Or maybe the opposite, actually. Here's the story in a nutshell: I wanted to play something, but I couldn't decide what, because my ever-reliable gaming instinct seemingly decided to go on holiday out of the blue. To shake myself out of that rut, I decided to blindly pick up a game in my precious collection and dive senselessly into it — whatever 'it' happened to be. You already know which game was the lucky winner, dear fellow gamers; and let's be honest, I was actually a tad crestfallen when I saw what I had unearthed. Cuz even if I didn't know what I wanted to play, I sure knew that I didn't especially want to play a Beat'em Up. The thing is, I feel the need to play Beat'em Ups like, once in a blue moon; the genre is getting harder and harder on my fingers with age, and a quick fix is usually enough to satisfy whatever beating cravings I may harbour for a very long time. As it is, I played a rerun of Streets of Rage with my sister last Christmas, which should definitely have been enough to sate my appetite for punching until next Christmas. I was certainly not in the mood to play another Beat'em Up so soon; however, I had pledged myself to play whichever game I'd pick up, and that was the game the Universe threw in my probing hands. There was no choice but to relent and dive head first into that peachy — in more ways than one — punching fest.
Three hours later, I regret nothing. I kinda didn't want to play a Beat'em Up, and I still kinda don't want it; but heck, that game is awesome! See, I'm not really the most sophisticated Beat'em Up player out there, dear fellow gamers. When I indulge in the genre, I'm not looking for flashy animations, gorgeous graphics, charismatic characters or uber-fancy combos; the only thing I'm asking for are kickass, stellar physics. I want to feel the weight of my punches, and I want to see my adversaries feel it too. I want impact noises, groans of pain and recoil; I want to feel the sheer physicality of the fight, in my fingers as well as in my gamer's soul. And of course, I want to have full control over the whole thing: the MC must be a total extension of my fingertips, ready to pounce at the tiniest of my inputs. And lucky me, VDB delivered all that in spades! It took me a mere ten seconds to get hold of my character and slide into the groove of battle; and then I was on a roll, punching every living thing into oblivion and jumping, dashing and gliding all around like I owned the place.
And the goodness doesn't stop there, because VDB also offers all of those things I'm not actually looking for in a Beat'em Up! Okay, maybe not all of them. Charismatic characters are unfortunately nowhere to be found here: the girls are cute and lovely, but they all feel a bit vanilla and lack the distinctive flavours and overall zaniness sported by, say, the Senran Kagura roster. The graphics are easy on the eye, with bright colours and lovely vistas; but they're not nearly unique enough to set the game apart from the army of fan-servicey games starring buxom 3D vixens out there. On the other hand, the sparkly, fancy animations are a constant feast for the retinas; and the combos... Oh dear, the combos! This is a really deep and intricate fighting system we're dealing with here, with tons of complex techniques and combinations to pull off. Heck, the fighting tutorial alone lasts a good half-hour, and it's packed with an insanely high number of moves. I'll be honest: I've already forgotten half of those moves, because of my utter lack of sophistication in all things Beat'em Up. But the beauty of it all is that I don't actually need to master all these insanely subtle tricks, because the game also totally accommodates much simpler and barer fighting styles such as mine. Now that's the mark of a truly excellent Beat'em Up: to let you punch it your way, be it with two buttons or with twelve.
So, I totally love VDB; but still, I can't promise I'll finish it in one go. Heck, I can't even promise I'll pick it up again once I'm done writing that post; I feel like this three-hour session has sated all my Beat'em Up cravings — cravings I didn't even have in the first place. But no matter what happens now, I know that VDB is a darn good game, and I know that it stands at the ready to satisfy any punching urge I may harbour in the future. See you later — or not — for more fighting tidings, dear fellow gamers; and as usual, thanks for reading, and drop by anytime!