E3's return to it's bloated, over the top glory next week is really welcome. I like the idea of gaming getting exposure on traditional media outlets and, I also like excuses to post pics of booth babes. Hell, even a coked-out Rose McGowan on GTtv is fun in a surreal kind of way. They really should have just gotten Tricia Helfer to do the co-hosting with Geoff Keighly, she's got way more cred with me, and she makes my goolies do sommersaults.
But I've always gleaned one very clear impression of E3 from the journalists and bloggers over the years; it looks like a butt-load of hard work. Lining up for hours on end to get a hands on with a new edition of a game you may not care about because your readers are desperate for it? Imagine having to choose between the line up for Modern Warfare 2 or Wii's Sport's Resort if you have a large number of new readers who are casual enthusiasts? I've also read that the PR and hype BS for this thing is crazy too. My favourite moment from last year is Reggie F. Aime saying with a straight face that Animal Crossing is Nintendo's reaction to the "Core's" thirst for games. Now Animal Crossing is a fun pseudo-rpg experience; but hardcore it is not.
So have fun guys and gals, I look forward to the tweets and updates, I look forward to any Legend of Zelda Wii and God of War 3 news, and most of all I look forward to just sitting with my laptop or my iPhone in comfort while you poor sods have to slog through the masses and nonesense. Now, enough feeling Brad's biceps and get to work!
One of the few games I have purchased twice this generation has been CoD4:Modern Warfare. I bought it on launch day for my 360, and I bought it again, with the map pack when I purchased a PS3 around the time that MGS4 dropped. Recently I have been devoting most, if not all of my online MP gaming to Killzone 2. It's a great game, the MP is a lot of fun, and the community is really strong. I finally hooked up with a clan, and those matches have been some of the most fun I have ever had on a console.
My issue is this; the control scheme and sensitivity of Killzone 2 make it troublesome to move back and forth to other shooters. Warhawk isn't as much of an issue with this but that's besides the point. Playing that great CoD4 reskin:World at War over the last while I realized that I can seemlessly move from KZ2 to WaW, but not backto Killzone2. The aiming and sensitivity are so specific to Killzone that I end up getting owned by nubbins during the first 3 or 4 matches in KZ2. Which is not acceptable on any level.
While I love me some Killzone 2, when Modern Warfare 2 drops there's no contest really. It's probably going to be MW2 that takes my time, and the fact that Guerilla made their controls so unique it doesn't really allow for me to move back and forth prohibits maintaining skills in both.
I'm wondering if Guerilla did this on purpose? I mean hell, they have obviously played a fair amount CoD4 themselves, you can see it in the art style and level design of KZ2. Hello, that dot sighting on the assault rifle looks pretty familiar too. It's like Killzone 2 is the clingy girlfriend of online shooters. It doesn't want to share you with anyone else so she gives you some freaky deaky sex to try and keep you, but at the end of the day she's not the one you marry, she's the one that gives you anal on the first date.
The recent announcement that Nintendo will be releasing a sku this summer of the Metroid Prime Trilogy with updated graphics and Wii-mastered controls for Metroid Prime and MP2 all on one disc is a little bittersweet for me. When I picked up my Gamebcube, which seems like a generation ago, Metroid Prime 2 and Resident Evil 4 were my first two purchases and frankly they ate up months of my gaming time because of the incredible gameplay and value contained in both titles. I tried Metroid Prime after the fact, I know I'm a bit of an ass-backwards kind of guy, and while it was impressive I had already burned out a bit on scanning and back-tracking. When I bought a Wii, Metroid Prime 3:Corruption was one of first purchases because the reviews were great and I knew that it was part of a great legacy. I always meant to go back to Metroid Prime but again, I felt like they had nailed the controls perfectly for Corruption and couldn't see going back to the original in the series with old school controls. And now Nintendo are Wii-Mastering the controls for the first two games in the 3D series(I don't include The DS-MP:Hunters in this, but it's a solid title too). And frankly I'm confused as hell about how I feel about this.
On one hand I think this could be great value and a lot of fun because there are very few games on the market that are as challenging and rewarding as any of the MP titles. On the other hand, I am tired of Nintendo printing money off of older titles. Do I seriously plan to spend the excess of 30-40 hours it would take to play through MP and MP2 with new controls? With The Conduit coming out in June? With inFamous and Fuel out soon as well? With all of the other current-generation titles that are slated to come out in the Fall around the time that this sku will drop like Drake's, Modern Warfare 2 and Bioshock 2? No, just no.
Skus with previous iterations of games has been a clever and viable marketing approach going back to the earliest days of PC gaming. I think everyone I knew at one point in the mid-ninteties had that Doom pack with all of the pre-Doom3 titles and chapters and updates. Sierra and EA used to regualrly release box sets of four or five games at a time with the previous content for titles. Damn I used to love Sierra's RPGs!
My point essentially is that while the Metroid Prime Trilogy and Wii-Mastery of the first two titles is great in one way, all it does is show that Nintendo is still more interested in profit than in art and innovation. There are great titles for the Wii and any new Wii owner should feel very comfortable that the AAA titles available for it are some of the best on the market. However, what does it say about game development in general when we are so excited about games that are over a decade old being updated? What does it say about the bulk of the gaming consumer market that Nintendo continue to dominate by recycling so excessively. I think that it is intellectual sloth to just say that Nintendo are shit and the Wii is a child's toy. That's for the morons and fanboys of the world who no one really listens to anyway.
I just hope that Nintendo has a big E3. They have made a truckload of money by faming older titles, but there is a point where they need to invest in new IPs and that point is now in my opinion.
These are truly dark times for a Nintendo fan. When my wife came home that fateful day almost 2 years ago with a Wii under her arm with this, “holy fuck!” look on her face because she actually found one in stock at a Zellers near our home, I had mixed feelings. What I had been reading and seeing on various sites led me to believe that something was a little different in the land of Nintendo. I had been a pretty ardent supporter of the Gamecube, even through the incessant lean times between decent releases. But after experiencing what Mark Pacini with Retro Studios had achieved with the Metroid series, after the brilliant Resident Evil 4, and most importantly after what had been achieved with Legend Of Zelda, my favourite series of all time; Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess over the years I felt that ultimately time and faith would bear out.
Well here we are in, granted, the early part of 2009 and “our” (and you know who I mean by “our”) game lineup includes; LoZ:Twilight which is a Gamecube port, a clever but lacking Super Mario:Galaxy, the sublime “Metroid Prime 3”, a “Brawl” game that is essentially a “Melee” port with online features, a “Fire Emblem” that is stupidly hard but is a good game but does nothing to advance the series, a very logical “Okami” port, and a “Kart” Wii game that is fun for nubs and fanboys like myself but is a little short on new content. Sure other games like No More Heroes and Zack and Wiki have shown what is possible if you are clever and creative but this is not enough. Just because Guitar Hero 3 and Rock Band along with Wii-Play have made the Wii profitable is no excuse for what is going on now.
The creative black hole that Nintendo have created around their latest console is now a serious media atrocity, the likes of which have not been seen since Boy George and Madonna made the world more cynical because apparently shit can be smothered in cheap perfume and sold for top dollar to the thoughtless and the sad. I can swallow a lot from Nintendo, but when Reggie Fils-Aime kept a straight face when he stated the “Core” game Nintendo was offering for Q4 in 2008 was Animal Crossing I became one of the haters. To be this far into a generation with no real Zelda title, and the corporate focus on casual games that utilize a controller that I have come to loathe more than Karma-karma-karma-karma-karma Chameleon, is to be in a vicious state of gaming hell.
Shigeru Miyamoto has lost faith in his craft and has clearly reached that level of middle-aged indifference that we all likely will face at some point. Where nonsense and regret meet is where Miyamoto now lives with his copy of Wii-Music. He needs to start reading more poetry and less music because not everyone can, or even wants to really make music, but we all communicate with language in one form or another. We can split hairs all you like about music as language, but expressing coherent thought and plot highlights is better accomplished in physical form through language or pictures than it is through sounds and music.
Mr. Miyamoto, I refer you to the American Poet Robert Frost and his poem “Two Tramps In Mudtime” ;
“Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done”
and, please make 2009 the year that Nintendo comes back.
This is in reaction to a couple of recent announcements around demos for upcoming titles on the PSN. Namely the arrangement with Gamestop in the U.S. to hand out codes for pre-orders for Killzone 2, and the recent announcement that only Qore subscribers are going to get early demo access to Fear 2.
First of all just...fail...again fail. From the launch of the PS3 with the drivel from Sony Corporate about rumble being uneccessary and irrelelvant, to the craziness of launching a product that at $799.00 at launch for the premium PS3 with a couple of games and an extra controller plus taxes, was in excess of $1,000.00 to now screwing us over to just get access to demos on the PSN, Sony has shown nothing but contempt for their fan base.
I use the word contempt intentionally. Sony's arrogance over their console from the beginning has been palpable, and they continue to ride the cell processor's alleged awesomeness as an excuse for their decisions. Essentially; "our console is soooo much better that we don't have to worry about fostering faith in our community because the community will eventually come to us"(paraphrase obviously). They just keep telling us that as PS3 fans and consumers we should be grateful for the brilliance of the PS3. It IS brilliant by the way, and I love the games and the blu-ray, don't get me wrong. But why should I have to be manipulated like this when I'm already supporting the last place console in the current race? What would have happened to the PS3, if it was an unreliable piece of junk like the 360, or a sub-standard product that is more of a toy than an actual console like the Wii?
Maybe if Sony Corporate took a few pages from Valve's book when it comes to giving your consumers incentives to be faithful, or even Microsoft's about building a community then they might be making some money off of the PS3 instead of just being also-rans this generation.