I just wanted to do a quick blog entry before bed:
So, I finally finished the main story of Escape Plan tonight. The final level was fun, it just took a few tries for me to get it down right. I guess I can kind of spoil it here since this isn't a really popular game... But basically Lil and Laarg find a rocket at the end of the Workshop, and there's only room for Laarg so he escapes in the rocket. Meanwhile you have to have Lil get into a bubble and guide him out of the hangar. Bakuki taunts you along the way, before falling, presumably, to his doom.
The scene after the final level shows Lil escaping while the hangar closes shut with Laarg's rocket still inside, but it easily bursts through (the thing was a tank for that entire level, so I knew he'd make it), but then explodes off in the distance unexpectedly.
Then the credits roll. At first there is some more old-timey music playing and Lil is floating around in his bubble in the foreground, while Laarg is shown to have survived the rocket crash in the background and is parachuting down to the planet. Just as the song ends Laarg appears in a bubble beside Lil, and even more unexpectedly "Lean on Me" begins to play. The neat thing about these credits is that you can still move Lil and Laarg around in their bubbles during everything. The uncool thing is that the credits are extremely long. Like longer than even some movies' credits.
Eventually the entire second song ends and some more original fanfare plays, with a new tune thrown in there at the end for good measure. And, once those dang credits are finally spent, a doorway appears in a pipe, similarly to the ending of many levels of the game. You can then move Lil and Laarg into the pipe to see the final scene.
Lil and Laarg, tired from the escape, are resting in a makeshift home with a stray sheep they met along the way. Laarg is in a comically tiny bed with a small cover, while Lil is in a big bed that would have been better suited to his pal. As they sleep, Bakuki's face appears on their television screen, signalling that they haven't seen the last of their former captor.
Thoughts: I thought the ending and the final level were all good. I think the game in general was fun, and Lil and Laarg were very likeable characters. And I'm happy I've had the pleasure of owning and playing this game. I think Escape Plan has a lot of personality, despite having very little dialogue or story.
But I think most of the game was a bit frustrating at times. And, perhaps to contradict myself, the level of challenge in the game was not steady or increasing, with some levels being occasionally simple while others took some thought to figure out. As many reviews about the game stated, it's oftentimes not that you can't accomplish doing something because you lack timing and coordination, it's that the controls get tedious and cause you to screw up.
I think one of the most glaring flaws was right before the end of the game. The final 2 or 3 levels have their own stage, which seems kind of like a rip-off because all of the other stages have about 8 levels or so. The developers surely could have put more levels into the game, because I don't see the reason why they had to split the Workshop area into two different sections.
One thing I can't complain about is the length of the game. Even though, when you look at each level individually they are short, when you look at the main story as a whole it takes a good bit of time to get through all of it. I know this because I went through and died in each level (for the one achievement), and I was amazed at how long it took me to do that. Part of this is because of the annoying loading time between levels, but even so the game isn't as brief as others I've played in my time.
But once you complete the game, you unlock even more levels. Bakuki's Lair is a whole other stage, and you don't have to pay anything for it. So the game on it's own boasts a reasonable number of levels. But once you also factor in the three DLC packs I've gotten with three more stages, the game has more than enough levels to entertain you.
Surely, I will be working on Escape Plan for a while longer to complete these new stages and get those tough achievements. The gold trophy that comes with the initial game could be enough of a pain, since it requires you to complete the whole main game in challenge mode without losing more than 10 lives each for both Lil and Laarg. That is no small task.
To me, Lil & Laarg and the world of Escape Plan are going to be synonymous with the Playstation Vita. Even before I knew what Gravity Rush was, Escape Plan was the first game that caught my attention on the Vita, and the first game I played on its in-store demo. And frankly, I can't think of a better mascot for the Vita right now.
So, while I hope that the game is complete for now and that Escape Plan doesn't get milked like most other games these days, I hope we haven't seen the last of Lil and Laarg. I think they'd make really great spokesmen for the Vita and its ad campaign, which Sony is still lacking one of.
Oh yeah, I also saw Wreck-It Ralph over the weekend. I liked it! I think it's the best movie I've seen this year. But anyway, don't have time to talk about that right now.