Marlow Briggs And The Mask Of Death was another Games With Gold title this month and is an Xbox 360 game that can go backwards compatible on the Xbox One. I have been playing this game fairly casually since I wrote about Back To The Future The Game and will share my thoughts now that I have completed it.
Marlow Briggs And The Mask Of Death is a game that reminds me of Devil May Cry and Bayonetta in the way it’s combat works. Stringing attacks together to create combos is something that some players can become quite skilled at but for be devolves into wildly mashing buttons in the hope that an enemy which poses little threat will die.
Combat did become harder nearer the end of the game but overall I think I died more from jumping puzzles than from enemy attacks. I was on normal mode which may have just been too easy for me but there is a hardcore mode for those that want more difficulty, there’s an achievement for completing the game on hardcore so that may be one for any achievement hunters out there.
I thought I saw more similarities to other games, some of which were a Shadow of Mordor style of enemy possession attack where foes could fight for the player, the boss fight against Chieftain Hammerhead felt like Dark Souls with needing dodge timing to be good, the final boss was also like this but looked like Diablo crossed with the archangel from Diablo 3, there were even sections of the game that felt like they were based on Frogger or Doritos Crash Course and the way the character would move when dangling from a ledge reminded me of old Tomb Raider games.
The opening cutscene of the game didn’t grab my attention and the game made it clear what the skip button was so I pressed it and started a game where there was a lot of fire, a mask was talking to me and my character could survive being hit by or even deflect rockets. As you can tell I had no idea what was going on. This fire and explosion along with some confusion was a theme that continued all the way through the game, making it all seem quite dynamic.
Marlow himself made a few jokes and seemed to establish a rapport with the mask, exchanging bits of banter filled dialogue which made me smile and were a nice addition to the game. The mask taunting me when I died was also quite amusing but quickly became annoying. The speech between the two could also be helpful when doing a puzzle as it would sometimes point out what was required when you may have missed it or it would point out the obvious as you were already attempting to do what it was saying.
Along with combat, climbing and puzzle solving I have also played mini games which change the game enough for you to not just fall into a lull of bashing x repeatedly. I have used an AA gun to clear the sky of helicopters and swung on a rope to stop my character smashing into the side of a cliff as he dangled upside down from a different helicopter. The game has thrown a quick time event my way when I thought I was watching a cutscene and I have defeated a fire boss without realising it was a boss. I have realised that whoever it was in charge of making this game really liked helicopters.
However the different activities can get annoying like when riding on coal trains and dodging obstacles, sometimes you can successfully move but die anyway and you have to restart from the last checkpoint which luckily isn’t far as checkpoints are handed out quite generously. Activities like these make it so that the player needs a lot of focus when playing the game.
As far as actual issues with the game itself go, at one point all noise stopped except for the main character’s grunting and there were a few visual bugs but they didn’t majorly damage the experience.
Eventhough the game looks nice, plays nice and has a nice variety of enemies and mini games all I can call it is nice. The game seemed to be trying to do too many things that all felt average, nothing really stood out. I don’t feel from my time with the game that it is great or a favourite of mine, it’s almost a good game but more of a way to fill time than cause serious enjoyment, if I’d enjoyed it more then it would be good.
Oh and if anyone has the achievement for watching all the credits they were probably as bad as I was at the mini game it let you play while the credits rolled.
The art that I’m using as the featured image was found on the achievements section of the Xbox website. Just a few characters, nothing impressive, the biggest one is the main hero and the others feature in the game. There’s an explosion in the background but with the amount of different things in the game I’m surprised it wasn’t used on the artwork.