Saturday, August 20, 2016

Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming - 3/20 hours

This is a sprightly and fast-paced game, shallow in its mechanics, but one which wastes no time getting you to the fun parts and letting you stay there indefinitely. I really enjoy playing it.

But it is a completely inessential sequel. There weren't really any unanswered questions at the end of the first game, and any jokes inherent in the Half-Minute Hero presence were already long mined-out.

Which isn't to say that Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming has a boring story. It's just its best parts are retreads from the first game, and even those were done better the first time round (though to be fair, the first few hours of the original Half-Minute Hero were some of the funniest video game writing I've ever seen). It's possible that the sequel isn't as front-loaded as the original and it will have a better ending, but for now the story just feels like filler between your various quests.

It's possible they're going somewhere with it, though. I mean, you're a mysterious orphan who was adopted by a kindly queen and eventually grew up to be one of her elite commandos. And now, the queen is acting strange and uncharacteristically secretive and her spunky daughter, with whom you've got a tentative flirtation going on, is repeatedly breaking out of the castle to follow you on your secret missions. I don't think they would use such a thoroughly conventional plot unless they were planning some kind of payoff in the end.

It's not that important, though. Even if it's not as laugh-out-loud funny as the original game, it's still inoffensively entertaining with the occasional quip that makes me smile. And the gameplay is as good as it ever was (though I don't understand what the "global mode," where you wander around without a time-limit and with more standard experience and inventory systems, is suposed to add to the game as a whole). The way the counting clock serves to make even simple fights into is complex puzzles is very engaging, and seeing your little guys cut through a whole horde of enemies with barely the push of a button is never not satisfying.

My hope is that the story will become more interesting as time goes on, but as long as it stays the course, I expect this to be a generally easy game to finish.

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