Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#21

Post by DarkZero » Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:18 am

Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (GCN)

I just finished up THPS4, and as I'm already very familiar with the two Underground games, I decided to finally give American Wasteland a shot. I bought it like ten years ago but I didn't like how much of a departure it was from the previous titles. And when I started to replay the game, it seemed like my judgement was right, as everything felt awkward and bloated compared to what I'm used to. But eventually, I started warming up to the game, and now I can say that, while still not my favorite, I definitely appreciate it way more than I used to, and I may even revisit the game occassionaly if the mood strikes me.

THAW was notable for being the first Tony Hawk game with an "open" world (open in the sense that you can travel between the levels through tunnels that are not all there to mask loading times). The game takes place in Los Angeles, with several locations like Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the Santa Monica pier taking up the main playable areas, as well as some additional areas like the Oil Rig stage from THPS3 Xbox. It also has a slightly different art style than past games, with a more "inky" look to the textures and comic book-esque illustrations used all over the place.

The story feels somewhat in between the two THUG games tonally; the goal of the game is stealing all sorts of LA landmarks to put in your own skatepark, with the help of some misfit skaters whose trust you earn along the way. It has the more open-style of goals as the past few games, but with some bonus goals and challenges you can do to build stats. There's also shops in all the major areas of the map to buy clothes, skate gear, tattoos, etc. as well as a day/night system with certain events being affected by the time of day. It feels like a more-realized version of what THUG was trying to be, while also embracing the more destruction-oriented plot structure of THUG 2. Oh also, your character in story mode MUST be male. Lame.

The core gameplay feels very much like your typical Tony Hawk game, but this game goes above and beyond with adding new things and mechanics to play with. Things like Bert Slides for sharper turns or Boned Ollies to clear narrower gaps are somewhat useful, but the walking controls are completely redone here. They tried to add some parkour mechanics to the game, which honestly could be really cool if done right, but imo it just feels stiff even compared to the admittedly-janky off-board controls in the Underground games.

The game has BMX segments too. I didn't like them, so I'm glad there's only like two goals in the whole game that required it. I'm sure it appeals to like, Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX fans though, so it's cool that they got tossed a bone since that series is never coming back.

The Classic Mode is back, but unlike THUG 2, it's super-short this time. None of the story mode levels were used in this mode, so you're only left with six levels (even the original game had nine levels). You have the return of three THPS1 levels (Minneapolis, Chicago, and Mall), two levels from THUG 2 Remix (Santa Cruz and Kyoto), and a new level called The Ruins, which is a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. It's worth noting that the PS2 Collector's Edition got two additional stages (Atlanta from THUG2R and Marseille from THPS2), but I didn't play that version so :p

The music is also very interesting, as it features a lot of covers of classic punk songs by modern (at the time) bands like Green Day or My Chemical Romance, and they're all made just for this game. It's so cool and interesting and it's one of the things about this game that I genuinely love.

Overall, I think THAW is a lot better than I gave it credit for, even if I still don't think it's my cup of tea for what I like in the series. At the very least, I can appreciate it's ambition and spirited attempt to make a yearly franchise feel fresh again without compromising what makes it fun.

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#22

Post by DarkZero » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:50 pm

Friday the 13th: The Game - Ultimate Slasher Edition (Switch)

Now, I've only been playing this for a few days, but given that it's primarily a multiplayer experience, I figure I have enough experience to rush this out for Halloween.

Friday the 13th: The Game is an asymmetrical multiplayer game, where one person in the lobby is randomly selected to play as Jason Voorhees, while the remaining players are counselors. There are so many mechanics and nuances that I could spend most of this review explaining them all, so I'll try to keep it as simple as I can.

Your goal as Jason is simply to kill as many counselors as you can. The kills are very creative and gory, as you would expect from a game based on a slasher movie, almost feeling like Mortal Kombat fatalities. Though you're outnumbered, Jason has many abilities that make his job easier, such as an infrared-style sense vision, stealth mode, and two different types of teleports. These are all on meters and need to cool down before each use, so you can't just spam them, but if you stagger their uses properly, you about always have an option available. Jason also gets access to throwing knifes and bear traps, the amount of each depending on which Jason you use. There are different Jason designs from all the movies between 2 and 9, all of which have different weapons, as well as varying strengths and weaknesses. You start with Part 3 Jason, which has a very well-rounded kit you can't go wrong with, and this Jason even has an alternate skin inspired by the NES Friday the 13th game, completely with spooky chiptune).

As a counselor, you're generally trying to find a way to escape. There are several multi-step processes that allow you to do this, including fixing one of the two cars and driving out, fixing the boat and driving out, or calling the police and waiting for them to show up near one of the camp exits. You can also find weapons and items that help you fend off Jason, heal wounds, or help you navigate the map better. Teamwork is important for counselors, as having a well-oiled group of people to fend off Jason makes his job much much harder. Each counselor has different strengths and weaknesses, so keep them in mind when forming a team structure.

One other thing you can do is, if someone finds the radio to call Tommy Jarvis (a recurring character in the franchise), then a player who has either escaped or died already might get a second chance and re-enter the game as Tommy. Tommy has max stats, and starts the game with a shotgun, a first aid, and a pocket knife, so he's better off than your typical counselor but otherwise can do the same things, and can still be killed by Jason if he's not careful. A Tommy player is best used to defend other counselors from Jason, but he's also the only person who can actually kill Jason, which is a convoluted process that involves damaging Jason enough for his mask to fall off, finding his shack, having a female counselor wear his mother's sweater, and using it to distract Jason while Tommy hits him with an axe or a machete. This rarely happens, but it's pretty hype when it does.

The online is only as good as the people you play with, and I think like 90-95% of players actually want to play the game fair and respectfully. But every now and then you get some *******. It's pretty easy for counselors to grief Jason by glitching into places he can't reach, and some players love to attack and kill their teammates despite the XP penalty for doing so. There were times where I was spectating other players and I was actually rooting for the Jason player because my teammates were being huge dicks to them. But overall these were isolated incidents, and my online experience has been mostly positive.

There's also single-player stuff if you're not as interested in multiplayer (which I'm usually not). Virtual Cabin is a really neat museum type extra where you walk around a... virtual cabin, and examine different props from the movies, and you get to learn a lot of trivia and behind-the-scenes knowledge. But that's not all, because there are also puzzle-solving elements to the game that let you unlock new areas and allow a little story to unfold, which all culminates in a really neat easter egg. It's hard to figure out unless you really know your Friday the 13th trivia or just look it up, but it's still really fun to explore regardless.

There are also bot battles, where you can play a multiplayer session but with bots. For whatever reason you can only be Jason in this mode, not a counselor, but it's a good way to practice Jason strats since you statistically don't get to play as him very often in multiplayer. You can also do challenges (again with Jason), which I tried to do but I couldn't figure it out. But these are more story-based and actually develop the characters more, so these are basically like tiny story modes if you're into that.

I skipped over some of the nitty-gritty like perks and custom clothes and stuff, but it works about how you think, you earn currency for playing and you can spend it on cosmetics, character buffs, and even different kills for Jason to perform. Leveling up lets you unlock more counselors and Jason variations. That kinda thing.

===TLDR===

Overall, very solid experience, speaking as someone who doesn't like multiplayer games that much and doesn't even have that much history with the Friday the 13th franchise. I think this game may be obsolete in some people's eyes with games like Dead by Daylight offering very similar experiences, but I still think it's really cool, and this game was clearly made with a LOT of love and respect for the franchise. I'd recommend it.

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