101-in-1 Sports Party Megamix Developer: Nordcurrent Publisher: Atlus Platforms: DS
Beyblade: Metal Fusion Battle Fortress Developer: Hudson Publisher: Konami Platforms: Wii
This game is brought to you by Nordcurrent, famous for 101-in-1 Sports Party Megamix for the iPhone, 101-in-1 Sports Party Megamix for the DS and Robin Hood: Return of Richard, which appears to be a medieval Operation: Wolf gone horribly, horribly wrong.
I’m not sure but I think I kinda hate Nordcurrent.
So I’m not going to do any research for this game, because doing so will fill my brain with information about Beyblade, information that could potentially be used for more useful purposes, such as providing a buffer if I ever accidentally inhale a can full of Krylon paint.
Instead, I’ll just say that if I were a kid and you were to present me with something that named itself “metal fusion battle fortress” I’d do everything in my power to make sure that my parents spend all of my allotted Christmas funds on this franchise and make a serious attempt at convincing them to use all funds for the next three Christmases obtaining new “metal fusion battle fortress” related material.
Apparently I would be revolving the next three years of my childhood about an anime about guys who fight with tops. This is somehow more ridiculous than Yu-Gi-Oh, which is an anime about guys who fight with collectible card game decks; yet still not as socially ostracizing as basing your life around Digimon.
Reviews and player impressions seem to bear out what we all thought about Black Ops going in-- not terrible, not outstanding like a Modern Warfare, about average for a Treyarch Call of Duty effort. Which is just fine, as the timing for Black Ops is perfect-- no one cares about Reach anymore and the Battlefield reboot was an embarrassment for everyone involved. Black Ops wins via attrition if nothing else and is probably enough to keep the studio entrenched in Call of Duty until such time as Bobby Kotick kills the genre like he did Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk.
Crescent Pale Mist Developer: ClassiC Shikoukairo Publisher: Rockin’ Android Platforms: PlayStation Network
Because I mean, that’s the real question here, right? How much time does this genre have? With Activision’s investors demanding as many iterations as possible and EA releasing two major Battlefield/Medal of Honor revisions within nine months of each other you have to figure it’s just a matter of time before the genre suffers brodude burnout. And if the Skate series and Rock Band Beatles/Rock Band III are any indication it’s not like producing quality software is enough to make people care again. Once people stop caring they stop caring, and the big Western developer’s inability to grasp this simple logic is probably the great untold plot point of this console generation, above and beyond Japan’s console stagnation and any company not named Nintendo’s inability to make money off the Wii.
Just to rattle a few names off the top of my head
Battlefield Bad Company 2
Army of 2: 40th Day
Kane and Lynch 2
Medal of Honor
That’s a lot of AAA-level realistic/sci-fi shooters targeting the exact same market to come out since Spring, and thats before you go into the lesser players like Bioshock 2, MAG, Lost Planet 2, Singularity and Tango Down. What’s worse, many of these games rely on healthy online communities to at least some degree-- How is it that publishers can expect this same market to support a dozen games in one year, and stick around with each long enough to keep anyone interested past the first two weeks? Furthermore, how do you convince these same people to stop playing Modern Warfare and Left 4 Dead?
The simple answer is you can’t. Activision’s only plan is to burn this market as thoroughly as possible by carpeting it with incremental revisions and monetizing the experience to the nth-degree. There is no long term plan nor have we provided companies like Activision and Ubisoft and EA any incentive to come up with one.
But what can we do? If your’e reading this you’re likely a hardcore gamer anyway. You’ve been aware of Bobby Kotick’s slash-and-burn policy at Activision for months now. I might recommend that we actually do have a recourse here-- simply stop buying this crap new and start spending money on stuff like the next three games instead:
FlingSmash Developer: Artoon Publisher: Nintendo Platform: Wii
ClassiC Shikoukario is an independent Dojin soft developer, or at least that’s as much as I could glean from the scant English-language sources available. As near as I can tell Crescent Pale Mist is their first effort at selling a game to North America, and is something akin to a bullet hell 2d platformer. It’s probably the nearest you can get to playing a VanillaWare game for six bucks without, you know. Buying Odin’s Sphere. Which you should go ahead and do anyway.
This is probably also Rockin’ Android’s first high-profile attempt at Playstation Network game, and their efforts to bring the Japanese indie development scene to America is probably worth your money more than anything Activision has released this year.
Guwange Developer: Cave Publisher Cave Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade
You might think paying fifty dollars for what amounts to Araknoid: The Platformer is excessive, but when you consider it’s being bundled with a brand new black Motion + Wiimote, it’s not quite as silly.
My only contention is that this thing is being sold exclusively on disc. If Nintendo was going to sell FlingSmash for what amounts to ten dollars, when wouldn’t it make sense to just sell it on WiiWare for ten bucks as well? Reviews haven’t exactly been kind to FlingSmash, even if it does represent a novel effort from Artoon. Although I suppose if the last thing you were known for was Vampire Rain then you’re lucky anyone’s bothering to print discs for you at all.
While I’m glad that Guwange exists and we’re given the opportunity to play it offically in North America, I find it odd that Cave is using their lesser-known stuff like this and DeathSmiles to introduce their particular brand of shmups to American audiences when the DonPachi games are sitting right there and involve evil robotic bees.
Just Dance Kids Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Platforms: Wii
I can only assume Cave has tragically underestimated America’s fear and revulsion of stinging insects and our intense desire to strike vengeance against them.
There is no way I can research this game without the very real danger of having the real-life version of Detective Elliot Stabler tracking me down and harassing me to the point where I admit I have paid for sex from schoolboys using crack rocks simply so he’ll stop bothering me. Instead, I offer this challenge to the reader:
Karoke Revolution Glee Developer: Konami Publisher: Konami Plaforms: Wii
Should Just Dance Kids be pronounced
Just Dance Kids, implying that the only thing to be found on this disc are dancing children or
Just Dance Kids, imploring children to stop all current activity and immediately dance?
Monster Jam: Path of Destruction Developer: Activision Publisher: Activision Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS
So it turns out monster trucks are still A Thing, and the Monster Jam series is their ruling body, much like NASCAR lords over stockcar racing, or the WWE is the biggest wrestling promotion, or the International Gay Rodeo Association is the premiere sanctioning body for LGBT rodeo in North America.
Nickleodeon Fit Developer: High Voltage Software Publisher: 2k Games Platform: Wii
This game is probably godawful-- all the promo videos feature a named monster truck (somehow the actual monster truck circuit hasn’t evolved much in twenty years-- Gravedigger is still the only truck you really need to know about as it’s a hearse that kills other cars) tooling around a PS2-era game engine while the announcer repeats said trucks’ name over and over again. Admittedly this is the precise level of intellectual engagement necessary to sell to monster truck aficionados, but for anyone looking in on the outside you’re sort of left wondering if there’s any actual game involved.
What I find interesting is that there’s no developer attached to this title-- the official webpage for the game is actually hosted on the Monster Jam URL itself, and there is no information forthcoming out of Activision proper. There is a small publisher in New Zealand called Torus Games that was apparently responsible for the first Monster Jam game on the PS2, but as their own page makes no mention of Path of Destruction we can only assume that Activision simply moved Torus’ original engine to a new studio and summarily had these developers marched behind the chemical sheds as soon as Path of Destruction went gold.
While we’re on the subject, the homepage for Path of Destruction is sort of amazing:
You are now aware there exists a monster truck with a Mohawk who’s driver also has a Mohawk.
You know, in case your kids were too stupid to figure out Wii Fit.
Rune Factory 3 Developer: Marvelous Entertainment Publisher: Natsume Platforms: DS
Also, do kids seriously need fitness programs now? Isn’t this something that solves itself with pixie sticks and/or installation of a swing set?
I am convinced Harvest Moon fans only ever play Harvest Moon and Natsume has happened upon the perfect release cycle so that whenever these people are in danger of being bored by their current Harvest Moon game then there’s a new Harvest Moon ready for thier consumption. These people may only be tangentially aware of the fact that they’ve spent nearly fifteen years in a trance-like state, playing incremental revisions of the exact same game.
The Sly Collection Developer: Sucker Punch Productions Publisher: SCEA Platforms: PlayStation 3
Either that or Natsume is relying on the only pocket of people in the world who’ve yet to make Facebook accounts. Either way they need to sue and/or firebomb Zynga, posthaste.
As far as this game goes IT’S MORE FUCKING HARVEST MOON AND YOU’RE GOING TO BUY IT ANYWAY PLEASE CALL YOUR MOTHER SHE'S WORRIED ABOUT YOU.
Forty American dollars for all three Sly games remastered in HD sounds like a good deal, but I’d argue that you’re probably only ever going to want to play the first game anyway as the quality noticeably drops later in the series, particularly in the second game where the series takes a decident Sonic Adventures bent as the game starts to rely on Sly’s cast of friends more than Sly himself. Also much like the Sonic series you have to be careful in that this is basically a dangerous delivery mechanism of the furry lifestyle into modern culture. DON’T BE FOOLED AMERICA!
NEXT WEEK~! MORE SHOUTING!
ASSASSIN’S CREED BROTHERHOOD doesn’t need to exist!
MARVEL SUPER HERO SQUAD so fucking adorable I want to put it in a sack and toss it in a river
NBA JAM AHAHA HOLY SHIT THEY’RE ACTUALLY DOING THIS