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

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 6-2-10: I’m totally serious about Diamond Trust of London, Guys.

Posted by nfinit on June 1, 2010

Alpha Protocol
Publisher:  Sega
Developer:  Obsidian Entertainment
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

So it turns out, as we feared, Alpha Protocol isn’t very good.
And may, in fact, be awful.  As I alluded to though, this isn’t exactly a surprise– games rarely experience as tortured a development process as Alpha Protocol’s and come out the other side unscathed– and this is after Sega reportedly got wind of early Mass Effect 2 builds and promptly sat on the game, an eight-month delay that apparently Obsidian Entertainment spent playing other, better games instead of adding details like “polish” or “a working AI”.
And brother, did this game ever need polish– In fact the consensus seems to be that the core concept, writing, characterization and dialog for Alpha Protocol ranges from decent-to-outstanding, it’s just that the game has enough old school western-developed jank that it feels like it was developed by a team of refugee Soviet coders from the back of  a flaming Trabant.
But that’s a tangent for another time.  What I do find interesting is the parallels you can make between the complaints voiced for Alpha Protocol and the stuff we all overlooked for another, beloved game, Deus Ex.  Good writing, fundamentally bad gameplay (until at least you put some points into your skillset), good universe, an abnormal amount of 3d clunkiness— the important distinguishing characteristic between the two being that Dues  Ex was released a dozen years ago, before we accepted the idea that a game can have maintain excellent RPG elements and also some semblance of competent shooter-based gameplay.  I somehow doubt Deus Ex would have been as well received in a post-Mass Effect world.

I’m also intrigued by the game’s setting.  It’s not often– perhaps not ever– that you see a RPG set in the modern day, without any supernatural contrivances found within Persona, or the more fantastical element of The World Ends With You.

For those keeping track, Obsidian is the same company Bethesda is entrusting with Fallout:  New Vegas.  Between Alpha Protocol and Knights of the Old Republic 2, this company has two should-have-been-classic WRPGs under their belt that fell victim to an inability to give the final products the polish and fit they deserved.  I’m more than a little concerned with their ability to reign in something as inherently subject to clunkyness and open-work jank as a Fallout game, but I’m hoping– hoping!— that somehow Sega’s incompetence managed to rub off on Obsidian during the development process and that Alpha Protocol’s utter failure of oversight was an isolated occurrence.

I mean, Neverwinter Nights 2 didn’t suck, right?

Oh who am I kidding, these guys are going to ruin it.  Destructoid gave Alpha Protocol a 2 of 10 and said they’ve played betas that felt more put-together than this thing.  Someone needs to give Obsidian in intervention before they ruin any more good ideas.
Publisher:  505 Games
Developer:  NaturalMotion
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

I’m trying to think of a list of things more inherently useless than an American football game that lacks the NFL license, and so far it looks like this:

1:  Edward Clullen’s penis
2:  Homeopathic snakebite remedies
3:  Hypercolor shirts
4:  A political endorsement from President Obama
5:  Season tickets to Gulf Coast Seaside Fun Waterpark Dolphin Extravaganza
…it was a longer list than I expected.
Did you know 505 games owns the overseas publishing rights to D3’s Simple 2000 series?  It’s true!  Instead of throwing money at NaturalMotion’s first– and last– videogame, we could have had all the Simple 2000 PS2 games released in America, maybe even with Playstation Network publishing rights in for play over PS3 and a free Toyota Yaris for everyone involved in the transaction.  Thanks, 505!
Diamond Trust of London
Publisher:  Majesco
Developer:  Majesco
Platform:  NintendoDS

…wherein we have a DS strategy game based around the blood diamond trade in Angola brought to us by the same guy who developed Sleep Is Death.

On a cartridge.

By Majesco.
What is this magical place and what horrible arcane rites must I perform to stay here?

I don’t know the exact sequence of events that took place to make this happen but it’s not likely to happen twice.  I’m normally not the type of person to advocate buying consumer goods in order to reinforce good behavior among faceless corporate behemoths, but– well, maybe this warrants it.  Especially when you’re dealing with a company like Majesco who not so long ago gave us Phantom Dust and Nanostray 2.  There may indeed be something inside of Majesco worth salvag

okay maybe not.  Do it for Jason Roher instead!
Bass Pro Shops:  The Hunt
Publisher:  XS Games
Developer:  Piranha Games Inc
Platforms:  Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360
If you were to google up a local Bass Pro Shop to buy Bass Pro Shops: The Hunt, would you then be hunting for Bass Pro Shops for Bass Pro Shops The Hunt?  Could you then get a Bass Pro Shops clerk to search the back for this game, in effect sending him out to hunt in Bass Pro Shops for Bass Pro Shops the Hunt?  How recursive can you get before the universe would intact protections that prevent causality violations?
Syphon Filter:  Logan’s Shadow
Publisher:  Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer:  Sony Bend
Platforms:  PlayStation 2

For those who haven’t been paying attention to the heady world of PSP 3rd person espionage shooters this isn’t actually a new Syphon Filter game, it’s a port of the very last Syphon Filter game to be released.  On the PSP.

In 2007.
Anyone else remember when Syphon Filter was supposed to be a big deal, back before it got cast to Sony’s island of misfit toys along with Spyro and Crash Bandicoot?  Now Sony Bend is stuck producing PSP version of Killzone games and porting games over for the last  Playstation 2 holdouts stuck in Borneo for the Peace Corps.  Somehow this is more advantageous for Sony than providing Bend with a PS3 development kit.

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