Five Thoughts About Five XBOX ONE Launch Titles Part 3: LOCOCYCLE
Screenshot from LocoCycle
Continuing our look at five downloadable day one titles for the Xbox One (only hours away!), today starts with a game that, frankly, you probably shouldn’t play unless you’re under duress, or maybe if you’re an 8 year-old sneaking a session. Let’s get right to our five things about LocoCycle, shall we?
1. The Humor Isn’t Funny
In fact, the humor isn’t just not funny, it’s downright offensive at times. There’s a little sexism, a little misogyny, and then a whole lot of racism. The game’s shared protagonists are a talking experimental motorcycle and a hapless Mexican mechanic who gets (literally) dragged along for the ride. Much fun is made of him begging for his life in Spanish and the motorcycle coming up with her own misinterpretations. Add in jokes about balls and the same five pop culture references made about 100 times each, and not only is the humor not funny the first time, but they beat it into the ground so completely that you’ll never have the slightest hope of coming away thinking anything here was humorous.
2. Generic (not awful) Gameplay Can’t Redeem It
Here’s the thing about LocoCycle: at its heart, this is a video game, and they’re meant to be played. So if you strip away the racist overtones, undertones, and tone tones, and just look at the gameplay itself, what do you have? Well, the driving is actually just an on-rails form of progressing the story – it isn’t really any kind of racing. So then you’re left with shooting cars – okay, it works… don’t know what else to say about it. You can dash at flying enemies, turning the game into a weird beat-em-up with a hovering motorcycle that has a mechanic attached to the back via his foot – the game in these portions is so easy and button-mash, I actually completed a fight against five villains with my eyes closed, and got a 150 hit combo in the process. Without looking. Then there are the miniboss and boss fights. The minibosses are usually some kind of insanely frustrating side-view fights, where you no longer have direct control of aiming, and can’t really dodge their attacks. It is luck all the way. The boss fights are just a series of quick time events that seem to be no fail, as long as you don’t take too much damage directly before them. There’s a random flying section that’s a mildly entertaining throwback to top-down shooters aaaand that’s it. There’s nothing awful about this gameplay, but once you’ve played about 5 minutes of it, you’ve played the exact thing you’ll do for 95% of the game.
3. The Not-Funny Humor is Super Repetitive
See what we did there?
4. Oh Man, Those Live-Action Cutscenes
There are a couple of people who you might recognize in the ten-minute (mostly offensive) mini-movie that kicks off this game, or the live-action cutscenes throughout. Thus ends the “good” portion about the cutscenes. There are moments that you can kind of see where certain people might think something was funny in these videos. You can also observe, if you have a modicum of decency and self-respect, that you wouldn’t want to hang out with those people.
5. Not So Much a Missed Opportunity as an all-out Mistake
There are few games that I would ever say “maybe you just should’ve scrapped this entire concept and started fresh,” but this is definitely one of them. The concept itself: a man being dragged across the country by a rogue AI motorcycle isn’t “so ridiculous it’s funny,” it is “so ridiculous it’s too ridiculous to get past and enjoy.” With basic gameplay and a soul-suckingly bad “story” and “dialogue,” LocoCycle is an avoid-at-all-costs kind of game. Which means my pal Phil Kollar at Polygon will play it on his livestream sometime soon, and I might actually get some kind of enjoyment out of it.