d-mob: d-feated

Well, I beat DJV.

Looking back, I’d say it was definitely worth the fifty bucks. Some games are worth well beyond that (although I wouldn’t usually /pay/ beyond that), but DJV was just about there. The game was fun to play, fun to look at, fun to listen to, and good with both one or two people. Its extras were cool, but not fantastic, and I know that every once in a while I’ll pull it out again for another few rounts. I might even try to beat it on a higher difficulty, or try to complete my gallery.

My complaints remain the same, though. Reversals, which are /the/ thing to master to do well at this game, are just about completely undocumented. I don’t think it’s a good idea for a button-masher to leave crucial moves undocumented like that. Maybe I’m wrong. I liked, for example, that MK3 didn’t tell you how to pull off combos. I think there’s a fundamental difference, here, though. I’m not sure what it is. If forced to guess, I’d say it’s that reversals are the same for every character. Mastering them isn’t a matter of playing the same guy over and over and becoming one with him. Learning Kabal’s combos required that. Reversals don’t seem like that sort of thing in DJV.

It might just be that I’m bitter that I haven’t figured them out, yet.

Much more important, though, is the crapiness of 3P and 4P play. I’ve gotten over the mediocre multiplayer camera. It’s good enough that I can see what’s going on, for the most part. The problem is focus. Because of the way context-sensitivity works in DJV, the game needs to know at whom you’re directing your attacks. You can’t just throw a punch in a given direction and know who it’s going to hit. (Basically, your moves depend on your distance from your opponant.) This means that you have to keep track of at whom you’re “aimed.” You automatically aim at the last character to hit you, and you can toggle through other characters with the awful-to-use Z button. The Z button, on the GCN controller, is located such that it’s hard to use in the heat of action. Nintendo has been good about using it only for things that you’ll do when chilled out. Other developers sometimes use it for more important things, like Aki has here.

One of the bouts in the main story mode is a three-on-one. The fight could’ve been much better, if I wasn’t always trying to figure out who I was targetting. As far as I can tell, the only way to know is to squint at the direction you’re facing and hope for the best. At the very least there could be an indicator for one-human-versus-many-computers. There isn’t.

This means that I don’t really think the game will work for play with four humans. It’s a shame, because it’s fast-paced and rowdy enough to be a good party game. Players who are waiting to get into the game can have fun just talking smack about the current contenders. What could’ve made this game perfect for that? Tournament mode. (I’m pretty sure there isn’t one, although I’ll dig and correct myself if I’m wrong. I imagine it would’ve been hard to miss.) The tournament mode included in Super Smash Brothers: Melee was, really, one of the best ideas ever. Sixty-four players! I could’ve had huge tournaments at my dorm. DJV really lends itself to that kind of play. The local gaming store actually held a tournament. (I didn’t go, assuming they’d only be playing on the PS2.)

So, I liked it a lot, but once again they could’ve made it quite a bit better if they’d just asked me for my input. I’m still not sure why developers never call me first.

Written on June 1, 2003
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