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Tycho / on Wed, Aug 26 2009 at 12:00 am

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The Universal Fantasy

Dissidia is actually really interesting, and it didn’t particularly need to be: Final Fantasy’s luxurious familiarity still retains its alchemical power.  They could have gotten away with less, and they didn’t.  One of many savory demos recently released, you could be forgiven for missing it.  Go now, and sin no more.

Reading previews based on the import, the game sounded like a rat’s nest of frayed systems heaped upon one another and then set ablaze in some ill-managed moon ritual.  In practice, with the Pusp gripped firmly in your actuators, there’s really only two big things going on: something like two fights in parallel.  One is the regular fight that one often sees in fighting games, that is to say, a fight.  The other is a kind of tug-of-war over a stat called Bravery, which acts as a boost to your damage in the fight proper.  Again: interesting.  It has other properties which add value as well, ones we will allow the strip to express.

I’m starving for more Batman: Arkham Asylum, as last night’s excursion (incursion?) was cut short by the action of my “Night Time” cold medication.  Things got progressively more surreal until I was blacking out, losing time between scenes and waking up in places unfamiliar.  It was actually very convincing; maybe I should do it again tonight.

I’m still early in:  I wanted to beat the new episode of Monkey Island, and then Section 8 had a surprising demo, two more reasons to resent linear time.  But I’ve seen enough to know that Rocksteady isn’t fucking around.

Similar to Final Fantasy, an image of Batman brooding on the cover is probably sufficient to move units, but that’s not what happened here either.  What they did was create a Batman game firmly in the Metroidvania milieu - a striking choice - marrying it to a combat system which is like a ballet where people die.  Even in a voice cast already masterfully selected, Mark Hamill’s Joker vacillates between ridiculous and horrifying with terrible speed.  In what is ostensibly a “superhero” game, Rocksteady chose instead to emphasize Batman’s fragility and humanity, which is the kind of counter-intuitive choice that seems obvious after the fact.

Now I’ve worked myself into a Goddamned lather.  I’m just taunting myself with its virtues now; launching geysers of unpaid marketing saliva.  Let’s finish here:  the game is ridiculous, in the best possible way.

(CW)TB out.

dangerous, treacherous, perilous

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