October 22, 2012 4 Comments
Being coordinated is not among my attributes, so being able to play games at all is something of a small miracle. But some stuff is simply off-limits to me. Dancing games, for example. I once fell off the platform playing Dance Dance Revolution at a bowling alley and ended up with a small break in my ankle. On the XBLIG side of things, I could barely get through NYAN-TECH, which asked gamers to perform finger-yoga while playing a platformer. It’s something my brain is not wired for. I didn’t think a game could get any more demanding than that, but having just played Divided, I stand corrected.
Divided is part puzzler, part platformer, and part road sobriety test from hell. You play as a little blue blob of goo that has to get from point A to point B. The hook is at times you have to split apart your goo and control each bit independently. You move one with the left stick and jump it with the left bumper, while moving the other with the right stick and jumping with the right bumper. It might as well ask me to jump rope while playing the piano, because I’m not capable of it. I don’t know if it’s because of my autism or a natural lack of dexterity, but I have difficulty walking and breathing at the same time.
I can’t really fault Divided for my own personal hangups. When I would play and have to move the right-stick blob, I would inevitably fuck it up and instinctively try to move using the left stick. I couldn’t help it, even after hours I would do it again and again. I was quite embarrassed. Brian was laughing his ass off. My dog walked out of the room and got into the garbage. Probably not related, but it happened while I was playing Divided, so it seemed worth mentioning.
Where I can fault Divided is it’s just not a very well made game. Ignoring the pat-your-head-and-rub-your-belly design, the controls are unresponsive. Some areas of the game require precision platforming, but movement is loose, jumping feels lethargic, and the camera often doesn’t pull back far enough for you to get a clear picture of everything you’re required to do. Those are three major issues that have nothing to do with my own inability to play the game. On top of that, the level design is cruel, often requiring you to make timing-based precision jumps using two characters controlled by different sticks. What kind of freak would be good at this game? If you have the hand-eye coordination that Divided requires and you’re wasting it playing Divided instead of being a world champion athlete, you’re just a silly poop face. Yes, I can be childish.
Co-op doesn’t work so hot either, because all the control and camera problems I talked about earlier. Sometimes the game wants you to make a jump, but requires one character to be too far away from the other. Because of the camera, that often turns into a blind jump. Otherwise, most of the problems come down to the controls being too fickle. Using the chains for climbing especially, which caused a lot of slippage. Ultimately, even if I had been capable of playing Divided the way it’s intended to be played, I don’t think I would have liked it. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Who knows, maybe I would be impressed if I saw someone who could maneuver both guys at the same time with total ease. I probably would give the person a round of applause, and then smack them upside the head for not using their super powers to fight crime or something more productive.
Divided was developed by Angler Games
80 Microsoft Points stand united in Divided fail in the making of this review. That sounded lot more clever in my head.