February 10, 2017

Out Live - Ranking

Story & World

Endless corridors leading to nothing is no way to get someone immersed into your world, son.  I'm not sure why the developers decided to make a dungeon crawler and then not stock it with stuff — is that not the entire point of crawling?  Out Live also has an annoying habit of having a long, straight corridor appear to have a junction which just leads to a single tile "alcove".  It then repeats the alcove every other step for around six times and these are found about a hundred times between each city.  At the beginning, I would step into each alcove, thinking that I might trigger something.  What a stupid idiot I was.  My absolute favourite part, though, was right at the end when OL didn't even bother with that anymore and just had a straight corridor of several hundred thousand steps that would occasionally turn right.  It's like the developers had extra space at the end and just filled it up with as much corridor as possible.  Oh, and BTW player, that HuCard stores up to 8 Mbits, so fuck you.  The more the game progressed, the more I felt like I was being trolled.  Man, I'm getting surly enough in my old age without games like this adding a multiplier bonus.

I will give the story some credit, though, there was a good attempt here.  Every character has their own portrait and some are even reoccurring.  The trash talk during combats was great too; I had great fun trying to out-sarcasm my foes, even though I always lost to the pros.  The biggest flub of the story was the stone quest of the midgame — come on, guys, make it access cards or at least space crystals or something.  4/20

Character Development

The replenishable options system is a nifty idea, it encourages playing with the others after the sweet missiles are depleted.   Half of the options are useful, with purchase price being an extremely accurate measure of quality (thousands for the good stuff, 200 for the crap).

The mech has two main stats, attack and defense, which interestingly increases by usage instead of by a static or random amount.  Defense goes up with each and every hit taken and attack increase by dishing it out.  Just in case the player gets too good at destroying enemies in one hit or dodging their attacks, OL has a system in place to make sure you'll have to take damage at some point.  The odd thing was that raising attack level increased the total shields; I'm guessing defense figured into dodging, which almost never happened during the late game (must not have hit the "magic" number).  I guess it could also absorb pre-shield damage, who knows?  And more importantly, who the fuck cares?  4/20

Combat & Monsters

While a lot of combat is just a straight-up damage exchange, there's also some kind of elemental system going as well, with fire, ice, and magnetic.  These types apply to corridors and enemies, as well as the mech's guns and an option to temporarily disable a corridor's type (which powers up enemies of the same type).  I fiddled around with the system a bit, but it never seemed worth it to spend a round not attacking.  Even the gun types don't do all that much more damage; it rarely makes a difference when most mechs die in one or two hits.  The enemy mechs, while super cool looking bad ass, just do damage or sometimes they have a secondary weapon which does more damage.  Some enemies can inflict a curable acid (poison) status, but it only happened to me three times (all early on) and I had totally forgotten about it until just now.  4/20

Graphics & Sound

Mechs are sweet and there are some real creative designs going on in OL; I only wish they were a bit bigger or stayed in their larger sprite during the battles.  The huge cockpit overlay is double sweet and I even developed a taste for the sleek minimalist style of the corridors.  Visually, it was quite enjoyable to be in, too bad that nasty game got in the way.  The music rocks pretty well, which is good since 98% of the game is the dungeon and battle tunes.  17/20

Gameplay

The space bucks stay tight until just past midgame and there's little to purchase in the late.  Healing is cheap and plentiful, enabling the player to have extended forays in getting their ass kicked.  The whole experience took me just over 12 hours but it felt way longer than that, no doubt due to the plethora of sessions where I only managed to last a mere 10 minutes (ha, my wife only wishes).  If anything, Out Live has at least taught me to lower my expectations for any future mech games, and maybe even just always to expect the worst.  Thanks for crushing my innocent childhood fascination with giant robots, OL.  Thanks.  2/20

Final Ranking:  31/100