High on Life Review

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They say that tragedy + time = comedy, however in gaming the true tragedy is the period of time we’ve to attend between high quality comedy games. Thankfully, within the opening moments of High on Life, as my speaking gun belittlingly whispered to me that I used to be doing a fantastic job as I shot dancing aliens within the face, I acquired the sensation I’d struck gold. While it has bugs and efficiency hitches and infrequently frolics in unimpressive rest room humor, it largely succeeds at being the kind of absurd area satire I’ve at all times needed.
Whether I used to be chatting with my shotgun in regards to the deserves of science and formulation, overlaying myself in alien poop to sneak right into a safe facility, or inexplicably watching a full live-action film from the ‘90s on close by tv, High on Life is a game that simply is aware of easy methods to have an excellent time, and there actually aren’t sufficient of these.
This delightfully inappropriate first-person shooter places its comedic premise and characters entrance and middle and completely refuses to take itself critically. After Earth is taken over by disgusting aliens who kidnap people to be smoked as hallucinogenic medicine, you start a ridiculous area odyssey to get revenge in opposition to the extraterrestrial drug cartel accountable. All the whereas, you’re accompanied by the celebs of the present: the extraordinarily impolite weapons themselves, who serve not solely as your instruments of destruction, however because the story’s most essential characters.
These animate weapons (referred to as Gatlians) are simply the very best a part of the journey, and embrace Kenny, the simply flustered pistol that’s principally Justin Roiland doing his standard Rick & Morty factor, Sweezy, the foul-mouthed sniper rifle that appears to be a reference to Halo’s Needler, Creature, who shoots makes use of his quickly gestating youngsters as ammo, and my private favourite: Gus, the surprisingly healthful shotgun voiced by Curb Your Enthusiasm’s JB Smoove. While some took some time to earn my love, spending a whole 16-hour journey with these guys held up proper to my face ended up being a unbelievable excuse for many amusing dialogue and character improvement. By the time the credit rolled, I actually didn’t need to should put my new greatest pals again of their holsters.
High on Life: The Voice Actors and Who They’re Playing

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That’s due largely to High on Life’s principally strong writing, which piles on dumb gags, curse-laden rants, and many TV screens airing idiotic exhibits that appear to be they may have been pulled straight from certainly one of Rick & Morty’s Interdimensional Cable episodes. One stage options an deliberately irritating alien who follows you round and rambles on, seemingly with out finish, till you lastly unlock the power to homicide him useless. Another makes you go to Space Applebee’s and have a full meal for no obvious purpose.

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You also can discover a movie show enjoying the real-world film from 1990, Demon Wind, full with Mystery Science Theater 3000-like commentary through some close by aliens, which you’d higher imagine I watched in its entirety. The marketing campaign is barely about eight hours lengthy if in case you have the willpower and focus to disregard all of those pleasant distractions and energy via, so naturally my first playthrough took me over 16 hours, particularly as a result of I used to be goofing off for a lot of it.

The complete factor is simply full of a lot silliness and it’s at all times thrilling to spend time planet-hopping via it; I by no means knew once I may run into one thing insane, like once I teleported a stretch of freeway onto a jungle planet and watched the occupants of the vehicles who’d been taken with it slowly devolve from a gaggle of aliens with highway rage into an insane cult that sacrificed their very own to appease the asphalt gods.

It’s spectacular that an FPS so ridiculous additionally has loads of coronary heart.


 

A variety of the jokes in High on Life are both lowbrow or sophomoric, or pearl-clutchingly irreverent, and like just about all comedy it received’t work for everybody. But as a fan of traditional comedy games like Borderlands 2 and South Park: The Stick of Truth, it positively labored for me. There had been moments the place all of the cursing and shock humor felt lazy or a bit a lot – and that’s coming from somebody with a particularly excessive tolerance for it – however as a rule the foolish bits and crass dialogue land.

It’s simply exhausting to not chuckle when the grunt enemies cease in the course of fight to disrespectfully twerk in your course, y’know? It’s spectacular, although, that in a shooter so ridiculous and purposefully flippant with its setting, High on Life’s story finally ends up having loads of coronary heart. I genuinely loved bonding with the washed-up bounty hunter turned mooch couch-crasher, Gene, and I felt actual motivation to destroy the alien drug cartel – although principally to get payback for my Gatlian buddies, to not save the human race.

 

In excellent concord with High on Life’s utterly chaotic vibe, slinging your companion weapons in firefights is over-the-top and infrequently a bit messy. Weapons are considerably inaccurate and enemies flop across the battlefield taking pictures gloop at you, and within the opening hours I frightened there could be little extra to fight than utilizing pea shooter Kenny to mop up brainless ants. It doesn’t assist that, even on the toughest issue, High on Life is sort of at all times extremely straightforward to get via – you’re given ample alternative to revive your well being and protect, and incoming bullets are nearly at all times sluggish sufficient to be simply averted. Luckily, when you acquire some new instruments just like the jetpack or different attention-grabbing fight choices (like Creature’s energy to mind-control enemies on the battlefield or Gus’ skill to suck up smaller unhealthy guys proper in entrance of him after which blast them to bits) issues get much more attention-grabbing.

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There’s nonetheless a lot to shake a fist at although, like how weak the enemy selection is, or how hostile aliens sometimes get caught contained in the surroundings, or the extremely perplexing determination to make the down button on the d-pad the default button for crouch button (you’ll be able to rebind this within the Ease of Access part of your Xbox settings menu). These issues actually don’t make for the smoothest fight expertise, and the enjoyable comes from discovering artistic methods to clear every space of baddies.

Like how you need to use Kenny’s glob shot skill to toss enemies within the air then juggle them with bullets till they explode, or how one can kill enemies which are behind cowl (or caught within the surroundings) through the use of Sweezy’s object-piercing pictures. It’s positively extra chaotic and fewer finely tuned than your splendid shooter, nevertheless it’s a reasonably good sandbox for pulling off silly and amusing kills, and that sorta jives properly with High on Life’s power.

This is a reasonably good sandbox for pulling off amusing kills.


 

When your weapons aren’t taking pictures at issues, they make trusty allies for getting via every stage utilizing their alternate-fire modes – horrifyingly named their “trick gap” – which provides them performance past killing issues. Kenny can knock obstacles out of the way in which along with his Glob Shot, Gus can create platforms by taking pictures his spinning blades into partitions, Sweezy can shoot bubbles that sluggish time in a given space, and extra. I used to be pleasantly stunned at how enjoyable it was to simply run round looking for collectibles and hidden loot containers.

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In Metroidvania style, as you unlock weapons and talents you’ll acquire entry to new areas and secrets and techniques in places you’ve already visited, which makes backtracking a worthwhile use of time. Collecting alien Pesos by exploring is pretty rewarding too, as you need to use mentioned area foreign money to purchase upgrades on your weapons and bounty looking swimsuit, which give helpful perks like an upgraded model of Gus’ enemy-sucking skill that lets him tear off their armor and provides it to you.

High on Life additionally has some loopy and memorable boss fights which function crazy crescendos to every stage and have you ever going through down an alien legal of 1 persuasion or one other. Not solely are these fights the one components the place I felt legitimately challenged throughout fight, however the bosses you struggle and the inane issues they have you ever do are nearly at all times unbelievable punchlines to no matter that unhealthy man’s complete deal was. So a lot so, in reality, that I really felt kinda unhappy about having to viciously slaughter them.

In one boss struggle, the unhealthy man punished me in a means that made me should pause for a bit and permit myself to chortle on the meta humor of it – it’s the sort of dastardly assault I might by no means have seen coming.

When you first begin it up, High on Life offers you one other little bit of meta-humor: a disclaimer warning that “Any glitches or bugs you might encounter are intentional satirical references to different games with glitches and bugs.” That joke didn’t make me chortle as a lot as I performed, as a result of it truly is liable to bugs and efficiency points that, whereas hardly ever unhealthy sufficient to place a halt to the nice instances, had been a daily irritation. At the time of this writing, a efficiency patch has been deployed that seems to have fastened the worst of the problems, however in instances of maximum stress like a number of of the extra elaborate boss fights, I’m nonetheless seeing some minor framerate dips enjoying on an Xbox Series X. As for the bugs, they’re often minor annoyances just like the time I had a personality lock up on me so I couldn’t advance dialogue with him till I reloaded my save, or when a number of enemies continued to face round as intangible beings after I killed them.

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