Friday, June 17, 2016

MadCap's Game Reviews - "Doom" (2016)

...okay, Bethesda. Id. I'll bite. Why could you not come up with a title for this one? I mean "Doom"? Just going back to bare basics, I guess, seeing that it's a reboot (or, depending on who you ask, isn't). If it's a reboot, then I guess that's fine, but if it's not, you're recycling the title and everyone will once again have to specify that they're talking about the Doom from 2016 rather than the original one (which I've also reviewed, by the way). Still, that's a minor complaint and something that can be overlooked in the grand scheme of things.

What really can't be looked the cover. It's generic. It's lazy. Just a static shot of the Doom Guy in his updated armor for this game. It's gone to the point of being an internet meme with people replacing the title with half a dozen other franchises ranging from the most obvious to the bizarre, just showing how hilariously simple it is to mock. And before someone says it isn't an issue, look back at that review that I shamelessly linked into this one for page clicks and look at the cover art of the original Doom.  Doesn't it look so much cooler? Doom Guy surrounded by demons and filling as many of them as he can with lead while they all reach up to try and drag them to Hell.

It immediately gets the attention and draws prospective players in, making them want to buy it.  But this? This is just lazy. It speaks to just completely having stopped caring at all and springing for the generic gold metal.

Pity then that it's not reflective of the rest of the game at all, because the game is actually pretty good.

The plot is very similar to the original Doom in that there's a portal to Hell that's been opened on Mars and some serious shit is going down as a result that you have to stop.  And how do you do this? Well, as I said in my review of the original - "Guns." And guns you get, having the usual tasty variety from the original.  After apparently having pulled a Rip van Wrinkle in Hell for a while (thus providing my confusion as to whether you're the original Doom Guy or a newbie - I've been told both by multiple sources), Doom Guy is up and at it again in a Martian facility that has been completely overrun by the Army of Darkness.

...yeah, I wish it was that one.

Combat is actually very involving, and enemies can swarm you very quickly even on the Normal difficulty, which I am happy to admit I did play on. In such situations, it can get both fusterclucky and very, very fast-paced, I found my heart racing at certain points in on the lower difficulty setting. I can hardly imagine how much of a heart attack Nightmare would have given me. The Glory Kills as well - pre-rendered sequences in which Doom Guy seeks to rip and tear the guys of his foes - are astoundingly visceral and gory as all get out, which lends itself to the reputation the series has garnered for its uber-violence.

I admit and I have admitted several times in my reviews that I am not really a First Person Shooter person. I have played several games in the genre, most notably the Halo series up to the point where the third one threw off my understanding of the plot and thus my interest, but I'd hardly call myself skilled at it. So, coming from my perspective, is this game good? Yes. It's definitely different from my usual benchmark for shooters (as I've been told, not a great benchmark, but it's subjective), with a difficulty curve straight out of Hell itself.

I really can't sit and play it (yes, even on Normal) for more than perhaps an hour before I get too wound up to play. Any time that enemies are attacking, I find myself panicked and firing with reckless abandon (which I can do with the pistol thanks to unlimited ammo and no reload time) and I am unable to enjoy the environments that Id has so carefully designed.

...which, by the way, I had to actually turn up my gamma to see. Seriously, after the first cutscene I found myself fighting in near-complete darkness with only the occasional realization that I'd actually been hit by something. Mind you, this wasn't a problem once I'd actually left that room, but it's important to note enough. There's a difference in creating horror between "something I can't see" and "I can't see a freaking thing!", this falling into the latter category and thus not creating a horrifying atmosphere in the least.

So, for what it is meant to do, it does good. For once, I'd say don't judge a book by it's cover and give it a shot. Some gamers who cut their teeth on more recent shooters may be a little off-put by the pace that will definitely not see you ducking behind cover to manage the hordes of Hell, but otherwise it's what Doom is known for.  The original FPS is back to school everybody once more.

...oh, and then John was a zombie.

Doom (2016) is now available from id Software and Bethesda Softworks for Windows, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.

This review is based on the Playstation 4 version.

For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.

Monday, June 13, 2016

MadCap's Reel Thoughts - "Avengers Grimm" (2015)

No. Just no.


...what exactly were you expecting from the people who made Sharknado? Don't see this movie. Burn every copy. Giggle as you dance around in the ashes.

Avengers Grimm is distributed by the Asylum. Don't watch it.

For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.

Friday, June 3, 2016

MadCap's Game Reviews - "Marvel Puzzle Quest"

Okay, let me be honest here. I hate match three games. I just do.  I have bad memories of playing Bejeweled as a child and never getting it quite right. seeing all those multicolored shapes sitting there, judging me, juking back into place with mocking laughter whenever I didn't actually managed to match three, telling me I was never good enough and that my old man left me when I was a child because I was a completely useless pile of human waste who would never amount to anythi-

...okay, I may have issues that don't actually relate to match three games themselves. In all honesty, I have no real appreciation for the genre.  Puzzle games have never really been my forte in the past. However, one of my dear friends (Cassie, for those of you who follow my Tales from Tabletop posts) told me that I would enjoy this game simply for the Marvel aesthetic, knowing full well what side my bread was buttered on in terms of comic book preferences.

And, give her credit, she was right.  I was suckered in by the Marvel aesthetic.

Marvel Entertainment, D3 Publisher, and Demiurge Studios have come together to make something that is visually very beautiful.  There are new renderings of various Marvel heroes, villains, and others done with careful artistic precision that appear on various screens. The various shapes that fill the grid from which three are matched are very colorful and vibrant and it is quite satisfying to match three (or more) and watch them explode off the screen to damage the enemy team.

Each character has three abilities, each one corresponding to a specific color. They can be used when a certain amount of that color is gained to have various effects on the playing field, such as setting up a timer for a specific event, inflicting damage on an opponent, or stunning an opponent or opponents.  And your rewards for completing the various stages? Any number of things from the all important ISO-8 that levels up your heroes and villains, hero points that allow you to buy new slots, other items to support your team like boosts to increase damage or your stockpiles of a certain color in battle, and new comic book covers to both unlock new abilities for characters you have as well as brand new ones.

Also, on rare occasions, you can also pick up Team Ups that can be used just like regular hero/villain/other abilities, though only for one time and only from points gathered from their own special tile that resembles ol' Shell-Head's Arc Reactor.

Then, of course, comes the joys of strategies and planning out.  Anyone who has read my reviews for a long while knows that I'm a man's man, a courageous man who isn't afraid to pick up a broadsword and go charging headlong at my enemies screaming "FREEDOM!" which admittedly does not leave much room for the strategic mind.  While some fights can be very easily taken care of with minimal effort, some do actually require workarounds such as the use of boosts and other power ups.

So, all this's also a mobile game.  And mobile games are, by their nature, addictive.  As I mentioned before, you have to buy new slots for heroes using either Hero Points or from cold hard cash. It is definitely possible to play through the game and never spend a dime...but you'd have a very long, hard slog of it, particular due to the fact that awarded covers will be destroyed if they are not recruited or used within several days (usually 13 from the date of award).

Which, again, is to facilitate the microtransactions. Which I'm not a fan of.

However, I will say this game is good and I admit that I really do like it. Despite the problems with some leveling in the competitive circuit (yes, there's multiplayer and no, I don't care for it) and the events (yes, they have events, there is actually a storyline in the game that's basically a run off of Dark Reign from the comics, not much to tell here since you can pretty much ignore it), I find it very enjoyable. It isn't something one can sit and play for extended periods, but it isn't supposed to be. It's a nice little jaunt to fill some time between cradle to grave.

Just...remember the dangers of mobile gaming.  And remember what happens when you stare to long into the abyss an-oh, look! Captain Marvel cover! Woooooo!!!

Marvel Puzzle Quest is now available from Marvel Entertainment, D3 Publisher, and Demiurge Studios for iOS, Android, Windows, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

This review is based on the Android version.

For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.