Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blade II (2002) Xbox

Sadly there's no ice skating

Rating:  2 out of 5 Totally Unqualified Voice Actors Not At All Associated With The Original Work

Plot Synopsis:  Does it really matter?  I guess there’s Blade and he does a whole lotta shit that he doesn't do in the movie which includes blowing up cars and motorcycles, destroying security terminals and shotgunning computer monitors.

The Good:
-The weapon load out screen is pretty cool.  You can’t carry everything on you all the time so you have to pick and choose.  You have 6 slots, guns take up 2 slots, additional ammo and a few other things 1 slot each.

-There are a variety of weapons to buy with points you earn in game.  A couple of guns, the glaive, UV grenades, knuckle dusters, body armor and serum boosters.  So it’s a nice little selection.

-Firing a gun isn’t too bad, you get a pathetic amount of ammo though so you can’t use it too much.

-The graphics are pretty ok for the time period, on par with what else was being put out there, for the most part, from what I remember.

-Alright, I kind of figured out how to draw the blade and it’s pretty cool.  I wish it were a constant but I’ll take what they gave me.

-The game is fun if you cheat like a mother fucker.  If you want any enjoyment out of this go to Gamefaqs and get the cheat inputs.  If you don’t have to worry about health, the limited ammo and you can pull a sword at will then the game gets a lot more fun.

-When you can actually combo into a finisher the finishers are pretty cool.  The finishers with the sword are cool as well.

-When the sword is out it creates sparks when the character runs near a wall along with a dragging metal sound.  It’s a nice little touch.

-It’s got a nice Hong Kong Shotgun.  Turns up close vamps into salsa, at the middle distance it launches them across the room and at the farthest effective distance it just turns them to ash.

-The guns don’t feel too bad on this actually, using the infinite ammo cheat to turn this game into a shooter isn’t a bad idea.

-There’s a stage that takes place during a rave in a nightclub that’s pretty fun, as long as you can pull your sword.  It’s less fun if you can’t.  But I shotgunned myself onto the dance floor, pulled the sword and minced everything in an awesome display of bad-assery.

-The sword is pretty empowering, it makes you feel like a badass.

-The coat animations are kind of nice.

-There’s an office shoot out and on more than one occasion my Hong Kong Shotgun blew a vamp through a glass door/window before ashing them.

The Bad:

-The opening cinematic is, in fact, a trailer/advertisement for the DVD.

-Blade has dumps like a truck, truck, truck, truck.  Meaning he moves like a goddamn (Batman) dump truck.  He runs on a very wide grid (for a game) rather than actually being able to run freely so you end up passing things like a ship in the night.

-There is no camera stick, what would normally be a camera is the 360 degree fighting system (which while called that isn’t true, it only works in 4 cardinal directions), you rotate the camera with the same stick you walk with which means you have to stop to rotate the camera reliably.  You also have to really push the stick to move because there is an area of motion that is reserved for the camera so you have to push past that to move which causes a delay.  You can move the camera while moving the character but there’s no accuracy in it.

-Whistler is really fucking impatient in the tutorial, you have 2 seconds to do what he says or he yells at you in a voice that sounds nothing like double K.

-The fighting system sucks.  You use the right analog stick to fight in 360 degrees.  For the most part you can actually fight in that range, occasionally you’ll hit a spot where the bad guy is in just the right area that all your moves whiff until the characters magically shift into the correct place.  Getting combos to happen was almost impossible for me though, this was done in a game that came 2 years after Jet Li: Rise to Honor and there it was done actually pretty well from what I remember.  It’s probably been 6 years since I played Rise to Honor but I remember that game using the analog stick really well.  This one not so much.  You have to push the stick all the way to the end and the window you have to push it again isn’t always reliable.  I mostly ended up just doing the same move over and over again.

-The system for using the glaive is total shit, you have to hold the button down to aim it at which point it will highlight vamps.  Then you release it, sometimes it doesn’t hit anything on the way out, it will only hit stuff on the way back but it will make a full arc so the guys are on top of you by the time the glaive comes back.  Add to that when you are hit, at least most of the time when I was hit, the glaive glitches and hits no vamps at all, even if they were marked by you.  Then there are occasions when you do everything right and the glaive doesn’t hit anything anyway.  The glaive should be a quick, short range weapon, something to throw to damage the middle distance bad guys while you fight the guys that are up in your grill.  This system makes it pretty unwieldy and useless.

-THERE’S NO FUCKING SWORD! There are times when the word “Sword” flashes on the screen but I can’t find a way to use the fucking sword.  That’s his trademark, that’s the thing he’s named after but you can’t use it.  Even the fucking Ghost Rider game, which shoehorned Blade into it, had the sense to have that be his primary weapon used in his combos (based on the video I’ve seen, I still haven’t gone back to that game).  But not here.  I don’t know if they couldn’t get it to work with the fighting system but Sons of Liberty came out the year before and had an analog stick based sword fighting mechanic that was awesome, why not just steal that one?

-More often than not when showing an in-game cut scene the game glitches, freezes, the sound plays and then it just goes back to the regular game play.

-There’s no “Continue” so if you aren’t paying attention, like I was when I started it up again, you think your game has been deleted and you have to start over.

-The game kind of sucks as a shooter, the pistol has a great aiming system, the shotgun does not.  I don’t think the shotgun has any aiming system and with the grid that your character has to orient himself on it doesn’t allow fine aiming, so in multiple enemy encounters you end up shooting past some guys.

The Ugly:

-The voice acting, no one sounds like they should.

-The soundtrack is total garbage.

Final Thoughts:  I buy these games hoping to find a hidden gem.  I ignore previous reviews because in the past I have found great enjoyment from games that were rated very poorly.  I only played the whole tutorial (which wasn’t all that helpful) and most of the first stage.  I never got into the fighting system, towards the end I got a little better at stringing together combo’s but it was still hit and miss.  The game was a horrible, miserable slog and I was only 3 stages in (one whole level and 2 parts of the first level).  Then I looked online to figure how to pull the sword and that’s when I saw a full complement of cheat codes.  It was only after using those that I started to have fun with the game.  By eliminating all the penalties caused by the shitty gameplay I actually started having fun.  I didn’t have to worry about health so I could take all the cheap hits from the AI and all the cheap misses from the mediocre fighting engine.  It allowed me to use the gun to clear out the thick gangs of vamps that occasionally spring up magically around you or pull the sword and finish them with style.  But I think the game is only fun if you cheat.

            The game feels like it was made by committee.  A committee of passionless Hollywood movie execs, who’s only investment, was money, and indifferent game programmers just doing the job they were paid to do within the deadline they were given.  When you have the passionless lead the indifferent you can’t expect or achieve greatness.  Which this game doesn’t even come close to achieving, the game is broken, I know it’s broken because you have to break the game further by cheating to enjoy it.  It’s not entirely without merit because I did eventually enjoy myself and I felt I got better with the fighting system the longer I spent with it.  It’s possible through the course of the game I would have gotten used it and it would have worked for me.  But I when I can play Arkham City I’m not going to devote the time to a game like this because I would rather replay that for a 4th time or run through the challenge stages than wring out what little fun this game may have for me.  I got this on Amazon for less than a dollar, if you’re a big Blade fan, like I am, and you have to play everything, like I do, then it’s worth whatever fun you may get from it.

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