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

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 12-9-09

Posted by nfinit on December 8, 2009

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)

So now Link has found himself a train. And also something something Zelda possessing armored guards something something. And the train is possibly haunted. Whatever. traaaaaaaaaiiiin!




Which is excellent news not only for Link, who no longer has to suffer the indignities of travel via beast of burden; but also for Hyrule as a whole, as it means the magical kingdom has now entered the Industrial Age and will get about to the important work of befouling the landscape in short order.

In the 20 years Nintendo has spent remaking the original Legend of Zelda, our hero Link has gone from walking around like some common peasant in the 8-16 bit generations to enjoying the benefits of animal husbandry in his N64 adventures to being ferried around by some creepy possessed boat in the Gamecube and the DS– ignoring the brief and confusing dalliance with wolf-based transportation in Twilight Princess there has been a clear progression in Link’s methods of transportation as the hardware cycle has ground on. To that end, I offer a bit of conjecture as to what the upcoming hardware generations will bring for Link:

Wii-HD: haunted Jalopy

DS 2: airship possessed by a friendly demon

DS 2 HD Remix: Magicite-fueled power armor

Nintendo Super Wii: A 1985 Harley Davidson Sportster powered by the restless souls of the damned

Microsoft Xbox 4: Quake II diagonal walk speed boost

Nintendo 128: Back to the horse again; albeit in a post-apocalyptic wasteland brought about by wars for Hyrule’s ever-decreasing stores of coal to power their haunted trains.

As far as the actual game; it’s supposedly rather good. At the time of this writing it has a Metacritic average of 89% and is generally receiving higher scores from the same publications than Phantom Hourglass. The real question here is why this is releasing fully two weeks after Black Friday– You’d think at least a few of the ten bazillion DS/DSi’s sold the other week would have gone toward people who remembered Nintendo still produces actual videogames on occasion.

The Saboteur (PS360)

So let me be the first to admit that maybe I entered into my relationship with The Saboteur with unrealistic expectations. What was shown in the Giant Bomb quicklook wasn’t a bad game exactly, but it also wasn’t the game I expected to see when Pandemic started dropping hints about their French Resistance-flavored action game back at E3 of this year. Pandemic’s developers kept stressing that the game’s protagonist Sean Devlin would be “just a guy”, an ordinary Joe (albeit in this case a hard-bitten Irish race mechanic Joe, so all the better) caught up in events beyond his control and trying to do what little he could to drive the Nazi menace from Paris– Inspired, as they said, by the real-life story of French Resistance hero William Grovers-Williams.

Instead what we got was a guy who was capable of clambering up stone walls with his bare hands and proficient in any weapon ever developed by the German war machine. Which is fine, that makes for a good game, but it’s not the game Pandemic was talking about.

Why couldn't it stay this cool?

This thing looks pretty much like Mercs 2 in Paris– which may have been good enough back when this game was originally supposed to come out; but in the past year alone we’ve seen Infamous, Prototype, Red Faction Guerrilla and Assassin’s Creed II all do a way better job at open-world action/adventure way better than anything Pandemic accomplished in Mercenaries 2. What does The Saboteur add to the table aside from stylish camera filters and jaunty caps?


If the reviews at the time of the time of this writing are to believed, not much. The game currently stands at a Metacritic rating of 71%— which is decidedly on the poor side of mediocre. Indeed, most of the complaints seem to be that it’s a good idea with little to no polish whatsoever– which, as a fan of Mercenaries 1 and 2, I find quite familiar.

Puzzler World (DS)

You know those types of games that aren’t actual videogames despite being crammed full of perfectly legitimate games? This is one of those games. This is the sort of thing that’d happen if someone licensed a Will Shortz DS game, and for all I know someone already has– What I’m basically trying to say here is that if you buy this, you’re already 3/10ths of an Old Person and maybe you’re the type of person who still refers to their CD collection as an actual “CD collection”.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Wii)

Shattered Memories is one of those very rare things for the Wii at this moment, a real meat-and-potatoes hardcore gamer’s game that makes use of the Wii’s abilities without being some watered-down port a franchise who’s “real” versions appeared previously on the PS360. Sure, it’s a remake of the 1999 Playstation 1 original, but it’s being done in such a way that the term “remake” isn’t really applicable anymore– This game is doing something you hardly ever see games do at all anymore, it’s removing fighting entirely. If you gain the ire of some supernatural beastie you don’t have the option of whipping out a firearm you’ve developed an instant and alarming proficiency with– all you can do is run. Your only tools are a cell phone and a flashlight– no pistols, no shotguns, no grenade launchers, not so much as a chair leg with a bent nail sticking out of one end. You either evade whatever subconscious horrors lay beyond the next corner or you die.


It’s a truly daring game in nearly every sense and probably deserves more support than Konami is wiling to spare it this Holiday season– Unless you’re a regular of gaming sites or message boards you’ve probably not even heard about Shattered Memories, much less it’s remarkable pedigree or premise– and it’s not like there’s a lot of stuff Konami is promoting this year that they could possibly fear would conflict with Shattered Memories sales, unless they’re under the weird impression that there’s a lot of crossover in the shitty rhythm game/survival horror audiences on the Wii.


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