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.
That Time They Did Transformers Better Than Michael Bay (Transformers: Devastation)
The moment you see Optimus Prime and Bumblebee do an air combo like in a Marvel Vs. game, you know you’re on to something special with this supposed-turgid license game. It’s literally Bayonetta with G1 Transformers, but most 80s toy and cartoon fans didn’t care; it’s like a lost episode of a Saturday Morning cartoon made playable.
That Dark Time When They Couldn’t Nail Any Other Animated License Games….
(Legend of Korra, TMNT: Mutants In Manhattan)
Even the best companies have their slumps. For Square Enix, it was Final Fantasy X-2 and the Final Fantasy XIII saga. For Capcom, it was the period when Keiji Inafune was leading the company to a Western direction. For Platinum Games, it was when they were biting off more than they could chew.
There were signs of this in 2014 when they took on Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Legend of Korra and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The former was an action game with not much flair and interesting bits going for it, while the latter was a multi-character mess. It was reported that these projects were rushed and weren’t planned properly given their less-than-ideal development time.
…And Also Kinda Effed Up Star Fox (Star Fox Zero, Star Fox Guard)
So what happens when Nintendo decides to remake a Star Fox game with almost the same levels and structure, make its motion controls mandatory, and also make it exclusive on the company’s worst-selling console at the time? You get a huge dose of fail that the company is a part of.
Yep, 2016 wasn’t a grand time for PlatinumGames.
…And Not Porting The Wonderful 101 Outside Of The Wii U
Any moment now. Please find some way to make this game available on other platforms; the flash mob sentai real-time strategy-lite action gaming goodness here from director Hideki Kamiya needs to be experienced by all.
…And Also Got Their Dragon Game Cancelled (Scalebound)
The story here is that PlatinumGames couldn’t get the open-world action game to an acceptable state, to the point where Microsoft had no choice but to pull the plug. This was the rare case where both companies miscommunicated and failed to meet expectations for a potentially cool idea about dragons and Devil May Cry-like action.
…And Not Keeping Hideki Kamiya In Check
As funny and as talented a designer Hideki Kamiya is, he’s the ultimate troll and instigator when it comes to online interactions on Twitter.
Really fed up with insects which never read my posts and just keep posting . THAT’S WHY I’m telling you not to post me in languages other than Japanese. If you break this rule, that means you are brainless insect and will be blocked immediately. BE CAREFUL.
— 神谷英樹 Hideki Kamiya (@PG_kamiya) July 10, 2018
Also, he got chewed out for saying the “g” word for white people. Which is a less-severe-but-still-derogatory version of the “n” word for African-Americans.
That One Time You Got Emotional Over A Bunch of Robots (Nier: Automata)
Square Enix made the best decision to get PlatinumGames to fix and rework the action bits of its Nier sequel. The result? GOTY material for 2017.
The game is so legendary with its presence, narrative, and action bits, that (i) game director and designer Taura Takahisa took that same structure and amped it up in his directorial debut Astral Chain,
…and (ii); we get oodles of 2B cosplay from awesome female cosplayers. #cucimata indeed….
What are your favourite PlatinumGames games? Let us know here or on Facebook.