June 23, 2012 1 Comment
Have you ever played a game that seemed like you should like it, but you didn’t? I got that vibe from Compromised, a patch-work of twin stick shooting, wave shooting, space shooting, and shooty shooted shooter shooting. It’s a typical “aliens invade and you have to save the world” claptrap storyline. In the case of Compromised, I’m not sure why you would want to save this world. The environments are pretty dank and depressing. It doesn’t look like a world any reasonable being would want to live on. For all the people of this planet know, the invaders are a race of architects and home decorators who are trying to liven the fucking place up. Maybe we shouldn’t start blowing them up so fast. I mean, they can’t possibly make this place any worse.
Compromised is pretty high in production values, as far as XBLIGs go. At a whopping 426MB, it damn well better be. Sounds, character models, special effects, they’re all top-notch. And yet, the actual setting of the game offers such little visual stimulation that the game ultimately becomes a little draining. Bleak works sometimes, but I feel doing so requires characters and interaction. When you put a ship alone with no supporting characters in a sterile environment, it can be depressing. I had the same problem with Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. The reason why galactic stuff like Metroid or Mass Effect offer such a variety of locales is because the alternative is boring. In Compromised, the only variety is a change in color. It’s as inviting as a traffic light.
Gameplay is a bit more lively and typically involves moving forward, fighting a few waves of enemies, moving forward a little more, fighting more waves, and then fighting bosses. It’s a solid design, but there’s so many little mistakes that I ultimately really don’t like Compromised at all. The best way to explain why that is can be summed up with all the times I had to pause the game to say “Whaaaaa?”
The first instance was during the tutorial, when the game was trying and failing to explain how the special attacks work. Each of the four face buttons activates such an ability, with some kind of sub-space nuclear anti-matter black-hole creating fuck you unholy universe killing bomb mapped to the B button. The game told me to try each of the weapons, so I did, and the thing mapped to B detonated and pretty much insta-killed me. During the tutorial, after the game told me to use it. Whaaaaa?
That was pretty much par for the course for that weapon, by the way. It lingers, and once its been let loose, you can’t safely be around it. It’s like one of my dog’s farts.
You can upgrade your stats by collecting little orange cores that enemies drop. You can use them to increase your health bar, which sounds great! The only problem is, when you die and respawn from a checkpoint, you don’t get the bar filled all the way. Whaaaaaa? Typically if you die and come back to life, that’s like a universal cue that you could use a full health bar, but the game doesn’t think so. Also, you can upgrade how much health refills charge you up. Again, sounds great. The only problem is that enemies don’t actually drop the damn things. They only appear during preset intervals. In a game where enemies absolutely swarm the shit out of you and you might fight waves of hundreds of guys between checkpoints, you have no way to gain health. Whaaaaa?
Enemies can spawn into a position where they’re instantly chewing your ass, before you have any chance to defend yourself. Whaaaaa?
Compromised is a TwinkS, but missiles don’t fire the way your aiming stick is pointing. Instead, they fire whichever way your ship is pointing. Whaaaaa? The whole point of TwickS are that you can move one direction and fire in the other!
I’ve never been the type of critic who settles for saying “it just wasn’t for me.” I didn’t like Compromised, so I can’t recommend it to anyone else. Even without all the problems, I found it to be pretty dull. It’s not as if you just fight one wave at a time. You fight strings of waves, one after another, in the same drab environments. Fire-fights stick around too long, well after you’re ready to move on to the next section of the game. Checkpoints are often spread too far apart, and without a traditional method of health drops and enemies that are completely unfair, you’ll end up replaying the same sections again and again. I had maxed out my gun’s strength, my missile load and their power, and I still died often and had trouble making progress. After five hours, lots of grinding, and no end in sight, I gave up. I wasn’t having any fun. Ultimately, I feel that Compromised is built using top quality bricks, but they’re held together with rancid tartar sauce and dental plaque.
240 Microsoft Points have a friend who really enjoyed the shit out of this game and spent last night telling me I have no taste at all because he’s a big meanie in the making of this review.