Bigredcoat

Videogames, politics, science, all the important things in life.

Archive for September, 2008

Posted by nfinit on September 30, 2008

Harvest Moon Tree of Tranquility (Wii)

I’d like to say I conducted an exhaustive research of Japan’s agriculture industry to shed insight to the insanity inherent in Harvest Moon,  but in honest truth I spent about fifteen minutes in Wikipedia and all I could find was that an agriculture ministry employee was once reprimanded for editing the Japanese-language Wiki entry for Gundam two hundred and fifty times.  

The gimmick for this particular entry in the series is the ability to farm your own offspring in addition to pigs and horses.  You may then restart the game as your child, and may in turn again bed your own father or mother– I might that repulsive if I hadn’t already spent my formative years reading Heinlein.

Silent Hill Homecoming (360, PS3)

When the first word Gamespot uses to describe your franchise is “venerable”, you may have a problem. The Cincinnati Reds are venerable. The British Motor Corporation is venerable. Senator Ted Kenned is venerable. Game series shoudln’t be venerable, especially a series that debuted as a late-generation release for the PS1. How does Silent Hill fade into the realm of “venerable” when we’re still holding serious debate over the lack of tank controls in RE5?

As far as this game in particular– who knows. Something something soldier missing family something fog something Pyramid Head rape something.  If you pre-order with EBStop, you get a free DVD of Silent Hill: The Movie, which may be the first instance of a calculated effort to prevent pre-order sales.

Sonic Chronicles:  Dark Brotherhood(DS)

Try not to make logic of 1up’s 9.0 review score– down that path only lay long nights of Neogaf and hard drink.  Rest assured that Dark Brotherhood is probably terrible, if for no other reason than it’s association with Sonic and it’s insane, degenerate fanbase. Yeah, that’s right, I’m callow enough to pass judgement on mass media experiences based on the fandom for that franchise. This is not altogether irrational– Tom Cruise is insane; Tom Cruises’ fanbase is insane; no one really takes Minority Report seriously anymore.

(If Sega is the Tom Cruise of this relationship. that means Bioware is Katie Holmes. Which I think makes Dark Brotherhood the Suri Cruise of videogames. I’m probably overthinking this.)

We Cheer (Wii)

I’m onto your game, Namco. Between We Cheer and Idol Master you’ve moved into the lucrative market of ferriting out closet pedophiles for local sex crime law enforcement agencies.  This theory also explains many of the more troubling additions to Soul Calibur IV:

What I’m saying is, buy with cash.

Pop Cutie: Street Fashion Simulation (DS)

I live in New York City. I know what “Street fashion” implies. Vomit crusted beards, a pair of pants composed of three other pairs of pants joined with an insulating layer of newspaper, a suspciously nice overcoat– not this:

(Also, being a programmer for Koei of Japan has to be the most soul-crushing game industry related career short of Gamestop night manager, right?  If you’re not working the Dynasy Warrior salt mines, you’re stuck producing yaoi cosplay simulators.  What happens when this company buys out Tecmo?  We’re all buying Ryu Hyabusa’s Magical Shibuya Adventure, right ?)

Princess Debut (DS)

I’d like to take this moment to congratulate Clay Akins on his courage and his flabbergasting amount of obliviousness regarding America’s perception of his sexuality.

Mobile Ops: One Year War (PS3, 360)

Gameplay video would appear to reveal a mixture of Earth Defense Force and Shogo: Mobile Armor Division. Following our earlier discussion on how console mech games are never ever good, it’s going to be interesting to see exactly how Namco manages to fuck this one up.

Valhalla Knights 2 (PSP)

Etrain Odyssey for the PSP, but stripped of maps, character, personality, and dominatrices.  Also, gameplay appears to be based around setting your teammates on auto attack while you run toward the camera.



NEXT WEEK~!

Fracture:  Because the statute of limitations on Red Faction has expired!

Guilty Gear 2 Oveture causes me to bleed from my ears!

I make hot sweaty manlove to Legend of Kage 2!

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Posted by nfinit on September 25, 2008

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 9-24-08

Sim City Creator (Wii)

For all intents, Sim City Wii, but better than that because it has the flying around town segments of Sim Copter built in.  This is the casual gaming that’s encouraging to see on the Wii, and the sort’ve thing we should try to trick our otherwise unsuspecting co-workers and family members into buying.

For the rest of us though– well, if you can get past this:


then SCC allows you to draw in roads and train tracks using the Wii Remote– Allowing for such visionary public works projects as traffic circles shaped like Tia Tequila’s boobs, or the Metro Express Fuck Wii Music Line.

Brothers in Arms:  Hell’s Highway (360, PS3)

Is anyone else depressed to learn that the brilliant talent behind Opposing Force have been stuck making third-string WWII clones for the past five years?   Supposedly Gearbox is being tapped for Halo 4, but I have a hard time differentiating how it’s a step up to move from Generic WWII Shooter Product #874 to Generic SciFi Shooter Product #901b.

Anyway, apparently this one is about Operation Market Garden.  I dunno. I can’t be bothered to care about a WWII game unless it features vampires and werewolves.

Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts ’09 (360, PS3)
My hardcore sensibilities recoil seeing “Cabela” in the title, and I was further nonplussed by the concept of a “dangerous hunt”. Sure, you may be hunting a wild boar but you’re still human, you’ve still got a high-caliber rifle, you’ve still got roughly four hundred thousand years of evolution and technology on your side. But then I saw this:


And read this: (courtesy IGN)

Players will face raw danger as they encounter the fiercest animals on earth, including lions, grizzly bears, jaguars and more. Accurately modeled Cabela’s equipment in the game means the firearms, tactics and gear are all realistic and precise – but this won’t always help in the face of an unpredictable, open environment packed with avalanches, elephant stampedes, and piranha infested waters. If you do miss a shot and fail to stop a charging man-eating animal, you will be forced to fight it via a melee defense – but pay attention; it’s likely another nearby animal will join the attack.

When the did Cabela games become hardcore?  Look at this!


You are Dale Earnhardt Jr engaging in melee battle with a lion!  Okay, a stoned lion, but still!  We’ve got the best FPS companies in the world devolving into a soup of indistinct pap, and the Cabela guys went and made Teddy Roosevelt:  The Videogame.  It’s only $40, if my 360 weren’t currently a doorstop, I’d totally buy this.

Lego Batman (everything)

It’s Lego, it’s Batman.  If you dig either, then this is your thing.

But Batman, he’s pretty mature material for the Lego franchise to delve into.  He threw The Joker into a vat of acid, he’s ruptured a guy’s spleen with a car battery, and the current Frank Miller comic has him performing systematic psycological terror on an orphaned 12 year old– So knowing that, maybe we can see the Lego games opening into new territory.

Here’s what I want to see– since the Lego games are basically texture swaps at this point– You remember a couple months back when the Dirty Harry movies were re-released in DVD in one massive scumbag-slaying block of Clint?  There was obviously an attempt at creating a Dirty Harry revival going on, but I don’t see why we should let the opportunity pass us by.  

I want Lego Dirty Harry.

Your guns would have unlimited bullets.  You’d recharge health by calmly eating disgustingly messy deli sandwiches with one hand blasting punks with the other.  You’d have a revolving series of sidekicks who’d be violently dispatched every two minutes.  You’d have this guy

as an end boss!

We have the technology.  We can do this.

My Japanese Coach (DS)

Doing a GIS for “My Japanese Coach” doesn’t result in nearly as much pornography as one would hope.  “My Japanese Teacher”, “My Japanese Tutor”, “My Japanese Lessons”, none of these really work nearly as well as you’d expect, in fact you have to resort to “My Japanese Schoolgirl” to get anything interesting, but that’s just cheating.

Samba De Amigo (Wii)

Sega was doing the whole rythm game thing nearly ten years ago on the Dreamcast, but instead of guitars or dance pads or randomly shaking around a Wii remote, they were doing it with maracas and MEXICAN ACID MONKEYS

(I can’t tell if this is the DC or Wii version, and neither can you)

They were even doing the clumsy sesor bar thing first:

As for the Wii version, it’s mainly there to screw over people who paid a hundred bucks for the complete DC versiony.  Thanks, Sega!

(Also, somehow or another, this is being done by Gearbox, of the aforementioned Brothers In Medals:  Battlefield Honor.  How the hell does that work?)

Warriors Orochi 2 (360, PS2)

It’s sort of hard from the outside looking in as to what exactly it is about Koei’s Dynasty Warriors games that make them so successful.  The company basically has no need to produce nothing but the series and it’s various spinoffs– they all look pretty much the same, demos and videos relveal they all play pretty much the same, and the story can’t be terribly compelling for those of us who aren’t affecianados of feudal Japan.  This particular revision would appear to be something of a KOF for Dynasty Warriors.

I’ve only ever played Ninety Nine Nights for the 360, as I figure if you’re going to play one of these games, it may as well be the one with the most blatant t&a.

Kirby Super Star Ultra (DS)

Before Nintendo was in the market of making minigame compilations with only vague implications of gameplay, they did stuff like Kirby Super Star, which is…well okay, it’s still a minigame compilation, but one with character and challenge and able to hold the attention of people other than drooling charity cases and baby boomers.
This is pretty much the SNES original with vastly improved graphics and a few token extra minigames thrown in, all of which probably cost Nintendo exactly five bucks more than the renovations that will be made for Animal Crossing Wii.
(Also, Masahiro Sakurai totally ripped Nintendo’s Wii business strategy at a press conference with Grasshopper Studios. So Kirby’s alright by me)
Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase (DS)
Wikipedia reveals that Nancy Drew:  The Hidden Staircase is, in fact, the second Nancy Drew book written by Carolyn Keen.  That’s all the research I can really be bothered to do for this.
Zoo Hospital (DS)
Someone explain to me how Cabela hunting games get secretly awesome while DS owners are being subjected to…
and this:
Not to mention:
And I’m cheating a bit with this one, but:

And even:
Disgaea DS (DS, oddly enough)
Amazingly, NIS has taken what it bills as “The Most Hardcore Game Ever” and turned it into shovelware. It’s the PS2 game beaten and mutilated to fit inside a DS cart.  Think I’m kidding?

That’s actual footage from the final version of the game that’s currently being sold in Japan.  
In a certain cynical point of view you have to respect a high-profit cash in.  All the DS games I just listed are all coming out this week and are all cash grabs to some degree.  Cash grabs are important, they help fund risks like Bioshock and Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space.  Yes, Hamtaro Ham Ham Challenge is going to be godawful, but it’ll make a lot of money and help insure that another Rune Factory can be made.  
Disgaea DS though, that’s another kind of cash in entirely– the harmful, lazy we-know-the-fans-will-buy-anything cash-in that results in hurt loyalties and a damaged fanbase.  It’s an insult written on silicon.
Wario Land: Shake It (Wii)

I don’t know how you sell a console 2d platformer for $50 in this day and age, but god bless Nintendo for trying.  
And while it’s neat that Nintendo keeps trying to make Wario into a platform hero, what happened to Wario being Mario’s nemesis?  Why isn’t there a section where Wario punches the Giant Mario Head from Mario 64 into a bloody pulp?  Why can’t Wario chase down Toad using his sweet purple El Dorado from MK:DD?  Where is his character, his personality?
Instead of these poorly-received gimmicky platformers,  I want Grand Theft Mushroom Kingdom, starring Wario and his quest to brutally murder Mario and deflower Princess Peach.

My Little Pony Pinkie Pie’s Party (DS)

If the Bratz Poniez sluts thought they could step on the My Little Ponies’ turf and not expect a fight, they made a miscalculation of tragic proportions:
Oh it’s on, bitch.
(Fun fact:  No footage of this game exists.  This is probably best for everyone involved.)
de Blob (Wii)

I really want to say bad things about this, but it’s made by a handful of independent student game designers, wasn’t even supposed to be a game when it was first developed, found a following on the PC and was eventually picked up by THQ.  It’s basically everything that’s supposed to be right and good about gaming circa 2008, provided you can ignore it’s on disc and not digital.
Counting Wario Land, hat’s two games for the Wii this month that I’d actually admit to owning if I owned a Wii.  I gotta find something to hate about this system, and soon…
Brothers in Arms:  Double Time (Wii)
Oh thank god
Long time no see, LithTech.
Rhapsody:  A Musical Adventure (DS)

When Rhapsody first appeared on the PS1, it had one interesting hook– it’s battles were done in tactical strat-JRPG style instead of the standard flat 2d menu-based battles usually seen.  So naturally that feature has been removed.  
I’m not sure what this game is supposed to be doing that wasn’t done fifteen years ago on the SNES, and maybe that’s the point, but if you want to play sixteen bit RPGs on your DS there’s better options.  
Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked (Wii)
Judging from the screenshots I was going to write this extended DS game off as completely useless.  But then I saw there was a minigame where you play a well-endowed woman repeatedly punching her own boobs:
<embed src=’http://videomedia.ign.com/ev/ev.swf&#8217; flashvars=’object_ID=14251068&downloadURL=http://wiimovies.ign.com/wii/video/article/874/874264/lostinblue_goingape_051508_flvlowwide.flv&allownetworking=”all%”‘ type=’application/x-shockwave-flash’ width=’433′ height=’360′></embed>
So there’s that.

Pitfall:  The Big Adventure (Wii)
Seeing Pitfall: The Big Adventure is like seeing a beloved uncle from childhood on a city bench, his face shunken and teeth lost from meth addiction, a single grimy hand clutching a cup full of pigeon shit and spare change, asleep amid a pile of plastic shopping bags.
What I’m saying is, if you buy this, you’re only encouraging bad behavior.

Twin Strike:  Operation Thunder (Wii)

You know what?  No.  Wii owners have been forced to endure enough this week.  Let’s instead reminisce about Desert Strike.
Fuck yeah, Desert Strike!

NEXT WEEK~!
SONIC CHRONICLES:  DARK BROTHERHOOD is PLANESCAPE FOR FURRIES!
SILENT HILL HOMCOMING reminds us that Silent Hill games are still being made!
NORTH AMERICAN HUNTING EXTRAVAGANZA– DANGEROUS HUNTS FOR WII!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 9-24-08

Posted by nfinit on September 24, 2008

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 9-24-08


Sim City Creator (Wii)


For all intents, Sim City Wii, but better than that because it has the flying around town segments of Sim Copter built in.  This is the casual gaming that’s encouraging to see on the Wii, and the sort’ve thing we should try to trick our otherwise unsuspecting co-workers and family members into buying.

For the rest of us though– well, if you can get past this:


then SCC allows you to draw in roads and train tracks using the Wii Remote– Allowing for such visionary public works projects as traffic circles shaped like Tia Tequila’s boobs, or the Metro Express Fuck Wii Music Line.


Brothers in Arms:  Hell’s Highway (360, PS3)


Is anyone else depressed to learn that the brilliant talent behind Opposing Force have been stuck making third-string WWII clones for the past five years?   Supposedly Gearbox is being tapped for Halo 4, but I have a hard time differentiating how it’s a step up to move from Generic WWII Shooter Product #874 to Generic SciFi Shooter Product #901b.

Anyway, apparently this one is about Operation Market Garden.  I dunno. I can’t be bothered to care about a WWII game unless it features vampires and werewolves.


Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts ’09 (360, PS3)

My hardcore sensibilities recoil seeing “Cabela” in the title, and I was further nonplussed by the concept of a “dangerous hunt”. Sure, you may be hunting a wild boar but you’re still human, you’ve still got a high-caliber rifle, you’ve still got roughly four hundred thousand years of evolution and technology on your side. But then I saw this:

And read this: (courtesy IGN)

Players will face raw danger as they encounter the fiercest animals on earth, including lions, grizzly bears, jaguars and more. Accurately modeled Cabela’s equipment in the game means the firearms, tactics and gear are all realistic and precise – but this won’t always help in the face of an unpredictable, open environment packed with avalanches, elephant stampedes, and piranha infested waters. If you do miss a shot and fail to stop a charging man-eating animal, you will be forced to fight it via a melee defense – but pay attention; it’s likely another nearby animal will join the attack.

When the did Cabela games become hardcore?  Look at this!

You are Dale Earnhardt Jr engaging in melee battle with a lion!  Okay, a stoned lion, but still!  We’ve got the best FPS companies in the world devolving into a soup of indistinct pap, and the Cabela guys went and made Teddy Roosevelt:  The Videogame.  It’s only $40, if my 360 weren’t currently a doorstop, I’d totally buy this


Lego Batman (everything)


It’s Lego, it’s Batman.  If you dig either, then this is your thing.

But Batman, he’s pretty mature material for the Lego franchise to delve into.  He threw The Joker into a vat of acid, he’s ruptured a guy’s spleen with a car battery, and the current Frank Miller comic has him performing systematic psycological terror on an orphaned 12 year old– So knowing that, maybe we can see the Lego games opening into new territory.

Here’s what I want to see– since the Lego games are basically texture swaps at this point– You remember a couple months back when the Dirty Harry movies were re-released in DVD in one massive scumbag-slaying block of Clint?  There was obviously an attempt at creating a Dirty Harry revival going on, but I don’t see why we should let the opportunity pass us by.

I want Lego Dirty Harry.

Your guns would have unlimited bullets.  You’d recharge health by calmly eating disgustingly messy deli sandwiches with one hand blasting punks with the other.  You’d have a revolving series of sidekicks who’d be violently dispatched every two minutes.  You’d have this guy

as an end boss!

We have the technology.  We can do this.


My Japanese Coach (DS)


Doing a GIS for “My Japanese Coach” doesn’t result in nearly as much pornography as one would hope.  “My Japanese Teacher”, “My Japanese Tutor”, “My Japanese Lessons”, none of these really work nearly as well as you’d expect, in fact you have to

resort to “My Japanese Schoolgirl” to get anything interesting, but that’s just cheating.


Samba De Amigo (Wii)


Sega was doing the whole rythm game thing nearly ten years ago on the Dreamcast, but instead of guitars or dance pads or randomly shaking around a Wii remote, they were doing it with maracas and MEXICAN ACID MONKEYS

(I can’t tell if this is the DC or Wii version, and neither can you)

They were even doing the clumsy sesor bar thing first:



As for the Wii version, it’s mainly there to screw over people who paid a hundred bucks for the complete DC versiony.  Thanks, Sega!

(Also, somehow or another, this is being done by Gearbox, of the aforementioned Brothers In Medals:  Battlefield Honor.  How the hell does that work?)


Warriors Orochi 2 (360, PS2)


It’s sort of hard from the outside looking in as to what exactly it is about Koei’s Dynasty Warriors games that make them so successful.  The company basically has no need to produce nothing but the series and it’s various spinoffs– they all look pretty much the same, demos and videos relveal they all play pretty much the same, and the story can’t be terribly compelling for those of us who aren’t affecianados of feudal Japan.  This particular revision would appear to be something of a KOF for Dynasty Warriors.

I’ve only ever played Ninety Nine Nights for the 360, as I figure if you’re going to play one of these games, it may as well be the one with the most blatant t&a.


Kirby Super Star Ultra (DS)


Before Nintendo was in the market of making minigame compilations with only vague implications of gameplay, they did stuff like Kirby Super Star, which is…well okay, it’s still a minigame compilation, but one with character and challenge and able to hold the attention of people other than drooling charity cases and baby boomers.
This is pretty much the SNES original with vastly improved graphics and a few token extra minigames thrown in, all of which probably cost Nintendo exactly five bucks more than the renovations that will be made for Animal Crossing Wii.
(Also, Masahiro Sakurai totally ripped Nintendo’s Wii business strategy at a press conference with Grasshopper Studios. So Kirby’s alright by me)

Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase (DS)

Wikipedia reveals that Nancy Drew:  The Hidden Staircase is, in fact, the second Nancy Drew book written by Carolyn Keen.  That’s all the research I can really be bothered to do for this.

Zoo Hospital (DS)

Someone explain to me how Cabela hunting games get secretly awesome while DS owners are being subjected to…
and this:

Not to mention:
And I’m cheating a bit with this one, but:
And even:


Disgaea DS (DS, oddly enough)

Amazingly, NIS has taken what it bills as “The Most Hardcore Game Ever” and turned it into shovelware. It’s the PS2 game beaten and mutilated to fit inside a DS cart.  Think I’m kidding?

That’s actual footage from the final version of the game that’s currently being sold in Japan.
In a certain cynical point of view you have to respect a high-profit cash in.  All the DS games I just listed are all coming out this week and are all cash grabs to some degree.  Cash grabs are important, they help fund risks like Bioshock and Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space.  Yes, Hamtaro Ham Ham Challenge is going to be godawful, but it’ll make a lot of money and help insure that another Rune Factory can be made.
Disgaea DS though, that’s another kind of cash in entirely– the harmful, lazy we-know-the-fans-will-buy-anything cash-in that results in hurt loyalties and a damaged fanbase.  It’s an insult written on silicon.

Wario Land: Shake It (Wii)

I don’t know how you sell a console 2d platformer for $50 in this day and age, but god bless Nintendo for trying.
And while it’s neat that Nintendo keeps trying to make Wario into a platform hero, what happened to Wario being Mario’s nemesis?  Why isn’t there a section where Wario punches the Giant Mario Head from Mario 64 into a bloody pulp?  Why can’t Wario chase down Toad using his sweet purple El Dorado from MK:DD?  Where is his character, his personality?
Instead of these poorly-received gimmicky platformers,  I want Grand Theft Mushroom Kingdom, starring Wario and his quest to brutally murder Mario and deflower Princess Peach.

My Little Pony Pinkie Pie’s Party (DS)

If the Bratz Poniez sluts thought they could step on the My Little Ponies’ turf and not expect a fight, they made a miscalculation of tragic proportions:
Oh it’s on, bitch.
(Fun fact:  No footage of this game exists.  This is probably best for everyone involved.)

de Blob (Wii)

I really want to say bad things about this, but it’s made by a handful of independent student game designers, wasn’t even supposed to be a game when it was first developed, found a following on the PC and was eventually picked up by THQ.  It’s basically everything that’s supposed to be right and good about gaming circa 2008, provided you can ignore it’s on disc and not digital.
Counting Wario Land, hat’s two games for the Wii this month that I’d actually admit to owning if I owned a Wii.  I gotta find something to hate about this system, and soon…

Brothers in Arms:  Double Time (Wii)

Oh thank god
Long time no see, LithTech.

Rhapsody:  A Musical Adventure (DS)

When Rhapsody first appeared on the PS1, it had one interesting hook– it’s battles were done in tactical strat-JRPG style instead of the standard flat 2d menu-based battles usually seen.  So naturally that feature has been removed.
I’m not sure what this game is supposed to be doing that wasn’t done fifteen years ago on the SNES, and maybe that’s the point, but if you want to play sixteen bit RPGs on your DS there’s better options.

Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked (Wii)

Judging from the screenshots I was going to write this extended DS game off as completely useless.  But then I saw there was a minigame where you play a well-endowed woman repeatedly punching her own boobs:
<embed src=’http://videomedia.ign.com/ev/ev.swf&#8217; flashvars=’object_ID=14251068&downloadURL=http://wiimovies.ign.com/wii/video/article/874/874264/lostinblue_goingape_051508_flvlowwide.flv&allownetworking=”all%”‘ type=’application/x-shockwave-flash’ width=’433′ height=’360′></embed>
So there’s that.

Pitfall:  The Big Adventure (Wii)

Seeing Pitfall: The Big Adventure is like seeing a beloved uncle from childhood on a city bench, his face shunken and teeth lost from meth addiction, a single grimy hand clutching a cup full of pigeon shit and spare change, asleep amid a pile of plastic shopping bags.
What I’m saying is, if you buy this, you’re only encouraging bad behavior.

Twin Strike:  Operation Thunder (Wii)
You know what?  No.  Wii owners have been forced to endure enough this week.  Let’s instead reminisce about Desert Strike.
Fuck yeah, Desert Strike!
NEXT WEEK~!
SONIC CHRONICLES:  DARK BROTHERHOOD is PLANESCAPE FOR FURRIES!
SILENT HILL HOMCOMING reminds us that Silent Hill games are still being made!
NORTH AMERICAN HUNTING EXTRAVAGANZA– DANGEROUS HUNTS FOR WII!


Posted in Uncategorized, Wallet Abuse | Leave a Comment »

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 9-17-08

Posted by nfinit on September 16, 2008

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 9-17-08

Rock Band 2 (360)
Here’s my question about guitar games– if keeping abreast of Rock Band and Guitar Hero is equivalent to a $120/year subscription fee, why doesn’t EA or Activision skip the retail bullshit allow a $10/month unlimited updated playlist option? Wouldn’t everyone involved be better served if the yearly updates are treated like the song packs they really are and save the retail sequels for every other year, when the devs can make some noticable progress with features or graphics? It’s not like Madden games where the fans will be happy to follow thier teams every year– A newcomer to the guitar genre is just as well served with GH1 on the PS2 as he is with Rock Band 2– Maybe moreso, depending on taste in music.

You have to wonder exactly where the half life for this genre is, if we haven’t already eclipsed it. Save for the inception of Rock Band, only real thing Activision and EA (and now Konami) have been doing for the past four years is adding More Stuff, not New Stuff. At some point the influx of new fans just collapses and the publishers are forced to focus on the existent, dwindling, increasingly hardcore fans– In many ways you can already see this happening with Konami’s blazingly difficult Guitar Revolution.


But I could just be bitter in that I’ve never been able to enjoy a guitar game, despite virtually every other gamer I know owning a surplus of plastic Stratocasters. Guitar games go into that strata of cultural puruists that annoy me in my inability to enjoy, along with Jaquline Carey’s epic tomes of fantasy magic smut, or The Beatles.

Dragon Quest 4 (DS)
On one hand, I like the idea of taking a classic game and periodically re-making it for new audiences. On the other hand, it would appear that only Squeenix is doing this regularly and even then only to Dragon Quest 4 and Final Fantasy 4. Meanwhile Deus Ex looks like low-res ass and no one in their right mind wants to bother with Planescape: Torment anymore.

The upside to this is that Squeenix has largely forgotten Final Fantasy Six ever existed, and thus they can’t do anything to screw it up. The downside is that it could be decades before they get around to Final Fantasy 13.

Yggdra Union (PSP)
I predict a strong collector’s market for this game, not due to it being a niche title for a niche system mainly notable for pirating PS1 games, but mainly because the name makes it all but impossible to ask a store clerk for a copy, save for those in an enclave of Polish-American strat-JRPG stalwarts in Weyerhaeuser, Wisconsin.

Also, how did this game make the leap from GBA to PSP without ever touching the DS? Yeah, it’s technically a DS game in that it can be played on a DS, but that’s like saying there’s technically an F-Zero game for the Wii. Searching Wikipedia further research shows that that the DS sequel, Knights in the Nightmare, will be sold with a GBA cart of Yggdra Union– that’s either stupidly convoluted, or kinda cool in a “Radiohead on vinyl” sort of way.

Speed Racer (PS2)
Unless Gamestop’s webpage is screwing with me, this is only just now coming out. How do you miss a cash-in PS2 racer by three months? Did the development team have to wait for the movie to be released before they knew what the game was supposed to be about?

The PS2 release happens to coincide with the DVD release, which contains it’s own Speed Racer game on disc. Which raises an interesting experiment for some poor, brave soul– which is the worse experience, Speed Racer: The Movie; Speed Racer: The Movie: The Game; or Speed Racer: The Game of the Movie on the Movie?

Rebel Raiders (Wii)
There’s this neat little subgenre of arcade flying games that’s developing on the Wii. Which is a good thing, it’s not like Nintendo has any arcade flying franchises it’s ignoring in favor of making Wii Music or anything.

Force Unleashed (everything)
I’m personally disappointed that Namco is cashing in on this series so quickly, and pretending that Ivy and Raphael never existed. It’s just insulting.

(On a related note, you know the magazine covers where Starkiller is pulling down a Star Destroyer from orbit? That looked like it was going to be insanely cool a signature event that you’d be talking about on boards for the next week, right? Yeah, that’s a quick time event. You remember Kratos’s sex scenes in God of War? That, but with Tie Fighters instead of boobs. They took what could have been one of the most iconic sequences in gaming history and made it into a game of Space Ace. I’m not a game developer and thus I couldn’t tell you exactly how you make the task of singlehandedly destroying a Star Destroyer into an compelling gaming experience, but if Simon Says on a Dual Shock 3 this was the best they could think of, maybe they shouldn’t have bothered.)

Armored Core: For Answer (360, PS3)
One of the more disappointing developments to come about over the past handful of console generations is the utter failure of software makers to develop a single decent mech game, with the possible exception of Virtual On. The Armored Core series has managed to turn something inherently fun– giant robots blowing the everloving crap out of other giant robots and the immediate surroundings– into an exercise in ponderous, slow, exhaustingly exact combat more befitting submarine warfare than an episode of Voltron.

To resolve this issue, I propose that the next console cycle feature a “Fun Mech(tm)” chip in every console. This chip would, upon insertion of an Armored Core game, immediately boot to Shogo: Armored Police instead.

Battle Fantasia (360)
When Mercs 2 blew up my 360, I wasn’t terribly upset as there wasn’t much I was interested in on the 360 this year besides Fable 2 and Fallout 3, so I wasn’t in much of a hurry to have it repaired. Then I found out that those assholes at Arc Systems went and made Odin Sphere: The Fighting Game.

Unless you know to look, it’s hard to tell those are polys. I’m not sure if it’s doing anything new in the fighting game space, but I don’t care, I’d gladly pay full MSRP for the art alone. Y’know, if Pandemic hadn’t left my 360 a smoldering pile of ruin.

(On another note, how does it work out that the 360 version is coming over to America, but not the PS3? If this game doesn’t firmly represent the exact market that should have been sealed up by the Playsation brand, what does this leave for the PS3? Microsoft has managed to out-otaku Sony, and I’m not sure if any of us are ready to mingle Halo 3 and Guilty Gear cosplayers.)

Pure (everything)
Sure, the previews say it’s fun, but these are the same guys who made all those generic ATV/BMX racers on the PS2 and PSP– fun is the baseline. ATV racers are the Kraft Dinner of videogames, it’s more noteworthy if you manage to screw something like this up. Unless you’re a 360 owner envious of Motorstorm, why wouldn’t you play Dirt instead?

Red Bull BC One (DS)
Apparently portable DDR is a genre now. I greet this development with the same enthusiasm as a lit major learning that Twilight has it’s own shelf at Barnes and Noble.

Imagine: My Secret World (DS)
If portable DDR is the Twilight of videogames, the Imagine series is Gossip Girls. We have only ourselves to blame, really– when parents come to us asking for safe games to steer their daughters to (while secretly hoping their little princesses outgrow the whole videogaming phase) we should have mentioned Harvest Moon or Katamari Damacy instead of Nintendogs. Now in ten years games like this will be directing popular culture.

If you think it’s outrageous of me to link Nintendogs to the death of western civilization, you’ve not been reading enough of my articles.


Line Rider 2 (DS)

You should probably buy this. One, it’s good to see an indy game designer make it big using nothing more than a sketch on a notepad, and two, it’s Line Rider on the DS for only twenty bucks. You weren’t using that money for anything important.

DEVELOPMENTS THAT SICKEN ME AND I CANNOT BE BOTHERED TO DISCUSS:
Di-Gata Defenders (DS)
Unsolved Crimes (DS)
Igor (Wii)

NEXT WEEK:
Baja: Edge of Control makes Pure even more redundant!
Rhapsody: Musical Adventure questions our masculinity!
Kirby Super Star Ultra is more rehashed tripe from Nint– oh who am I kidding, I’m probably buying this.

Posted in Uncategorized, Wallet Abuse | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by nfinit on September 15, 2008

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 9-17-08

Rock Band 2 (360)
Here’s my question about guitar games– if keeping abreast of Rock Band and Guitar Hero is equivalent to a $120/year subscription fee, why doesn’t EA or Activision skip the retail bullshit allow a $10/month unlimited updated playlist option? Wouldn’t everyone involved be better served if the yearly updates are treated like the song packs they really are and save the retail sequels for every other year, when the devs can make some noticable progress with features or graphics? It’s not like Madden games where the fans will be happy to follow thier teams every year– A newcomer to the guitar genre is just as well served with GH1 on the PS2 as he is with Rock Band 2– Maybe moreso, depending on taste in music.

You have to wonder exactly where the half life for this genre is, if we haven’t already eclipsed it. Save for the inception of Rock Band, only real thing Activision and EA (and now Konami) have been doing for the past four years is adding More Stuff, not New Stuff. At some point the influx of new fans just collapses and the publishers are forced to focus on the existent, dwindling, increasingly hardcore fans– In many ways you can already see this happening with Konami’s blazingly difficult Guitar Revolution.


But I could just be bitter in that I’ve never been able to enjoy a guitar game, despite virtually every other gamer I know owning a surplus of plastic Stratocasters. Guitar games go into that strata of cultural puruists that annoy me in my inability to enjoy, along with Jaquline Carey’s epic tomes of fantasy magic smut, or The Beatles.


Dragon Quest 4 (DS)
On one hand, I like the idea of taking a classic game and periodically re-making it for new audiences. On the other hand, it would appear that only Squeenix is doing this regularly and even then only to Dragon Quest 4 and Final Fantasy 4. Meanwhile Deus Ex looks like low-res ass and no one in their right mind wants to bother with Planescape: Torment anymore.

The upside to this is that Squeenix has largely forgotten Final Fantasy Six ever existed, and thus they can’t do anything to screw it up. The downside is that it could be decades before they get around to Final Fantasy 13.

Yggdra Union (PSP)

I predict a strong collector’s market for this game, not due to it being a niche title for a niche system mainly notable for pirating PS1 games, but mainly because the name makes it all but impossible to ask a store clerk for a copy, save for those in an enclave of Polish-American strat-JRPG stalwarts in Weyerhaeuser, Wisconsin.


Also, how did this game make the leap from GBA to PSP without ever touching the DS? Yeah, it’s technically a DS game in that it can be played on a DS, but that’s like saying there’s technically an F-Zero game for the Wii. Searching Wikipedia further research shows that that the DS sequel, Knights in the Nightmare, will be sold with a GBA cart of Yggdra Union– that’s either stupidly convoluted, or kinda cool in a “Radiohead on vinyl” sort of way.

Speed Racer (PS2)

Unless Gamestop’s webpage is screwing with me, this is only just now coming out. How do you miss a cash-in PS2 racer by three months? Did the development team have to wait for the movie to be released before they knew what the game was supposed to be about?

The PS2 release happens to coincide with the DVD release, which contains it’s own Speed Racer game on disc. Which raises an interesting experiment for some poor, brave soul– which is the worse experience, Speed Racer: The Movie; Speed Racer: The Movie: The Game; or Speed Racer: The Game of the Movie on the Movie?

Rebel Raiders (Wii)

There’s this neat little subgenre of arcade flying games that’s developing on the Wii. Which is a good thing, it’s not like Nintendo has any arcade flying franchises it’s ignoring in favor of making Wii Music or anything.

Force Unleashed (everything)

I’m personally disappointed that Namco is cashing in on this series so quickly, and pretending that Ivy and Raphael never existed. It’s just insulting.

(On a related note, you know the magazine covers where Starkiller is pulling down a Star Destroyer from orbit? That looked like it was going to be insanely cool a signature event that you’d be talking about on boards for the next week, right? Yeah, that’s a quick time event. You remember Kratos’s sex scenes in God of War? That, but with Tie Fighters instead of boobs. They took what could have been one of the most iconic sequences in gaming history and made it into a game of Space Ace. I’m not a game developer and thus I couldn’t tell you exactly how you make the task of singlehandedly destroying a Star Destroyer into an compelling gaming experience, but if Simon Says on a Dual Shock 3 this was the best they could think of, maybe they shouldn’t have bothered.)

Armored Core: For Answer (360, PS3)

One of the more disappointing developments to come about over the past handful of console generations is the utter failure of software makers to develop a single decent mech game, with the possible exception of Virtual On. The Armored Core series has managed to turn something inherently fun– giant robots blowing the everloving crap out of other giant robots and the immediate surroundings– into an exercise in ponderous, slow, exhaustingly exact combat more befitting submarine warfare than an episode of Voltron.

To resolve this issue, I propose that the next console cycle feature a “Fun Mech(tm)” chip in every console. This chip would, upon insertion of an Armored Core game, immediately boot to Shogo: Armored Police instead.

Battle Fantasia (360)

When Mercs 2 blew up my 360, I wasn’t terribly upset as there wasn’t much I was interested in on the 360 this year besides Fable 2 and Fallout 3, so I wasn’t in much of a hurry to have it repaired. Then I found out that those assholes at Arc Systems went and made Odin Sphere: The Fighting Game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x3FItgimIQ

Unless you know to look, it’s hard to tell those are polys. I’m not sure if it’s doing anything new in the fighting game space, but I don’t care, I’d gladly pay full MSRP for the art alone. Y’know, if Pandemic hadn’t left my 360 a smoldering pile of ruin.

(On another note, how does it work out that the 360 version is coming over to America, but not the PS3? If this game doesn’t firmly represent the exact market that should have been sealed up by the Playsation brand, what does this leave for the PS3? Microsoft has managed to out-otaku Sony, and I’m not sure if any of us are ready to mingle Halo 3 and Guilty Gear cosplayers.)

Pure (everything)

Sure, the previews say it’s fun, but these are the same guys who made all those generic ATV/BMX racers on the PS2 and PSP– fun is the baseline. ATV racers are the Kraft Dinner of videogames, it’s more noteworthy if you manage to screw something like this up. Unless you’re a 360 owner envious of Motorstorm, why wouldn’t you play Dirt instead?

Red Bull BC One (DS)

Apparently portable DDR is a genre now. I greet this development with the same enthusiasm as a lit major learning that Twilight has it’s own shelf at Barnes and Noble.

Imagine: My Secret World (DS)

If portable DDR is the Twilight of videogames, the Imagine series is Gossip Girls. We have only ourselves to blame, really– when parents come to us asking for safe games to steer their daughters to (while secretly hoping their little princesses outgrow the whole videogaming phase) we should have mentioned Harvest Moon or Katamari Damacy instead of Nintendogs. Now in ten years games like this will be directing popular culture.


If you think it’s outrageous of me to link Nintendogs to the death of western civilization, you’ve not been reading enough of my articles.


Line Rider 2 (DS)


You should probably buy this. One, it’s good to see an indy game designer make it big using nothing more than a sketch on a notepad, and two, it’s Line Rider on the DS for only twenty bucks. You weren’t using that money for anything important.

DEVELOPMENTS THAT SICKEN ME AND I CANNOT BE BOTHERED TO DISCUSS:
Di-Gata Defenders (DS)
Unsolved Crimes (DS)
Igor (Wii)


NEXT WEEK:
Baja: Edge of Control makes Pure even more redundant!
Rhapsody: Musical Adventure questions our masculinity!
Kirby Super Star Ultra is more rehashed tripe from Nint– oh who am I kidding, I’m probably buying this.






Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 9-9-08

Posted by nfinit on September 9, 2008

Kevar points out from lasts week that the few who Viva Pinata were, hardcore gamers and that the game was genuinely well-received by critics.  And while I won’t argue those points (84% at Metacritic, after all) that’s not the point I was trying to get across.  Yeah, you can say that it was the hardcore that wound up buying the game, but I’d argue that that’s largely because on November 2, 2006 there weren’t a whole lot of options for the 360.  VP and Gears of War were virtually the only 360 exclusives on the field.  We were legitimately excited for Sneak King and Pocket Bike Racer, for chrissake.  If you happen to exist at that unlikely crossroad of 360 ownership and Harvest Moon fandom yeah, VP2 is your title.  But that doesn’t mean it exists within the 360’s market.

Last week you may remember me carrying the water for Mercenaries 2.  As you may note from my general scorn and derision for 90% of the games I list here, legitimate excitement over a game is a rare for me, and Mercs 2 represented the first time I’ve paid full retail price for a console game since Ninja Gaiden 2– and maybe the third time all year between those two and Devil May Cry 4.  And while I don’t regret this, Mercenaries 2 has overall been a disappointment.

Mercs 1’s biggest problem was it’s general lack of polish, and along with that a full suite of bugs and and hilarious geometry errors.  And while the game has received a gloss of EA polish– you’ve probably already heard the theme song the bugs have at best, been revised.

Geometry errors still abound– your helicopter pilot seems unable to grasp the concept of flying over palm trees instead of through them before giving up and dropping your cargo (whether it be something as simple as a crate of AK-47 ammo or a fully equipped Abhrams battle tank) wherever he got suck and then popping out of existence. The frequent race missions represent an exercise in speculative physics;  NPC soldiers tend to get stuck in interesting locations such as the space between the body of a tank and it’s turrent, being none worse for wear despite the ordeal.

Brand new bugs include a radio dispatch operator who’s continually advising you to return to base for nonexistent missions, A GPS system so horribly broken that deciphering it’s quirks constitutes it’s own mini-game, and bikes equipped with a truly remarkable gyroscopic stabilization system that resists gravity, tumbles fromatopmountain precipices and broadsides from rocket propelled grenades.  Mercenaries 2 also continues a troubling trend where developers try to cram as many functions into one key as possible, to the point where large swaths of the controller become unused in favor of the all-inclusive Action Button.

All of which makes for a frustrating experience, and this is in despite delays and an upgrade in publishing companies.  It’s still a fun game and one I don’t regret buying, I wish Pandemic had been as inspired in QA as they had in producing the rap jingle.

That’s all ignoring that Mercs 2  has caused my launch edition 360 to red ring– which is confounding, as the game basically looks like the XB1 original with better geometry and light blur.  In closing, fuck you, Pandemic, fuck you for blowing up my 360 and fuck you for screwing up Mattias’ voice.

Spore (PC)

I don’t get sim games.  I don’t mind them, I just classify them in the same space reserved for ballet or lacrosse or the Beatles, pursuits that are probably more culturally important than the things I enjoy and cause me to feel guilty for not enjoying.

However, I feel people are going out of their way to refuse to classify what would otherwise appear to be a classic Will Wright sim.  And maybe it’s because this has never been my type of game– a decided lack of ninjas or beheadings or Lotus race cars– I’ve never been terribly interested in the game Spore as much as the concept of Spore.  That said, I can’t be mad at a game that allows me to create a walking, spiked-club wielding penis to do battle with alien cultures, and you have to respect a concept that refuses to patronize it’s players, even if that comes with a certain lack of accessibility.

‘course, that’s ignoring the real possibility that Spore might not be a fundamentally good game, if impressions from the pirate community are to be believed.  Let’s just hope that the confluence of software pirates and 4x exploration fans turns out to be rather low.

Spore Creatures (Wii)

I’ve spent the past two days reading impressions and watching gameplay trailers for Spore Creatures and I still cant’ tell you what it’s supposed to be about or what it’s supposed to do with Spore PC.  At best I think it’s supposed to be Cubivore with Paper Mario’s art style.  Maybe.  I dunno.  It’s probably wretched.

NHL 2k9 (Everything)

If you’re going to buy one NHL game this year… well, this is going to pretty much have to be it, isn’t it?

You know, hockey is a pretty easy to translate to videogame form, and is one of those concepts that make for better game without official licensing or faithfully-reproduced physics.  Knowing this, why hasn’t someone paid five bucks for the Blades of Steel name and run with it?

Mystery Case Files:  MillionHeir (DS)

While none of us were paying attention, a company called Big Fish Games has made an enormous amount of money producing Myst games for housewives in the guise of the Mystery Case File series, and this is the culmination of their efforts.

The point of these games is to– and I say this will all seriousness– to find items in the background and click on them.  Did I say Myst?  Obviously I meant Where’s Waldo.

This goes beyond simple casual gaming, beyond your parents waving a wiimote in the general direction of your TV screen, this is a game your three year old niece would be personally offended if it were installed on her LeapFrog.

At first I wondered how something like this garnered a hundred million downloads and six games, but then I saw where Big Fish Games was founded by the same guys who founded RealNetworks and it became obvious– they tricked people into buying these, same way they tricked millions of poor suckers into downloading RealPlayer and RealArcade.  So in the unlikely event you buy a DS game in the near future, be careful– there’s a good chance these assholes have infested that copy Bangai-O with Realplayer:  The Game Series.

Lock’s Quest (DS)

A hardcore-ized version of Tower Defense ginned up with anime-style art (although it’s about as Japanese as a Toyota Camry, having been developed by the Drawn to Life guys); If it’s $20 I’ll buy it, if any more expensive than that you wonder why they’ve bothered.

(I do, however, like this idea of flash game concepts making it over to handhelds, and am saddened to learn that Tower of Goo — pretty much The Perfect DS Game– is going to WiiWare instead.)

Mazes of Fate (DS)

Normally, I’d be excited to play a handheld Shining in the Darkness. But then I remember Etrian Odyssey already exists, is five hundred million hours long, and features dominatrixes with enormous boobs as a playable character class. And suddenly I no longer care about Mazes of Fate.

Bratz Poneyz 2 (DS)

Yeah, we’re going to talk about Bratz Poneyz 2, as I think it’s important that we bring a game who’s ultimate goal is raising a doe-eyed horse slut into the national conversation.

Those sassy, naughty little ponies.

This is the point where I feel I should confess my crush on Megan from the My Little Pony cartoon, so maybe I’m coming into this with mixed emotions and I’m not a fair judge of this game’s …merits… but I feel this game is not only offensive to gamers and the unfortunate eight year old girls and effeminate boys who receive this for Christmas, but aslo to the entire anamorphic equine community.

Between this and turning their delicious bones into Jell-O desserts, we’re going to have a lot to answer for one day.

Zoids Assault (360)

What the fuck is Zoids Assault

TNA Impact (PS3, PS2, 360)

A fake wrestling game (They’ve removed grappling and submissions!) for a fake wrestling company that represents a fake sport.  Have I mentioned that these guys have been paying Kurt Angle money to stay on their payroll for the past two years, a guy who’s neck vertebrae have all the structural integrity of a granola bar?

That said, if Kevin Nash’s moveset is simply him taking four steps into the ring and then instantly retiring, it’s at least worth a rental.

Active Life Outdoor Challenge (Wii)

Or as I like to call it; Irony: The Game.

Yakuza 2 (PS2)

I’d never played the first, having passed it off as a weeaboo-friendly GTA3, but it seems I may have been a bit rash in that decision, or at least should not pass that opinion off to it’s sequel.  This could well be the last Really Important Game PS2 owners lay in the system’s spindle.  If any company were to give us the PS2’s swan song, it’s only fitting it should be Sega.

NEXT WEEK:

Force Unleashed continues the epic story first hinted at in Soul Calibur 4!

Rock Band 2 HOLY SHIT THIS THING HAS LUMP I HAVE TO BUY IT

Battle Fantasia:

Is alright by me!

Posted in Uncategorized, Wallet Abuse | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by nfinit on September 9, 2008

Upcoming Sept 9 2008

Kevar points out from lasts week’s that the few who Viva Pinata were, hardcore gamers and that the game was genuinely well-received by critics.  And while I won’t argue those points (84% at Metacritic, after all) that’s not the point I was trying to get across.  Yeah, you can say that it was the hardcore that wound up buying the game, but I’d argue that that’s largely because on November 2, 2006 there weren’t a whole lot of options for the 360.  VP and Gears of War were virtually the only 360 exclusives on the field.  We were legitimately excited for Sneak King and Pocket Bike Racer, for chrissake.  If you happen to exist at that unlikely crossroad of 360 ownership and Harvest Moon fandom yeah, VP2 is your title.  But that doesn’t mean it exists within the 360’s market.
Last week you may remember me carrying the water for Mercenaries 2.  As you may note from my general scorn and derision for 90% of the games I list here, legitimate excitement over a game is a rare for me, and Mercs 2 represented the first time I’ve paid full retail price for a console game since Ninja Gaiden 2– and maybe the third time all year between those two and Devil May Cry 4.  And while I don’t regret this, Mercenaries 2 has overall been a disappointment.
Mercs 1’s biggest problem was it’s general lack of polish, and along with that a full suite of bugs and and hilarious geometry errors.  And while the game has received a gloss of EA polish– you’ve probably already heard the theme song the bugs have at best, been revised.
Geometry errors still abound– your helicopter pilot seems unable to grasp the concept of flying over palm trees instead of through them before giving up and dropping your cargo (whether it be something as simple as a crate of AK-47 ammo or a fully equipped Abhrams battle tank) wherever he got suck and then popping out of existence. The frequent race missions represent an exercise in speculative physics;  NPC soldiers tend to get stuck in interesting locations such as the space between the body of a tank and it’s turrent, being none worse for wear despite the ordeal.
Brand new bugs include a radio dispatch operator who’s continually advising you to return to base for nonexistent missions, A GPS system so horribly broken that deciphering it’s quirks constitutes it’s own mini-game, and bikes equipped with a truly remarkable gyroscopic stabilization system that resists gravity, tumbles fromatopmountain precipices and broadsides from rocket propelled grenades.  Mercenaries 2 also continues a troubling trend where developers try to cram as many functions into one key as possible, to the point where large swaths of the controller become unused in favor of the all-inclusive Action Button. 
All of which makes for a frustrating experience, and this is in despite delays and an upgrade in publishing companies.  It’s still a fun game and one I don’t regret buying, I wish Pandemic had been as inspired in QA as they had in producing the rap jingle.
That’s all ignoring that Mercs 2  has caused my launch edition 360 to red ring– which is confounding, as the game basically looks like the XB1 original with better geometry and light blur.  In closing, fuck you, Pandemic, fuck you for blowing up my 360 and fuck you for screwing up Mattias’ voice.
*Spore (PC)
I don’t get sim games.  I don’t mind them, I just classify them in the same space reserved for ballet or lacrosse or the Beatles, pursuits that are probably more culturally important than the things I enjoy and cause me to feel guilty for not enjoying.
However, I feel people are going out of their way to refuse to classify what would otherwise appear to be a classic Will Wright sim.  And maybe it’s because this has never been my type of game– a decided lack of ninjas or beheadings or Lotus race cars– I’ve never been terribly interested in the game Spore as much as the concept of Spore.  That said, I can’t be mad at a game that allows me to create a walking, spiked-club wielding penis to do battle with alien cultures, and you have to respect a concept that refuses to patronize it’s players, even if that comes with a certain lack of accessibility.
‘course, that’s ignoring the real possibility that Spore might not be a fundamentally good game, if impressions from the pirate community are to be believed.  Let’s just hope that the confluence of software pirates and 4x exploration fans turns out to be rather low.
*Spore Creatures (Wii)
I’ve spent the past two days reading impressions and watching gameplay trailers for Spore Creatures and I still cant’ tell you what it’s supposed to be about or what it’s supposed to do with Spore PC.  At best I think it’s supposed to be Cubivore with Paper Mario’s art style.  Maybe.  I dunno.  It’s probably wretched.
*NHL 2k9 (Everything)
If you’re going to buy one NHL game this year… well, this is going to pretty much have to be it, isn’t it?
You know, hockey is a pretty easy to translate to videogame form, and is one of those concepts that make for better game without official licensing or faithfully-reproduced physics.  Knowing this, why hasn’t someone paid five bucks for the Blades of Steel name and run with it?
*Mystery Case Files:  MillionHeir (DS)
While none of us were paying attention, a company called Big Fish Games has made an enormous amount of money producing Myst games for housewives in the guise of the Mystery Case File series, and this is the culmination of their efforts.
The point of these games is to– and I say this will all seriousness– to find items in the background and click on them.  Did I say Myst?  Obviously I meant Where’s Waldo.
This goes beyond simple casual gaming, beyond your parents waving a wiimote in the general direction of your TV screen, this is a game your three year old niece would be personally offended if it were installed on her LeapFrog.
At first I wondered how something like this garnered a hundred million downloads and six games, but then I saw where Big Fish Games was founded by the same guys who founded RealNetworks and it became obvious– they tricked people into buying these, same way they tricked millions of poor suckers into downloading RealPlayer and RealArcade.  So in the unlikely event you buy a DS game in the near future, be careful– there’s a good chance these assholes have infested that copy Bangai-O with Realplayer:  The Game Series.
*Lock’s Quest (DS)
A hardcore-ized version of Tower Defense ginned up with anime-style art (although it’s about as Japanese as a Toyota Camry, having been developed by the Drawn to Life guys); If it’s $20 I’ll buy it, if any more expensive than that you wonder why they’ve bothered.
(I do, however, like this idea of flash game concepts making it over to handhelds, and am saddened to learn that Tower of Goo  — pretty much The Perfect DS Game– is going to WiiWare instead.)
*Mazes of Fate (DS)
Normally, I’d be excited to play a handheld Shining in the Darkness. But then I remember Etrian Odyssey already exists, is five hundred million hours long, and features dominatrixes with enormous boobs as a playable character class. And suddenly I no longer care about Mazes of Fate.
*Bratz Poneyz 2 (DS)
Yeah, we’re going to talk about Bratz Poneyz 2, as I think it’s important that we bring a game who’s ultimate goal is raising a doe-eyed horse slut into the national conversation.
Those sassy, naughty little ponies.
This is the point where I feel I should confess my crush on Megan from the My Little Pony cartoon, so maybe I’m coming into this with mixed emotions and I’m not a fair judge of this game’s …merits… but I feel this game is not only offensive to gamers and the unfortunate eight year old girls and effeminate boys who receive this for Christmas, but aslo to the entire anamorphic equine community.
Between this and turning their delicious bones into Jell-O desserts, we’re going to have a lot to answer for one day.
*Zoids Assault (360)
What the fuck is Zoids Assault
*TNA Impact (PS3, PS2, 360)
A fake wrestling game (They’ve removed grappling and submissions!) for a fake wrestling company that represents a fake sport.  Have I mentioned that these guys have been paying Kurt Angle money to stay on their payroll for the past two years, a guy who’s neck vertebrae have all the structural integrity of a granola bar?
That said, if Kevin Nash’s moveset is simply him taking four steps into the ring and then instantly retiring, it’s at least worth a rental.
*Active Life Outdoor Challenge (Wii) 
Or as I like to call it; Irony: The Game.
*Yakuza 2 (PS2)
I’d never played the first, having passed it off as a weeaboo-friendly GTA3, but it seems I may have been a bit rash in that decision, or at least should not pass that opinion off to it’s sequel.  This could well be the last Really Important Game PS2 owners lay in the system’s spindle.  If any company were to give us the PS2’s swan song, it’s only fitting it should be Sega.
NEXT WEEK:
Force Unleashed continues the epic story first hinted at in Soul Calibur 4!
Rock Band 2 HOLY SHIT THIS THING HAS LUMP I HAVE TO BUY IT

Battle Fantasia:

Is alright by me!

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