Kill La Kill (JP; 2014)
Kill La Kill (JP; 2014)
100 people think i post things worth looking at. so proud!
I’m finding it extremely difficult to articulate my thoughts on Double Dragon Neon. I seem to be of two minds regarding every facet of that game, except for two:
1) Nostalgia is not an excuse for the way women are portrayed in it.
2) This song is great.
Just beat this, and the story made me sad. :( It was great though, the level design was especially well done. I could essentially explore these very wide, open levels at my own pace, and when they became confined to small corridors toward the end, it made the whole final sprint feel more urgent. While I liked the ending (especially that last audiotape, O GOD MY HEARTSTRINGS), I do think this story actually could have lended itself to the “good ending”/”bad ending” Bioshock thing better than 1 or 2 did. Killing all the little sisters should leave Porter unable to reconcile with his actions, faced with the terrible truth of his nature.
Kill La Kill (JP; 2013)
DmC (2013) “Review”
DmC (2013) was Capcom’s attempt to reboot its widely loved Devil May Cry franchise. I’ve played hardly any of the original games, so I can’t make any comparisons in that regard. That being said, even if we look at DmC in a vacuum, it sorely lacks depth. I do not think DmC is a bad game, just a disappointing one. It’s a fairly unremarkable game, with the exception of the story which is horrid. People who loved Devil May Cry on the PS2 are rightly pissed. However, I think the game is enjoyable enough if you either haven’t played those games or manage your expectations.
The combat, while fairly simplistic, was fun. I cannot fault it for what was there, only what wasn’t. The move set was sparse, making fighting repetitive even if you strove for the SSS ranking. And getting an S rank is not challenging at all. On my first playthrough (Nephilim difficulty), I constantly got S or SS rankings in the combat. For perspective, I generally scored very low in other character action games like Bayonetta and Ninja Gaiden. The dearth of combos makes the skill ceiling for this game very low. For Devil May Cry aficionados, this may be a cardinal sin.
Does the combat work at all? Well, juggling enemies was a lot of fun, as was dashing from one to the next, or pulling them to you. These mechanics made for great crowd control and some thrilling acrobatics. Without these mechanics, I would have grown tired of the limited combo system much sooner. I also enjoyed the boss fights, although they are more like set-pieces. I’m glad they were there, but they could have been so much better. They all revolve around jumping to dodge heavily telegraphed attacks, beating up the part of the boss that is conveniently placed right in front of the player for a bit, and then using Dante’s angel/demon hooks for the grand finale. These last bits are essentially camouflaged quick-time events. The demon trigger mechanic is also useless, although maybe there will be more reason for it to be there on higher difficulties. All it does is increase your attack power and suspend enemies in the air. It’s not satisfying and actually makes combat less enjoyable.
There is a little bit of platforming that I only mention out of an obligation to be thorough. It is not automated, so I guess there’s that. It just seems like a terribly uncreative way to insert some variation into the game, and to give the pacing a sense of ebb and flow. However, the “quiet” parts of the game that involve you following an NPC around without the ability to jump or attack (except when it is required to progress), really should have been left on the cutting room floor.
I’m not sure if anyone was expecting the story to be any good, but god damn is it terrible. It’s riddled with plot holes, and Dante is a caricature of what an angry junior high student might think an antihero should be. Honestly, the story is at its best when it is its most campy, like when Dante and the Succubus play a game of “Fuck you!” badminton. Team Ninja should have embraced a campy approach if they were going to put so little effort into the plot. As it stands, these moments only serve to draw attention to how terrible the plot is when it wants to be taken seriously.
One element stands out as worse than all the rest, and that is Kat. Characters like her are the reason that all the complaints of sexism and misogyny in videogames that have grown louder over the past few years are justified. She exists only as an extension of the male characters, humanizing Dante and demonizing Vergil. She is the typical “damsel in distress” with no apparent will of her own. Once her trite backstory has been divulged in a single cutscene, it is never mentioned again and she is only motivated to serve the whims of Dante and Vergil. Not only is it morally reprehensible, it’s a missed opportunity. As the only human, she could have been the most interesting character in the game. Instead, one struggles to see her as anything more than a cardboard cutout forged in the shadow of the male stars.
This was an excellent opportunity to draw upon the source material and make Devil May Cry relevant for a new generation of gamers. Instead, DmC spits on its legacy (Team Ninja even went as far as to include a moment when nu-Dante mocks the visual design of his predecessor very early in the game) and succeeds in turning a monolithic franchise into a mediocre, paint-by-numbers hack and slash.
This isn’t to say the game has no value. Despite all my complaints, I did enjoy it (except for a story that does whatever it can to undo the advances videogames have made as vehicles for narrative). However, I could not stop thinking about how good the game could have been. It does not succeed on the basis of its strengths. Instead it struggles not to be abysmal despite its weaknesses. When you combine the simplistic combat, the cliché boss fights and the Saturday morning cartoon characters, a clear picture of DmC begins to form. That is a picture of missed opportunities and squandered potential.
Kill La Kill (JP; 2013)