Dangerously close to RPG overload, I'm proud to say that I put it in high gear and pushed through to the end of Divinity II the other day. I didn't complete the game with 100% (which would actually be an enormously huge amount of content to get through) but I did earn the last few levels I needed to put myself past the insta-death threshold during the final battle and credits rolled. (Look for the full review soon.)
In the meantime, I decided to go in a completely different direction for the last few days prior to Mass Effect 2's release (WOO!) and start getting caught up on my action titles. The first one in the queue was FromSoft's Ninja Blade, and it's a hell of a thing.
Although I've heard some people call it a "poor man's Ninja Gaiden", that's an awfully dismissive and lazy way of describing it. (Especially since Ninja Gaiden SUCKS.) From where I'm standing, Blade is a much more approachable and exciting experience than anything Itagaki's ever turned out, and I will take Ken Ogawa over Ryu Hayabusa any day.
The game takes place in a parasite-infested Japan where evil worms have violated the citizenry and turned them all into various sorts of growling, drippy mutants. Following a bizarre sort of logic, the only force capable of cleansing the country are a group of super-ninjas who take on the biggest and baddest creatures roaming loose. Suffice it to say, this game is not trying to shed light on the human condition or bring any serious issues to the table… it's all about completely insane, extreme balls-out action and unbelievably over-the-top set pieces that explode with adrenaline.
The graphics are fantastic, the action controls well, there's lots of variety and the game also sports lots of little touches that help push it over the top for me… things like being able to completely customize the colors of the main character's costume, the slo-mo flip as he leaps out of a wall-run, and the way From has implemented Quick-Time Events (QTEs) in order to deliver some of the most absurdly awesome action sequences I've ever seen.
Although some may be put off by the number of QTEs, any game that lets me ride a motorcycle in freefall, jump it off of airborne cars and crash it into a flying school bus in order to incinerate the inside of a worm the size of a skyscraper can include as many QTEs as it wants to. I'm not done with Ninja Blade yet, but so far it's a massive, smoking, shuriken-throwing thumbs-up.
Just a couple other quick notes before I sign out for the evening… I got the chance to spend a few minutes with Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes on DS, and from what little I saw, I definitely wanted to see more. I would have, in fact, except that the wife also liked it and immediately laid claim… also, Dark Void was released this week. It's definitely been one of the titles I've been most looking forward to, so the amount of negative reviews it's gotten has been pretty disheartening.
As one of the people I follow on Twitter quipped this morning, hopefully this will be another Bionic Commando situation: most reviewers seem to hate it, but the ones who really know what's up recognize that it's a quality title, and well worth the attention. We hope, anyway…