Mighty Number Fail – Indie vs AAA (3)

Although there are innumerable times where AAA has defeated indie games in the rat race, there was one particular time where the failure was so great, it caught the eye of countless among the gaming community. Any retro gamer will tell you about Mega Man, released in 1987, and a great majority will tell you which one is their favorite, whether it be part of the original series of games or part of the Mega Man X series. Both parts of the franchise were legendary among gamers.

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Mega Man 2 is very popularly known as the favorite among the original series, while the first Mega Man X is held as the king of the second. Whatever side of the franchise they stand on, both factions will tell you that they were wholly disappointed by the crowd-funded passion project known as Mighty No. 9. Keiji Inafune had worked on the original Mega Man, and since Capcom hadn’t released a new Mega Man for several years (due to extreme franchise fatigue), he decided to take it upon himself to create what he called a spiritual successor.

The game was fully funded within just a couple of days and, by the end, it had reached around three million dollars, several times more than it was expected to reach. This is where a great deal of mystery enters into the fray. Despite infinitely more money than they could have ever needed, the scene became quite bleak. Though fans were still on the hype train with beautiful gameplay still frames, promising Kickstarter prizes and a game mirroring the greatness of the blue bot himself, they curbed their doubts. However, for reasons unknown, the game was met with numerous delays. Many questioned how they could be losing so much time with all of the budget they could ever want and plenty of time between the start of its production to its intended release. Still! They thundered ahead and readied themselves for the release!

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The fans were stomped with absolute disappointment. The graphics were not nearly as good as they initially looked in the original press release, the gameplay had very questionable extra, unneeded content, the voice acting rivalled Mega Man 8 for how terrible and stilted it was, and the story intermixed with constant interrupting character dialog was so very frustrating when you were trying to concentrate on playing the game!

Questions began flying at Inafune at a horribly extensive rate! His gross mismanagement of the game’s content and quality was called into question multiple times and their reaction to these questions boiled down to “At least you got a game.” Needless to say, contributors to the funding were not happy, and those old-school Mega Man fans were less than impressed with the game’s content. Mighty Number 9 reached the status as one of the Worst Games of 2016 across the internet.

Now, let’s be honest. It really was not a terrible game when you stand back and look at the forest for the trees. It worked, it was challenging, and the level design wasn’t terrible. Sure, some of the bosses were cheap and cringe-inducing in their tactics and while the story is abysmal, it still served its purpose for the most part. The reason the game failed in a massive cloud of hatred was because it tried to build itself as a return of a beloved franchise in the form of a fan requested game. It had all of the makings of a great game, but for one reason or another completely missed the mark.

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AAA titles have had their failures in the past, and many of them failed harder than Mega Man’s would-be successor. This should serve as a lesson on par with Icarus and the burned wings, but let’s face it, if they can build you up to their hype, development companies are going to do it. Inafune could have won big with this title but failed to pull it off in the end.

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However, once again, at least we have our silver lining. Evidently, Capcom caught onto Mighty Number 9’s Kickstarter success and decided that they would release their own game and do it properly this time. Mega Man 11 is set to release later in the year 2018 and it already looks smooth! Inafune may have spent multiple millions of dollars on failure, but at least his failure managed to cause another AAA win.

 

Wait, what am I saying?

The Sonic Spectrum – Indie vs AAA (2)

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To be frank, Sonic has had it pretty rough in the past decade or so. Ever since his massive success on the Sega Genesis in three massively beloved titles, he has been the victim of some very bad luck. While many would attest that it all began with Sonic the Hedgehog on the Xbox 360 (commonly referred to as Sonic ‘06), it actually started further back than that. Sonic ‘06 is just when it really became noticeable. Going back and forth in quality from the decent success of Sonic Generations to the abysmal failure of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, the Sega Mascot has had a dual failure/success rate of gigantic proportions.

One clear example of this is the very recent fanmade super game headed by Christian Whitehead, Sonic Mania. One could say that Sonic Mania is the most success the little blue hedgehog has seen in literally over a decade. That’s not to say there aren’t good recent Sonic games by major developers, but Sonic Mania has seen success that is unparalleled by the likes of Sonic’s most recent game, Sonic Forces. Talk about a quality difference of day and night, Sonic Mania has enjoyed the highest ratings, even by some of the most sceptical gaming reviewers, while Sonic Forces has been left in it’s super speeding dust.

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Even with the dream game mechanic of original character creation, Sonic Forces had very little else to offer. With poor level design, questionable controls, and the fact that you play as Sonic through most of the game anyway, onlookers were scratching their heads asking “Why create a character in the first place??” Sonic Mania blew all of it out of the water and turned that nostalgia dial to eleven. We were gifted with familiar gameplay and level design with a nice little twist here and there to brighten it up for the new generation of gamers, while leaving plenty for older gamers to ogle. Even the seemingly outdated graphics are updated and beautiful in a way that does not impede on the old-style 16-bit look.

The overall outlook is starting to become pretty clear on what Sonic games should have been doing the entire time. There have been successful titles that go outside the fast-running platforming of his original games, but those have been so few and far in between. Now we have two that are mapped out and marketed very near one another for a comparison that paints a very clear picture. Sonic fans are now hoping and praying that Nintendo takes some serious notes of this outcome because it’s clear that even true blue Sonic fans are getting fed up with the treatment that he has been getting as of late.

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It was a one-hit knockout. This contrast really goes to show you that innovation and imagination can create some serious greatness compared to just throwing money at a problem in hopes that it improves. AAA Gaming has been under some serious fire for lack of ideas in the ways of Sonic franchise fatigue, cash grab titles, and using nostalgia as a way to lure old school gamers into spending their money for games that have little to no effort put into them. This fan game may have been distributed by Sega, but let’s face it, it’s an indie game through and through. Now Sonic fans are hoping that the Sonic Team can learn from this experience, but at the same time, given his very questionable past treatment, there is really no telling what they have in store for our blue radical dude. All we can really do is stay tuned and drink water.

Check out part one of this series, here! In part one, we introduce the series as well as take a look at a horror concept that both Indie and AAA developers had no clue how to implement.

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Through Silent Hills on Allison Road – Indie vs AAA (1)

The argument between the two forms of game development has been going on for quite some time. While it is true that there are pros and cons to both small house indie development teams and big name AAA companies, there has been a noticeable trend of the games they have been producing. Though it is quite often that the big name developers have stomped the indie game competition, the opposite has also been very true. Then there are times when both types of game developers have dropped the ball for one reason or another.

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A very infamous example of when both types of developers failed to produce a single promised product was the game demo simply known as P.T. (or Playable Teaser). Konami was in the works for the new project of the franchise Silent Hill, titled Silent Hills. The hype train was so huge for this game that many were already calling it the ultimate in survival horror without even knowing the actual core game mechanics. However, the P.T. was so innovative and so amazingly detailed in its tone, atmosphere, storytelling and graphics that no one could possibly blame them. It was a horror experience that did not rely on jump scares to creep a player out. Both Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro were matched up to produce this game themselves, and what they were planning was seemingly made of pure awesome sauce.

However, as many of you know, what the fans got was a big goose egg. Without warning or explanation, Silent Hills was cancelled and the fans were not happy in the least. Another party that was not happy about this was their shareholders, as Konami’s stocks plummeted as a result. Soon after, Hideo Kojima was fired from Konami… more or less sealing themselves to a fate of their own making. While they did survive the backlash from that decision, it was not a fun day for anyone.

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But alas! A ray of hope came about gamers in the form of a group called Team17 and their upcoming project, Allison Road. Gamers were treated to a brand new spectacle of survival horror very similar to P.T., in fact so similar to P.T. it was very quickly called the spiritual successor to the non-game Silent Hills. For an indie game, the preview looked amazing, creepy, and surprisingly well detailed. Beyond anything, Allison Road gave Silent Hill fans some solace from the heartbreak of Konami’s screw-up. After scaring the pants off of onlookers and showing us that we may still get a swell consolation prize, once again, fans were completely shot down by disappointment. Team17 cancelled production of Allison Road. Once again, fans’ faces hit the dirt with an audible THWACK.

Now there is something of a happy ending to that tale, as the project Allison Road was picked back up soon after its cancellation by another group called Far From Home. However, with very little to no updates on the production’s progress as of January 2018, it is clear that we will not be seeing Allison Road anytime soon.

The good news, though, is that after two complete failures by both an AAA Gaming Company and Indie Game group, a third and successful attempt was already in the works. The P.T. style of survival horror was noticed by yet another AAA Gaming company. Capcom took notice of P.T.’s success, and since Konami pulled the plug on their game, they decided to pick up the slack and produce one of the best games of 2017, Resident Evil 7.

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So, in the end, yes, it was an AAA Gaming company that saved fans from a completely dismal experience, but what a bumpy ride! You would think that such a focused concept would have been handled a little better, especially with such an enormous fan feedback. It got to the point where people started to suspect the whole concept was cursed; doomed to failure before its own inception. While the whole story is still fraught with unanswered questions, in the end, we got a game of the year out of the deal and the Resident Evil series has had a soft reboot to a seemingly much brighter style of gameplay. Let’s hope they can keep the ball rolling.

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Rain Bullets Upon Bullets – Enter the Gungeon Review

What happens when you enter the Gungeon? Do you think you’re ready for what goes on in the Gungeon? Well, you’re wrong! You’re not there to survive, you’re there to conquer! You’re there to kick in the door and throw down! Set your lasers to kill, rain your bullets, and start shooting those bullets that shoot guns! And…wait, what?

Yes, that’s right, after you very quickly enter the Gungeon, you are transported to a world that is solely based around armaments and firearms. The vast majority of your opponents are bullets, shotgun shells and grenades of some assortment. The gameplay is so high octane, if you’re not getting your pulse going, you better do it fast! The game is so fast paced you have no choice but to dunk your head in the deep end and start shooting it up!

The rules and controls are simple and explained to you using a very quick and easy tutorial. In fact, the tutorial is fun and innovative. The humor the game uses is not exactly subtle, but then, neither is the game. It throws you for a loop and starts shooting pretty damn quick. The controls are intuitive and easy to manage, so long as you keep shooting and dodge rolling.

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The guns you pick up is half the fun! Seriously, I was not kidding when I said that there is a bullet that shoots guns. There’s a meat gun that shoots blades, there’s even an AK-47! Well, I guess that last one isn’t exactly new, but still! You are given all that you need in the beginning to win this game, so long as you use it right. You will be put through bullet hells, explosions, destruction of all kinds, and come out feeling more awesome because of it. You get better at the game because you want to get better at the game, you want to explore the tunnels of the Gungeon and find out what other guns you can shoot, and what other weird hostiles you will encounter.

As soon as you think you’ve seen it all, BOOM! There’s so much more to see! More bullets, more bombs, more explosives flying all over the place and you’ll even see a bird with a Gatling gun! Don’t try to understand it! Don’t think too hard! Logic has no place here! The time you take trying to think is time you should be firing that weapon into your enemy’s face! Every level has its own quirks that you can have a nice chortle at. Not only is it enjoyable from a gamer’s point of view but anyone watching you play can have fun too.

The wild running and gunning gameplay is so charming that you won’t even worry about the graphics, which are more of a new age 16-bit style. If anyone is concerned about the graphics then you are missing the point entirely! The art style and environments are so well placed and atmospheric that they do not distract you. Though, that is also a downfall for you, the player. As the background also has pitfalls and water that you either need to jump over or teleport over. If not then you fall down them and lose a life, oh well, this stuff happens.

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You have several classes to choose from in the beginning, and half the fun is trying to find one that suits your type of gameplay that you enjoy. Try them all, or try one if it suits your needs, it doesn’t matter. All these classes do is promote replayability, and that is important when you look at purchasing a game. Each one of them has their own perks, pros, and cons that you can use to your advantage.

 

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Get the Game for $6.60 Off!

 

If you haven’t noticed, this game is awesome on pretty much all levels. It controls well, it’s colorful, it’s high intensity, it’s challenging, funny, and just all around a great time. It involves guns and explosions but it is not gory or overly violent. Anyone can play it. So wait, since you’re still reading this review, that probably means you haven’t bought this game yet. What are you waiting for? If you haven’t gotten this game you are missing out on a pulverizing piece of powerful punch that you don’t want to pass up! In fact, you’ll need to start practicing your ambidexterity right now, so open a new tab, and get on steam while still reading this review in a different window! Get the game! Get the collector’s edition! It doesn’t matter! Get it and drench yourself in piles of gunpowder and death!

EnomView Score: 10 out of 10

Like Enter the Gungeon? Check out these other amazing Pixel Art game!

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The Binding of Issac

Chillingly Dark – I Fell From Grace Review

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So much of this game is spent running around. You hop out of windows, you jump at all sounds. Your job is turning to crap and you’re not scraping by. Your life is going down, your wife’s gonna die. You get into a mess to look for some keys, all you can think “SOMETHING HAPPEN PLEASE!” Strange things are afoot and people are talking, no time for that though, you need to get walking. Up and down and up you go, gathering stuff and buying some blow. Stranger dreams keep coming about, then something starts telling you that time’s running out. People are dying and no music is playing, it’s almost like the whole game’s delaying! I’m sorry for rhyming, but the problem is that the game does it too until you shout “Gee Whizz!”

Alright, done with the rhyming, but seriously, the game rhymes throughout its entire playthrough. The game is merciless in the rhyming and while it can be charming at first, it causes a lot of the dialogue to become stilted and bland. “I Fell From Grace” is a puzzle solving game where you play as Henry, a guy who is just simply down on his luck and seems to be taking quite badly, but who can blame him? Not only is his job on the line but his wife is dying and her medical bills are becoming a serious issue. So right off the bat, the guy is relatable.

Check out The Binding of Issac, a similarly dark, amazing game.

The game does set a good tone throughout it, that is, a very bleak and gloomy one. However, that doesn’t really save it from being a little too needlessly complicated in its set up. The big problem is that while the story is going on, you run into some of the most ridiculous roadblocks and detours from seemingly random directions. You’ll be on/ the job and you’ll need to do something, but hark! What’s this? An item for someone to get them to do something? Well, let’s just go downtown and get that item for them because we don’t have money to actually pay them. This game mechanic can work in a lot of cases, but not when it’s the core gameplay and you’ve already killed thirty minutes trying to decipher what’s on each floor of the building you work at.

 

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The story, however, is actually quite interesting. You start having strange dreams and start getting cryptic items from different people and the mail. However, after this happens, the story becomes extremely dark and very strange, which is a good thing. You start making some hard choices and doing some very questionable things to reach your goal. While it is nice that this guy is willing to do nearly everything for his wife, it starts to get a bit ludicrous after a while.

So to recap, we have a very dark and interesting story, a very devoted husband who we can identify with on some level, and a job we all can know and hate. These are all very good story elements, however, does it translate well into a game? The answer is a big huge shrug. There is a crowd for this type of game for sure. However, if you are not a huge fan of puzzle games nor are you a big fan of the story elements in a game, this is definitely not a game for you. There is a lot of backtracking and it kind of forces you to know where things are or else you will be wandering around for quite a while before it allows you to advance.

That is not exactly a strike against the game, though, as there are people who enjoy that type of game. There is an element of mystery that it builds throughout and starts to pull you in. You get items that change your luck such as medicine with amazing effects. People start coming up and talking to you, telling you that things are going to start happening. While you think that these are good things, the deeper you go, the more dreadful things are actually becoming.

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If you are in this for the heart-pounding narrative, you should probably just turn back now. The game has some things going for it, but a pulse is not one of them. The worst part of this game is how much it drags, especially at the very beginning before you start getting to the meat of the storyline. Some of the plot elements take entirely too long to develop and there is a risk of losing interest if you are not enveloped into it early on. First impressions do not do this game any favours. While the game does get to that amazing point eventually, the level of excitement is lacking. Some may consider it outright boring.

With a lack of music, for the most part, it is quite impressive that this game has the tone that it does. If you can get beyond some of its shortcomings, you can get some good gameplay out of this game. It’s only around 2 – 3 hours of gameplay and the price may make you cringe at the prospect, but it’s worth a shot if you find the premise interesting. Overall, I would recommend it for fans of the darker puzzle games or adventures willing to delve into the depths of this grim, virtual world.

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10

Cuphead: “But I can’t!”

Image resultIt seems the further down the line we get from the golden days of the video game consoles, the more we forget where our roots lie. After the video game crash of ‘83, the entertainment systems were brought to homes across the country with a brand new look and idea of how games should work. The idea was to make the games difficult to cause the player to want to play it more, and thus play it longer by both length and hardship of the game.

This is why the current dilemma of Cuphead is puzzling. Suddenly it seems that some players are voicing their opinion that the game is too hard and not open to the vast populace of gamers to play. They say that it should have a version that is easier so that more people can play it and beat it. Where’s the fun in that? Isn’t the point of the game to play it and enjoy the challenge of it? If you were able to binge play it in one sitting, where is the satisfaction? Challenge is a good thing. The point of it is that you get better as you play, and your hand-eye coordination improves as you do. Yes, it can get frustrating but that just makes the experience that much more worth it in the end once you actually manage to beat it.

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There are so many games that are considered great that are so devilishly hard, they have earned great infamy over the ages. Well, guess what? They are still remembered today as icons of their time. Games like Castlevania, Dark Souls, Contra, Ghosts and Goblins are all considered difficult, yet still have a place in the consoles with both classic gamers and new gamers alike. Cuphead should not have to compromise its overall level design for the sake of covering a bigger demographic. The difficulty of the game is part of its identity and the reason so many people love it.

There is a very old and widely spread quote that hits the nail on the head on this subject: “If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one.” Say the game does set up a “very easy” option. There will be crowds of gamers out there disappointed for the developers selling out. You pleased one crowd of people, but now your demographic are all disheartened, maybe even feeling betrayed. Once you get right down to it, the crowd that you end up pleasing won’t be completely satisfied either. You decreased the hard parts, but it may not have made the game easy enough for them. Instead of slapping the plate off the table and demanding the developers “make it again!” How about we all be thankful that such a game exists in the first place. Seriously, these people have worked ever so hard to make this game already. The creation of this game was not a cake walk, it already had several delays and frustrations in the production that they almost, an irony of ironies, rage quit themselves. People don’t understand the process of making a game is vastly more difficult than they think. A game like Cuphead would need to dig into its very core to reduce the challenge, and would it really be worth it? After all is said and done, no.

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The solution? Stick to your guns. Cuphead has already broken the multi-million copies sold in such a short amount of time. It did that on its own volition and game mechanics. With its unique art style, fantastic gameplay and control, Cuphead is already an up and coming classic in the making. Compromising the integrity for something so trivial as a lower difficulty just would not be worth it. The game already took forever to create as it was. It was created with an art style that has not seen the light of day for some time now, and these people are expecting them to go out of their way to change it to satisfy a demographic that may or may not buy it in the first place? Let’s face it, probably not.

The main point is to be happy with what we have. If the game wasn’t already amazing to begin with, no one would have even heard of it in the first place. Cuphead has already garnered its own following, gotten rave reviews across the board, and raged true blue gamers with its extensively difficult but amazingly gorgeous methods of play. If you need to, take it with a grain of salt, and drink your water.