Tuesday, January 26, 2010

One-Line Wonders: B:AA, SH:H, Cogs, KH:358/2D

Today marks the debut of what I hope to be an ongoing column. One-Line Wonders is my attempt to cut back on my usual word-salad approach to blogging and review a handful of games in a single sentence (or equivalent.)

So without further ado, here are your One-Line Wonders for Tuesday, January 26th, 2010.

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PC, 360, PS3)

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Design: 9/10
Batarangs: ∞
dB of vocalised alarm expressed upon the unanticipated appearance of Killer Croc when attempting to open an entirely mundane, though mercifully locked, door: 77

I never realised until THIS MOMENT just how utterly devoid of meaning my life was without the ability to hang upside down from a gargoyle, silently pick off an escaped convict, and then observe from afar as his cohorts discover him and absolutely lose their shit in unbridled terror.

One quickly learns that the goal of Batman: Arkham Asylum is not survival, but how best to screw with otherwise calm and collected individuals

Silent Hill: Homecoming (PC, 360, PS3)

Graphics: 6.5/10
Sound: 7.5/10
Gameplay: 5/10
Design: 7/10
Pyramid Heads: 1 (to date)
Duration between end of intro cinematic and start of gameplay to realise you are indescribably fucked: 10 seconds

It may be a rehash of every entry in the franchise to date, but if nothing else, Silent Hill: Homecoming has the dubious distinction of making me lose control of my bowels more quickly than any other game I've ever encountered (critical moment of bowel-loosening: Pyramid Head, in shadow, dismembering someone on the other side of a locked door before you've even managed to extricate yourself from they gurney you were strapped to during the intro.)

Silent Hill's legendary toilet stalls return in full force

Cogs (PC)

Graphics: 4/10
Sound: 5/10
Gameplay: 7.5/10
Design: 8/10
Steampunk appeal: 9.5/10
Severity of curse-word obscenity prompted by the first dozen puzzles: Impolite even within sea-faring company

Why is this game so hard, goddammit?


Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (DS)

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Design: 7/10
Days that are actually playable: less than 358
Bars of sea-salt ice cream eaten by Roxas: 8 million

The foundation is there for this to be a watershed entry in the Kingdom Hearts series, but recycled music, enemies, characters, worlds and weapons, along with a bland and uninspired storyline, trite, tedious cutscenes, and the game's tendency to abruptly skip over weeks of unplayable days at a time makes it feel like a hugely wasted opportunity - and maybe just a phoned-in contractual obligation on Square Enix's part while they invested the bulk of their efforts into the far-superior Birth By Sleep.

Ah, the Rocky Expanse, from Disney's classic nature film The Suicidal World of Lemmings... My childhood nostalgia has been fulfilled

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