This week, Zero Punctuation reviews FIFA 13, with a twist.
"This week was a difficult one," I reflected from my hammock that I have set up between two naked ladies , and for once I'm not going to blame slow releases 'cause there were quite a few; it's just that they were all the kind of shit I don't touch with a ten-foot barge pole. There was Dead or Afive Live or Tekken: Tag Testicle Tourniquet and I've never gotten into one-on-one fighters 'cause they're like going to a job interview for a job you can't do and you don't particularly want except instead of answering questions, you punch a schoolgirl in the tits.
Partially, I blame publishers not wanting to put out anything that might have to compete with Mists of Pandaria (which incidentally I wouldn't touch with a twelve-foot sterilized barge pole being held by someone else). So that leaves FIFA 13 and is there really anything insightful I can say about it, having never played a football game before and indeed still never having done so? Some might say not having played the game and only glancing briefly at the cover art might preclude reviewing it as a rule, but I didn't get to where I am today by following rules all over the place! Let's give it a crack.
FIFA 13 is a game about- Actually, has anyone played Mark of the Ninja on XBLA? It's a 2D stealth game by the creators of Shank about a really socially awkward man who has basically resigned himself to never making any friends, enacting revenge upon a military corporation who attacked his ancient ninja clan, perhaps to encourage them to stop being such twats and realize that it's not feudal Japan any more and even if it was, the ninjas wouldn't run around wearing pyjamas they stole from Dracula's awkward teenage children. And I found myself thinking the same thing I thought about Shank; the tone of the writing in this game is too serious for the art style which is somewhere between Disney and Penny Arcade so it looks like the Prince from The Little Mermaid has diversified into gouging the throats out of mercenaries.
As I've made clear in the past, I'm very fond of stealth games because I too have difficulty making friends and Mark of the Ninja has the right ingredients: large open level design, very free movement, clear indications of sound and visibility and the perverse little shivers of glee that come from making an enemy soldier look the other way just long enough for me to slit them up like a funeral suit. But I wish the game would figure out whether it wants you to be Slitty McMurderson or if killing people is for massive ninja posers who only got into it when it was cool, cause there's a big points bonus for not killing anyone but pretty much all the upgrades you can buy are only for killing people, and also killing people is very satisfying to us dangerous petty-minded types.
Also, it is possible to design a stealth game so you can be spotted and not feel like you completely fucked things up - see Arkham Asylum for that particular crash course - and every time I was spotted in Mark of the Ninja, I saw no reason not to immediately park me bum down and start fellating nearby gun barrels, cause attempting to fight at that point feels like assaulting a bouncy castle with the back of a spoon, and that no-alarms bonus was flashing temptation at me. She wouldn't have dressed like that if she wasn't asking for it, officer. But anyway, on the subject of sex crimes, let's get back to professional football.
FIFA 13 is a game. In that respect, it's eerily reminiscent of Anna, an indie first-person horror adventure on Steam that I also played this week because after Amnesia, the phrase "Indie first-person horror adventure on Steam" makes my willy perk up and spin around like a tassle on a stripper's tit. In Anna, you are a faceless, nameless protagonist (who I choose to believe resembles Mr Bean) who has come to an abandoned sawmill in search of his lost love or something, and considering the sawmill only has like five rooms, what follows is a pretty fucking breakneck descent into the depths of the human heart. But I guess not everyone has the entire town James Sunderland's psyche had to work with.
Anna is closer to adventure game than survival horror though, spiritually akin to those microscopic escape-the-room flash games where you solve a sequence of logic puzzles in a small environment. But the operative word there is "logic" and Anna's relationship with that concept evokes the relationship a cheese grater has with a water balloon full of sperm. Before you can even get into the sawmill, you have to find two parts of a mirror, arrange them on a wall, stick a pinecone to the front and then light it on fire because this in some way unlocks the front door. That's not a logic puzzle, that's something Hunter S. Thompson might attempt after he lost his front door key at a mushroom-enfueled wilderness retreat! I'm glad I don't live in this neighbourhood; you probably can't even run yourself a bath until you've arranged twelve Snickers bars under the S-bend and pissed in the sink.
Anna does have one or two effective scary moments but it was hard to stay immersed when I was Alt-Tabbing to Firefox every five minutes to check the walkthrough and I admit that with absolutely zero shame because after I'd arranged six tree roots in the wall recesses and smeared them with the ashes of a child's heart I found in a painting, it was clear that any attempt to deduce the answers to these puzzles would be throwing another handful of braincells carelessly to the wind.
Sorry, I don't know what's wrong with me, I just can't stay on topic this week. I'm supposed to be talking about FIFA 13. I'll start again.
Tokyo Jungle is a game on the Playstation Network set in a world where the humans are dead and the animals must retake the city in a rather simplistic survival game with environments that look like they were made from painted cereal boxes. You pick whether you're a carnivore or a herbivore and then respectively hunt the dumb shits who picked the second option or learn to appreciate the sight of long grass, expanding your territory, finding a mate and unlocking shit, and I can't say there isn't a certain amount of charm to playing a little yappy Pomeranian as he tears the throats out of bunny rabbits and smacks on the lady Pomeranians, all the while wearing a schoolgirl outfit. What's the usual phrase? "Oh Japan!"?
And all that yapping must take a lot out of you because I swear these animals metabolise like fucking jet engines and you need to be eating pretty much all the time, which skews the game rather drastically against herbivores cause edible plants are way too spread out and they might as well hang a dinner bell over the exit from the long grass. And you need to grind countless playthroughs with all the incredibly shitty animals in the same dull locations before you can get to be anything cool like a tiger or a Velociraptor. And I can't stand how every time I die, it insists on submitting my score to the global ranking, not only forcing me to wait a literal minute when I just want to fucking restart but then usually informing me that I'm in a hundred-billionth place in the ranks of roleplaying as a small yappy dog and I would like to inform all my peers just to round out the emasculation.
Shit, hang on, I got confused again. How long have I got left? Eight seconds?! Fuck! Um...FIFA13 is a game in which you and your burly friends help a small leather sphere realize its dream of being in a net, and I think we can all agree that's basically a positive thing. Nighty-night.
Then Resident Evil 6 came out and he had to sober up: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
Maybe being told I wasn't of a high enough status to mate with the classy females hit a little close to home
To reiterate, a tassle on a stripper's tit
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