That there new Stur Wurrs game has incredible junk in its metaphorical trunk. A “long time ago,” Shadows of the Empire spent time embroidering the setting’s underworld, and here they are with a pair of new characters exploring that underworld’s literal underworld.
We are always enthused when they give you somebody to play as who isn’t a sorcerous monk; it has the additional effect of making the sorcerous monks that you do see even scarier than they already were. You can set a clock by these Goddamn Jedi: they turn to the dark side on the regular. They’ll turn to the dark side if it means they don’t have to walk all the way to the kitchen to get a soda. Their internal narrative will somehow connect their momentary thirst with the fate of the greater galaxy.
I’m glad to see them swinging again, too, as that’s the prerequisite for hitting. Something really weird happened with the second Force Unleashed, I don’t know what; it’s a game that feels as though it was created in a turbulent environment. They have succeeded in making me very curious about what’s next.
Nintendo talked about Asymmetry a lot in their presentation, and they should have: don’t forget that they were pushing some of these ideas on the Gamecube, with their DS hookup stuff that everybody hated but us. The first thing I thought about when they were talking about asymmetry was Spy Party, and how apt the WiiU hardware would be for it, and Patrick Klepek from GiantBomb tells us that Nintendo has already done some work in this vein with a game called Thief.
Outside of Nintendo itself, Ubisoft had some of the most thoughtful implementation we can see this far away from the show: ZombiU is filling the suppurating Horror Hole (?) left by the genre’s evolving staples, and it’s doing it in ways that are interesting psychologically, by making you split your attention and simulating peripheral vision. You need to enter a code at one point on the small screen, and muhfuckin zombies are en route - this could just as easily be a slowly filling bar. It “is” a bar. But it doesn’t feel that way.
Rayman Legends was another one that made it difficult to close my gaping mouth. It’s got a lot of the lighter asymmetry stuff, certainly - along the lines of Super Mario Galaxy, in the manner of They Might Be Giants’ “little glowing friend.” But they wrap up on what is essentially a platforming musical number with the regular players going insane on some Sonic type activity while their friend plays the accompaniment on their screen with the taps and slides of a rhythm game. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.