When you think over-the-top action in the past and current console generation, you think PlatinumGames.
Rising from the ashes of Studio Clover since it dissolved back in 2006, the producers and designers who made up the company -from Atsushi Inaba to Twitter grand ban-master Hideki Kamiya- are renowned for making the best action games that don’t sell well. At least initially; Bayonetta & Vanquish PC sales, Bayonetta 2, and Nier Automata are renowned for putting the company back in the black.
To celebrate the upcoming release of the company’s next game Astral Chain, in which you play a rookie super cop who controls an ass-kicking machine thingy called a Legion, we’re going to talk about these moments. These crazy bits of action make the company stand out among other action game makers in this day and age, and I’d be damned if I didn’t create a feature to detail each and every one of them.
Also, spoilers for older games abound. Tread with caution.
That One Time A Sin City-Inspired Game Ended Up On The Wii (MadWorld)
At the time when the Wii was deemed an “all-ages” console with kid-level shovelware, along comes PlatinumGames and their debut title MadWorld: a violent black-and-white action game with waggle controls. It’s set in a dystopian game show circuit where ex-Navy Jack Cayman has to fight through a gauntlet of gangs, beasties, and weirdos to uncover a conspiracy.
It also sports a dope soundtrack featuring earwigs like “Survival” and “Look Pimpin‘”. While comparisons between this and Manhunt 2 were made, MadWorld stood out because of its aesthetics and over-the-top violence.
I do wish the controls were a tad more precise, but this game proved that PlatinumGames loved to take chances with odd ideas while delivering their brand of action gaming.
That One Time They Made A Sci-Fi RPG No One Cared About (Infinite Space)
Have you heard of Infinite Space for the DS? Of course you haven’t, because this space-case JRPG came out during the time when people were on Mass Effect 2, StarCraft II, and God of War III. Yes, the last game isn’t space-themed, but there were way too many titles that overshadowed a tiny DS RPG.
A shame too, because if it made its way onto PC as well, it would be quite a hit with the indie gaming crowd. Its space warfare and real-time combat mechanics were not completely original, but they were fun to look at. Plus, its story was pretty epic as it dealt with humanity trying to survive in a vast galaxy. Sure, it sounds like Japanese Mass Effect, but to cram all that into a DS game is pretty impressive.
That One Time Bayonetta Remixed A Bart Howard Classic In Its Intro (Bayonetta)
What else is there to say about Bayonetta, the game to surpass the Devil May Cry series as the best hyper level hack-and-slash action game and manages to be even more over-the-top and ludicrous than Capcom’s moneymaker? Oh yeah, that remix of “Fly Me To The Moon” sung by Helena Noguerra that plays when you’re killing a bunch of trigger-happy angels. Before you put on your “hair getup”.
It’s an acquired taste, for sure, but it set the playful and camp tone of the entire game.
The Time You Experienced Macross Missiles In A First Stage Boss Battle (Vanquish)
In the first 30 minutes, 2010’s Vanquish just unloads its load on you and never lets up. The fact that you’re fighting a 40-feet Argus robot in the first stage is the game’s way of telling you that (i) it’s what happens when Shinji Mikami isn’t given much limit when designing a third-person shooter and (ii) it will make you its bitch if you don’t play by its rules.
The best part? You can relive that in glorious 4K on the PC version. Seriously, get it if you haven’t. It’s dirt cheap on Steam.
That Time You Came Across A Bunch Of Breakdancing Robots During A Siege (Vanquish)
When Shinji Mikami isn’t inserting himself in his games, he puts in easter eggs like this to break the tension.
That Time The Company Messed Up A Potentially Good Multiplayer Game (Anarchy Reigns)
Anarchy Reigns was supposed to be a throwback to multiplayer beat-em-ups and a nod to Capcom’s Power Stone series. It failed.
The presentation and aesthetics aren’t the best and the game ran at 30fps or even less depending on what’s on-screen. Ditto for the character selection where it felt like everyone was either the same stock average-sized fighter with similar movesets, a pint-sized fighter with similar movesets, or a large-sized fighter with similar movesets.
That Time You Fought Metal Gear Ray As A Starting Boss (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance)
Talk about starting a Metal Gear game in a grand non-stealth fashion.
Also, one can never forget the song that plays when Raiden lifts the Metal Gear, chucks it in the air, and slices most of it in two. “Rules of Nature” then ended up on a lot of people’s custom ringtones ever since, mine including.
That Other Time You Fought A Superpowered Senator Who Bombarded You With His Fists & His Speeches (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance)
Legend speaks that this particular climactic moment in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is the bane of every Legend of Zelda fan because it unseated that Ocarina of Time Ganondorf final fight as the best final boss moment of all time.
To be fair, they have every right to be pissed. It IS that damn good.
This moment in Metal Gear history is perhaps the best way to end a game: first with a Metal Gear battle, then with a bats*** insane exposition dump punctuated with small fights, leading up to an ultimate battle that would make Fist of the North Star/Hokuto no Ken fans proud.