Some quick thoughts on games I’ve been playing recently: Dark Cloud 2, Nier, and Arkham Horror: The Card Game.
Dark Cloud 2 is an interesting game. It does a lot of little things competently, but doesn’t excel at anything. Back when it came out it was a great value proposition. Get a lot of different kinds of gameplay in one great looking package. But nowadays I’d rather a game do a one or a couple of things really well. So it ends up being a fairly boring experience, especially in its combat. For some reason I was being especially forgiving in that regard, but after playing Nier I realize how bad it was.
Nier is often regarded as having “vanilla/just OK” gameplay, but I’ve been loving it. Partially this is because the combat bar was lowered significantly by playing Dark Cloud 2. But a lot of it has to do with its genre bending. Both your character and enemies have movesets of melee combat in addition to slow moving bullet spam. These elements combine into a weird 3D bullet hell. Its also very interesting how just by changing the camera angle to overhead or isometric has such an impact on the experience of the game, without even changing the controls. The music from the game still hasn’t left my head. The storyline is a mash up of melancholy and surreal that I find undeniably appealing. This game has really stuck with me, and its become one of my all time favorite games. So far I’ve heard great things about the sequel and I cannot wait to play it as well.
I decided to pick up the Arkham Horror: The Card Game because I was a fan of the LOTR LCG, another co-operative expandable card game. After one play through I am a fan of AHTCG. I think it does a good job of being more story oriented than LOTR while being less frustrating, but not necessarily losing the element of stress. It features a campaign set up, with each scenario leading into the next. For example, in our first scenario, we got to the final boss, but it ended up killing me. So my girlfriend ended up taking the “resign” option, which thematically was her character running out of the building. This did not count as a defeat, we would be able to continue the campaign. I did not read ahead to the next scenario, but it seems that what happens during out last one will have effects on the next. This type of interconnectedness of scenarios/campaign play is rare for a card game, and I’m looking forward to experiencing the rest of what it has to offer.