I Am Not A Gnome...
A common problem with brawlers is the fact that all too often they end up becoming either an all out button mash or an overly complicated controller memorization and execution scheme that ruins what would have been a fun experience (Street Fighter, this means you.) In the simplified brawler that is Fairy Tale Fights, there's very little strategy to be had You can use ranged weapons in specific directions, mash your way through hordes of enemies by twirling and waggling the control stick in every direction like a madman with pointed objects, or try your hand at a weak strategy of using charged attacks with bashing weapons. Regrettably, the odds of being injured or interrupted while charging all too often removes that strategy from the mix. Blocking defensively is also useless due to the sheer number of enemies in every direction. The end result tends to be a sheer mash and waggle to the finish line.
There are also a handful of frustrating bugs that appear now and again. First experienced as a freeze during the boss fight of the Pied Piper at the pipe organ, bugs can cause you to revisit completed areas. Thankfully there wasn't a large area to complete again before returning to that battle. However, the most frustrating by far was the glitch during the battle in the dungeons with Hansel and Gretel. Instead of becoming damaged by a toss into the furnace, the two-headed Hanzilla decided to remain stuck and untouchable in the furnace no matter what was done. I tried throwing weapons at it, shooting it, running into the flames after it. Nothing was effective, Hanzilla was stuck. The result was a need to restart the entire dungeon segment of the game, an hour long ordeal. While the area is fun, few things frustrate me in video game land like having to redo that which I've already done. A similar glitch appeared later in the sideshow area of the fairy tale forest. A wagon that was supposed to back out of the way after defeating all enemies in the area refused to move. I was left restarting the area again, though, thankfully, this event wasn't too far into the level.
Additionally it can be said that while large quantities of loot are available in the form of treasure and fallen enemies, and many perils to your amassed treasure in the form of deaths and unintentional falls, there's no actual use for the treasure except to build your statue in the town square. While there's certainly a good number of statue upgrades available, one can't help but feel as though chasing after all that treasure served no purpose at all! On the other hand, a positive note is that, while some will call it too easy as a result, it's a game that offers no true failure. Death is followed by immediate re-spawn where you fell. This makes for a game that, bugs aside, is seldom truly frustrating, though hardcore gamers will no doubt cry from a lack of challenge as a result. The loss of treasure from death, though, may annoy those that were hoping for the biggest and best statue in town.
Finally, the cooperative play feature is extremely well implemented. Playing through this with two players was a button-mashing pleasure, and only rarely did the screen get pulled too far away or zoom too far away from both players and produce disastrous results, the biggest complaint I had about the multiplayer of Little Big Planet. The camera is always focused, and the battle arenas are well laid out for multiple little fairy tale anti-heroes. If there is one gripe with multiplayer it's that with so much overwhelming action on the screen it can be hard to identify what character is yourself on the fly, often yielding running off the edge, or fighting a wall when you thought you were in the middle of the screen battling a horde of monsters. This is a common issue with cooperative brawlers though, and the implementation here is solid enough to be considered good.
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