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

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 4-21-10: Monster Hunter Tri

Posted by nfinit on April 20, 2010

I’d like to be able to tell all you good readers that I invested a lot of time producing the best possible Wallet Abuse this week– usually I spend a good chunk of my Sundays doing nothing but writing content for Bigredcoat– but in honest truth, I’ve not.   Ad this is because I broke down last week and bought Assassin’s Creed 2 (only thirty dollars brand new!) and my only real regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.

Assassin’s Creed 2 stimulates a very specific nerve bundle in my cerebral cortex that causes me great pleasure whenever a game allows me to fuck around for hours at a time without making any real progress in the game whatsoever.  The game gives you so much inane shit to do while putzing around Renaissance-era Italy that taking part in the actual storyline seems gauche; and you almost certainly wouldn’t do so unless it were a necessary component to unlock more cities in which to wander about and act like a dickhead to the locals.  I can do this for hours a time, and I’ve quite literally done so– I’ve invested roughly fifteen hours into Assassin’s Creed 2 so far and I’ve not even seen most of Venice left. I know there are at least three of six Assassin’s Tombs left to uncover, so if we go by this baseline I’m probably halfway through the game and I’m confident that if I wanted to I could spend an additional fifteen hours just going back and exploring the parts of the game I’ve already unlocked.

I believe I said some awful, boneheaded, dismissive things regarding Assassin’s Creed 2 when it first came out last Holiday season, and I’d like to go on record that I was a complete ass for not buying this game when it was sixty bucks and people were actually talking about the stupid thing.  While I’m not sure I’d say it’s game of the year over Dragon Age: Origins, it’s definitely in my top three of 2009 and may well be the best sandbox game I’ve ever played.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I don’t have a theme for you all today.  I was originally going to do some grandiose thing revolving around Shaggy 2 Dope’s hostile reaction toward electromagnetism, but it’s been done to death by now and anyway all the best stuff regarding the incident is at the Encyclopedia Dramatica page that I probably shouldn’t link to because ED is full of awful, awful hentai.
Then I was thinking maybe I’d do something regarding the community’s latest spat of blind, hilarious outrage in regards to Roger Ebert’s views on the validity of gaming-as-art.  But then I realized that 1:  it’s nine thirty on Tuesday and that’d be entirely too much work and 2:  anyone reading this is smart enough to realize that asking Roger Ebert’s opinion on gaming culture is about as logical as skimming through the New York Times Book Review and trying to figure out if they also think Caprica sucks wind– Of course Ebert doesn’t get games-as-art, he’s an expert on a wholly different medium.  Ebert understands Heavy Rain about as well as Sarah Palin understands competent governance.  It’s just not his field of expertise.

But that’s fine, because there’s only three games out this week anyway, two of them (All-Star Karate, Dementium 2) are curiosities at best, and the only game worth talking about is a thoroughly hardcore 3rd party Wii-exclusive title with an actual marketing budget and– well wait, that’s worth talking about in and of itself, I suppose.

All Star Karate
Publisher:  THQ
Developer:  THQ
Platforms:  Wii
It’s a motion-controlled waggle fighting game.  Great.  Fantastic.  If you want your offspring to fully absorb your disdain for their meager achievements in life, by all means purchase this for them instead of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.

Here’s what I want to know– This is a motion-controlled “karate sim”– does this mean that you can strap a wiimote to your foot to register kicks?  And if not, why?  People would buy a Wiimote footie, right?  Also, as with most things in life, Sega Did It First:
Dementium II
Publisher:  South Peak Interactive
Developer:  Renegade Kid
Platforms:  Nintendo DS
So apparently the Dementium games are survival horror for the DS– it’s good someone is intent on doing this sort of thing for Nintendo’s portable, as it would appear that Konami is intent on killing Silent Hill in America and Capcom hasn’t had anything to do with Resident Evil DS since 2006.

You can’t fault developer Renegade Kid for a lack of ambition– these are the same guys who managed to cram a full, original sci-fi sixty-frame-per-second FPS shooter into the DS hardware in Moon, and the original Dementium effort is generally well-regarded.  Plus, you have to like a studio that’s willing to treat the DS as a grown up gaming console, even if it’s a grown up gaming console circa 1997.  Also we can now officially welcome the flashlight genre to the DS:

Monster Hunter Tri

Publisher:  Capcom

Developer:  Capcom Production Studio 1

Platform:  Wii

If you ask a Nintendo fan why hardcore 3rd party games don’t typically sell well on the Wii, three things usually come up:

1:  The game in question is usually a dumbed-down version of a full-scale PS360 title that the parent company felt the need to convert into a lightgun game or some other obviously inferior version of the “full” product (See:  Dead Space:  Extraction; Dead Rising: Chop ’til you Drop; EA’s ongoing policy of openly insulting Wii owners with its Wii Madden games)

2:  An abject refusal to spend any effort and/or money advertising said game (Most notable being Silent Hill: Shattered Memories; in itself a fantastic game that Konami  refused to promote out of open contempt for the development team)

3:  These games tend not to be part of larger franchises.  You don’t get Final Fantasy 13 on the Wii, for instance– you get a stunted, obviously inferior Final Fantasy instead, like Crystal Bearers, stuff that is part of the original franchise in name only.

Monster Hunter Tri breaks all these issues– One, it’s obviously a hardcore game and not a stunted PS360 port with a layer of waggle interactivity.  Secondly, Capcom is spending an absolutely stupid amount of money advertising MH Tri–there’s a very good chance you’ve already seen a burly Scottish Highlander trying to offload a truck full of dragon burgers on national television; although Capcom has been rather aggressive on the national television campaign as of late, even Tatsunoku vs Capcom received a tv ad.  And finally, Tri is, as you may have surmised, the third title in a wildly successful (in Japan, anyway) series that will be sold exclusively on the Wii.

All of which will be wonderful to sort through once Monster Hunter Tri is decimated by Mario Kart Wii in the NPDs for April.  But nevermind all that– the most interesting thing about Monster Hunter Tri is that it may well have  brought about only the second decent controller Nintendo has ever produced.  Behold the Classic Controller Pro:

Which is what happens when you take the original Wii Classic Controller and make some nominal attempt to bring it up to speed with the ergonomic advancements first pioneered by the Playstation 1 controller.  That said, the Pro is still regressive as a Tea Party bake sale (really, Nintendo?  2010 and we’re still rocking four digital shoulder buttons?) but for the stuff you’d want to do on the Wii (read:  Play Virtual Console games) it’s Perfectly Acceptable and is light years beyond the bastard child of the SNES game pad and Dual Shock that was the original Classic.


DEAD TO RIGHTS RETRIBUTION is probably as awful and forgettable as the first game (this is the part where you remember that Dead to Rights was at one point A Thing) but it has a dog that bites your enemies in the crotch until they die from it, so that’s okay by me.

Squeenix continues its valiant struggle against irrelevancy with hermaphrodites in boy shorts and NIER



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