Monday, 29 November 2010

Bloody Good Time review

While generic shooter titles are far too common among the retail scene, arcade games typically take a more niche route. Ubisoft's latest multiplayer title, Bloody Good Time, is no exception to the rule, offering a mixture of stalker/shooter gameplay wrapped up neatly in a package of Team Fortress 2 graphics.

Bloody Good Time follows a movie theater theme with games taking place on one of three movie sets: a beach front complete with furnished property, a haunted house or a Vegas casino. Continuing to be true to the movie style players are given one of eight actor characters to play as, ranging wildly from brutal 'goths' to Playboy inspired 'beach babes'. Throughout, the atmosphere of the game is lighthearted despite the sadistic movie director overseeing the carnage.

The four game types are hunt, revenge, elimination or deathmatch; three of the four being a slight variation on a theme. The primary method of execution is Hunt where each player is assigned a quarry (only known to them) to find and eliminate, the catch being another player has you on his or her designated hit list. Execution follows the same principals but adapts it slightly. Instead, players have to eliminate the entire cast, one player at a time. Revenge adapts the theme further with players' quarry depending on whom killed them last. The last mode of the four, Deathmatch, is a simple free for all, and generally doesn't suit the game's style particularly well.

Playing this game like Call of Duty isn't the way to win in this game. Instead, more often than not, the game mode calls for a mixture of stalking as well as shooting. In Bloody Good Time players are not only rewarded for merely killing a player but also how they kill a player. At the start of a round weapons are randomly given a value between one and five stars, the point currency of the game. The higher the value of your weapons, the more points you receive for a kill. Instead of killing as many people as possible, it's often worth scouring for weapons for a higher value to place top of the leader board. Points aren't only dictated by the weapon you use but can also be gained through boasting; a pre-kill boast, pickpocketing to steal a weapon and humiliation; a post kill gloat.

Attempting to stop the carnage are security guards. These enforcers patrol the map and taser anyone they see holding a weapon, killing a player or humiliating a corpse. If you're caught comitting a crime you quickly have to run and hide until the security guards give up hunting for you, to avoid losing a star and any weapons involved. To a certain degree these security guards hamper the fun by slowing down the pace of the game but they do increase the difficulty by forcing players to learn their position on the maps.

The variety of weapons is impressive and despite the amount they all remain fairly balanced. The more powerful weapons are limited by their ammo and their accessibility on the maps and since you spawn with nothing, it's often best to scrounge the more reliable weapons rather than the most powerful. When it comes down to weapon choice you have often have to strike a balance between points, reliability and accessibility, a somewhat challenging task that adds a new dimension to the game. Murder Aids, secondary gadgets, add even more variety to the game. These items, while not as essential, do offer unique oppurtunities to set traps by luring or immobilising your victim.

This game most certainly isn't for everybody. The combination of stalker and shooter gameplay can lead to quiet and uneventful matches and with the average match lasting around half an hour it can become quite tiresome. The extended time limits aren't the only element that make Bloody Good Time inacessible. Characters must keep themselves in prime physical condition by eating, sleeping and relieving themselves. These awkwardly intergrated mechanics force players to juggle their character's needs during the short intermissions between rounds. Being caught by your hunter on the loo can lead to comical moments, but it can also lead to an instant death as you're flushed down the toliet.

Matches are broken up with a series of bonus rounds. A self explanatory free-for all, a hunt the leader gametype and my personal favourite, infection; a pass the bomb gametype where stars are earned for surviving and docked for being a zombie.

It's unfortunate but while this game had so much potential it falls far short of offering what the name promises. The game hasn't really caught on with the console audience leading to a lack of players, something that the crude AI is no substitute for. While this shooter may offer a unique and wild experience, all things considered, it's probably best to give this one a miss.

5/10

Words by Arran France

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