Bigredcoat

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

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 2-10-10: More like Dante’s Infern-blow.

Posted by nfinit on February 9, 2010

Note:  Before I begin, I’d like to point out that apparently in last week’s WAW, I was talking out of my ass in regards to White Knight Chronicles.  As explained to me by Imran of Quick Time Event, where I said:

White Knight Chronicles has an interesting history.  Pushed as Sqeenix’s first big title of (what was then assumed to be) the PS3 hardware era, WKC looked to be SE’s first big post PS2 franchise– and then it was released and got a bad Famitsu score and discussion about WKC fell off the map because it was horrible and sucked and okay maybe it isn’t an interesting history so instead I’ll talk about Mass Effect 2 and how it relates to Final Fantasy 13.

It turns out

WKC is Level 5, published by Sony.
It did get a bad score (7877), but the main reason it fell off the map was because it came out in 2008 and took this long to come here.

Bioshock 2 (PS360)

I’ve already made my disgust for this game clear– simply put, it doesn’t need to exist, it shouldn’t exist, the original game is the very last thing you want to make a franchise out of and it’s all a horrible example of how videogame publishers continue to Miss The Point.

But it also doubles as a good example of how screwed up the entire big studio development process is, and how different it is from virtually ever other media enterprise before it.  Save for a precious few examples that have started to crop up in the indy gaming scene, videogames are largely products of committee.  No one really owns the creative vision for a videogame; all big studio games produced are not visions of their creators, but instead visions of the corporate behemoth that drives funding for said game.  As such, the vision for Bioshock is no longer Ken Levine’s vision– it is instead just another revenue stream from 2k Games, and if they think they can eek even a dollar’s profit off rehashing one of the most original and creative games in recent memory and shoehorning deathmatch into the mix, well.  You wind up with Bioshock 2.

Not that this bastardization holds true for all game developers, mind you.  Shigeru Miyamoto basically runs the entire creative vision for Nintendo, and has done so for many years now.  Will Wright probably had carte blanche over at Electronic Arts, as does Lionhead’s Peter Molyneux and Warren Spector is even being allowed to fuck around with Disney’s creative vision with Epic Mickey.  But these examples are rare.

This is why you hardly ever see a developer listed by name anywhere on a game’s box or in the promotional materials for said game.  If people knew Bioshock 2 wasn’t sharing the same development team as Bioshock 1, they’d probably be scared off.  Meanwhile if you plastered “FROM KEN LEVINE: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT YOU BIOSHOCK 1” on the box of Ken’s next game without mentioning Bioshock 2, that creates problems of its own.

All of which just goes to show why Platinum Games is so freakishly awesome.  I’ll pre-order Vanquish because I know Shinji Mikami (God Hand, Resident Evil 4) and he makes the games I love to play.  Imagine if Hollywood produced movies without ever advertising who the director is, or book publishers refused to list writer’s names on the spine of books.  That’s the situation the gaming industry is in, and Bioshock 2 is the perfect example of why the industry wants to keep it this way.
As far as the actual game Bioshock 2?  It may turn out that it’s distressingly good.  Chris Kohler at Wired.com is giving it a 9 of 10,Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann gives it 4/5 stars and it’s currently sitting at a metacritic average of 88%, or roughly on par with Bayonetta.  So.  Um.  I may wind up buying this at some point in the near future.

Dante’s Inferno (PS360)

I was kinda worried that I’d wind up having to buy Dante’s Inferno at some point– after all, while Visceral Games (Dead Rising, Dead Rising Extraction) hasn’t had an original thought climb into their collective heads since the first time they bought a Nickelback CD, they do have a distressing track record of producing excellent videogames.

Fortunately, Dante’s Inferno is sporting a 74% at metacritic, which is on the awful side of average.  If you absolutely must have an overwrought, uncompromisingly derivative western-developed beat-em-up, go buy Darksiders instead.  Also this is happening:

Which is telling, as apparently Dante isn’t a big enough star for RAW and that he’ll probably have to job to the Undertaker.

Scene It?  Twilight (Oh god no)

Yeah, not talking about this.  Instead I’m going to talk about Project Needlemouse Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1, the latest threat Sega has put forth in regards to the once-beloved Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

Now normally the thoughts of a true 16 bit, side-scrolling Sonic game would have me interested and perhaps even hopeful– after all, this is one of the things Sega was once good at.  But that Sega is long dead, even though the corpse still shambles on, much like an old doddering grandfather laying in his hospital gurney barely hanging on to life, sometimes gaining a moment of lucidity and recalling a really kickass war story (or developing an Afterburner: Climax) but usually just shitting himself and making everyone in the family uncomfortable and wishing he’d just die already.

What I’m most afraid of is that Sega is basing a 2d Sonic revival entirely on the (supposed) popularity of Mega Man 9 and Retro Gaming Challenge.  If so, Sega’s not getting the point– Mega Man 9 and RCG were beloved because they were bringing back something that had been lost in translation between the simplicity of the NES and the endless, ruthless refinement and polish of the post PS2-era.  We had a fully competent 2d Sonic game as little as five years ago with Sonic Rush for the DS.  Moreover, RCG and MM10 traded heavily in nostalgia.  RGC was a love song for the very early years of the 8 bit NES of the early-to-mid 80’s– Meanwhile MM9 was a revisiting of 1988’s Mega Man 2 and the franchise itself has always been held in high regard by its fans.  Sega has brought Sonic “back” constantly since the release of Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast and the games have grown progressively worse.  It’s hard to feel nostalgia for something widely regarded as a nuisance.

Shiren the Wanderer (Somehow the Wii?)

I wonder how much it bothers Vic Ireland that Atlus can afford to take a waiver on a Wii translation to a roguelike that didn’t sell very well on the DS when Vic had to bring Working Designs to the brink of insolvency just to get Growlanser Generations out the door.

Also, wtf Atlus, why are you bothering with the Wii translation to a rougelike that didn’t sell very well on the DS?

Star Ocean:  Last Hope International (Ps3 owners increasingly confused at receiving an exclusive JRPG)

Last Hope International sounds like the title to a kickass Warren Ellis graphic novel.  Sadly this is the most interesting thing that could possibly be attached to anything related to Star Ocean.  Moving on.

Super Monkey Ball Step and Roll (Wii)

So apparently this is a party game that used the Wii Balance Board.  I don’t even know how you’re supposed to get that to work, can the Wii talk to more than 1 balance board at a time?  Even supposing it does and you can get 4 people playing at once, you’re looking at a party game that costs upwards of $450 to play correctly.

Anyway, I’m officially done talking about party games.  If publishers want to keep throwing cash into the gaping maw that is the Wii casual market, more power to you.  Those people already own sixty-seven Mario Party games and arent’ interested in what you’re selling.  INstead I want to talk about this goddamned thing:


Which is infuriating for any number of reasons, lest of all this:

Where we see a glimpse into a nightmarish alternate universe where Sega was reduced to sticking rudimentary motion control into an interfact that’s a blatant Wii ripoff in an attempt to sell Genesis sports game in two thousand and ten OH WAIT THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.

World Cup of Pool (Men staring determinedly at camera for DS game)

I’m going to assume this is an actual, real videogame and not some elaborate prank being played upon us all by Gamestop.com, as any attempts to research “World Cup of Pool” results in news for the real-life World Cup of Pool and not the DS game which may or may not exist.  Also GIS’ing for “world cup of pool DS” only resulted in this furtive image:

Which may or may not represent proof of a DS game or maybe it’s in regards to a child predator of some sort.  However, if this does represent an actual screenshot of an actual videogame, it’s sort of a weird thing for the publisher to advertise, as if you’re going to sell real-world pool players you could instead sell, say, Shanelle Loraine.

World Cup, indeed.

World of Outlaws:  Sprint Cars (Your cousin’s brother-in-law who lives alone in a trailer, surrounded by Kasey Kahne merch and an Xbox 360 connected to a 23 inch SDTV; Owns a season pass to Nascar.com Trackpass )

World of Outlaws has always annoyed me in that, in the rest of the civilized world, if you want to watch a bunch of cars sliding around in mud and slamming to each other, you go see rally racing, which is great because there’s a nonzero chance of seeing a Subaru WRX collide head-on at 120mph with a horse that wandered free from its pasture.

Here in the US, you get ridiculously overpowered dune buggies with oversized wings slop around defunct short ovals.  It’s just depressing.  Speaking of depressing, seriously, how the hell is World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars not a Wii game?

If you work at one of the few studios that’s actually making THQ money right now, remember that it’s your work that’s going to feed these guys.

NEXT WEEK~!

If Rebellion fucks up ALIENS VS PREDATOR I swear I’m going to seal their airlocks and release a xenomorph into their offices

Seriously, how is it fair that DATA EAST ARCADE CLASSICS is a Wii exclusive?  Why do you hate America, Data East?  I thought we were cool.

I’m not sure if I’m qualified to talk about KORG DS-10 and it’s probably not even a game!

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3 Responses to “Wallet Abuse Wednesday 2-10-10: More like Dante’s Infern-blow.”

  1. Sparkster said

    Pretty good, my man, Pretty good.

  2. megamario said

    Actually, there’s only been one Mario Party on Wii, and only one Wario Ware.

    And the later is going out of print, so clearly they must all rush to fill in this most empty of voids.

    also isn’t Sonic 4 NSMBW styled, rather then 16 bit?

  3. soffe cheer shorts…

    […]Wallet Abuse Wednesday 2-10-10: More like Dante’s Infern-blow. « Bigredcoat[…]…

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