The month started strong with Monster Hunter Stories. I am still playing it every so often, but have not yet completed it. I never would have guessed that a Monster Hunter JRPG targeted at children would appeal to me so much.
Then a few weeks later Capcom dropped Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite. The presentation of the game and marketing leading up to its release made it seem like it was going to be a garbage fire. Unsurprisingly people are trashing it to the ends of the earth and back. The kicker is that it's actually super fun to play! I really like it.
The last game I played was Cuphead. The hotly anticipated indie release has finally come out, and it's everything I was hoping it would be. The 1930's cartoon aesthetic needs to be seen to be believed. In motion it looks stunning. On top of that the frantic boss fights are very fun and challenging.
We have a lot to talk about. It's game time!
Monster Hunter Stories
The fact that I love Monster Hunter is no secret. I feel deep into its trap a few years ago and haven't looked back. It's been a while since a Monster Hunter game has been released in the West, and for some reason Capcom decided to keep XX as a Japan only game. While Monster Hunter World will release in late January the only thing to tide me over until then was Monster Hunter Stories.
|The Monsters you know and love are here, but they're small and cute now!|
I normally never download demos of games, but I had to know what this one was about. What's crazy is that the demo is just the first five or six hours of the game. You can do almost everything available to you, and the progress even carries over to the main game. By the time the demo concluded I was hungry for more, and ended up getting the game when I otherwise wouldn't have.
I think the most surprising thing about it is that it is essentially a Pokemon game. You collect and battle with cute versions of all your favorite monsters from the series. It starts off very simply. Battles consist of choosing one of three types of attacks, either Technique, speed, or power. Each beats another, so you're playing roshambo. If you lose a trade the enemy still takes damage, but not as much as they would have. Each monster has its own tendencies, so just like Monster Hunter you need to learn each enemies habits to beat them effectively. As the game goes on the patterns get more diverse and you can mix things up by using skills of your own. It has a ton of charm, and while it's not the most complex game out there it manages to capture the charm of Monster Hunter in its own way.
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite
In my eyes Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite will be the new Street Fighter V. Everyone on the Internet will mercilessly dunk on it without having actually played the game. Alternatively it could be used as a case study in how to absolutely fail to market something effectively. From the start Capcom has mismanaged this games public perception. The models don't look great, but initially they looked even worse. Chun-Li's face looked so bad it quickly became a meme. It is also now coming out that the team was given a very small budget and an incredibly short time to develop the game (to the surprise of no one). When you add in the fact that the roster is largely old characters composed of re-used assets it's hard to see the game in a positive light.
Despite all of that, I decided to try it out anyways. My brother is an absolute Marvel vs. Capcom fanatic. Marvel 3 was the first fighting game he got truly good at, and I loved watching him play. Hell, I just love watching Marvel in general. So I am happy to report that this game has excellent gameplay. The fighting is good in this fighting game. I can's stress this enough. Yes, you only use two characters now instead of three, but the fact that you can tag your partner in at any time and continue your combos allows for so much creativity. The control has changed up a little from 3. You now have a light punch, heavy punch, light kick, and a heavy kick. Crouching heavy punch is a universal launcher, so doing sick aerial combos is still very easy to do. It's fast paced, and very fluid. It feels good!
|Still screens look so bad, but it plays just fine.|
Do I think this game deserves a lot of crap for the way it was marketed? Yes. However, when you actually play the game its easy to see that it's a good fighting game. I don't think it's wrong to like a fighting game because the actual game is great, but the content surrounding it is not. So far it has absolutely tanked in sales, but I am personally hoping for it to have a long tail. Like Street Fighter V they are going to be selling DLC characters. Capcom has a plan for this game, so thankfully I think we'll have many years of Marvel tournaments to look forward to.
Cuphead began development in 2010 and it is finally seeing the light of day. The 1930's cartoon inspired game was first shown in an indie game montage during a Microsoft E3 press conference. Details started to trickle out and it was revealed to be a sidescrolling boss rush game. Even back then it was said to be fiendishly difficult despite its playful cartoon look. At first there were only bosses, but the game was put back in the oven to add some platforming levels. I can safely say that the platforming levels are my least favorite part of the game, but the bosses are awesome.
Cuphead is a relatively simple shoot-em-up. You run from side to side and shoot magic bullets from your finger. The challenge comes from the fact that you need to keep shooting while simultaneously dodging everything that gets thrown at you. You begin each encounter with three health, and after three hits you're finished. In order to defeat your enemies you'll need to learn the patterns for each phase of the fight. Damaging enemies enough will get them to change up their strategy. It's cool, because you never know exactly how long a fight will go, but if you fail a progress bar of sorts will let you know how close you were to victory. To ease the burden of the game you can purchase different types of shots and charms to help in specific scenarios. The shots have varying damage and range, while charms will give you specific power-ups. While it's certainly possible to beat the game with the default shot and no charms it's not necessarily going to be easy.
|If I didn't know better I would think this is a still from a 1930's cartoon.|
The game is definitely about the gameplay, but it does have a story. It's actually surprisingly dark. Cuphead and Mugman sneak out of their home and visit a casino. They get on a hot streak in craps and think they're unbeatable. Turns out the Devil owns the casino and he challenges them to a bet. If they win, they get tons of cash, but if they lose he gets their souls. They obviously lose, but plea for their souls. The devil agrees to release their souls if the duo can collect other souls he is owed. So each boss you defeat is someone who owes their soul to the devil. Both this concept and the difficulty are in direct opposition to the beautiful and fun art style, which might be why everything works so well. This game controls like a dream and looks like you're literally playing a cartoon. Cuphead rules!
As I stated at the beginning of this fabulous edition of Game Time, October is upon us. I am unrealistically excited for Fire Emblem Warriors. I've been craving some mindless Dynasty Warrior action and now I can get it! However, the true best Switch game is also releasing. Super Mario Odyssey will be out right before the end of the month. I can't even begin to describe how ready I am to play a brand new 3D Mario product. It's been a long time since Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Odyssey looks like it's going to be a worthy successor.
What's even better is that both of those Switch games are going to be out in time for me to play them on a five hour plane ride. It will be my first plane ride with a Switch, and it should be a great time.