If Bioware includes this as DLC, all is forgiven. Not that they needed forgiveness from us….
If Bioware includes this as DLC, all is forgiven. Not that they needed forgiveness from us….
Thrift stores are neat, in the sense that one can rummage through an assortment of garbage and useless knick knacks in hopes of finding some hidden treasure or some amazing item you never knew you wanted, but now cannot fathom life without it. In my experience, whether I go into a thrift store with an agenda or not, I always seem to find something that randomly perks my interest.
This is usually the same situation I deal with when I peruse through the many titles in the Xbox Live Indie selection. Amongst a barrage of vibrator apps, Minecraft clones and avatar games, every now and then you find a game that, quite honestly, I would’ve paid 160 MS points for.
On such occasion, that game was Trailer Park King. I knew absolutely nothing about this game, aside from the typical washed out rocker with terrible fashion sense, which usually lurked around the small town I grew up with. On either side of this outstanding gentlemen were two ladies showing off their “assets”. Now, whether my initial interest in purchasing this game came from some primal appeal to the opposite sex, or perhaps I was curious to see how terrible this game would be, I do not know. Regardless, my hard earned MS points were spent, and with an open mind, I began the journey into the Monarchy of the Trailer world.
Trailer Park King is an XBLIG title made by Freelance Games. The protagonist of the game is “King” who thinks he is hot stuff around the trailer park. The ladies of the park may fawn over the hero, but he also has to deal with the real manager of the trailer park, Truck. Through a series of unfortunate events, the protagonist must prove he was not responsible for the untimely demise of the trailer park manager. Trailer Park King is a series, with part 2 recently released.
With a title like “Trailer Park King” one shouldn’t expect some sort of rich story line about a hero finding true love, or a deep enriching plot line about conquest and dragon slaying. Still, Trailer Park King starts out with the ridiculous immediately. Imagine, if you will, Leisure Suit Larry somehow got blown into a small town in the Deep South. Every little joke is reminiscent of the kind of humor that the LSL series was known for, adding tons of jokes about red necks and such.
Obviously, this is not a game for those who get easily offended. Every single female in this game is illustrated in a style one only sees in adult films. Clothes barely on, blouses unbuttoned, and sexual references abound; clearly not the kind of game play designed for anyone who might not approve of misogynist humor. Still, these characters are illustrated no different than female characters in Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur, or a zillion other games. While I’m certainly not defending this patriarchal mentality, there are certainly far worse examples of sexual perversity in other games. At least Trailer Park King doesn’t go out of its way to defy physics, or force characters into body armor that serves zero practical usage.
Trailer Park King’s style reminds me a lot of old PC adventure games. There is next to no animated movements, except for when you move King around the trailer park. The game is also almost entirely based on conversation trees and using common sense and logic to solve the various riddles thrown at you. I was able to get through each installment in about 30 minutes apiece. The challenges and mini games aren’t particularly challenging, except for a few moments where the game eases off helping you out and forcing you to figure out the next part on your own. Again, everything about this game reminded me of the old Sierra franchise Leisure Suit Larry.
Despite the crude humor and lack of zero complexity, I still found myself not only finishing the first installment of this series, but actually purchasing part two. The humor is very adult like, but being a mature 28 yr old, I still found it enjoyable and even a tad humorous. The jokes and comments are so over-the-top, it’s difficult to take them with any sort of harm. In a world where people get offended but are so quick to make an off color joke when no one is looking, I don’t see anything particularly evil with the brand of comedy Freelance Games uses in the Trailer Park King series. This game is by no means even close to the level of Rapelay, and doesn’t suggest anything that one hasn’t seen on most TV or movies. Even so, I wouldn’t recommend playing this game with the children around due to the mature nature of content.
At the end of the day, you could spend $1.00 on a lot worse things, like Angry Birds. If you’re maturity level can handle it, or you really need a fix of pixilated scantily clad girls, Trailer Park King parts 1 and 2 are available in the XBLIG catalog for 80 MS points a piece.
The original Red Steel was a launch title for the Wii that quickly garnered a reputation for being a terrible game that should be avoided at all costs. People who had never played the game or did not even own a Wii told me flat out “Don’t buy Red Steel”. Though I personally don’t agree with the hate surrounding this title, one questions why Ubisoft decided to title their next first-person Wii game “Red Steel 2” (especially when it is in no way related to Red Steel). Perhaps they thought “Any publicity is good publicity”.
Though better received than its predecessor, many people had several complaints with Red Steel 2, including no story, no character development, no exploration, and lengthy loading times between areas. Let’s take these complaints one at a time shall we?
The story is admittedly bare-bones: You are “Hero”, the last of the Kusagari Clan on a mission to get back the clan katana from a local gang called the Jackals and kill as many of them as you can in the process to avenge your murdered clan-mates. Character development is non-existent, which makes sense seeing as the characters are clichéd and given no background. You have the old sensei, the gruff marksman, the tech-savvy girl, and… that just about covers it. Exploration is also mostly absent from Red Steel 2. Like Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii, areas in the game are segmented into interconnected pockets in an attempt to increase graphical output and minimize load time between areas. Though linearity doesn’t totally infect Red Steel 2, there is only light exploration. Bars of gold, tokens, and sheriff stars are speckled throughout the map and, if found, can be used in the shops to upgrade your weapons and armor. The load times between areas can last anywhere from 1 to 8 seconds, but is done is a clever way. All loading takes place as Hero opens doors, making it slightly less noticeably.
Never the less, flow of the game is still broken. All of these complaints certainly are fair for shooters like Modern Warfare and The Conduit but that is not what Red Steel 2 is. It is a beat’em up at heart so the star isn’t the story, the environments, or even the main character. In this title, controls and kills are king.
Despite what people say, not all the environments are desert.
The controls in Red Steel 2 are fantastic. Unlike its predecessor (which had sword fights as separate events), the transition between slashing with your sword and shooting with your gun is seamless. Swinging the Wii remote triggers a 1:1 movement onscreen and pointing at the screen and pressing ‘B’ shoots your firearm. Swinging your Wii remote harder also translates into harder strikes in-game (this is required to break armor). Switching between your four types of weapons (six-shooter, shotgun, rifle, and tommy gun) is done with the D-pad. Tapping ‘A’ triggers a dash, while holding ‘A’ will raise your blade for defense. All the other nuances are in the context-sensitive combo system. [Combos are explained below]
Throughout your quest you will unlock multiple over-the-top sword and gun moves. These can be used in combination and also used as finishing moves. For example, “The Reaper” is a move completed by dashing backwards and slashing horizontally. Normally, your character will run straight at the enemy and slash their stomach, breaking some armor if they have it. When an opponent is ready to be finished off, this button combination will trigger a “Reaper Finisher”. Your character will dash to the side of the enemy while slashing their stomach, and afterwards stab the enemy in the back. Different finishers also activate depending on what type of enemy you are killing. For example, when finishing an easier baddie with “The Shot”, you will dash forward, hold their head with one hand, and shoot them through the chin. While finishing a larger enemy with the same move, you will hop on their back and shoot them through the ear. These are just a few of the varied ways you can kill a man in Red Steel 2 and this is the true reason to play this game. Remember that great feeling in Resident Evil 4 when you shoot a cultist in the knee and proceeded to suplex him? Red Steel 2 continually provides that feeling because of the variety of combos and kills. Never have I had so much fun or felt as bad-ass beating up baddies.
Seconds before cleaning out Big Bill’s brains.
Some final strengths worth mentioning about Red Steel 2 are the graphics and setting. The cell-shaded graphics are crisp, clean and gorgeous. And this is said without the typical “for the Wii” tacked onto the end. It’s somewhat reminicient of last gen’s XIII, but smoother and much more detailed. This combined with the bizzaro world where Japanese temples and samurais co-exist with saloons and cowboys, really sets Red Steel 2 apart. To be fair, a large portion of the game environments look more or less the same but, again, that isn’t the focus of this title.
Pictures do not do this game justice.
Red Steel 2 proves to be miles beyond its predecessor in every aspect. Though well received by most critics, the average bro-gamer stuck up their nose at this game because it’s on the Wii while Wii gamers snubbed it due to its title. Those who take the time to give Red Steel 2 a chance will be treated to a wonderfully stylish game with great controls and some of the most satisfying kills they have ever executed. Do yourself a favor and pick up Red Steel 2 today (don’t forget your Wii Motion Plus!).
For the sake of brevity, let me sum up my feelings of ScaryGirl: It makes me wish I was 10 years old again.
The latest in a franchise based around artist Nathan Jurivicius’s vision of a little abandoned girl who is adopted by a friendly octopus named Bristle, ScaryGirl starts with a bad dream. The face of a dapper if sinister looking man keeps appearing in ScaryGirl’s dreams, and she sets out to The Bad City to find this man. Along the way she fights owls and blackweed under the Tree Of Knowledge, deals with fezed crimelord Chihoohoo, and flings baby Yetis with aplomb. As an artistic achievement, Scarygirl is one of the more memorable platformers around, full of dreamy colors, bizarre landscapes, and character designs straight from the mind of Tim Burton if he had dated more in high school. Since most of the designs for the enemies come from Jurivicius’s vinyl toy line (virtual versions of which can be purchased ingame and displayed in ScaryGirl’s treehouse), all of the characters are well defined visually and fit into a world that feels more cohesive than most platformers.
As coherent as ScaryGirl is visually, mechanically the game suffers from a looseness in control. The basic fighting, a mix of light and heavy attack with unlockable special moves, function well enough, and the first few levels almost lull you into a feeling of a enjoyable if a bit unchallenging experience. Around the halfway point, however, it feels like suddenly the game got away from the developer. ScaryGirl is the highest profile game developer TikGames has done date, the studio being known more for casual titles like Hamsterball and Cinema Tycoon. As new mechanics are introduced, from climbing walls to counterblocking, they progressively feel less and less nailed down. Inconsistent areas of effect, delayed jumping and poor aiming control marrs what should have been a consistently enjoyable experience if the engine had matched the paint job.
Other concepts seem half baked as well. Early on, branching paths are introduced, but with no real indication as to what each choice means to the overall gameplay. While each path has varying difficulty, this can only be determined once a player has played through each path, rendering the choice meaningless on that front. These branching paths grow from pointless exercise to frustrating treadmilling for completionists, as those wishing to attain “Perfection” on each level by collecting all the gems and pulling all the blackweed have to take both paths on the same playthrough, as collected items do not persist between playthroughs, forcing players to ace the level in one go. As levels progress, taking both paths can be impossible if one doesn’t already know the level, as branches become gated off by deadfalls or walls. This imposes the quality of replayability without giving anything in terms of reward other than a few more virtual vinyls on the shelf and an Achievement.
Growing up, most of us did not own many games, meaning we had to find joy in the games that we did have, even if they weren’t that great. For me, it was The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer, which by any objective measure was a terrible game (and like ScaryGirl, also featured a giant octopus, although Tom Sawyer’s didn’t have a jaunty mustache). But I learned to enjoy the game because it was almost literally the only thing I had to play. Were ScaryGirl the only game available to me, the visuals and sense of style would help me overcome the weaker gameplay aspects. But I’m not 10 years old again, I can afford to buy other games, and there are too many other games to play instead of just getting through ScaryGirl for the art. A better use of your $15 would be to pick up a ScaryGirl book: the fantastic art is still present and you can blame any problems using the thing on your own illiteracy.
Mike D did an interview with Attorney Greg Perleberg from Mansfield, Tanick & Cohen, P.A., who specialzes in Patent, Copyright, and IP law, to discuss SOPA, PIPA and the future of copyright laws on the internet and media. You can download the file here as well.
You can find more information about Mr. Perleberg here.