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Joystiq presents

Metareview: Contact

Grasshopper Manufacture is certainly developing a reputation for unpredictability. Opinions on their last Nintendo foray, Killer 7, were all over the place -- some loved the twisted rail-shooter, others hated it, and many just scratched their heads and offered up a simple "wtf, mate?" Their new Atlus-published RPG Contact, while a little more straightforward, seems to be getting the same wide range of responses. As this is a metareview, Contact seems like a metagame; it's the little things that are praised, the inclusion of other games, references to games, influences from games, the touches from old school games. Unfortunately, the actual game seems to have suffered a bit -- even the most praise-worthy reviews indicate some gameplay issues.

1UP - 80%: "Savvy players will almost certainly enjoy all these little references and arty concepts, so it's a shame the entire package won't hold up to their scrutiny. In crafting their gaming curiosity, Grasshopper has made some design choices that are simply curious. The autobattle system is far from engaging ... fighting enemies in Contact is a woefully straightforward process. It's impossible to dodge or block attacks. In fact, the player can only watch as Terry trades hits with his target."

Games Radar - 60%:
"Contact is a mixed bag and will delight some while disappointing others. It feels "classic," but the flipside of that is "outdated." Even though it's chock-full of personality and pomp, Contact falls short on fun, with some disappointing shortcomings. Casual RPG fans will have no problem finishing this game in less than 14 hours and a lot of that time will be spent backtracking through previous areas and grinding to boost your stats before boss fights. Also, weapons and special attacks unlocked near the end are just as unimpressive as the ones you begin with. Contact does sport an incredible surprise ending that adds depth and changes your perspective on all the main characters in the game. However, its impact is greatly diminished by the extremely short play time."

Yahoo Games - 70%: "The linearity is one area where Contact is particularly disappointing. You'll end up stuck because you can't figure out how to trigger a certain bit of scripting (pay attention to the dialogue!), or maybe you can't figure out the trick to defeating some inscrutable boss battle. Or perhaps you haven't quite leveled up enough to easily dispatch the latest round of monsters in a new area. At times like these, all of Contact's charm can't save it from the tedium that bogs down a lot of RPGs. But it's still as solid as they come, not terribly spectacular, but the perfect fare for devotees of the genre."

So it seems Contact definitely reaches out with its intriguing concept, and Grasshopper knows how much we like references and in-jokes, but RPGs have evolved over time for a reason. Some of that evolution should have perhaps been maintained for this title.

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Reader Comments (Page 1 of 1)

Probot1

10-19-2006 @ 9:38PM

Probot said...

"Unfortunately, the actual game seems to have suffered a bit -- even the most praise-worthy reviews indicate some gameplay issues."

Which is exactly what you'd expect if you've ever played Killer 7. The gameplay was the weakest part. The story, setting, art style all make it worth playing, but if you aren't into any of that, it's just a overly-repetative rail shooter with simple puzzles.

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Jimbo2

10-19-2006 @ 10:53PM

Jimbo said...

"The linearity is one area where Contact is particularly disappointing. You'll end up stuck because you can't figure out how to trigger a certain bit of scripting (pay attention to the dialogue!), or maybe you can't figure out the trick to defeating some inscrutable boss battle."

Soooo...basically it plays like Golden Sun did?

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Kefka3

10-20-2006 @ 4:37AM

Kefka said...

Hmm, bummer... I had some high hopes for this game. I always knew it wouldn't fail to impress on the charm/pomp/etc level, but i was hoping there would be some good long solid gameplay in it too...

Maybe one to rent or borrow.

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John H.4

10-27-2006 @ 1:53PM

John H. said...

I've enjoyed it a fair bit so far. It's an RPG with actual challenge to it, almost unheard-of these days. And there's a fair bit of strategy involved too: it's possible to run in at your character's attack moment then run away to avoid enemy attack.

I'm only about four hours in, but so far I think this is more a case of reviewer lameness than a failing on the part of the game.

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Banov5

10-28-2006 @ 10:11PM

Banov said...

I read this somewhere else (I forget where) but I found ti to be quite true: how Contact's battle system appeals to you is based on how you view it. If you see Contact as an action rpg it's very boring. If you see it as a classic rpg the battle system is a healthy step up.
The plot is great, the ending sequences really making you... think. (Be sure to watch ALL of the ending! It goes on for quite a while, and on more than one occasion you may think that it's over.)
The graphics and music are amazing as well. So, overall I see this game as a success in all areas- it isn't a perfect game, but I never felt that any part of it was uninteresting or brought the game down.

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