Title: Some demo discussion
Posted: August 22, 2009 (02:08 AM)
I've been playing a couple of demos quite a bit lately.
The first is Batman Arkham Asylum. Holy shit.
Okay, so this demo is about 5 minutes long (15 if you take your time and talk to everyone and explore everything there is to see). It's also extremely linear and shows possibly one of the most boring parts of the game: the tutorial-like opening.
So why have I played it 20 times already?
Part of the reason is that, despite everything I said above about linearity, each time I've played it it's been different. There's this one room with five or six guys that you have free reign to take down, as long as you aren't shot to hell, which means you don't want to be spotted.
Let me stop there for a moment and elaborate on that. This isn't Tenchu, where your game ends immediately if you're spotted. It's not even Metal Gear, where being spotted leads to a lengthy fleeing sequence punctuated by Otacon yelling SNAAAAAAAKE when you eventually die.
Batman moves like a panther and can disappear almost at whim. He can take down a horde of enemies with fluid martial arts moves, all activated via the use of a single button (there are two other buttons you CAN press if you want to get fancy and more strategic).
Yet he has his ONE RULE. He does not kill.
So forget about pulling up those automatic machine guns and blind firing your way through the game. Batman preys on people's fears. He takes guys out one by one until the last one left standing is a jibbering mess.
And each time I've played, I've found another way to take down each guy, another way to strike fear into the hearts of these clowns.
And they always find another way to lose it, to go crazy, to yell at each other and, even, to occasionally surprise me and gain the upper hand.
If you've seen it in a Batman film or in the show, you can do it here. Everything you ever wanted a Batman game to be about is here. And every corner of the Asylum oozes a delicious promise of a dark story.
And that's just the demo. I can't wait for full release.
In other news, me and Dissidia have patched up our differences. I now enjoy the game quite frequently. Once I understood the controls a bit better I started to see the strategic possibilities. There are still some things I don't like, such as the repetitiveness of the animations (especially after seeing something as smooth as Arkham Asylum) and the difficulty of timing the blocks AND the ease of timing the dodges.
On that last note, the thing about a block is it takes your opponent off guard and opens them up for a hit. In Dissidia you are constantly moving and dodging. A hit can set you up for a fatal combo. You don't want to get hit. Now, dodging is pretty easy, which is good except... well, it's easy for the enemy, too. Which means you end up in these prolonged dodge-fests where no one can land a hit.
Enter blocking. Now you can see why opening up someone for a hit is so desireable, even more so than usual in a fighting game. And yet it's so hard to do. Not every attack is blockable, I'm convinced and it's very hard to tell when a character is about to hit you, as they have very stylistic forms of fighting which are hard to predict.
Now, that all looks pretty sweet, I have to admit. It feels like you're directing your very own FF FMV. Like I said, though, the moves are a little limited for that to work IN THE DEMO. I don't feel it's quite a fair criticism, yet, because I've been assured that there's quite a few more moves coming in the full release.
In any case, I play it whenever I have a few moments to spare. It's a "moment to spare" kind've game. But whereas Arkham Asylum is a demo that has already sold me and only promises to do more in a full release, Dissidia is a demo that is selling me based more on its promises than what it's already delivered.
It's the difference between a promising game (DIssidia) and what is sure to be an instant and enduring classic (Batman).
I've also, incidentally, been playing a fuck-ton of FF7, but we'll save the discussion of an FF Remake for another blog post.
Posted: August 22, 2009 (02:40 AM)
That is all.
Posted: August 22, 2009 (08:04 AM)
What does happen if you're spotted?
Posted: August 22, 2009 (12:22 PM)
If you're spotted they start attacking you hand to hand (the end for them) or shooting you (if they have guns). Batman can't take too many bullets, but it only takes a well pre-planned escape route to get out of danger. Do you shoot up to the ledge above you and hide in a vent, coming out when one of the guards comes to investigate (to choke him into submission, of course)? Do you duck around a corner and throw a batarang at your pursuers to stun them, giving you time to slink back into the shadows?
The options are many and varied and quick. This isn't like MGS where you have to wait for an alert phase to end. The guards keep looking for you as IF there is an alert phase, but Batman's goal isn't to sneak. It's to cause fear. So even if you get spotted, disappearing into the shadows furthers your fear tactics. You're always making progress towards your goal of scaring the piss out of enemies until you can pick them off.
Posted: August 22, 2009 (09:39 PM)
So it sounds like getting spotted could actually be a good thing in certain situations. That's cool.
Posted: August 22, 2009 (11:23 PM)
Yeah, you want to get spotted a certain degree, or at least leave your handiwork to get spotted, so that enemies flip out and lose their solidarity.
The more frightened enemies are, the easier they are to take out.