The Horrible Gamer #015: The Importance of Swallowing

I have to actively fight my natural impulse to rate and label just about anything that I consume. Ever since we started livestreaming Game Curious videos and our first play sessions with new games, it has been interesting to for me to not jump to conclusions in front of and along with our audience. I enjoy the contrast of a good written review when compared to those first impression videos, but both have value. First impressions carry a lot of weight that directly impacting purchasing and enjoying a game, but they do not always tell the entire story.

Sometimes a first impression cannot be saved and I have to take things into my own hands to make my own fun:

In retrospect, I really should have played Hammerwatch with friends. Friends who appreciate a good game of Gauntlet. I vow to return to your dank dungeons soon with a fresh perspective.

There was a bigger recent release that also heavily features co-op gameplay, and I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice in one week by going at it alone. I thought I knew what I was getting into, but it turns out that it takes a while for games like Charlie Murder that take a while to reveal all of their features.

Ever since I first laughed at I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1 and immediately bought it’s song, Ska Studios has had a fan in me. When Charlie Murder was announced as a 4 player beat-em up based on a punk band trying to fight off the apocalypse, I knew I’d play it. I pretty much try to go on as much of a media blackout as I can with my must buy games while still trying to stay in the loop enough to intelligently discuss it when needed. It’s a tricky wire to walk and sometimes that means I even avoid playing it when I have the chance. Last week though, the full release was finally upon us and I pulled together our own makeshift punk co-op band to bust some heads and melt some faces.

A confusing introduction combined with technical issues with streaming an online XBLA game soured my mood to start, and I really did not enjoy my first hour with Charlie Murder. It just wasn’t what I expected. I expected a mindless button mashing brawler with punk rock references for color. I found myself navigating my in-game phone for everything from skill upgrades to reading email and keeping track of my fake-twitter followers. Ugh, then there was the inventory management. I just want to punch and scream at bad guys, come on! I could feel myself creeping towards that line of wanting to write the game off entirely.

“Oh wait.

Is this actual loot?

As in, it has elemental powers that I can use in combat AND it changes the look of my character?

I set that dude on fire. You just decapitated that dude. The bad guy is just pissed about being kicked out of our band?

Holy shit, what am I playing, Ska Studios?

Charlie Murder just got a new fan.”

Keep on rockin, Chuck.It must have been about the second boss fight that Charlie Murder really started to click with me. The game actually does a great job of smartly introducing you to its game mechanics once you know they are there. I fought their existence and the game’s true nature to a fault. This isn’t some 90’s arcade brawler like I expected. Once you understand your arsenal and start to customize your character to your liking, Charlie Murder starts to have a bit more wait than your average fist fight. Throw unique enemies, that rocking soundtrack, a ridiculous end of the world plot that revolves around band politics, and Charlier Murder started to taste really good going down for the second time.

Games have more competition than ever for our attention, some games won’t survive your first impression while others will waste days of your life giving you little to show for it. What’s your most recent gaming regret?

Culture Break

Catch all of these and more gamer culture goodness as we find them on the just launched Horrible Night Inventory Tumblr.

Your move, Saints Row. Piano man