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GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!



Let's Play “Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance”


Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance is a masterpiece of creativity, open-world gameplay, and obtuse mechanics. Sadly, on the surface, and to most everyone who played the game, it just seems like a below-average beat 'em up. You receive your story objectives at the start of every chapter, you go to the next location, participate in messy group-style fights and the occasional Tekken-style boss encounter, and eventually the game ends.

It leaves you with a strange taste. A lingering thought of, "where did all the budget go?" And there is an answer, but few people bothered to find it.

The Gameplay

In spite of initial appearances, Beat Down is foremost an RPG, and contrary to the glowing red arrow on your map, you want to go everywhere BUT the story objectives. You see, the glory and creativity in Beat Down comes from its insane, meticulously detailed web of sidequests and character progression mechanics.

Let's start with the numbers, and what they mean.

There are around 80 NPCs with names in the game. These 80 named NPCs appear at different chapters, in different areas of the city, and are triggered by different events. Some of them are just standing around, waiting to be interacted with, some of them are part of spontaneous sidequests, and some are quite actively angry with you.

Each named NPC has their own personality, design, move-set, and specialities. A grappler will noticeably fair better in, well, grappling, for example. Every named NPC also has their own wallet, their own experience level, and their own relationships. Why do all these minute details matter? Well, therein lies the big hook. The most important thing about all these named NPCs is that every single one of them can be recruited, robbed, interrogated, and murdered.

This means there are about 80 playable characters in total, and their relationships, items, stats, and specialities in combat create an incredible level of diversity in potential partners and enemies. Many of the named NPCs only appear if you're playing as a specific character, and some of them are even capable of teaching the player new moves. It's impossible to obtain every ally and every move in a single playthrough.

Speaking of which, are you ready for more numbers? There are a total of 50 side-missions available in the game, while the main story consists of only 7 missions. These 50 side-missions each have their own cutscenes, unique characters, dialogue, and world-building.
These 50 side-missions are so much larger than the main game that it's absurd. We're talking an extra 10+ hours of gameplay that may as well act as its own campaign. These side-missions go a long way toward fleshing out the world and characters of Beat Down, in addition to providing far more variety.

The trick with these side-missions though, is that much like the named NPCs, none of them are available all at once. Some of them only unlock on repeated playthroughs, and some even depend on the sex of the player character you're using. Experiencing all 50 missions and finding all of the named NPCs is a greater collectathon challenge than any 3D platformer you could possibly think of.

An astonishing, baffling amount of effort has gone into creating enough side-content to last several playthroughs, rivaling many traditional JRPGs of the era in sheer magnitude.

The Catch

Finally, there's the matter of how all these extra-curricular activities tie into the main story. True to Beat Down fashion, the main story, while seemingly simplistic on the surface, turns out to be a complex web that can only be untangled by the most dedicated of players, or through the purchase of the official strategy guide.

Throughout the game, you are ranked on three factors. They are as follows:

Firstly, Cash Flow and Items: This score increases based on the amount of money you obtain and spend. It's virtually impossible to make the score decrease, but to make it increase a significant amount, you'll have to rob countless hapless bystanders and beat the money out of hardened street thugs. Easily the most simplistic of the three factors.

Secondly, Leadership: This score increases as you recruit more members into your gang and use them in combat. It seems simple enough, but the score also decreases if one of your allies is sent to the hospital or gets fed up with you. Seeking out named NPCs and grabbing them like Pokemon is the most efficient way to fill this up, but it increases slowly regardless.

Thirdly, Charisma: This is by far the most vague and confusing score. As near I can tell, charisma increases when you threaten, rob, or kill named NPCs. The last one is not advisable, as you need to recruit said NPCs if you want your leadership score to rise. Charisma seems to decrease when you get your rear end handed to you, so at least that part is simple.

All three of these scores add up to form your rank, of which there is quite a variety, ranging from "Big Brother" to "Czar".

At first these rankings may seem entirely arbitrary, and nothing more than a cute distraction, but they have a sinister purpose. Your ranking has a direct influence on which ending you ultimately receive.

There are a total of 4 endings available for each character. A bad ending, a neutral ending, a good ending, and a godfather ending. Only the good and godfather endings have profound or unique dialogue, so that's 10 endings in total. However, some of the requirements are far easier to meet than others.

If all three of your scores are over halfway full, then you're most likely to obtain the good ending for your character.

However, if you want to see the Godfather ending, all three of your scores must be entirely maxed out. This means you have to amass obscene amounts of wealth, recruit and co-operate with well over 30 named NPCs, as well as keep up your appearances as a powerful ganglord by beating and threatening the tar out of people.

Obtaining a character's godfather ending is a herculean challenge, and few people seem aware that such a thing exists at all.

It deeply pains me to see so few people uncover the madness that lies beneath Beat Down's superficial exterior, and instead write the game off as a generic, soulless button masher that is best left forgotten.

Beat Down belongs in a museum somewhere, next to Deadly Premonition. It may not have Deadly Premonition's deeply emotional narrative, but it certainly has all the shameless confidence.

About the LP

We'll be playing through most of the game as Raven, then switching off to another character for the last couple of chapters to get the Godfather Ending. No spoilers.

Videos



















GamesAreSupernice fucked around with this message at Aug 1, 2018 around 19:26

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Zanzibar Ham
Mar 17, 2009

You giving me the cold shoulder? How cruel.


Grimey Drawer

I can't really think of any other examples right now for some reason, but I always find it strange when a video game character that's supposed to be some kind of badass gets a super lame name like 'Eugene'.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


Zanzibar Ham posted:

I can't really think of any other examples right now for some reason, but I always find it strange when a video game character that's supposed to be some kind of badass gets a super lame name like 'Eugene'.

It's implied his real name is Eugenio, if that helps.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


This is from that era in media where every protagonist had to be an unlikable bastard, isn't it?

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


marshmallow creep posted:

This is from that era in media where every protagonist had to be an unlikable bastard, isn't it?

Actually there are some genuinely interesting protagonists here, I just chose the shittiest one because he's got the best moveset to cheese the game with.

malkav11
Aug 7, 2009


Wait, this was a Cavia game? That maybe explains a few things.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


malkav11 posted:

Wait, this was a Cavia game? That maybe explains a few things.

Yeah, the game was developed by Cavia and published by Capcom.

SelenicMartian
Sep 14, 2013

Sometimes it's not the bomb that's retarded.

The guy named Tosser... was that his given name?

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


SelenicMartian posted:

The guy named Tosser... was that his given name?

Considering there is later an opponent named "Guard" whose gimmick is Guarding, I assume they're playing with funny old beat 'em up naming conventions.

Kaboom Dragoon
May 7, 2010

The greatest of feasts

Tosser's parents didn't like him very much.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


Kaboom Dragoon posted:

Tosser's parents didn't like him very much.

You say that like Tosser isn't his family name

gimme the GOD DAMN candy
Jul 1, 2007

gimme those gat dang candies



it's his first, middle, last and nick name, and also his job title.

Ben Kasack
Dec 27, 2010


gimme the GOD drat candy posted:

it's his first, middle, last and nick name, and also his job title.

So like Murderface Murderface Murderface of Metalocalyps?

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!




now the fun poo poo starts

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


What does Raven only have one end of combat line when there are so, so many fights to get into?

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


marshmallow creep posted:

What does Raven only have one end of combat line when there are so, so many fights to get into?

He actually has two, but I can't figure out what causes the second one to trigger for the life of me.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!




it's time to take care of the cartel! wait, already?

also i said "scripted boss fight", when i actually meant "scripted group fight"

whoops

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


Boss lady looks like she came out of a different game. Maybe Dead or Alive. I hope the bosses only get more outlandish.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


marshmallow creep posted:

Boss lady looks like she came out of a different game. Maybe Dead or Alive. I hope the bosses only get more outlandish.

There are two bosses that I think look particularly stupid, but mileage may vary.

tomanton
May 22, 2006
this is not a bus station

How many different victory lines do all of these minor side characters have?

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


tomanton posted:

How many different victory lines do all of these minor side characters have?

Not that many. Far too few.

Jukebox Hero
Dec 27, 2007
stars in his eyes

Are you going to show off a simplified second playthrough with one of the others, maybe a lady, to demonstrate the stuff you've missed?

Like skipping the stuff that's the same.

I just really love playing the breakdancer lady

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


Jukebox Hero posted:

Are you going to show off a simplified second playthrough with one of the others, maybe a lady, to demonstrate the stuff you've missed?

Like skipping the stuff that's the same.

I just really love playing the breakdancer lady

Something like that.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!




Ignacy is an okay name for an anime assassin, I guess.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


"Huh. That traitor Raven wears a jacket like that, but his jacket was red, and yours is white. Even a jerk like Raven knows not to wear white after Labor Day. You're free to go, but consider yourself on notice."

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


marshmallow creep posted:

"Huh. That traitor Raven wears a jacket like that, but his jacket was red, and yours is white. Even a jerk like Raven knows not to wear white after Labor Day. You're free to go, but consider yourself on notice."

I did say the mechanic works, not that it made sense. Is it really the game's fault that critics assumed something as insane as Beat Down would make sense?

Jukebox Hero
Dec 27, 2007
stars in his eyes

I actually like the customization options a lot. My Eugene(the skinny dude, I think that's his name) run was mostly done in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans because I like being the least anime guy in the room and still beating everybody else up

One fun little detail is that everybody starts with different items. Raven starts with brass knuckles and like 400 bucks; Eugene gets a knife and 1000 bucks because he's a rich gently caress.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


Jukebox Hero posted:

I actually like the customization options a lot. My Eugene(the skinny dude, I think that's his name) run was mostly done in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans because I like being the least anime guy in the room and still beating everybody else up

One fun little detail is that everybody starts with different items. Raven starts with brass knuckles and like 400 bucks; Eugene gets a knife and 1000 bucks because he's a rich gently caress.

you're confusing eugene with aaron, but otherwise yeah

Jukebox Hero
Dec 27, 2007
stars in his eyes

AARON, dammit. I knew he had a weird ultra WASPy name but every villain in the game does too so I get them all mixed up.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


Turns out Las Sombras is in Conneticut.

malkav11
Aug 7, 2009


Hyde is clearly cosplaying as Freddy Krueger.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


malkav11 posted:

Hyde is clearly cosplaying as Freddy Krueger.

Did Ignacy steal the claws he was using?

malkav11
Aug 7, 2009


GamesAreSupernice posted:

Did Ignacy steal the claws he was using?

One can only assume.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!




we start and end our career in underground fighting in less than 12 minutes

Jukebox Hero
Dec 27, 2007
stars in his eyes

That's an extremely bizarre way to treat a battle arena. You'd expect it to be way more in depth in a game like this.

What the gently caress is up with the butter?

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


Jukebox Hero posted:

What the gently caress is up with the butter?

It has to be a reference to a movie or something.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


Or maybe it's like... bread is a slang word for money so they give you butter to go with the bread. So it's not really butter, but something you call butter because it accompanies getting paid. I don't know. It's just so weird.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


marshmallow creep posted:

Or maybe it's like... bread is a slang word for money so they give you butter to go with the bread. So it's not really butter, but something you call butter because it accompanies getting paid. I don't know. It's just so weird.

But it's literal butter. If you look in the inventory it's a picture of butter. Complete with plate and knife.

Mraagvpeine
Nov 4, 2014

I won this avatar on a technicality this thick.

GamesAreSupernice posted:

It has to be a reference to a movie or something.

The only movie reference about butter I can think of is Last Tango in Paris (thanks to Venture Bros.), but even that wouldn't make sense here I don't think.

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GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

I'm a heart with eyeballs!


Mraagvpeine posted:

The only movie reference about butter I can think of is Last Tango in Paris (thanks to Venture Bros.), but even that wouldn't make sense here I don't think.

The butter will drive me mad.

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