A dream shattered...
- Dec 1, 2007 4:37 pm GMT
- 19 Comments
I haven't been able to post earlier as I had to let all of this sink in first even though it probably hasn't yet but at least I'm now once again able to speak.
There is no excuse for how the ones responisble has handled all of this and not have they only damaged themselves but also people around them that did with no absolute means deserve this fate. I'm of course talking about the wonderfull staff of this site and loyal users that have remained loyal till just recently when somebody decided to drop the sledgehammer on our very faces.
Anger, confusion and desperation is what have filled our very minds for the past few days and rightfully so. And I respect those that still stands behind the staff after what has happend even though I fully understand those of you that are leaving never to return. A dream has been shattered for them, many that have inspired us to join this site or even apply for a job here are now gone though this recent department obviously hurts to most, digging into the very deepest core of our minds and hearts because of the circumstances of how it happened. The first time we're probably witnessing this kind of thing and hopefully the last.
For me personally the dream was shattered aswell as most of those that brought me back to gaming are or were a part of this wonderfull site and acted as a huge inspiration to me and got me into writing my own blogs and reviews and stating and forming my own opinions and sharing them with others the best I could. Therefor my first thought was to leave this site and everything it stands for all behind, a closed chapter of my now 20 year old life.
Then I realized something...I simply cannot leave this place just like that. I've met too many people here that have ment very much to me even in my personal life and that the fact there are very talented people in the staff that are still with us. And for that reason alone I will stay as user of this site, at least for the time being to see how things eventually develops. I've invested too much time into the place to simply loose all the hope I have left. Though my motivation to visit this site as often and to contribute as much as I did a while ago is now completely lost and I will struggle hard to find it once more.
On a positive note the people that no longer a part of this staff still have their health and wellbeing left with them and we're bound to see more from all of them in the future and of course from our fellow staff members that still remains.
The very sad part of it all though is that things will never be the same. An end of an era.
Peace to all of you that are tracking me and to those that put so much effort into forming this site that have inspired so many, an act never to be forgotten.
Jeff Gerstmann, As A Fellow Critic
- Nov 30, 2007 1:20 pm GMT
- 44 Comments
I respect Jeff Gerstmann. Always have and always will. Sure, I may disagree with the styling of his (GameSpot's) reviews or his arguments, though I am one of the few that agrees with the 8.8 on Twilight Princess. But I never questioned his ability and integrity as a game critic. Jeff Gerstmann was true to himself, and that's all you can ask for.
His rather swift, unclean departure has been unnerving and only more so because I am a professional game critic myself. I would sit in my room, with its minimalist surroundings, and ponder about where I could be in the next ten years. Will I stay at GameRevolution or will I "move on" to something bigger and brighter? How big and bright could that be? I seriously considered GameSpot, because hey, I'm an oldie here. My level on the right-hand part of the screen is my age, not my rank.
But now I find myself caught between the dim and thin line between business and objectivity, the two things that make a game site work. We all know that editorial reviews and pressure from advertisements should never mix. We know that this is ideal, but game criticism runs on ideals. I mean, have you seen our paychecks? It sure ain't running on that.
What's missing from the discussion is pressure from publishers and developers. Since I have been at GameRevolution, there always seems to be one particular PR person who is irritated with us, whether it's how Metacritic or GameRankings converts our letter grades to numerical ones, why there is no coverage for such and such, and why I gave Rock Band a B+.
And this trend has been escalating. According to Duke Ferris, my boss, publishers are inching ever closer to breaking that line between professionalism and just being plain obnoxious. In the past, it was a rare that any PR person would call us up over a grade, but something about these last six months (maybe holiday season or global warming or the rise in pirates) has made some publishers all uppity in their pants-ity. If you have all this time to call us for a grade that you think is unfair, why not ask the developers to just make a better game. Sure, free swag, free drinks, free dinners, and free trips are nice and all, but don't think for one second that I'm not going to bash your game if it deserves it. Don't give something we didn't ask for and expect critics to like you. We don't bark and we don't roll over.
This just makes it all the more surprising that this spiel with Eidos was the last nail in the coffin. I mean, Eidos? Really? I could understand if it was a major player like THQ, Nintendo, Capcom, or someone worth mentioning - but why a company whose most recent successful title was an anniversary of a long-since defunct boobed archaeologist? How much could Eidos really have spent on a Kane & Lynch advertisement compared to one for Final Fantasy XII or Rock Band or Call of Duty 4 or Bowflex?
Look, Kane & Lynch has about an average of 67 or so on GameRankings. It ain't good. And you, Eidos, know it ain't good. So please keep your public relations in line with your private opinions of the game. I know it's your job to be fake every once in a while, but I'm sure creating negative publicity isn't in your job description, either.
However, as much as I understand why Jeff got fired, it should never have happened. Go ahead and fire him if he's lazy, doesn't hand in reviews on time, or farts in closed spaces, but don't fire him for doing his job - the job he's been doing for about a third of his life.
Are critics supposed to be puppets from publishers now? Are we supposed to be tools for advertisers? Are we supposed to avoid feelings like being mean or, I don't know, being critical? Should we just take the fact sheet and reprint it, and call it a review? Are we supposed to plaster on a smile and sugar-powder everything with five gold-star stickers and write a review in crayon?
No one likes a suck-up. Or a game site called SuckSpot. That's a name for a site that blows.
''Maybe This Was All A Misunderstanding?''
- Nov 30, 2007 3:34 am GMT
- 43 Comments
It isn't really hard to guess as this point what the latest several editorial blog posts (and pretty much everyone else's) are about, or for that matter everywhere else people can post something as well.
In what I have decided to dub the great Kane & Lynch fiasco of 2007, we have a bit of a controversy on our hands. Now, one thing I'm reading in almost all of the many posts about it is the key word, "rumor." Now at this point the evidence is pretty damning, what with the video review being pulled, and Jeff apparently, at least for whatever reason, has signed his walking papers.
What I want to say then is not necessarily something I personally believe, but is more of an attempt at devil's advocate (since almost no one else is saying it and instead stoking the flames). Could this all possibly be a very poorly timed set of decisions, leading to a misunderstanding? Could Jeff have maybe chosen to just leave, or gotten let go for some other reason?
I only pose the question because we have all too often gotten upset over something only to get the full story later. Unfortunately we may never hear the full story, but at this point, I'veseen many people, even volunteer support members, posting blogs riddled with denouements and even swears directed at Gamespot. As much as this may actually be an appropriate response if this has all happened as the initial reports ordained, I'm wondering how much we may be jumping the gun on our judgments of all parties involved.
Jeff is no stranger to review controversy either, if anything you'd think some of the other games he's shunned in the past would land him in more hot water than an Eidos game.
In short, for those who so far have completely misread the purpose of this post, the theme is "withholding judgement", at least until a suitable time when such judgement can be fairly passed. If at that point in time the judgement is a rage-gasm in the form of anangry mob with pitchforks and torches though, then so be it.
With all this jumble of hesitant thinking I leave you with a departing thought: maybe Kane and Lynch, even with its score not being the most terrible ever, but rather due to its enduring negative stigmata, willbe the new "Big Rigs" game that all new GS members must play....an ironic twist appropriate of such a trial by fire don't you think?
Is Sony on .. .. a roll?
- Nov 19, 2007 6:34 am GMT
- 127 Comments
The Sony PS3 could be about to pull off one of the biggest turn-arounds the games market has ever seen. After a slow start, where Sony's console was hampered by its high pricing and lack of quality games, since the price drop the PlayStation 3 and one of the biggest PlayStation advertising campaigns, last week for the first time, the ps3 has managed to sell more than what used to be the big N's playground, namely Japan.
In the week ending October 29, sales rose to 75,000. Sony also said that it has sold more than 100,000 PS3(&PS2) consoles in the week ending November 11, an increase of 250 to 300per cent from the average weekly sales before the price drop.
I'm starting to think that Sony is doing all of this on purpose (Yes, I actually thought that every step they took since it's launch was plainly wrong): They knew that Microsoft had a whole year head start. They knew the different (and successful) path that Nintendo took. They knew what they would get into when they announced that $599 price tag at the E3 2006 convention. Anyone with some basic marketing experience must be familiar with price skimming.
Truth is, that consumers are waiting for quality games to get released so by the time they released some of their highest anticipated games next year (MGS 4, GT5, KZ2, Littlebigplanet, God of War 3, Final Fantasy XIII), the price would have already been reduced by enough amount that anyone who wanted to buy one, can actually afford one.
On top of that, Sony just halved the price of their development kits , promising to further reduce costs as more studios adopt the console technology and hoping that this could significantly increase the amount of developers to make more games for the machine.
In the end, I'm thinking that these dudes are preparing to put all their money on 2008. The only stumbling block for Sony now looks like being North America. The Wii and the Xbox 360 are still thumping the PS3 in the USA, and Sony is going to have to do something about it. Maybe those quality game launches are exactly what the doctor ordered?
How do you see these results? Do you think it was just an *R & C effect*? Or is Sony finally getting their act together? With a strong marketing campaign, a recent price drop on their console and their development kits, in my eyes, there's nothing that get's in their way to make at least a comeback. This will be a very interesting Christmas.
Bullet Dodgers *SPOILER ALERT*
- Nov 18, 2007 9:01 pm GMT
- 0 Comments
Why does the good guy never die? Don't you ask yourself this? When James Bond is getting shot at by 100 guys at once, why does he never get even a simple flesh wound?
SPOLERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOLERS SPOILERS
A lot of inspiration for this post comes from, of course, halo 3. I would be much happier if Master Chief died. I mean, that really makes me feel like the ending is more satisfying. But a number of movies/games/books pretend to kill their main character and don't. I was also deeply disappointed that Harry Potter didnt die in book 7, because first of all, it shows people that some things are worth dying for, and second of all, we wouldn't have that terrible 20 years later part or whatever that was at the end. Good guys just seem to evade death at every step, a little to much for my liking. I would like to see James Bond die. I know most people don't, but come on, he's had so many people shooting at him, some day one of those bullets is bound to pierce his skull. Obviously, that's not going to happen, for the obvious reason that the series would no longer make money with the main character dead.
Some of my favorite movies kill the main character at the end. Star Wars, for example, has Anakin die at the end. And after watching it, your really satisfied. The message in media today is that death is a bad, bad thing, and that you can save the world and live. So media companies, please consider how unoriginal it is for the main character to fake die and come back to life. Please kill some of your characters. Maybe Gordon Freeman will die at the end of episode 3. Maybe Jim Raynore dies in StarCraft 2. Either way, I'm looking forward to see the limbs of my favorite characters dismembered in the name of justice!
The complete bastardization of HD standards
- Nov 15, 2007 11:33 am GMT
- 97 Comments
A standard is useless when a) it constantly changes or b) is misleading. Sometimes it's nice to have something concrete to fall back on, especially when we're dealing with something as inherently confusing as high definition.
One of the more amusing ruined standards is HDMI, which has seen various revisions over the past year and I believe it's coming up on version 1.4. The result? If you have devices that use HDMI 1.0 they might not work with HDMI 1.1 electronics. You might be able to transfer audio over your HDMI cable, maybe not, and you might be limited at certain resolutions or simply be unable to get it to work at all. Honestly, what's the point of having such a standard when it's ultimately not standard at all?
Another ruined standard can be seen in videogames, particularly in the past couple of years. With the advent of the 360, Microsoft initially stated that every game released on their platform must adhere to a minimum resolution, the HD standard of 720p, or 1280x720 pixels. Since almostevery non-1080p HDTV has that as a native resolution, it's great news. We've got the promise of games supporting the ideal resolution...right?
There have been incidents of developers/publishers cheating, though. I don't know if PGR3 was the first, but it was certainly one of the more obvious offenders that ran at a lower resolution and simply upscaled to fit 720p before dancing out of the 360 and onto your TV. Side by side with Forza 2, or pretty much any other racing game, it simply looks chunky. At first glance maybe you could attribute it to poor antialiasing, but the pixels are a bit larger and that contributes far more to the blocky look than missing smoothing on polygon edges. Not only does it look a bit uglier than a native 720p signal, it's totally false advertising as the back of the box happily reports that the game supports 720p.
I guess it depends on your interpretation of that. I'd like to read the 720p as "This game runs in 1280x720 and will look fantastic on your TV," not "We're upscaling a lower resolution to 720p just so we can check this box off." And now with the increasing number of 1080p-capable HDTVs I've noticed that most newer 360 games support upscaling to 1080p and also check that off on the back of the box, even though most of those games are barely running half that resolution.
It's like me running Crysis on my laptop on medium/high settings at 1280x800 resolution and claiming it actually runs at 1920x1200 because that's the native resolution of my screen. It's true in that "Yeah, I'm being a **bleep**" sort of way, but otherwise it's kind of meaningless. Does that mean that when I play PS2 games in all their 480i glory on my HDTV that they're actually running at 720p because that's what the TV scales them to? Man, I want to play Microsoft's game.
Halo 3 is probably the biggest offender in the past few months. Is it a bad looking game because it only runs in 640p? No. Bungie has their nice little spiel about an extra buffer and toenail clippings but through the double-speak we've still got a game incorrectly labeled as 720p. I'm still more annoyed about companies calling apples oranges than I am about any loss of fidelity. I'd rather take a great-running game that cheats a bit than a full-resolution game with framerate issues. Call of Duty 4 is smooth as silk throughout the experience, and I'm pretty sure that it's pulling the same 640p stunt that Halo 3 is because the pixels are the size of bowling balls. Playing a legit 720p game and then CoD4 is like smearing vasoline over the screen, since everything develops the telltale blur and slightly wonky edges, since you're stretching some pixels to two pixels while keeping others the same. We're not running cathode ray tubes here, LCD and plasma pixels are a fixed size.
Not that I expect anything to change, of course. Misleading marketing speak is common everywhere, from speakers that have their power and frequency range reported at peak and without taking distortion into account. Cars have horsepower rated at near redline levels, where regular driving rarely falls into. Whatever sells a product, I guess. It's just sad, because Microsoft was initially onto something when they set their little 720p standard. And I'd love to know how many PS3 games are pulling the same stunt, since I doubt that any titles are actually running at 1920x1080 pixels, since such a fill rate would result in horrendous framerates.
There's a small comparison Photoshop I did of what Halo 3 would look like running in 720p versus its actual 640p scaled to fit. It's not the part I'm really up in arms about, but it should make it pretty obvious that scaling does ruin fine edges. It's also entirely possible that the actual scaled Halo 3 looks worse than this, since I'd imagine Photoshop is better at upscaling images than the 360 is with real-time gameplay footage.
Call of Duty 4: just another highly-heralded pile of garbage game.
- Nov 9, 2007 12:03 am GMT
- 0 Comments
You know what? When I swiped up the last remaining 360 copy of CoD4 at the Electronics Boutique near my work today, I thought: "this purchase cannot possibly go wrong." And yet, here I sit. And so sits the title of this entry. After less than, say four hours of play, I have (after becoming much sickened through prolonged exposure to such dangerous elements as massively scripted scenes and gameplay that is entirely bereft of fun) had quite enough. And then some. How better to explain to you the flaming downward spiral that is CoD4 than to begin at the beginning:
A strong introduction means absolutely nothing. Your target? A freight ship in the middle of the ocean - your goal is to snatch up the ship manifest and some...sensetive cargo. You land in the rain, after dark...after being told that the crew is entirely expendable. After an all but silent crossing of the vessel's deck, and clearing of the crew quarters, you descend into the ship' belly. You are in awe - graphically the game is impressive, perhaps even a tad imposing in it's excellence in detail to the world around you. Also inspiring a bit of glee is the apparent depth of your AI ally's intelligence - they are, in fact, leading you in kills. Well, things go awry down underneath and you find yourself scrambling back up to your evac, your friends are in and the chopper begins to lift off slightly as all your friends are aboard - you LEAP. You catch the edge but barely, attempting desperately not to lose your grip...and Price grabs you by the arm and pulls you aboard. Sound amazing? Well, I suppose that depends upon how well my writing conveys it, though it certainly is in practice.
Well, while it's not the last good moment in CoD4, I found (to my horror) that such was just about as close to being to case as one can come without technically falling into that particular camp.
By the time the first marine level had concluded, I had deduced that the purchase of this title had, apparently, ammounted to nothing more than an evening of frustration to top off $60 being flushed directly down the toilet. And, with the exception of level "All Ghillied Up," every subsequent level did nothing but reinforce that feeling. The games greatest flaws are threefold: first, camera jumping: everytime you attempt to draw a bead on a foe (anywhere or anytime), you will imediately be struck by multiple bullets. Your camera will jump, the shot will become one you cannot make. Imagine that happening over...and over...and over...over the course of a paticularly pathetic and short-ass game.
Secondly, the controls are unmanagable and counterintuitive garbage. They are unforgivably bad, cripplingly so, and among other things they manage fly in the face of almost a decade of FPS title's control schemes, save only the earlier poorly controlling CoD entry in CoD2. Each poor decision with regards to button assignment seems specifically chosen only to be worse than the last: running by clicking down the left stick? Really? Are you fellows entirely serious about this?? Then there is meleeing through clicking...sure it's incredibly ponderous, and impossible to think to use in a pinch, thus rendering it entirely pointless, I guess they just included it on a whim, but hey! What are you going to do, huh? Then there is crouching with B. At this point, if I were a playtester I'd just have to look to the developers and say, "you know what? **** you guys." And while the aforementioned meleeing and crouching can be exhanged, it is truly of little help: you'd still be crouching by pressing the RIGHT stick. IE the wrong one for anyone paying attention.
Third, the friendly AI is actually terrible. In the only two levels it appears not to be, there is a lot of scripted behavior going on. I wondered, at first, why CoD4 came out before the barrage of games that will be hitting us on the 14th. The only thing that I can see that might explain this, is the fact that your friendly AI's don't seem to be programmed to be capable of anything further than A.) engaging in more scripted scenes, B.) running around and getting gunned down, C.) allowing grenades to land by themselves and you and do nothing about it, D.) firing their weapons occassionally. Without taking aim. I will say that, oddly enough, the marine AI is markedly more terrible than their SAS counterparts, which doesn't really make sense, and yet there it is, rather easy to observe.
So, other than great graphics and story and two truly impressive levels, this game has almost nil to offer to you. Here is what I recommend to you - if you know someone else who has it, play "Crew Expendable" and "All Ghillied Up" on their system, and you'll have seen all the true quality that CoD4 has in store for you. The only thing I can give Infinity Ward any particularly important props on is their incredibly moving depiction of Pripyat - especially in regards to including a setting from a photo which has always had a strange impact on me (as have most things Chernobyl related, I was born less than a week after the explosion that set the disaster in existential stone took place) - of the "Azure" pool (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d9/Prypiat_Pool.jpg).
But, enough of the positive speak - not because I grow tired of it, but simply because there is nothing left for me to compliment this game for. I would state at this time that I have, from this point forward, dismissed all previous faith I had in Infinity Ward's ability to make a quality game. And I've my doubts that they'll do anything to earn it back. But in any event, onwards and upwards, as they say - much better things (Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect among them) await.
RPG: The Cliche Male Protagonist
- Nov 3, 2007 7:26 pm GMT
- 77 Comments
As to why male protagonists in RPGs have become rather cliche, I find that the gameplay in RPGs restricts the main character more than anything else. It's still about a character who defeats monsters for experience, gains money to buy better and better weapons and armor, defeats progressively more difficult bosses, gains access to more places for exploration - you get the drill. There's little room for a character other than a young male protagonist that follows the traditional male hero archetype to tell the story with how the gameplay traditionally progresses.
One reason why Hayao Miyazaki uses female heroines, with the exception of Princess Mononoke, is his affirmation that they allow for more emotional development than a male one. The development of masculinity from boyhood to manhood is rigidly c1asscal, so trying to tack on some emotional richness usually ends up failing. And in an industry where male protagonists rule, the gameplay has only had to cater to those male story arcs. Even silent protagonists have a Clint Eastwood quality, where silence not only allows the player to enter the shell of the main character more easily, but can remain unemotional in the face of danger and war - stemming from the fact that men are more easily emotionally flooded than women. Silence (and pithy) is a natural defense that men can identify with more easily than talky and whiny.
I find it fascinating that Suikoden III works in a large part because of Chris, a woman in a knightly role but still is feminine without being overtly sexified. Without her, the story would have had been led by two male archetypes, Hugo (boyhood into manhood) and Geddoe (the silent type). This isn't to say that Hugo's and Geddoe's story arcs were generic, because they were developed quite well (the manga is great, by the way). It's just that the addition of the other gender, along with the drama of warring factions and experiencing different points of view, turns what might have been a common story on its side.
Now, I'm not saying that adding a woman will solve the problem. It's that our ideas on the male action hero and how we want that male hero to be confines the story and its emotional depth - and all of that is encompassed by how the gameplay is structured in a way that tracks c1assical male development. Trying to tell the story of the "serious" yet more passive, gentler, romantic, or melodramatic male - that of Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day or Tom Hank's character in Sleepless in Seattle - through the predominantly active male protagonist in a video game is near impossible without being sappy and unbelievable.
A Little Halo of Perspective
- Oct 27, 2007 10:44 am GMT
- 94 Comments
With every high profile game released there are numerous editorials, op-eds and forum posts surrounding the game. These range from "You wouldn't believe what happened at the midnight release party!" to "OMG Local Retailer X is horrible, don't shop there because I didn't get my game yesterday." along with the usual predictions of the video game industry's impending doom. For the most part these are all worthwhile reads. What gets my goat are the "Game X is overrated!" complaints. Halo 3 isn't the first or the last game to receive such criticism but it certainly has gathered a lot of folks claiming it is "overrated".
I'm not saying that everyone who says a game is overrated is simply wrong. However, I think the basic reasoning behind most of these claims misses its target. What follows is my is my interpretation and comments regarding many of what I see as the more misguided "overrated" claims regarding Halo 3.
"Halo is no that great because it is just...."
This statement is usually followed by the observations that the Halo series is "just" a sci-fi FPS, and that is absolutely correct. Halo 3 is a sci-fi FPS, chances are it won't blow your mind. It won't wash my car and it won't do much more than provide you an opportunity to have a good time. Just like every other video game out there, including other truly great games.
Why Halo 3's common elements with other games should bring it down below the level of great, or even very good, is beyond me. Personally I've been burnt out on the sci-fi shooter scene for quite some time, but it's not like I can hold that against Halo. The series is six years old and I have my doubts that the story arch would hold up well if time travel was involved just to introduce a new setting, at least not until the first trilogy is completed
"Halo does not live up to the hype."
Hype is an ambiguous thing. When a game is accused of being overrated it seems the hype is often mentioned. For this journal's purpose I'll consider hype is the grand sum of all the media coverage, advertising and promotional spam, and even the fanboy spazzing on internet forums and etc.
If you've ever spent time talking to some of the biggest fans of just about anything out there you probably already know that no game, product, or anything will ever live up to the heights that they hold it to, at least not to us outside observers. Halo 3 is not the first, second, or third coming of your favorite best or worst deity, even if some other folks think it is. Yet that that's no reason put down the game.
I'm a ridiculously big Civilization fan. I once hung out early in the morning at a store waiting for Civ III to arrive. To outside observers the game is not worth that kind of effort or excitement. My or anyone else's excitement, and possibly foolish actions, relating to the game shouldn't be held against the game. Holding a fan's actions against a game is the kind of reasoning you hear from some of the crazy anti gaming crusaders. That is just plain silly.
Regarding advertising and related promotional spam, as annoying as it can be I find that also difficult to hold against a game. The endless TV commercials, painful website flash advertising, and groan inducing Mountain Dew "game fuel" adverts might go as far as being downright embarrassing but that has little to do with the actual game.
Overrated in terms of Money, Success, Ratings
Let's just get one thing out of the way when it comes to sales. Like a lot of other things life sometimes things just aren't fair. Is Halo 3 worth the insane amount of money it absorbed in sales on the day of release? I don't know. Do games that are nearly as good rake in nearly as much money? I'm willing to concede that the answer is no. Even conceding that last point it seems silly to judge a game basted on its success. Sales and profits really shouldn't factor into it. We don't think less of our favorite games that didn't sell as well as they should have. Doing the same thing to games that sold better than we expect or think they should is just silly.
Of course what this all boils down to is games should be judged simply for what they are. Factoring in hype, fanboys, crazy PR people, and profits to me seems like a good way to find something to gripe about a game that doesn't have much to do with the game itself. Such a practice would mean that just about every game is "overrated" particularly if you listen to the hired PR guns out there or happen to be surrounded by fanboys. That's not to say it is easy to ignore all that stuff. I think those of us who follow the industry are particularly prone to get a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to "system sellers" and all the info and media that we absorb. Filtering all that out and just looking at the game on its own merits can be a challenge.
I'm about as tired as anyone by the Halo 3 media blitz. Some of the fans are disturbingly ... ravenous (nearly as much as SSBB fans). I'm not even much of a Halo fan myself. If it wasn't for the fact that the Call of Duty 4 beta ended and won't be released until November I might not have picked up Halo 3.
Having played Halo 3 I know that the Halo series still isn't my personal cup of tea. Yet that doesn't mean I can't recognize the great game that is there. A nice campaign with some impressive production value and ridiculously rich multiplayer and community features that few games even come close to offering all add up to a great game. That holds true even if I'm not quite as excited as Microsoft or the advertising would have me be, or as excited as some other people are.
First Person To Beat Most Difficult Song in Guitar Hero III
- Oct 5, 2007 3:30 pm GMT
- 31 Comments
Duke Ferris jammed out a manifesto on GameRevolution about it, so I'll just give some side commentary on the feat.
Activision held a press event for Guitar Hero III at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco, and being only three and a half weeks fresh in my editor shoes, I was still quite a n00b, though I tried not to let that get to me as much as it did at the EA Gamers Day event. In fact, I had a short chat with Brad Shoemaker from GameSpot, and so I felt redeemed from the awkward moment we had during the EA event.
The showcase was separated into two rooms: one for the Xbox 360 version and one for the Wii and PS3. I walked passed the open bar (free drinks!), went to the Xbox 360 room and every station was rightfully taken, so I walked past the bar again, and headed for the other room.
There, no one was playing at the very first station, so I decided to take up the spot. I immediately went into "Free Play" mode and tried my hand at the Expert songs on the last few tiers, just to see how much more difficult it was. I was able to four-star "3's and 7's" by Queens of the Stone Age and "The Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden on my first try. Some people were watching me as I played it, commented on how crazy I was, and then challenged me to do "Raining Blood" by Slayer.
I failed, mostly because I activated star power in the wrong place. The small crowd left and I began to chill out on "One" by Metallica. Passed that quite calmly.
One thing you should note about me is that when I play Guitar Hero, I'm rather stoic - especially if I'm concentrating and totally in the zone. I don't even see what I'm doing as amazing, since I do it all the time, and I know I can improve. So whenever someone gives me praise, I'm respectful and humble about it. I play Guitar Hero to challenge myself, and though it's cool to impress people with it, I'm pretty zen about it. Besides, GameSpot's Slunks playing Jordan on Expert (pretty much) without looking at the freakin' screen is the most godly thing I've seen yet. One thing that sets me apart from most is that I can usually get through any song in one or two tries - which is good at events like these that last only for about three hours.
So let me not be modest on my achievement any more than it needs to be.
And before I go further, a note to whoever plans these Guitar Hero IIIevents for Activision:
Please do not serve buttered popcorn. They are anti-fret.
After clearing most of the difficult Expert songs, including "Raining Blood", Mike C - the lead designer for the Wii - heard that I was pretty good and had me play an Wii-Fi face-off with another person. I said okay and just let things come, but I felt bad, because the other dude play was playing on Medium. Maybe Mike C saw that I wasn't comfortable with it. Whatever the case, I was challenged by him to get through the most difficult song in the game: "Through The Fire And Flames" by Dragonforce.
I tried it and failed twice. The beginning solo is ridiculous, consisting of just waves of two-note hammer-ons. Mike C tried to relieve me of some embarrassment, commenting that the beta testers had to use an elastic band around for the green button just to get through that section.
But I was determined. And so on the third try, I was able to get through the opener and tear my way through the song. Pull-offs and hammer-ons are easier in Guitar Hero III, which helped me get through the solos (wait... what am I talking about?... the entire song is a solo), but that only made RedOctane feel fine making the notes as insane as possible. As the crowd gathered around me, I got somewhat nervous, though truthfully, I was mostly angry with myself. Star power kept on activating when I didn't want it to, because I held the guitar a bit higher than I usually did. And thus, my downfall... only 90% complete.
Needless to say, I was steaming behind all the wows. Sure, completing 90% on Dragonforce is a feat in itself, but I knew I could, you know, beat the darn thing. I would not my ninja teachers down.
I went into the shadows and practiced on the PS3. And every time, I would get owned and re-owned by the opening section. The buttons aren't as snappy as the ones on the Wii, but I knew it wasn't a complaint that held much water. So I went back to the Wii version and started anew.
On my first try (fourth attempt), I got through the opener and felt like this was the one. The crowd started to gather around me again, and I got into the zone. I didn't care what barrage of shuriken-like notes came at me. I would complete it, and I did. At the end, I had the kind of moment which all Guitar Heroes dream about: praise on a job well done on a job you know is well done.
So now, I wait for the next person to beat "Through The Fire And Flames" with four, no five, stars. If that person is not already a ScoreHero. As delivered by Neil Wood, Public Relations officer for Activison, I was honored to be (reportedly) challenged by one of the ScoreHeroes at the event. I declined the offer at the time, since I'm not a competitive person by nature. But until Slunks beats it backwards (no pressure, dude), I will be glad to accept it, if any such offer comes my way again.
I mean, just a little Guitar Hero never hurt anyone, right?
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- Last updated: Jan 1, 1970 12:00 am GMT