A '70s style Italian crime drama with indie pixel graphics seems like a cool idea for a game so let's see if it brings home the pasta e fagioli.
Milanoir is inspired by Italian crime films of the 1970s and it references Quentin Tarantino in its advertising. What exactly does that mean? Will characters talk about the Royale with Cheese and Madonna lyrics? Let's hope not. You play as Piero Sacchi who's a member of the Lanzetta crime family and you're on a mission to kill whoever ratted you out to the cops. No, it's not a story of redemption. No, you're not framed for a crime that you didn't commit. In fact, Piero is a pretty bad guy without any redeeming qualities. He's a ruthless murderer who even kills a little kid so why anyone would actually care about him is beyond me. In fact, there was a scene where the cops beat the crap out of him in a prison and I was hoping they would win then the credits would roll. What a delightful ending that would be.
To my dismay, that was only the intermission and I had a handful of additional chapters to tediously work through. The core gameplay is that of your average twin-stick shooter where you aim with the right stick, move with the left, and shoot with a shoulder trigger. For starters, the aiming is absolutely atrocious. You don't simply aim in the direction that you want to shoot; you have to drag a crosshair over the screen. I wish the Switch had a mouse accessory because using one of those suckers would have made a lot more sense.
On the plus side, there are a ton of different scenarios that you'll find yourself within. Whether you're shooting your way through a succession of enemies, driving a car while shooting, or shooting at the variety of challenging bosses; I must admit that it is interesting to see what's next. That being said, it is mostly shooting and as I've already said, it's not handled very well at all.
Considering Milanoir is a narrative-driven game in that it tells a linear story and has you act in the sequences in between the somewhat lengthy dialogue segments, you'd hope that it at least makes you care about the plot. I've already established that the main character is a piece of crap that anyone with half a brain would loathe but does the story itself actually remain intriguing? Of course it doesn't, why would it? The dialogue is full of out of place cursing and elementary school level insults that'll make you feel like skipping every scene if you have even the slightest bit of taste. I don't know why so many game developers think that they're good writers. I have a novel idea: how about hire someone to actually write some quality stuff instead of shoving this tripe down unsuspecting gamers' throats?
Anyway, the core gameplay of Milanoir may be simple and irritating but it gets worse. Almost every boss is an endurance test where you have to figure out what to actually do. So, you fight it again and again and eventually, it clicks then you win. However, you likely won't feel any sense of satisfaction. Between the poor shooting segments which compose most of the campaign, the embarrassingly bad story sequences, and these trial-and-error bosses, you're not left with much of an enjoyable game. You can play cooperatively with a local friend but they probably won't be your friend anymore if you do. Plus, there are arenas where you can try and get high scores but why would you even bother? The lack of replay value might be a good thing seeing how annoying Milanoir is to play in the first place.
If Milanoir were a Tarantino film, it would be Death Proof; a self-indulgent exercise in tedium that would make most people who experience it want their money back.
- + Decent variety of scenarios and bosses
- - Awful dialogue and unlikeable characters that do little to make the player care
- - Simple yet frustrating gameplay
- - Almost no replay value