Comments on

The Garden of Madness

Original entry posted: Wed Feb 6 01:10:06 2008

That Fuzzy Bastard @ Wed Feb 6 10:07:27 2008 EST

I can't wait to try this---my Wii-having friend is planning to pick it up Thursday. I thought Killer 7 was a great-looking game, though I haven't finished it yet.

But I also quite liked Contact (which, for the record, Suda did not direct---it was released by Grasshopper, but created by another guy on their team). The mechanics were sort of a drag, but I never stopped being amused by them as a parody of RPG combat mechanics---it basically seemed like a joke on the FF7 approach, where all the player really does is hit "attack" and occasionally select potions; why not eliminate the constantly hitting attack from the mix? Plus I was compelled to keep playing just to see what goofy joke was coming at me next. And I thought it was ultimately well worth it---not only do the jokes get funnier as the game goes on (the Akibara level is delightful), the end is absolutely freakin' brilliant---a wonderful meta-gag that skillfully messes with your Pavlovian responses.

Thomas @ Wed Feb 6 10:23:12 2008 EST

I actually think Killer7 is better-looking. I dig its flat-shading more than the textures in NMH which, as someone has pointed out, look a bit Dreamcast.

That Fuzzy Bastard @ Thu Feb 7 11:23:36 2008 EST

Yeah, it does look a little Dreamcasty in the screenshots I've seen. But heck, anything that makes me feel like I'm playing Jet Grind Radio is okay with me.

By the way, have you seen the recent Wii rhythm-game announcements? Check them out here and here. Personally, I desperately want Mad Maestro to be ported to Wii---the PS2 made for a terrible control scheme, but on the Wii, it would be perfect. And even with the weak controls on the PS2, it was a painful reminder that most classical rhythms make rock rhythms look like the children's table.

Thomas @ Thu Feb 7 12:21:02 2008 EST

Those look good, but I'm gung ho about Samba De Amigo, myself. I remember that being a great party game, mainly since it required even less explanation than DDR or Guitar Hero.

That Fuzzy Bastard @ Fri Feb 8 08:53:36 2008 EST

Mmmm, yeah---between Samba and Marching Band, we may be approaching the year when I finally get a Wii.

Got in some NMH time at a friend's house last night too. Graphically---well, I wish we would've been able to see it in progressive scan, but even without that, it's got problems. The draw distances and texture pop have it looking sub-Dreamcast---the cities in Jet Grind Radio and even Crazy Taxi looked a lot more populated than Santa Destroy. Fortunately, art direction can make up for a lot of technicals flaws; I definitely enjoyed the visuals any time when you *weren't* driving.

The story is, of course, marvelous and unhinged---making a game based on El Topo is a sure way to my heart. But what really impressed me was the combat---it does a great job of using the Wiimote's viscerality without getting you hung up on its technical inability to do real 1:1 movement.

And once again, the interface may be the best part of the game. All the menus and icons are both fantastic looking and genuinely witty---the whole game, actually, is very smart about its own gameness, both in the interface touches (loved the Galaga-style scoreboard after each boss kill) and in the story (a pointless quest for points that you can't end once you've started). Suda seems to be approaching a really interesting Unified Field Theory of in-game satire---his games may always be too rough and personal to make the kind of big statements that the GTA games went for, but he's definitely carved out a distinct piece of ground for himself.

Thomas @ Fri Feb 8 10:15:35 2008 EST

What's interesting about the retro design elements is that they seem to have been a late addition. If you look at the early released videos for it, everything was much more subdued and "international symbol"-looking.

At some point, they must have just decided to turn up the volume and go for it.

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