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Hell yeah cars go vroom. Jpegmafia sampled a song from this (jk I know what sample packs are.)
Playing this over the course of many months, I spent many nights staring at my phone displaying bedtime via the large lock screen clock, wondering if instead of sleeping I should play smtv. Some nights weren't much of a choice, my brain too awake and too stimulated to sleep anyways.
When I was pretty young, late elementary/early middle school I convinced my parents to let me play world of warcraft, subscription fee on their dime and all. I still remember that thick box pc games use to come in which I finally got during a target run after a few months of parental debate. What followed was (maybe on and off? I can't remember exactly) years of constant playing. I think I got out, I was bullied but I had some friends? Family activities? But it was a lot of weekends from 8am past midnight doing basically nothing else. Tapping 1, 2, 3, 4, eyes blurry as hell, watching numbers go up.
My brains wired, or been wired, for these dopamine hits. I hate reading YouTube comments of a game, seeing people call shit addictive as if that's good. Now back into games as an adult I constantly have a little voice telling me I'm wasting my time. I try and be cognizant of this pull of games. Designed to be predatory or not, the vast majority of games' job (as dictated by corporate ethos) is to keep you playing. Videogames or not, all humans want to do is complete a little task for a reward, it's brain chemistry. So I tell myself: No mmos, nothing endless, no lootboxes. I'm an art enjoyer goddammit! I'm going to play single player games because the art design is nice, the design is cutting edge, cool, and subversive - and did you know the best anti capitalist and gender queer art of the 21st century is on a website called itch.io?
My mom recently told me how I was mostly angry during my time playing WoW. Maybe it was that any interaction outside of the game wasn't giving me experience points. Or that WoW's loop ultimately keeps you on an endless treadmill with no real reward and instead has you spend hours getting little synapses of the brain to fire off for turning a quest in or defeating a boss.
SMTV is good, maybe very good. Narrow corridors are (mostly) dropped for wide open spaces which feature some fun, simple platforming and exploration to get upgrades. (When narrow corridors do show up it highlights how piss poor they are.) There's a few different things to collect that pop up on a mini map and this both feels slightly bloated with open world design of the day while also justifying some grind and circular mechanics that is all in all pretty fun and well balanced. Unfortunately, all four maps are covered in repeat generic building ruins and sand??? Not sure about why sand? To suggest the passing of time - rocks breaking down maybe? Idk we could imagine the apocalypse as more than that.
The music is a well known highlight here. Synthesized voices swirl, clearly a choir has been mapped to launchpads or keyboard keys because they cut in and out in an inhumane way. Frequently, just like the guitar and drums, the voices are modulated with reverb and gain. Almost sounding angelic only to be dragged back down to the gritty, mechanic, and metallic matching the aesthetic. The cadavers hollow theme is wild and with some curation you have a pretty smart 40 minute electronic album I think. On a similar note a lot of the demon design is pretty rad and helped fuel the obsession with the games loop I had, always wanting to see what the next demons were. In general there's a lot of bipedals and especially leggy ladies. The more abstract the better.
Much has been said about the plot. It's fine idk the characters are poor with hardly enough dialogue until there is a longer cutscenes with not much to say. Someone here mentioned a development restart and obviously the budget isn't large on this one (also the reason for the repeat environments surely). at least the team knows their strength and didn't bloat the game with too many pointless cutscenes. Beyond mechanically, this game doesn't justify it's length. The last area is exhausting especially cause they give up the ghost and start handing you ways to level up quicker. Nothing to really keep you going except to see what Zeus, Amon, Alilat, etc. look like
All in all, this one had me thinking. Was it worth 55 hours? What do I want out of games? I don't think it's this generally. The loop actually wears off on me quicker than when I was younger, or it's not as successful as WoWs was. Still it has its vibes and it's strengths.
Watching the hbomb video makes this game seem more exciting and fun that it was to actually play imo. There's a lot of fetch questing and long combat sections. I kinda liked the combat but sometimes it's tedious in longer form. But watching that video really shows how much player consideration went into making this thing. Unfortunately, I got kinda burned out playing a variety of games at the same time and started rushing through this after enjoying the opening Helios and ghoul quest a lot.
The radio music really slaps and it's a good way to avoid open world's repetitive song fatigue without going ambient. I think it's funny how you can speech your way out of a Lanius fight. I think we all think of speech options in rpgs as morally good, but it definitely is morally wrong to talk that guy out of one fight just to let him continue to rally troops for a fascist ideology.
Really didn't like either dlc I played. Honest hearts is a shooting corridor that is racist. Old world blues has some very poor dialogue and repetitive quest loops that get boring quick. I could see old world being better if I played and loved the game towards launch then got hype to play this mini version of it again but story wise it's so poor.