AggroChat Episode 25
We meander our way through a couple of indie games, namely Crypt of the Necrodancer that Kodra has been playing, and Outland the awesome metroidvania that I am reviewing as part of my Steampowered Sunday. Ashgar hooked me up with a copy originally with the intent of playing this co-op… but it seems like the latency for co-op play is still absolutely atrocious. So instead I played it all by my lonesome this morning… we at least as lonesome as you can be while streaming it to the internet. Finally we talk about Final Fantasy XIV and the odd sense of compartmentalism in that game. How you can progress among multiple vectors without the need to really mess with the others. Also we walk about how much we are looking forward to the as of yet completely announced 3.0 expansion, which is rumored to have as much content as the original 2.0 release had.
Two other really interesting things happened during the episode. For starters we announced that we were now part of TGEN The Gaming and Entertainment Network of podcasts. Quite honestly I am a bit humbled to be included with such illustrious podcasts as Battle Bards, Beyond Bossfights, Cat Context, Contains Moderate Peril, Couch Podtatoes, Massive Failure and Roleplay Domain. I am also quite humbled to be the first podcast to officially be launching the network, since we record on Saturday nights and launch Sunday, we are the first show sporting the new network bumper. Additionally we talk about the upcoming Extra Life gaming marathon and our team. Right now you can check out Ashgar, Kodra and Myself on the donor pages and our progress… and then tune in Oct 25th to the Alliance of Awesome hitbox team to watch the streamers. Being our first year I set a very low team goal of $200 and so far we have raised just shy of $600 dollars in pledges. Really looking forward to the event, and I hope you join us.
For a few weeks now my friend Ashgar has been talking about this particular metroidvania with some interesting twists. Last weekend shortly after recording the Steampowered Sunday for Mercenary Kings he hooked me up with a copy on steam, suggesting we might play it for this Sunday. Apparently there is some really cool co-operative play in the game, but at the time of writing this it is apparently completely broken in that the latency makes it absolutely unplayable. I can see how any matter of latency would be a problem, as there are several places where you have a very slim window to time a jump or an attack. Since the co-op was out of the picture, I opted to still play the game but do so solo… or at least as solo as you can be while streaming. At face value it is a really artistically slanted metroidvania game. It follows the artistic style to some extent of the current crop of mostly silhouetted figures against a colorful background. This almost always makes a game feel far more detailed than it actually is, and I tend to enjoy this style of art.
You play the role of the ancestor of a great warrior who tamed the twin sisters of light and dark to save creation. To be truthful while well done the narrative doesn’t seem to matter that much other than add a bit of flavor. You wander through the levels collecting coins and rare pieces of treasure and sometimes unlocking special abilities. The twist on the traditional Metroidvania genre however comes in the fact that over time you can harness the power of the Light Spirit and the Dark Spirit and use these to bypass certain obstacles. The Light is represented by blue, and the Dark by red and while in the same color as an obstacle you can pass directly through it. You can also use your color to active switches and platforms allowing you to traverse the levels. You are rationed these abilities slowly and I didn’t get the second color until I had defeated the first boss. Some of the later puzzles require you to switch colors midair to take advantage of a platform that activates when you land on it with a specific color. This is facilitated by hitting the right shoulder button on your controller. This definitely feels like the sort of game that is greatly improved with a controller, so I did not even attempt to pay attention to the equivalent keyboard controls for things.
Epic Boss Fights
At the end of the first level you have to fight a giant golem that is blocking your way. The scale of the fight is extremely impressive and makes the game feel much larger than it actually is. The camera zooms in and out based on how large the chamber you are in happens to be, and this gives a more dynamic feel to the gameplay. The boss mechanic was rather simple but extremely effective in that you had to avoid a ground slam and then climb the giant itself while it was temporarily drained of its power to attack and exposed weak spot. As the fight got on there were more details that had to be avoided, like a rain of red and blue bullets that gives the game almost a bullet hell feel to it. I had to stand in the blue beams to avoid taking damage from the red beams, and I am imagining that in later encounters you will have to shift back and forth between red and blue to soak specific abilities while flipping to the opposite to be able to damage your target. While you can soak beams of the same color… mobs of that color can still damage you, and you can only damage them when flipped to the alternate polarity.