Saturday, February 27, 2010

Brutality of Bayonetta

I finished Bayonetta earlier this week. 

I enjoyed the game but feel like even though I've completed the story, the "game" is disappointed in my ability.

The story is crazy.  I found myself getting caught up with the Bayonetta's quest to remember her past and was compelled to see how everything would become resolved.  But I have to admit that I also felt like I would never finish some of the fights.  Last week I tweeted that I found verse 5 in Chapter 6 to have one of the more difficult battles.  I still stand by that.  Any battle that has more than 2 lightning fast mobs swarming you on screen is going to automatically end with me either dying or wasting a Red Hot shot or a using one or more of the green lollies.

I started playing the game with a conservative view toward my ingredients (mostly because I didn't quite understand the benefits of the various lollies) but by the end of the game I was compelled to use everything at my disposal to get through each fight so that I could see how the story ended.

As I said the story is crazy (too crazy to try and recap or explain) suffice to say that as an Umbran witch Bayonetta realizes she has magnificent powers and recognizes that she has a destiny to use those powers to restore her memory and restore a wrong done to her some 500 years ago.  Once you get that concept down the rest of the story is just a hoot to see how exactly every setting that is created fits without losing sight of the game's reality.  The reality isn't William S. Burroughs skewed, but definitely makes you scratch your head at times, and laugh out loud at others.  

The thing that has really grown on me about Bayonetta is just how much the game subtly forces you to learn how to play better.  For every lolly that you use or death that you have (and continue) a penalty is applied to your score at the end of the level.  Even with mostly golds, silvers or the random platinum won for each verse in a chapter I still had to use enough lollies or died to keep my score diminished to the point that I always got a Stone trophy at the end.  At the end of the game a humbling chart shows how you did.  A line of green trophies all across the chart is what I ended up.

By seeing the humbling chart and realizing how much of a penalty I was incurring at the end of each chapter I really want to go back through the game again and make sure that I get a better score but also purchase some of the better items.

My only real complaint with the game is it doesn't seem to know when to say enough is enough.  Boss battles are creatively designed but once you face a boss they show up again and again in the later chapters.  As if fighting the mobs weren't enough, "let's pile on more versions of the last boss from two levels ago".  Maybe I was just trying to rush through so that I could find out the story, but I can't help but feel that there are just a few too many waves of enemies toward the end of the game.

Regardless of the quantity of enemies, the ride all along is an enjoyable one.  Bayonetta is one game that really is surprisingly fun.  One thing that I'd really like to see added to the game (although it would break the story) is the ability to have local co-op or at least local dual combat.  If you get a chance to play I highly recommend it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thoughts on God of War 1

So now that the glut of games that I received at Christmas had finally been parsed through I have gone back to God of War 1 in HD.

Maybe this is old news but God of War 1 is a fantastic game except for some horrendously awful points.

Combat is fluid and the degree of challenge increases naturally the further you progress.  I love that.  The animation of the chains flinging from Kratos' hand to demolish a mob is completely satisfying.  The story told through the cut scenes are rich and worthwhile (even if they didn't re-render those for HD). The puzzles within the environments are fantastically crafted.

My big gripe for the whole game is jumping/navigating on narrow wooden beams.  Seriously?  Miss the jump by just a smidge and you fall to your death.  Game Over.  Walk a little too close to the spinning blades to get knocked off the beams.  Game Over.  Add to the frustration, no control over the camera to even figure out where the heck I'm supposed to be going and you end up with such a feeling of frustration after feeling so many highs from earlier moments in the game.

I understand games should be challenging.  But game breaking, take you out of the experience, controller throwing, (potential TV destroying) designs just make me so mad.  I love to support great game developers, but hate when something so blatantly bad keeps you from being able to successfully finish a game, and would  I think developers should realize that something should be fixed. 

Granted I'm harping on an older game.  I'm sure it was harped on when the game was released.  I hope problems like that are fixed in God of War 2.  I also hope that if they weren't fixed in God of War 2, that they will be fixed in God of War 3.

Should games that have such complete broken moments in otherwise gorgeously executed designs be let off the hook?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trophy count update

Well two weeks have gone by since I last posted about my trophy count and I can that compared to the folks over at IGN my could pales in comparison.  However I can't complain because I have been enjoying the games that I've been playing (not torturing myself with bad games that are easy trophies).

For the first week I picked up 13 bronze and 3 silver for a total of 95 points.  During the second week I picked up 7 bronze and 6 silver for a total of another 95 points.  Now compare that to even the 6th place contestant during the first week of IGN's contest (82 trophies for 670 points) and it looks like I won't even come close to Greg's first week for the entire month.  But I don't mind because as I said I'm enjoying the games not the collection of trophies.

For a full breakdown of trophy hunting check out the forums at

In my journey for trophy hunting this month I finished inFamous this week and I'll post my thoughts shortly.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trophy count

As my "About Me" describes, I am a trophy hunter.  IGN has taken the idea of hunters or whores to a whole new level by creating a contest within their own ranks to see who can come out on top after a full month of gaming on the PS3.  They are calling it The Great IGN Trophy Whore War.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I prefer the term hunter over whore.  Playing games simply to collect trophies defeats the purpose of playing the game--so you basically become a whore.  I'll admit to going a bit out of my way to boost my trophy count (cough cough--Hannah Montana) yet a large majority of my trophies are earned from playing the games that I actually enjoy.  Trophy hunting does add a certain compulsion to try different tactics or explore parts of a game that may otherwise be overlooked, but in the end I have to say that I like knowing that I have paid for a game and gotten my money's worth.  What better way to validate that than by looking at a column of shiny, bronze, silver, gold and platinum trophies?

I've decided to keep track of my own trophy hunting for the month in the same vein as the IGN staff and I'll give a weekly recap of my efforts.  At the end of January my count totaled 769 trophies which breaks down to 4 platinum, 31 gold, 131 silver and 600 bronze.

Currently in my gaming rotation for potential trophy collection are inFamous, Dragon Age: Origins, God of War Collection, Borderlands, Star Wars The Force Unleashed and GTA 4.

Stay tuned for the least important aspect of gaming, trophy hunting!