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

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 11-17-10

Posted by nfinit on November 17, 2010

Apache Air Assault
Developer:  Gaijin Entertainment
Publisher:  Activision
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

On one hand it’s good to see Apaches make a comeback to the videogame realm because I mean, just look at this fucking thing

On the other hand this is a realistic flight sim.  On a console.  That never works well.  Also why did we have to get this when EA’s Strike series has lain fallow for two console generations?

Assassin’s Creed:  Brotherhood
Developer:  Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher:  Ubisoft
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360.

So I finally got around to playing Assassin’s Creed 2 this year, and I admit I was totally wrong about that game– it’s an improvement in every conceivable way over AC1 and I’d have no problem saying it was last year’s premiere action game over Arkham Asylum.

And the great thing about AC2’s gameplay was that it was solidly a single-player game.  There was none of the gameplay or design choices that crop up when you build a multiplayer game in mind– Instead Ubisoft Montreal presented us an open-world Prince Of Persia; a rare combination of intricate sandbox gameplay with intense 3d platforming action.  It was so good that I didn’t even mind the silly and distracting sci-fi Dan Brown-meets-Minority Report story that wrapped around AC2.

Suffice to say it’s not the sort of game where I played it and thought “what this needs is deathmatch”

Which is pretty much what we’re getting with Brotherhood.  Admittedly more of a good thing is still a good thing– It’s not like they’ve stripped out the single player game for Brotherhood, this game continues Enzio’s story through Rome, which sounds pretty fantastic.  But I also have to think that with only a year of development time provided– and Ubisoft splitting the game between five different developers just to get another Assassin’s Creed through the door for 2010– that the game can’t help but suffer.  It’s also entirely possible that Brotherhood was what caused Patrice Desilets to flee Ubisoft and that can’t possibly be a good sign.

Battle vs Chess
Developer:  TopWare Interactive
Publisher:  SouthPeak Interactve (The rare but feared Double Interactive!)
Platforms: Possibly Everything

I have no faith at all that this game actually exists and no clue how or why it popped up at– Both Amazon and Gamestop refuse to admit knowledge of Battle vs Chess’ existence and Amazon seems confused by the whole affair and continually tries to sell me Battle Chess instead, which only leads us to wonder why no one’s tried to sell an XBLA version of Battle Chess yet.

If Battle vs Chess does exist, and it does manage to emerge in some saleable form at some point this week, it appears to be chess with World of Warcraft artwork and gameplay mutations.  I don’t really know if that’s something you want taking up space in your disc drive tray.

Barbie Groom and Glam Pups
Developer:  An as-yet unnamed sinister cult
Publisher:  THQ
Platforms:  DS, Wii.

I’m not sure what dark god I’ve angered that would place me in a universe where Barbie Nintendogs would be allowed to exist, but I promise to perform whatever vile unspeakable acts are necessary to take me from this hellish nightmarescape.

Developer:  EA Bright Light
Publisher:  EA
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii

I’m having a hard time understanding if this is supposed to be a bare-bones version of Little Big Planet or a massively complicated version of the track editor from Exitebike.  Either way this is what the grim future off Wii/PS3/360 interoperability holds for us– $40 interactive stickerbooks designed to be so easy to use your grandmother can be a game designer.

Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing.

EA Sports Active 2
Developer:  EA Canada
Publisher:  EA
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii

As a general rule I don’t like to talk about releases which aren’t actually games (which is why you’ve not seen any Kinect titles in these pages) but I noticed this ans wondered what could possibly be going on in Sports Active 2 that could justify a $99 msrp.  Turns out in addition to a fitness/lifestyle disc of dubious quality, you also get this:

A collar, cuffs of some sort, and what appears to be a sex swing.  So it’s also a bondage dungeon starter kit that easily flies under the radar of a skittish significant other on Christmas Morning.  So that’s probably worth $99 on it’s own.  We can only begin to speculate what’s present on that USB stick.

EA Sports NFL Training Camp
Developer:  EA Canada
Publisher:  EA
Platforms:  Wii

Any reports that the menu selection for the easiest difficulty setting in this game is subtitled “The Albert Haynesworth” is spurious and will result in a lawsuit.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Developer:  EA Bright Lights
Publisher:  EA
Platforms:  Every Fucking Thing

One of the things largely lost amid the general insanity of E3 was the revelation that the newest Harry Potter game would in fact be a cover based shooter.  I feel everyone just sort of shrugged this news off and assumed it was part a larger collective gaming media fever dream but no, it’s real.  The game adaptation of Deathly Hollows is Wizards (of Gears) Of War.  And I’m perfectly fine with that.

More movie licensed games need to take this route, instead of being generic 3d action games that loosely follow the plot of the movie.  In fact you can start to see that happening now– Sega’s Captain America adaptation would surprise no one as yet another 3d beat-em-up that follows the tropes laid forth in Arkham Asylum, but instead Sega is making it into Prince of Persia.  No, the other PoP game.  The 2d one.

No, really.  That’s happening.

And I’m a fan of this idea simply because if we keep it up, sooner or later Scarlett Johanssson is going to star in a movie that winds up copying Bayonetta and there’s simply no way my life improves from that point.

Mario vs Donkey Kong:  Mini-Land Mayhem
Developer:  Nintendo
Publisher:  Nintendo
Platforms:  DS

So I’m going to admit that everything I need to know about Mini-Land Mayhem I gleaned from Destructoid’s review, and as such I’m not terribly interested in this Nintendo-licensed remake of Lemmings as I am the identity of this game’s central kidnapped woman.  Namely, that this new woman is quite clearly neither Peach nor Paula.

I don’t know who this mysterious new woman is, but I am going to speculate that there’s some weird behavior that Mario engages in that encourages those around him to abscond with innocent women, whereupon Mario is then “forced” to rescue them, likely in return for deeply personal favors.  I’m not even sure if Mario understands the role he plays in these events, it’s happened so many times to him by this point that he likely considers it perfectly acceptable behavior.  Indeed, this may in fact be the only way he has to meet with and impress women– after all, he’s a largely unattractive, barely coherent  squat man with limited social access.

Why has Mario yet to impress upon any of the women he comes in contact with the importance of locking their doors at night, or simple self-defense techniques such as jumping atop an assailant’s head?  Why has Mario not given Peach or Daisy a turnip to keep by their bedside?

Distressingly, it would appear events are spiraling out of Mario’s control– now a strange new woman has been entered into Mario’s twisted white knight fantasy.  And wither Paula?  She has not been heard from in nearly thirty years, can it be assumed she met a grisly fate at the expense of Mario’s twisted fantasy world?

Marvel Super Hero Squad:  The Infinity Gauntlet
Developer:  Griptonite Games
Publisher:  THQ
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii

I can’t say anything about about Super Hero Squad.  One, they’re frickin’ adorable, two a stripped-down super-deformed Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a terrific way to introduce kids to both comics and gaming.

That said, isn’t the Infinity Gauntlet a weird choice for storyline?  I remember this being a big important event in the Marvel universe, not to mention sort of morbid, what with Thanos’ ultimate goal being killing off half of the entire universe just just to mack on Death

Is there a comics statute of limitations that allows the medium to poke fun at established events like Infinity Gauntlet?  I hope so, as this means in twenty years time our own children will have to explain to their kids why Steve Rodgers is running around with a gaping hole in his chest following the events of Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Civil War.

Developer:  EA Canada
Publisher:  EA
Platforms:  PlaySation 3, Xbox 360

A lot has happened since we last visited the NBA Elite 11/NBA Jam trainwreck; so let’s recap.

1:  At E3 2010, EA reveals that they now own the NBA Jam license along with a brand new Wii-exclusive standalone NBA Jam title for Holiday 2010.  There is much rejoicing among the Nintendo community and everyone generally feels good that the Wii gets a serious, full-sized game that makes best use of the Wii’s simplified graphics.

2:  Several weeks later it’s revealed that the game will be sold on-disc, for $40, along with new modes.

3:  Also the same game will be given away as downloadable content with NBA Elite 11 on the 360 and PS3, albeit without the Wii-exclusive modes.

4:  Some months later some guy posts a hilarious; damning Youtube video of Elite 11’s demo, featuring notable new innovations such as “shit doesn’t happen when you press shoot” and “Mid-court Kobe Jesus.”

5:  Roughly half an hour later announces that NBA Elite 11 will be postponed until some undetermined date in the near future, possibly within the actual NBA calendar year.  However, in some desperate attempt to actually make money off this entire mess, EA announced that NBA Jam HD would still come to the 360 and PS3 on time.

On disc.

For fifty dollars.

Also without the Wii’s extra gameplay modes.

6:  EA announces that Elite 11 is cancelled entirely and the entire staff at EA Canada forced from thier offices into the Canadian tundra.

And that’s where we stand.  Fifty dollars for what was, by all rights, supposed to be a freebie that also doubled as the greatest troll played against Nintendo fans since Wii Music.  And we have no real idea when to expect Jam HD to unlock into a fully-fledged product, but it’s a safe bet that the box itself doesn’t warn consumers that they’re paying fifty dollars for what at first amounted to the $10  online use tax EA levies against all used games.

The upshot is that EA Canada spent their short time upon the mortal coil producing an outstandingly good version of NBA Jam.  So you have that to look forward to, if at some point in the near future EA can be convinced to spend money on people who’ve already given them money.  Which, you know, isn’t ever going to happen.  In the meantime feel free to speculate as to the sequence of events that would have precipitated EA’s purchase of the Mortal Kombat franchise and it’s inclusion in Rise of the Imperfects 2.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
Developer:  Chunsoft
Publisher:  Aksys Games
Platforms:  DS

So looks to be a fairly bog-standard DS point-and-click adventure game, only featuring a boat that’s slowly taking on water and a cast full of people who have had timebombs sewn into their bowels.  So pretty much the best point-and-click game ever made.

Need for Speed:  Hot Pursuit
Developer: Criterion Games
Publisher: EA
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii

I should love this game, right?  You’ve got the Burnout devs working on one of the most popular Need for Speed variants, the much-beloved Hot Pursuit series, which itself would be the first game Criterion’s released in nearly two years.  And has been mentioned previously, I love racing games to the point that I’ll gladly spend my free time playing all those decidedly unfun racing sims like Gran Turismo and Forza; games that people swear are only played because they’re car porn, not because the guy playing grew up reading Car and Driver magazine.

So why can’t I summon any interest at all for this revision of Hot Pursuit?  Is it because Criterion hasn’t interested me since Burnout 3?  Is it because the demo was slow and clunky and brought to mind none of the feel of the earlier Need for Speed games nor anything from the Burnout series?  Is it because Gran Turismo 5 is shipping at the end of the month and I know full well I’d rather play that instead?

I don’t know.  I can’t explain it.  All the pieces are there, I just can’t shake the feeling that Split/Second may be the superior faux-Burnout.

Sniper Elite
Developer:  Raylight Games
Publisher:  Maximum Family Games
Platforms:  Wii

Among the exciting new features exclusive  Wii version of Sniper Elite (Along with Sniper Elite Party, Sniper Elite Karts, Cooking Mama w/Sniper Elite and Sniper Elite:  Other M), famed GBA shovelware developer Raylight Studios has included a thrilling Spot the Sniper mode, featuring your own character model!

Sonic Colors
Developer:  Sonic Team
Publisher:  Sega
Platforms:  DS, Wii

I like that we’ve reached the point in the Sonic cycle where “not awful” seems like an achievement.

I dunno.  I’m not sure if our culture is capable of judging this game rationally.  There’s every indication that it may be the best 3d ever, but that’s akin to saying “there’s every indication that this bowl of cold unflavored oatmeal is the best bowl of cold unflavored oatmeal ever”.  There’s still the possibility that 3d Sonic is just inherently unworkable and we’re merely seeing the best possible example of of a flawed premise.  But if nothing else it would appear that Sonic Team has at least managed to produce a Sonic game that represents the “good” parts of previous 3d Sonic games while avoiding the temptation to include fishing minigames, or melee sections starring lycanthropes or anything relating to highly sexualized anthropomorphic vampire bats.

The question Sonic Colors asks is once you strip all the -bad- parts out of 3d Sonic games, do you have anything left at all?  It may be possible, but I remain unconviced Sonic Team is the studio that should be trusted to finding out.  I still say that Treasure hasnt’ done anything productive for Sega in years, and they’re perfect for this sort of thing.  At this point what’s left to lose?


I  can’t remember if MAJIN AND THE FORSAKEN KINGDOM is something I’m supposed to be excited about or not.


Revel in the joy utter dickery that is the story of Namco’s tortured development of SPLATTERHOUSE~!


One Response to “Wallet Abuse Wednesday 11-17-10”

  1. Conust said

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