I actually hated this part of the game. The controller cues were very misleading, and I ended up looking online to see what I was doing wrong. At the bottom of the screen is an icon of a couple of analog sticks, indicating which way you should be moving the sticks you have under your thumbs. Except, they didn’t do a very good job.
The right stick just indicates “up” or “down”, but there’s a certain inertia to what you’re doing. You’ll hold down the controller for several seconds with no real idea of what this is supposed to be doing. (You’re leveling out the Star destroyer. Because… Uh. Actually, why the crap does the thing need to be level if I’m just yanking it out of the air? Which is part of the problem. This isn’t something I expected I’d need to do and so I was just following the on-screen prompts with no idea of what I was supposedly accomplishing.) But if you just hold the stick you’ll overshoot the correct orientation and then have to push the stick the other way. You actually need to “nudge” the stick as the ship gets close to level. If you just follow the prompts you’ll never get it into place.
While you’re pondering all of that, you also need to be worrying about the left stick. (And unlike the other stick, you don’t really need to nudge it.) But because of the way the icon looked I couldn’t tell if it was telling me to hold up-left, or if it just wanted direct left. It could be saying either way depending on if you believe this to be a perspective view of the stick or a direct overhead view. (Answer: Perspective. Just hold the stick left.)
And while you’re trying to do all of this, TIE fighters are coming. Just about the time you’ve got the thing maybe figured out, you have to stop and fight a bunch of TIE fighters. By the time you’ve dispatched them, the Star Destroyer is again crooked. (Again, why do I care how it’s aligned? I’m just pulling it down! And the cutscene shows it crashing nose-first despite all this leveling out nonsense.)
Anyway, eventually you’ll get the ship into position and you’ll be prompted to pull down on both sticks. But the way the icons showed the sticks constantly moving down, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to hold them down or if I was supposed to move them forward and backward repeatedly.
And even if you do this all correctly and understand everything the icons are telling you, you’ll still need to go through the process three times and fight three waves of TIEs before you bring it down. And you don’t really get much in the way of positive feedback to let you know you’re doing it right, so when the process begins again you’ll be left wondering if you’re being punished for doing something wrong or if this is just another game designer-imposed time sink.
All of this is in addition to the fact that the game is throwing these icons up and forcing the player to stare at them instead of watching the action going on in the background.
This is the only time in the game you see these icons, and so instead of an epic event I felt like I was playing a tedious guessing game interrupted by flow-breaking TIE fighter exploding commercial breaks. I think the entire mechanic is a horrible and unsatisfying idea, but if they were going to put it in they should have trained the player in following the prompts earlier in the game. Perhaps they could have given the player a bit where they have to lift (say) their own ship out of a bog, Empire Strikes Back style. The player could fumble around and learn how it works without having waves of tie fighters strafing them while frantic NPC’s scream unhelpful things at them.
I’m sure some people got the idea the first time through, but Googling around showed that I wasn’t the only person who wondered what they were supposed to be doing. This was a fun idea marred by badly designed mechanics.
Batman: Arkham City
A look back at one of my favorite games. The gameplay was stellar, but the underlying story was clumsy and oddly constructed.
Final Fantasy X
A game about the ghost of an underwater football player who travels through time to save the world from a tick that controls kaiju satan. Really.
The Biggest Game Ever
How did this niche racing game make a gameworld so massive, and why is that a big deal?
Marvel's Civil War
Team Cap or Team Iron Man? More importantly, what basis would you use for making that decision?
Mass Effect Retrospective
A novel-sized analysis of the Mass Effect series that explains where it all went wrong. Spoiler: It was long before the ending.