Sponsored By: Kehama
Time Weaponized: 58 minutes
Hell is full of clowns. It’s your job to change that.
I’m not sure if that means Hell will be more or less hellish after you finish with it.
Rocket Launcher Review
Hell is a good setting for video games. It allows developers to be edgy and dark without trying too hard, and it allows the player to skirt around issues like “Why is it okay that I’m killing millions of weaker beings with overpowered weapons?”
The answer is, of course, that it’s not okay. That’s why you’re in Hell. But since you’re already down here, you might as well enjoy yourself. After all, what are they going to do to you? Kill you and condemn your soul to Hell? Pfft. Been there, done that. Being there, doing that, in fact.
I Am Weapon is a dual-stick shooter where you play a man who is trapped someplace that is never actually called Hell, but you can make the logical leap. It’s full of clowns, for one thing. Clowns with knives instead of hands, which somehow makes them funnier and less creepy. That’s irony for ya.
You start with some backstory: Your character is Michael Keaton’s Batman. Years ago an evil clown murdered his parents and so he devoted his life to finding all of the evil clowns and incarcerating them. I have chosen to assume he’s a police officer, but they never say. It’s possible he just incarcerates them in a box in the crawlspace under his house. That might explain why he appears to be in Hell, but at this point we’re getting into philosophy and theology and I know better than to tread on ice that cracks like that.
Again, it’s never explicitly said that your character is in Hell. He just stumbles over his own corpse with no memory of how he got to a place where the trees have eyeballs and give you side-quests to kill lumberjacks with squeaky noses.
So I’m assuming we’re not in Arlen, Texas. Austin, maybe.
Regardless, the landscape is a floating island full of art assets that appear to have been rejected by Painkiller for being too hellish. Everything is twisted and grotesque to the point where you wonder why they made the main character look like Serious Sam’s older brother, Resolute Richard (Determined Dick, to his friends). Don’t get me wrong, I love a buff, wise-cracking action hero as much as the next fan of 1980’s cinema, but there’s a tonal dissonance here that has me scratching my head. Is the game trying to be dark? If so, it’s too funny. Is it trying to be funny? If so, it’s too dark. Is the game trying to be darkly funny? If so, then it’s failing.
But maybe I’m thinking too hard about it. Dual-stick shooters don’t need plots; they just need lots of enemies and lots of ammunition to use on them. I Am Weapon seems to have that pretty much sewn up, though the magazine size of the primary weapon tends to slow the gameplay down more than I’d like. Limited ammo and dual-stick shooters go together like peanut butter and shoelaces, but I Am Weapon went that route. Fortunately, there’s an upgrade path, as well as a weapons vendor that looks suspiciously like the Father-Mother from Zeno Clash (now that’s what I call a Deep Cut!), so maybe I’ll be able to unlock a minigun later and forgo this whole reloading thing. While I’m wishing, I’d also like an upgrade that makes the flamethrower be more effective than an aggressive wet willy.
On the whole, though, the weapons are powerful enough. The controls are responsive enough, and the gameplay is fun enough. Everything about the game is kind of that: enough. It doesn’t particularly excel at anything, but it’s reasonably competent at everything. I give it two thumbs sideways, perhaps wiggling them a bit.
Will I Reload myself and continue?
I don’t honestly know. It’s not grabbing my attention right now, but I can see that it might if I were in another mood. Maybe I’ll wait until I’m more in the mood to kill a bunch of murderous clowns.
You’d think that would be more often, but no. I get my fill of that in about an hour, then I’m good for a while.
Is it the Dark Souls of anything?
I Am Weapon isn’t a hard game. Maybe that’s why it’s not holding my interest. The weapons aren’t actually powerful enough to keep the enemies at bay, but it doesn’t matter, because the enemies aren’t powerful enough to cause you any real damage. You could stand in one place and spam the melee attack button and be mostly fine, in fact.
Call it six souls out of sixty six, just to get one more cheap Hell reference in there.