Friday, May 10, 2013

LPGA & More: Skyblazer part 2

at 12:58 PM
I was gonna try to write something about Skyblazer, then realized I don't have much to say about the game - certainly not more than two hours of video can say. Although I guess I should probably try to take away SOME kind of lesson, since I spent the entire video laughing at the ineptitude of Nintendo's 2013 marketing strategy. 

You see, what I was getting at is: to resurrect the Wii U and their future in the console business, what Nintendo needs is a 3D Skyblazer reboot loosely based on the gameplay of Mega Man Legends, with music by Steve Conte
I will never cease to be amazed that this man exists
Skyblazer is a pretty unnecessary game - the platforming is by-the-books '90s, the combat makes Super Castlevania IV look like ActRaiser 2, and the story is less of a story and more of a sentence. The setting is some really loose interpretation of Hinduism, which is CLASSIC Sony, but not particularly unique considering it mostly consists of the same stone walls and ice castles as every other post-Pitfall platformer. None of this is bad, it just leaves Skyblazer as kind of a "why?" 

I think the coolest thing the game has to offer is its structure, which at first appears to be yet another Super Mario Bros. 3 ripoff. In a world where over-worlds had become world-renowned as a given for a platforming world, a simple map screen with fixed levels doesn't generate much excitement. I like that there's a flexible order that allows you to explore a little bit, but that's not rare either. The design decision that particularly catches my fancy is the division between transitional and dungeon stages. Most of the paths on the world map contain a handful of short, linear travel levels which are mostly a formality to complete. Then at a dead end you'll find a lengthy, substantial dungeon with puzzles, mazes, a boss, and a new magic power. This structure may sound familiar to veterans of Getsu Fuuma Den (though there the stages had to be replayed and dungeons were played in first person), and gives the game a much stronger adventure feel than other world-mapformers like Dongey Konk Country. There's a sense of progression and reward to keeping on the same path, whereas SMB3 basically just has a stage select. The design has more in common with Zelda II or Castlevania II, where the over-world requires some strategy. It's not rocket surgery, but it at least engages your brain.

Enough talk, more ralk! Our VO quality actually starts off half-decent, if you can believe that. Except that at some point it does get pretty fucking awful. If you can beleaf that.

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