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What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Moon Diver came out over a month ago on PlayStation Network and now it has finally released on Xbox 360. I played this latest version and it's practically identical to the PSN edition. The original review stands.When
I heard that the original creator of Strider, Koichi Yotsui, was making
a four-player action game that liberally steals from his classic hit I
was onboard instantly. All the familiar elements of the
original make the transition, including blurred sword swipes, dashing up
and down hills, and climbing on walls and ceilings. It’s not
all old-school fan service, however. Developer Feelplus added in a new
leveling system that allows players to invest points into stats and
extend melee combos. Because you don’t lose experience, it feels like
you’re making character progress even when you fail a level. Eagle eyed
players can search out an absurd amount of hidden magic spells (called
MoonSault Combinations) that are hidden around levels. These stay in
your collection permanently, and do everything from healing to launching
projectiles to freezing enemies. Only four can be carried into battle
at once, so it’s smart to have some variety in your loadout.All of these elements create a solid framework. Everything else brings Moon Diver down from potential greatness.Slashing
through mindless drone enemies is fun at first, but the same dumb guys
just keep showing up with palette swaps and slight tweaks. The most
deadly foes (outside of bosses) are terrible laser turrets that take off
way more health than anything else. Levels become harder simply by
choking corridors with these bastards. You have to use the freeze spell
to shut them down, but that’s annoying since it plays an unskippable
animation every time.Bosses add some variety, but none really
stand out – especially compared to the flying serpent in Strider
composed of a chain of Soviet dudes. Solo players will learn to dread
these encounters; they aren’t insurmountable, but the game doesn’t have
checkpoints or lives. The first time you fight a boss, you’ll inevitably
die trying to discern its patterns and have to start the stage all over
again. The second time through you just want to zip past everything,
but you have to deal with the *** lasers or fight it out in arena
sections that force you to battle waves of foes. This frustrating loop
is especially unavoidable in the last third of the game.
don’t lose all hope. Moon Diver has a flexible online matchmaking
system that allows you to pair up with other players on any level, even
if you haven't beaten it yet. The servers weren’t all that populated
during the first week of release, but I eventually found partners to
help me tackle particularly tough stages. The multiplayer mode
is a completely different experience. Players are flying all over the
screen competing for kills, combining magic spells and draining bosses’
health bars in record time. The best improvement over the single-player
experience is the New Super Mario-inspired co-op resurrection system.
Fallen comrades are bound in neon rope and can float toward allies to
get saved. Unless all player characters are roped up, you can keep
coming back as many times as you want. This makes even the final boss,
whose health bar seems unending, beatable with a decent team. If
you’re interested in Moon Diver, play halfway through the game by
yourself to gain some levels, collect various magic, and get used to the
structure. Then fire up multiplayer and never look back.
Email the author Bryan Vore, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
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