By some miracle, I made it through the last two sets of levels of this game, and all of this convoluted murder about killed me.
My issues with execution continued to grow in the last levels. While it only took me approximately eight hours to finish more than half the levels, the last six levels alone took me three hours. It got to the point I would look up a video to try to time everything perfectly, do it all as accurately as possible, and still somehow have a bystander who wasn’t there in the walkthrough suddenly decide it wants to walk right beside my target for the duration of the level. Level 53 took me to separate days and an hour collectively–and that’s excluding the amount of time I spent with my eyes closed trying to quit seeing red.
The game doesn’t do much to add new mechanics to the last twenty levels. It does introduce the bodyguards which are fun–it answers my question of why these notorious people are always alone–but not even half of the last levels utilize this. The point is that you have to take out the guard first or he will alert everyone to your presence. Of course the realism it adds is diminished by how decapitating the bodyguard with a store sign when he is directly behind the bad guy goes unnoticed by his employer. I can tell this was added because having the target on high alert would add an impossible level of difficulty; he never leaves the bad guy’s side unless he is forced to. It would help if they provided more gameplay for luring him away then just choosing to ignore the bad guy-s common sense.
And he does have some. If you place any object in his line of sight that wasn’t there before, he goes on high alert and runs away. So having a tree tied down with a rope twenty yards away freaks him out but not the murder of his only companion doesn’t add up.
The bad guy’s names and origin stories continue to get funny. As the game escalates, you get more pop culture references and people who are only annoying, not evil. There is JustOne Beer who is an irritating teenage singing sensation–remind you of anyone? Even better is when you have to kill Kenny from South Park and Sauron from Middle Earth. Then there is the person who talks too loud on his cell phone while on a train. Granted they pick universal pet peeves when targeting people, so I felt no shame. You swim the backstroke in a crowded pool and smack me in the head, you are dead to me. Literally.
Now this game has a lot of Steam achievements, many of which just encourage you to try the levels over and over because it sets thresholds for how many people to kill, how much blood to spill, etc. The odd ones though seem to hail from its days as a Kickstarted indie startup. You get an achievement for sharing the game on Facebook and streaming on Twitch. The settings has a way to directly export to Twitch right from the menu. I can understand them trying to motivate players to simultaneously promote and play the game since it only got made through intense marketing; they were forced into this mindset from the start. It feels superfluous now. If your game has been out for this long, it should live off of its merit and normal marketing. Granted it isn’t really hurting anyone–it isn’t an in-game objective, thank God. It feels like the epilogue of a Pygmalion movie where the made-over person continues acting out for attention because they are used to going unnoticed.
For me, if a game is painfully difficult for me to finish, I want a payout, a reward. Between each ten levels, there are little pieces of exposition showing that the bad guys are on to you, so must be increasingly more careful. So I expected something similar for endgame. The organization I was working for was taken down. I had succeeded in my genocide of evil doers. But no. Instead I got was a “Congratulations! Keep playing and perfect the levels!” No conclusion to the loose story, and the game even breaks the fourth wall by admitting that was all it was–a game.
Now to start Dragon Age: Origins proper. Fair warning, this is going to be my first undertaking of continuous coverage of a large game, so be prepared. Also it may be broken up by the occasional adventure game because i just bought a pretty great game bundle. Stay tuned.