Twice before (Guacamelee! & Guacamelee! Gold Edition), we here at Darkstation have wowed you with the stories of a lone luchador, flipping effortlessly between the lands of the living and the dead, on a noble quest to rescue the lovely El Presidente's Daughter from the clutches of evil hombre skeleton and master of the dead Carlos Calaca. Juan, the heroic luchador described above, has made his way across the PS3, punched through the mobile scene on PS Vita, and even danced the dance of undead brotherly love on Steam.
And yet... you've still not played this epic Mexican wrestling fantasy of a game. You say, “Brian, Guacamelee, even in it's awesomeness, is so last gen. I am next gen now, I've moved on. I've packed up my old consoles, made the horrid mistake of packing my gaming computer away with them too. What could Drinkbox Studios, publishers of the premiere Lucha Odyssey, have for me now?”
5 words: Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition.
That is not a joke, though it is perfectly in line with the kinds of jokes Guacamelee is at equal times, both known and reviled for. Reviled. Yup I said it. I don't agree with it, but those kinds of monsters are out there. What else is now also out there is a copy of this game for the PS4, XBONE, Xbox360, and even the Nintendo Wii U.
Is it simply the same old game (and I use same old in the utmost reverence)? No, of course not. Drinkbox has gone through and added two new sections with a brand new boss, reworked some of the enemies you face along Juan's journey, and even added a new currency system to help unlock the bonus costumes.
The list is impressive, and finding a way to introduce the new sections fits seamlessly into the narrative, going so far as to add a bit of back story for Tostada, the woman luchador who both helps Juan along on his single player quest, or jumps right in if a 2nd player is in the mood to punch some skeleton behind as well. The bit of narrative is sweet, painting Tostada in a tragic, yet heroic light, and the murals through which that story is told are beautiful.
The new boss, The Trio of Death, is pretty great as well, and fits with the silly yet effective characterizations of the other bosses. Introduced to them early, you don't fight them until nearly then end, with their fight utilizing the whole of the square room it takes place in. It's a neat encounter, and one where the three act structure of it is a little more defined when compared to the rest, but they were dealt with easily enough when it was time for meaty fist to crush brittle bone.
What doesn't work out as well are the editions of elite type enemies; skeletons that follow the same model as those previously fought, but now gifted with more hit points and the ability to teleport around the room when injured. Alone, these enemies, like any other, fall easily, but when paired with other enemy types, like the dreaded, nightmare inducing, flying Chupacabaras, or the some how even worse, “I have an attack you can't dodge and it knows you over long enough that I can corner trap you” four handed pugilist enemy I can't even name, they up the difficulty level tremendously. One of those fights, found in your climb to face off with Jaguar Javier, enduced more rage then I had felt in a long time. I have three kids, and really don't have the expendable cash for new PS4 controllers, but I thought long and hard about chucking it straight into the tile floor. I also might have let out a few curses, which one of my children may have copied. May have. Probably did.
With as well balanced as everything in the Steam Gold Edition that I previously reviewed was, I question the addition of these new foes to this Edition. I don't think they were needed, and if we're being honest, which if you can't tell by the preceding paragraph we are, I think they detract from the overall enjoyment one gets from the game. Add them into the ultra hard challenge rooms, sure, but let players chase that extra difficulty rather then gut punching them with more then a few of those final combat rooms.
To help combat the new elite enemies is an overcharge mode called INTENSO! Much like Kratos's Power of the Titans, activating INTENSO makes Juan incredibly powerful... as long as you keep your combos going. Dropping to many and getting hit, things I apparently do during fights with the elites, cause the bar to drain quickly. Should you die in the encounter, that bar is gone, and you'll have to make your subsequent attempts sans INTENSO. This type of mode would have served much better being a little less performance dependent, but its and absolute lifesaver when you get in those tight spots.
What Drinkbox has added that is a significant improvement for console owners, though, is the establishment of “pieces of silver.” Well in line with El Diablo's investment in Juan beating Calaca, these silver coins allow you to permanently unlock new costumes for both Juan and Tostada. My personal favorite, costing a whoipping 30 silver, is the Business Devil costume, allowing Juan to not only look exceptionally dapper, but also collect health as he attacks. Sure he suffers the minor misfortune of having a diminished health bar, but it's all worth it for those kicking threads. Or at least, that's what I tell myself.
Having played it on a PS4, I can confirm that the game still looks great, and playing it with a Dualshock 4 felt snappy. Juan responds as a luchador of his stature should, and everything runs at a smooth frame rate with no hitching, especially when switching between different rooms in the later sections. As with the previous release, when I died, it was my fault. And the elites. Don't think for even one second that they are getting off without another mention.
While the total additions equal a killer product, I do think this version, even on new consoles, is slightly inferior to the Gold release. The things that do work, like the new boss, and new currency system, work exceedingly well. But the addition of new enemy types, when they Guacamelee was not lacking for challenge, is a missed opportunity and feels like a add for the sake of a checkbox, rather then for actual value. Still, if you have not played Guacamelee... what the hell are you waiting for... like seriously, buy this damn game.
Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!