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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: Gunman Clive 2

The rest of the game isn't this sandy colored. Honest.
When Gunman Clive hit the 3DS not so long ago, it gained quite a bit of popularity because of its affordable price and "Mega Man-esque" gameplay. Well, being the Mega Man hate machine that I am, I have no love for titles that focus on that style of action. In fact, it was the additional unlockable mode (of course, I won't mention it for those who haven't played yet) that stripped the game of all its Mega Man properties that made me love Gunman Clive.

So then this sequel came around. More Gunman! More Clive! (Almost) the same great price! Is Gunman Clive a worthy successor? IN MORE WAYS THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.

PROS:

-Charming presentation- additional color and new music really nails the atmosphere.

-More gameplay choices

-More variety?

CONS:

-More variety is not always a good thing

-Few improvements to the mechanics

-Some concepts aren't well-executed

THOUGHTS:

The size of Gunman Clive means there's not much to say about this title- if you enjoyed the first iteration, you're likely to enjoy this one, as the inclusion of a melee-based character further throws in more variety. There's more color to the game, which was apparently a big deal when it was first promoted, but it doesn't do all that much aside from set the action to a different color. In some cases, it actually hurts the gameplay, like a dark ocean sequence late in the game.

More important to note is that Gunman Clive still passes by on gameplay mechanics that are easy to forgive, but not necessarily the best option. Much like in the first game, Clive's jump still controls very awkwardly, and many platforms feature little to no traction or awkward gimmicks. The progression to insanity felt steady in the first title, and the second picks up where that game ended, featuring the endgame mechanics at its start. Unfortunately, the whole game seems to devolve into a weird balancing act between brilliance and half-baked ideas.

There are now portions that play like cabal shooters that are absolutely infuriating due to the game's slippery controls and lack of a targeting reticule. Likewise, there's some shenanigans involving a panda, a buzz-saw, a triceratops, and gravity tricks out the whazoo. Often, Gunman Clive succeeds best when it is focused on one concept that stays close to its original formula- in a Russia-themed level, there is a sequence involving familiar falling blocks. The minecart from the previous game returns in an insane gravity sequence. These ideas are novel and focus on the traditional platforming nature of the title. The Cabal shooters? Not so much. Even when the game tries to get into new territory with its boss fights, they often feel more aggravating than satisfying- a scrolling battle with a T-Rex feels confusing while a traditional duel with a gravity switching gentleman is much more enjoyable.

Gunman Clive 2 manages to improve in some areas, but does not address the flaws of the original and instead throws more at the player to deal with. But, it does present plenty of variety, and the final boss fights are quite satisfying. The ending of the game is bizarre, but in a humorous way that I don't think any other title could pull off with as much finesse. And of course, the fantastic unlockable character returns for another romp that is much more enjoyable than the normal gameplay- though it wouldn't be if the normal game didn't already exist.

Final Verdict: "More of the same" isn't quite how I would describe Gunman Clive 2, but it will take you back to the formula of the first iteration some mostly impressive results. Despite its worst moments, it's still a fine game, and since it's unlikely to break the bank, you could do worse on the eShop. I have, and Gunman Clive 2 is a better game than quite a few more expensive titles.

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