Bigredcoat

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

Archive for October, 2008

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 10-28-08

Posted by nfinit on October 28, 2008

An abbreviated WAW today, as I spent most of Tuesday wandering around Manhattan in the pouring rain and I think somewhere outside the Citigroup tower I was able to pinpoint the exact moment I contracted pneumonia.

So if you’re concerned about not seeing Disney Faries: Tinker Bell, Singstar Country, Rubik’s Puzzle World, Six Flags Theme Park, High School Musical Three, MySims Kingdom or Scene It Office Smash, I assure you they came out this week, and they’re all crap.

And then there’s this crap:

All Star Cheer Squad (wii)

ASCS has me excited for two reasons. One, there’s this:

And secondly, Nintendo has created a situation where it’s become fiscally feasable to sell videogames to cheerleaders, and I like anything that further justifies my seething hatred for Nintendo and all it stands for. It’s sort of like being excited when hearing that the Dallas Cowboys signed Roy Williams simply because you know it’ll piss off TO and make everyone involved look like even bigger assholes than they already are.

Bella Sara (DS)

Research reveals this to be a Nintendogs-clone based on the popular girls’s equine ccg Bella Sara, which leads us to the question– what the fuck is Bella Sara?

Oh, that’s Bella Sara.

Not wishing to do too much research into Bella Sera and wind up with Chris Hansen knocking on my door, I’m left to wonder exactly what differentiates a girl’s collectible card game from something like Magic the Gathering. I mean, we can assume that your horses don’t actually fight each other, because a game centered around unicorns impaling nightmares would be something that’d have appeared on my radar well before now.

Fallout 3 (360, PS3)
aaaah, there we go.

I’m not going to be the most unbiased opinion on the merits of Fallout 3, seeing as how I’ve already ordered the CE despite, you know– not possessing a working 360 console– But do you really need an unbiased opinion to tell you you need to be playing this game, right now, despite whatever laws of physical reality and your own local police jurisdiction may unfairly impose?

Okay, so at worse it’s going to be Oblivion with a Mad Max skin. I don’t think there’s any real reason to think it’ll work out that way, but that’s your baseline. Bethesda doesn’t make bad games, and provided you’re willing to pretend Brotherhood of Steel was never produced, there’s never been a bad Fallout game. And really, even if it’s not a hundred percent faithful to the Fallout universe or ethos, isn’t it about time we had a western RPG that broke free of high fantasy?

Y’know, one not already made by Bioware.

What I’m saying here is that, at worse, you’re still looking at what’s probably going to be the best WRPG of the year. If it can live up to it’s promise, then it’s going to be very, very special.

Guitar Hero World Tour (Everything)
Guitar games are like Madden games to me at this point– I can’t play them worth a damn, I like seeing other people play them, I’m sorta baffled as to why people keep buying incremental updates every six months.

Imagine Party Babyz (Wii)

You have to admire the breadth of vision with Ubisoft’s Imagine series– not only is it a full-on assault against good gaming, but it also actively reinforces gender roles by convincing young girls that their proscribe career paths involve babysitting, tending house and little else.

Now we have Party Babyz, in which Ubisoft makes the argument that babies should be used as personal combatants in frenetic party games. I can’t say I’m disappointed with this development, as the next obvious step is Imagine: Baby Cockfights, where you strap kitchen knives to infant foreheads and the the little runtlings scoot about until one baby is left crawling.

Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ (DS)

Now here’s the sort of stereotype-shattering title that only hardcore gaming can deliver:

Yeah, it’s a good thing no one at NOW owns a DS, otherwise we’d be fucked. Still, there’s nothing about this game that’s convinced me I can’t not buy it.

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift

As much as I’ve enjoyed the antics of lolSony over the past two years, I gotta admit to indulging in more than a bit of fanboy jealousy over the Motorstorm franchise. It’s simple, well-constructed arcade rally action, something that Sega just can’t get right anymore and Codemaster’s Colin McRae games simply aren’t interested in doing. Plus, it looks simply fucking stunning in HD, one of the few titles that you can point to as being unquestionably PS3-like as far as graphics are concerned.

Pacific Rift looks particularly neat, as it’s taking Motorstorm’s formula and adding evolving track design that features paths that can be each be exploited in thier own way by Motorstorm’s varied vehicle classes. I want to play this, and am annoyed at the utter lack of an analogous title on the 360, especially with with no recent news on the horizon of the Rallisport followup Turn 10 is supposedly working on.

Moto GP ’08 (PS3,PS2,360)The annoying thing about Moto GP ’08 is imagining how cool a bike racer by Capcom would be if it were played out like a traditional Capcom game instead of a sim racer. You could have Isabella from Dead Rising show up on her Harley, instigate bike-mounted knife fights, have The Tyrant appear as a boss battle atop a pocketbike– It’d be like Mario Kart, but with tits and evisceration. Y’know, pretty much the best game ever.

Ninjatown (DS)

Sorry, Random Child’s Play kid. You’re never going to get a copy of Lego Batman because Shawn Smith is an asshole who made a tower defense game about chibi ninjas and took all my money.

Neverland Card Battles (PSP)

Yeah. I don’t know either, man.

Out of the Chute (Wii, PS2)
For some reason I keep mixing up Crave the shitty budget-title developer with Cave shooters, the guys who keep making shumps for the Dreamcast. I think this is mainly due to the Cave brain squishy I picked up from the last Atlanta E3, and for whatever reason the company has managed to insinuate itself in my head as a quality developer, and I’m shocked whenever I remember they make stuff like The Bible Game or Hard Rock Casino or this blight upon our hobby.

PopStar Guitar (Wii)
Wait. Grips? Why does the Gamestop listing mention gri–

Hahahahahahaha holy shit

NEXT WEEK~!

NARUTO: ULTIMATE NINJA STORM is MOCKED AND DERIDED

I attempt to summon interest in GEARS OF WAR 2

BRATZ KIDZ: SLUMBER PARTY threatens to bring SEXUAL DEVIANCY charges against me!

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Wallet Abuse Wednesday 10-22-08

Posted by nfinit on October 22, 2008

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?: Make the Grade (DS)

This is actually a pretty neat game, as it’s very meta. Here’s how you play:

1: Buy Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader
2: Find a 5th grader with DS
3: If said 5th grader is playing any game other than Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, you fail.

Back at the Barnyard: Slop Bucket Games (DS)

The existence of Slop Bucket Games raises a number of troubling questions:

*Why does THQ hate us?
* If you’re in the market for Slop Bucket Games, do you consider yourself above the Harvest Moon series?
*Is there an artificial insemination minigame using the stylus as a syringe full of cow semen?
*If not, why?
*Why on earth is this being sold for thirty bucks?

Bioshock (PS3)

It’s good to see the PS3 finally become as viable as the 360–

–from August 2007.

I question if Bioshock can still hold up as a AAA title. I loved the game when it first came out, and consider it GOTY for 2007, but perhaps more than any good game in recent memory, it doesn’t really hold up well after the initial play through. The vaunted Little Sister gameplay mechanic never fully realized itself, and the Big Daddies held little threat after the first five hours of gameplay. It was a game victim to it’s own multitude of options– once you started exploring the levels and gaining weapon upgrades and powerups, the game became almost absurdly easy. But the story and setting are enough to make this must-play material for hardcore gamers, it’s just a shame the game never really lived up to 2k’s own expectations.

Disney Sing It (Wii, PS3, PS2, 360)

I can remember a time back in the 32 bit era where a Disney karaoke game would be contending for the most embarrassing thing to happen to gaming for the entire year, between the N64 shaped like Pikachu and news that Sega was calling their new system the “Dreamcast”. We would stand around the Babbage’s counter, share a laugh about these developments while talking about how awesome Parasite Eve before going home alone to masturbate to jpgs of hentai pornography.

Now I’m not sure I’d be willing to call Sing It the most wince-inducing videogame so far this update.

Eternal Sonata (PS3)

Note to PS3 owners: don’t bother sending out resumes to Ernst and Young.

Fable 2 (360)

I loved the original Fable to death, right up until about the three hour mark where I realized I was basically playing a fenced in Zelda with funny accents. That said, I felt Fable could be a legitimate AAA game if it weren’t for a few fundamental flaws:

* A main quest that lasted all of five hours
* No consequence at all given the lauded good/evil gameplay mechanic
* Three-foot high fences that were impervious to jumping, axes, magic and swearing

To counter these complaints, Peter Moleneux endowed Fable 2 with the following:

* A seven hour long main quest
* Map dog

More distressing to fans of the original game are Moleneux’s pleas to the gamer press to “Please don’t review this game in the same way that a hardcore gamer would. In fact, if you could get non-gamers to review Fable 2, that’d be better. Maybe someone blind and without thumbs. Do you have a dog? Dogs are good. Hey, you remember Dungeon Keeper, right? “

A month ago, Fable 2 was up there on my list of must-buy titles of 2008, along with Fallout 3 and Mirror’s Edge and Prince of Persia: The Next One. Now Fable 2 ranks somewhere between elective spleen removal and purchase of a grocery bag full of skunk anal scent glands.


Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (PS2, PS3, PSP, 360, Wii, Sinclair ZX Spectrum,– just kidding, it’s not actually on the PSP )

There are some concepts so brain-dead obvious for translation to videogames that developers just can’t get right. Transformers games, for instance. You’d think a game about cars and jets that turn into robots would be a natural for the digital form– but the Mech Game Corollary comes into play and ruins any attempt at creating a decent game of the concept.

Same way with dragon games. They’re huge, breathe fire, fly, eat villagers, generally ruin shit. It seems like they’d be obvious candidates for the basis of good gaming– However, unless the game features Panzer Dragoon in the title, dragon-based games are downright horrible.

So wither the Spyro franchise. which has had sixteen games, five developers, and virtually every game-capable hardware platform to create a single memorable videogame experience, yet when you ask hardcore gamers what we think of the series we’re stuck trying to remember if that was the one with the commercial of a marmoset screaming into a bullhorn outside of Nintendo HQ.

As far as this particular Spyro goes, this is the first game in the series that allows the player to fly at any time during the game– which, I dunno, you’d figure would be the main component of a game series based on being a flying, fire-breathing lizard. It look these people ten friggin’ years to finally think that free flight would be a good idea?


Little Big Planet (PS3)

Media Molecule has exceeded my wildest expectations with this title– If I had to guess any company to finally unleash the Jihad Al-Talib upon gamers, it’d have been Sega. Good work, guys.


Lovely Lisa (DS)

I’d do more research on this title, but I’m positive I’ve been placed on a New York State pedophile watchlist just for looking up the box art on Gamestop.


Master of the Monster Lair (DS)

This would appear to be a combination of Tecmo’s Deception and Monster Lair using the DS, and if hearing that doesn’t cause a tingling in your nether regions then you’re reading the wrong website.


Midnight Club LA (360, PS3)

I’m not really sure what Midnight Club is doing anymore that Need for Speed doesn’t do every single year.

But it’s a dry year for quality racers, and it’s not like Rockstar makes bad games. That said, you’d think Rockstar would be clever enough to figure out a way to include Midnight Club cars in GTA4 and vice versa.


Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 (Wii)

Fuck this noise, I’m going to use this paragraph to talk about a real ninja game– Legend of Kage 2 for the DS.

I’ve not been shy in my opinion that ninja games make the very best videogames– even the passing presence of ninjas can largely suffice to make an otherwise annoying and obtuse game kickass, as evidenced by Metal Gear Solid’s Cyberninja.

LoK2 is the very essence of a ninja game– insanely high jumps, air dashes, rampant eviscerations, busty women in improbably loose-fitting gis– add in a giant rock dude and a healthy dose of superfluous bare breasts and you’ve pretty much got Ninja Scroll, the videogame. It’s development was quite obviously a labor of love from Tatio, much like Space Invaders Extreme before it, and it’s presence makes me yearn for the same treatment to be given to Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden and (especially) Strider.

It’s not perfect, but then what is with gaming, especially when you’re dealing with a very deliberate throwback to the 8 bit era– the graphics are sparse, the levels largely interchangable, the DS Lite buttons entirely too small and indistinct for the type of game you’re playing– but it represents what I feel to be the very essence of gaming, and encapsulates so many things of what made me fall in love with the medium that I can easily overlook it’s faults. At twenty bucks we should probably all own it, if for no other reason than to become a little more grounded in an age of Wii Sports and Guitar Hero and Brain Training. This is a videogame, unapologetically so, and something that deserves our attention, if not devotion.

Pass the Pigs (DS)

We now have a videogame based around a game based around tossing rubber pigs on a table and seeing how they land. We’re talking about a mechanic barely a step removed from tossing coins in the air, and THQ is selling it to an unsuspecting public for twenty dollars. A random dice roller is more sophisticated than this game! I don’t know to be horrified or amazed.


Penny Racers Party (Wii)

Prior to filing this report, I had the pleasure of being privy to an exclusive interview with Tomy CEO, Kantaro Tomiyama:

Nfinit: It’s a pleasure to meet someone with such an initmate connection with the industry an how our games are HOLY GOD WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR EYEBALLS?

Tomiyama: Shortly before my company got into the business of producing videogames, I was invited aboard the experimental starship Event Horizon. Upon that ill-fated voyage I saw sights so horrific that I felt compelled to tear my own eyeballs free of their sockets. In unrelated news, I recently promoted myself to Tomy’s Quality Assurance team lead.


Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Funny thing about Web of Shadows– it may wind up being a better Fable 2 than Fable 2 itself. At the very least it looks like it may actually deliver on a storyline the player has some actual input in the outcome of, and something actually resembling a good/evil mechanic that does more than effect housing prices.

It looks incredibly well-done, which surprises me, as I associate Treyarch more with Call of Duty games and cash-in movie tie-in games than AAA-contender titles. The fact that comic book games have generally sucked since Capcom stopped doing Marvel Vs games doesn’t help its pedigree.


Star Ocean: First Departure (PSP)

The only thing this game does is annoy me that we’re never ever ever ever going to see a proper Phantasy Star V.


Touchmaster II (DS)

Upon closer inspection, this game has absolutely nothing to do with Ifeelmyself.com. I feel betrayed. And drowsy. But mostly betrayed.


Wii Music (Wii)

I’m not going to get into the argument if Wii Music is or isn’t a game, all I know is it’s a game that I have no interest in whatsoever. But that’s okay, I’m not interested in Beverly Hills Chihuahua either, but it doesn’t keep me from enjoying W.

The larger question is if something like Wii Music– which firmly establishes Nintendo as a lifestyle company instead of a videogame company– is harmful to the industry as a whole. May be. But I know this is also the same industry and same console that allows me to play No More Heroes and Mad World and Mega Man 9, so the damage must be limited in scope– after all, we’re talking about the same industry that generated 13 billion dollars in 2006 while selling Okami and Gears of War and Twilight Princess. There’s simply too much money to be found selling games to hardcore gamers for something like the Wii Music– or the Wii in general, really– to do any sizable, long-term damage.

But you do have to be worried about Nintendo– when Shigero Miyamoto is no longer interested in Zelda as much as he is in flailing his arms vaguely in time with the theme to Zelda, you may have a real, quantifiable problem.

Posted in Uncategorized, Wallet Abuse | Leave a Comment »

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 10-21-08

Posted by nfinit on October 21, 2008

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?: Make the Grade (DS)

This is actually a pretty neat game, as it’s very meta. Here’s how you play:

1: Buy Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader
2: Find a 5th grader with DS
3: If said 5th grader is playing any game other than Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, you fail.

Back at the Barnyard: Slop Bucket Games (DS)

The existence of Slop Bucket Games raises a number of troubling questions:

*Why does THQ hate us?
* If you’re in the market for Slop Bucket Games, do you consider yourself above the Harvest Moon series?
*Is there an artificial insemination minigame using the stylus as a syringe full of cow semen?
*If not, why?
*Why on earth is this being sold for thirty bucks?

Bioshock (PS3)

It’s good to see the PS3 finally become as viable as the 360–

–from August 2007.

I question if Bioshock can still hold up as a AAA title. I loved the game when it first came out, and consider it GOTY for 2007, but perhaps more than any good game in recent memory, it doesn’t really hold up well after the initial play through. The vaunted Little Sister gameplay mechanic never fully realized itself, and the Big Daddies held little threat after the first five hours of gameplay. It was a game victim to it’s own multitude of options– once you started exploring the levels and gaining weapon upgrades and powerups, the game became almost absurdly easy. But the story and setting are enough to make this must-play material for hardcore gamers, it’s just a shame the game never really lived up to 2k’s own expectations.

Disney Sing It (Wii, PS3, PS2, 360)

I can remember a time back in the 32 bit era where a Disney karaoke game would be contending for the most embarrassing thing to happen to gaming for the entire year, between the N64 shaped like Pikachu and news that Sega was calling their new system the “Dreamcast”. We would stand around the Babbage’s counter, share a laugh about these developments while talking about how awesome Parasite Eve before going home alone to masturbate to jpgs of hentai pornography.

Now I’m not sure I’d be willing to call Sing It the most wince-inducing videogame so far this update.

Eternal Sonata (PS3)

Note to PS3 owners: don’t bother sending out resumes to Ernst and Young.

Fable 2 (360)

I loved the original Fable to death, right up until about the three hour mark where I realized I was basically playing a fenced in Zelda with funny accents. That said, I felt Fable could be a legitimate AAA game if it weren’t for a few fundamental flaws:

* A main quest that lasted all of five hours
* No consequence at all given the lauded good/evil gameplay mechanic
* Three-foot high fences that were impervious to jumping, axes, magic and swearing

To counter these complaints, Peter Moleneux endowed Fable 2 with the following:

* A seven hour long main quest
* Map dog

More distressing to fans of the original game are Moleneux’s pleas to the gamer press to “Please don’t review this game in the same way that a hardcore gamer would. In fact, if you could get non-gamers to review Fable 2, that’d be better. Maybe someone blind and without thumbs. Do you have a dog? Dogs are good. Hey, you remember Dungeon Keeper, right? “

A month ago, Fable 2 was up there on my list of must-buy titles of 2008, along with Fallout 3 and Mirror’s Edge and Prince of Persia: The Next One. Now Fable 2 ranks somewhere between elective spleen removal and purchase of a grocery bag full of skunk anal scent glands.


Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (PS2, PS3, PSP, 360, Wii, Sinclair ZX Spectrum,– just kidding, it’s not actually on the PSP )

There are some concepts so brain-dead obvious for translation to videogames that developers just can’t get right. Transformers games, for instance. You’d think a game about cars and jets that turn into robots would be a natural for the digital form– but the Mech Game Corollary comes into play and ruins any attempt at creating a decent game of the concept.

Same way with dragon games. They’re huge, breathe fire, fly, eat villagers, generally ruin shit. It seems like they’d be obvious candidates for the basis of good gaming– However, unless the game features Panzer Dragoon in the title, dragon-based games are downright horrible.

So wither the Spyro franchise. which has had sixteen games, five developers, and virtually every game-capable hardware platform to create a single memorable videogame experience, yet when you ask hardcore gamers what we think of the series we’re stuck trying to remember if that was the one with the commercial of a marmoset screaming into a bullhorn outside of Nintendo HQ.

As far as this particular Spyro goes, this is the first game in the series that allows the player to fly at any time during the game– which, I dunno, you’d figure would be the main component of a game series based on being a flying, fire-breathing lizard. It look these people ten friggin’ years to finally think that free flight would be a good idea?


Little Big Planet (PS3)

Media Molecule has exceeded my wildest expectations with this title– If I had to guess any company to finally unleash the Jihad Al-Talib upon gamers, it’d have been Sega. Good work, guys.


Lovely Lisa (DS)

I’d do more research on this title, but I’m positive I’ve been placed on a New York State pedophile watchlist just for looking up the box art on Gamestop.


Master of the Monster Lair (DS)

This would appear to be a combination of Tecmo’s Deception and Monster Lair using the DS, and if hearing that doesn’t cause a tingling in your nether regions then you’re reading the wrong website.


Midnight Club LA (360, PS3)

I’m not really sure what Midnight Club is doing anymore that Need for Speed doesn’t do every single year.

But it’s a dry year for quality racers, and it’s not like Rockstar makes bad games. That said, you’d think Rockstar would be clever enough to figure out a way to include Midnight Club cars in GTA4 and vice versa.


Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 (Wii)

Fuck this noise, I’m going to use this paragraph to talk about a real ninja game– Legend of Kage 2 for the DS.

I’ve not been shy in my opinion that ninja games make the very best videogames– even the passing presence of ninjas can largely suffice to make an otherwise annoying and obtuse game kickass, as evidenced by Metal Gear Solid’s Cyberninja.

LoK2 is the very essence of a ninja game– insanely high jumps, air dashes, rampant eviscerations, busty women in improbably loose-fitting gis– add in a giant rock dude and a healthy dose of superfluous bare breasts and you’ve pretty much got Ninja Scroll, the videogame. It’s development was quite obviously a labor of love from Tatio, much like Space Invaders Extreme before it, and it’s presence makes me yearn for the same treatment to be given to Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden and (especially) Strider.

It’s not perfect, but then what is with gaming, especially when you’re dealing with a very deliberate throwback to the 8 bit era– the graphics are sparse, the levels largely interchangable, the DS Lite buttons entirely too small and indistinct for the type of game you’re playing– but it represents what I feel to be the very essence of gaming, and encapsulates so many things of what made me fall in love with the medium that I can easily overlook it’s faults. At twenty bucks we should probably all own it, if for no other reason than to become a little more grounded in an age of Wii Sports and Guitar Hero and Brain Training. This is a videogame, unapologetically so, and something that deserves our attention, if not devotion.

Pass the Pigs (DS)

We now have a videogame based around a game based around tossing rubber pigs on a table and seeing how they land. We’re talking about a mechanic barely a step removed from tossing coins in the air, and THQ is selling it to an unsuspecting public for twenty dollars. A random dice roller is more sophisticated than this game! I don’t know to be horrified or amazed.


Penny Racers Party (Wii)

Prior to filing this report, I had the pleasure of being privy to an exclusive interview with Tomy CEO, Kantaro Tomiyama:

Nfinit: It’s a pleasure to meet someone with such an initmate connection with the industry an how our games are HOLY GOD WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR EYEBALLS?

Tomiyama: Shortly before my company got into the business of producing videogames, I was invited aboard the experimental starship Event Horizon. Upon that ill-fated voyage I saw sights so horrific that I felt compelled to tear my own eyeballs free of their sockets. In unrelated news, I recently promoted myself to Tomy’s Quality Assurance team lead.


Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Funny thing about Web of Shadows– it may wind up being a better Fable 2 than Fable 2 itself. At the very least it looks like it may actually deliver on a storyline the player has some actual input in the outcome of, and something actually resembling a good/evil mechanic that does more than effect housing prices.

It looks incredibly well-done, which surprises me, as I associate Treyarch more with Call of Duty games and cash-in movie tie-in games than AAA-contender titles. The fact that comic book games have generally sucked since Capcom stopped doing Marvel Vs games doesn’t help its pedigree.


Star Ocean: First Departure (PSP)

The only thing this game does is annoy me that we’re never ever ever ever going to see a proper Phantasy Star V.


Touchmaster II (DS)

Upon closer inspection, this game has absolutely nothing to do with Ifeelmyself.com. I feel betrayed. And drowsy. But mostly betrayed.


Wii Music (Wii)

I’m not going to get into the argument if Wii Music is or isn’t a game, all I know is it’s a game that I have no interest in whatsoever. But that’s okay, I’m not interested in Beverly Hills Chihuahua either, but it doesn’t keep me from enjoying W.

The larger question is if something like Wii Music– which firmly establishes Nintendo as a lifestyle company instead of a videogame company– is harmful to the industry as a whole. May be. But I know this is also the same industry and same console that allows me to play No More Heroes and Mad World and Mega Man 9, so the damage must be limited in scope– after all, we’re talking about the same industry that generated 13 billion dollars in 2006 while selling Okami and Gears of War and Twilight Princess. There’s simply too much money to be found selling games to hardcore gamers for something like the Wii Music– or the Wii in general, really– to do any sizable, long-term damage.

But you do have to be worried about Nintendo– when Shigero Miyamoto is no longer interested in Zelda as much as he is in flailing his arms vaguely in time with the theme to Zelda, you may have a real, quantifiable problem.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 10-15-08

Posted by nfinit on October 14, 2008

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Into the Inferno (DS, Wii, PS2)

Avatar has this weird TMNT vibe where it has fans entirely too old to be following a Nickleodeon cartoon series, and not in the ironic Spongebob way, and generally speaking Gen X children do not rank among Avatar’s target audience. Combined with this game supposedly representing the last Avatar season ever, there’s good reason to believe that THQ may make an honest attempt at raising this title above shovelware status.

To that end, Into the Inferno lifts gameplay elements from Okami and Twilight Princess, all which serve to make the game sound interesting until you remember it’s a Nickelodeon game from THQ. It may be Perfectly Acceptable Gaming for twelve year olds, and as long as you’re willing to go into this game with the realization that it’s not really supposed to be aiming higher than that, it’ll probably at least be enjoyable.

Blitz, The League II (PS3, 360)

I like that Midway went with Roman numerals for this franchise, it helps to have an air of gravitas when you’re curbstomping the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Steamers into a drooling retard.

Further innovations from the Madden formula include Lawrence Taylor as a playable character, which we can only hope means a minigame where you collect and deliver hookers to rival team’s hotels the night before your game.

Boogie Superstar (Wii)

You remember Boogie, right? The first big exclusive release for the Wii by EA, everyone convinced themselves it was going to be something interesting and new before it turned out that it was basically Singstar with random wiimote waggle?

This is that, but with songs by Aly & AJ. If you buy this, you’re part of the problem.

Cesar Millan’s Dog Whisperer (DS)

At this point we can only assume something horrible happened in Yves Guillemot’s formative years to cause him to hate gaming and gamers to the point where his life’s goal is to bring to Ubisoft’s financial might to bear upon the singular goal of destroying our hobby. To that end we have Ceasear Millan’s Dog Whisperer, which we hope is a more openly sadistic Nintendogs.

Dead Space (360, PS3)

Among the first in a wave of self-professed Very Important Games to be released this holiday season, Dead Space would appear to be a blatant and unapologetic merger of RE4 and Aliens. Which probably isn’t bad thing. I just have a hard time trusting a game set forth to be the centerpoint of a media franchise instead of being a fundamentally good game.

Like everything else EA does these days that doesn’t involve the DS, it’ll be competent and polished and hard to find any actual fault with, but also diluted and detached and shipped with two or three flaws that feel like were left there entirely to give the devs something to improve upon for the sequel(s).

And I’d be lying if I said I’m ignoring all the above for Mirror’s Edge.

Dokapon Kingdom (Wii, PS2)

Gameplay video reveals an attempt to create a party game out of bog-standard menu-based JRPG gameplay, an idea that looks even worse than it sounds.

FIFA Soccer 2009 (everything)

If I can’t be bothered to summon enthusiasm for videogame representations of sports I actually enjoy, why would you expect me to have anything interesting to say about soccer games? The only point of interest this game holds for me is the chance to edit Manchester United’s AIG sponsorship to Amtrak.

Golden Axe: Beast Rider (PS3, 360)

As a Sega fan dating back from the original Shinobi, the most frustrating aspect of Sega’s downfall– you know, aside from utterly incompetent management and the abject failure of the Dreamcast– was seeing Sega fumble away it’s classic franchises. While the golden age of JRPGs waxed and waned with the Playstation, we never saw a proper Phantasy Star followup; while Strategy RPGS came into their own on the GBA and DS we saw Shining Force reinvented as a Diablo clone; while Mario 64 was redefining the platformer, we were forced to accept the perversion and humiliation of Sonic the Hedgehog. So in that regard it’s good to see Sega did nothing with Golden Axe for nearly twenty years.

I should like this game. I loved Golden Axe, I love DMC clones, I love beheadings, I love busty redheads topless on horseback. I mean, I should have the pre-order slip for the LE sitting in my wallet, right? There should be a Beast Rider wallpaper on my desktop, right? So why can’t I summon interest in Beast Rider, much less excitement?

It’s Sega, of course. This is the company that couldn’t even get Shinobi 3d right. Sure, God of War: Tits Edition ought to be hard to screw up, but Sega’s already shot themselves in the foot by failing to include the one thing that sat the original Golden Axe apart, multiplayer. Dave Halverson ejaculating over the disc in October’s Play magazine didn’t help matters, as people who remember Bullet Witch can attest.

Then there’s the developer, Secret Level, who’s last title of note was Final Fight: Streetwise. Until proven otherwise, this is strictly bargain bin fodder.

 

I’m operating under the assumption that the sequence of events depicted above represents a hallucination brought about by badly expired taco meat. The only other explanation involves the company that’s funding Mirror’s Edge spending ten million dollars developing a series of games where you run a pet shop full of dogs suffering from Down’s Syndrome, and that’s not a universe I wish to be part of.

Naruto: Path of Ninja 2 (DS)

You may wonder how Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 fits in with last week’s theory that all ninja games are awesome, always; and I counter that by saying that a ninja game really isn’t a ninja game unless dismemberment is heavily featured, and I don’t think Naruto features limbs forcibly removed from their parent bodies. I can’t be bothered to verify this theory though, as all my attempts at Naruto research somehow ended in Sakura Haruno bondage hentai. Can’t fault me for not trying, though.

Rock Revolution (PS3, 360, Wii)

Rock Revolution– the Libertarian Party candidate of guitar games.

(I should probably stop with that, right? I probably don’t really need to point out that Konami would make more money selling Guitar Freaks song packs on Rock Band, right? Right, carry on.)

Saint’s Row 2 (360, PS3)

The sandbox game for people who thought Crackdown was too cerebral.

SR2 is a throughly by-the-numbers GTA3 clone, but it appears to be enjoyable despite that, and to be honest it’s been long enough since GTA4 for there to be good reason to look into SR2 if sandbox games are your genre of choice. You just sorta wish there was more to say about the improvements from the first game outside of Tera Patrick.

Socom: Confrontation With Headset (PS3)

Here we see Hideo Kojima’s influence finally filtering down to Western developers.

Tak: Guardians of Gross (PS2)

It’s always reassuring for the entire first page of google results for a game to result in links regurgitating the press release pablum. It’s my theory that the Tak games exist as a way for THQ to repackage unsold copies of The Polar Express game, and if you’re in Tak’s target audience you have no real way of knowing the difference or even particularly care anyway.

Ten Pin Alley 2 (Wii)

It’s good to see gaming finally embrace the one-legged schoolgirl market. Alas, I’m not sure if this represents a step down or step up for XS game’s last effort, Funkmaster Flex’s Digital Hitz Factory.

You have no idea how badly you wish I was making that last bit up.

NEXT WEEK~!

LITTLE BIG PLANET confuses; infuriates non-PS3 owners!
WII MUSIC urinates on the bleeding, ravaged corpse of the videogame industry
FABLE 2 probably sucks!

Posted in Uncategorized, Wallet Abuse | Leave a Comment »

Posted by nfinit on October 13, 2008

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Into the Inferno (DS, Wii, PS2)

Avatar has this weird TMNT vibe where it has fans entirely too old to be following a Nickleodeon cartoon series, and not in the ironic Spongebob way, and generally speaking Gen X children do not rank among Avatar’s target audience. Combined with this game supposedly representing the last Avatar season ever, there’s good reason to believe that THQ may make an honest attempt at raising this title above shovelware status.

To that end, Into the Inferno lifts gameplay elements from Okami and Twilight Princess, all which serve to make the game sound interesting until you remember it’s a Nickelodeon game from THQ. It may be Perfectly Acceptable Gaming for twelve year olds, and as long as you’re willing to go into this game with the realization that it’s not really supposed to be aiming higher than that, it’ll probably at least be enjoyable.

Blitz, The League II (PS3, 360)

I like that Midway went with Roman numerals for this franchise, it helps to have an air of gravitas when you’re curbstomping the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Steamers into a drooling retard.

Further innovations from the Madden formula include Lawrence Taylor as a playable character, which we can only hope means a minigame where you collect and deliver hookers to rival team’s hotels the night before your game.

Boogie Superstar (Wii)

You remember Boogie, right? The first big exclusive release for the Wii by EA, everyone convinced themselves it was going to be something interesting and new before it turned out that it was basically Singstar with random wiimote waggle?

This is that, but with songs by Aly & AJ. If you buy this, you’re part of the problem.

Cesar Millan’s Dog Whisperer (DS)

At this point we can only assume something horrible happened in Yves Guillemot’s formative years to cause him to hate gaming and gamers to the point where his life’s goal is to bring to Ubisoft’s financial might to bear upon the singular goal of destroying our hobby. To that end we have Ceasear Millan’s Dog Whisperer, which we hope is a more openly sadistic Nintendogs.

Dead Space (360, PS3)

Among the first in a wave of self-professed Very Important Games to be released this holiday season, Dead Space would appear to be a blatant and unapologetic merger of RE4 and Aliens. Which probably isn’t bad thing. I just have a hard time trusting a game set forth to be the centerpoint of a media franchise instead of being a fundamentally good game.

Like everything else EA does these days that doesn’t involve the DS, it’ll be competent and polished and hard to find any actual fault with, but also diluted and detached and shipped with two or three flaws that feel like were left there entirely to give the devs something to improve upon for the sequel(s).

And I’d be lying if I said I’m ignoring all the above for Mirror’s Edge.

Dokapon Kingdom (Wii, PS2)

Gameplay video reveals an attempt to create a party game out of bog-standard menu-based JRPG gameplay, an idea that looks even worse than it sounds.

FIFA Soccer 2009 (everything)

If I can’t be bothered to summon enthusiasm for videogame representations of sports I actually enjoy, why would you expect me to have anything interesting to say about soccer games? The only point of interest this game holds for me is the chance to edit Manchester United’s AIG sponsorship to Amtrak.

Golden Axe: Beast Rider (PS3, 360)

As a Sega fan dating back from the original Shinobi, the most frustrating aspect of Sega’s downfall– you know, aside from utterly incompetent management and the abject failure of the Dreamcast– was seeing Sega fumble away it’s classic franchises. While the golden age of JRPGs waxed and waned with the Playstation, we never saw a proper Phantasy Star followup; while Strategy RPGS came into their own on the GBA and DS we saw Shining Force reinvented as a Diablo clone; while Mario 64 was redefining the platformer, we were forced to accept the perversion and humiliation of Sonic the Hedgehog. So in that regard it’s good to see Sega did nothing with Golden Axe for nearly twenty years.

I should like this game. I loved Golden Axe, I love DMC clones, I love beheadings, I love busty redheads topless on horseback. I mean, I should have the pre-order slip for the LE sitting in my wallet, right? There should be a Beast Rider wallpaper on my desktop, right? So why can’t I summon interest in Beast Rider, much less excitement?

It’s Sega, of course. This is the company that couldn’t even get Shinobi 3d right. Sure, God of War: Tits Edition ought to be hard to screw up, but Sega’s already shot themselves in the foot by failing to include the one thing that sat the original Golden Axe apart, multiplayer. Dave Halverson ejaculating over the disc in October’s Play magazine didn’t help matters, as people who remember Bullet Witch can attest.

Then there’s the developer, Secret Level, who’s last title of note was Final Fight: Streetwise. Until proven otherwise, this is strictly bargain bin fodder.

I’m operating under the assumption that the sequence of events depicted above represents a hallucination brought about by badly expired taco meat. The only other explanation involves the company that’s funding Mirror’s Edge spending ten million dollars developing a series of games where you run a pet shop full of dogs suffering from Down’s Syndrome, and that’s not a universe I wish to be part of.

Naruto: Path of Ninja 2 (DS)

You may wonder how Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 fits in with last week’s theory that all ninja games are awesome, always; and I counter that by saying that a ninja game really isn’t a ninja game unless dismemberment is heavily featured, and I don’t think Naruto features limbs forcibly removed from their parent bodies. I can’t be bothered to verify this theory though, as all my attempts at Naruto research somehow ended in Sakura Haruno bondage hentai. Can’t fault me for not trying, though.

Rock Revolution (PS3, 360, Wii)

Rock Revolution– the Libertarian Party candidate of guitar games.

(I should probably stop with that, right? I probably don’t really need to point out that Konami would make more money selling Guitar Freaks song packs on Rock Band, right? Right, carry on.)

Saint’s Row 2 (360, PS3)

The sandbox game for people who thought Crackdown was too cerebral.

SR2 is a throughly by-the-numbers GTA3 clone, but it appears to be enjoyable despite that, and to be honest it’s been long enough since GTA4 for there to be good reason to look into SR2 if sandbox games are your genre of choice. You just sorta wish there was more to say about the improvements from the first game outside of Tera Patrick.

Socom: Confrontation With Headset (PS3)

Here we see Hideo Kojima’s influence finally filtering down to Western developers.

Tak: Guardians of Gross (PS2)

It’s always reassuring for the entire first page of google results for a game to result in links regurgitating the press release pablum. It’s my theory that the Tak games exist as a way for THQ to repackage unsold copies of The Polar Express game, and if you’re in Tak’s target audience you have no real way of knowing the difference or even particularly care anyway.

Ten Pin Alley 2 (Wii)

It’s good to see gaming finally embrace the one-legged schoolgirl market. Alas, I’m not sure if this represents a step down or step up for XS game’s last effort, Funkmaster Flex’s Digital Hitz Factory.

You have no idea how badly you wish I was making that last bit up.

NEXT WEEK~!

LITTLE BIG PLANET confuses; infuriates non-PS3 owners!
WII MUSIC urinates on the bleeding, ravaged corpse of the videogame industry
FABLE 2 probably sucks!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 10-8-08

Posted by nfinit on October 7, 2008

Army Men:  Soldiers of Misfortune (Wii)

Look, I’m not saying we should expect Army Men games to remain relevant in 2008.  Or even noteworthy.  Or even expect people to remember the franchise exists– but when you’re less than 48 hours from a game’s release and the first three google results end in this:

I dunno, maybe it’s time to Schiavo the franchise.  What do you really gain by slapping “Army Men” on this box, anyway?  Is there really that much of a 3D0-owner-to-Wii-owning-Dad crossover going on?  Is there any way this can possibly lead to Return Fire being re-released for the DS?  Can I begin to be bothered to name a third 3d0 title to continue this line of thought?  Prediction– not bloody likely.

Fracture (360, PS3)

Ever since Rise of the Triad tried to gain traction from Doom with it’s newfangled  jumping technology, there have been been two ways for a single player FPS to gain attention in the market place.  One, try to construct a fundamentally good game within a  compelling and interesting universe like Half-Life, Doom and System/Bioshock (or fake it like Halo) or two, build your entire game around one semi-interesting hook and hope to secure funding for the sequel before anyone notices your game is actually a pile of smoldering crap.  See: Red Faction, Prey, Red Steel and now Fracture.

Reliance on a gimmick is a proven strategy, but it only works as long as you get the timing right.  Prey sold a million copies, but it recieved nearly a decade of development hype and benefited from being among the 360’s first big name FPS releases, despite receiving tepid review scores.  Red Steel would be utterly forgettable if it were released today, but as a Wii launch title it sold over a million copies and has a sequel in development.  Red Faction’s geometry-altering novelty was enough to overcome a wholly uninspired game design and is still spawning sequels.  Unfortunately Fracture is stuck in the midst of a strong PS3 and 360 FPS release schedule.  If Day 1 Studios had held back for the Xbox 3 launch, they might have had a franchise on their hands.  At best, maybe Valve can steal the deformable terrain shtick for Episode 3.

Guilty Gear 2:  Overture

It’s hard to fault Arc Systems for wanting to try something new with the Guilty Gear franchise, even if they did decide to re-invent the IP in the middle of an 1v1 fighter renaissance– You just sort’ve wish they’d done something, I dunno…. coherent.




Supposedly GG2 is a squad-based Dynasty Warriors where your enemy would appear to be the physical manifestation of the Arabic numeric system.  I propose that this is only a guess and the game is, in fact, a turn-based Gran Tourismo using the cast from Dig Dug as race drivers.  

Prove me wrong.

Legend of Kage 2 (DS)

Fact:  Ninja Games are always awesome.  No exceptions.  Ever.
Fact:  Old Tatio games on the DS kick ass.  Each time.  Every time.
Fact:  You will buy this game so hard.

Crash:  Mind Over Mutant (Wii, 360, PS2, PSP, DS)

…why do they keep making Crash games…

Bleach: Dark Souls (DS)

It’s by Treasure, so it at least has to be decent, and it’s a Bleach game, so if that’s your thing, this is it.

I’m struck in a paradox trying to express my indifference towards this game– in order to sufficiently explain to you people how utterly disinterested I am in Bleach: Dark Souls I’d have to come up with a multitude of graphs and evidence and conduct an extensive amount of research, all of which would only go to betray any claim of apathy toward said franchise.  Even a lolcat, standard-bearer of half-assed attention the world over, would only serve to cheapen my efforts.  

No.  Indeed, I must take the example of Wonkette, turn my disinterest to ironic disdain, and break out the Blingee:


I figure Blingee will be what finally forces Tim Berners-Lee to build a time machine and dismantle CERN with a hatchet.  Enjoy the Internet while it lasts, kids.

NBA 2k9/ NBA Live 09

Back when the NFL sold exlcusivity rights to EA, there was a great gnashing of teeth in the sports game community that this was the end for innovation in the football genre, that EA would rest on it’s laurels and just churn out roster updates of Madden ’04 for the next twenty years.  Which struck me as odd, as despite how innovative and inventive 2kSports may have been, there’s just so far you can stretch the basic framework.  

So it’s little surprise that 2k9 and Live 09 share most of the same features– even this year’s big updates, 5v5 play and living roster updates are mirrored in each title.  After 20 some odd years of refinement, there’s just not a whole lot of room left to explore in this space, and the differences lay mainly in feel and presentation–  Live 09 enjoys EA’s customary layer of gloss, whereas 2k9 animates better.

Does any of  this mean that we’d be at the same point with Madden and NFL 2k, with incremental upgrades still prevalent and the two series comfortably settled into their own niche?  Maybe.  But perhaps also it’d have forced EA to incorporate the dreadful Head Coach series into the Madden series, which would have proved better for everyone involved.

Imagine:  Fashion Designer New York (DS)

Having performed a scorched earth marketing blitz on preteen girl gamers with Imagine: Master Chef; Imagine: Fashion Designer; Imagine: Babyz; Imagine: Girls Band; Imagine:  Figure Skater and Imagine:  Baby Club, Ubisoft has decided to target the one untapped market yet to be insulted away– Gay dudes.

Watch this spot October 28th for Imagine:  Party Babyz, in which Ubisoft becomes the first gaming publisher since Micheal Jackson’s Moonwalker to actively persue the lucrative NAMBLA market.

Spectrobes:  Beyond the Portals (DS)

This is the second Spectrobes game, the first having inexplicably sold over a million copies to eight year old boys the world over.  This gives us about seven years before we start seeing Spectrobes x Kingdom Hearts slashfic.

Prey The Stars (DS)

Koei gets a lot of grief for churning out Dynasty Warriors games, but this actually looks interesting and novel.  I don’t know if you can get a combination of Katamari Damacy and Pac-man to fit inside a DS, but god bless ’em for trying.  Maybe if we buy this we can trick Koei into making another Opoona.

NEXT WEEK~!

ROCK REVOLUTION makes us all feel VERY BADLY FOR KONAMI
DEAD SPACE probably gets out hopes up, but that’s okay
GOLDEN AXE:  BEAST RIDER causes me an UNREASONABLE AMOUNT OF RAGE

Posted in Uncategorized, Wallet Abuse | Leave a Comment »

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 10-1-08

Posted by nfinit on October 1, 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.

Valhalla Knights 2 (PSP)

Etrain Odyssey for the PSP, but stripped of maps, character, personality, and dominatrixes.  Also, gameplay appears to be based around setting your teammates on auto attack while you run toward the camera.  For those of you wondering, yes, this would be the flagship title for the PSP 3k update.  Have fun with that.

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.

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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