I chatted with Todd about Kid Icarus: Uprising and I thought that the conversation expressed a lot about what I think about the game and game design in general. I'm sorry that this is not in a more easily readable form, but I don't have the time or the inclination to polish it up.
Todd: So Icarus still as good as you said?
Scott: All of Sakurai's games are good
Or at least well-made
I don't think I'd recommend it at this point
Scott: Flying and shooting is a lot of fun. The bosses are quite good. Walking around is aight. It's not just that the controls are a little wonky, but it's just a bit slower and doesn't feel as nice.
Lots of the good and bad rules of Smash Bros apply
Like tapping to start running
Which is something that annoys me in Smash Bros and sometimes annoys me in KI
There are a tremendous number of weapons, but I don't feel inspired to "breed" them
Effectively there are maybe 64 different types of weapons
but then there are bonuses that can be applied to them
like +2 movement
or -1 firing rate
Scott: and a weapon can have up to 6 modifiers
So when you combine weapons you try to get the best modifiers on the weapon you want
Honestly, it just feels like too much of a hassle
unless you get big into mp
MP is all ground-based combat. It's good, but I'm playing it to unlock stuff, not because I'm having fun.
Scott: So, once again, a brilliant Sakurai game that I don't really like.
Scott: Or at least I get to a point where all the things that I can possibly do stretch far beyond my interest in the game.
Todd: yeah, you can't fault him for not giving you enough things to do. :)
Scott: (I guess that's true for many good games though. DF for example.)
Yeah, every game he makes is a great value.
If you enjoy the game, you have 100+ hours of content.
I wonder if it's just because he's given a ton of resources, or is he just somehow more efficient and able to make all that stuff at once.
Scott: The structure is similar to Smash Bros and Meteos, so he's not building from nothing.
Scott: There is very little that's completely new.
(At least in the meta-game portion.)
Todd: Yeah, the game is obviously new.
Scott: I think that makes it easier to get to your goal because you have a well-defined meaning of the structure of the meta-game
But, as with all his games, there's a tremendous amount of polish and love in the actual game
He pays attention to details and you can clearly tell.
It's just that it feels a bit soulless, in a way.
Scott: Like there's all this machinery to get you to keep playing the game
and you start to question whether you like the game at all
or if you're just doing it because of the machinery
Scott: I feel like Journey is just the opposite
There is almost no machinery. (There is a single unlockable, afaik. But they do have trophies.)
And when you're done you're completely done
Scott: but it feels more special because it doesn't have all this rigging to make you want to play the game over and over
I think it's hard for developers to say "we're not going to have this feature because it's too much"
Scott: But I think in some instances it can be the better thing for the game
Todd: what can?
Scott: Not having rewards for everything
I think it comes from my basic dissatisfaction that every game must have achievements on Xbox live.
Not every game should have achievements.
Scott: Not every game needs achievements.
In many ways, it can make a game worse.
and Sakurai is the undisputed king of achievements.
Todd: Yeah. I think part of making a game is the illusion.
Todd: and having stuff like that breaks the illusion.
Scott: I think that's also one of the million reasons that I have no interest in Facebook games as Zynga makes them
There's no magic, just artifice.
(Or little magic.)
Scott: So that's my Kid Icarus Uprising brain dump!