Review – Albacete Warrior (PS5)
I will never complain about a developer making a comedic game. If anything, we need as many of them as we can get. Comedy just makes us all feel good, it relieves us from our problems, it makes us smile, and so on. But here’s the thing: being funny is a talent very few have managed to properly master. It’s hard. Comedic actors might be the most accomplished ones in the business. Making a comedic game is even harder, since gaming is all about repetition and replayability; you gotta make jokes that feel funny more than once.
I applaud those who manage to make games that feel hilarious after multiple playthroughs, like Saints Row IV, Deadpool, or the South Park RPGs. I even applaud when a game tries to be funny, but it doesn’t deliver, not because its jokes were bad or the developers were ill-intentioned, but just that, as previously mentioned, making comedy is hard. They made an honest attempt, and it just wasn’t very funny. Cute, but not very funny, just like Rhythm Sprout.
When you try to make a comedic game and fail completely on the humor side of things, you better deliver on the gameplay. That’s why I can easily stand playing a Duke Nukem game: sure, the dialogue is atrocious, but the game, technically speaking, is good. Now let’s talk about the complete opposite of the spectrum: a bad game that thinks it’s hilarious. A clunky mess thinking it’s the brand new Rick & Morty of our generation. A truly beffudling, unfunny waste of my time. Let’s talk about Albacete Warrior, courtesy of EastAsiaSoft, a publisher breaking the record on the amount of tasteless duds being released at a shockingly steady pace.
I now have brain cells dedicated to remembering scenes and gameplay from Albacete Warrior, and I hate myself for that. It’s a bigger regret than the time I decided to buy a VIP pass for a Puddle of Mudd concert, only for Wes Scantlin to arrive onstage completely intoxicated, and leaving after just two (lip-synced) songs. At least that resulted in a funny story to tell my friends. Albacete Warrior was a slow descent into madness. My madness. Probably the single most edgerlordy game I have ever witnessed, with poorly written (and equally poorly localized) “jokes” ranging from Rick & Morty references, slight racism, and calling your chicken weapon a “white cock”, because huehuehue, penis jokes.
Our lovable protagonist is Benito, a Spanish drunkard who apparently decided to become a ninja because he stumbled upon a dojo thinking it was a Chinese takeaway restaurant. After insulting its master, he was told he was the chosen one and became a ninja… somehow. A few years later, after going on a night out, Benito (and his pet chicken, Pepito, the aforementioned “white cock”) returns to the dojo only to find out that a bunch of Mexican mariachis and pepper-shaped wizards have killed everyone there, including his master, who now lives as a talking head, like Mimir from God of War. You then embark on a tale of revenge, killing everyone in sight because you clearly haven’t got a better game to play.
All of this is presented with a cheap, but admittedly charming art style comprised of 2D sprites on a 3D, low-poly environment, not unlike Octopath Traveler (just uglier). That is, of course, when the game doesn’t decide to throw a few static cutscenes at you, with drawings that clearly resemble doodles made by some 6th grader jacked up on Pepsi after watching his first R-rated ultraviolent movie. Dear god, what a bunch of ugly stills that just went on forever, coupled with cheap voice samples reminiscent of the ones popularized by the OG Star Fox and Banjo-Kazooie. Just, of course, much worse than the ones featured in those classics.
Bear in mind that the in-game art style is, without a doubt, the shining beacon of hope and best aspect about Albacete Warrior. You won’t read another morsel of a praise about this game, and I’m actually shocked there was something worth commending about it, besides the fact it only lasts for a handful of hours.
As previously mentioned, if your humor is terrible and infantile, you better deliver on the gameplay side of things in order for the experience to feel less gruesome. This is why Duke Nukem 3D is a classic; it’s not because of the loathsome one-liners, it’s because it’s a damn fine first-person shooter. The same can be said about the Borderlands games, as they are excellent, despite having irritating voice acting. Albacete Warrior is NOT that kind of game. It’s a 3D beat ’em up, but one featuring terrible controls and a really boring gameplay loop.
Here’s a quick question, folks: what’s the most important thing about a beat ’em up? Is it the presentation? Nah. Is it delivering never-ending cutscenes? Nope. Is it having fluid and responsive controls? Ding ding ding! Sadly, that means that Albacete Warrior did not read the memo. The controls are being unresponsive, taking a while to register your button presses. I will say that it wasn’t the biggest deal-breaker during combat, namely because you can easily get rid of everyone onscreen with your eyes closed due to the game’s negative AI, but then the damn game had to remember it has a ninja for a protagonist, resulting in mandatory platforming puzzles thrown into the mix…
There’s nothing like having a massive delay on your jumping mechanic, and forcing you to wall hop for ages and perform some leaps of faith (thanks, fixed cameras) in order to proceed with the game’s story. It just doesn’t work at all. It was downright infuriating after a while. I was being somewhat able to put up with the combat, and the boss battles weren’t exactly awful (there ya have it, I felt charitable and decided to praise something else about the game), but crappy mandatory platforming was the straw that broke my metaphorical camel’s back. So choppy. So unfinished.
As you can clearly see, I loathed playing Albacete Warrior. It’s not just because it was painfully unfunny. It was the fact it had NOTHING else to offer besides some of the dumbest jokes ever put into a video game, since the game completely failed elsewhere as well. Bland visuals, terrible cutscenes, bland music, awful sound effects, terrible level design, and controls that don’t work… all while forcing you to play as a character that made Duke Nukem feel and sound as classy as Leslie Freaking Nielsen. Just avoid this one at all costs. I beg thee, dear viewer.
2D sprites juxtaposing with some low-poly 3D environments, like a poor man’s Octopath Traveler. Not exactly good looking, but I appreciate the effort. The cutscenes, on the other hand… just plain hideous.
Really unresponsive. Not exactly a deal-breaker during combat, as the enemy AI is beyond braindead, but when platforming is involved, Albacete Warrior becomes utterly painful to deal with.
Some really bland songs and low-quality, Banjo-Kazooie-ish voice effects. Not very good, but far from atrocious like some other aspects in this game.
I don’t remember the last time a “comedic” product bored me to death with its terrible jokes like Albacete Warrior. Oh, it’s also a very subpar game in its own right.
Final Verdict: 3.5
Albacete Warrior is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on PS5.
A copy of Albacete Warrior was provided by the publisher.