February 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
Oh wait no I’m sorry, I’ve just been informed that there are in fact people out there who Killzone 2 doesn’t sit so well with. A 7 from Edge isn’t actually that low a score, especially when you consider that, you know, it’s a ten point scoring system, meaning that bad games do in fact deserve a score of less than 5 rather than a 7 (an above average score according to the system). Other sites meanwhile seem to run with a 5 – 10 system, where any game scoring less than a 7 is deemed to be unplayable and nothing apart from the direst budget games imaginable will ever get less than a 5.
It’s this assumption that because the numbers are the same, the scoring system must be, that PSX Extreme seems to be getting their knickers in a twist over. In their eyes a score of a 7 means that Edge must hate the game instead of maybe thinking that it wasn’t the Citizen Kane of gaming. In this respect perhaps PSXE aren’t maybe entirely to blame. After all, Metacritic, -a site which aggregates review scores from dozens of different publications – deems all review scales to be equal, and thus so do many journalists themselves, despite the opposite being true.
What can only be seen as gross ineptness on the part of PSXE is the assertion that “We all know that Guerilla’s title is one of the best FPSs ever made;” when in fact this is clearly not the case, as demonstrated perfectly by that Edge review. What they’re trying to say in essence is that because the majority of publications believe one thing, it must therefore be true, which comes completely cold when you bring the whole opinion thing out as to whether a game is actually ‘good’ or not. Edge have proved themselves first and foremost to believe that a good game will innovate above everything else. The rest of the internet may believe a good game to posses other qualities, but that’s ok, because that’s their opinion.
Any enthusiastic video game fan out there cannot rely on one gaming publication for all of their information about which new releases are worth buying. You need a multitude of different views to find out which stuff applies to you, and thus which games are worth your attention. If you are one of these people that only reads one publication (and I can only assume this is the people Edge has deemed to show “a disservice”) then it’s probably likely that you’re going to be in tune with just what this publication looks for in a game, and if it’s the only place you turn to then it’s likely that these opinions are going to be close to your own. Let’s make something clear:
You people need to grow the fuck up and not treat game critics as carriers of the sole truths in the universe.
Idle Thumbs currently have the best commentary going on this issue.
February 19, 2009 § Leave a comment
A common complaint brought up when talking about the latest Prince of Persia was the ending. After spending nearly ten hours roaming the game’s world, restoring light and colour to the the land with the healing of the ‘fertile grounds,’ the ending brought you crashing back down to earth with the realisation that you had to undo everything if you wanted to save your love interest Eleka. Personally having bought completely into the Prince’s relationship I had little qualms with ending the game this way. It’s the closest a game has come to showing the sacrificial nature of love, and when it managed to build up their relationship in such a fulfilling way I held no grudges for how the story panned out. But is there an alternate ending?
So what if at the end of Prince of Persia, when essentially told that the player must sacrifice everything to bring Eleka back to life the Prince just walked away, deciding that the destruction of an entire land is a price to great to pay for one mortal’s life. The player would quit the game, and although they’d miss out on physically seeing the Prince act upon their choice would their experience still be complete?
It may simply come down to how much you really empathise with your character. If it’s a Solid Snake figure, who you’re simply guiding from cutscene to cutscene in which he makes his own choices then leaving a game unfinished would go against the whole design philosophy of the piece. If it’s more of a Fallout 3 experience, where you’re given much more freedom, even sculpting out your own protagonist, then this conclusion seems more fitting.
What it all comes down to in the end is which experience you’re more attached to. Is it the one handed to you on a plate, delivered through the cinematic of the game? Or is is the one you created when playing, those times when you strayed outside the path laid down for you by the developers.
Until next time,
Been playing lots of Far Cry 2 recently as well as getting back into Civ 4 for some epic multiplayer matches. Both are pretty awesome.
February 11, 2009 § Leave a comment
Would a Grand Theft Auto MMO work? Can a realistic setting even house such a game? Does such a game have the weight needed to topple World of Warcraft? I emailed Suzie of Girls Don’t Game for her thoughts.
We’re all familiar with the problem with World of Warcraft. As anyone with basic knowledge of economic theory knows, the control of one company over an entire market with a product that is vastly more popular is most certainly a bad thing, and make no mistake, within the MMO market such a situation exists. With monopolies no competition exists, stunting evolution and limiting potential. If consumers want an different MMO to play there’s simply no alternative to WOW, with it’s two expansion packs, millions of players, and it has to be said, superior gameplay.
It’s no surprise then that last year saw a huge effort on behalf of many top-tier publishers to try and take their own slice of the MMO pie from Blizzard’s overflowing – but locked – bakery. Eidos’s attempt was Age of Conan, Ncsoft’s Tabula Rosa and EA perhaps most promisingly of all, made a well constructed effort with Warhammer Online. Two out of these three have widely been considered complete failures; Age of Conan has seen its servers recently castrated, and unsold copies of Tabula Rosa were discovered for the taking in a dumpster outside of an EB Games.
The pessimist in me has already decided that at this point WOW cant be beaten. No amount of talent on the part of a development studio is going to match the experience Blizzard have gained through running Warcraft for this long, and then even with an amazing effort, tearing people away from characters they’ve invested so much time in is a task few out there are up to. Developers seem to be missing the point a little, people don’t like WOW because it’s the finest interactive experience ever created, they like it because it’s WOW. Essentially you’re not going to beat it by copying it.
If the fantasy-fans are already entrenched in their level 50 Mages then who are you to tear them away. Why not go for gamers playing games with completely different settings? Why not try and suck in a completely new demographic with a universe that is, for want of a better word, cool? Why not take arguably the coolest gaming universe around and let people inhabit it communally? Why not make Grand Theft Auto an MMO?
Start telling a group of non-gaming friends about an epic quest you and your guild got into the other night and you’re not going to impress. The appeal of MMO’s has never lied in the objectives players complete but instead the way in which they complete them, the community that rises up out of the need for this accomplishment. How much easier a sell would it be to draw in non-gamers with the promise of experiences mimicking the greatest action scenes in cinema history, the bank job from Heat, or the villa shoot-out from Scarface, all events Rockstar have used as inspiration in past GTAs. Even the name Grand Theft Auto carries weight to a non-gamer, it’s much more likely they’ve heard of the best selling franchise in history as opposed to Warcraft or Age of Conan.
If there’s one thing Rockstar can do better than any other developer in the world it’s create a bustling metropolis that feels lived in by the thousands of characters seen roaming the streets. How easy then, would it be to see other players filling the shoes of the people you pass by in the street without a second glance. That taxi driver that dropped you off at your mission marker could be someone on the other side of the world, saving up a little more in-game cash to hire some protection. That hotdog vendor you just paid could be someone else playing a minigame in between missions.
It’s not hard to imagine an entirely new group of people getting hooked on an MMO through the infinitely wide grip of GTA, people who would not otherwise have considered touching WOW or any of it’s imitations. Only through expansion and change can the MMO market hope to evolve, and turning out one fantasy rpg after another isn’t going to accomplish this. I know you’ve spent some time with WOW in the past, is all of this just wishful thinking?
Her response is forthcoming.
Edit: Her response can be found here.
February 10, 2009 § 2 Comments
Alternative title: Oh Christ, Not This Shit Again
February 9, 2009 § Leave a comment
If we’ve learnt anything from science fiction it’s that when things go wrong in space, the shit really hits the fan. Dead Space is not the exception to this rule. When the Ishimura – a deep space mining vessel – stops responding to any form of communication you’re one of the lucky few sent to find out what’s going on. Predictably there’s been something of a major cock-up, and aliens now roam this ship, infecting the dead bodies of its crew, and attempting to kill Isaac ie. you. Not surprisingly as a result, throughout most of the game your aim is to escape. Whilst the actual story of the game follows a well-trodden path, the real appeal comes with the universe’s back-story, revealed through logs left behind by the deceased crew. These logs manage to give you just enough information to keep you interested, but rarely explain everything you want to know. It’s a slightly uneven formula but it’s a well told story, and the clear objectives mean you never get bored just going from A to B.
For it’s minor annoyances there’s really not much that can be said for Dead Space. It’s an extremely well put together piece of entertainment, and whilst it may not bring many of its own ideas to the table, the ideas it manages to take from elsewhere are interesting enough to keep you involved throughout. Fans of a good, solid, third person action game should find something to enjoy here, but a word of warning, survival horror fans won’t be losing any sleep due to this one.