Saturday, 3 May 2008

The Shitsons

You know what game is shit?

The Simpsons Game.

Don't start with all the bullshit about it being the best Simpsons game ever (whatever honour that title holds), it isn't, that's reserved for Simpsons Hit and Run, one of the most fun games ever made, even without debug mode.

This is the most ultimate failure of a platforming game ever invented, tying in the worst elements you can possibly choose from most platformers. Sure, you've got the generic elements which make a platformer for what it is (which the writers 'cleverly' made an excuse for by openly calling them 'video game cliché's' in-game) but they all work so terribly that it's hard for me to even force myself to play it, just in case it gets slightly less shit.

Let's give you an example of one of the levels, and where better to start than the first. The game starts off with a scene of Homer sitting (in shoddily animated graphics, might I add), dreaming about Chocolate Land, or Candy World, or Nougat Dump, I can't remember. Here they sneakily re-edit the scene from an actual Simpsons episode where exactly the same thing happens, but instead of the dream ending, we're shoved into some gameplay. We play as Homer, the fat yellow tub of...well, yellow, who's single abilities are jump and punch, which can unsurprisingly be made into a 3 string consecutive attack.

And this is where the fun ends. We have to follow the White Chocolate Rabbit up to some giant piece of cakey crap, whilst traversing the most unimaginative level ever spawned by game designers. What I do like about the Simpsons game is that it gives me hope for a future career, because if these slack-jawed designers can get a job, then I'm gunna be rolling in it. The world you are dumped in is a crushing meld of browns and dark creams, obviously to properly show the cakey chocolateyness, but in actual fact it just makes everything smush together, until distinguishing from a ledge and the terrible background texture becomes more difficult that getting yourself to care.

What really pisses me off is they use the whole 'cel-shaded' look to give themselves excuses for the obvious low quality. The lines around the characters, the enemies, the objects...okay, the lines are everything look like they're done in paint. Actually, look back at it, any in-game screenshot would look like it was just some skilled artist in paint. I don't know whether I can attribute this to my awesome TV or the result of it being in 480p, but what I do know is that if I want to imagine I'm playing a game in paint, I'll just paste a screenshot of LittleBigPlanet in there and stare at it for the next 10 hours I could've spent laughing myself to death playing Simpsons.

Anyway, back to the gameplay. Homers 3 hit attack is shit. Sorry, but it is. And when it makes up for most of the gameplay, this therefore makes the rest follow on from the previously mentioned shittiness. He punches right, punches left, then punches again, then stops for some reason. I don't know why the developers though it fun that Homer left himself open for about 2 seconds, but let me tell you, I was having barrels of laughs. You could just attribute him to being such a sack of lard that 3 simple movements tire him out completely, but I prefer to blame it on EA.

And then there's the AI. I swear to you that I could've written this AI in actionscript and I don't even know how to code in actionscript. Picture this; you're waddling along, minding your own business, eating the chocolate lumps that logically fall out of anything you punch, when you see a chocolate rabbit coming after you. You begin to run away, but alas, the rabbit follows. You turn to fight it. You begin to fight it. Huh. The rabbits not doing anything. You punch again. The rabbit does nothing. You punch aga- oh wait, it seems like the rabbit has a warm up period of about 3 seconds. I'm not joking, they may be one of the first enemies, but if you just run around mashing the B button (this is the Wii-version, by the way), even despite the colossal recovery period after Homers flabby flailing, there is little way to die. Not to mention that every time an enemy is killed, there is an orgy of energy glorbs afterwards which fills up your special ability bar no matter what, allowing every enemy you come across to be insta-killed!

You know what, I'm actually angry just writing about it. I would stop writing but then I would be left with going back to the game, and even though I despise it to the very core, I always tell myself to persevere until a certain point before I deem a game is hopelessly bad.

So here I go, I'll post later with a final verdict perhaps, but for now, The Simpsons Game for the Wii rests at a comfortable 2/10.

-Aquatic Wanderer


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