I'll get right to it. I'm severely disappointed. Not as disappointed as I would have been if I hadn't already braced myself for it. I expected a lot of shenanigans and hyperbole, but there were some things I hadn't quite considered. Just going to basically list out the things that I am disappointed about the most (and who knows maybe a good thing) as I understood them. Should I be mistaken by any of it, I'll actually be happy, so feel free to correct me if you feel the need.
Let me start with the disappointment concerning what was not there. First, the system itself. Does it really matter? Are the aesthetics really going to be a factor in my purchase? No. But I see it as a principle. Why announce something so incomplete? I do not recall any announcement event ever, for a console, that simply showed off the controller and detailed some specs. I've seen a lot of Vaporware jokes around the interwebs, and I can't fathom the reasoning behind it.
Past that, a price point. I know no one expected one, but I don't care. Combined with a lack of the actual system to show, this tells me that they just wanted to announce theirs before Microsoft announced the next XBOX. It's a petty game they're playing. At least last time around, whether or not Microsoft wanted to be first, they certainly had a complete system and price point to inform us with.
Another missing component, after the fact (the conference), is the vague answers, such as doing the 'right thing' with used games. They don't even have a solid idea of how they're going to tackle these kinds of issues. Oh, but they know what the controller is going to do. At least there's that.
Controllers have come a long way. Above is one of the oldies but goodies. As much as I remember loving this controller, I can definitely appreciate how far controllers have come. I may never accept movement-based 'controllers' such as the Kinect or the Wiimote, but they're far less disturbing to me than the 'share' button.
In and of itself, it's not really something that will disturb me physically. It's not in the way of anything and it doesn't force me to push it. It does, however, point out something I consider flawed. Currently, the 360 has Facebook and other social media apps, which is where I knew social media would eventually go, and that is certainly something I'm not against. More options for more kinds of people is never a bad thing.
To me, though, the controller is a symbol of functionality. It contains necessities. Every button has an actual use in each game. Even the back button is a fairly used button (though not even close to as much as other buttons, however). Take a player like me, who has no interest in using the share button. I am now looking at something that is completely useless to me every time I look at the controller. Maybe I'm the only one that cares about functionality and this might not have any merit in the big picture.
There are a pair of reasons I purchase a game on the 360 over the PS3 if it releases on both; better online structure and the triggers. While the former could end up being quite a bit better on the PS4, I won't speak on it until details are given regarding it. I would like to speak about triggers, however. I enjoy many kinds of games, but mostly racing games and shooters are my thing. In both, the triggers get quite the workout. The PS3, having a 'reverse' trigger makes it feel far less comfortable in either situation. I once purchased small plastic pieces that actually bent the right way, but it broke easily and, really, that shouldn't be necessary.
The PS4 controller is about halfway to a full trigger, but just looking at it, I know it will still be inferior when it comes to comfort. In the grand scheme of things, comfort is important to me. Comparatively, to me, the controller structure is like the interior of a car. The vehicle performance isn't truly affected by the interior but it is a comfort factor.
Stock. As reported by Destructoid, the stock immediately dropped following the PS4 reveal. After some updates, it seems the overall dip was under a 2% decrease. But does the amount matter? If the stock made no move whatsoever, I'd be worried if I were Sony. An announcement this large should have a great jump. Stockholders, who are no doubt paying attention, should see your new product and be excited as all hell. If those holding stock don't have any faith, why should I? I have posed this question to myself and have no answer yet.
With the huge disappointment the PS3 has become for me, I really need something to boost enthusiasm. Last time around, I recall a couple of comments by Sony Employees saying both that I should want to work overtime to purchase their system and that I would buy the system even if it had no games at launch. Is this a continuing cocky attitude? I'm waiting for the quote about how we should want to buy stock without even seeing what the system looks like.
Backwards Compatibility. It's there, but it isn't. So you can re-purchase games you once owned online again. Because it worked for the PSP-Go. Combined with the fact that you cannot transfer any purchases you've made from the PS3 PSN? Am I out of pocket calling that blatant? They can't be trying to hide how much they're trying to get our money, and if they are, they're the worst at it. Who's to say they won't pull this with the PS5? All these old games you've purchased require you to keep that old PS4 in your entertainment center. Along with that PS3.
Oh, now I get it. They want every household to be full of Playstations. Good luck with that Sony.
So, it's obvious that I have very little faith in the PS4 and am going to need a lot to get me to really purchase this system. But, truth be told, there are some things that I see and look forward to potentially buying the system for.
Just Add Water, makers of the Oddworld games, announced that they're making a game for the PS4. I can honestly say I've enjoyed all of the Oddworld games in some capacity or another. Because it's in the controller, there won't be a stupid wand-testicle. the overall shape of the new controller does look plenty more aesthetically comfortable to hold, though that's speculation at this point. The touch screen feature doesn't really look imposing to me. It's there and large enough so that if I can use it to slide through menus, it could be a nice addition. It still feels a bit gimmicky, but I'm not at all against this 'innovation' attempt.
The PS4 will also support that 4K Television technology. While I don't have any expectations to afford a $25K+ Television anytime soon, it is something that is another addition for those who can. Lastly, Sony says they're going to do the 'right thing' with the used game market. Vague? Definitely. But why would they say it if it wasn't going to be of a benefit to those who would read it? Oh, right. Because we'd probably buy the system even if it didn't have launch titles and we'd work overtime to pay for it.
I really tried to end on a positive note, but the PS4 is going to have to give me more of a reason to.
I'm starting this blog at around 5:30 in the a.m. Slight disappointment in my local Gamestop leaves me sitting here, unable to sleep. You see, for logistical reasons (lack of pre-orders at that particular store), they have decided against a midnight release for Hitman: Absolution. Now, I'm not sitting here fully distraught, eyes baggy (well, I haven't exactly looked in the mirror) anger swelling or anything, just the excitement and anticipation. That "I'm going to Disneyland tomorrow" feeling I used to have as a child.
In the past 4 to 5 years, I've not exactly found a plethora to be excited about. Not this excited. I've had games I play every month/week such as Dragon's Dogma, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Borderlands 2 and the like. I haven't purchased a special edition of anything almost ever, but all the trailers I had been seeing in regards to Absolution had given me this reinvigorated feeling. The feeling that games can still keep me up all night in anticipation. The feeling I have this very moment.
As I've stated a few blogs back, stealth games are my thing. I play them on every difficulty from beginning to end. I generally start on the harder difficulties and try that perfect run, the one you remember every other time you play. And when I get to the lower difficulty, it sort of becomes a speed run for me. I attempt a perfect run in record time. I'm by no means a 'hardcore gamer' in the regard of having to beat every game with the highest score, etc. But I am in regards to finding new ways to challenge myself and, in the case of Absolution, others.
Playing through the game, this time, won't only pit me against my prior scores or times, but in fact, also against other in Contracts mode. I can both attempt to provide challenging experiences for others, as well as find new challenges others have thought of that perhaps I hadn't. It harkens me back a bit to Timesplitters. Obviously, it's different, as that last Timesplitters had only a level editor. But the same idea was there. I created levels for my friends and I that we spent playing for days until deciding we needed another map to play.
A few other games did this, but for some reason never 'did it' for me. Halo allowed us to place objects in existing maps, even to the point of platforms that felt like newer maps. Far Cry did the same, but it just didn't do it for me. Can't quite explain what Timesplitters did for me that those games couldn't, but perhaps if you've played them back in the day, you might understand.
So, here I sit, essentially obsessed for the time being, watching the Hitman movie, playing all the trailers I've already seen (except the level play through videos after the first; I'll come back and watch those at a later time.) and counting the minutes to this release.
While I hope I'm not alone in how excited I am for this game, I'm certainly hoping you're not the mess I am right now. I've got a disease and apparently a hit is the only cure.
I can't even bring myself to put a picture to this article and I don't imagine it's going to be that long of an article, honestly. According to this video, Michael Ironside won't be voicing Sam Fisher because of this new technology and they think he's a fat f-ck and can't jump around. Which has absolutely nothing to do with his voice. I'm sure Michael Ironside could be fine with this change, but this isn't about him so much as Ubisoft.
It won't be Sam Fisher. It just won't. I guess I just never considered they'd ever make this kind of decision. Michael Ironside could have said no, and then I suppose I'd be inclined to accept it because what could they do? I wouldn't even be mad at Ironside; maybe just disappointed. But this is an insult to the character and to Michael Ironside, so if he isn't pissed, I'll be pissed for him.
Normally this kind of thing doesn't cause much of a reaction in me. Maybe it's because of the reasoning. Maybe it's because a character I've loved playing as and loved watching develop is getting a voice change and I'm not sure it will feel like a true sequel, but more of a reboot. I dunno, am I overreacting?
Top 3 favorite franchises. We all have our list, and for me it hasn't changed in I don't know how long. Number 3 always feels like the red-headed stepchild of the other two. Number 1 is just a hands down decision and number 2 is a close second. But 3? It just feels separated from 1 & 2 for some reason. I have a feeling, though, that very soon my number 3 could hit number 1 with a bullet. Unless I'm wearing a cop's uniform, then I'll probably save that bullet.
Let me catch you up with a quick background of my top three franchises. Number one has, since the first game, been Splinter Cell. Stealth is by far my greatest means of enjoyment when it comes to video games. Splinter Cell always felt like the perfect stealth game. You have the choice of killing with stealth or simply moving from A to B without being seen at all. The latter is by far the more difficult route and only recently have I found my joy in it. With age comes less of a bloodlust, I suppose. The progression of Sam's story has also kept me close. It is the only video game series I purchased every book of and read. Many were unhappy with the changes Sam brought to the most recent in the series, Conviction. I saw it as a progression, along with Sam. The anger he must have been feeling throughout that game... No wonder they made it so much easier and streamlined to kill. In the narration, I felt it and appreciated the change.
Second, we have Metal Gear. As my username may have given away, I have a fondness for Revolver Ocelot. More so, I found the mix of stealth and boss fights balanced. It showed, in my view, how Snake was a stealthy SOB, but when he needed to be, he could stand up and CQC you in the face. The interesting enemies kept me intrigued and Kojima's willingness to break the fourth wall hit me pretty hard. I'm not going to pretend that half the time I played through each game I didn't have WTF moments, because I did. Maybe more than any other series. None of that matters, though, when you finish the game and think how much you want to play through again in a tuxedo.
And now we come to the focus of my hype; Hitman. The Hitman series has always felt more about hiding in plain sight and so much less about 'true' stealth. Disguises and distractions were your tools for stealth and that may be why I always held onto it as my number 3. It was a different kind of stealth game and you were forced to kill. You're a hitman, after all. The beauty was in killing only the target and in a manner that would allow you time to vacate before anyone noticed. Hide them in the chest? Throw them in the water? Hide him behind the bed? As the series progressed, more and more options for each mission seemed to open up. But it never truly felt to me like a stealth game. So it remained number 3 for as long as it has.
So what has me believing it may put two franchises down that I've held onto as my number 1 and number 2 for so many years? Well, it started with 16 minutes of video I've probably watched through enough times to prevent me from counting. At first, I felt just a tingle. My brain started to register this game as bringing this more towards the truly optional stealth game I always felt the series wanted to provide. Over time, though, it's invaded my brain fully to the point of considering the purchase of a collector's edition. And I can count on two fingers how many times I've ever done that.
I try so very hard to prevent myself from getting hyped about games. Two recent games, one part of a series that was believed couldn't falter and another an MMO in a franchise I've loved since childhood seemingly broke my ability to get hyped about a game. Now that I think about it... The hype-meter repair man had a bar code tatted on the back of his- *Thwip*
The Avengers is undoubtedly one of, if not THE blockbuster of the year. It has a few contenders with the Dark Knight and Spiderman (See a pattern here?), but honestly, this is a movie with so many movies leading up to it that I can't imagine it being defeated at the box office this year. That being said, it almost guarantees a video game to come.
Chances are, somewhere, someone is saying it needs to be based on the movie. This would be the first mistake. The problem with movie based games is that it never really is the movie game. Spiderman movie games always add new villains and situations that have nothing to do with the movie and it feels a bit less movie-related. And you can't very well put only what was included in the movie or you've got a short game and it's a failure by most gamers standards right there.
The group of us that have always known about/read the Avengers is small in the grand scheme of things. The world has been introduced to the Avengers now and they're going to want more. So I propose a game that doesn't hold the restraints of a movie game. I propose an Avengers game voiced by the actors that played each role but in a sort of a sequel, separate from the movie but within the world the movie created.
What kind of features should it contain? Co-op is a no-brainer. Competitive Multiplayer would provide continued playtime past the single player. Should it go open world? Linear? Open world could certainly work, having a floating heli-carrier and all. I'd hope not to see a 'Collect 50 S.H.I.E.L.D. icons around the city" thing. Personally, I hate that. I'd rather have more side missions. Linear works for some players, having a clear and defined destination with bonus levels unlocked, maybe. But I am going to focus more on a few different features.
Characters. Everyone has their favorite, but I have spoken to friends who are fans and have felt a bit more love for the other characters after all the moves leading up to the Avengers and the movie itself. Each character is made for video games and I'll present my case here.
Captain America. He's a fan favorite by many, but how does he work as a playable character? Well, he's got both melee and ranged covered with his shield. I'd give Cap a combo meter. The more hits he strings in a row, the more he continues to improve in combat, maybe speeding up a bit or doing a bit more damage as he goes. He would have a regenerating health meter, of course. After a K.O., he'd have downtime and then pop up with some health and ready to jump back in.
For alternate costumes you've got plenty of options from his WW2 outfit to modern and variants like U.S. Agent and Punisher's variation of the costume. The outfits could change the appearance of the shield, such as the WW2 cap's shield being in the shape of a crest.
Hawkeye. Not universerally known until Thor and the Avengers, he's actually a very nice video game character. Pre-mission you can select a certain load out for his arrows, calling in for ammo drops during the mission when he runs out. There could be a lock-on system for arrows that have multiple projectiles or homing arrows. There are many ways to make Hawkeye an easy favorite in the game.
He wouldn't have a meter other than health, just an ammo count and maybe a timer on calling in ammo drops. His melee should be below par compared to the others, but stabbing a few enemies in the face with an arrow would be a nice little addition. Hawkeye has had a few iterations in costume design and a wide array of arrow types to fire off. He would have less health than most, but would hang back in combat so it wouldn't present too much of a problem, adding in excellent agility (Dodge, etc.).
The Incredible Hulk. How to balance the Hulk? He can't really have a life meter, as he isn't really going to be killed. I suggest a rage meter that fills as he is hit and as he does damage. The lower the meter, the easier it is for him to be knocked back and the longer he stays down before getting back up. When the meter is full, an overdrive-like mode comes into play and it slowly drains. During the draining period, he cannot be knocked down and does double (triple?) damage. Perhaps if he is knocked down too much or remains low on rage too much be shifts to Banner for a time where he is essentially useless and is knocked down at the slightest attack.
There are plenty of costume variants for the Hulk such as Mr. Fixit, Ultimate Hulk and hell, give him a purple pants variant. The Hulk is easily the simplest character to play with the highest potential damage output, making him a character you're not as likely to be upset to play in exchange for your favorite character someone else might have chosen.
Iron Man. Cue the AC/DC. Iron Man is probably the most customizable character of the bunch, with all his variant suits with various strengths. His alternate outfits would behis alternate abilities. There could also be specific customizations per variant suit he is using, but overall, you'd pick the suit for the job. Alright, you got me. I just want to play in the Hulkbuster suit.
Iron Man would have flight, ranged and melee. Iron Man would have an energy meter. The more he fires off the big guns the more energy he uses up. When it's low or used up, you'd have a command to return to charge back up or replace his core. There would be a timer on it where you'd be out of play, so maintaining your use of power would be essential to being part of the fight.
The Almighty Thor. You've got the flight and the hammer, covering both melee and ranged. After filling a meter of damage he's done, Thor could charge his hammer with lightning to either shoot lightning all over the place like a madman or charge his hammer with extra damage for a limited time. Thor isn't immortal so I'd imagine him getting a health meter, but one that would regenerate and would be fairly extensive. As for varying outfits, he's got a few, including Ultimate and his original look.
So, as I see it, each character would have unique aspect and manners of customization. Progression would allow further upgrades, like damage, speed, durability, etc. The character you choose would determine what aspects are available for for you to upgrade.
The final thing I'd like to touch on is support characters. There is a very long list of potential support characters, or if Marvel would be willing, unlockable playable characters that have been Avengers at some point. Spiderman could be an easy choice, tying into the upcoming movie, using the same guy acting in the movie providing the voice. He has been an Avenger, after all. Other choices could include Ant Man (Hank Pym), Black Panther, the Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, Black Knight, Beast, Wonder Man, Ms. Marvel, Falcon, Tigra, She-Hulk, Mockingbird, Namor, Moon Knight, U.S. Agent, Any of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, Wolverine, Ronin, Ares, Dr. Strange, Daredevil, Storm... The list goes on.
I sit here, looking at the metacritic review for Diablo 3 and ponder the reason for such a huge difference between player and critic reviews. Obviously, the player complaints are plain as day, listed constantly in each negative player review. But why didn't that cause the majority of critics to give such a low score? I'm no professional, so these are just my views on the subject. I have no degrees and nothing to back up my theory, but I've formed it nonetheless.
I suppose I've dissected it in my mind by putting myself in the place of each; The consumer and the critic. It's easy to put myself in the role of consumer because that's what I am, especially when it comes to video games. As a video game consumer, I've found that I no longer accept paying $60 or even $50 for the next game in a successful series I've found myself enjoying. I feel that if they want my/our money, the companies providing these games should make sure they're giving us what we pay for.
That's not to say that Diablo 3 or, as I remember it in recent history, Mass Effect 3 didn't have good production value. I think players are beginning to feel disconnected from companies they've trusted for so long. The complaints are fairly specific in the two most recent cases I can think of. Seems a fair amount of players/consumers didn't feel that ME3 provided the closure they so rightfully deserved for spending $180 on the series. D3 seems to have left out that character building aspect players loved so much. I don't think it's so much that either side can be wrong as much as the players feeling disconnected because they are not being provided what they expect/want from established series and/or companies.
The argument can and has been said that the complaining consumers are too expectant. All I can think to say is that's what we've been made into. Pre-order now and receive these bonuses. Companies ask us to pay for a game before it's released and push it with bonuses. It's certainly good business as the pre-orders for the big titles certainly ensure early estimates. But that's from the perspective of the company, not the player. The player almost feels like it's an investment. A means to let the creators know that they support the game before it's even released!
Now, the way I see it, critics are on a different level. I've heard the screams of critics being paid off and it's some big conspiracy. I doubt this. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, I'm just saying I doubt every reviewer everywhere is paid to give a pleasing score. But critics are on that other level having been handed a copy to play. That changes something in the mind, I think. Can you truly play through a game you didn't have to pay for and be completely objective? I doubt that as well.
Now, I'm not knocking critics at all, they played it and enjoyed or did not enjoy the game they reviewed. They spend the time nitpicking through the ins and outs of a game so they can give as much info as possible before a purchase. They are, however, giving their opinion of the game without the constraints of price. They can tell you it is or isn't worth the price, but that cannot be completely objective, can it? They might go and buy the game after reviewing it and that definitely reflects well on the game. But at the time of print, it really can't be viewed 100% objectively, I don't think. Not without the price.
I see it as having a friend that buys every game and lets you play it. The second something happens or you see a feature you don't like, you think "Glad I didn't have to pay for this." As you continue, you begin to forget about the negatives and just let yourself have fun with it or just stop playing. In the end, you might feel a bit less negative about the game than if you'd paid for it, right?
I don't think that the player is wrong in their disdain, nor is the reviewer is wrong in their positive review of these games. I've used Destructoid's reviews to make purchases and will continue to do so. But I will always look at it from the perspective that the score may very well be reflecting an opinion of one who may not have the same perspectives I do. I think it's best to keep that in mind when using any review to help you decide on a purchase.