Doom & Destiny
August 30, 2011 22 Comments
Yes, I’m a JRPG fan. I know in some circles that can get you labeled a loser, but for some reason I just love their over-wrought, bat-shit insane story lines and stock characters with predictable twists. Even when they change-up the formula by making the game action-based and mixed with, say, Disney characters, I’m just charmed as hell by them. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they’re the be-all, end-all of gaming or anything. In fact, I think anyone who would have the audacity to call Final Fantasy VII the greatest game of all time really needs to be drowned in a bucket of rancid steer semen.
So yea, I love to play RPGs, but they rarely withstand the test of time. They’re a one-and-done experience. Once you’ve beaten the game, that’s really it. I’ve never once played one that I would want to ever play again by the time it’s over. I know some people who brag that they’ve beaten Chrono Trigger ten times. I would say beating it twice would qualify you as a waste of flesh. Ten times? Wow, you are a deluxe king-sized loser with extra loser sauce. You might as well hack off your own balls because obviously you’ll never need them, and why risk the testicular cancer if that’s the case? Anyway, RPGs have gotten better since the days of the Super Nintendo. You have a greater degree of control over the fights, there’s more customization, and the plots are even a little better. In general. Okay, maybe not, but the other two points are true. Mostly.
A newly made SNES-style RPG in 2011 seems silly to me. I did enjoy both Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World (who didn’t?) but I wouldn’t call them anything special. They are what they are. And so is Doom & Destiny, the latest game in the increasingly irrelevant 2011 Indie Game Summer Uprising. Playing it felt like playing one of those Final Fantasy III ROM-hacks where someone alters all the dialog in a way they consider witty.
It’s a parody game, one that is completely devoid of any coherent plot. You play as four RPG-loving dudes who are teleported into a patchwork of video game and/or movie satires and have wacky adventures. The game got off to a rough start by giving us four characters that are completely unlikable in every way imaginable. Instead of being funny, they’re annoying. The banter amongst them is rarely tolerable, like a geeky version of The View.
But, to the game’s credit, there are some genuinely funny moments. I wasn’t hugely into the parodies of Legend of Zelda (never seen a game do that before) or Super Mario Bros. (yawn) but some of the gags are good for a hearty chuckle. The script does a serviceable job of helping you to forget that the game has no plot and characters that could generously be described as total douchebags.
As for the gameplay, um, what can I say? Combat is completely turn based with nothing resembling action to speak of. Pick an option off a menu, watch your character act it out. Any criticism I could make would apply to any game of this genre. If you found the combat in games like Final Fantasy VI to be boring, you’ll find this to be equally as boring. Likely more actually. I mean this is 2011 now. Games have come so far, and yet Doom & Destiny is firmly grounded in it’s mid-90s style with no attempts of anything resembling modern game play.
If you can deal with that, you likely will enjoy Doom & Destiny. It looks and sounds generic, and I never could shake the whole “it could be a ROM-hack” feeling. But I can put up with this type of game because it’s something I grew up on. I did enjoy it a little. I felt it was too long at about ten-to-twelve hours for a parody game, but I guess RPGs sell on the basis of having lengthy quests with more padding then a prepubescent school girl’s bra on her first day of 7th grade. And sometimes the game really did manage to tickle my funny bone, like when the retard brigade was oblivious to the motives of someone who just joined their party by the name of Judas. Of course he was going to betray them! What else is someone named Judas going to do, besides sing You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’?
In fact, that’s the best praise I can give to Doom & Destiny. When I’ve seen Xbox Live Indie Games try to be funny, the script writer’s idea of humor usually centers around endlessly quoting lines from movies or games, or just adding lots of swearing. Doom & Destiny does have those elements, but it doesn’t rely solely on them. That’s probably a good thing too, because when it uses those tactics, it gets a bit cringe worthy. But it also peppers in situational humor and slapstick with the movie lines and swearing. Guess what? It all blends well together. While the game play is tired, the dialog is pretty dang entertaining. Not to sound clichéd but if you like JRPGs you’ll like this one. If you don’t like JRPGs, Doom & Destiny will be about as exciting as getting a lecture on knitting while watching a slide show on synchronized swimming and eating rice cakes.
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