I have this XBL friend. He seems to believe I don't like any video games. Thankfully Cuphead came out recently. After buying and playing it, I can tell him he's wrong because I liked it. I didn't just like it, but I'd give it a 10/10 score if I were a game reviewer I found it that good.
The game itself:
Cuphead is mostly a run n' gun shooter with a few side scrolling schmup stages. Unusual to Cuphead's design is most of the stages are merely boss battles. Its the reason so many label the game as "boss rush mode" when it isn't at all (come on people, a boss rush is an endurance marathon of one boss right after another without stopping)
What's special about Cuphead is that it attracted attention on its visual style alone. For years this game was essentially vaporware, but journalists, games as art fake gamers, and real gamers were enthralled by the unusual 30's style US animation Cuphead teased them with its promo teasers.
This throwback to 30's style animation isn't what's special. Its secretly the fact this game is a throwback to traditional aspects of video game culture that feel like they've been left in the dust decades ago. Strangely they've become abandoned and forgotten. Or changed to such a degree that people have become out of touch. Example of what I'm talking about: in the 8 and 16 bit generations, schmups were a dime a dozen and were largely uniform in design. The common tactic used then to draw attention to your game even if it was shallow and rubbish was to make it pretty and visually impressive. The term for this was 'eye candy'. Frequently it was the schmup bosses which got special treatment to be big and pretty. And while the circumstances and competitive market have changed (the genre Cuphead is, is teetering on dead/niche), this is exactly what was done to bring the spotlight on Cuphead. It worked just like it did 30 years ago.
Its not just that. In playing the game, it felt like tradition was a closely held philosophy with Cuphead's design. And I'm not talking about the graphics/visual style. It truly honest to god feels like a work of passion that harkens back to simpler more innocent times. In that it attempts to capture and deliver an experience from the best the genre had to offer decades ago. If feels out of place and refreshing in this terrible cash grab age of lazy unfinished games full of microtransactions and cut content/former unlockables sold as DLC.
so, on to a review of Cuphead
it sounds like fucking garbage. Everything sounds like its coming out of a god damned record player.control:
control? oh, you mean gameplay!
yes, gameplay. The quality of the interaction one has playing the game. Honestly, its about as perfect as one can get. I'm being totally serious.
The controls are sharp and precise. Typically with games like this (especially Japanese ones) the issue with controls is a combination of player movement (usually too slow) and bullet speed (usually too fast). Cuphead manages to balance these things just right.
Perhaps the weakest part of this game is the parry system where you push jump in the air just as you touch a pink projectile. I'm not saying this is bad, but sometimes it feels picky and a little more difficult than it should be.
that being said, I never had difficulty with the controls ever. I grew up playing games like this, and I'm astonished to read actual real critics who write about video games for a living saying the controls for this game are bad or poorly configured.
can't start this section without asking the obvious: do you like side scrolling run n gun schmups? do you like side scrolling schmups? Cuphead has a different take on the formula primarily being mostly long drawn out boss fights, but spiritually its the same. If you enjoy games like Contra and Metal Slug, you will likely also enjoy Cuphead.
design wise, the game is tough but fair. the litmus for this is the feelings I have about dying. I never felt like I was fighting the controls. There were few places where I felt the game was cheap/unfair until I noticed the pattern, figured out a trick to survive, or simply got gud (which is what you're SUPPOSED to do in these games). Frequently I was dying because I was genuinely fucking up.
Usually damage came from failing to parry a bullet. It is maybe the most frustrating aspect of the game. Truthfully, it's a different and unique concept and takes some getting used to. But its not so difficult I wasn't able to get better at it. Seriously.
the best thing about Cuphead is it's NOT a rememberizer. As in its not predictable and bosses don't follow the same patterns every time that can easily be memorized. Quite a few bosses even do completely different attacks each time you restart. This adds to the challenge and keeps things fresh.
the difficulty can be a bit much sometimes, but honestly, throwing a fit and swearing is part of the fun with games like this.conclusion:
Cuphead is a fucking great run n' gun. Its the best (only?) of this generation and among the best the genre has to offer.
My absolute favorite game of this genre is Contra III: The Alien Wars. I played the hell out of that game on hard and thoroughly enjoyed it. In many ways, Cuphead feels and plays a lot like it. Right down to Konami's stringent "play a harder difficulty to get the ending!" And I don't believe this is coincidental, but intentional. As I stated far above, it seems Cuphead was designed with tradition in mind when it comes to video game design. Tradition in the sense of tried and true concepts that have proven themselves. And wouldn't you know it, when executed properly, they still work.
Cuphead, again, is a fucking brilliant game. It is a popular game in a dead genre that is outselling contemporary FPS games designed by arrogant video game rock stars whose ground breaking innovation is genderfluid bathroom signs all for an already congested market (and yes, I'm talking about Clefairy B. Fuck that guy)stop calling it bullet hell, dumbass
one of the things I've noticed about Cuphead is that the genre has been so neglected that it seems most people have become dumb to it. I don't know how many times I've heard people claim Cuphead is bullet hell when its not.
Japanese make bullet hell games. The first one of which I became aware of was 1999's Gigawing where the bosses literally vomit bullets all over the screen and the designers expect the player to maneuver through the teeny tiny spaces between them. If you want real bullet hell, play a Touhou game.
Cup head is not like that.
Stop calling it bullet hell. You sound like a fucking idiot when you call it that.controversy:
this is by far the best thing about Cuphead. Somehow this became a controversial game. And it all started with the video that blew a million minds:
that's game being played by a guy who has written professional about tech for 25 years and video games for 18. He's also Asian, and if he didn't surrender his cultural values, he would have committed seppuku for shaming his ancestors.
predictably most of the internet was shocked and outraged by this. Many became vocal about it questioning how someone so inept at video games would have a job writing about them.
The new games journo pros reacted to this backlash in the most reasonable and measured way possible: trying to put out the fire with gasoline whilst screaming GAMERGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE!!!!http://archive.is/gcdjxhttps://twitter.com/catovitch/status/905844725575507968https://twitter.com/HanFreakinSolo/status/905085992507461634
(yes I stole these from a reddit post, forgive me)
What. The. Fuck. Is wrong with these people?
the weird thing is this was the first wave of controversy. the second was when the game actually came out and more new games journalists played and wrote about it.
The next serious piss take came from Laura Kate Dale. This is the 2nd time I'm invoking his name. And its quite clear to me the dude is a professional lair whose only skill is bringing attention to himself. He'll write a hilariously contrarian blog article for Kotaku provoking someone to call him out on his shit. The moment the right person does, Laura will react as if its some sort of personal attack.https://twitter.com/LaurakBuzz/status/916705545574379520
if you told me I'd like and respect Pewdiepie 10 years ago, I'd tell you you're full of shit and an asshole, but HERE WE ARE! Fucking Pewdiepie coming correct and not giving a fuck. Props.
so of course, the proper way the journo pros react is to get defensive, and begin caping the poor fragile oppressed man in a wig in the most condescending manner possible.https://twitter.com/kezamacdonald/status/916781924705865729
the funniest thing about this is Laura's writing style has made it incredibly easy to criticize him. And by that I mean you know the entire content of the article by reading the headline. Not only does it serve as bait for a hot take the likes of Pewdiepie's, but ripe for the super predictable series of events that seems to happen in waves....
Cuphead is somehow, magically tearing away the flimsy illusion that new games journalists are in fact non-gamer SJW hipsters. Fraudsters. Imitators. Poseurs. They're not what they claim to be. They're emblematic of shitty human being label they hurl at everyone they don't like. Cuphead is the beam of sunlight that Dracula hisses and recoils at.
The funniest thing. And I mean this, is that its revealing that SJWs follow a psychological pattern just like the 5 steps of death... I've been thinking about this and trying to come up with a clever acronym, but I can't. Currently, thanks to Cuphead, the fake gamer SJW hipsters do the following:D
"people praise this game for its difficulty, but that gets in the way of it being fun"D
eny (excuse making, or bargaining phase)
"b-b-but not liking a game because its hard doesn't mean I'm bad at them!!!"R
"HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE ME! THAT'S HARASSMENT! ANYONE WHO LIKES THIS GAME IS OBVIOUSLY A REAL GAMER! REAL GAMERS ARE SCUM! I HATE THEM ALL! IF ONLY THEY COULD BE PUT ON TRAINS AND UNLOADED AT CAMPS SO THEY CAN CONCENTRATE BEFORE BEING PUT IN OVENS! GAMERGAAAAAAAAATE!"-right now, the Cuphead controversy is right around here-D
erangement (different take on anger)
"Group of people like thing. Me not like group of people. Ergo thing bad too."
skipping ahead, the second to last step will be acceptance. Which will be presented in a disingenuous way where they will act like they always liked and accepted the game.
The final step is worship. And in true hipster art fag fashion, it will take a twisted nonsensical almost hypocritical form.
imagine all the following all being said in a short period of time:
"Stop criti*I mean harassing my diversity hire for contradicting the popular consensus about this game being good for being difficult!"
"I'm going to produce something that proves I'm hip and with it on video game culture!"
"Now to put my plan in action to those racist fascist Nazi gaming chumps!"
and to think most of these snot rags believe hate is wrong and capitalism is evil and yet they're the most angry greedy grasping people that exist.
my feelings about the journo pro side of the present controversy (especially the VentureBeat game play footage) is that their clickbait strategy has changed to be based off the "I was only pretending to be retarded" meme. Seriously. Is it even possible to legitimately be that bad? The only reasonable excuse outside of being mentally handicapped would be never having touched a controller in your life. What makes me suspicious any of it is real is how any journo pro would angrily defend what any normal human would normally acknowledge as indefensible.other bullshit Cuphead controversies:
All 1930's cartoons were racist, ergo Cuphead is also racist
:https://twitter.com/stillgray/status/916324047205441536Cuphead is racist against people who are bad at video gameshttp://archive.is/DSDUOCuphead poses the importance of redefining that problematic mouth breathing monosyllabic toxic masculine man-word "difficulty"http://archive.is/fOFYbCuphead is classist for not giving me the same rewards for beating a stage on easy mode that a person of average skill gets for beating normal difficultyhttp://archive.is/E3POV
may not be related but American Taliban issues fatwah regarding use of the word "gameplay". Denounces those who defend it as anime kafirhttps://archive.fo/C52Q3
BTW, if you were playing some attention you may have noticed the same thing I have... Which is all the people voicing these extraordinarily warped perceptions about video games. They're all "new games" journalists. Every single one. The fuck is going on with that industry?