The Pilgrimage, Part Four
And so, our own pilgrimage comes to a close. Thank you! I think we all had fun. I should stress that "we" refers to your cruel hosts, Gabriel and myself, who over the last eight years have tormented you thus with such dedication and enthusiasm.
Capcom’s dalliances with the new Xbox (in advance of the torrid affair du coeur) have been interesting to watch. Being huge fans of the demo, the actual product of Dead Rising never did anything for us - I know that some people were able to manage the constant interruptions and necessary repetition and timer-based play structure, and I revere those people like saints. For our loyal band, almost all the joy leaked out of the retail game - we think the hole in the middle of the disc may be to blame.
I held off on Lost Planet because I hadn’t seen any rave reviews, but swiftly recalled that I was an Internet Demagogue in need of sweet grasses to ruminate upon. I played enough of the single player campaign to know that the default camera scheme (something akin to a rail shooter, where the reticule is decoupled from direct camera control) was not for me, opting for mode "Fixed 7" which made it feel more like something I would play.
I played a couple levels and then turned my attention to Hotel Dusk. We’ll talk about that later.
The hotel in question has been taking up my evenings recently, which I suppose is appropriate. But it’s left poor Keek out in the cold, and when I got his text - the subtext of pain and desolation almost aromatic - I decided to take a break from dusking and (after a brief discussion re: options) pop in Lost Planet Multi to see if there was anything there.
I couldn’t really make sense of the demo, and none of my friends wanted to play, and also I don’t know how done it was, so maybe you know this stuff already. The interface and user experience of the matchmaking I would describe as "psychotic." Parts of it are fine, which is not to say that they are great, merely that they are inoffensive. But (like Gears) it’s another one of these games that doesn’t think the host should have any control over a game once it’s begun. You can either choose the map you want to play on for eternity, or you can choose to play completely random maps. Do you think you might want to quit out of a game once it’s begun? How about "no"? Because you can’t. Imagine that you have taken a round to completion - a screen will come up asking you if you would like to "Retry," which is the game’s way of asking you if you want to continue playing. After every round. Is it trying to be polite? I don’t actually need this level of civility.
The game underneath this mess is, I am pleased to say, highly entertaining. The basic gunplay is spiced up by a number of standard weapons and clever grenades, and the Vital Suits - also known as ‘mechs - are all unique. They have customizable weapons, some of them. Some of them transform from rocket-powered sleds into small walkers. There is one that transforms from a snowmobile into a robotic spider (!!!). You can even yank a weapon off one of these things and use it yourself - the best fight I got into last night was between myself on a hill firing a laser larger than my character at a Vital Suit dueling me from a lower plateau. Anime enthusiasts would do well to at least rent it - even with the troubles surrounding actual matches, I don’t know that they’ve ever had it this good.