Wednesday, November 9, 2011

MashButtons goes bullet hell crazy in Konami shmup, Otomedius Excellent

What’s that? You never heard of Otomedius Excellent? Have no fear, neither had I, with the exception to a quick meeting I had with Konami at E3. Otomedius Excellent is the sequel to the 2008 Japanese title, Otomedius Gorgeous, with numerous updates to enhance visuals and gameplay to that of its older sibling. Being that this is a Konami title, the developer does boast that it is Gradius inspired, and after further research, the title loosely translated means Maiden Gradius, fun fact of the day. The cold hard numbers for this title stack up to 9 lovely ladies to play as, 3 player online play, 8 new 2D levels, and loads of downloadable content to be announced at a later date. So after numerous playthroughs with multiple characters, I figure it is high time to get to my impressions so far.

This is the first time Otomedius has come stateside, and as history has shown, things can tend to be lost in translation; however a shmup overseas translated for the western demographic is still a shmup, damn fun. The action is fast, the graphics are bright and colorful, and the bosses gigantic. You can easily identify the inspiration from Gradius through the enemies and weapon power ups, but what sets this apart is the sex appeal. It is over the top from beginning to end in what almost feels too disturbing to enjoy, but I am a Gradius fan and like women characters in my video games so it’s a win for me and sounds like it will peak the interest of the majority of US gamers. The game takes about an hour to play through but you will pick up weapons cards, level up those weapons, and choose your weapon load out before starting, making the replay value huge. Also attributing to the replay value and taking you back to the days of 80’s and 90’s arcades is the ability to play online with up to two other players.

Sounds great right? I earlier alluded to the game being lost in translation when being developed for the western demographic and much of the games story and dialogue falls victim to this, whether it be the voices in Japanese or the English subtitles that you need to strain to see in the bottom right corner. What’s that, you keep dying when trying to read the subtitles, it’s okay I did the same. Though the story may not grip you and keep you coming back, the gameplay will. Aside from the subtitles and story, there really wasn’t much I can say I disliked. Things can get pretty hairy with three players online, large amounts of enemies and trying to wade through the bullet hell without dying, so this doesn’t come as a surprised that frame rate slowdown was encountered at times, but not enough to cripple the gameplay.

I was a bit apprehensive to review this game with the busty and provocative maidens, but with inspiration from such a great side scrolling shooter, the formula does make for fun and hours of gameplay, whether you play online or couch multiplayer. As a fan of the genre, unfortunately a lot of the games are fun but don’t live up to hype or get boring rather fast, but the ability to get new weapons, level them up, choosing your weapon loadout, and repeating will put you in an endless loop you won’t even realize you are in.

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