So, back to this.
The original plan was that once a professional was paid thousands of dollars to break my knee, that I would have several weeks, if not months to recover and write Wallet Abuse and other Nitrobeard articles at my leisure. While I’m generally happy with my non-Wallet Abuse output over the past couple months, a couple things stood in the way of Wallet Abuse:
1: Summers are usually dry on games, but this summer was especially dry. Over the past 2-3 months we’ve seen Persona 4 Arena, Darksiders 2, Sleeping Dogs, the worst Xbox Summer of Arcade ever and that’s... virtually it. Ideally I would have returned a couple weeks back for Darksiders 2 and Sleeping Dogs, but I figured it was best to return with the site rebuild anyway. Also:
2: Hiring a man to break your knee, rebuild it, carve out the tendons inside and subsequently learning how to walk again SUCKS LIKE ALMIGHTY HECK. Between the gnawing fear that my leg was rotting away beneath an inch of bandages and staving off blinding pain with Oxycotin, I barely had enough energy to sit for longer than 20 minutes at a time, much less write coherently.
So we’re about to see version 2.0 of Nitrobeard, we have a renamed podcast (just..don’t ask us what that name is yet), we’re interacting with the community with the well-received Illiterate’s Book Club, and I’m back with Wallet Abuse. And if you want to keep me back, remind me of how much you love me in the comments thread-- I am a vain and petty man.
Speaking of petty, small things, let’s look at this week’s games!
Developer: City Interactive SA
Publisher:City Interactive SA
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Dogfight 1942 seems like a fairly inoffensive casual friendly (read: incredibly easy) WWII-based arcade shooter. If the screenshots look incredibly familiar, they should: Until a few weeks ago it was being marketed under the title Combat Wings: The Great Battle of WWII and, incredibly, intended for it to be sold as a retail product. Consider: this is the same outfit that managed to turn Sniper: Ghost Warrior into a saleable product.
Okay sure, Dogfight 1942 might be hot trash, but that doesn’t mean I hate the idea. Well okay, beyond the fact that we’re talking about an arcade shooter named 1949 that’s not really 1942:
...and that we have yet another WWII-themed arcade shooter that’s not Crimson Skies II. Okay check that, I now actively hate Dogfight 1942 and hope the people responsible are brought out by NC Soft and subsequently fired.
On that note, doesn’t it seem like we’ve seen like a half dozen of this sort of game already? The games industry being what it is, no one keeps re-making the same game unless a ton of people are buying those games. So where are these unseen hordes of WWII dogfight gamers? Are the all old men still bitterly resentful that their grandchildren all drive Hondas and seek to endlessly punish the Japanese for that?
(On a side note, while looking up pictures of 1942 arcade cabinets, I was reminded that 1942: Joint Strike was made and was absolute dreck, thus ruining forever Capcom’s attempts to turn Cammy into a pin-up girl.
Okay so I was basically looking for a coherent reason to post that. I’m pretty sure it’s official though! Otherwise I’m just using Nitrobeard to house Deviant Art pinups. Let’s move on before I attempt to explore that further.
Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior's Rise
Developer: Qooc Soft
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
You probably remember this, it was released on Steam back in July. Normally I’m loathe to discuss re-releases and ports, but there’s only three games to talk about this week anyway and also holymotheryouneedtoplaythisgame.
This is probably the first decent arcade-style brawler we’ve received since-- I don’t know, probably the (criminally underrated) Scott Pilgrim vs The World game? Possibly the only real attempt at one of these, either.
The only real problem with this game is that you’re not really sweeping the streets clean of crime-- Instead you’re just going from dojo to dojo maiming every student and their master. I cannot confirm if the story then involves stealing the dojo’s lockbox, but it really should.
While the idea of sitting in one room and wiping out waves of fighters sounds terribly boring, this is simply boiling down the beat-em-up to it’s essential parts, and going this route allows Qooc Soft to perfectly set up each fight, which revolve more effective crowd management rather than simply making sure this asshole in the yellow jacket:
doesn’t grab you from behind and wipe out half of your energy bar. It’s the sort of creative deconstruction you’d expect from an indie game, brought to a genre that receives shamefully little attention in this day and age.
One thing that does bother me is the presence of a loot system. Darksiders 2 has convinced me that loot systems ruin games more often than not-- sooner or later you find a weapon or item that completely ruins the balance of the game. Conversely if a dev adjusts loot to enemy difficulty then it becomes difficult to keep your head above water without resorting to mindless grinding, and at that point just give us an exp bar and be done with it.
Zen Pinball 2
Developer: Zen Studios
Platform: PlayStation Network
Zen Pinball 2 is basically the non-Microsoft Version of XBLA stalwart Pinball FX. I'm not exactly sure if Zen Pinball 2 is analogous with 2010’s Pinball FX, but I do know it comes with three major upgrades over Zen Pinball 1:
- Cross-compatible pinball tables across Playstation 3 and Vita, paying one price for both
- Actually gives Vita owners something to do as all previous Zen Pinball tables are instantly compatable, and:
- Informs PSP owners that they can fuck the hell off.
I dunno. I have a hard time taking pinball seriously at it only seems like the barest excuse as a “game”. You can tell me there is skill to flippers and when to shake a table and whatever, but it all seems like clockwork Peggle to me, and video pinball even removes the thrill of seeing physical geegaws moving to and fro (somewhat) at your command. I will fully admit that my feelings toward video pinball stem from Sonic Spinball, of which I hold nothing but resentment for to this very day.
Near as I can tell Zen Pinball 2 doesn't’ actually come with any free boards-- so while the game itself is technically free, you’re basically downloading a GUI until you actually spend some money on boards. But the tables are cheap, and easily the least regrettable thing to do with your Vita since.... well, since buying it, really.
TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT TWO tests the limits of alliteration! Tournament level play, not so much.
NHL 13 might be the only hockey you’ll actually be exposed to all year.
DOUBLE DRAGON NEON: It’s side-scrolling, It’s downloadable, it’s WayForward, it’s Double Dragon....aaaaaand it’s polys instead of WayForward’s outstanding spritework. I really want this to be good, but the last time I said that about a Majesco XBLA game was Bloodrayne Betrayal.
We do not speak of Bloodrayne Betrayal.