e3: Sequels Rule and New IPs Drool?
- Jun 10, 2009 3:29 pm GMT
- 32 Comments
Ah e3, the yearly gaming convention that brings together developers, publishers, the media. and rampant naysayers. Probably the best chance for the media to ask pointed and unanswerable questions of developers, questions like, "what the @#$% were you thinking?", and "2010?? You know I'd like to play these games before my unborn, unplanned children graduate from college, right?"
So E3 is over and like the day after Christmas, or just after a leader is elected in many countries, there is a lot to take in, analyze, and sometimes take back because your present didnt have batteries, or turned out to be socks (anyone else get clothes three years in a row as a teenager?). This year's e3 showcased a number of games, but does it come as a surprise to anyone that most of them turned out to be sequels?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that sequels and the people who play them are inherently evil (technically...), heck, some of my favorite games are sequels (Morrowind, Diablo II, etc). But does anyone else miss the 16 bit days, when games you've never heard of just magically popped onto store shelves and sometimes they even turned out to be good? Remember Young Merlin? (okay, bad example..), but how about Soul Blazer? (Hmm I can do better than that...). Oh, I know! How about Chrono Trigger? (nice try, but you cant argue with success, just ask Mailer =P). My point is, remember when games for the SNES and Genesis hit the stores and you didnt know a thing about them? A lot of them weren't sequels either. Fine, fine, you might have checked out Nintendo Power back then, but for many of us, the decision to buy a game rested solely on the box art and the two sentence blurb on the back of the box, followed by some pictures that could only be seen with a physics lab quality microscope.
Microsoft took the stage early and showed off games like Splinter Cell: Conviction, featuring our favorite agent Sam Fisher. Final Fantasy XIII looks to be quite lucky for Square, while XIV appears to let you be able to play Final Fantasy the way your grandparents always wanted you to...online! (again!). Forza 3 looks to satisfy rabid Forza 2 fanatics (aka Forzatics). Assassin's Creed II promises new ways to let you kill enemies back when Venice was cool (brother's note: "Venice was never cool! They dont even have a football team!"). The Beatles: Rock Band looks to give us Beatles fans (they did "Thriller", right??) just the fix we're looking for. Sequel filled, yes, but still a heck of a good time.
Not to be outdone, the big N showed off a lot of its stars in true sequel form. New Super Mario Bros Wii proved that you dont need to be a sackboy to have a good time, you just need a penguin suit and propeller hat. Golden Sun DS, Zelda: Spirit Tracks and Bowser's Inside Story showed that sequels on the DS are ever present and look just as much fun as ever. Super Mario Galaxy 2 looks to launch Mario to new worlds, while Metroid: Other M looks to give more outer space action (I wonder if its Kasumi in that suit this time =P). More sequels than a Rocky DVD box set? Definitely. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
Sony's lineup wasnt entirely sequel free either. Uncharted 2 showed off gorgeous graphics, and gave audiences useful, everyday tips on how to dodge helicopter fire, something desperately needed in Los Angeles (they dont teach that kinda stuff at community college anymore, damn economy...). Perhaps Sony's heaviest hitter, Kratos, returns in God of War III, which looks to be as bloody and visually enticing as the previous two games in the series. Sony also showed off a portable MGS game for its PSP and the new PSP Go, which are now UMD drive free for today's on the go consumer. (Because putting miniature discs in drives is so 2008!)
If sequels were the norm at this year's e3, it really made those games that were new and exciting stand out even more. Games like Batman: Arkham Asylum that puts you in the shoes of everyone's favorite crime fighter (thank god it isnt George Clooney!), looks to be a real winner. MAG looks to keep shooter fans happy if they can keep the game from becoming a slideshow. The Last Guardian looks to continue the same great visual s-t-y-l-e seen in Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Wii Sports Resort actually looks like a fun way to spend your next vacation (bikini and tiny pink umbrella, not included). Dragon Age: Origins looks like a dragon slaying good time and brought back memories of Baldur's Gate...painful..awkward memories.
This year's e3 seemed to have a little bit of something for everyone. Whether you like action, adventure, role playing or shooters, there seemed to be a game to fit the bill. If the press conferences and showfloor were any indication, there seemed to be an intoxicating energy that you could see in the presenters, and the media. Hopefully this energy can carry over into next year's e3. (Where I'll still be waiting to play The Old Republic =P).
Nintendo Shouldn't Feel Threatened by New Motion Control Systems
- Jun 10, 2009 11:15 am GMT
- 211 Comments
Both Sony and Microsoft announced new motion controllers at E3 this year. After seeing a few of the capabilities and imagining the possibilities, many saw Nintendo's announcement of Wii Motion Plus as nothing special. More so, many people think that Nintendo will fall behind with motion control and may ultimately loose a part of their audience that will have different casual gaming options. However for all the hype surrounding Project Natal and Sony's motion controller, Nintendo shouldn't feel threatened by the competition as their position in the market will not change.
At the Microsoft Press Conference the crowd was astonished by the capabilities of Project Natal. Not only did the system have fully playable demos, such as the full body brick-breaker and the paint feature, but Peter Molyneux and Lionhead's Milo application created an extraordinary buzz around the video game industry because of the possibilities for player experience. Not to be outdone, Sony showed off some technical demos of their new motion controller. Initially people saw the wand with a ball at the end as a huge step behind Microsoft's controller-less option. However, when they displayed the precision of the controller (especially when they wrote almost flawlessly) and the ability to picture yourself holding specific weapons, many thought that Sony's surprise created a three-way rivalry.
Nintendo's Miyamoto is ready to fight, but it won't be a tough one
Of course, Nintendo showed off some additional applications utilizing their Wii Motion Plus controller attachment, but the response from the crowd were less than satisfactory. Why didn't this come with the original product? Why will it only work with some games? These were just some of the plethora of questions about Nintendo's addition to their controller that has brought so many to gaming. With unabashed confidence, Nintendo execs described how they were going to continue to lead and how their system was going to create even more gamers.
Nintendo's confidence is warranted. They have every right to think that they will maintain first place in the console wars. The Nintendo Wii has outsold the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 by a significant margin while Nintendo has also enjoyed enormous success with the Nintendo DS handheld. Although Nintendo is not foolproof (as Wii Music was certainly an enormous failure) they continue to turn out games that make non-gamers want to purchase game consoles. The vast majority of these people are playing Nintendo Wii. Despite efforts to draw additional consumers with more casual games, purchases of the powerhouse consoles by newly turned gamers pale in comparison.
Nintendo really does not have to feel threatened by Microsoft and Sony's new motion controllers. If anything, it is validation that their enormous gamble creating a system almost solely based on motion control works. Many at Nintendo view new motion controllers as imitation, which they believe is the greatest form of flattery.
Iwata supposedly said that Nintendo passed on camera controlled technology
The Wii is so far ahead of the competition that the introduction of similar products will do very little to fetter their success. There console is perceived to be the cheapest of the bunch. It doesn't matter that with all of the additional controllers and attachments that the Wii becomes as expensive as the other consoles. The public, because of word of mouth and the mainstream media, sees the Wii as the cheapest, easiest, and most enjoyable of all of the video game systems. That is why everyone and their mother owns one.
Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo has games that utilize motion control well. Wii Play is now the top selling, non-bundled game of all time and almost every game with "party" in the title sells a million copies. Publishers are making enormous profits off of games made for the Wii while development for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 are perceived as difficult and expensive (especially the PS3).
What should be deduced from the status-quo and the implementation of new motion controllers by Nintendo's competition is that their business model works. That being said, Sony and Microsoft will not fail, but their motion control systems will take longer to implement and will be less likely to succeed. The consumer will be less likely to purchase another system for motion control specific games especially after so many have purchased Nintendo's console. Nintendo will have to continue to make innovative games and fun games, but their head start and reputation prevents Sony and Microsoft's motion controllers a real threat in the foreseeable future.
Sound Off: Should Nintendo be worried? Do you want Microsoft and Sony's motion controllers to do well, or does that imply more casual games?
E3 Aftermate: Conferences and Game Of E3
- Jun 4, 2009 6:41 pm GMT
- 11 Comments
Thanks to everyone who read my very long blogs over the past few days on the conferences. Unfortunately as you can see to your left... or at least as I type this I am missing Microsoft and Nintendo emblems... well only the Microsoft one as I missed Nintendo's as I was in work. If you are too you are not alone! Hopefully when some of you read this it will appear.
Well I am really tired as I live 8 hours ahead, so I've been staying up very late to catch as much as possible without breaking my bandwidth limit. I was even tempted to pull a sicky so I could continue to watch the live feed. Unfortunately that job of mine pays for my broadband.
Summing It Up
This year is one of the best E3's I've seen, the line up was brilliant and I was endlessly reading the live blog feeds of other conferences that did not allow cameras. Out of it all I came away with a wish list that was doubled to include Left4Dead 2, Final Fantasy XIV, Splinter Cell Conviction, The Last Guardian, Metal Gear Solid Rising, MAG, Wet and many more. To go in hand with the ones I already had been anticipating like Final Fantasy XIII, Uncharted 2, Assassin's Creed II, Mass Effect 2 and well you get the point.
A lot new tech have also been announced, including the PSPGo... in hand with MediaGo, Magic Wand but none as impressive as Microsoft's Project Natal.
And The Winner Is...
Unfortuately despite the obviously mind blowing piece of genius that Microsoft came up with the conference that impressed me the most was surprisingly Sony. I went into E3 looking for info on games and a surprise and damn Sony got me, with their stage demo's and then realed me in with my one weakness a new Final Fantasy game. I'm like a love sick puppy at the mention of anything related to this series I fear I may be sick or just a fangirl... nooooo!!!
However putting aside my fangirlism there was one game that had me swooning with all its trailers and its stage demo and even made me sit through a terrible conference on the behalf of Ubisoft in order to watch a 4 minute trailer.
Game of E3
Of course my game of E3 had to be no other then Assassin's Creed II. The trailers, the stage demo, I just couldn't get enough of it and I still can't. At this rate its shaping up to be better then the first one and all this has left me wanting to know more and its partically down to this one move... (see video)
You know that move is wicked!
Hope you all enjoyed E3 as much as I did!
Editorial -- Realism: The Glass Ceiling of Gaming
- May 10, 2009 5:51 pm GMT
- 167 Comments
Most gamers are at least casually aware of the Uncanny Valley – the point at which a character in a game looks close enough to photo realistic, but because of the infinite little movements and expressions a real human emotes, seems unsettling because the game does not emulate it well enough. The Uncanny Valley is something game developers have to battle any time they make the choice to go for realistic character models. At this point in time, it seems that the UV has only one definition, but is there another version of the Uncanny Valley coming around? Are games going too far to capture realism?
Oh Snap! She's got a...wait, those wrinkles don't look right.
Obviously graphics have become one of the most, if not the most, important part of games in the eyes of the average gamer (especially the younger crowd). It would be foolish to deny that developers largely focus on making sure their game looks amazing before they worry about gameplay, but lately there seems to be some spots of light poking through the darkness. Games like Grand Theft Auto 4 that strive to give a more realistic world to play in, for example, lead the way of the sandbox.
I think as we move forward, we're going to start seeing more genres incorporate the sandbox ****of gameplay. The Mercenaries series, for example, has melded third-person action with the sandbox. In a similar vein, the Far Cry and Crysis games have thrown the First-Person shooter into the sandbox. Even sports games like NHL 09 have flexed their realism muscles when the "be a superstar" mode has you play as one player from a dynamic angle, and even has you sit and watch from the bench when your shift is over (now that's entertainment). Where is all of this going, and how does it relate to the uncanny valley?
Let me answer that question with another question: When does a game stop being a game? I don't know about the rest of those who played GTA IV, but the novelty of having anyone but Bruce blow up your cell phone every five minutes wore off really quickly (and even Bruce, however awesome he was, got annoying after a while). Rockstar was shooting for a more realistic world, but it kind of backfired. It isn't any more fun to have your cell phone being called constantly by needy friends in a game than it is in real life. The same kind of deal happened with San Andreas when you had to eat and workout, or suffer the consequence of morbid obesity. Developers probably aren't going to stop though, so long as they know realism is the thing that's cooler than sliced bread, and so some time down the road, the next definition of the Uncanny Valley is going to come roll up on us.
Psht, show me my muscle tissue and tendons.
Sometime in the future, maybe when GTA VII graces our shelves, we may be in the position where a game world seems almost too real, much like a character model that looks too real, but something will be off enough to creep you out. The other scenario is that it will be so real that it'll be boring as hell. GTA VII will have you buying groceries, using the washroom, showering, and perhaps most shockingly, putting on a condom before rocking the car. It's going to bring together so much of what you do outside of the game that it will probably stop feeling like a game altogether (assuming you shop, relieve yourself, bathe, and wrap it up of course). On the other side of things, Far Cry 9 will probably have a feature where once you die; you're done, back to square one – just like the RL! Or maybe you'll have to manually stitch your arm up with a motion sensing controller (ok so that last one sounds awesome, but you get the picture).
It's kind of ironic, really. Gamers are dying for a realistic experience, but there are those ever present limits that will remain as roadblocks for developers and "Uncanny Valleys for both themselves and gamers to try and get over. It's one of the few glass ceilings of gaming, and one that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
What's your take on realism and games? Is there a stopping point where anything beyond it is too real? Will developers even take it that far?
Have a good one,
EDIT: I was totally caught off guard having this soapboxed, and so have fallen way behind in responding to everyone's comments. I won't have the time to respond to them all at this point, but be assured I'm reading them all and truly appreciate every one of your responses! In the future, I will try and make a more solid effort to respond to as many comments as possible. Thanks again, everyone!
What I hope for in E3 2009 from Nintendo.
- Apr 27, 2009 3:01 pm GMT
- 4 Comments
Well, as we all know E3 is coming soon and that means we get showings of new games coming out, from third parties and first parties each. Since I don't pay attention much to what Sony and Microsoft bring, here's what I hope for from Nintendo:
While there were hell of a lot of dissapointments with what happened in E3 2008 from them. I really didn't care what they did at the time, but now I admit, Wii Music wasn't the ideal ending for an E3 Keynote Address. So the only thing I hope for is Reggie keeping his word on us "liking E3 this year". I don't know what they'll show, but here's more on what I'd hope they show:
Return of absent IP's
Well, Punch-Out is coming back after a fifteen year absence, so thats why I brought this up. While I'm still waiting for F-Zero Wii, I'd also like to see Star Fox Wii, a proper Donkey Kong (without Rareware), or perhaps maybe a Kirby Wii.
Anything to give me a break from Mario and Link, I've seen way too much of them, despite my hype for Spirit Tracks. Like maybe a new shooter (Third Person or First Person), a new platformer (that I admit, we've been seeing less of), whatever they can bring that gives us a break from Mario and Link, that would be cool.
Here's hoping for a better E3 from Nintendo.
Games with Easy Xbox 360 Achievements part 2
- Apr 27, 2009 1:00 pm GMT
- 112 Comments
This is the second installment in what I hope to be an ongoing series. I did not plan to do a second issue so soon however I got dozens of PM requesting it as well as possible recommendations throughout the weeks. I did follow up on some of the recommendations, but I'm still working on completing some of them.
I am fed up of seeing threads popping up on the Xbox 360 board about games with 'easy' achievements or games to easily 'boost' your gamerscore. I decided to take it upon myself and create a simple guide to help out those new and clueless users who are interested in boosting their gamerscore.
Now before I get started, I would like you all to please read the following:
1. Your gamerscore is just a number and means nothing other than bragging rights. You own nothing on the internet so remember this; you can have an extremely high gamerscore, then some jackass hacks and steals your Xbox live account. Xbox live support only gives you false hope, doesn't do anything and you loose everything (true story, it happened to me)
2. I do plan to write up more of these in the future, featuring 10 game at a time.
3. Recommendations are fine, however lists will be based on my experiences and mine alone. I will not include a game unless I have a certain amount of experience with it, so obviously if I have not played and completed the game, it will not be on the list. Simple.
4. This entry may contain some minor spoilers
Need for Speed Most Wanted
This game does give you an easy 1000G, because all you have to do is just complete the storyline, but it's not for everyone. If you love achievements and racing/driving games, you'll really enjoy this game. Expect to spend 10 to 15 hours trying to rack up the full 1000G.
NBA Street Homecourt
The achievements in this game were easy and the game itself was very enjoyable even if you don't like basketball games. There are some online achievements that all add up 100G, however online is dead with this game so you'll have to max out with 900G. It really isn't all that difficult to 900G. One achievement requires you to replay the storymode for a second time and get to a certain level, but you wouldn't mind doing so because the game was a lot of fun. Expect to spend around 5 hours for the full 900G
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Oblivion may not the fastest game to get achievements in, but it is one of the easiest. It's hard to put an approximate time for aquiring all the achievements for this game because there is a lot to do in this huge expansive game. Just stick to all the guild quests and storyline and you should complete all 1000G in about 30 or 40 hours. Oblivion has two major expansion. Knights of the Nine doesn't contain any additional gamerscore, however Shivering Isles contains an extra 250G and it's just as easy to get like the main game. Simply play out Shivering Isles' storyline and you will gain the additional 250G in about 5 hours.
Note: In Shivering Isles after you finish the quest "The Cold Flame of Agnon" and begin the quest "Ritual of Accession" make an additional save file(s). You will be given a choice to be either Duke or Duchess, both unlocks a seperate achievement. Choose one then simply reload the game and choose the other one to unlock both achievements
Tomb Raider: Underworld
This game's achievements were fairly easy. Without trying you should be able to unlock around 700G in about 5 hours. You can follow the achievement details on your Xbox and use it as a guide to unlock the rest. There are some collection achievements for this game so you may need a guide for asistance if you plan to find them all.
Spiderman: Friend or Foe
This game contains some easy achievements, however to get some of them you may need the assistance of a guide. In order to unlock a whopping 125G for each of the 5 major areas in the game you will need to find all collectables and secrets in the area. This isn't as hard as it sounds. Once you do so, you will unlock 625G as well as the other 300G for doing specific things giving you a total of 925G at the end of game. The final and most difficult achievement is powering up all the characters in the game. It's a little time consuming. But if you replay the final level a few times, you should get enough points to upgrade everyone. In all a full 1000G for this game will take you between 5 to 7 hours
This game contains quite a number of online achievements, however online for this game is dead. An most likely you will not be getting any of them. The rest of achievements can be unlocked just by playing the storyline. There are however 3 seceret achievements worth 10G each. Just by playing the storyline, you will unlock 655G in about 5 to 10 hours. The game itself is really easy.
If you plan to get the full 1000G in this game expect to spend around 5 to 10 hours on the game. If you want some quick easy achievements, you should be able to get around 800G in under 5 hours with little effort. Just follow the Xbox's achievement guidelines for the game.
The achievements in this game are really easy however they are a bit time consuming. You can probably unlock most of them without even trying, but there is an achievement that requires you to play the game for 50 hours. Just follow the achievement details in on your Xbox 360 and you should get the full 1000G without much effort.
Wanted: Weapons of Fate
A recent release. This game does have some easy achievements however getting the full 1000G will take some work. This game requires multiple playthroughs for the achievements. The game itself is really easy. Start your first playthrough on Normal difficulty. The difficulty achievements are stackable so you will also unlock the ones for easy. Storyline alone you will get a total of 300G at the end your first playthrough in no more than 4 hours, then you'll unlock the hard difficulty. Complete the game on hard (should take you no more than 3 hours) and you'll unlock a total of 290G at the end of the game. There are other achievements such as x number of kills, collectables and completing certain chapters with certain unlockable characters. In all you should get around 800G in no more than 10 hours. The game does contain 3 other modes (requiring you to replay the storyline each time again), completing each mode will give you 50G each. These modes are very difficult and very time consuming to complete.
Dash of Destruction
I decided to feature at least one Xbox Live Arcade title. This is a free download so it's free points. Just by playing this game from start to finish with both the Driver and the Dinosaur will rack up a total of 190G in about 15 minuites. The other 10G requires you to win a multiplayer game. Overall a quick and easy 200G
Thanks for reading and I do appreciate feedback. The next one will be posted whenever I feel like it
Note: Fixed an error in Dash of Destruction. 'win an online game' was changed to 'win a multiplayer game'
The last multi-disc generation?
- Apr 25, 2009 9:10 pm GMT
- 11 Comments
Several days ago I picked up Star Ocean: The Last Hope. I've finished Resident Evil 5 (though I still play Mercenaries with friends) and I finished up Dark Athena as well. So far, I've got about 30 hours down now and a couple of things occurred to me while I was switching discs; to start, this is the first multi-disc game on the 360 that has really grabbed hold of me. The others (Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey) were both in gameplay and story/art design incapable of really capturing my sustained interest (which is to say nothing of the level grinding that is made requisite by overly-difficult bosses). The next thing I thought about was that both of those games are from Mistwalker, which momentarily depressed me; I had high hopes for the studio. I am not saying that their two games thus far resign them to the awful fate of making sub-par games, I merely say so to indicate that they are off to, by my tastes, something of a rocky start. Hopefully they'll find proper footing and turn into the studio they definitely have the on-hand talent to become.
Finally I wondered if, with improving technology, this might be the final generation of games to see multi-disc releases. On one hand, you have the 360 with it's DVD's more limited space, where some games have required it; they will likely use Blu-ray or another high volume format next gen assuming they don't do what I think they want to do, which is to go entirely digital. But on the other hand, will the next generation of consoles need multiple discs? Metal Gear Solid 4 filled the entirety of the medium upon which it was placed (dual layered Blu-ray disc). And the graphics, specifically the textures, could have been sharper if they'd had more space. I suppose it comes down to whatever kind of high volume disc will be used next gen and as far as that goes, I suppose I have no idea what's in store.
All this is simply to say that, regardless of whether multi-disc titles will stay or go the way of the Dodo, I always enjoyed them; they came from a simpler time - we didn't have any achievements to unlock, there was changing discs. They were the original mile markers of your progression through a title, and there's no denying the small swelling of pride you'd feel when a new screen came up reading, "Insert Disc 2, 3, 4..." Well, maybe now it's time to let all that go, technology permitting. We have achievements, trophies...but, truth be told, I think that few of those can really stand up to the little shot of satisfaction you'd receive when that unmarked achievement came to pass, even if it was only known by you.
Has CAPCOM Lost Its Way?
- Apr 15, 2009 9:47 pm GMT
- 314 Comments
I'm going to break my own rules with this one. Most likely, I won't be responding to comments. It's not that I don't appreciate the time you took to respond to the blog. However, concerning the following topic, I already know how I feel. What I want to see is how the rest of you feel about things. I'm just going to put it out there, and see what unfolds.
For years now, CAPCOM has been a staple of the gaming industry. From both the production and publishing side of the fence, they have offered up a large and varied number of games that span any number of genres, and have created some of the most critically acclaimed titles ever. Looking back, they present an impressive history. With titles such as Resident Evil, Megaman, or Street Fighter, it's easy to see how CAPCOM not only became a household name, but a name gamers have grown to trust in the decades since their creation.
Coming into the current generation, it seemed clear that CAPCOM was not content to rest upon its laurels. Despite mixed reactions to games like Dead Rising or Lost Planet ,a lot of us were eager to see what was coming down the pipeline next. The "next-gen" was off to a fantastic start, and CAPCOM seemed more than eager to help carry the momentum. What else could the creative genius behind such amazing titles offer us if they applied their experience to current hardware, and attempted to exceed today's tough standards?
That was then, however. That was at the re-birth of gaming, the doorway to new experiences and new applications of technology. At the beginning of all of this, it seemed that CAPCOM's place was secure. Whatever the standards, whatever the direction of the industry, they would be there, among the front runners. In the past few months however, a few cracks seem to have developed on that once proud visage. A debate seems to be raging, once again dividing gamers into more than a few camps. But this debate isn't over the merits of one console over another. Nor is it about the strength of one title over its counterparts.
In fact, this debate is over the actions of one of the cornerstones of the industry, a company that more than a few of us have let into our homes. This debate is over CAPCOM itself, and whether or not it has lost its way.
THE ISSUE AT HAND
Given the company's track record for providing quality entertainment,some of you can't help but wonder about CAPCOM's current attitude towards DLC or gaming in general. Many of you feel that the company is simply putting out their take on "horse armor," a weak, dispassionate offering designed only to soak a few extra bucks out of the populace.
New skins for Street Fighter characters are one thing. With or without them, the skins have no impact on the gameplay itself, but the five bucks you have to sink into RE5 for vs. play is another matter.You feel that such a feature, a feature that comes standard on most any other title you play, is just a cheap way to soak gamers for their hard-earned dollars; like selling a car but selling the steering wheel as an "add-on."
And CAPCOM's reaction to your criticism has been mystifying. Telling your customer base that what it thinks is ******** is simply bad business.
Some of you fall into another camp altogether. The notion in this camp is simple: if you don't want it, or if you have a problem with it, simply don't buy it. No one is forcing you, after all. These guys are in it to make money, so it should come as a surprise to no one that content might be a little on the weak side from time to time. This is what companies do, and you find no fault in their actions or decisions.
Regardless of where you stand on this issue, the truth remains that the debate is having an effect on how several gamers view CAPCOM. For a lot of you out there, the rose-colored glass has vanished, and you have been left wondering whether or not you can still trust this once proud giant. For others, you don't really see an issue at all. Whichever camp you belong to, it's time for you to sound off.
How do you weigh in on the issue of CAPCOM's treatment of DLC?
Does your current view make you worried/optimistic about future titles offered up by CAPCOM?
Do you plan on buying future titles from CAPCOM?
How do you feel about the statement made by Christian Svensson, claiming that complaints about vs. mode are ******** ?
Are you angry with CAPCOM's treatment of gamers? Or are you content with how things are going thus far?
Do you think CAPCOM is headed for failure?
As always, thanks for reading.
So what's in a reviewer's score anyway?
- Apr 14, 2009 4:16 am GMT
- 11 Comments
Well there are actually two answers for this:
1) A single digit; or
2) More than meets the eye.
If you have gotten this far and recovering from shock of the length of this blog (start scrolling) I presume that the answer 2 is definitely the better one of the two. So to appreciate the folks who supplying you with quality reviews and to those who would like an insight of what actually goes on when writing reviews I decided to spill out the beans of what's going on (in my head anyways) the life of a causal reviewer. I'm sure that there are many gamers out there having their own judgment of how games should be rated and that my friend is the beauty of community blogging, it's your choice of how things should pan out so strap on those jogging shoes and let's start.
To kick things off, I tell (write) you my version of why I choose the final score. Then I move on and provide some examples of my favourite track list friends and the reasons why I choose them (over many others). Take heed I will normally track a person who shows creativity and stick to their guns about rating games as I understand there will be games I thought really kicks some serious butt yet another person will state the opposite; yet I will praise them in their efforts of justifying their reasonings as there's absolutely nothing wrong voicing an opinion (as everyone got one).
To those who knows me (at least in cyberspace) probably noticed a blurb on the top of my blog – yes it's a description of how I perceive games from the top score of ten (a masterpiece and NOT a perfect score – more on that later) to a dismal one (you're fired). My overall score is based on Gamespot's previous rating system (i.e. gameplay, graphics, sounds, value and tilt). Take note: 'gameplay' and 'tilt' are weighted considerably heavier than 'graphics' and 'sounds' with 'value' the in-between.
By now you probably be starting to perspire but that's ok - it's good for you. So if you read my reviews, the rating format flows directly into the review itself: an opening paragraph (which usually has no bearing on the score itself), one to two paragraphs on gameplay (because of the heavier rating), one on graphics, one on sounds, one on value (can extend to two if I muddled in the multiplayer option hence the in-between score) and one on tilt (my personal feelings). Of course this is not set in concrete however it normally forms the base of my reviews.
So the score goes like this and I'll use my latest review Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill as the example:
* Game score starts off as seven.
* Gameplay/tilt adjustment is 0.3 above and below seven; graphics and sounds adjustment is 0.1 and value 0.2.
* So in Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill I ranked gameplay a six (overall score 7 – 0.3 = 6.7);
* Graphics a five (6.7 – 0.2 = 6.5)
* Sounds eight (6.5 + 0.1 = 6.6)
* Value five (6.6 – 0.4 = 6.2)
* Tilt seven (6.2 – 0 = 6.2).
* Overall score 6.2 (well in Gamespot terms a six).
This is the old Gamespot way and I still love it but there are some changes in the way I interpret the scores particularly ten, seven and five.
Ten (a masterpiece): Ten for me is not the perfect score, it's a masterpiece. This means there maybe some extremely minor flaws but the overall sensation is truly a masterpiece. Think of it like Michelangelo's statue of David: minor flaws yet certainly a masterpiece. Sadly not one game got this score however some came very close (e.g. UT2004, Bioshock and Star Raiders to name a few).
Seven: This means not an average game but a game that whatever it promised it delivered (in a good way). A recent example was FEAR 2 (my score 7.9 – the higher end of seven). It promises suspension and action and it delivered; so there's nothing wrong with a seven as it delivered what it promises.
Five: My meaning is that 'Either a technical marvel yet a crappy game or an excellent game yet technically lowsy - take your pick'. An example of this is Instinct – technically hopeless yet a great game to play. Is that possible – yes as 'tilt' normally influence the score of five. In Instinct's example it had a tilt of nine which saved the game of being a complete mess whilst on the other side of the spectrum Caverns of Mars the tilt score of three influenced its score of 5.5 of being a technical marvel yet boooring to play (and my review showed it as well).
Right now I'll bet you are wishing this to end...and...so when reading my reviews, think of the above meanings before you submit your thoughts (i.e. thumbs up or down). Also considering the score is only a snapshot of the game, remember my additional meanings to ten, seven and particularly five. Here are some examples of my reviews getting a hammering but for a good reason?
Thumbs up from the community
* Hour of Victory (my score 2.5)
* You Are Empty (8.0)
* Starship Troopers (7.6)
Thumbs down from the community
* Tomb Raider (7.0)
* Red Faction (6.0). This is also a clear example of what not to do - that is letting your emotions dictating your reviews (but I'll keep it as a reminder to myself).
As you can see, even the rubbish games get a positive response however I have an inclination that fan boys attacked my Tomb Raider review instead of reading what I have to say as the vast majority of the negatives practically arrived overnight and remember what 'seven' means – it promised; it delivered. I thought at that time that my top 500 emblem is heading for the 'delete' button or get a warning about 'trolling' but thankfully not. Yet I look at as a sign of 'at least people viewed my review' instead of ignoring it. But the morale here is that if you like it then it's a top game (e.g. You Are Empty – I reckon it rocks regardless of what the vast majority said) but make sure you justify the means otherwise it can easily perceive as trolling.
Community reviewers (the people I track):
Before I go on, please note that this is not a complete list but to demonstrate the different writing techniques and if you like them as well, post your recommendation. And to those below I have mentioned, if you guys want to be taken off for some reason let me know either on this blog or PM me.
Nightharvest: He uses the same rating scores (a.k.a. old Gamespot ratings) and uses a similar format to mine – another word: I can relate to his reviews and trust it with high respect and besides he also plays those dodgy games that no one reads about (nightharvest - you'll never walk alone).
ChristianKiss: Not sure what formula he uses however the majority of his scores are on 'higher' end to mine (a little generous..lol) but seriously, good reviews and even includes tips on beating the game (without spoiling the fun) and even uploads vids to get a better insight of the game. Lastly it's great to see another 'old school' gamer so look out for him if you enjoy old and new school gaming.
Fastpunk: Again like ChristianKiss I'm not sure how he bases his scores however one thing I envy with Fastpunk – he played all the games that I want to play so it will be damn cool to see what he had seen; and besides his reviews are well thought out plus on some occassions post a blog of up-and-coming games.
Joe714: A retired veteran (top 1000 emblem). His scores are on the 'higher' end however he has a knack of placing his personal feelings in his reviews with finesse. Entertaining to read without falling in the wayside and I really like his review on XIII (I'm glad I'm not the only one who thoroughly enjoyed this game as it deserves more praise).
Jepsen1977: Like one of his favourite games Thief: The Metal Age, he's to me is a silent assassin. Once he strikes, everyone listens and it's really entertaining to read the conversations with fastpunk. He's also an example of me respecting his views on games that I adore yet he'll give a 'meh' approach. An example of this is his Bioshock review (oh the pain) but I respect that and gave it a 'thumbs up' for his well thought out approach. Jepsen - if you are reading this, write more reviews!
Sequekhan: The new kid on the block for me. This guy improving with every review however what I like from him (which can be misunderstood by other readers) that all of his scores are ten. Like me, we have different meanings for ten: Sequekhan uses his own formula of the traditional 'thumbs up / down' approach. So a ten is a 'thumbs up' – another word must play. That, my friend I like: a fresh approach to scoring games (well that's the way I look at it).
As you can see, I have strong fingers as I'm still typing (I play Diablo you know - keep jogging), this is not a complete list however demonstrating the fact that different reviewers uses different approaches and as the old saying goes 'variety is a spice of life'. I'm sure that there are many reviewers out there uses their own 'personal touch' and if you are one of them, PM me; I'll track you back. Yet there are reviewers that very well be regarded as high quality however booore me to death as there's a lack of that personal touch or have the tendency to 'jump on the bandwagon': that is 'if everyone gives an eight then so do I' and their review doesn't really give an additional insight to what you have already read a million times before. Take heed that too much personal touches equates to fan boys (but there's nothing wrong with fan boys but do so in moderation – heck I'm a fan boy of UT2004).
I hope this helps this age old question of 'So what's in a rating score anyway?' and by all means this is not a perfect babble. Don't take my word for granted however my aim is for the reader to be flexible and the writer to be logical - that said if you feel its right then it's definitely right – just make sure you add it somewhere in your profile/review of your intension though.
Game on, thank you for reading this and hit the showers - you deserve it.
8% Heiankyo Alien Azghouls (HAA)
Oh, and this happens to be my hundredth blog entry - sweet
And stop scrolling - this is the end...seriously.
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