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

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.


DEAD SPACE probably gets out hopes up, but that’s okay


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