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Friday, October 27, 2006

Mini Reviews: Killer 7, Rise of Sin Tzu and Hunter Wayward

Gamefly delivery last week and some free time contributed to a quick take on a few titles:

Killer 7
This was something of a darling of the review crowd for it's unique presentation style - which can best be decribed as somewhere in between blocky and cel-shaded. This is all well and good in my book, but the rest of the game's presentation was too incoherent to me. Perhaps this is one time that a manual would help explain why I walk into a building under the explanation that I'm "cleaning" it out ... only to find out that it's actually my ... home? Oh, and I'm somehow like five people at once and I can flip by changing the dial on the television.

Hey, I like weird - but this starts to go beyond that and enter into the prohibitively confusing. Can I get past the ghost who is somehow guarding an elevator by changing personas? No. Why? I don't know. Can I shoot the thing that I can see but apparently haven't proper "scanned"? No? Why? I don't know. And so on. Killer 7, honestly, feels like a game that is working with only half of a concept.

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
Batman: RoST is one of those games that doesn't really do anything wrong - but does very little exceptional. It's a very basic brawler - a kind of mildly updated Double Dragon with 3D graphics and some Batman flair. OK if you need a two player coop rental, I guess.

Hunter The Reckoning: Wayward
Not having played (or even really acknowledged the existence of) the original Hunter, Wayward came as a bit of a surprise to me. It hasn't been terribly well reviewed but I was trying to find new coop games for The Girl to try. Perhaps it was my lowered expectations, but I ended up having a lot of fun with this title.

As an action RPG - it's pretty limited, for sure. There isn't much character customization I can find ... essentially you just "upgrade" after so much experience. It's rather like the new Gauntlet without as much purchasing (none, in fact - there is no ingame store or anything). Where Wayward shines ... and I wish other action RPGs would liberally steal from it here - is it's combat system. Especially the melee which despite being mostly button mashing actually feels a little like swordplay. It's subtle, but being able to accurately pick your targets with the analog combined with a few movement features (jumping, etc.) gives the action a bit of versatility which is largely missing from most Diablo clones. It's simple - but it's fun.

Which is good because I'm not sure there's much more to the game. You hack apart incoming monsters, about 90% of them being zombies it seems, in rather sparse but well textured landscapes. Sometimes you have to find certain objects - which means destroying garbage cans and the like - and you can save "innocents" to get more continues. That seems to be the majority of the gameplay.

So I can see where someone might have been peeved for paying $50 for this title, but anything less than $30 and the game is pure gold I think. The Girl hasn't ventured into Zombieland with me yet, but I'm guessing two player mode is even more fun.

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Thomas said...

To be honest, if you get past the weirdness for weirdness sake, the other huge problem with Killer 7 is the banality of the mechanics. It's all very well and good to have a super-surrealistic plot, but I'll be damned if I'm going to go through another item hunt to pass the level.

Josh said...

Yeah, my Spidey-sense was curious about that. And the game kept asking me to get blood - and as much as I love Halloween ...

Tony said...

I played through most of the first Hunter: The Reckoning on the Gamecube a few years ago with a buddy. It's a great multiplayer game. I have Hunter: The Reckoning Redeemer for the Xbox, but haven't got around to playing it. I wonder if it's backwards compatible. I'm a big fan of the series.

Simple and fun.

Josh said...

I would like to see a slightly expanded version with more character customization and maybe some more in-depth missions.

But I like the simplicity. I also like that it's worthwhile to go clear out old zones just to beef up XP. Fun when you just want to jump in for a while.

At the very least, the franchise is officially on my radar.