2017 is shaping up to be a big year for fighting games tons of stuff is coming out and I'm playing all of it. I bit the bullet and got ARMS on the Switch. I had to know what it was all about, and I'm glad I did. The concept is really cool, even if I don't like playing it very much. On the other hand I also got Tekken 7 and it rules. I don't think Tekken can be bad.
After all the fighting games I needed a change of pace and picked up Hollow Knight. I enjoyed the journey even though it was filled with sadness and despair.
It was an interesting month, so let's start talking about it. It's game time!
I did and still really want to like ARMS. Every time Nintendo creates a new IP I feel obligated to try it out. While I do find the character designs to be charming, I don't particularly enjoy the combat. It's not necessarily bad, it just doesn't really do it for me. The concept of ARMS is pretty simple. One day people woke up and had stretchy arms. They thought it would be a good idea to fight with their new arms, so they made a tournament. So yeah, you might with your arms in ARMS...
|The character designs in ARMS are really cool.|
When the game was revealed there was a large emphasis on motion controls, which is the way I personally prefer to play the game. To play you hold a joycon in each fist in a punching grip. To punch you thrust out the respective arm, or both of them to grab your opponent. Movement is controller entirely by tilting in the desired direction. Jumping and dashing are performed with the bumpers, which can feel a bit awkward when you're tilting to move. The motion controls don't always work as intended, but they work just well enough. Traditional controls can be used as well, but I didn't find them to be particularly great.
By nature ARMS isn't as crazy as most other fighting games. Due to the fact that you're slowly stretching out your limbs to hit opponents there aren't really any combos to be seen. This means that the game is almost all about movement. Patience pays off, and I am certainly not a patient person. What bums me out is that there isn't a lot of content in ARMS. Really the only thing I can do is fight the AI, or get absolutely decimated by people online. Nintendo came up with a bunch of really cool characters, but they have almost no story or development behind them. Thankfully Nintendo is taking the Splatoon approach and will be updating the game for free over the course of its lifespan. It' s an interesting game, I just don't know if it's worth it in its current state.
When I first saw a screenshot of Hollow Knight I didn't find it interesting. However, after seeing it in motion I suddenly understood what it was all about. It has a stop-motion quality to it that I now can't get enough of. I wanted to wait and get it for the Switch, but the development of that version seems like it will be a little while longer.
Hollow Knight is a metroidvania style game where you play as a little bug dude with a nail. Your goal is to explore the ruins of a forgotten underground kingdom. Gameplay is relatively simple at first blush. You jump around and swing your nail at enemies. As you beat bosses more and more abilities are added to your arsenal until you are an unstoppable bug killing machine. The basics of combat are simple, but precise timing is often required of you. If you get injured in combat you can focus the stolen souls of your enemies to slowly regain health. This means that even though combat can be tough, it's not impossible to recover from most situations.
|It's like you're playing a sad painting!|
The atmosphere in Hollow Knight is universally bleak. You're exploring a defunct kingdom filled with sadness and death. Everything is drab and dismal, but in a way that I really appreciated. The color palette, music, and art all fuse together to make something that's appropriately depressing, but also interesting to explore. I really enjoyed my time with the game, even if it felt a little too difficult in spots. I also could have done without the Dark Souls-like mechanic where you have to run back to your body upon death. However, things like the simple yet-rewarding combat kept me interest throughout. I may even give the game a second go when it finally does release on the Switch.
I really like Tekken as a franchise and Tekken 7 is no exception. The combat I've come to know and love is back again. Characters still have a billion moves each, there's a bunch of juggle combos, and the walls are super deadly. It's Tekken, but this time there's a cinematic story mode.
|Everyone's favorite Tekken character the volcano returns!|
When I first completed the story I left off with positive thoughts, but after some time to reflect I don't think it was that great. Yes, it has all the elements you'd want in a Tekken "story" like people being thrown into volcanoes and turning into devils, but it just didn't go as far as it could have. For starters a ton of new characters are introduced in this game and only three of them are even IN the story. What's up with Lucky Chole, and Shaheen? Who knows, because they're certainly not in the story. What really drives me up a wall is the narrator. He's a reporter who is trying to tie together all the random CG scenes as you play through them. His voice actor sounds like a robot. Every line is delivered as flat as possible. So you're getting all hyped up as you see people get punched through walls, but then you transition into a man talking super slowly with no emotion. It's a jarring transition that never works.
However, I will say that Tekken 7 still rules. Fighting in Tekken always makes me feel good. It's cool because beginners can play and have fun, but the level of depth in Tekken is nuts. I'll never be truly good at Tekken, but I'll at least have fun messing around with each character. The new additions to the cast are all fairly unique, which is always nice to see. I'm always down to play more Tekken.
The summer lull is finally upon us. The only full retail product I will be purchasing is Splatoon 2 on the Switch. I'm eager to play new stuff on it, so that's cool. I'm just worried it won't be different enough from the original to justify its existence.
Supergiant Games new release Pyre is coming out as well and I'm pretty excited about that. It's like some weird NBA Jam and RPG hybrid. At this point I will play whatever the studio puts out.
Other than that I'm going to keep picking away at FFXIV. I completed the base game and am now moving into the first expansion. It's a lot more fun when its not just a series of bad fetch quests. We'll see how long my enthusiasm for it keeps up.
That's all I've got for now. I'll see you all next time!