Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You Are Not Ready....

...for Mike's Mother-Shagging Furious Review.
But you already clicked on this post, so you might as well read it.

“I figured it was about time that I voiced some comments on this blog….those of you that follow us know that I am the REAL talent on the BarCODE Podcast. It should follow that you would purchase anything that I ENDORSED….and so, here is my Ghostbusters review.

Ahem…..you should DEFINTELY, possibly think about maybe purchasing this game. Maybe. I am not sure.

Shit. How the hell does one review something that is so truly un-reviewable? A game that exists on two completely different planes of existence, that is so diametrically opposed – to itself – that is needs more therapy than Sonny and Cher’s “daughter”. Seriously, I play this game and simultaneously laugh and scream for the duration of the session. But I digress, let’s get to the reviewing….

Recall that this game has been through quite a development process, and was originally slated to launch in 2007, then pushed to early 2008 and finally hit US shores in mid-2009. During this tumultuous time, the game lost its license, gained it back, lost its voice talent and writers, gained them back, lost its publisher, found a new one AND changed graphical engines TWICE. Craig and I actually picked this to be our most anticipated game – of 2008. Ooops. We have not been this off since Craig reviewed the movie “JuMPeR” – favorably. Finally, the game launches with Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd co-writing the script, Aykroyd, Murray, Ramis and that black guy adding voice-over and Alyssa Milano adding her voice and tits to the character that supposedly replaces Sigourney Weaver, who was allegedly “on the fence” about this project, to which the producers said “great, beat it bitch, we have someone just as recognizable who happens to have the correct amount of chromosomes.” If you are wondering where Rick Moranis might be, so is his wife, so if you find this reclusive douchebag, please let her know. All of the voice work is top notch, with two exceptions: 1) Bill Murray’s ‘Peter Venkman” is nearly laughable as it sounds like Murray doing an impression of Venkman doing an impression of Murray doing an impression of a cadaver, and 2) that black guy (who I was just informed is Ernie Hudson, but will still be referred to as ‘that black guy’) apparently plugged into the Matrix where Tank programmed him to be super smart with a PhD in Spectral Anomalies. The dialogue is reasonably witty, each character (except that black guy) seems to channel the same personality you’d expect after seeing the movies, and the story itself could truly be GB3-worthy in the theaters. The atmospheric and gameplay sounds as well as the soundtrack are spot-on and I think represent the strongest quality of this offering. Before I move to the gameplay, I feel it important to address what seems to be the BIGGEST gripe that other, more reputable reviewers have with the production – the lip-syncing is waaaay off. Oh no, what will we do? Who cares if it is fun, just as long as the lips match the sounds I hear. My rebuttal – I don’t give a shit about the lip syncing, I am not paying attention to their mouths and frankly neither should you. When watching porn, I pay attention to what goes INTO the mouth, not what is coming out, and I do them same when playing a video game. You should too. In retrospect, I realize I am hypocritical, since I don’t play games with my hand down my pants, but that would just be silly and would ruin my argument. Bottom line, watch porn instead of playing this game.

Ok, first thing you should do when inserting this disc into your 360 – INSTALL THE GAME TO YOUR HARDDRIVE. Do this now, do not even consider the consequences if you do not, unless you are like Craig and really lament for more Ray Parker Jr. in the game. Ray Parker Jr. can eat my ass as can the coders for this game who thought that we might not mind a 45 second load time EVERY TIME YOU DIE – which is wayyyy too often at the medium or high difficulty. Which brings me to the confusing part of my review…..right off the bat, I was in love with this game. Regardless of being a ghostbusters geek (which I am not) or being a huge fan of polished menus and start screens (which I unabashedly am), this game is poised to rule right from the jump. Graphics are ‘good enough’ – think Gears of War with proton packs – and the controls are exactly where I think they should be. Craig said it best by noting that ‘the controls feel just out of control enough to make you believe you are firing a proton pack, and just soft enough to feel like you are controlling an overweight New Yorker’ and he is, BEGRUDGINGLY, exactly right. I think the sign of a fun game is whether the designer can make the requisite game mechanics tutorial be more integrated into the game, and they succeed wholeheartedly on this one. So, I have my controls down, the graphics are good, the music and sound is great, I am loving life as I enter the Sedgewick Hotel in search of Slimer and the rest of the stuff I would expect from a GB title. Then the strangest thing happens – I am fighting several ghosts at once and my counterparts keep falling down, requiring me to go and revive them, which I do with great regret as they apparently do nothing to the overall health of the ghosts, and, ooops I get knocked down, so I get back up, and I start –ooops, just knocked down again, but no worries, I am getti – ooops, I am knocked down, this time BEFORE MY FRIGGIN ASS of a character IS OFF THE GROUND from the last knockdown, and this last one has ME needing a revival. But, lo and behold, the others are also on the ground, which leaves me DEAD. Cue the 45 second loading screen, cue RPJr and his soulglow, cue the snazzy animated loading screen. Rinse, and repeat. A LOT. To say the AI is cheap would not be accurate, or fair, but to say the AI is frustrating would be the most accurate thing said since ‘Adam Lambert is flamingly gay’. Never before in my 30+ years of gaming have I been so angry with an in-game death, then compelled by the sheer joy of the game when on my feet to actually restart, then pushed to suicide by a freaking loading screen, and finally forced to repeat this over and over just to see the next room/level/set piece. It is a testament to the overall design of this game that someone as cynical and A.D.D. as I would be as far into this game as I am. This mechanic of frustrating teammate AI and restarts continues and get more and more frustrating with each level – but so does the enjoyable locations, sound effects and upgradable joy as you purchase add-ons to your pack. Installing the game on your HDD can speed up the load times marginally, but it does nothing for the sheer anger you will experience when you spend 15 minutes running and reviving teammates only to find that you have essentially accomplished NOTHING over those 15 minutes central to the situation – remember, your boys do NOTHING to the health of the ghosts, they only assist in throwing traps and wrangling. The install also triggers some weird glitches and hold-ups in the game, so you are not home free. I think back to some other incredibly frustrating games I have played the hell out of, the first one cropping up being California Games, an early Commodore 64 title. This game was incredibly frustrating, but the load times were INSTANT, so I could fail the BMX course about 1000 times in an hour. The level I am currently playing in GB takes about 10 minutes before I die, although it could be 45 minutes if I chose to extend it, and the only thing I have to look forward to is the nose picking time I will get waiting for the level to load. In the end, I will probably not finish this game (go figure to those that know me), but I really, really REALLY want to! And that is why this is such an odd and unique situation. To quote the Gamespot.com reviewer “
As vexing as these annoyances are, they're not so prominent that they cloud the experience” – what? Absolute frustration doesn’t cloud the experience? How about when my stupid compatriots get stuck behind a box and you need to restart a level since they apparently only make a bee-line for the next checkpoint rather than actually navigating a path? How about then, shitbag? I think you see my point, but let me try to incorporate this thought process into my review. When I was shagging your mom, she kept popping uppers, shitting uncontrollably and calling me ‘Daffodil’ – still, as vexing as these annoyances are, they're not so prominent that they cloud the experience. Yep, that about says it all.

In closing, Ghostbusters The Video Game is a worthy purchase, I think, if for no other reason than to see a license actually used correctly and shoot proton packs and slime cannons at that black guy whenever possible. I noted that this review was for the XBOX360 version as I understand that the Wii version differs significantly in both graphical style and gameplay mechanics. It is actually scoring higher on other sites for the Wii version which probably means that you can manually masturbate Slimer by shaking the Wiimote in an up and down motion or engage in a particularly stimulating mini-game involving the toaster from GB2, the painting of Viggo and a 22oz bottle of lube. As for the 360 version, you will find a thoroughly entertaining and excruciatingly frustrating experience at the same time.

Final Review (using a modified Patrice O’Neal hotness scale) – 21 out of 30, or an incredibly bad, great game”

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