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

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 6-07-10. Crackdown, Too.

Posted by nfinit on July 6, 2010

2 for 1 Power Pack:  Winter Games/Summer Sports 2
Publisher:  Destineer Games
Developer:  Destineer Games
Platform:  Nintendo Wii

Any time you see the number of discs prominently displayed on a game’s box– especially in 2010 and developers have over eight and a half gigs to store Wii textures onto– is a pretty good indication that what lay inside is utter crap.  2 for 1 Power Pack ups the ante by also touting that 21 “games” lay within it’s twin discs, an example of cynical false advertising not seen since the Magnavox Odyssey promised over a dozen games, all variations of Pong

magnavox-odyssey.jpg picture by bigredcoat

But at least then you got a bunch of neat overlays

I hate to see stuff like this sold in stores.  It’s bad enough to sell to  moms and dads searching for some Wii activity shit for when it’s too hot outside to let the kids wander about for fear of heat stroke.  That sort of thing is to be expected on the Wii at this point and you can hardly blame Destineer for following in the footsteps of 95% of the Wii’s third party library.  But it’s another thing to see a game blatantly advertise it’s own dubious value as being two games in one.  This is the sort of thing that tricks kids into blowing their hard-earned summer job money on and being turned against gaming forever and wind up huffing paint instead, or playing soccer.

Big Beach Sports 2
Publisher: THQ
Developer:  Jet  Black Games
Platform:  Nintendo Wii

I like it when Summer comes along and developers try  to sell kids on the idea of playing videogames about being outside playing other games.  That’s some meta shit, and I don’t know exactly how this logic is supposed to sell videogames.  In the case of Big Beach Sports 2, one of the three following scenarios seems far more plausible:

Scenario 1:  The kid has a pool.  The kid boots up Big Beach Sports 2, plays fifteen minutes, realizes “hey wait, my house has a fucking pool” and wanders outside.  In this case I suppose the business plan  works out in that the game gets sold anyway and what the fuck does Jet Black Games care what you do with it, but it’s hard to imagine why a kid who has easy access to a pool bought a Wii game based on playing games around a pool.

Scenario 2:  The kid has no pool; can beg for ride to pool:  The kid boots up Big Beach Sports 2, plays fifteen minutes, wishes they were at a pool instead, and begs parent and/or legal guardian to drive said child to a pool.  In this scenario  the parent sees this coming a mile away and refuses to buy Big Beach Sports 2 and instead patiently explains the cost and/or insurance requirements inherent in pool installation and buys the kid another game instead.  (note:  Intelligent and/or devious children will recognize this behavior and parlay feigned disappointment into another, more expensive game of their choosing)

3:  Kid has no pool; is for some reason cannot find access to a pool:  In this case the child actively resents the presence of Big Beach Blast 2.  In this case ownership of the game itself is almost always the result of a careless albeit well-meaning grandparent or the child lives with fucking evil adults.

The only market I can imagine that exists for Big Beach Blast 2 stems from children who for medical or religious reasons cannot access a pool, yet still yearn for the pool game experience.  Which apparently is a larger market than I assumed, as at some point there existed a Big Beach Sports 1.

Big Beach Sport 2’s developer, Jet Black Games, previously worked on Popeye Boxing for the Wii.  Somehow Popeye Boxing exists and I was not previously aware of this.

Crackdown 2
Publisher:  Microsoft Game Studios
Developer:  Ruffian Games
Platforms:  Xbox 360

Reviews are tricking in, and good news: if you loved the first Crackdown, you’re going to love Crackdown 2.  Bad news:  that’s entirely due to the fact that Crackdown 2 is Crackdown 1, with four-player co-op and fewer gangs.  It seems Ruffian took the Crackdown 1 map, fucked the geometry on some of the buildings, redistributed the collectables  and called it a day.  That’s provided you can really tell if anything’s been “redistributed” when there’s over a thousand things to collect in an overworld as small as Crackdown.

Crackdown 1 was an insanely playable, fun-despite-itself game that fed into two of mankind’s greatest past-times– collecting crap and blowing things up.  But that was three years ago, and the action-oriented-GTA-with-superpowers niche that Crackdown 1 occupied has since become it’s own budding genre with the release of Prototype and Infamous, and to a lesser extent Mercenaries 2 and Just Cause 2.

None of this should come as a surprise.  Ruffian Games was founded a scant eight months ago by Microsoft for the sole purpose of producing Crackdown 2, after for some insane reason scorning Realtime Worlds.  Of course Crackdown 2 is a texture mod of Crackdown 1, that’s all Ruffian had time to deliver– and the few hasty changes  that Ruffian had time to implement all sound like bad ideas, what with the main story now consisting of the same mission repeated 9 times and collectible agility orbs (the main gameplay thrust of the first game) that actively try to escape from the player.

Crackdown 2 comes off as a blatantly cynical cash grab by Microsoft Game Studios– instead of giving the game back to it’s original developers with the time and budget necessary to deliver a truly intriguing and evolved gaming experience, they fastracked a re-skin of the first game with tacked-on Xbox Live Gold support.  This is what passes for hardcore games development in a post-Kinect world.

Despicable Me
Publisher:  D3 Games
Developer: Vicious Cycle Games
Publisher:  Nintendo Wii

Despicable Me revolves around the idea of an evil genius who has at this disposal an undending supply of disposable, infinitely loyal minions, and there’s a lot of directions you can go with that.  For instance, you could do a riff on Pikmin full of gallows humor, or revisit Evil Genius.

untitled-49.jpg picture by bigredcoat
Instead, this is Tokobot.

Did you know these are the same guys who developed Matt Hazard?  It’s true!  Also this is going to be terrible.

Also, this exists:

But it’s by WayForward, the guys who gave us Shantae and A Boy and His Blob and Contra 4.  Which doesn’t mean you should necessarily  get your hopes up for Despicable Me DS, as there’s no track record of quality in the stuff WayForward produces to pay the bills.

Also Also, this exists:

Which means there are more PS2 games released so far this month than PS3.

Persona 3 Portable
Publisher:  Atlus USA
Developer:  Atlus
Platforms:  PlayStation Portable

Okay so Atlus really needs to stop re-releasing Persona 3.  I didn’t mind Persona 3 FES so much because I hadn’t foolishly dropped a hundred bucks picking up the original Persona 3 and was more than happy to pay twenty dollars for the “good version”.  But now Persona 3 Portable exists, and while it’s missing the navigable overworld of Persona 3 (which is fine, menus just make things quicker anyway) and the FES part of Persona 3 FES (no The Answer story until the inevitable Persona 3 Portable FES) it lets you play as a female character.  Which we can only assume has huge ramifications on the plot, as large chunks of P3’s story involved the main character talking his way into the panties of every available female in  Gekkoukan High.

In addition, P3P has incorporated the battle system from Persona 4, where you get full control over each party member– So basically this is Persona 4, with Mitsuru , which makes this the best possible Persona and is a strong contender for the best possible JRPG ever.

And as much as I want to buy this game– you know, insomuch that anyone “buys” PSP games– I’m sort of afraid to in that I just know I’m going to down a hundred hours into this version of Persona 3 and then Persona 3 FES Portable will be released.  And then at some point Atlus will realize they need to make some actual profit and release Persona 3 Portable 3DS.

Tournament of Legends
Publisher:  Sega
Developer:  High Voltage Games
Platforms:  Nintendo Wii

So this is a fighting game where you employ the power of waggle to control your weapons.  And while a wiimote-infused Soul Calibur sounds like a good idea on paper, one should take care to notice that this is being developed by High Voltage Games and not Sega itself– and when western devs work on a weapon based fighter you wind up with stuff like–

Mace.jpg picture by bigredcoat

That said, the idea is fundamentally good, and the developer is confident in a sequel and a Move/Kinect port at some point in the future. But when the first thing the lead designer wants to talk about is that the game is being sold cheap, you start to worry. Also these are the same guys who worked on The Conduit for the Wii.  For some of you that’ll be a selling point in that High Voltage Games has a track record of getting tried-and-true gaming genres to work using Waggle.  Personally I hated The Conduit and felt that it controlled like floaty ass.


DRAGON QUEST NINE is here to destroy HD gaming forever!
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill doesn’t care about NCAA FOOTBALL 2011 and neither do I!
CHUCK E CHEESE PARTY GAMES will allow us to play a videogame about a place where you play videogames, thus creating a rift in space-time that threatens to swallow up the known universe


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