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 Onslaught.

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PostSubject: Onslaught.   Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:26 am

Okay, we all know that one culture producing one type of game and another producing a different one is almost standard gaming protocol. Like how Western developers have the market pretty much dominated on First Person Shooters that shower in grit, regenerating health and WWII memories every morning and try to not venture too far out into pure puzzle solving or challenging gameplay, while a Japanese developer would be far more in tune with the puzzle solving, score accumulating genre, never worrying about the possibility of graphics that aren't bright and colourful or blowing someone's head into a million beautiful sprinkles that cause the children of the land to jump for joy and stick their tongues out, wondering what it tastes like.

So you'd assume that a Japanese developer, like say, Hudson, wouldn't go and make an FPS that could be good in any way, like for example, Onslaught. But they did, with more than a few variations on the standard we've seen in your average next-gen shoot-em-up, the first of which being that it's a WiiWare game, the first one to brave the shallow waters of this new medium.

So it's the near future, because setting it in modern times would just make it look like Hudson were copying COD4, while the partial space age is suitably common, as is the norm of any logical FPS, but that's just about where it runs out of similarities to something like Gears of War. Rather than have you fight a horde of mutants/zombies that don't want to let you in on the secret that their females can give birth to unstoppable tank mutant/zombies 10 at a time every hour, resulting in unstoppable waves of baddies that can't grasp the fact that they're losing, the villain scene is refreshingly changed to an oldie but a goodie, bugs, not space bugs, because that's ridiculous, but rather an Earth experiment to merge bugs with robots, which succeeded, prompting immediate military application research, so before we know it, you're off to investigate one of the colonisation ships that was supposed to use the bugs to habituate the planet that's sending out a distress signal.

Although for a rescue team, you've been equipped pretty freakin' well, you have an assault rifle, mini-gun, shotgun, homing rocket launcher, each with their own advantages, disadvantages and 10 reload cartridges that completely restore your ammo, but then on top of that you've got your grenades that refill after every mission and the energy whip that I absolutely love, it cuts right through any enemy that's not a boss in one shot, the only downside is you've only got a few slashes of it before you run out of energy and need to let it recharge, but if the bugs are that close that you need to use it, chances are that you're going to die or fail the mission because they'll just take all the health away of whatever you're guarding, depending on the mission you're doing. I guess all this power is a compromise for not having regenerating health, even if you can just find health packs that heal you, rarely though.

There's also a vehicle in the game, understand that, not a number of equally pathetic vehicles or irritating forced vehicle sections that have you smashing your real car because of the realistic controls convincing you that it's really how yours drives by the time you've finished playing, but one vehicle, conveniently placed tank chaingun things in a few levels, you move fairly fast and turn pretty tightly, while the actual guns move about freely to aim wherever the pointer wanders off to, oddly enough, but at least Hudson actually understands, unlike anyone else, that just because you can drive it, the gun turret on top of it isn't going to have infinite ammo, you only get a few thousand or so bullets that you'll go through quite quickly, since any mission that you can drive them in has the bugs populate them almost as much as people in China. But even if you do run out of ammo, you've still got the self destruct option, you can just aim for the biggest group of bugs and let it run off until it hits something or gets too far and takes out quite a lot more than the explosion would lead you to believe, every weapon you can touch seems to have been designed to kick ass!

Okay, I might have lied when I said it had run out of similarities, yes it seems even the Japanese aren't strangers to NPCs with dialogue that annoy you so much you wish the guns didn't have the ability to magically pass through them, not like you'd ever even get the chance to aim at them though, because no matter what of the three formations you can order them to go to, they'll always be behind you, even the second you start to turn around they'll be running away from your crosshairs. I guess the one consolation is that they each only say one line to indicate that they're talking, the rest is text based, but holy hell is there a lot of it, but even though they don't talk much the announcer does a nice job of making you want to "forget" to put on the wrist strap and play baseball after eating some greasy KFC, what with the fact that every time you start a combo and/or kill off a bug in one shot, he'll say "That's why you're still a kid!" in one of those "I can say what I want because I'll never have to face them or you" smug tones, sure you can turn the SFX off, but there goes the nice sounds of inset-estines parting with the host body, along with the upbeat music that fits surprisingly well with the atmosphere.

You first meet your "friends" when you leave the rescue party on your own and instantly regret your decision as you have to fight through more than a few scoops of some slugs, bees and grasshoppers to find two people who don't think you're on their side, despite your armour being the exact same as theirs when you take away the defining colour scheme, just because you and your unstoppable arsenal of kickass actually managed to kill off more than one of them, for which the official reason is that you have some device that generates a signal that weakens the bugs or something, however as soon as the thankfully skippable cutscene is over they also gain the magical ability to fight and do some actual damage, I guess they must have been too afraid of shooting the bugs before or else they would have been killed instantly, now they've got you to hide behind, so it's open fire time!

Speaking of the different types of bugs, the enemy "insect cyborgs" are really nicely designed in this game, sure, they all have a bright green spot somewhere on their bodies that will cause them to explode after a few shots from even the mini-gun, but they actually do a good job of covering it up most of the time, see they all have three types of skin, the aforementioned weak spot, regular flesh that kills them a lot slower and the cyborg part of their anatomy, which takes no damage no matter how many bullets bounce off the metal, so you finally, after several years of blindfiring in games, have to make a decent effort to aim at their trickily placed or very small weak spots to make them explode bug blood on to your visor when you're at close range, unless you took them out with the rocket launcher from far away, in which case you just run up and grab some of the reload cartridges that they drop upon kicking the bucket, only fueling the Doom-esque genocidal gameplay.

By the way, I should mention that in comparison to the surprisingly few Wii FPS games that have been out, which all seemed to do a terrible job of trying to incorporate the Wii's controls (good god, could The Conduit take any longer to get here?) I must say that this game did an alright attempt at it, the pointer works in Metroid style, you'll move pretty far around the screen before you encounter the dead zone and move about, but the real point of interest is that while you do have a couple of motion controls, there's only 5, a couple for nunchuk, one for Wii remote and one for both, and they actually feel in place. When the bug blood from that last paragraph splatters on your visor you actually start to take damage from it as it seeps through your armour, to counter this, just swing the nunchuk and wipe it off, it feels natural and it's not trying to be very specific about the way you have to wave the attachment around. When you run out of ammo, for some reason you swing the Wii remote to reload, I guess it's cause everything else had already been mapped out before they realised that they should make it harder by taking out the auto-reload that's so popular in games. Lastly, as punishment for not killing it before it got too close, some bugs will jump up and start eating you. Seriously, they start sapping your health away, you've got to keep alternating swings of the remote and nunchuk like you're playing the 100m dash in Mario and Sonic to get them off, then you've still got to kill the bloody things! As for the other two nunchuk controls, they're the grenade and energy whip, which are readied after pressing the corresponding button on the nunchuk, but even with that, during combat it all fits nicely together and feels like it should be there, unlike just about any other FPS out on the Wii.

At last I get to what I wanted to make a note of interest about, the graphics. As a part of the uniqueness that makes this decent, the graphics are actually good, at least by the Wii's standards, naturally it's not going to compete with COD5 or Crysis any time soon, but considering it's on the Wii and it's a downloaded game, a.k.a small, it does a pretty good job with the graphics, not only did the game avoid running through some muddy puddles on it's way to school, but the desert environment is nicely done with the contrast of bug blood splattering all over the place. As far as the last 10 FPS games on any shooter have gone, this is great graphical quality, especially considering what platform it's on.

But wait, almost the end of the review and I'm yet to talk about the gameplay, shame on you Roy, just talking about the needless story and other elements of the game is useless without the readers knowing what the hell they'll be doing in the levels, stop writing this and say something, argh!

Yet again, uniqueness shines through, the first thing that's consistent in every level is that, sure, you want to complete the objective in each mission, but that's not what your goal is, the aim of the game is to get a high score, higher score = better grade, which makes it feel even more like Doom because you've got to kill just about everything in sight to get an A grade, but who's complaining about that, certainly not me. The actual missions are quite varied, it's not your standard "Get from A to Z and every other letter is a gunfight" gameplay, but each mission is unique, it may be a defend your base mission in which you only really want to move forward when you're destroying the insect hives to make it a bit easier, and backwards when the bugs get behind you. Every mission is unique, be it keeping a bunch of supplies intact from hungry baddies or going inside a cave to destroy all the hives inside, but the basic point of the game that is all you ever really need to remember is "Bugs + Bullets = Win!" for each mission, the game is broken up into tiers, after the first tier that forces an order on you, each tier afterwards gives you three missions, which you can do in any order, once you've completed these three, you'll get to face the boss, kill the whatever-it-is and you move on to the next tier, proceeding until you beat all 13 missions. Yes, I know, there's not much, but hey, it's WiiWare, stop crying about it.

However even I, with my genius brain, stunning features, overall awesomeness at any game I play and god complex, am actually finding it a challenge, I've got the game set on Normal and I still died one whole time against the first boss, I've yet to beat the third tier and face the final boss, but I can safely blame my NPCs for not doing the job right, they literally don't ever seem to shoot things unless I'm facing it, so what's the point of trying to cover a bunch of supplies from all sides, I shudder to think what it would be like on Ultra difficulty, the hardest in the game, but I'm impressed with the game reminding me of what it was like before FPS games thought you might not like it anymore if you can't beat it on every difficulty the first try, so gold star on the front of your notebook, Onslaught, you have earned that place on my first tab of channels on the Wii.

The only/other mode I haven't looked into yet is the two online games, co-op or battle, but when you realise that it's only out in the PAL regions, I'd probably be spending quite a bit of time in the waiting room for someone, anyone, to show up and play me because for some reason regular multiplayer isn't included, but even if Americas were already yucking it up, I doubt I'd play, because there is yet to be a good online mode for consoles, something that's free (Nintendo) and complete (Microsoft/Sony) but also being secure enough without requiring people to trade a user-specific code outside the game. So I guess I'm stuck with Brawl for the time being, since only about 10 people have a copy of any other game that has the WFC compatibility and isn't crap.

At 1000 Nintendo Points, this game is a definite must, it's got a nice original concept, as long as you can forgive the NPCs, and if you want a cheap, lasting challenge that you won't find on any disc game that's currently on the shelves, I strongly recommend downloading this one when it comes out in the U.S, whereas if you're in the PAL regions, what are you doing still reading this? Why have you not already bought it? Face the Onslaught!

Presentation: 7.5

Graphics: 9.5

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 9

Lasting Appeal: 8

OVERALL: 8/10

AVERAGE SCORE: 8/10, huh, I honestly didn't do that on purpose.

P.S - Screenshots are coming soon, don't get annoyed that I haven't done already done it, I did this entire review in one sitting so time out for you!
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