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Mentlegen's blog

3:04 PM on 01.20.2011

Monthly Musing: 2010 Sucked- The Hype Train

If you are anything like me, you too can be easily sucked in by the hype train. Again, if you are anything like me, you will have been severely disappointed by half of these games that have been hyped to the moon. I have decided, in my infinite wisdom, to try and sift through the mountain of hype that has plagued this year and find my 3 biggest crash sites of the biggest trains containing the most hype. Anywho, enough with this stupid metaphor, ON TO THE ARTICLE

Let me clear this up, I loved the original Crackdown, I loved how open the mission structure was, I loved the city, I loved so much about the original I could fill an entire article about my love for this God-given game. I, however, am not talking about the original Crackdown. I am talking about Crackdown 2.

First of all, The Hype.
Picture the scene, I had just forgotten about the original Crackdown, only the best memories of this game remained; the destruction, the powers, the chaos, the exhilaration, the fun and then Crackdown 2 was announced. This particular train promised me everything I loved about the original Crackdown with the inspired idea of adding 4 player co-op. The things I imagined, I imagined the fun, the chaos, the screwing-over of teammates for lulz. The game in my head was perfect, I would have paid way to much for a game that was just Crackdown 1, with some little improvements and 4 player co-op.

Second of all, The Cold, Dark, Depressing, Soul-Crushing, Vacuumous, Pit of Harsh Reality
I was so excited for this game that, when I heard of the Crackdown 2 demo, I went and snapped it up as fast as I could. This demo disappointed me, it lacked the feel of the first but I just assumed it was the lack of the gangs I knew and loved and just pushed that itty-bitty thought to the back of my mind. When the game came out however I realised that, not only was the game not as good as the first, it was bad, completely bad. It wasn't just a little bad, it was flat out awful. It took all the bast parts of the original, the open ended mission structure, the cool city and the kick ass transforming cars. It took these aspects and threw them out the window and replaced them with an outstandingly repetitive mission structure, a shitty, shell of a city once full of character and no transforming cars.

This is another game where I really loved the predecessor, in fact I loved it for similar reasons to Crackdown, and so when I heard of a sequel that not only promised to fix some of the bugs on the original but vastly improve the game while they were at it.

The Hype
I had never been exposed to the Lord, King and God of hype, Peter Molyneux, before the build up to Fable 3 and so I was unprepared for the ferocity with which he hypes his games. Let me say this, if Fable 3 had somehow lived up to the glorious vision in Peter Molyneux's mind, it would have easily made it into my top 5 games of all time. That game would've been superb, with the detailed NPC's, the weapons that morphed and changed with your play style and last but certainly not least, the king mode. This king mode was the main reason that I bought this game. I loved the idea that the structure of the game would completely change about halfway through the game.

The Cold, Dark, Depressing, Soul-Crushing, Vacuumous, Pit of Harsh Reality
Maybe my disappointment with this game is partly my fault. I wasn't aware of the sarlacc pit of hype that is Peter Molyneux. I was thinking "Fable 2 was really good, why can't Fable 3 be really good as well?". It was this line of thinking that allowed me to get caught up in the avalanche of hype surrounding Fable 3. It was only when I played this game that I realized how stupid I'd been. The first thing I realized was that the NPC's were all still the same couple of voices copy and pasted into different bodies. This should have been my first warning to stop playing but I ploughed on through regardless. It wan't until I noticed that shops had around 5 outfits and that the weapon morphing system was really half assed. This was when I started to doubt this game. The final straw came when I got into the king mode at the end. While Molyneux delivered on his promise for deep, interesting choices, that's basically all it is. Two different people come up to you with a choice each and you choose one. That's all, I was expecting to have to revitalise areas, carefully manage taxes to comply with the wealth of the area. Then the game had the gall to lie to me about how much time I have left, sometimes jumping a couple of months at a time. All I could think was "Why say that I have a year when I have, at best, a couple of months". What this led to was me making a choice, saying that I'll fix it later, only to find out that I didn't have as much time as the game said I did.

Ah Heavy Rain, while I think that this was the biggest crash of the Hype train, this section will be shorter than it could be simply because it's a very unique game and the only game I could compare it to would be Indigo Prophecy. That however is not an option because I played the first game for all of five minutes before going to do something else and never returning.

The Hype
Oh Heavy Rain, where do I start? Lets start with David Cage; As an aside, I want to point out that if David Cage played every character in Heavy Rain it would be an instant 10/10 for me but, sadly, David Cage does not play a part in this game. He did, however, play a huge part in the hype for this game. David Cage is the Emperor Palpatine to Peter Molyneux's Darth Vader and boy does he know how to hype a game. he appealed to me by, first of all, not talking about gameplay systems or graphics as his main selling points, but instead hyping the crap out of the story. The Cage promised me romance, he promised me thrills. But what The Cage promised me the most in was a deep and mature narrative with complex character arcs and a deep, engaging plot. The piece of hype that got me most exited about this game, however, was the choices; The choices in my imagination were on the level of The Trolley Problem with each and every decision made would have an influence on the overall plot which would make the narrative feel personal to me. The gameplay was pretty much ignored in the hype to make room for the story.

The Cold, Dark, Depressing, Soul-Crushing, Vacuumous, Pit of Harsh Reality
While in the hype the story was in the spotlight leaving the gameplay to skulk in the shadows, in the released product, the gameplay made the game playable at least (I wasn't a fan although I could see how someone would like it) with the story making it almost unbearable. The story was so bad, how could anyone think this has a good story? Were the critics giving it 10/10 stupid, paid off or scared of the PS3 fanboys, which admittedly are insane. I cannot honestly think why anyone would think that this narrative is acceptable, let alone a masterpiece as some outlets called it. There were red herrings everywhere, deus ex machina up the wazoo and plot holes about the size of the fucking moon. I could write an entire article dedicated to the sole purpose of smashing the shit out of the bad parts of Heavy Rain's story, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to do such a thing so let me say this; the romance was laughable and, at times, terrifying. While I admit I did occasionally enjoy the odd cheap thrill, there wasn't any good character arcs, most characters hadn't the faintest whiff of an arc. What really annoyed me about the characters was how insanely retarded they were. For example; what fucking kid doesn't know to not run off for no fucking reason and to never just blindly run into traffic? The kid deserved to die just for pure natural selection's sake. Another disappointment I had about the game however was that the choices were less like The Trolley Problem and more like "Did you react fast enough? Yes? THE PRIEST LIVES!" While I realize that they were consequences rather than choices but they disappointed me none the less. The most disappointing thing to me was of course the "ever expanding and personal narrative" that felt less like a deep, personal narrative and more of a choose your own adventure book.

Well thanks for pulling through and reading this, please tell me what you think ect. ect.

(P.S. I just thought of ridiculously hyping up the article in the opening paragraph and then making it shit for the rest just to be meta)   read

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