 80 people in my clan and all are healthy, but I'm only barely scraping by with enough supplies to sustain my population.
You success in multiplayer is quantified in salvage. You earn salvage by doing just about anything. You earn it for downing enemies, executing enemies, reviving teammates, crafting items; you can even find it in scrap boxes. At the end of a match, salvage is converted into supplies for your clan. Leftover supplies go towards unlocking new weapons and skills.
Salvage can also be used in-match to purchase things. Pressing select during matches will quickly bring up a little menu that lets you buy things or craft items in-match. Salvage can be used at any time to buy ammo, armour or weapon upgrades to improve your chances. Any salvage you spend is still counted at the end of the match, so there are no worries about wasting it. Also, like in the single player campaign, you can also craft a variety of items out of found scraps, such as shivs (for stealthy instakills), molotov cocktails, bombs and even health packs. It's a fun system that rewards resourcefulness.
There are only two game modes, both 4 vs 4 team based modes.
The first, Supply Raid, is pretty much team deathmatch but with limited respawns. Each team starts with 20 respawns. When you are killed, you wait a period of time (within a fifteen second window) and then respawn. Supply Raid is the better mode. It earns you the most salvage, and offers more opportunities to be creative and score kills and earn salvage.
The other game mode, Survival, is basically just elimination. Two teams face off, and everybody has a single life, so once killed youre done. It's round-based, and you play until a team has won four rounds. Teamwork and caution are essential here.
The gameplay itself is a lot of fun, emulating the single player experience pretty well. It is a much more measured, slower paced experience compared to the MP offerings in the Uncharted games. You can't go in guns blazing, and it's inadvisable to split off from your team. You start with very little ammo. With some guns you don't even have a full clip. Enemies you kill will drop some ammo and you can buy more if you have the salvage, but you never have enough to let you fire wastefully. You also have a proper health bar. It functions the same way as in the campaign; you need a medkit to regain health (which can be found or made). As in the campaign, you can use listen mode to see moving enemies through walls, but its use is limited to a few seconds. You can set your own loadouts, with enough combinations of skills and weapons available to suit whatever playstyle you want.
Multiplayer matches become more strategic and intense as a result. It's actually pretty awesome.
So yeah, i like the multiplayer mode. While i understand many don't care that it exists, i'd just like to say that it doesn't feel tacked on, it's a very solid offering. It also helps that i've had zero connection problems whatsoever, which is rare for me. So kudos to Naughty Dog for pulling this off.
What else needs to be said? I mean, really? All the sites are doing this, all the blogs are doing this.
And now I am apparently.
Sony basically put the smackdown on Microsoft. Not on the game reveal front, that was pretty even, but about the console itself. Sony, in the simplest terms possible, gave the clearest answers about the PS4 and its (lack of) restrictions, seemingly doing the opposite to everything MS has done. No online check, no blocking of used games, no creepy robot eye analysing how many people are in the room. Sony also made these announcements clearly, which is something MS hasnt done at all. And it's cheaper too! Who'd a thunk it?
Have you seen the Sony 'How to share PS4 games' video? It's glorious.
PS+ is needed to play online multiplayer for the PS4. I've been expecting this for a long time. And honestly? It doesn't bother me that much. I had my PS3 for a full year before I made my online profile (did it for Killzone 2) so i can functionally enjoy console gaming without online if need be. And unlike Live, I'd actually be interested in signing up for PS+ (the constant slew of deals and free games has always tempted me).
On the games front i was a little disappointed that nothing major was really announced (at least in my eyes). All the expected multiplats were announced for Xbox, FF Versus 13 has changed name to FFXV, Dead Rising 3 is Xbox exclusive. Killer Instincts is back, but being made by Double Helix (who made the GI Joe, Battleship and Green Lantern tie-in games) and is apparently Free-to-Play but with only a single character, with the rest as paid DLC (so they took what should have been an Ace and turned it into a Joker? Good job!). Mad Max seemed like a pretty cool announcement.
Otherwise nothing new or spectacular. Then again, i only read the highlights for E3 so i could have missed some stuff.
Enough of that nonsense. Gaming stuff. I finished a bunch of games, clearing out my queue i guess in anticipation for The Last of Us.
Call of Juarez is a decent downloadable arcade-styled FPS. It's short and a lot of fun, with a clever story-telling mechanic. Basically you play as an elderly gunslinger sitting in a bar recanting old tales of his exploits (which may or may not have happened). Because it's all about storytelling, things changes as he tells the story and remembers new details. There's two endings, which you get to choose at the end, and really the 'bad' ending is far more satisfying than the good one is.
Resident Evil Revelations was fun, although that final boss was a bastard (a total step-up compared to all the other enemies). I've immersed myself into Raid mode (i've spent double the time in Raid than in the campaign). If i can finish all Trench levels, i unlock Jessica's inappropriate swimsuit costume!
Quantum Theory is a stupid nonsense game. It's a cheap Gears of War knockoff but people who don't know how to make shooters (KOEI apparently). I'll bitch about it later.
Metro Last Light i really enjoyed, but the story itself left me feeling lost a bit. It just never grabbed me. THe actual world and atmopshere were great, truly masterclass stuff, but the actual plot seemed basic and throaway to me. Maybe it's because i never finished Metro 2033. I dunno. But i do love Last Light, the gameplay and atmosphere alone cement this.
Deadly Premonition has one of the weirdest and most entertaining stories i've ever played through. It takes several weird turns as it goes on, heaping on a bunch of revelations as you reach the finale. The characters are so well written for this that it's ridiculous. Especially Emily - if you want to talk about well-written female characters Emily should be there. The gameplay, again, sucks badly and takes away from the experience, but i was happy to endure it to experience Deadly Premonition.
Deadly Premonition is, essentially, the videogame version of Twin Peaks. From story and characters, to the inherent quirkiness they share a lot in common. Don't believe me? Well, lets look at the basic storylines for both.
Special Agent Dale Cooper is sent to the small town of Twin Peaks to investigate the mysterious murder of a beautiful young woman. While there he interacts with a bizarre cast of characters and uncovers the darker side of the idyllic small-town, while also coming across possibly supernatural phenomena.
Special Agent Francis York Morgan is sent to the small town of Greenvale to investigate the mysterious murder of a beautiful young woman. While there he interacts with a bizarre cast of characters and uncovers the darker side of the idyllic small-town, while also coming across possibly supernatural phenomena.
While there are obvious parallels (there's a fixation on coffee in both, and Deadly Premonition's Pot Lady mirrors the Log Lady from Twin Peaks) Deadly Premonition's story and characters are unique and different, with plenty of mysteries and shocks.
A lot of Deadly Premonition is about getting to know the characters, their quirks and ticks, their relationships with each other and everything that goes on in Greenvale. There are a lot of cutscenes, many to push the story forward but also a lot purely to flesh out characters or simply add flavour to the characters and town. After having a heart-to-heart conversation with the gruff and surly town sheriff, you sit and listen to a lounge singer. You have lunch with your new comrades while recounting the grisly details of a serial murderer. Little things like these make the world feel well-developed, and make the game feel like a real TV serial.
It's also very grisly when it comes to key story developments. There is some really freaking shocking stuff here. The murders are gruesome and are really taking me by surprise. It's substantially darker than you'd first assume.
The game has immense amounts of charm, especially from York. Constantly smoking, obsessing with coffee and conversing at length with a (possibly) imaginary friend named Zack, York is an interesting and entertaining protagonist. When driving long distances, he will ramble at length about 80s movies, while his observations and comments are downright strange.
Overall, Deadly Premonition is interesting, charming and entertaining and I'm completely invested into the story and characters.
You'll probably notice I haven't said anything about the game itself nor the gameplay yet. There's a reason for that, and it's the essential deal breaker. As a game, Deadly Premonition is freaking terrible. Ugly graphics, shoddy frame rate, terrible controls, and horrible tedious gameplay round up the experience. The 'game' aspect of Deadly Premonition is endured, not enjoyed.
Gameplay is split between driving around town and talking to people and terrible third-person shooting sections. Neither is much fun.
There's a 24-hour system where shops open and close, where you can talk to townsfolk, do side missions, go shopping and generally explore the map. Driving is slow and the game has a truly horrendous map system, making navigation a hassle. You also have to constantly refill your car with petrol from the sole petrol station in the middle of the map. There are a lot of long load sequences (even for getting into and out of a car).
The shooting sections are basically a really terrible version of RE4. During your investigation, sometimes you'll be pulled into a darker version of the world. During these times the game tries for a horror atmosphere, but mostly falls completely flat. You'll make your way through ugly grey, linear corridors as moaning pseudo-zombies spawn in from floors and walls and you shoot them with weak-feeling weapons until they dissolve into the floor. These parts aren't much fun, but they make up the majority of the game's action.
Even throughout all this terribleness, there are still some charming mechanics. You can shave and change clothes to keep a tidy appearance (if you don't flies start to buzz around you). You also have to regularly eat and sleep, like a regular person. But when it gets down to it, this is a game that you play for the story and quirky characters. It is completely lacking in the gameplay department though, but the story, characters and charm are fantastic.
As such its difficult to recommend the game. It's something quite unique, but the actual game aspects are not much fun. If you can look past the faults you'll find an engaging and interesting experience.
I'm up to episode three (that's 9 hours in so far) and I am completely invested into it now. I love the characters and I'm now involved in the story, especially in the wake of some truly horrific events. I need to play it to the end and find out what exactly is going on.
My Recent Reviews
Some people just don't have opinions. Like Katzenbalger.
Jun 17, 2013 7:23 pm GMTKatzenbalger posted a new blog entry entitled The Few of Us
Jun 11, 2013 4:39 pm GMTKatzenbalger posted a new blog entry entitled Obligatory E3 thoughts, plus a bunch of games i finished.
Jun 4, 2013 2:50 pm GMTKatzenbalger posted a new blog entry entitled Deadly Premonition is basically the videogame version of Twin Peaks
May 25, 2013 7:32 pm GMTKatzenbalger posted a new blog entry entitled Revelations of the creepily sexy kind
May 23, 2013 4:50 pm GMTKatzenbalger posted a new blog entry entitled Gears of Resistance?
May 15, 2013 7:14 pm GMTKatzenbalger posted a new blog entry entitled Movies and Games update
May 6, 2013 3:52 pm GMTKatzenbalger posted a new blog entry entitled May Update
Apr 26, 2013 4:09 pm GMTKatzenbalger posted a new blog entry entitled The whole Dragon's Crown nonsense
Apr 22, 2013 3:47 pm GMTKatzenbalger posted a new blog entry entitled Dragon's Dogma: Tips for beginners
Apr 15, 2013 4:05 pm GMTKatzenbalger posted a new blog entry entitled Update! Comics! Games! Etc!