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

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 5-26-10: Blur, Galaxy 2, we’re all junkies!

Posted by nfinit on May 25, 2010

Hey Mark, what have you been doing instead of updating your blog?
Playing motherfucking Red Dead Redemption, that’s what!
I’ve poured something like 20 hours into this game over the past three days and I’m actively avoiding story missions for as long as possible for the sole purpose of making the game last longer– and that’s ignoring the point that I know full well that it’s a fairly long game in and of itself even if I were to plow through the story missions.
It’s rare that a  game makes me regret advancing its story and thus inexorably diminishing the time I get to spend with it– in fact, I can remember doing this all of three times before.  One was last year’s all-too-short Batman: Arkham Asylum.  Before that there was the pangs of regret that caused me to put off the last couple hours of the first Suikoden for the PS1.  The first time this happened was with Sonic the Hedgehog 2– although in that case it was mainly because the game was supposed to be a birthday gift and I was in danger of finishing the game before I was to technically receive it.
Suffice to say, Red Dead Redemption is an amazing game– These might be the best visuals I’ve seen out of a videogame.. well, ever, this is the first game I can really remember looking at and thinking that this would be utterly impossible to replicate on PS2-era hardware.  The draw distances are simply staggering and the fauna is quite literally crawling with wildlife, most of which is intent on feasting upon your rapidly cooling corpse.
I’m not  willing to say it’s my game of the year over Bayonetta as of yet.  It has  problems, not the least of which are clunky, imprecise controls that force you to question your ability to make it out of any given situation.  Also. Rockstar badly needs to understand that it’s not necessary to map multiple functions to a single key, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been violently murdered because James Marston was too close to a patch of weeds and became suddenly entrhalled with picking the flowers in the middle of a firefight.
It’s one of those games you have to enjoy in spite of its controls, and it’s difficult to give a game like that unqualified praise, especially when you’re dealing with something that  wants to define itself as an action game.  There’s a problem when a game like Mass Effect 2 has far superior core gameplay elements than an open world action game epic.
Also the game is hilariously glitchy
But glitchyness and clunky controls are problems endemic to open world games, and it’s not fair to damn Red Dead for these faults.  It is probably the finest game if it’s type to ever be crafted, although in all fairness I’ve yet to play Just Cause 2.

I have a simple metric for judging if a game is great:  If I’m playing it, I lose track of time, and when I’m not playing it I’m thinking of playing it.  So that’s why it’s 8 pm on Tuesday and all I have written for Wallet Abuse is this rambling love letter to Red Dead Redemption, and that’s pretty bad as this was an important week for games, including at least one title that’ll probably wind up on a lot of GOTY lists, that being Super Mario Galaxy 2, and all I can really think about are the intricacies of playing Liar’s Dice in Chuparosa!

But I also wanted to go over this amazing thing that happened this week:

Now don’t get me wrong, gaming ruined my life and I’m -okay- with that, but I can’t recall ever pushing an old woman down a flight of stairs to get my hit of Forza 3.

Although I probably would for Rallisport Challenge 3.

Anyway, since I’ve not done a gimmick in a couple weeks, and seeing that we actually have a decent list of games this week, I wanted to judge this week’s slate of games against the equivalent addictive narcotic effect, starting with–

Backyard Sports:  Sandlot Sluggers
Publisher: Atari
Developer: HB Studios
Platforms: Everything (but I’m blaming it on Nintendo)
k, let’s try that again.

Anyway, since I’ve not done a gimmick in a couple weeks, and seeing that we actually have a decent list this week, I wanted to judge this week’s slate of games against the equivalent addictive narcotic effect, starting with–
Publisher:  Activision
Developer:  Bizarre Creations
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Combining the best elements of Project Gotham Racing and Wipeout is a good start for a great \game, and I can’t complain about any game who’s advertising campaign revolves around bashing Mario Kart for the simplistic party game it is. But I do wonder if there’s any appreciable single-player component to be found within Blur, or if you’d really want to bother dipping into it if you have access to Live Gold or Playstation Network– Paying full MSRP for a game that’s basically a shell for the online lobby always bugs me, and you run into the very real problem if the game’s community drying up inside of two weeks– and that’s before you deal with the possibility of Split/Second laying claim to the same pool of online casual racers.
It’s a slow period for console racing games though, and provided we don’t see GT5  Blur could well be the only significant racing game to be released between Forza 3 and Test Drive Unlimited 2.  I don’t know if that will help the game’s popularity and keep the community from wandering off inside of a month, but if you’re going to buy this it’s probably best to do it sooner rather than later.



Much like Blur’s relationship to Mario Kart, crystal meth was first synthesized in Japan before coming to America and taking over large swaths of suburbia, trailer parks, and abandoned hillbilly shacks.  Also, much like the events within the game of Blur itself , over time a meth lab has a 100% chance of exploding violently.

City Builder
Publisher:  Virtual Play Games
Developer:  Collision Studios
Platforms:  Nintendo Wii
I can either find interesting things to say about a game who’s developer’s last game of note was Daisy Fuentes Pilates or I could spend my free time dragging prostitutes across the Mexican wasteland from the back of my horse.  This is all you’re getting.


Huffing Krylon!
I’ll be perfectly honest– I find this picture personally hilarious at some core, fundamental level and the entire purpose of this entire theme is to share it with you all.  Seriously though, don’t huff paint and don’t buy this game.

Dawn of Heroes
Publisher:  Majesco
Developer:  Wicked Studios
Platforms:  Nintendo Wii
At first i was convinced that Dawn of Heroes existed entirely to confuse people who came into Gamestop looking for the far more interesting and genuinely good Might and Magic:  Clash of Heroes, but further research proves that Dawn of Heroes first popped up at Tokyo Game Show three years ago.  How in the hell you can put a game in development for thirty-six months and still wind up with something that looks like this:
is quite frankly beyond my ken, but whatevs.  The biggest problem Dawn of Heroes has isn’t its generic name, or the fact that it’s drop dead hideous, but that in that there’s approximately five billion games doing the simplistic JRPG/SRPG thing on the DS right now, all of them better and without the shame that buying a Majesco product brings upon your family.

Also only one site has bothered to do a review of DoH so far, and that’s Nintendo Power with a 7.5.  This thing is going to blow goats.


Whip-it Cartridges!

Mostly harmless, slightly embarrassing to everyone involved, and there’s far better things you could be doing with the same equipment (in whip-it’s case, just eating whipped cream instead, in the case of your DS, playing quite literally any other JRPG ever released for the system)

Hexyz Force
Publisher:  Atlus
Developer:  Sting
Platforms:  PlayStation Portable
A super-deformed JRPG released on a failed system who’s main selling point is twenty minutes of anime cutscenes.  It’s like I’m playing Lunar on the Sega CD all over again except there’s more than 16 colors on-screen and the president doesn’t suck.
Seriously though, how the fuck does Atlus stay in business releasing stuff for systems that they know full well has something like a 99.99% piracy rate for all games released upon it?  Did the game seriously cost Atlus less than $80 to translate and they can count on the three vehemently Libertarian weeaboo PSP fans to buy this stupid thing?
As far as the actual game goes, this is by the same guys that developed Riviera: The Promised Land and Yggra Union, so at least it (probably) doesn’t suck


I was going to post an anime-related fictional recreational drug here, but the only  relevant item I could come up with was Red Eye from Cowboy Bebop and I respect CB too much to associate it with whatever the hell it is we’re being sold here in this game.  So, much like games with anime cut scenes, here’s something that wore out it’s welcome in the late 90’s, although to be fair to Hexyz Force it didn’t kill Steve Belcher getting there.

ModNation Racers
Publisher:  Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer:  United Front Games

Platforms:  PlayStation 3

Unless you’re really into Playstation fandom why are you buying this instead of Blur?

Nectar!  (from Haze!)
If your Sony fanboyism leads you to purchase forgettable PS3-exclusive racing games in lieu of far superior cross-platform alternatives, you may as well resort to the fictional drug that powered the most forgettable PS3 exclusive game that no one admits buying.

Super Mario Galaxy 2
Publisher:  Nintendo
Developer:  Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Platforms:  Nintendo Wii

Shigeru Miyamoto can use leftover bits of Super Mario Galaxy and manage to make something that sits at 98% on Metacritic but refuses to do anything interesting with Starfox.  Jerk.



UFC Undisputed 2010
Publisher:  THQ
Developer:  Yuke’s
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Apparently Undisputed 2010 is a solid purchase if you’re heavy into UFC, but it also seems clunky enough to ward off the UFC’s dudebro audience.  The 12 year long career mode sounds intriguing and apparently Joe Rogan will even mention stuff that happened in your previous fights, but the presentation and fighting engine seems simish to a fault.  These are all the sorts of mistakes that EA’s Martial Arts game probably won’t make,  but then again it won’t have Anderson Silva, so what’s the point, really?


Red Bull!
Much like I’m unconvinced people actually enjoy playing clunky sim fighters such as Undisputed, K-1 kickboxer, and Fight Night, there’s no way I believe anyone actually enjoys drinking Red Bull.
Witch's Wish
Witch’s Wish
Publisher:  Natsume
Developer: TryFirst
Platforms:  Nintendo DS

Fuck you there’s no way I’m talking about this game when there’s Mexicans to be sho
Oh my god this thing is adorable

I question the quality of WW however, as all the major gaming sites are clearly reciting from the same paragraph-and-a-half of Natsume’s press release, and while this paragraph tells the story of a strong collectivist, working-class plot, it doesn’t really explain what this thing is supposed to be.  But it’s a Natsume game, so I’m going to assume it’s something to do with agriculture.
Mandrake root!

I’m going to run with the farming thing here, and seeing as how this is a game clearly based on neopagan poppycock, mandrake root works quite well.  Also mandrake has a solid traditions in videogames, appearing in everything from Odin Sphere to Final Fantasy to– for reasons as yet unexplained– a boss in Mega Man Zero 4.


Oh man I hope ALPHA PROTOCOL doesn’t suck but it’s been delayed sixteen times and that’s never good.
BACKBREAKER lacks NFL license; snowball’s chance in hell.
Holy shit it’s 2010 and SYPHON FILTER:  LOGAN’S SHADOW is a PS2 exclusive!

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