Thursday, January 19, 2012

Get Into: Sequence

While everybody was busy putting over 9000 hours into Skyrim, I was putting some time into an indie RPG/rhythm game by the name of Sequence. There isn't a whole lot to it - you navigate a couple of menus and choose which one of three monsters (per floor) you fight. But there is more than meets the eye.

The thing with Sequence is that for a game that seems really simple, it's also fairly hard... on the hardest difficulty setting, it's pretty fucking tricky to get the timing down, especially with the later levels. You have to keep an eye on three screens - defence, mana and attack. Defence is what you'll want to focus on, since if you miss any inputs, you'll take damage. The attack screen is when you cast a spell, and you must hit all of them. Miss one, and you will not cast the spell and have wasted your mana, plus you'll need to wait for that spell to recharge. Thankfully, you can carry multiple spells with you, and there's a good amount of variety - from basic attack spells, to healing, defence and even poisoning. The mana screen... well, you hit each input and you'll gain some mana, and if you miss any, oh well. Being able to quickly switch between screens is a fantastic thing, especially later on when the songs get faster and the enemies hit harder.

Oh yes, this is a RHYTHM/RPG, meaning you'll need some rhythm. Not just in hitting the right notes at the right time, but also to the right beats. You're not just playing by eye; you're playing by ear, too, and you better if you're thinking of beating this game.

Be aware that it can and will get a bit annoying - as in, you will be required to fight the same monsters, thereby listening to the same song, a fair amount of times in order to extract items from them, with which you can create better items out of. The only items required to beat each floor are their respective inhibitors (as each floor has their own trick to fuck you over - though the boss will still pull their's off regardless of whether you have it or not, but it makes grinding easier) and boss keys. Unfortunately, you'll be subjected to a... weird synthesis system in which you have a chance to not synthesize it. That's actually fucking bullshit, because it costs EXP to do it and I don't think I should sacrifice anything just for it to fuck up. That is the only real flaw, but it can really piss you off if you're unlucky. Achievement hounds would have a worse time with this because you'll need to fight them over and over again and experience a "failed" synthesis because it's unfair, moreso than those who are just willing to beat the game and see the end of our tale.

Speaking of which, it has a guy named Ky kidnapped and trapped inside a tower. Guided by Naia, he has to climb to the top floor so that he can escape. It's got some clever writing within its sassy, snarky attitude, but it always feels like it could be more... wittier, that is. It's hard to explain without actually playing it, but just compare something like Ben 10 to seasons 3-7 of The Simpsons, and you'll see what I mean. To its credit, it is at least interesting enough to keep you playing because it does tell you a bit more about your situation and even has some twists that can get you more into it.

In many, many ways, I see this game as the polar opposite of Skyrim.

In Skyrim, you're able to explore a gigantic world, full of magic and dragons; in Sequence, you just select which monster you want to fight.
Skyrim can take somewhere between 100 and 300 hours before you can exhaust everything; Sequence can take maybe 10-15 hours to get 100%.
In Skyrim, you simply click on the mouse in order to fight your enemies; in Sequence, you have to use the arrow or WASD keys and hit the right key to the right time in order to defend, attack and recharge mana.
Skyrim's story is supposed to feel epic; Sequence's story seems more like a cartoon.
Skyrim's writing and acting is wooden and boring; Sequence's writing and acting feels like a Saturday morning cartoon done by Warner Brothers, except they let a few curse words slip by censorship.

Suppose that's it for now. Right now, Sequence is a game that isn't exactly everybody's favorite, and at first, I didn't particularly care for it, but as I played through it, I found it more engaging, more difficult and less like a grind even though I've fought the higher level monsters more than the lower level ones. It's actually a good game despite it's couple of flaws (quite frankly), though you may be turned off by the Saturday morning cartoon vibe the story will give you, and will probably get frustrated by the synthesis system... seriously Iridium... why?

Review coming soon.

For the record, I have played Skyrim, and have put about 50 hours into it (give or take a few). I stopped because I got other games to play through.

No comments:

Post a Comment