Shelves and Lollipops


The ritual of the shelving ritual is reserved for games that really disappoint. It's not always enough to simply evict a game from the disc drive in favour of something more pleasing - sometimes you need to go further and make a spectacle of your distaste. A disappointing game that is just put to one side can expect another opportunity to prove itself, with its continued presence on your coffee table proving that you are not fully committed in your disappointment. My ritual involves sealing the let-down back inside the correct case, saying a few derogatory words then returning it to the gaming shelves. To ensure absolute finality, it must be slotted alphabetically amongst completed titles, removing any need for future reshuffles and potential redemption. This lets the world know that I am done with the game in question and that it has exhausted all of its continues. With the exception of Demon's and Dark Souls, games do not bounce back from the ritual of the shelving ritual.

My first impressions of Lollipop Chainsaw were largely positive. I was eager to revel in its style, simplicity and humour, and was ready to forgive the usual Grasshopper frustrations. As the game progressed, issues began to grate and the charms of a Suda 51 production began to wear thin - I understand that he was not quite as hands on with LC as with previous projects, but that's still his name on the box. I gritted my teeth and endured zombie basketball and baseball - far less fun than it sounds - but by the time I’d reached the Arcade chapter it was clear that there was little point in persevering. On Tuesday night, I decided that enough was enough and gave Lollipop Chainsaw over to the ritual of the shelving ritual.

I first became aware of Suda 51 and Grasshopper Manufacture back in 2005 with Killer 7, but it wasn't until No More Heroes that I became a fan of creator and studio. NMH is an outstanding game, and I enjoyed what little I played of NMH2; there was also plenty to like about Shadows of the Damned, warts and all. I am used to Suda 51 placing emphasis on style over substance and have come to expect a certain lack of polish from his games, but they are always memorable and entertaining experiences, and therefore worth celebrating. Unfortunately, Lollipop Chainsaw has all the faults I’m accustomed to, but without the redeeming features. It is slow, repetitive in themes and combat and mind-numbingly dull. The demon bosses are crude in character and design, and few games have succeeded in making me cringe quite this much. Compulsory mini games, like end of level bosses, have been highlights of previous Suda 51 games, but here they are unwelcome distractions from a disappointing core. They may be visually and conceptually interesting, but in practice they do little more than frustrate.


It takes a lot for me to permanently shelve a game, especially if I have already invested a couple of hours into it. Fallout 3 is the perfect example of a shelving game. I tried it on the recommendation of others, but got so sick and tired of the glitches and repetition that I packed it in after five or six tortuous hours. I cut Mirror's Edge short as it wasn’t good enough to justify the motion sickness, despite my already being two thirds of the way into the game. I was nearing the end Gears of War 2 when I reached the limit of how much grey, brown and climbing-inside-of-massive-things I could stand, and stuck with Halo 3 long enough to say that the series is definitely not for me.

Final Fantasy X-2 was a huge blow at a time when I worshiped at the feet of Square, back in the days when the wait between FFs was truly excruciating. I'd had it pre-ordered for months, along with an expensive strategy guide, but that didn't stop me from throwing in the towel after a few of hours. I was disgusted that my favourite franchise had taken a turn for the Charlie’s Angels, and still refuse to give it a second chance. I lasted about five hours with XIII-2 last year, before remembering that I should never play a Final Fantasy with a -2 in the title. Demon's Souls and Dark Souls are unique in that they are repeat offenders, bouncing back from multiple shelvings only to be scrapped ever more furiously. The ritual of the shelving ritual has helped me maintain some sort of control over this troublesome twosome, making me feel like I'm in charge even when I know that they’ll just keep coming back, like the demons reborn that pester me between bonfires.

It’s highly unlikely that Lollipop Chainsaw will undergo any such resurrection. My disappointment was so complete that I thought my enthusiasm for Suda 51 would never be the same, that is until I saw the first trailer for his latest game, Killer is Dead. I can’t help but get excited for a mix of Killer 7 and No More Heroes, featuring the voice of Kazuma Kiryu! My short memory and inability to hold a grudge aside, Lollipop Chainsaw deserved its shelving and there’s little chance it will ever emerge from its plastic and plywood grave.

Comments

  1. Daydream Drooler20 January 2013 at 05:45

    I've never been into Suda 51's games, the gameplay is always a unrefined mess with dialogue that makes my ears wanna fall off and my head explode. to this day I don't see what people like about his games, they remind me of an immature boy at the age of 40 getting paid to fart in his hand and toss it in others faces.

    I would say give Dark Souls another shot as AJ and Killa are both getting back into it and hopefully Matt will be coming back as well, we could have some Dark Souls game nights. but I understand the frustration Dark Souls can have, either you don't have the focus or just get invaded and lag stabbed. Killa did it a few times I was chatting with him, after beating an area he goes running in like its nothing, you always have to remember to focus and take you time cause anything can and will kill you in that game

    anyway, that sucks about lollipop chainsaw, if your looking for a new game DmC was an amazing combat game. hopefully I'll have a review, of sorts, up soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The dialogue in Suda 51 games can be pretty dire. I might just have to play Killer is Dead in Japanese!

      I'm always eager to give Dark Souls another go, but it usually doesn't take very long for me to remember why I gave it up the last time. I definitely like the idea of playing DS, not so much actually doing it.

      Look forward to reading your DmC impressions.

      Cheers

      Delete
  2. oh no! I kind of thought Lollipop Chainsaw might have been at least fun but it sounds like a chore. The last game I shelved (or in this case traded in) was RAGE. For whatever reason I couldn't take any more! It can feel pretty good though to just say enough is enough with a game. No point wasting your time if your not enjoying it I guess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lollipop Chainsaw definitely looks fun, but looks can be deceiving. Many critics were calling it Suda 51's best game yet, so perhaps I'm the odd one out. Either way, I couldn't stand it.

      I bought RAGE new for £5 over the Christmas holiday. No idea if I'll ever play it, but it would have been rude not to buy it at that price!

      Cheers

      Delete
    2. lol yeah for a fiver why not? Not sure why I didn't enjoy it to the extent that I had to get rid of it, I think it just bored me to death! I don't think I've ever played a Suda 51 game - definitely Shadow of The Damned is still on some list of games I'd like to play though(and Killer 7 of course!)

      Delete
  3. Time is precious. We have too many great things vying for this resource to waste it on something we don't enjoy. If Lollipop Chainsaw doesn't do it for you, moving on is the thing to do. I agree with you that the mini-games were garbage, but I still ended up enjoying the game myself. I felt it was a simple brawler with a quirky style. It hit the spot for me when I needed a break from games that were more cerebral.

    What's next for you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree. And I'm happy to have moved on from Lollipop Chainsaw and onto Dragon's Dogma. I'm really enjoying it so far, but I'm struggling to give it my full attention as I'm gradually getting sucked into Persona 4 Golden. Great to finally have such a compelling game on the Vita.

      Cheers

      Delete
  4. I liked many of the things you weren't a fan of in Lollipop Chainsaw, but agree that minigames were a little too excessive. As is though, it's probably my favorite Suda game (though I really need to play Killer 7). Let's hope Killer is Dead blows his last few games out of the water though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've only played a small amount of Killer 7, but I did watch a friend play a lot of it. I have a copy, but I'm unlikely to find time to go back and play. Really looking forward to Killer is Dead though. Hoping for a return to No More Heroes form.

      Cheers

      Delete
  5. This blog just made me realize I don't put enough thought and for that matter disgust behind my shelving process. Some games really deserve that level of hate too. To let them know just how much of a waste of money they were. You have changed my whole way of thinking. From this day forward, games will head to my shelf in a whole new way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I could help! Some games need to be told just how shit they are. However, I have found that they rarely apologise.

      Cheers

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

E3 2017: A Hastily Written and Poorly Researched Preview

PlayStation 3 - 180 Sentences on 180 Games

2017 When?