Saturday, June 13, 2009

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings

Indiana Jones is a legend. One that was somewhat tarnished by last year's movie, which I was enjoying ok until the crazy silly ending. As an Indy fan, I was very excited for the new game, but I should mention the type of fan I am before proceeding. I own one of the movies on DVD, one on VHS, and I played through Lego Indiana Jones on a rental last year (I still believe it the least interesting of the 3 LEGO games on Wii and it is the only one I don't own).

With that in mind, let me say I'm really enjoying the Staff of Kings. I've been puzzled by some of the reviews I've seen about it, and felt I had to write something to its defense.

First off, I agree with some of the points the reviews have made. The contextual fighting is sometimes difficult, and the motion controls don't always succeed. However, I was very surprised at how well they did work. Unlike Dragon Quest Swords, where I felt my moves were hardly ever recognized, most all my attacks in Indy are (the exception being the hooking motion, so I just avoid it). Coming out of E3 and playing with Motion Plus, I had forgotten that even without Motion Plus the Wii controller can detect a good amount of motion, and Indy is one of the better games at detecting it.

This feeling partially stems from the fighting in the game being so fun. It is comical fistacuffs that fits right into the movies and left my entire family laughing on multiple occasions. The environmental fighting is really a lot of fun. In rooms there are lots of different ways to attack your opponents, including objects to pick up, things like bookcases to pull down, and places you can smash the enemies into objects like aquariums and desks. It's some of the most fun fighting I've done in a game and is made better by the feeling of the motion controls.

The environments look nice, my wife commented that the game was very pretty, which is abnormal for her to mention. I like the look overall and have been surprised by the many negative remarks about the visuals. They are quite varied with many different locations, all of which are lush and interesting. It's not Metroid, but it's a good-looking game in my opinion, and I don't understand the negativity that I've seen in reviews about the visuals.

I think the hardest part of reviewing games is that most people tend to become nit-critics. It's easy to focus on little things and start docking a game points like a check-list, but games are games, not paintings!

I took this game into work and it drew a large crowd that did not want to turn away. At first the play was in the Co-Op adventure, which wasn't really all that great frankly. It lacks the fighting and adds a lot of vehicle stages, some of which are alright, others of which are frustrating (rafting I'm looking at you). However, people wanted to keep playing. Then the single-player started and it turned into a 'just one more level' thing.

I understood that as I'd felt the same way at home. I knew it wasn't perfect, but the storyline was good and I wanted to know what was happening next...but much more so, I really was enjoying the game for the msot part. There are some great, great moments in the game (and a few awful ones). What the game does really well though is be compeling. In two days I played nearly 6 hours on my own and another couple at work. I play a lot of Wii, but that many hours on consecutive weekdays is abnormal. I'm sure I'll finish the game today.

You can talk all you want about games on a critical level, but playing a game like mad until you finish it is about the best endorsement you can give a game and that is the endorsement I give Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings. If you like wandering through South American temples looking for lost artifacts and tossing bad-guys over cliffs, you should definitely give this game a look.

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