Monthly Archives: November 2012

Yes…Monkey Island is mentioned Once…

A pretty interesting round table discussion on what the future may hold for Lucasarts, now that they are owned by the Mouse….

 

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-11-02-roundtable-use-the-force-disney

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“PS3 has a great future ahead of it over the next few years.”

 

—John Koller, Sony VP

Well, their long-term is becoming clearer…

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I am not a journalist; I am a blogger.

 

I’d like to be a critic, a journalist, a professional; but alas for the time being, I am simply me.  That’s why if I enter some sort of contest to win something from a publisher, it isn’t considered an issue.  Though my ego says otherwise; my support has no pull, and masses of people don’t look to me for any sort of guidance in their purchasing decisions.  Conversely, there are those who do have that sort of pull on public opinion and thought.  That’s why this image garnered so much attention…

 

 

 

That’s Geoff Keighley, respected face of the games industry….surrounded by Mountain Dew and Doritos.  To say that people were upset by this would be an understatement.  There were cries for his head, because he had finally “sold out,” and that his credibility as a journalist has now been shot to shreds.  People were calling out how “buddy buddy” journalists and advertisers had become, and questioned their objectivity and their ability to do to their jobs properly.

 

The fact is, these questions should be asked; yet we need to make sure we are asking the right people.  Geoff Keighley is not a journalist; not anymore at least.  He has become more of a “personality,” in the industry.  Because of his status he is able to do certain things that some journalists cannot; like his Last Hours segments, but that is only a small part of his career now.  We shouldn’t be attacking Geoff over this type of issue; it’s not his problem anymore.  These are the types of questions you need to be asking the websites, publications, and magazines you read regularly; the ones you seek guidance from.  Suffice it to say; keep those you trust accountable.

 

There will always be something like this happening.  Advertising runs the world, and so there will always be a question of how much of an effect does that have on the piece you are reading.  Honestly, the best way to do this is to learn the people behind the work; learn to trust the reviewer, not the outlet.  No matter who they are working for; when I see a review or commentary by guys like Garnett Lee, John Davidson, or Arthur Geis, I know what I am getting and I know that I can trust their opinion.  They’ve earned it.

 

All that to say; I enjoy a good Mountain Dew and I think Geoff Keighley does good work, when he does it.  Yet; we should not hold people to certain standards when they do not apply to them.  That sort of thinking ends up hurting more people than helping them.

Dew or Dew Not…

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The West isn’t so Wild Anymore…

Red Dead Redemption was, and still is, one of my favorite games in recent memory.  It created a fantastic world and a strong enough narrative that even when it does falter, you forgive it for the sake of the whole.  Here is a fantastic article from David Chandler that looks at the game as a mirror to the ending of the “wild west.”

 

http://www.awesomeoutof10.com/features/red-dead-redemption-the-twilight-of-the-west-in-a-digital-world/

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“Warfighter’s review scores may have destroyed chances for sequels in the all-important first-person shooter segment of the market…We think that low review scores will impair EA’s (and the Medal of Honor brand’s) reputation with those who pre-ordered the game or bought it as soon as it was released (likely some of EA’s most dedicated customers), and believe EA alienated at least a small portion of these gamers….Given the impairment to the Medal of Honor brand, we think EA is unlikely to take Activision’s mantle as the leading developer of first-person shooters for several years.”

 

-Analyst Michael Pachter on Medal of Honor: Warfighter

Pachter: War-Killer

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Fighting Wars Just Make Me Sad

I was hoping that Warfighter was going to surprise me.

The series reboot from a couple of years back had some interesting ideas; but ended up being weighed down by terrible multiplayer and an embarrassingly short single player campaign.  I defended the concept of being just a “grunt” in the field and a focus on a more realistic take on the battlefield.  Call of Duty and Battlefield  games had fulfilled my hero complex well enough, and the idea of being “just another soldier” intrigued me.  That’s why, when Warfighter was announced, I was filled with a small sense of hope.  I thought there was no way they could have not listened to the critical and fan backlash from the previous iteration; yet I still kept my expectations low just to be safe.  I’m glad I did.  You cannot be let down by an idea that you had put no stock in.

 

 

Medal of Honor: Warfighter is not a good game for many of the same reasons that its predecessor was; and a couple of new ones.  The campaign clocks in at somewhere between four to five hours; which is a step up; but still strikingly short.  The narrative tries to tell the continuing tale of “Mother” and “Preacher” from the earlier game; while casting the tale in a much more serious light.  They try to imply the toll that these men take for their jobs, stop-loss, and relational strain that occurs; but it all goes right out the window when you are instantly tossed back into a mission.  There is no time to process anything you are supposed to have taken in, and there is no time to build any sort of connection to these shallow characters.  The issue lay in the fact that the narrative does not connect in any meaningful way to the gameplay.  Because, for the majority of the game, you are jumping forward and backward through time; you never feel like the cinematics are connecting the missions together.  It comes off feeling more like a “best of” collection of the military’s greatest hits. Which, contrary to what you may think, is the other problem.

 

Many of the missions in the game are “inspired by true events,” and are even noted as so at the beginning of the level, yet none of it “feels” real.  What made the previous game charming was the fact that it didn’t necessarily feel like you were taking part in some blockbuster movie.  You were clearing out towns, gathering intel, piloting a chopper, and other “day in the life” sort of objectives.  In Warfighter, they have handpicked the most action packed real world incidents; but in doing so, now makes the game feel more like Call of Duty than ever.  If I wanted that type of game, I would have just waited a couple of weeks for Black Ops II.

 

 

The game also has its share of mechanical issues.  There are tons of frame-rate issues, both in the cut scenes and in gameplay; and the A.I. in the game is atrocious.  There were multiple times where my own squad mate would push me out of cover or set in front of my scope as I was picking off enemies in the distance.  Not to mention the times where I would stumble upon a squad member of mine and an enemy simply staring at each other, doing nothing.  There were also moments I got ahead of the A.I. scripting, effectively having to wait to progress through the level; because some event had not happened yet.  If these had occurred only once, it would not have been much of a problem; but the fact remains that these problems persisted throughout the entire game.

 

The multi-player is derivative and brings absolutely nothing new to the table.  Its attempt at squad style gameplay feels like it is trying to be Battlefield, while the mechanics feel like they are trying to ape something closer to Call of Duty.  Sadly, the most interesting part of the game are the segments not created by Danger Close; but rather the remaining members of what once was Black Box studios; the original Need for Speed team.  The driving missions in the game; there are two; are some of the more tense and engaging in the entire experience.  And as fun as they are; it doesn’t speak well to the whole product that they are what I remember.

 

 

Medal of Honor: Warfighter is a lesson in disappointment.  In trying to make the game closer to “reality,” and create a unique feel for the franchise; they simply found a more creative way to make it seem like any other genre shooter.  The narrative isn’t as engaging as they believe it to be; and the mechanics of the game are just plain broken.  They don’t earn any of the emotional resonance they try to create; and they have created nothing to resonate with.  Medal of Honor used to be a franchise that garnered a lot of respect and that has waned throughout the years.  Sadly, this is not the game to bring that praise back.

 

At least we got our Battlefield 4 beta codes……wait; what? What do you mean that game hasn’t been officially announced yet?!?

 

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