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Wallet Abuse Wednesday 3-3-10: Bad Company 2, Lunar, LAZ0R EYES

Posted by nfinit on March 3, 2010

So remember last week when it appeared that Bobby Kotick was contrite and apologetic towards coming off as the Darth Vader for the entire gaming industry and said he wished he could foster a closer working relationship with the teams under his command?

Activision announced that Sledgehammer Games, an internal studio founded by former Visceral Games (Dead Space) leadership, will develop the next Call of Duty game, and the publisher confirmed the departure of Infinity Ward founders Vince Zampella and Jason West.Sledgehammer was formed last year by Glen A. Schofield and Michael Condrey, the executive producer and senior development director of Dead Space. The pair remains at the studio’s helm under Activision’s new plan.Sledgehammer’s appointment as a steward of the multi-billion-dollar military shooter franchise allows Activision to maintain the series’ yearly release schedule. Longtime series co-developer Treyarch will release its own Call of Duty game this year, with Sledgehammer’s version following in 2011.

Evil Dickhead Bobby Kotick is back, baby!  And as a srz gamez bloggar I could not be happier, as more Bobby Kotick shenanigans means more easy content for me, starting with this week’s review gimmick!  I mean, provided we all accept that I’m actually using last week’s gimmick, but this time with evil lazor eyes.

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As you may have noticed, the more popular and successful your studio may be, the greater the chance a drunken, enraged Bobby Kotick will show up at your offices with a baseball bat and an army of lawyers.  So let’s imagine the hypothetical situation– Each of the companies below have been bought out by Activision and the respective games recently released.  How likely will this game lead to the horrible, bloody, violent end of your studio?

50 Classic Games (DS)

I contend that every word in the title “50 Classic Games” is a lie.  Just take a look at the supplied list of games
Now while you have to give Destineer games credit in not listing Minesweeper 3 times, there’s about half a dozen entries for Mahjongg and I’m pretty sure “Match Five” can be played in the same fashion as “Match Four” if you simply stop at four matches instead of going all the way to five.
Also, they’re playing fast and loose with the definition of the word “games”.  I mean, hunting for differences between two pictures isn’t really a “game” as much as it is “employing basic observation skills”.
Destineer spins a web of lies and deceit wherever it spreads its foul taint upon gaming– But the most damaging, most insulting, most dangerous lie comes from the word “classics”.  “Same”?  “Trace?”  “Memo Pair”?  I’m pretty sure if “memo pair” were a classic it would have at some point appeared on the Genesis and/or Dreamcast.
The thing that astounds me about the existence of stuff lie 50 Classic Games– or most of Destineer’s DS catalog, for that matter– is that in any sane world, the worthwhile stuff on this list would be resident on your DS’ internal memory at all times anyway.  Shouldn’t the DS ship with a Sodoku client?  Or Mahjongg?  Isn’t it sort of insane that I’d have to carry around a separate cart for this sort of crap?
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You’re fucked, Destineer! One good thing about 50 Classic Games:  The title may be a three-way lie, the games within may be terrible, and the developers themselves probably resort to heavy drinking to absolve themselves of the shame of producing this game, but it’s cheap and it sells to middle America, and those are things Bobby Kotick loves to hear.  Well, that and the cries of your children as they’re told there won’t be a Christmas.
Alice in Wonderland (Wii)

It’s hard to get a handle on Alice in Wonderland, as all the gaming sites are treating this game as exactly how it presents itself– a budget priced movie tie-in, so no one is willing to spend any manpower getting information out of the developers, and the developers themselves– hailing from an unnamed company within the megacorp known simply as “Disney” has had no interest in providing media outside of a handful of official screenshots with no context whatsoever. However, it is interesting that Disney has deemed it necessary that  each of these screenshots be emblazoned with a “DISNEY ALICE IN WONDERLAND: THE VIDEOGAME” watermark lest these Wii screenshots be confused for the generally insane shit going down within the actual movie.

Note: Not a blur filter. The Wii is notorious for it's inability to properly render creatures with naturally occurring glamours such as elves.

Since this is one of the rare pieces of PR Disney has provided, I’m going to use it to suss out the plot for Alice in Wonderland Wii– which has the player trying to break The White Rabbit from his newfound absinthe addiction.  Note that there’s a nontrivial chance that this may actually be the plot of the movie itself.


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Unnamed Disney Studio is fine.  Sure, Alice in Wonderland was cheap to make, but it’s only selling for $40 and it’s a good bet the license takes up a good chunk of that.  Then there’s the problem where only 300 3rd party Wii games sell every year, and most of those will go toward games like Country Fitness Party or Geezers Point At Screen.  Bobby doesn’t want part of that scene.Battle of Giants:  Mutant Insects (DS)

This thing is almost certainly godawful, but I also know full well that if I saw this game on the shelves in 1988 I would have sold all my Atari crap that very day to buy a DS and then spent the rest of my childhood convincing myself this was a good game despite all evidence to the contrary.  Also maybe lay some money down on the Dodgers.
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Ubisoft Quebec City employees might want to brush up on how to say “Thank You For Shopping  Wal-Mart” in French.  Battle of Giants is already a franchise, what with Mutant Insects and Dinosaurs already under one banner, and there’s just no limit to how many legendary giant things you can get to fight one another for our amusement.  Plus, this will sell even better to the multiplayer HD crowd as a 3rd person over the shoulder Rampage.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 (PS360)
For those into this sort of thing (and note that this quite a sizable percentage of you), this installment of Battlefield isn’t just game of the week, it’s the game you’ve been looking forward to all year and quite possibly the only other game you bought since Call of Duty Six, with the possible exception of Army of Two, Two.

Come to think of it, this has been a rather exceptional run for the brodude gamer–  Between those three titles and Halo 3 Part 2, you’ve had something like a four-month stretch where you’ve had new stuff to buy every single month.  That’s great.  Now will you people please fuck off and give Bioware back?
For those of you not into Co-op friendly tactical shooters be aware that not only are you paying sixty bucks for a six-hour long game, if you’ve not already pre-ordered Bad Company 2 from GameStop then you’ll have the entire Squad Rush mode cut off from you for an entire month, by which time everyone will have moved on to Call of Duty 6 again.  So hopefully no one will actually bother with Squad Rush.
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When Bobby Kotick travels to Thailand to sodomize 9-year-old boys, he makes them wear a mask with the word “DICE” written on the back.

Dante’s Inferno (PSP)

No one actually spends money on PSP games, so the determining factor of if you should play Dante’s Inferno or not actually depends on if it’s worth dedicating 1.3 gigs of memory stick space until you inevitably wipe it out to make room for tentacle hentai.  To that end, you need to know three things about Dante’s Inferno PSP:1: The Joystiq gameplay impressions of the build playable at Tokyo Game Show came away as glitchy, uninspired mess

2: Visceral Games didn’t come up with an original game for the PSP version— Instead, they’ve tried to cram the PS360 game into the PSP, creating a sub-PS2 approximation of a game that’s entire selling point is that it’s God of War for 360 owners.

3:  Even the grown-up version of the game had you dealing with utter bullshit that should never have escaped QA, resulting in a 2/5 review score from Giant Bomb

So why aren’t you just playing Chains of Olympus instead?


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When Evil Bobby is on a mean drunk and looking for lives to ruin, he has no interest in developers that have already shown themselves to be a flash in the pan.  Visceral already knows they’re fucked if they can’t make good on Jack the Ripper, there’s no thrill in crushing a soul with no hope left in it.

Lips Party Classics (360)

Man, what the fuck happened to iNiS?  These were the geniuses who brought us Guitaroo Man, Oendan and Elite Beat Agents and now they’re reduced to releasing Singstar ripoffs while the entire rhythm game genre peaked and promptly fell off the map.  As far as Lips Party Classics goes, aside from only being the second worse misapplication of the word “classics” to appear on this update so far, it includes “I Touch Myself” by The Divinyls, which means this may well be the best game possible to expose to drunk girlfriends.

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Rhythm game easily disseminated into DLC?  Check.  Soulless development studio already resigned to a fate of churning out interminable sequels to a franchise no one cares about?  Check.  Plastic add-on that can easily cause the game in question to be sold for five times its actual cost?  Check check check check check!  Okay sure, so iNiS won’t provide the thrill of the chase that an Infinity Ward or Red Octane can provide, but he knows full well that all he needs is one success out of this team to get them to foolishly believe in riches and happiness and possibly making something that’s not in any way related to listening to REM sixteen hours a day before BAM!  You show up at the offices in a leather gimp suit with a whip, a box full of pink slips and tweaking your own nipples.

Lunar Silver Star Harmony (PSP)

So we’re finally going to have a quality version of Lunar 1 sans references to Paula Abdul and Bill Clinton– this is no thanks to Vic Ireland and his now-defunct Working Designs, mind you.  If he had his way the game not only would feature Simon Cowell and Sarah Palin reference, but he’d strip the experience point  savegame function from the game and make you complete a game of J-Pop Lumnies in order to collect exp to either level up or save.  Thing I’m trying to get across here is that Vic Ireland ruins games and I still blame him for tricking me into buying a Saturn back in 1995.

XSeed’s version of Lunar, meanwhile, promises to be the most pure version of Lunar ever brought over to America, and the one closest to Game Art’s original vision, sans pop culture references from the early 90’s.  Whether this is desirable or not depends entirely on exactly how much nostalgia for the Sega CD you’re able to muster and if you’re still able to convince yourself after all this time that the Lunar series is the equal to the RPGs released by Square in the same time period.  Me, I’ve not been able to do that in a long while, and I greatly fear that XSeed has overstated the amount of nostalgia left out there for an RPG series that was probably dated when it was released and who’s only real hook may well have been well-voiced anime cutscenes, back in a day and age when putting FMV in a videogame seemed novel and less like a chore.

All of which is a shame, as the world and characters of Lunar is totally worth going back to, it’s just that the game that world is built around has been aging and creaking for the better part of twenty years now.  What Lunar and Lunar 2 are in desperate need of are remakes, not a never-ending cycle of ports for an increasingly marginalized market.  Unfortunately that’s probably not the thing Game Arts is capable of doing in this day and age, unless what you actually want to play is a 2.5 mashup brawler featuring Yoshi and Casey Jones. Maybe it’s time to just sell the right to someone like Atlus and see if they can do anything new with the concept while still treating the source material as something better than a foundation for which to build a job application for Mad Magazine.


kotick2tiny.gif picture by bigredcoat

It is unclear If Bobby Kotick is aware Japan exists, but at any rate “XSeed” and “Success” go together about as well as “peanut butter” and “Olive oil”.

MLB 10:  The Show

MLB 2k10

Look.  I’m a Cincy Reds fan.  My dad was a Cincy Reds fan from back before the Big Red Machine.  I idolized Pete Rose and it turned out he was the biggest scumbag in baseball history.  My team hasn’t been relevant since Clinton was in office and they haven’t had a winning season since before the Twin Towers were primarily remembered as just a really bad WWF tag team.  For an unreasonable chunk of the past decade the only interesting thing to come out of any season was waiting for Griff Jr’s hamstring to finally whip free from his leg and slap Austin Kearns in the eye.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s very difficult for me to summon any interest in baseball.  I know it’d make more sense for me to pick up the Mets as my home team, but I feel that’d be disrespecting the memory of my father.  So there’s that.
As far as these games go?  With any luck MLB 2k10 will still be hilarious
Also as per usual if you own a PS3, buy The Show.  If you don’t, I hope you enjoy knowing you are playing a sub-par baseball game and can’t do anything about it!

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The good news for people working for these studios is that you produce a game every year.  Bobby likes that.  The bad news is, by necessity, you can only produce one game a year and DLC is kinda pointless.  Plus it’s unclear if anyone actually makes money off sports licenses anymore.

Pet Pals:  New Leash on Life (DS)

In Pet Pals: New Leash on Life, players can take part in each animal’s story and control their fate. You step into the role of a veterinarian as you care for pet friends of all shapes and sizes. Take part in over 30 animal cases created by practicing veterinarians from around the world.

(Also, I keep waiting for one of these games to screw up and advocate bringing something exotic and impractical into your home just to be forced to release it into the wild and destroy the ecosystem, which would then dovetail nicely into the young boy’s-targeted title, Pet Pals:  Exotic Pet Bounty Hunter.)

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Did I mention that the Pet Pals games were also produced by Destineer?  Of all the divisions Destineer houses, pray the most for the Pet Pals people to stay away from the horrible influence of the terrible, terrible Evil Bobby.  Their childlike enthusiasm and innocence will be all the sweeter for Bobby to behold as he laces the snacks in the break room vending machine with razor blades.

Spongebob’s Boating Bash (DS, Wii)

Oh god how is Spongebob still around

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It is unknown which division of THQ is developing this particular Spongebob game, and likely for good reason– they’re probably suicidally depressed that they’re making Spongebob games, and THQ would like to keep their identities a secret for that inevitable day that they’re all found crammed into the lead developer’s garage with his car running.  There is no joy or hope to be plucked from the hearts of these poor doomed souls, and it’s not even like iNis where you could sell a ten-dollar microphone in every game and sell it back for $90.

Sonic Classic Collection (DS)

If you can stomach the idea of paying thirty bucks for four sonic games on the DS instead of paying twenty bucks for these four games and roughly three dozen other titles on the Sonic Genesis Classics collection– well, you’re sick and I hate you and stay way from my (hypothetical) children.
Really though, it’s 2010 and we still can’t compress Sega CD down to the point where it’ll fit on a DS cart?
Bobby Kotick may be a lot of things– Greedy, a dick, abusive, a liar, a drunken sexual deviant who can only achieve erection while wiping someone’s 401k clean from the company database– but he’s not stupid.  Sega’s never going to have another success out of a Sonic game.  There’s nothing here for him to destroy, the fruit of Sonic was left to rot on the limb.

I will explain to you why it’s stupid to spend fifty American dollars RESIDENT EVIL 5 GOLD EDITION when the regular edition is sitting a shelf away for $25 OH WAIT I JUST DID

You should be happy that YAKUZA 3 exits, goddammit, and also you should be happy that Sega is repeatedly kicking you in the groin
I’m sure there’s somewhere left where FINAL FANTASY THIRTEEN is a cultural event, but damned if I could tell you where.

One Response to “Wallet Abuse Wednesday 3-3-10: Bad Company 2, Lunar, LAZ0R EYES”

  1. Lightor said

    for the record, that sonic DS collection is so terrible that the games suffer from slowdown. That’s right. An ancient 16 bit game suffering slow down on a modern machine.

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