It's been a while since I've bounced so hard off a game. Apparently this is the first River City game with 3D graphics (instead of 2D sprites) and I think it also has a new control scheme. I would have called this game a "brawler" and I was expecting to move around punching and kicking oppoents to get to the next location and, while there's lots of punching and kicking...well, it's a slightly different experience. I must have done 10 tutorial levels or so - quite boring to be honest, they could have rolled all of that into two or three...and then I was told to win the next event (level). It's 4 character free-for-all where you get points for punching a treasure chest, but you can also lose/gain points by hitting someone who just punched a treasure chest. The brawl takes place in a small environment and...I just could not do anything. I'd kick and punch but still end up with 3 pts compared to the winner with 17 or 18. I tried different things just to see if I was off-base with my strategy to no effect. I think I'm obviously doing something wrong in the "I don't get it" sense - but still, I have no real interest in spending more time practicing, figuring it out, and making progress because...well, I've realized it's not a game I want to play. I was expecting a "move along in the environment" type brawler - but it looks like it's much more focused on sporting events and stuff like that.
I really loved the "demo" for this game that was on some PSVR collection - I don't recall if the free demo disc or PSVR Worlds? Anyways, I don't even think it was a demo, rather a short episode that served as proof of concept that was then used as the basis for this game.
So far, so good! It's bombastic in all the right ways - although I've struggled a bit with the controls. Perhaps I should be using the Move controllers in stead of the regular controller? The aiming is a bit hard and I struggle to "let go" when both hands grab the pistol. But, still - it's definitely the explosive crime action packed game I was expecting. I did think it was a bit strange that the hero - who's a member of an important(?) crime family in London was a special SAS operative? Like they wouldn't do a background check for that?
I love the art and the special "shiny" effect on the cover was also a draw. But, I haven't been able to get the hang of the game - I can clear levels and win matches now and then but I don't get the overall sense of what skill I should be developing as I play this game. It seems more random than I'd like. At most the strategy seems to be: wait until you have lots of matches to activate and then fire them all together. This is a bit of a shame because there's a sense that there's more to it than just that. For example - you can unlock different characters and they have different "abilities" or "effects" associated to when you make a match based on the shape inside the object. So, there's matches you may want to save because they act as "counters" to enemy attacks.
But, the matching? Well, there's no swapping - you merely tap on screen when there are more than "x" shapes adjacent to each other and go from there. Curiously the screen fills up from the bottom - you always get a new row - so there are limits to what you can do "tactically" to try to set up new "big" matches.
There is a special mode that's interesting - but wasn't that fun for me - it uses both screens although you only play on the touch screen you need to pay attention to the other one. Oh, you also hold the DS on its side - like a book! (I hope someone's written about this, because this is not the only game that does this and I think it's a cool result/affordance of the DS form factor you don't really see in other handheld devices)
Anyways, on the touchscreen you make matches that result in blocks being sent to the other screen following certain shapes. Now, WHERE you tap for the match to happen determines where the blocks will drop on the other screen and your goal is to make "rows" (like Tetris) and to avoid stuff reaching the top. Like in the "regular" game - there are limits to what you can actually do tactically, but it's a neat idea and I enjoyed playing a few times before I felt there wasn't that much more to do...
I love how the back of the box says "Experience the feel of real golf!" and that the game was made in collaboration with the Phoenix Country Club! I have no idea how important or significant the country club is in the world of professional (or amateur?) golf and I'm super curious as to what their participation entailed! Were they consultants on the design of the different courses in the game? I'm guessing some are based on their own golf course?
I didn't play too long, I was mostly interested in understanding the game's interface. So, I played 18 holes - did terrible, but at least seemed to get better as I played. Yes, the game is heavily based on the touchscreen for the strength and swing with the upper screen showing the course and some 3D graphics for where the ball goes and so on. The game's UI is actually pretty complex - lots of buttons along the sides for things to toggle. I'm guessing a real golfer/fan of golfing games would make sense of these but to me it was mostly "what?". I didn't bother reading the manual either...but I did skim it enough to see that it does explain a lot about how to play (what the effect of different clubs is, what you're supposed to do on the interface, things to watch out for and so on).
One of the more "surprising"(?) things for me is that the game has integration with Pictochat!! I have no idea how it works, what it's supposed to do. The manual says you can see if someone is using pictochat - but that you can't start it up while playing golf. However, you can send messages (drawing) to other people while playing - though not in pictochat? Strange...but kind of cool? I can't think of another game that had "pictochat" integration of any kind. I wonder if this is the only one?