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Wallet Abuse Wednesday 3-17-10: God of War 3, Dragon Age Awakening, I hate Hakan!

Posted by nfinit on March 16, 2010

Screw GDC and OnLive and the PS3Mote and all that boring industry insider crap.  The real news last week?  The full cast for Super Street Fighter 4 was finally revealed!  That’s right, the tenth and final character was released and… well.

Yeah.  A massive oiled grappler hailing from a sport where its a legal and standard tactic to stick your hand down your opponent’s trousers and fondle their genitals.  You know, to distract them.
And let’s look past the point where Hakan, despite being happily married and literally crawling with infant daughters is quite literally the most homoerotic thing humanly imaginable and also ignore the part where Street Fighter IV now has four joke characters.  Capcom decided to introduce yet another new merchandising vector original character rather than make fans happy and include one of the many dozen beloved yet long-ignored characters already crowding Capcom’s intellectual property portfolio.
Capcom’s roster is rife with fantastic yet long-lamented characters, any one of which any other developer in the world would immediately latch onto and create an entire game around, if not a full-fledged franchise.
You know what’s also fantastic?  This week’s list of games!  Well, most of them, anyway.  Any gaming system without the words “PlayStation Portable” has something worth buying this week.  In fact, I believe this week’s selection of games is so good that you can correlate each one with a Capcom character that easily should have been included over the Turkish oil wrestler.
Dragon Age Origins: Awakening
Publisher:  Electronic Arts
Developer:  Bioware
Platforms:  Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC

Initially I was conflicted about putting an expansion pack on this list, especially for something that’s unplayable on its own– after all, I don’t do writeups for downloadable content packs on Wallet Abuse.  But I’m interested in Awakening, and I’m going to buy it anyway, so screw you.
Forty bucks for twenty five hours of More Stuff for the most playable western role-playing game that’s not named “Fallout 3” isn’t a bad deal at all, especially when you consider that Mass Effect 2 could be completed in less than that if you were just interested in burning through the story.  Plus it fixes the one big complaint I have with Dragon Age: Origins now that I’m in my third play through of it– namely that by the time you complete your party your game is almost done and there’s nothing really left to do aside from side quests and initiate the endgame.  Which sucked, as the makeup of DA:O pretty much meant that Oghren the Dwarf would aways be your last character and he was easily more interesting to have around than half your crew.  Twenty five extra hours of surly drunk bezerker sounds like Good Times to me.

The advent of Dragon Age Awakenings is encouraging, as it may signal a return of more substantial post-release content for western RPGs.  One of the big complaints I have regarding the way developers handle downloadable content at the moment is that the mission packs released so far this generation don’t really add a whole lot to the game in question.  Fallout 3 was especially bad for this– yeah, Bethesda kept the game relevant for a long time by constantly releasing missions via DLC, but the packs added at most a couple hours to the game proper, and for the most part they felt tacked on.  While (most) of these packs were enjoyable and worth the five bucks each Bethesda was asking, I found myself wondering if everyone involved would have been better served with a single full-fledged old school expansion pack instead, even if it would have taken a lot longer to produce and as a result dropped into the used game rack at Gamestop a lot quicker.

Bioware seems to be taking the best of all worlds approach with Dragon Age Origins, releasing sporadic DLC packs that keeps the game fresh at retail and still providing big hefty expansion packs larger than most full single-player action games.  This approach would also seem to reveal a glimpse into how developers are gaming the current economy.


Arthur! (original appearance Ghosts n’ Goblins)

My first instinct was one of the main characters from Knights of the Round, but I felt the ensuing debate over which character to represent the game would tear my blog apart.  Just pretend its canon that this Arthur is the same Arthur from Knights of the Round and that Percival and Lancelot have deferred to his superior demon fighting prowess.

And yes, a lance and a suit of armor may be unfair when facing someone like, say, Sakura, but you have to remember that Street Fighter 4 takes place in a universe where Akuma’s presence is an accepted occurrence.  Clearly the power levels in Street Fighter were thrown out the door a long time ago and that’s before you share the universe with Magneto.

Fragile Dreams:  Farewell Ruins of the Moon
Publisher:  X-Seed
Developer: tri-Crescendo
Platforms:  Wii

You know its a good week for games when even the Wii gets something genuinely intriguing that’s not published by Nintendo themselves.

It is a hard game to get a handle on, though.  I’ve seen it described as “action adventure” and “action RPG” and even “survival horror”, although designer Kentarou Kawashima is quick to point out that its not survival horror at all, but instead a “human drama” game.  That in combination with its focus on narrative and atmosphere almost makes you wonder if this is something of a Wii version of Heavy Rain, although with the quick time event stuff stripped away and replaced with an actual video game.  I wonder though if the Wii isn’t developing an entire genre based on flashlights.

In all seriousness though, Fragile Dreams looks to be an incredible gaming experience, even if the gameplay itself is somewhat archaic in the Japanese tradition of save points and limited inventory space and respawning enemies.  The art style plays well on the Wii and the core of the game itself probably isn’t possible on anything but the Wii right now– even if it were to appear on Sony’s suggestively-shaped PS3mote, they’d probably miss the point entirely and try to run the game through Unreal Engine 3.


Poison!  (original appearance Final Fight)

Fragile Dreams:  Farewell Ruins of the Moon is a difficult game to define, so I’m using the most difficult to define character in the Capcom universe to represent it.  Also as its never been fully described exactly where Poison lies within the GLBT spectrum, its a fun character to use to fuck your fanbase over with.

Imagine this scenario:  Capcom spends the next several months following Super Street Fighter 4’s release refusing to address Poison’s gender and/or sexual orientation, but at the same time releases a series of revealing–yet not too revealing– pvc statues, hug pillows and those horrible boobie-shaped mouse wrist rest featuring her image.  Then, just as the fanbase starts to admit that maybe they’ve been been wrong about Poison all these years–BOOM!  Silently release hundreds of gigs worth of high-resolution official Udon artwork on 4chan revealing a fully transgendered Poison taking advantage of every character on the Super Street Fighter 4 roster.

I’m not exactly sure what you’d accomplish by doing this, but the results would be hilarious.

God of War 3
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer:  Santa Monica Studio
Platforms:  PlayStation 3

I could pretend to be Mister Snooty Games Review Guy and claim that the blood and angst and boobs that the God of War series brings to the table is below me, but gameplay-wise there’s nothing that God of War does that I’m not in love with, and to be honest, vivisection and boobs appeal to me.

Gameplay-wise, aside from new abilities and environments God of War 3 isn’t doing anything new, which is good and bad– Good in that the base God of War formula makes for a damned fine video game, but bad in that its been three years since SCE Santa Monica put out a GoW game and in that time this genre has seen a lot of games that improve upon God of War’s 3d brawler formula.  SCE Santa Monica is sort of stuck though, in that God of War 3’s entire selling point is that God of War fans have been waiting forever to see this series appear on the PS3– So they can’t really do much to make the sort of improvements seen in, say, Bayonetta or Ninja Gaiden 2.  God of War 3 is still going to be button mashy, its still going to feature obtuse, if not downright unfair platformer puzzle sections, and its still going to to feature those annoying quick time event finishers.

All of which presents a problem for SCE Santa Monica and the series in general, as the space GoW occupies is a lot more crowded than it was back when the series reigned supreme in the waning days of the Playstation 2 era.  Even in the angst-and-blood filled western-developed 3d brawler market its no longer unique.  Dante’s Inferno might suck, but its already captured over six hundred thousand sales in only a month, and whereas Darksiders has its flaws, it does everything God of War does and more, and its sold at least a million copies at the time of this writing.

That said, God of War 3 us a big enough title and will be advertised enough that there’s no doubt it’ll top the PlayStation 3 charts next month and possibly for some time to come, but you also wonder if there’s really anything for Kratos left to do after this game aside from rake in money and drink honeyed mead from Aphrodite’s cleavage.


Whesker! (original appearance: Resident Evil)

Hilariously violent, over-the-top, guilty of taking himself entirely too seriously, far too powerful to exist within his own universe– Kratos and Whesker fit all these criteria.  Although I think there may be a way to convincingly argue that Kratos himself could appear in a Street Fighter game, provided you’re willing to say his appearance in Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny places him within the Namco universe and the Namco x Capcom games would then somehow allow Kratos a back door into Street Fighter itself– but I think at that point Dante from Devil May Cry would stop any of this from ever happening.
But back to Whesker.  Yes, he may be more powerful than God at this point in the Resident Evil universe, but I’m pretty sure Sagat has killed God by this point in Street Fighter canon.
Basketball Hall of Fame Ultimate Hoops Challenge (Zoo Games; Wii)
Publisher:  Zoo Games
Developer:  The Shambling Damned Begging For Release
Platforms: The Wii (of fucking course)
Can’t all be winners, I guess.  There was actually a lot more shovelware this week than this lone title, but I felt like being encouraged about the games market for once and not have to depress myself by spending any more time on Build-A-Bear: Friendship Valley than absolutely necessary.
Hall of Fame Ultimate Hoops Challenge is just… weird.  First, somehow or another either the Basketball Hall of Fame conned Zoo Games into thinking its license was worth anything at all, or Zoo Games conned The Basketball Hall of Fame into thinking they were a real developer capable of producing a video game that wasn’t actually a collection of Wii minigames, but also I want you to take a closer look at this box art:
This might be the whitest basketball video game ever made.  Sure, EA’s One On One:  Dr J vs Larry Bird might have only featured one black guy, but at least he represented half the game’s characters!
Hall of Fame Ultimate Hoops Challenge touts a roster of sixteen players, which means the game is barely capable of producing three full teams and by “sixteen players” we can assume Zoo Games actually means “these are the only guys senile enough to be talked out of signing with Electronic Arts instead”

Captain Commando! (original appearance: Captain Commando)

White, ancient, hopelessly hokey, improbably good at the free-throw line– Okay so maybe the last bit is entirely speculation, but everything else fits, including the way Cap. Commando was originally envisioned as the spokesman for Capcom itself.  Plus the original Captain Commando design could make for a passable Bill Walton:
Okay sure he has flamethrowers and extendable arms, but that basically puts him at the same level as Dhalsim, plus Dhalsim can teleport.

Infinite Space (Sega; DS)
Publisher:  Sega
Developer: Platinum Games
Platforms:  DS
So a scifi RPG/space exploration sim with fully customizable ships produced by Platinum games and basically reads like a Japanese, hahdheld version of Elite?


I wish I had ovaries so I could have this game’s babies.


Rolento! (original appearance: Final Fight)

The most amazing possible combination of game descriptors can only be fairly described by the most amazing possible, long-forgotten Capcom character design, Rolento, who follows the sound video game design philosophy that states that anything is instantly better with quarterstaffs involved.
Seriously though, I had my heart set on Rolento being the final character reveal.  If Capcom isn’t going to do anything useful with the character then they should at least license him out  along with the agreement of whatever corporate husk currently owns the rights to SNK’s Billy Kane and finally make the comprehensive Badasses With Sticks videogame experience.  This game would make ten billion dollars and I’m giving this idea away for free!

Metro 2033
Publisher:  THQ
Developer:  4A Games
Platforms:  Xbox 360, PC

We’ve already had an old-school meaty expansion pack for the best fantasy WRPG since Torment; a Japanese mashup of Elite and Mass Effect that’s somehow even more awesome than simply describing it as “a Japanese mashup of Elite and Mass Effect” and the fourth game in a series that’s renowned for non-consensual freestyle spine displacement and we’ve still not reached the best idea of the week, as here we have a post-apocalyptic survival horror FPS THAT TAKES PLACE ENTIRELY WITHIN THE IRRADIATED REMAINS OF THE MOSCOW SUBWAY SYSTEM AND THE GAME WAS DEVELOPED BY UKRAINIANS.

Oh and the game is based around a bullet economy that has the player shooting your enemies with currency.  But after hearing this is basically playing RE4 underneath Moscow that’s sort of like telling me I get to make out with Christina Hendricks in the back of a production replica of Airwolf as it constantly orbits the Tokyo Tower.  There’s just too much awesome to comprehend.
That said– there’s the distinct chance that Metro 2033 might not actually be very good.  For one thing, the PC specs– the lead platform for Metro 2033– are kinda insane, the game wants 8 gigs of ram, a Core i7 CPU and a videocard that Nvidia hasn’t actually released yet.  And somehow this is supposed to fit inside the seemingly retro Xbox 360 spec sheet.  Also previews for the game have complained that its overly scripted and the game tends to come to a screeching halt in order to tell its story.
However, the story itself may prove to be exceptionally good– its based on a novel of the same name by Dmitry Glukhovsky and is a bestseller in Russia.

STRIDER!  (original appearance:  motherfucking Strider!)

So how do you improve on what I’ve already proclaimed to be the best idea possible with Infinite Space?  By making it Russian and giving it a sword!
Which leads me to my second embittered rant in as many entries, and it stems from Grin so wholly fucking up with the Bionic Commando revival that we’re never ever going to see a modern Strider game as long as any of us are alive.  Sure, maybe there will be a Bionic Command ReArmed-like re-imagining of the classic arcade game, but it just won’t be the same, and the 3d space just begs for the sort of fast-paced free-flowing gameplay that the original arcade Strider was so damned good at.  So thanks Grin.  You assholes.  You managed to fuck up a game completely based around grappling hooks and ruined everything.  I pray Vikings kill you in your sleep.

Pokemon SoulSilver
Pokemon HeartGold

Publisher:  Nintendo
Developer:  Game Freak
Platform:  DS

I’ll be honest.  I’m simply not qualified to talk about these games as I hold nothing but contempt in my heart for Nintendo and have never actually played a Pokemon game.  So you know, if you like this sort of thing and most of you do, you already know which one of these you’re going to buy (if not both of them) and a great many of you have probably given your own old Pokemon games for your own children to play around with.  That’s great.  Really.  I hate all of you

Mega Man!  (original appearance:  Mega Man!)
Older than dirt, primarily known as a Nintendo guy, has made an enormous sum of money for the parent company and is yet faintly baffling to everyone involved as to why he’s still popular.  Yeah, that’s Pokemon.
I’m not quite sure if Mega Man’s presence  breaks Street Fighter or not– nevermind the fact that he’s a robot that has a laser cannon as an arm– in Street Fighter this makes him roughly as powerful as Sakura– the problem is that he probably can only be hit by low attacks and I’m pretty sure the Vs games he’s been in have had this same problem.  This is okay, because much like Mega Man, Pokemon simply cannot be killed.
Resonance of Fate
Publisher:  Sega
Developer:  tri-Ace
Platforms:  Playstation 3, Xbox 360

All of the good jokes about this game being sent out to die a week after the release of Final Fantasy 13 have been told to death on messageboards already.  This is a shame, as it seems this game has largely been dismissed already despite the base combat system having a lot of promise and the story itself sounds interesting, resembling somewhat of a JRPG take on the traditionally western staple of wandering about a post-apocalyptic wasteland, although in this case representing a cautionary tale about humanity ruined by its own excesses rather than outright nuclear war.  Also firmly in Resonance of Fate’s favor, at some point this happens:

All that said, we don’t really know how well the game has fared in translation as only one review yet exists and its in Dutch.  This close to the game’s release, that’s sort of troubling, and maybe gives credence to the whole “sent to die” thing.  However I’m willing to give this game the benefit of the doubt based entirely on the game’s box art alone.  If anything can get me interested in JRPGs again its people in nice coats looking cool with guns.


Dante!  (original appearance:  Devil May Cry)

Cool coat?  Check.  Awesome gun?  Check.  Stylish as hell?  Check.  Infantile obsession with boobs?  Check!

You have every right to be irrationally exuberant about JUST CAUSE 2

Meanwhile its hard to tell if RED STEEL 2 is going to be horrible or not but its the sort of thing I badly want to be excited for

IMAGINE: GYMNAST is here entirely for me to post lewd pictures of Brandi Personette HA HA JUST KIDDING WE’RE TOTALLY TALKING ABOUT SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI:  STRANGE JOURNEY FOR LIKE SIX HUNDRED WORDS INSTEAD. Also probably still tasteful photographs of Brandi Personette.


8 Responses to “Wallet Abuse Wednesday 3-17-10: God of War 3, Dragon Age Awakening, I hate Hakan!”

  1. Craiggers said

    You’ve said a lot of funny things but this one really cracked me up tonight:
    “I wish I had ovaries so I could have this game’s babies.”

  2. Polekatt said

    I just finished my first playthrough of DA:O this weekend, just in time to buy Awakenings today. Another thing going for it is the ability Mod it. I’ve already been checking into whats available. The ability to mod Oblivion and Morrowind has kept them going for years.

  3. Behemoth said

    Oh fuck, I forgot Infinite Space was coming out this week!

    Thanks, Nfinit Vyolence!

  4. hugh betcha said

    Rolento had the curious (and I mean curious as synonymous with “Awesome”) distinction of arriving at a bare-hands fighting tourney with

    – A nightstick
    – Hand grenades
    – Combat knives
    – … and Piano wire.

    That’s right. Akuma turns off the lights and paints calligraphy on his shirt for a supermove.

    Rolento fucking -garrotes- you.


  5. Brian said

    God. Damn. Rolento.

    Can’t wait to grab GoWIII.

  6. megamario said

    Nfinit SS4 isn’t a vs game, why would there be characters like Arthur.

    The REAL solution is to release a Capcom vs Capcom game: Staring Capcom

  7. Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on.
    Any tips?

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