Dual Duel Review: Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night

Welcome to the world’s first Proud Mammal Dual Duel Review, in which both (YES you read that correctly, BOTH) Ben and Kane will be reviewing the same game at the same time. Madness? Perhaps, but that’s just the foolhardiness that we’re all about here at Proud Mammal. We received a press kit (we’re hitting the big time folks) for the game Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night, so collectively we though “Hells to the yes, let’s review this and set a precedent.” World, you send us more free games and we’ll review the shit out of them!

Image take from http://gm-cdn.gamezebo.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Chainsaw-Warrior-Lords-of-the-Night.jpg

The Chainsaw Warrior is all out of bubblegum.

Kane: Benjamin Button here is our…

Ben: Please don’t call me that anymore… That movie has been out for, what? 10 years? It wasn’t even good.

Kane: You’re absolutely right, it’s a terrible movie, moving on. Benjamin Grimm here is our resident expert on the Chainsaw Warrior franchise. He kicked some ass in the first installment and told us all about it a few weeks ago. Click the image below to link directly to that story. It’s a good read and it lays the groundwork for the discussion today, so hop to y’all.

image from http://wp6109-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/CW_CoverArt_Medium.jpg

It’s a jungle out there.

*takes a sip of coffee* What should we do while we wait for them to get back? Seen any of the latest BoSchitt animations?

Ben: They’re back already. This is going to be text, remember?

Kane: Right. Right. So we know you’ve played the first Chainsaw Warrior game, and you had some high praises to sing for that game. How does Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night stack up to the first interaction?

Ben: Lords of the Night is an extension of the first game. It makes some improvements in the areas of character creation, weapon and item variety, and increased difficulty.

Kane: The first one seemed like a difficult game, is increased difficulty a good thing? I know I never came close to beating Lords of the Night when I tried it out.

Ben: It’s an improvement… unless you’re an absolute wuss.

Kane: Point taken, continue please.

Ben: The character creation of this game is a lot smoother than the in the first Chainsaw Warrior. In that one you had to roll simulated dice for each stat during character creation. That, coupled with the mandatory intro each time you start a new game took a minute or two to get through. I like the dice simulation for the added tabletop vibe, but it can be kind of a drag.

Kane: Sounds like they should have put in an automatic stat maker and let players choose to skip the tutorial.

Ben: That’s exactly what they did in Lords of the Night. The character creation is a no bullshit, instantly generated, list of stats involving no dice simulation and the start of each new game throws you right to the wolves. It’s a better experience overall.

This Chainsaw Warrior game also has less devices and armor than it’s predecessor, but makes up for that by increasing the number of hand-to-hand weaponry, especially with the added Chainsaws.

Kane: Right, I have the stats here in front of me, let me read them off. [I made it into a handy chart for you, dear reader]

Old school Excel charts, homie. Get up on this.

Old school Excel charts, homie. Get up on this.

Ben: Yes, that diversity in Hand-to-Hand [he’s including the Chainsaws in HtH] combat makes up for the decrease in number of devices and armor. Hand-to-Hand combat is very prominent in this game, so having more options when it comes to taking on those challenges is a big improvement.

Kane: Like you said earlier, the game is hard as nails. I played for a couple hours and only got to the last part of the game once. I’m not a wuss though, I played on Classic mode.

Ben: Lords of the Night really doesn’t fuck around! I’ve only seen and beaten Darkness once, and that was on normal difficulty (i.e. wuss mode), thanks to that difficulty curve. Technically, there are less cards to go through in LotN, [Lords of the Night has 2 decks of 25 and 1 deck of 27. Chainsaw Warrior has 2 decks of 54 cards] but you seem to deal with a lot more group attackers in Lords of the Night so the timer seems to run down at a faster rate. By the time you get to deck 3, you’ll be lucky to have about 10-12 hours on the clock. You better hope…

Kane: HOLD UP! Hours? How far away did they drop you off from this fucking temple that it’s taking your chainsaw-wielding hero 60 hours to power walk to it? My guy is lighting quick, takes him 30 seconds to chainsaw apart 5 Alligators. How many naps did your Chainsaw Warrior take?

Ben: The first game I played, it was 60 days. Doesn’t everyone get that choice of time frame?

Kane: Your Chainsaw Warrior had time to finish his novel, give his 2 weeks notice at his fast food gig, and go on a vacation before saving the world.

Ben: My Chainsaw Warrior was a pimp who lived by the theory that you can get a job done fast, or you can get it done right. Anyways, what I was saying before you interrupted me is you have to get really lucky with the last deck because if the draws or rolls don’t work perfectly in your favor, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to grind through the whole thing.

Kane: I’d go so far as to say that applies to the whole game. It’s always just a matter of getting the right rolls at the right times. There’s room for error, but a game where you roll nothing but 12s is going to go a lot faster than a game where you get random results. To counter my own argument though, there was one game I played where I timed out on the first deck, because nearly every card I drew was a group attack or a card that added more cards to the deck.

Ben: The dice rolling is one of my favorite parts of the game. I’m not sure if the dice are actually physics-enhanced objects or if they are just a random number generator with some convincing canned animations. Either way, good on Auroch Digital for making some really top notch dice rolling.

Kane: You’re absolutely right. When I was playing the game I didn’t even think about the dice. There were so many other things going on that I just went right over me, but the animations of those dice are really great. I like that they colored the enemy dice different from the player dice as well, it’s the little things that really get me to like a game.

I kind of doubt that the dice are physics objects, since they never seem to freak out or roll off screen (or into invisible walls). I’d expect to see at least some bumping against each other if they had physics… but yeah, they look nice regardless.

Ben: a lot of digital conversions of board games totally forgo any proper dice rolling mechanics in favor simple canned animations pasted over some RNG. It works, but it’s not as cool looking or fun as proper dice with actual physics.

Kane: I’d like to see a game, especially a mobile game, that would ask you to shake the device to throw the dice. That would be cool.

Ben: Yeah, Cool Beavis, heh-heh.

Kane: Ahem. Anyway… since we brought up interface, let me ask you this. Since we both played on the Steam version, and there’s no information out there [that I could find] about a mobile release. Do you think they might have flubbed the button placement?

Ben: I played the mobile version of the original game and it was a lot easier to click and react during fights. I wasn’t crazy about having to run the mouse all over the screen in Lords of the Night. And it’s especially noticeable when you are fighting large groups of monsters. As you have to click on the far lower right of the screen to confirm the monster, then run the mouse back over to the far lower left of the screen to confirm your actual combat. It’s clear the interface was designed for mobile touchscreen devices and I’m sure it, like the first Chainsaw Warrior, works great on mobile. It’s a bit too spread out for players using mouse clicks and large screens.

Kane: I’m in 100% agreement with that scenario you described. I personally didn’t notice it too much while I was playing, but after getting used to the style of the game, and the pacing, But when you’re watching someone else play it becomes really obvious how much back and forth there is with the mouse movements. I really hope they get it onto a mobile store of some kind, I bet it would play amazingly on a tablet.

Ben: Even with the problems presented by the version we’ve played [and having not played the actual card game], I’d wager that the set up time of the physical game is at least somewhere around 5 minutes. The set up time with Lords of the Night is really a matter of seconds. Then it keeps track of the timer, and keep you away from that tempting cornball stuff like re-rolling shitty attacks [yeah, all youse out there who played the hard copy know damn well you did that]. Very convenient stuff.

Kane: Very true, the game will keep you honest. And despite our whining, I think we need to make clear that the game isn’t slow, it’s actually pretty fast. A full game doesn’t usually take more than 15 minutes real time. Which I guarantee is faster than playing the physical version, if for no other reason that the game doing the math for you.

Ben: It’s very much a no bullshit, or at least less bullshit version of the game. You want to setup your guy? Boom! Done. You want to jump right in and start sawing dudes in half and shooting them in the face? Bang! You’ve already started. In both the original Chainsaw Warrior video game, and the card game, you’re looking at set up time, and in the card game you have all the minutia to attend to. This is much less filler, much more fun.

Kane: That about sums up my feelings on the game as well. If you’re looking for a game where you can spend 15 minutes cutting monster in half and befriending jaguars, then you shouldn’t look any further than Chainsaw Warrior.

Ben: I’m not done yet, you reminded me of something. Jaguars. Don’t you think it’s kind of odd that after you murder the friendly Jaguar’s family, it automatically becomes your friend? There’s some weird psychology at play there.

Kane: I also noticed that when you get hit by one of the EMP bombs, it disables your Chainsaw. Just seems like a Badass motherfucker that swings his chainsaw wildly would want to use something loud, some giant diesel chainsaw with chrome plating. Not a quiet as a whisper electric version.

Ben: You’re the master of segues today. The sound effects in this game. So much of it sounds like 8-bit fart noise… minus the chainsaw of course, repetitive as it is, I love the shit out of that effect.

Kane: The sounds do become repetitive. Especially if your character is exceptionally skilled at one form of combat and they have 1 weapon that’s better than everything else. Seriously, if you roll into a melee master, get used to the sound of your chainsaw, or your fists. You’re going to be using them a lot. Another repetitive thing I noticed was the card art. I’m not going to get down on a card game for showing me the same cards over and over again, but I could have used something a little more visually interesting. Something closer to the background image they show the entire time, than the black and white, incomplete feeling images they put on the cards.

The older cards have a more interesting aesthetic.

The older cards have a more interesting aesthetic.

Ben: The background art for the board is just as good as anything the previous game had to offer. Maybe even a little cooler thanks to the theme. You’ve got a late 80’s style Aryan-cyborg-commando shredding apart a hoard of Aztec mutants and zombies in front of an ancient pyramid [See opening Image]. It’s the kind of stuff awesome tattoos are made of.

Kane: or the stuff drunken mistake tattoos are made of.

Ben: It would depend on the artist… but I love it!

Kane: So lets wrap this up, the longest (easily) entry to the PMC yet. Who would you recommend this game to? Video gamers, board gamers, maybe both? Dolphins? Some other sort of cetacean mammals?

Ben: Honestly, I think Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night has a huge untapped market in the cephalopod community. Once those little shits invent anti-gravity belts and break free from the confines of the oceans, they will be naturally attracted to the idea of wielding, not just one, but multiple chainsaws on their many arms. I think the overthrow of our species would be the next logical step… but we still have a chance! We just give them copies of Chainsaw Warrior to play, and that should satisfy their need for chainsaw-enhanced gornocide [Gore + Genocide = Gornocide].

image from http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/uncyclopedia/images/b/b3/Octopus_O%27_wrath.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width/800?cb=20080203091548

Oddly enough, I was able to find an image that perfectly Illustrated Ben’s comments.

Kane: For all you Humans out there, this is a game to get excited about. Even if our review sounds a little harsh at times, we really did have a fun time. Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night has the quinfecta of perfectitude when it comes to great casual video games, it’s cheap to buy, it’s quick to finish, it’s engrossing to look at, it’s fun to play, and it has a chainsaw wielding cyborg for the main character. What more could you ask for?

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