Pocket monsters and bullet storms

There’s 150 for y’all to see to be a pokemon master with a Hitmonlee (misheard lyric)

Pokemon Black on the DSi—awesome. So far I’ve clocked 31 hours and all I have to show for it are my 6 badges, 89 critters in my pokedex and a bad arse Samurott I called Turdguin.

 

The following sentence will offend most hardcore trainers out there. Nothing much has changed since good ol’ Pokemon Blue. Sure, there have been subtle changes to gameplay due to innovations in technology but essentially we’re dealing with the same formula.

 

In the beginning you choose between a fire, grass or water pokemon, Professor Oak/Juniper gives you a pokedex to record information on all the pocket monsters you capture and then you fight the quirky gym leaders for badges. And then there’s Team Rocket/Plasma who mess with you because they can. Oh, then there’s the inevitable boat level (I’m on a boat, slowpoker!).

 

Pokemon Black is a pleasant nostalgic hit. The pokemon are all different and the visuals are prettier. This game is fun. The Nintendo Wi-Fi allows people to trade and to battle. I can see myself playing for many, many more hours.

 

‘Got myself a scotch and I’m violently fiddlin with my balls in anticipation of your arrival.’ – general Serrano

Bulletstorm is hilarious. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously which is refreshing. The general, who is the antagonist in this sci-fi action, sets this comedic tone with his dialogue. He’s like a mix between Robert Duvall from Apocalpse Now and the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket.

 

The story is about revenge and redemption. An elite squad of killers find out that they’ve been hired to assassinate innocent people when they were told that these people were … anything but innocent.

 

The buff protagonist rams his ship into the general’s in a non-homo-erotic fashion and forces both ships to crash-land on the sweet-looking planet. Of course the main characters survive the fall and they scour cities to find and murderise the general.

 

One of the first gameplay mechanics you’re introduced to is the kick function, which is very reminiscent of Duke Nukem 3D. Then there’s the whip that you find. Lash people and send them hurtling to the sky or you can drag them towards you. The game rewards the player with points when they kill baddies. The more inventive, the more points you get.

 

Whip a guy and kick him so that he impales himself on spikes, score. Kick a mutant off a bridge, score.  Shoot a fire trashcan thingy, whip the dude and then kick him in the air to blast his head off with your rifle, jackpot.

 

The combo mechanic sounds sweet but it quickly becomes mundane after a few hours because the game almost dictates how you should dispatch your foes. You’ll feel penalised for just opening fire on a group when you could’ve performed more elaborate kills for more points.

 

You use these points to upgrade your weapons and to buy ammunition. I spent most of the game with the shotty and pistol. Each gun has a special charge or secondary ammo type. The pistol has a flare that sends the receiver into the air and engulfs them in flames while the shotgun can fire a shell that disintegrates any enemy it hits. Both charges are effective against bosses.

 

Bosses are also annoying because they can be killed in the same manner. There’s an illusion of variety but there really isn’t many fun choices to choose from.

 

I finished the game after playing it for maybe 8 hours? It was a brief campaign and it was entertaining but there’s nothing there for me to revisit. I wonder how the upcoming Duke Nukem title will compare?

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