...with: In retro-spect "BLACK" as number 20. And Castle Crashers, as #21.
And as usual, a little disclaimer. I just bring up the bad stuff about a game. There, for the 21st time I have to secure my ass with a flame shield.
BLACK is from what I know the only game that has the "Here's a gun. There's a commie. Y'know what to do." part done right. Really, no game is as straight-forward as BLACK. Well, Army of Two perhaps - But this is a unique case; It's got the gunplay done right, it's got the linearity done right for as far as you can do that right and the enemies won't kill you with a shotgun from sniper range.
But you're here for the bashing of this game right?
First of all, the game's made by Burnout developer Criterion. Remember when Bizzarre, known for Project Gotham Racing, came with The Club, and what an utter failure that was? Well, Criterion did it right... It's one of the finest shooters available. For as long as it'll last.
Damn, it's difficult to digg the crappy stuff up.
Alright, for beginners. There's a storyline, and technically there isn't. I can tell you, what Criterion told me, but it won't make more sense that way either. "You're playing as a soldier who has done something, some other dude's using you and your history against you to put down the small rise of the Soviets.".
Basically, they could've kept it Counter Strike and; "You're American. And they're Russians. And there's a M16 in your hands. Russians are evil, evil bastards. Kill 'em all.".
The story doesn't make any sense, whatsoever. In any way. It just doesn't make sense. You'll quickly come back to the political propaganda I just gave you; "Ruskies are bad, Yanks are good.". Though, it won't get any less complicated. There's cutscenes all over the place, which, from my most random guess - Try to explain what the heck happened. But even then there's the distraction of the disorted, and damned-prison lighting that is supposed to set a "I R EVAL!" mood.
Hell, most cutscenes feel like Dr. Phil's interviewing Marylin Manson during a power-out.
But enough about the story. As there's virtually no story.
The gameplay. Linear. Linear. Linear. Linear. Straight-forward. As straight as a left turn goes. Oh wait.
Entire missions have a few objectives. But consider the objective names fancy "Synonyms". "Blow up the Bridge" > "Kill dudes." "Meet at the Russian Goulag." > "Kill dudes." "Get through the trenches to get to the Russian Farm" > "Kill dudes."
From the first mission, to the last - Your objective involves getting from point A to point B, alive. But, this game's got a bit of what I call, "Counter Strike Syndrom."
There's an objective, yes. But in the end, all you're doing is killing others, before they kill you. And that's perfectly fine.
In BLACK, the guns are so effective, and so torturing-good, and for it's time, the insane graphics. To get to the point, the weapons are so great, that the only thing you're willing to do is to charge and kill dudes anyway, rather than scooping around like a stealthy rat, snatching laptops and plans.
There's some flaws with the AI, and all. But, after 20 games, saying the AI has the survival instincts of a suicide bomber, I think I'm better off just sayin' - They're stupid enough to give you a fair shot at survival. Unlike war.
Oh, and there's no multi-player whatsoever, nor is there any replay value other than being able of unlocking silver weaponry that has unlimited ammo. And the game's length lasts, I'd say, about two-third of Halo 3's eight-hour campaign. But, like Counter Strike - There's something to it. And all you're doing is blowing dudes away.
Yeah, I've been slacking around, doing bits and bits at the time. Only to end up like this. Four months remaining before I'll have to PowerPoint it at the Offices in Los Angeles. And what I all wrote over the past years "doesn't qualify" as showing it off. As that contains more of my opinion, and less of what they could expect... So, back to basics. But, again, it gives me the oppertunity to adjust some stuff.
As I'm literally bashing the living hell out of my G-key, which decided to go housewife on me and only work half of the times while I sit here annoyed by the fact that it still works, thus not having enough reason to replace it.
.....Aannnyyyywaaayyy; As I was doing that. I came across some interesting brain-chow: Too Human now officially has two, and I repeat two assholes. For the generous gaming community has tore it a brand sparkling new one. Dennis Dyack on the other hand doesn't deserve to even have a single one for the fact that he's being so goddamn anal it's a new world record.
Christ, so many fuckingG's. Words, why must thy contain so many god forsaken G's!?
But back to that game that makes S.T.A.L.K.E.R's massive delay look like nothing whatsoever. Back in '99, Dyack's ignorance spread began with the announcing of Too Human. A name, a logo. Nothing more, nothing less.
...Now it's frickin' '08. And look where we have stranded.
I already considered Dyack the most ignorant douchebag for his unique capability of being so goddamn full of himself, it actually made him chubby. When this man goes to take a leak, he's pissing pure golden ignorance and shits bricks of solid douche. Quite the personality.
Now, allow me to tell you something. It's related to common sense, and the thing I'm about to say is something that might be completely obvious to you. - Every game developer is allowed to say 'I consider my game great', without being considered being completely full of yourself. For it's your own creation, something you'll most definatly like yourself. Dennis Dyack on the other hand, doesn't just love his own creation; His mission over the past years was to not just convince everyone else, his mission was to make everyone like the damn thing. And if you didn't, he'd consider you a tasteless dumbass.
After a few personal vandetta's here and there... Well, after nearly ten motherfucking years, countless of debates, previews and such bull later...
Too Human turns out to be a pit of mediocre-ness. A big mess between back story and lackluster gameplay. The type of game like Halo 3, where you're thrown in a big mess wondering "What the hell happened!?". Only Halo 3 makes up for the "Here you go...Y'know what happened", for having TWO additional games infront of it. While Too Human plays as if there has been a number of prequels you should've played, and you're thrown inthere thinking "Yeah... I uhh... Will find out, I guess.".
Hell, if a reviewer says "It isn't bad...", you know damn well he's trying to say "...But it sure ain't good either.". Thanks Kevin VanOrd, you made my day.
Oh, and I'm trying to make a comeback on GameSpot as well as Giantbomb with the whole blogging thing. Someone, please fix GameSpot already. It's like driving a car with three wheels. It's possible, but you know damn well if you get that fourth wheel back on it's a helluva lot better.
...Or any other sandbox action game city for that matter.
Yeah, I see you thinking. "He's gonna bash London, the vile yank bastard".
Wrong. So let's get this out of the way quick; I haven't got anything against Brits, London, the United Kingdom itself, the Royal Family, Bedford and Winchester Crackers.
There, so please, don't go "YOU BLOODY YANK!" on me. Cause, I haven't even insulted London yet.
Alright, back to the topic. Why London shouldn't be a GTA city...
First off all, London isn't a crime riddled city. Hah, you're as clear as glass. Again; I just smell the hatred... "ITS FULL OF FUCKIN CRIME!"
- Technically, that's right... But what kind of crime has London been dealing with over the past 20 years? Pot-dealers, car theft and the illigal holding of pocket knifes.
You feeling me on this one? PETTY crimes. "So, whadda'ya got in mind to take this bastard out?" - "I'll nick myself a Peugeot, smoke some dope and shank the motherfucker..." Hell, the murder statistics have gone down like a falling brick(which is good ofcourse), only 400-something gun-felonies were recorded and 155 people have been murdered since 2007. (link)
Though, I gotta say - The fact that London is getting ALOT safer's only good. But for the sake of setting a violent video game in this city... It's not gonna work. New York City itself currenty hasn't got the massive crime figures of a noteworthy fucked up city, but underground crime by which the Mafia isn't excluded has never left this city. What underground crime does London have of which you could form a storyline of?
The Yardies. Dope pushers and loan sharkers. You gotta admit, that ain't much.
Alright, there's no denying that doing what The Getaway did could work out well - Creating a fictional mob that's everything the current Mafia is today, but then in British fashion. Hell, in fiction anything can be done well.
The second, and final point is geography. The beautifull thing about just about any American city, is it's layout. It's a very simple layout of cross-road pattern blocks, with a major highway outlining it. The negative thing about London, and alot of other European cities; Is trying to find out of how the hell you're supposed to get from A-to-B.
Most American cities have two or three major streets that go from the most southern tip of the city, to the most northern tip. I've been in London, twice. And my parents always ended up taking back the rental car and all throwing us into one of them black cabbies - Cause we didn't know where the hell we were supposed to go. There's not a straight line on the map to be found aside of the road going around Hyde Park.
Central London Downtown Manhattan See the difference in navigation?
Aside from the fact that finding your way around town might be a challenge not worth going for; It's not the most interesting city.
DAMN! I SAID IT! Yes, in real life - A four day vacation to London is all worth the money, hell I'd even suggest you'd go there right now. In video games - Why the hell would you wanna go and visit The Big Ben, in a game? Why would you wanna go and visit the Tower Bridge, just to get stuck in AI traffic?
There's no true experience to visiting monuments, other than in real life. Sure, like GTA:IV managed to pull off - The feel. But other than six, or seven London sight-seeing-spots, it's nothing more than medium-sized financial buildings.
Alright, it's hard to contest the matter of London being a very interesting city. And if The Getaway didn't feel so rigid, it could've been a great game. But there's several things about London that would be too much of a hassle even trying to figure out how it could be adapted into working gameplay.
Like the title says, a handfull. A handfull of what? Things.
First of all, usually I'd blog daily. Occasional one-or-two-day-skip. The simple reason being of why I'm starting to y'know, not come around anymore, is the simple fact that GameSpot is six feet under and Giantbomb ain't worth a damn when it comes for replacement. Sure, the sick obsession some had for emblems has been given a replacement; Points. Just as random, just as useless. But people love 'em.
The GameSpot Thing.
Gamespot's done. News, fine. It's led by CBS after all. Updates, fine. Reviews, all of their reviewers have felt a slow walk downhill into the fiery pits of hell since Gerstmann left, and I can't say that I really liked the fact that Kevin VanOrd was trying to mop it up by being both Alex Navarro and Jeff Gerstmann at the same time. Dressing up, wrong. Good reviews, biased as hell. Quality, meh. Timing, delays from 3 days to 4 weeks. But what really bothers me is the part "Community Website", it should be either;
- "Rules for the Community Website" - "Bans-R-Us; come in, get bitchslapped, and get the hell out." - "The proud website GameSpot, holder of the largest Terms of Service list since ' T.O.S for Queen Elizabeth II's Royal House of Windsor' ."
There's some moderators that I greatly respect. But there's a large number of power-tripping sons of bitches who I'd love to tear a new asshole.
Now for me, GameSpot was a great website, putting it's flaws aside. Mainly for the community part I was there. Giantbomb came and it all split up into sides, and trying be at both didn't work. Giantbomb isn't solving one bit of the problem for me, and GameSpot's sinking further into the pool of shit it is in.
The World of Warcraft Thing.
I still don't play the game with a smile. Strangely enough, seeing as X-Fire notified me of passing the 100 hour milestone. Why am I playing this game, still, months after months of saying "I just don't like it"?
See, whenever I set myself a goal. I stick to it. And that's currently to get a character to level 55, so that I won't waste 50 bucks. I pre-ordered The Wrath of the Lich King, when I bought the WoW Battlechest from eBay. I figured I'd be enjoying the game so much that the expansion pack's worth buying. Now I'm on the fence with my thoughts, playing it for the sole reason that I bought the Limited Edition(What!? Free swag always takes my heart, man!).
Now, incase you don't know. The Wrath of the Lich King is a expansion pack with a hefty requirement. - You NEED one level 55 character, doesn't matter what race, class, anything. Or you simply won't be able of using the content. Perhaps, visiting the lands made for 70-79 characters as a 25-55 character, if that makes your suicidal mind buzz... I want to be able to play it like it's ment to be played.
Though, I'm throwing hours and hours of my life away. Hours I could've spend by watching TV, play the Xbox, socialize with random strangers, randomly call a buddy and take him out for food. Yeah, depressing thought, but makes sense eh? You're wasting time with everything.
Oh, and my character's name gives me some inspiration to play, and also the entire reason of why I am playing. Perhaps, the best nod to The Big Lebowski in a game?
Times that I actually went to see it - None. What have I been doing lately to avoid the sheer goodness of The Dark Knight?
Let's see, I rented a bunch of DVD's from Blockbuster over the past two weeks. Most of the movies, I've seen 'em once or twice. Though it's better to watch these movies again than to watch the Yankees kick ass. By the way, does ANYONE know what the hell happened during the 7th inning Yankees versus Baltimore? Something caused everyone to go "This isn't good" about the Yankees while they were leading 7-2.
Every designer has his own style to what he makes. Dennis Dyack works into details, yet keeps it simple. Cliff Bleszinski is all about brutality. Sam Houser is always on the edge of what is morally wrong and right. It goes on and on. I tend to walk on Bill O'Reilly's grass and put politics in a dark corner and make it wear "I'm a bitch" hat. Three out of four projects I'm working full time on at this time are related to politics in a way...
The fourth one?
Well, imagine when a game starts off with the protagonist who's about to turn good after years of evil. Begins to build a life again, as a whole new man. Until his past catches up again, that turns the tides all over again.
How? I have a feeling that a 17 year old hostage who gets a bullet to the skull off-screen is as morally fucked up as it could get. And if polticians are already raging on about a scene in GTAIV that isn't even there; This might put 'em off. But dare to deny that it's a helluva setting for revenge.
Have no damn idea of what I am talking about? Give it a few days, one PDF file'll explain it.
And yes, blogging with this mysterious sense is quite the mood-maker when it comes to what I'm writing. Usually when I try to write up a concept, it's all about scale. This one, on the other hand....
Obviously, it'll contain spoilers. Whadda'ya expect? Explaining why some endings suck, without getting to discuss the ending? Feeling a bit mentally slow today, buddy? Drank too much of grandpa's cough medicine?
One considers it marketing when you stuff a craptastic Sylvester Stallone "Cliffhanger" to the end of a story. Y'know, the type of cliffhanger where the game itself can explain what will happen in the sequel for two hours, and by that mark it still won't have made any sense other than you'll be paying another sixty bucks in order to see what the hell happens. So, over the time I've been playing games like the lifeless critter I am. Are "Trolls" critters? Ah, screw it... Anyway.
Oh, and consider it a countdown list. And again,THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. AND A DAMN LOT OF 'EM TOO BUDDY!
3 - - - HALF LIFE²: EPISODE 2
If there's one series in the history of exploiting endings, it's Half Life. - Half Life leaving you with the G-Man dropping you off with a batch of Vortigaunts to be torn a new asshole by. - Half Life² leaving you with the Citadel exploding right in your face, but yet again being set in somesort of stasis by the G-Man. - Half Life²: Episode One leaving you with City 17 assploding into somekind of epic bubble of blue joy. - Half Life²: Episode Two leaving you differently. Unlike the three previous ones, which all had a form of "... Gordon's sincerely screwed." to it. Episode Two leaves you behind on the floor, next to Alyx Vance and Eli Vance, who just got pwn'd by the Combine Ambassadors. Sure, you'd expect those tubby bastards to nail you next - But Alyx's dearest D.O.G. scares them off. Thus taking ALL the risk away from Gordon.
Hell, all danger he is in is the fact that he could be breathing in dust from the hangar floor. Now Eli's quest to sink the ice-breaker ship called The Borealis which has some superior Aperture Science technology in it is still open. And seeing as Eli's pretty damn dead at this point. It would make sense if you'd complete Eli's wishes to prevent the Combine to gain even more superior stuff to their advantage.
Going further into this... All that speculation's worth a 150 page book.
2 - - - XIII
XIII(Or 13 if you wish) is that cell-shaded game with okay gameplay and a superb story not one soul gave a good goddamn about. Why did the game have a great story? Because it was viciously stolen and ripped from a 40 part comic book line, a Belgian comic book line to be specific. Belgium's known for two things in my book; Chocolate and Comics. Okay, I'm crossing a line. XIII's the only comic I ever read, aside from those cheesy The New Yorker comics.
Now, XIII's story's so damn complicated. Even knowing in all detail how Rowland ended up on that beach, it took me four complete from-begin-to-end sessions to understand it. Hell, I already read a few of them comics before beginning the storyline. The game itself ends with the shitty comic-book cliché of the year. "The end?"
All in all, you've been chasing the killer of William Sherridan through hell and back, from escaping FBI thresholds to running around like the typical gun-weilding psychopath who's main enemy lies deep within the irony of being in a Mental Asylum. To be walking in on Number 1, the President himself. Who's covered up in the shadows... But his voice matches. While the truth of the matter, told by the comics themselves; It was Number 1 of the 20 Conspiracy...
What about the manhunt? Hell, Ubisoft copied the entire mid-collection of comics, why not doing the ones that put a conclusion to it all too?
1 - - - .... Yeah.
Now, there's several games that I'd love to call "The shittiest endings that leave you with no conclusion whatsoever". Halo 3, Saints Row, Gears of War, etc.
But Halo's motto was "To Finish the Fight", no matter how alive that punchline-of-Konami-quality dispenser might be. Saints Row has it's awnser arriving this October. Gears of War has it's very own conclusion running around the corner this November.
And there might be countless more, but quite frankly. None would've fitted better than Halo 3's very "Yeah, screw you guys. You finished a fight. What fight? One out of a looooonnnggg series of fights, pal.". But then again, there's Saints Row with the motto "Grow in size. The explosion you die in at the end will grow too. Have a nice day, :D".
Crazy week thus far. I got my computer back, already. Even though I lost all my files(again), cramming all I had ever saved on the 23 USB sticks I purchased at Curcuit City real quick before the thing went belly up. Hell, the guy decided to listen to me(seems like everyone listens when you flash a 20 dollar bill), and he installed XP. On my painfully annoying request, I wanted him to download those Vista themes suitable for XP. I kinda got used to the slick looks of Vista... So, I'm back on full power with the Vista looks to support it.
Paragraphs. Professional looking. I'm full of myself.
Anyway, Activision. Oh, my bad. "Activision-Blizzard", the two golden bricks Blizzard threw through the Window of Spend Your Time Well, Diablo and Warcraft, without the Blizzard name and fame within the Activision name, the CEO of the 'Vision must be goddamn insane. Alright, I suck at rhyming, it sounded catchy in my head.
They dropped several games. First, I didn't give a damn. It happens all the time, and second, usually the games on the list wouldn't have caught my interest to begin with.
Before I rage on about how Activision-Blizzard's out of their damn minds for dropping such a line up, YES! I know GameSpot, IGN, etc, they all mentioned they were put in Limbo. They weren't terminated, they weren't dropped, they were set on the list "To Be Executed". But wouldn't you think that Activision-Blizzard would've considered the chances of profit, success and overall what the game itself is gonna reach, that basically it means "It's over, the project is off."?
If a game gets on the Blacklist. It won't get off. Atleast, not unless the Activision-Blizzard office gets raided Revenge of the Nerds-style over the fate of the game.
But back to what they're dropping, from the press release;
Wet (Never heard of it)
Ghostbusters (Some PR dude regret all he said, and now's claiming it isn't on the blacklist)
Riddick: The Assault on Dark Athena (Bastards)
World in Conflict: The Soviet Assault Expansion Pack (C'mon dammit! I wanted to be a Commie)
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (...Yeah)
Zombie Wranglers (What?)
Brutal Legend (Personally, havent heard of it. Seems like everyone else loves it)
Now why would they be dropping Soviet Assault? It's taking too long? Sounds reasonable, atleast for what they're creating, too much time needed. What about Riddick? Sounds like it was all a wild yell of "RESSURECTION MONEY!!!". The 50 Cent? No disrespect to him, nor his music. But making money out of people's flatout ignorance(Which is obviously the only reason why some actually bought the original one), better off gone.
The rest? Aside from Ghostbusters, I personally don't know, nor do I care. Why Ghostbusters was on this list in the first place, while there was a demo on ComicCon? Just to say "Here, this is what you're gonna miss out thanks to those Spyro loving assholes!"? Though, I'm seriously doubting the future of this game. Ghostbusters is a new IP, something that publishers would refuse straight away weren't it for the fact that all the writing work has been done before. I'd say, if it honestly were on this list, not as a mistake. I'm putting a fifty on this gig being cancelled by Christmas.
Still, it's a damn shame they're putting a stop to Soviet Assault. World in Conflict's a great game, a great game that needed a expension pack as soon as possible. Like C&C.