Ok... I got this. No problem. Ahem. What makes any game cooler and more likely to appeal to the youth? The letter X. Slap it on anywhere, as in this game, X-Blades, or why-you-don't-outsource-anime-to-america. Shat out by "developers" (sarcastic air quotes) SouthPeak, makers of the phenomenally mediocre Two Worlds, but not content on with merely making a shitty rip off of Oblivion they set their sights on making a shitty rip off of God of War. And they succeeded.
Lets do the run down. Main character is of inhuman power with one word names wearing a square foot of fabric and boasts chests like two melons nailed to a brickshit house and an egg noodle, respectively. Both carry two blades, which can be leveled-up with various skills and purchased by collecting souls from your downed enemies and, being mindful that the female God of War has already been tried, they stole her hair that acts like the bunch of fucking snakes having fucking seizures and tacked that on too. But, unlike God of War X-Blades sucks harder than Yumi would have to do to get this job were she a real person. And she would, the dumb slut. To say X-Blades is the first game to use it's female main character as a selling point would be so laughably inaccurate, it would make the most humorless man crap his pant with [gefaus], but never has it been more blatant or in-you-face. While most games focus on girl's gigantic-earth-shaking boobage, this game prefers to hang up by the back door, because it's all about the ass ? boxart, promotional pictures, even the in-game camera does everything it can to draw the eye to the thong with strings so thin I'm not entirely sure she doesn't just doesn't have white pubes.
Put this all together by a dev-team from the clearly-missed-the-point-of-fun school and you get a main character that is as dumb as the post and half as likable, a skill system stolen from God of War (that might have worked if programmers had actually been talking to the level designers). Levels cram so many cannon fodder enemies, they feel more like battles of fucking attrition than testing your relevant skill. Controls that make you want to rent out a high rise apartment just so the controller will fall further when you chuck it out the cunting windows and the soundtrack that... that... fuck... um...
Yahtzee: I can't take this anymore!
Sorry about that. Ummmmmm, yes, Halo Wars.
The story so far: I'm embarking on an occasion quest to play games belonging to genres that I'd never really gotten into - a campaign I thoroughly expect to whole-heartedly regret the next time a big JRPG comes out - mostly due to my excremental boredom with the procession of identical power armored space marines that clog up mainstream action gaming like so much hyper-masculine mildew.
As part of this venture I've been playing Halo Wars, which may come across as a curious choice because the game is about identical powered armor space marines - GYAAAARGH. The key difference though is that all the power armored fuck nuggets are all down there waiting for me to tell them where to go to get killed, while I get to sit here in the spaceship with my feet up eating all the packed lunches. Yes it's Real-Time-Strategy! A genre, which as the whinier of my correspondents have repeatedly made me VERY much aware, I have completely neglected up to now. I never gotten into them for a number of reasons: firstly I'm a man's man, a courageous man who's not afraid to be out in the field looking my enemy square in the eye, through the scope of a high powered sniper rifle from the next town over. I can understand the appeal of being in the position of an aloof sky god pursuing their agenda by flinging conscripts at tanks until the shredded limbs clog up the treads, but I suspect I'm just the wrong sort of person for strategy games; I lack the patience to micromanage every unit. I'm also good-looking, and successful, and socially competent. But still, Halo Wars by every account - also I'm not a virgin - but still Halo Wars by every account is dumbed down enough to be accessible to the legions of twitchy, inadequate dog-fuckers that are the Halo fan base. So if it truly is baby's first RTS, it would a logical introduction to the genre.
My other hope is that since I'd spend most of my time staring down at all the characters like I would little tiny cockroaches at the bottom of a jug then they wouldn't try to make me give a shit about them with half-baked story elements. No such luck I'm afraid. The action of the campaign mode comes as the filling for a great pre-rendered cinematic sandwich with too much thousand-island. The plot is your standard Halo fare: humans rule, aliens suck. They're conquering ancient planets and plundering them for magic superweapons and we rather they didn't. There's the hypermasculine hero, who probably wouldn't even take his power armor off to attend a parent-teacher conference, and he has sexually tense arguments with a spunky love interest, who in that curious tendency of female characters in the Halo universe look like she just got back from a high school gymnastics club. Also the aliens kidnap her at one point, I didn't play far enough to see the resolution to that, but presumably they pull all her arms and legs off.
At the most basic level real time strategy gameplay has most in common with one of RPGs ? they both involve starting out piss poor and building up to the point where you can take on the next big challenge, also they both most frequently played by losers NO END SET WE GET IT ANEW The crucial difference is that your status is reseted at the start of every mission and you have the option splitting up your power to embark upon a strategic attack from various fronts. I save ?option?, because all I ever seem to do is to build enough tanks to embarrass general Paton and steamroll from one side of the map to the other, hoping that the objectives will be one of the things that dies along the way. Sometimes I try to be a bit cleverer with it and roll out a short-range weapon in front and the grounds wearing at the back, but before long it all comes down to selecting all units and pointing out whichever enemy looks at me funny. It doesn?t seem to be reason to develop troops ? vehicles don?t move any slower and it takes slightly longer to build and, well, they?re fucking tanks!
The only downside I found is that the earth army is apparently a [mid threepoint] in parallel parking from the driving test ? when you try to maneuver a large group of vehicle through tight passes it turns into herding a particularly dim flock of sheep during an earthquake, which can really annoy when enemy in defending and your big guns are all at the back eating grass and fucking each other. The business of selecting units is also a right ars and it may sound like a small complain, but small things lead to big problems like a tiny peace of broken glass logged in the urinal tract.
Games that evolved in PC waters have troubles to adapting to non-mouse-control environment and RTS is no exception, lacking click-and-drag ? all you can do is select one prick, select one prick and all his prick friends standing within a fixed diameter, select all pricks the pricks on the current screen or call a great big all-map-prick-hoedown , so if you want to, say, select all your flying pricks for a strategic exertion than you?re going to have a little bit of prick trouble beyond the might of any soothing cream. The inability to click on the minimap and zoom straight to trouble spot is inertly countered with the ability to press a button and zoom to your next group of units, although how exactly the game decides that one group is more "next" than other is left as an exercise for a viewer.
I have a horrible statement that will read like an engraved invitation for all the RTS to burst out from under rocks and belch their favorite titles at me, but Halo Wars has not sold me on the genre. Maybe RTS controls are inherently incompatible with consoles, I hear Stormrise uses an innovative new control method that could potentially fill the missing peaces, but, frankly, I stopped caring about ten missions into Halo Wars?s campaign.
You see, I was given a time limit to take down three enemy placements in order to rescue a bunch of trapped units. After several hours of arduous I?d ruined the enemy?s shit, found the final group and sent them of to base by a path I?ve completely on the way there, but at the point where a base could certainly see them without a telescope I ran out of time and the units disappeared ? we?ve lost contact went the character? BULLfuckingSHIT! All possible threats were dead we didn?t lose contact ? I was looking at them, they were right fucking there, we were close enough to communicate by waggling our eyebrows to each other. What the fuck happens when the stupid arbitrary time limit runs out? Do their battle royal collars explode? They all lose honor and disembowel themselves? What? And just to put cherry on it: you know who they were? Absolutely bloody no one, generic faceless pricks of the sort I?d grown about fifty of that day alone! For we didn?t make it in times they?re gonna make me do the whole fucking mission again. As the exasperated Chinese zookeeper said to the last male panda in the world: fuck that!
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