|05-03-2010, 01:42 PM||#1|
Laurel for Dictator
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Novato, CA
Blog Entries: 2
[PSN] Kick-Ass Review
Platform: Playstation 3 (via PSN)
Developer: Frozen Codebase
Publisher: WHA Entertainment
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Editor: Sam 'Sazime' Sorensen
Brought to you by developer Frozen Codebase (Zombie Wranglers) and distributed by WHA Entertainment (a new house focusing on publishing existing IPs), the Kick-Ass game is a 3D brawler based not only around the plot of the movie, but the art work of the comic.
The question, of course, is does it Kick-Ass? Yes, I went there. I will also go into what I love about brawlers in general. Do not fear, dear reader. You will understand what I want to see in these types of games and maybe understand a little better what happens when a small studio puts their hearts into 4 months (only 4 months!!!) of development.
As I said, Kick-Ass is a 3D brawler with an emphasis on three unique characters and their varied abilities. Kick-Ass himself carries around his trademark clubs and has special abilities focused on short range attacks and a "rage" that heals him, Hit-Girl uses her double ended nagamaki (look it up) and pistols in short range AOE attacks and long range damage as Big Daddy handles a knife and shotgun to pummel and pulp foes.
The combat lends itself to more than a mere button masher (although there are some times where mashing lends a hand). The difficulty ramps itself up in such a way that being aware of enemies and environment is mandatory. Some items, such as fork lifts, electrical transformers, scrap metal and sword holding statues can be used to quickly dispatch enemies unfortunate enough to stand in front of them. In the junkyard level, you can dodge cars and lure your foes under them as they fall. The more you shimmy and move to utilize these environmental embellishments, the combat gets more and more entertaining.
When you've beaten enough enemies, you get to level up; either raising your Defense, Attack or Special Abilities. With each additional point, you hit harder, get a thicker skin or have your abilities grow in damage, or in Kick-Ass's case, heal. It's a small RPG element that adds a lot to replay-ability and style, which is always welcome it what sometimes can be a two-dimensional experience.
One small problem (for your enemies) is the tendency for some foes to travel in a straight line, right into an electric or flaming obstacle. It didn't happen often, and when it did I found it hilarious, but it also made those particular fights a bit too easy.
The camera pans well, following movement and rarely needs to be adjusted manually to follow combat. I only had a blocked view once and when I did - a quick rotation of the right stick fixed it in no time. Enemies progressively get more difficult at latter stages and I was even forced to plan some attacks to make sure I wasn't overwhelmed.
At some points you will come across bosses and mini bosses. These "specials" buff the enemies around them and do more damage then usual. After defeating them you get to perform one of two special "finishing moves," which are unique to each character.
The only real downsides to me were that there are no grappling moves and you can't pick up items or weapons to use on enemies. I would have loved to pick up a rocket launcher or explosive barrel at some point and let a villain have it. That said, the final level has a surprise for the folks that have seen the movie and have always wanted to go all Schwarzenegger on someone.
The game is displayed in 720p and follows a style similar to the comic in the use of bright colors and a more cartoon-ish (as opposed to realistic) style. Each character moves and fights in a very different way, making animations unique and interesting when changing between them.
You'll see some of the same tile sets across the 10 levels, but each of the conditions under which you fight, change. For instance, in a second run through of Frank's Lumber, you fight through the same building as you previously did, except this time while it burns to the ground. I could see the similarities right away in some cases, but then became so embroiled in battle and planning my next attack the similarity took a quick back seat.
This game has a soundtrack! You'll recognize the songs from the movie, and they completely fit the mood when they pop up to tickle your ears.
Citizens react to each character differently while you run through the streets, and while you'll certainly hear some of the same lines from time to time, they still add to the overall atmosphere without becoming redundant.
I'll say it again here, but 4 months is a phenomenally short period of time to develop something from inception and the guys at Frozen Codebase managed to pull off sound effects that didn't sound reused from some other place (I run into this a lot in my life, for instance, some of the scenes in the Kick-Ass movie... but that's for another time and place).
That's the million dollar question. What do I get for $15?
Well, as pointed out before, you get 10 levels each with different mini bosses and final bosses (pulled right from the comic and movie). At the end of three of them you get clips taken from the movie outlining where the plot is, as well as the opening right when you start up the game. They even managed to pick one of my favorite Hit-Girl action sequences from the end of the film. Beware the costumed girl holding a knife on the end of a rope.
Between each level, the folks from Frozen Codebase expertly inserted comic panels matched with movie lines to flesh out the story further. In the cases of newly generated art for the game, the artists did an excellent job matching John Romita Jr's style. With that they captured exactly what the comic was in some very fun ways as well as matching it up with the updated plot of the movie. That being said, if you don't want the movie spoiled, watch it first, then play the game.
Actor Randall Batinkoff (who played Tre in the movie) provided voices for the enemies and Big Daddy, while Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass are voiced by the original actors, although I think most of that was done with audio taken from the film. Some of the lines feel a little hokey, but fun. I am all about "hokey-fun," especially when compared to "no fun at all."
The whole game can be played through cooperatively with two players. In his Playstation blog about the game, producer Ben Geisler even mentions that we will see online multiplayer soon. From the Playstation blog:
"But we’re not done! Stay tuned, — we’ll be adding multiplayer as a downloadable content update!"
Hopefully with no additional cost, but we shall see. Yes, that's right, as of now, no online play, just local. Personally, when playing a game like this I like to give my buddy a real high five when decapitating foes rather than a virtual one, but that goes back to my times spend pumping quarters into arcade machines as a teenager (and to this day, when I get the chance. I do love arcades).
As I said, I'm a huge fan of the arcade brawler. To me, purchasing a game like this is a no brainer. I get to pummel gang members and mafioso to some kick ass (there it is again!) tunes, and in this case it was even a nice challenge. Add to that an Arena mode to fight wave after wave of foes and a harder skill level to play through after I've beaten the game with a particular character, and I'm in.
I've played the game twice now, the first run through clocking in at about 4 hours and the second closer to 3, and I'm in it to win it again. I've enjoyed it enough as Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass that I want to go all the way through with Big Daddy. I even want to level a character to it's max (50) and see how the Arena mode fares being that built up.
To answer a question before it's asked: yes, my love of this genre colors more score, and I will not apologize for it. This is what gaming is to me. If it were an RPG I'd do the same, if it was an RTS I'd have a really hard time scoring a game at all. This is one of my favorite genres and a games I'd happily drop quarters on in the arcade.
Score: (3.5 out of 5 Cogs)
Sam says, "It's a fun brawler based on a recognizable IP and it does a stellar job representing both. Check it out, kick some ass."
|05-03-2010, 02:48 PM||#3|
KISS MY AXE!
Join Date: Oct 2008
Blog Entries: 17
That's a pleasant surprise. I love co-op brawlers, so I may have to pick this up some time.
|05-03-2010, 05:11 PM||#5|
Cappin flags since 1990.
|05-03-2010, 05:20 PM||#6|
KISS MY AXE!
Join Date: Oct 2008
Blog Entries: 17