Oh…Sir! Makes Dishing Out Insults Everything It Should Be.
There’s an art to good swearing and insult mongering. No, really! There is. I’ve seen it in action, and I am always awed by the contemporary poetry a good insult can become. It’s a lost art form. Maybe it’s in part due to the deconstruction of language over time, or simply because words change meaning. Nevertheless, a truly awe inspiring, brain-coming-to-a-screeching-halt insult is hard to come by.
So, on that note, enter Oh…Sir! a verbal assault simulator that mechanically likens itself in the fashion of a good ol’ fighting game. As the player, you will take turns building combos, utilizing continuations, and calling on specials to smash down egos, all while coming out on top as you highlight the absolute worst attributes of your opponent.
“Your Mother was a Hamster and Your Father Smelt of Elderberries!”
Oh…Sir! Works very much like a fighting game, but is also (obviously) a huge step in the opposite direction. For starters, you are pitted against a single opponent. That opponent can be your computer, a stranger (online play) or a friend (couch co-op). The choice is up to you. The CPU doesn’t offer much by way of creativity, though, and that was one of Oh…Sir!’s downfalls. By that I mean that some of the insults created by the CPU don’t make any sense, yet will often result in hefty chunks of your ego being depleted.
Initially you start with five potential characters to play. This will be your “interlocutor” as the selection menu describes it. (Since you’re not really fighting, “challenger” may be inaccurate.) Your initial choices are Mrs. Maggie (Margaret Thatcher?), Albert, Sir Knight (Sean Connery?), Mr. J. Shufflebottom, and H.P. Lovecraft. Each selected character plays by the same rules, with “specials” being the only thing that alternate from character to character. More on these later.
Damage is dealt to your ego bar (health) by way of the insults constructed from a word list in the center of the screen. The first player slot varies, but there is a timer, so you best be sure to know what direction you want your slander to go before you start building up your take down. It’s not a bad idea to have a backup insult planned out as well. This is because both arguers will be taking turns to choose from the same list. Be prepared to have your ideal options taken before you can get to them.
Combos are probably the best way to establish a victory. In Oh…Sir! combos are not what one might expect and are, unfortunately, entirely circumstantial because what you need to do to achieve them must be on the list. In this case, combo building is based off of repeating subjects. For example, if you start one round by insulting your opponent’s mother, father, style, or hovercraft (just to name a few) it is best to continue on with this pattern for as long as possible. This will ensure the maximum damage of ego and guarantee a swift victory.
If nothing on the list works for you, there are two alternate options that are often specific to your character at the bottom of the screen. If these options still do not fit within the purview of your insult, pressing square will change these options once per round. This can result in something as simple as a conjunction, or a finisher such as H.P. Lovecraft’s “ – which will make you die, or go insane.” These can be literal lifesavers in Oh…Sir! so be sure to keep an eye on them.
“Your Country is No Longer Part of Europe!”
Anyone picking this game up for the first time will notice that there are locked characters and locations in the selection menu. Now, I don’t want to spoil anything, but Vile Monarch did reveal in the Steam forums that these characters and the location can be unlocked via the Tournament Mode. This is where you go up against the CPU for five rounds. If you make it through them all (the final boss being a Morgan Freeman version of God) then you unlock a character.
The thing is, it seems that Tournament Mode might be broken, at least for the PS4 version. I was able to exit out of the tournament mid battle, and upon returning to it later (with the same character) I started in the same level that I left off in. I’m uncertain if this is intentional of Vile Monarch, but based off what I know of Tournament modes from previous games, this doesn’t seem quite right.
There’s also the issue of continuations not always working.
Continuations operate as follows. If you have constructed an insult and have no means of wrapping it up, there is sometimes an option listed as “(…)” on the selection menu. However, there were a few times having opted for this that my insult was actually deleted and I was forced to build one all over again. Since this acts as a sort of “carry over” for your insult building, it means that your opponent can still attack while you have to wait until your next turn.
This can obviously be detrimental and even result in a swift loss where there shouldn’t have been one. It eventually got to the point where I only used continuations if I was desperate, because I was so afraid of losing my progress. This obviously isn’t an ideal situation to be in while playing a fighting style game, and so I had to dock points from my review due to this issue.
“Your Mother Has a Steaming Romp With A Dog And You Never Watched Star Wars!”
Having said all of this though, Oh…Sir! is pretty fun, but doesn’t offer much in terms of extensive gameplay. You’d also likely have more fun playing against a friend or two than playing any length of time by yourself, which kind of negates having it on a console or even PC. It would probably be better to pursue this game on a mobile device than on a console that won’t see nearly the same amount of travel.
The core game is clever and amusing, but in truth I see no real benefit to playing it on the PlayStation, or even on PC. If you’re itching to get this, go for the mobile version.
Final Verdict: 2.5/5
Available on: PC, PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Mobile; Publisher: Gambitious Digital Entertainment; Developer: Vile Monarch; Players: 1-2; Released: Oct 25th, 2016 (PC, Mobile) May 30th, 2017 (Xbox One, PlayStation 4) ESRB: T for Teen, MSRP: $2.99
Full Disclosure: this review is based on a key for Oh…Sir! given to Hey Poor Player by the publisher.