WALLET ABUSE IS A POPULIST UPRISING

As most of you know by now, I’m a filthy pinko communard liberal heathen and I while I’m unashamed of this I also try not to make too big a stink of my political views in mixed company, as I have a great many right wing capitalist pig neanderthal friends, and even associate with a few unfortunate souls who self-identify as Libertarians. So I don’t try to make too much of my political views here at WAW, aside from my pro-science slant, but I don’t really think you need to be on either side of the political spectrum to understand that neutrons simply can’t travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.

But I have to be honest. Even as much of a latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, brie-eating Liberal as I am, I have a hard time understanding this whole “Occupy Wall Street” thing. “Wall Street” is more of a concept than it is a useful fixture of the American economic machine, the people who actually wrecked the American economy sit in front of computers in Midtown Manhattan. Getting mad at the guys on the floor making trades at 11 Wall Street is sorta like getting pissed off at the barrista because Starbucks stopped serving Mint Mocha frapps.... only in this case you don’t have a job anymore and the federal government can’t afford a national school breakfast program for poor children because no one’s paying any tax money.

So absolutely nothing like that whatsoever. So maybe the point of the Occupy Wall Street movement isn’t the physical location of the movement but the fact that it’s happening at all, and if this many of my fellow shiftless socialists mad at the same thing

 

well, I guess I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The Occupy Wall Street movement-- whatever it is we’re supposed to be pissed off at-- is probably important; the problem is that it’s hard for geeks to understand political movements or the sacrifices people are willing to make for the sake of ideology, whether it be More Taxes/No Taxes, Jimmie Johnson Is God/Jimmie Johnson Is Destroying NASCAR or Duke Sucks/Duke Still Sucks. But what geeks understand very well is material excess. So I’m going to use this week’s slate of games and compare them against the sort of physical or emotional torture used against protesters the world over by their repressive government you should be willing to endure to obtain said videogame. It’s tasteless; it’s disgusting; but it’s also cheap, easy-to-write content and that’s what’s important.

 


 

 

Dark Souls
Developer: From Software (but from who? Yes, From. From what? Software. First base!)
Publisher: Namdai Games
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Console Just Like PlayStation 3 But You Have To Pay Five Bucks a Month to Play

Hey kids, you liked Demon’s’s Souls’s’s, the surprise masochistic pseudo roguelike from 2009? This is as close to that as From could get away with without being sued by SCE Japan for copyright infringement.

Dark Souls is the sort of game that holds the player in open contempt, a dark and sister gothic beast that punishes all it comes near and rewards all pleasure with equal amounts of pain and humil--

Wait I need a minute here.

....

kay. Dark Souls is the sort of game that if you’re not already aware of it’s proclivities then you’re probably not going to enjoy playing it. But we’ve seen the mainstream adopt this sort of thing before, with tens of millions of people talking themselves into buying Gran Turismo games before eventually giving in and playing Burnout instead. What can I say, sometimes you just need a nice friendly game that doesn’t demand you wear a ballgag before you enter the bedroom. But that theory also requires a Burnout to Gran Turismo’s Dark Demons’s S’ouls of Dark Demon, and not a lot of games are doing the same sort of lone-wolf hardcore dungeon exploring gameplay. Who knows, maybe if this game sells as well in North America as it did in Japan we’ll see a full-scale HD Etrain Odyssey or maybe even a Shining in the Darkness revival.

WHAT HISTORIC POPULIST SACRIFICE SHOULD YOU BE WILING TO SUFFER TO PLAY THIS VIDEOGAME

 

SHOT DEAD BY THE POLICE

I hate to start the show with the show stopper, but Dark Souls is clearly the best game released this week, possibly for the month depending on how Arkham City turns out, and I’m a slave to WAW’s rigid alphabetic sorting hierarchy. Anyway it’s not a huge deal, you just need to cheese your way past the cops when you respawn and grab your bloodstain before they can start firing again.

 


 

 

 

Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove 3D
Developer: Natsume
Publisher: Natsume
Platforms: Apollo 13

Observant WAW readers may remember about adorable goth loli take on Elite Beat Agents being talked about last year-- It may have taken a while for Gab to reach American shores, but Natsume aren’t dumb, they saw the 3DS hardware and promptly realized that she’d fare a lot better in an uncrowded market on a relatively new system, especially considering the concept has not been done well since what? Ouedan 2?

GGG3d.jpg

I’m not going to lie, if I owned a 3DS or had any interest at all in music games then I’d totally buy GGG. It’s cute; it’s relatively fresh, and it’s the sort of thing that would attract attention of Gaiman-obsessed lit chicks at coffee shops and public transportation.

WHAT HISTORIC POPULIST SACRIFICE SHOULD YOU BE WILING TO SUFFER TO PLAY THIS VIDEOGAME

SAVAGE, WHOLLY UNWARRANTED BILLYCLUB BEATDOWN

Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove looks pretty darned great. Her heartwarming antics and smooth grooves will last a lifetime; as will the shattered occipital bone and occasional migraine attacks.

 


 

 

 

The Hidden
Developer: 1st Playable Productions
Publisher: Majesco
Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Okay so the developer is lame and and the publisher is... well it’s Majesco, and the entire concept of “developer you’ve never heard of + majesco + Nintendo handheld” almost always equals shovelware garbage, but The Hidden might deserve a second look (SEE WHAT I DID THERE? SEE? C’MON IGN HIRE ME ALREADY). It’s one of them newfangled “augmented reality” games, where in this case you use the stereoscopic cameras on the back of the 3DS to provide a real-world environment where you search for, detect, and then fight ghosts.

For anyone keeping track, 1st Playable Productions took the five dollars Majesco gave it and produced a more interesting Ghost Busters game than Atari could using three different developers spread over four platforms and a budget larger than the Gross Domestic Product of most third world nations.

WHAT HISTORIC POPULIST SACRIFICE SHOULD YOU BE WILING TO SUFFER TO PLAY THIS VIDEOGAME

BEING TOLD TO MOVE ALONG BY A REASONED AND RESPECTED AUTHORITARIAN FIGURE

The Hidden might be nice and all; but it’s not worth being a jerk to a dude just trying to do his job. Thank him for his time and move on down the street; maybe there’s a better riot around the next corner.

 


 

 

 

Just Dance 3
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Publisher: Ubisoft Regular
Platforms: Move, Kinect, Waggle

The inexplicable, madding, sickening continued success of the Just Dance series serves to illustrate that the plastic instrument genre had plenty of life left to it if EA wasn’t intent on killing Guitar Hero. Give the masses easily accessible goofy fun using a medium they already know-- in this case music-- and they’ll buy whatever palp you give them every year. It’s the entire reason people keep buying yearly roster updates for sports games and Call of Duty.

New for this iteration is-- oh, who cares. It’s more indefensible waggle shit. This one has the useless and inexcusable radio edit of Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You” so it’s automatically worse than twelve Hitlers.

WHAT HISTORIC POPULIST SACRIFICE SHOULD YOU BE WILING TO SUFFER TO PLAY THIS VIDEOGAME

SEEING A LINE OF RIOT POLICE AND DECIDING TO SPEND THE REST OF THE DAY SHOPPING FOR A NEW SHIRT OR SOMETHING INSTEAD

Absolutely not worth it! Just look at that guy, he’s an effing Combine solder or something. Plus he’s got a grenade launcher! Soviet Bloc police do not fuck around; you have got to be severely pissed off at something to make a populist riot worthwhile in Georgia.

 


 

 

 

NBA 2k12
Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2k Sports
Platform: Everything up to and including the PlayStation 2.

 

So if you’re Visual Concepts are you buying up rights to EU league teams for Kobe Bryant’s World Tour 2k13 or do you start buying up as many defunct NBA game franchises as possible and hope something sticks? Think about it, we’re less than 12 months away from an epic
Double Dribble/NBA Jam faceoff.

WHAT HISTORIC POPULIST SACRIFICE SHOULD YOU BE WILING TO SUFFER TO PLAY THIS VIDEOGAME

HERDED INTO PLASTIC NETTING BY THE NYPD AND MACED FOR NO APPARENT REASON

NBA 2k12 isn’t just the best basketball game Visual Concepts has yet produced; it may be the last NBA game anyone gets to play ever. Sure being rounded up into a cage and being mercilessly blinded by pepper spray is humiliating but the stinging goes away after a couple hours and you’ll retain most of your eyesight over the next couple days. In the meantime enjoy the most playable 1996 Chicago Bulls team ever!


 

 

 

Rage
Developer: iD Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 NO NOT THE PC THIS IS A CONSOLE GAME DEAL WITH IT

 

Let’s not all pretend that it’s 1997 and iD remembers how to make a good videogame. Rage is an advertisement for iD Tech 5; and with anything iD releases to sell a middleware engine the game you actually want to play is whatever game Raven Softw--

 

 

Oh dear

 


 

 

Well I mean maybe they’re just consolidating staff so they can focus on Hexe--

 


 

 

Nevermind.

The idea the people expected Rage to be an outstanding, Bioshock-level gaming experience is baffling to me. This simply isn’t what iD is good at and they’ve not produced a classic game since Doom 2. If I may make an extremely suspect analogy with football that only 10% of you will understand (and those 10% will roll your eyes at), iD Software’s inflated development history reminds me a lot of Brett Farve’s NFL career.

  • Started off under inauspicious circumstances in Atlanta that no one remembers (Mirroring id’s attempts to port Super Mario Brothers 3 to the PC only to be told by Nintendo to fuck off),
  • Traded to Green Bay and eventually worked himself into stunning respectability as a starting Quarterback (the criminally overlooked Commander Keen series and a sudden change in direction with Wolfenstein),
  • Three amazingly good years in the mid-90’s following three MVP selections and a Super Bowl ring (Doom 1&2), Defeated in Super Bowl XXXII to Denver (Quake 1, which was an awful game and fuck you if you think differently),
  • Parlayed this success into a $100 million dollar “lifetime” contract extension (Quake 2, which is probably not as good as we remember it being, but it was also the first “full” original game iD attempted since Quake 2 and not a bunch of deathmatch maps and a Trent Reznor soundtrack stitched into something resembling a videogame).
  • Promptly started wearing out his welcome by refusing to step down and allow Aaron Rodgers to start games (Quake III Arena; which was little more than a very fast, very cramped, and very annoying answer to Unreal Tournament-- at this time Epic was clearly starting to upstage iD),
  • Traded away to the New York Jets in a year no one on either side likes to talk about publicly (Doom 3),
  • Finally ended his career with Minnesota in a move everyone tried to talk themselves into being a good idea and not something that ultimately harmed his legacy as he was remembered in his final year throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. (Rage, where apparently iD has sacrificed it’s PC fanboy legacy in favor of console development and an outright refusal to fix the game’s ATI driver issues)

I hope Rage does well even if I”m unlikely to actually buy or play the silly thing-- If I want long lonely walks in the wasteland with nothing but texture pop to occupy me then I already own New Vegas. But as a marketing platform for the next iD middleware engine-- well something has to unseat Unreal Engine 3 before game developers forget what hair looks like entirely.

WHAT HISTORIC POPULIST SACRIFICE SHOULD YOU BE WILING TO SUFFER TO PLAY THIS VIDEOGAME

BEING ATTACKED BY A WATER CANNON

Much like iD’s new middleware advertisement, being assaulted by a water canon looks much more impressive than it really is. Sure you’re being knocked around and your ribs cracked and you feel like you’re drowning at all times; but it’s just water, stop being a pussy. Plus, if you hold your protest during the Summer it’s just like being at a water park! Usually you gotta pay thirty bucks for this sort of fun, and at the end everyone’s covered in drenched, semi-transparent clothing.

Note that if you hold your protest during the Winter then the metrics change and you’re likely to die from hypothermia. In that case upgrade the game in question from “Rage” to Epic’s far superior “Gears of War 3” for a proper comparison.

 


 

 

 

Spider-Man Edge of Time
Developer: Inexcusable
Publisher: Awful
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Hilariously awful DS “Port”

I spent the better part of Saturday afternoon watching fellow Nitrobeard contributor Imran Khan play through the Wii version of Edge of Time because-- well because my life is a ruin and I had nothing better to do-- and I can honestly say I’ve witnessed worst things in my life but these either involved the physical assault of women and/or small children or featured Jake Delhomme.

I mean, you’d like to feel bad for Beenox, after all they were given less than a year to produce a playable Spider-Man game in between this and Shattered Dimensions and apparently are also contending with development of a game tied to Spider-Man reboot movie. But still, there’s basic gameplay elements that went horribly horribly wrong in Edge of Time. Sure the repetitive boss fights (Three bosses fights, each of which is repeated at least four times) and lack of enemy variety (Mook, Mook with Gun, Big Mook With Hammer That Looks Enough Like Bane To Seriously Warrant A Lawsuit, Zombie Mook) are directly related to a lack of time and development dollars, but that does not excuse a lack of competent controls or the worst checkpointing in a videogame seen since Ninja Gaiden on the NES.

Which is a shame, because Spider-Man as a videogame should be a joy to play. Combine the mash-happy combat of God of War with the grappling from Bionic Commando, put it inside Manhattan and let Spider-Man right wrongs and beat the crap out of his sizable rogues gallery while earning money by taking pictures of the ensuing chaos. That’s like 90% of your design doc and it’s taken entirely out of the best elements of games that you know already work. So why does Edge of Time take place entirely within the confines of this confusing, repetitive, cramped, utterly boring industrial complex that looks like the military facility from Metal Gear Solid 1 only with 100x as much Neon tubing and five times as many inexplicable mile-long drops?

I’d be a different matter if there were some glimmers of good gameplay to be had within Edge of Time. At least then you could make a case for splitting the Spider-Man franchise in two a-la Splinter Cell and letting two studios hand off every other year, but those glimmers simply aren’t there. This is hard to explain as apparently Beenox’s previous Spider-Man game, Shattered Dimensions, was actually respectably good. If anything it seems like they’ve managed to regress as developers. Considering that Beenox’s entire original development history comprises of these two Spider-Man games, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits and something called “Monsters vs Aliens” it’s entirely possible that Beenox are simply awful at their craft and the series needs to be given back to Treyarch.

WHAT HISTORIC POPULIST SACRIFICE SHOULD YOU BE WILING TO SUFFER TO PLAY THIS VIDEOGAME

STAYING HOME AND EATING A GREAT BIG OL’ PLATE OF NACHOS

Sometimes you gotta leave the people’s movement to the people. Edge of Time is definitely one of those times.

 


 

 

 

Tetris: Axis
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Handheld Tetris Delivery Platform

If you’re interested in owning Tetris: Axis for your 3DS (and you really should be, if you own a Nintendo handheld and don’t own the version of Tetris produced for it then you’re doing something horribly wrong) then you’re probably already too late to the party-- Nintendo has a nasty habit of short printing it’s Tetris updates; whether that’s a Nintendo policy or a mandate handed down by the increasingly difficult-to-work-with Tetris Company is yet to be determined.

This has to be the last physical copy version of Tetris that will ever be produced, right? It’s already sort of weird that this game is being sold for thirty five dollars without Nintendo offering a download version just to see what happens. I have a hunch that Hudson/Nintendo/The Tetris Company goes overboard on the special modes that no one is interested in when they could be selling way more copies of the one mode anyone ever wants to play-- freaking Tetris without this T-Spin nonsense-- for ten bucks with virtually no production costs incurred.. At any rate something like this needs to happen to keep the Tetris concept in the public mind instead of these godawful physics experiments like Angry Birds.

tl;dr: OF COURSE YOU ALREADY OWN THIS GAME AND ARE ALREADY PLAYING TETRIS INSTEAD OF READING THIS.

WHAT HISTORIC POPULIST SACRIFICE SHOULD YOU BE WILING TO SUFFER TO PLAY THIS VIDEOGAME

BEING SCOOPED BY BY A FOOD RIOT TUCK AND CONVERTED INTO SOYLENT GREEN

There is no sacrifice great enough to reasonably keep a hardcore gamer away from Tetris.

 


 

NEXT WEEK

FORZA 4! It’s like Forza 3, but one more!

DEAD RISING 2.5! It’s like Dead Rising 2, but without any stupid Canadian meddling!

ACE COMBAT: THE NEXT ONE! It’s like the previous Ace Combat, only it won’t take nearly as long to reach twenty bucks at Gamestop!