Full House Lords of Shadow EP15: Master of Showmanship

Previous: Lords of Shadow EP14: That Was A Good Idea

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This time in Lords of Shadow I destroy more books than a hollywood cash-in, the Doctor does his Symphony of the Night-quality best as the enigmatic H, and Grant relates to us the Scroll of Self-Improvement. We all bear witness to the early stages of an incontestable case of Definitely Murder that looms next episode.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Zobek is far and away the best character in this game. The man is voiced by Patrick Steward for more than five minutes this time, is an untouchable master of the art of hammery, scene-chewing, and showmanship, and he even manages to be helpful as a competent AI companion. Even most of the plot shenanigans that take place around him at first glance (why is he always there when you need him?) seem to retroactively correct themselves by the end.

Full House Lords of Shadow EP14: That Was A Good Idea

Previous: Lords of Shadow EP13: Necropolis Ghoul

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This time in Corners of Internet Shadow I feel the Crush of Ignorance’s Ceilings while Awkward Grant waxes crystalline for the chronicles of yesteryear, and meanwhile Dr. Euthanasia takes tenure for study of the rare and elusive dumbpire. The spire of greed and practicality awaits! Today we unilaterally decided to trust Zobek with decidedly not a crowbar by any definition. It was probably a good idea.

For another interstitial level that was clearly broken up by another mortal-fear-inducing loading screen, this one isn’t actually too bad. There’s a more even balance of fights and puzzles, and the latter are no longer quite as annoying or patronizing as they’ve been in the past. The game at least attempts something interesting here by pairing you up with Zobek to pass obstacles that neither of you could tackle alone, and although it never presses the point by taking him away in a time of need, for this episode we do get to hear his hilarious dialogue and bear witness to the man’s unbridled mastery of dramatic showmanship. Likewise, the teleporter puzzle had a neat optional bonus reward and looked suitably neat, while the ceilings were just tense enough to interrupt my Keeper Talk. Not bad, Lords of Shadow. Not bad.

…on the other hand, somebody is clearly still paralyzed with mirth at the prospect that while turning a crank, an offscreen enemy is going to bop Gabriel on the head and send him flying away from his torpidly mundane objective. It keeps happening. I kid you not, in a few episodes the idea expands to an entire cutscene of Scooby Doo skeleantics. WAIT FOR IT. IT DOES NOT STOP.

Full House Lords of Shadow EP13: Necropolis Ghoul

Previous: Lords of Shadow EP12: Sweet Jesus

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My apologies again about the truly impossible delay on this batch of episodes. I was working on the wonderful Will Fight For Food and trying my hand at some tabletop RPG’s, so editing time was quite limited. With that said… on with the show.

Today I run afoul of the dreaded 1970’s gremlicabra, Grant grabs some ghouls (wretched creatures), and the doctor jams a classic 3DO Power Lich Ballad for our combined nostalgiamusement.

There isn’t too much to be said about this portion of the game – it’s another relatively dead level buffering more interesting story/gameplay bits… until we meet Zobek and discover the real enemy in our midst: Lords of Shadow’s fixed camera. Let’s be honest here – that final statue was engineered with malice. Malice and the sadistic glee of watching a blind man fight a dozen ghouls in an enclosed space while two others listen in incredulously.

Incidentally, this episode goes out to ghouls everywhere! Yours is a plight often quite misunderstood, despite your innate charisma and impeccable Tokyo fashion sense. Real shame about that second season. That said, you are the most annoying enemy in Vampire Canada and I will eat my keyboard if you vomit on my face one more time.

Half House Broforce: Trying To Turkey

Previous: Half House Broforce: Falling Blocks

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If there was any reason – rhyme or otherwise – to the screen-mauling bedlam of the typical Broforce level, I think it honestly might be a lot more fun. Chaos is an enjoyable thing to skillfully weave one’s way through, but there must be rules and patterns for the player to adapt to, or else they simply find themselves at the mercy of a dozen clashing game systems which make no regard for their input.

Our game here is pretty much the sterling example: Grant pushes over a barrel just by touching it, which promptly explodes in his face; stray bullets take out a bridge, dropping exploding bodies onto more barrels; a flying oil tank decides to liquefy my face for no reason as it passes overhead; the flying Terminator passes through a boss for the one frame it begins falling and immediately dies; the game drops a half dozen lives for me during the helicopter boss but by sheer happenstance of destroyable terrain a bomb lands on EVERY SINGLE ONE. Everything is too complex, interdependent, and chaotic to anticipate, and much too fast to react to.

I’d say they should tone down the anarchy, but… this is Broforce. How does a single sentence contain both “tone down” and “Broforce” without becoming the object of total ridicule?

Anyway, today… we’re all pretty much just trying to turkey in some fashion or other.

Half House Broforce: Falling Blocks

Previous: Half House Warface: Evidence

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Today we bring you a special episode: Azalius sent us pain in gift form this Christmas, and its name was Broforce. I’m honestly not sure what kind of thought process went into designing the… anything, in this game, but whatever it was probably grinned madly while doing so. While clutching a lit stick of dynamite.

Today I am the aggregate cast of 1994’s The Crow, Azalius leaves us all to die, and Grant is a walking artillery marker that plays Tetris with Dr. Euthanasia’s skull.

Do not play this game with friends. I’m deadly serious here: you will not have them by the time you’ve finished. Falling blocks will have taken them away.

Full House Lords of Shadow EP12: Donkey Metroid Creed

Previous: Lords of Shadow EP11: Sweet Jesus

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We return with a more regular update of Full House. This time I do battle against gremlin arse and murderous camerawork, Grant eggs us on from the stands, Euthanasia scores a 7.5 for his landing on the Olympic window-smash, Azalius pumps up his Light Magic and Dark Magic with plenty of Neutralites, and Malphas is boarding now for a trans-arctic flight to Donkey Kong Country

Apologies again for the sound quality of anyone that isn’t me – this is the last bit of footage with the issue, so expect it to be fixed next episode.

This entire episode does a pretty good job of highlighting exactly the kind of behaviour Lords of Shadow’s use of secrets engenders in the player. The fixed camera and hidden character upgrades mean you’re strongly incentivized to jam your face into any corner that could possibly contain a powerup, because missing them means coming back to play the exact same level all over again. As you may have noticed, cutscenes are TERRIFYING in this context, because they often cut you off from your exploration with no warning.
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Full House Lords of Shadow EP11: Sweet Jesus

Previous: Lords of Shadow EP10: Gabriel’s Stiffest Challenge

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It’s been quite a while since our last episode (I may have developed a video game in the interim), but never fear – we’re not defeated yet and the show must go on. Due to computer issues Sam won’t be joining us for the near future, but I aim to get this season wrapped up quicker to make up for lost time. With all that out of the way, I hope you enjoy the proceedings.

Today I am a Avalonian terrorist recruiter, the Doctor misses you guys too, Grant can neither duck nor crawl, Azalius is the Sweet Lord’s own Prophet, and Gabriel’s face steps up to bat.
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Full House Lords of Shadow EP10: Gabriel’s Stiffest Challenge

Previous: Lords of Shadow EP9: The Butterfingers Aspect

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Today on Full House we hunt a sexy (?) beast. Sam has fought long and hard, I face my stiffest video editing challenge, Azalius lampoons this game with the red-hot fire poker of his burning desire, while Grant is granted a visitation from the ghost of Castlevanias past and Euthansia affirms his degree in Stupid Anthrobiology. Forgive us our baseborn humour, for there is literally nothing else to talk about.

Lest you were wondering where the Kojima Factor came into play in Lords of Shadow’s script, this episode is prime evidence. Gabriel and COHNEHLLL talk for almost half the episode, just sort standing at arms reach and slowly walking in circles. No matter its content, I think there are more elegant ways to get this backstory across than the two major characters waving their arms and chewing the fat in one long session that more resembles a job interview than a tense confrontation. On the other hand, at least that means a concentrated does of Cornell’s best Tony Jay impression, and the more of that I can get, the better.
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Half House Warface: Evidence

Previous: Half House Warface: Demon Robots

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I think this is sufficient evidence.

I briefly considered not bothering with these last nine minutes of Warfacing. Then I remembered the mech. Poor Grant. Nothing better explains just how terrible the design of these bosses is than what happens to us around the 5:50 minute mark:

We’re fighting an enemy that takes the combined efforts of all four of us to even become vulnerable to damage, which immediately regains its full shield after taking a single hit, is immune to everything but the one-shot launchers we have to scavenge from the environment, and can fire a literally endless salvo of rockets for no obvious reason. No rules of the genre or even the game itself are observed in this fight.

But even beyond this insanity the joke is on us. When we take cover from the torrential downpour of explosives behind some inexplicable stacks of cars which exist specifically for this purpose, without any forewarning or indication of damage the rusty-car-cover EXPLODES. Ten seconds of motionlessly absorbing rockets and it just… spontaneously detonates, instantly killing everyone but Grant, who goes on to perform the world’s most hilarious one-man relay race/pyrotechnic jig. Please insert a revive token.

On second thought, I don’t think I will. Goodbye Warface. I will remember your demon robots until the end of time.

Whether or not I want to.

Half House Warface: Demon Robots

Previous: Half House Warface: Tentface

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There are no words in any living tongue to describe just how unpleasant Warface’s AI soldiers are to engage with, but over the course of this play session we certainly try our best. Understand, dear viewer, that these are not simply bots.

No, they are electronic fiends loosed from the depths of cyber-hell. They come jittering, gyrating, speed-sliding from all angles without respite, paying no obeisance to momentum. They shoot in directions they’re not looking while sprinting on a third axis, lock their gaze onto you through walls, devour your magazines without a single flinch, and sometimes literally don’t realize they’ve been killed.

I’ve played every generation of FPS since Wolfenstein, and these are the worst shooter enemies I have ever seen. Yes, worse than Orion: Dino Horde.

You may also notice a rare sighting of the Korean F2P Coop Boss in today’s episode. This elusive creature is defined by its singular gimmick, unreasonable tenacity, and complete lack of both creativity and enjoyment factor. Frequently identified as a game mechanic, the Korean F2P Coop Boss is in fact a member of the genus Currenciform Extracticus – a nonreactive natural obstacle which siphons revive coins from passing players. Once depleted, the target organism has no recourse but to spend real money to continue playing the game. And so the cycle of Korean F2P Life Token continues.