The weather in my state more closely resembles the symptoms of the flu than anything else. The last couple weeks have been rapid fluctuations between freezing temperatures to mid 90′s have certainly taken their toll on me. Granted I stay in my cold dark room and play video games regardless of the weather but people who DO venture out into the wilderness post about it constantly on Facebook and if theres one thing we love around here its complaining about the weather, and the sports teams, and the government, and road construction, and pretty much everything when you really think about it, we are an unhappy bunch. So while the local climate was falling victim to multiple personality disorder I chugged my way through the story mode of Injustice: Gods Among Us. Having trained enough for me to feel confident I felt it was time to venture forth into story mode. That, and I was trying to avoid too many story mode spoilers online and that was getting more difficult as time went on.
In the grand tradition of comic books the story is terrible from a literary standpoint but enjoyable enough as is. The game seems to have you fight everyone through the course of the story which sometimes feels a bit contrived and forced. The story was still amusing enough though, plenty of fan service moments and twists that are to be expected from DC at this point. And since it takes place on an alternate Earth thanks to DC’s Infinite Earth concept they are free to kill whomever they want. Really though the biggest problem with the story is that you change character every 4 matches or so, meaning that just by the time you are used to someone its time to change. You don’t play as EVERY character though and of course you are made to play as Batman most of the time as Batman is the most popular and most profitable character for DC currently. I’m not trying to sound annoyed and while I love Kevin Conroy and Batmans character gallery DC is risking overexposure. I don’t care if it makes me the hippest of hipsters but the popularity is starting to wear on Batman, also Doctor Who. One possible downside for the more hardcore people is that in the later half of the story when the computer starts to pull out the ultra-cheap moves and promptly stomps you into the ground, each successive loss will tone down the computer. On the cheaper fights, particularly the final one, I was able to win by the third or fourth rematch when the computer was practically inert. I’m glad I got through it since There were some story characters who I was just not able to figure out how to be effective, but its a more hollow victory than with someone I liked using. The fights in the home stretch were not the time to learn how to use Wonder Woman.
But Overall I enjoyed the story and got to try out some new characters and learn some things along the way. That and as the computer dialed up the difficulty they initiated the Clash’s more so you get to experience some great one-liner exchanges between characters which are pure gold. Once you join the online fights you will be immediately saddned because nobody clash’s online. It took me six fights to finally win a match online as my noobishness was truly blood in the water. I was frequently kept pinned down by people exploiting spammable moves as well as my own imcompetence and fumbling of powers. Aquaman however was a lot of fun still to play as and had a nice range of powers that finally helped me squeek out that victory. The entry level for this and most other fighting games is pretty high, even with Injustice’s easy to use Dial-A-Combo fighting setup, as opposed to Marvel Vs Capcom 3′s lengthy combos that resemble Linux code. The only fighting game I can think of that had a low entry level was Smash Bros, but even that is heavily dominated by the pros so be prepared to get beaten for a while.
After Story and Online mode all thats really left is the S.T.A.R. Labs missions which theoretically are there to make you better by making you play in gimmicky ways, or let you replay the mini-games from the story mode. The mini games aren’t that fun to begin with and the gimmick levels are more mysterious and annoying than helpful in learning new ways to play. I’ve said it before how games need more dynamic training modes and this game could really have used one. But of course such a demand really just means im the noobiest scrublord to ever casual up a good game by disapproving of pain. I will not argue with that point I do suck at fighting games, and many others! However I don’t want to see any genre disappear. Most won’t and will just decline in budget and production value as they stick with their niche, but I’d like to see big budget games have some more variety and the only way to keep something big budget it for it to be profitable and therefore accessible. Not everything needs to be Call of Duty and have their sized audience, but I feel some changes here and there to the fighting genre to bring in some new blood would do it some good and breathe some new life into it.
Injustice is still an enjoyable experience that I’d recommend to DC comic fans and people who are semi-new to the fighting game genre. It’s not as technical or demanding as some of the others so its definitely something you could learn with some time and effort. Also they just added Lobo to the roster and hes a joy to play, but tragically he is not voiced by Brad Garrett like he was in the cartoons.
Well I was going to write about my time in the Dragon’s Prophet and Neverwinter Beta until I noticed that I was technically under NDA so I should probably heed the warning until such a time as I am certain I can get away with it. So instead I’ll write about Hell, particularly the game Dante’s Inferno. For some reason its a very interesting game to me. While I’m certainly not religious the mythology behind Christianity is ripe with interesting stuff, most of which was in line with other myths of the ancient world like Egypt, the Mesopotamians and other middle east cultures from the dawn of civilization. Old monsters seemed to mostly be people with bovine features up to and including horns. But before I dig myself a deeper hole angering Christians, I mostly wanted to talk about this game and how it was almost good but ultimately failed to even live up to the very manufactured and fictional hype that EA built around it.
These days girls are all the rage when it comes to matters of video games, comics and other formally nerdy sausage-fests. Seems like you can’t turn around without another article written about the girl gamer and their various views on things. Now that’s not a bad thing as new audiences should be welcomed and new point’s of views will enrich us all, much like how mutts are healthier than purebred dogs. But as always with new fans comes change and as it turns out women aren’t as wild about huge tits and asses on super skinny women as most guys are! Or maybe I’m wrong and while there are certainly some articles and posts written by women decrying the often sexist choices in games today there are also some overreactions from internet white knights. I’m sure a good lot of you watched Anita Sarkeesian’s various videos and read her posts about womens portrayal in games, and for the most part I agree with her that women are often marginalized and relegated to side roles, similar to how they are treated in comics, movies and TV. And while ideally things wouldn’t be this way and it would be a simple matter of people being more sensitive to others, the fact of the matter is all of those businesses operate on whatever makes money, and what makes money is usually a male lead who gets sexy women. OR in video games case, is a game with sexy women nearby the player. Context does matter though, Bioware is particularly guilty of sexifying their female characters as do most Japanese games. However, lately Japan has been getting a lot more crap about it and I want to examine why.
Pretty much any game these days has achievements. Some range from the pathetically lame “everybody gets a trophy” style that is awarded to you upon just starting the game. Others might be some asinine trophy like collect an ungodly amount of something or amass kills. And still others are awarded to some extremely unlikely situation. It doesn’t seem likely that this is some fad thats going to go away. This is probably here to stay because its a quick, easy sign of skill / penis measurement to wave at other players. Hell I’ve even heard tell that there are people who won’t even play a game if it doesn’t have achievements. To me it doesn’t feel right to try and force these accomplishments and the real memerable moments in gaming are just for you, but I guess an achievement will show that better. On the other side though some achievements encourage people to play a game in a way that they haven’t before, like on harder modes or using only one kind of weapon. Even one as strong as I have fallen victim to the desire to get achievements even if I hate them. A couple of them come to mind right away.
There are a few genres in gaming that I avoid because of my intense suckage at their games. Sports is one of them because I don’t find any real sports to be all that interesting. Theres a few exceptions like NFL Blitz for how goofy it is, same with Mutant League Hockey and NBA Jam. The closest I ever came to real sports games was RBI baseball on the NES which resulted in much snarling and gnashing of teeth in multiplayer mode. The other genre I’ve been avoiding is fighting games. I may have loved me some Smash Bros back in the day but I was never good at the REAL fighting games like Marvel Vs Capcom or Soul Calibur. I just wasn’t that great at the lengthy combos and the deeper intricacies of the games. Fast thinking was of the essence and I was far from the essence of fast thinking. But even my natural aversion to fighting games was overruled by my love of DC comics and I bought Injustice: Gods Among Us. Now, because I’m not well versed in fighting games I felt it would be unfair to actually review the game, so I thought I’d chronicle my attempts to learn how to play one.
I heard somewhere that the competitive gaming community has already written Injustice off as an illegitimate fighting game for its environmental hazards and multi-layered levels. After all, the TRUE way to play fighting games is No Items, Fox only, Final Destination. As far as I can tell, real fighting games should just be 2 characters of perfectly equal strength slapping each other with a single move until there is a clear victor. But I can’t base my opinion off what some random chump on the web thinks, it’s my job to BE that random chump! The guys that made Injustice, Netherrealm Studios, also made the Mortal Kombat games and the one thing I remember from being forced to play those games in the past is to mash the button combos as fast as possible was the key to success. I believe the term is “Dial-a-combo.” So armed with that knowledge I marched forth into Injustice ready to stomp my way to to the top in no time.
In my first single match, playing as Hawk Girl against a medium difficulty Joker, I was swiftly and brutally destroyed.
Clearly my knowledge had failed me and it was time to re-evaluate my strategy. It was time to enter the tutorial, where I was Batman against Superman, a fight that should be so one sided that the very concept of it makes my neckbeard bristles quiver with joviality. But it would be an awfully silly game if the characters were as strong as they are in the comics and I’m willing to suspend my nerd disbelief for this game. While the tutorial does a good enough job of walking me through the abilities and making sure I’m at least aware of all the game can do. That seems to be about it to the tutorial. Armed with all this knowledge I’m still getting beaten but not quite as much. Maybe its time to turn down the difficulty.
Or maybe I just need to try more characters. Joker seems to have quite a bit in his arsenal and good range, Harley Quinn is enjoyable too, Solomon Grundy is fun and pretty funny to play, and Hawk Girl confused me a bit but I want to keep trying. I actually had quite a bit of fun actually playing against other people with it. People I knew as I am too scared to play online right now. The games fun to just jerk around in and the stage transitions and super moves are so over the top most of the time that they are funny. The image of Batman being hit by a train and derailing it onto the pavement and getting up ready to keep fighting is absolutely perfect. Also the clashes are a great system not because I’m good at executing them but because there are different quotes from each character each time you do it and they are often related to who you are facing. It’s that little attention to detail that makes me want to get better at the game even though it has almost no effect on skill and will probably get old on continued use. But the lines are campy and the great thing about camp is its difficult for it to get old.
I’ve gained a few levels from just playing the game and unlocked some little extras like some game art and so forth. Not a bad system really as it’s the kind of game that should be played frequently, but there are only a few skins to unlock from playing the game. Like League of Legends this is the kind of game that should have like 3 to 4 skins per character to spice things up, although maybe that sort of demand will require League of Legends level of success and funding. I’m sure there will be skins, just at a price, not through earning with gameplay. I guess that’s just kind of how things are now and its probably difficult to make skins at the graphical level of the models.
Overall I’m having a good time playing the game and trying to learn it. With my workload outside of writing being what it is I’m pretty much at the “casual” level of available game time for the time being. But I’m not going to let that get me down, no sir! I always wanted super powers and I’m not leaving until I’ve got super powers!
Also: If you get the chance track down the comic book they’ve been releasing that leads up to the story in the game. It’s surprisingly good, in fact it’s better than the majority of the things DC has been churning out lately!
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