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

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.

Di-Gata Defenders (DS)
Unsolved Crimes (DS)
Igor (Wii)

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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: