Thursday, September 30, 2010

$onic the Overpriced-Hog 4

Sega will officially launch Sonic 4 Episode I in October, finally, after months of withholding (a PartnerNet version was leaked about 3 months ago or so). It'll drop on the following dates with the following prices:

  • Xbox Live Arcade: October 13th (1200 MSP)
  • Playstation Network: October 12th ($14.99 USD)
  • Nintendo WiiWare: October 11th (1500 Wii Points)

I tried the early leak and to be honest? The game is quite good. It's actually as close as we can hope to a proper oldskool 2d Sonic game as we're ever going to get in this day and age. The early version had a homing/lock on attack of sorts, which just SCREAMED 'easy moad'. Many did not like it and hopefully early feedback, albeit unsolicited, would have made Sega reconsider it. However even if that feature is left in, it's not a huge issue... You can simply opt to not use it.

That's not the problem really... The game, from what I have personally tried, is very good, even for an early beta version it was very solid and, amazingly, quite fun. That's not the problem at all.

The problem is two things:
  1. Episode I
  2. The Price
If the early leaked version is anything to go by, you get 4 Acts (stages) per Episode as well as a full 7 bonus stages. How many episodes  they intend to do is up in the air really, I'd guesstimate 3, maybe 4 episodes. The early version already let you collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds, and yes, Super Sonic is in, and playable within the normal game and not just on select stages tailored for the DBZ mode.

Problem is: $14.99 for 4 Acts?... I'm not the only one saying it, but that is SERIOUSLY pushing the envelope. Don't just take my word on it, look around the various major gaming sites. Everyone is saying the price of what may be 1/3 or 1/4th of a game is really, really pushing it. They'll never sell a full completed title at $60 either, they know it... The most I would personally pay for a complete Sonic 4 game is $40. At the current price, assuming they go 4 episodes... It would be $60.

Thanks, but no thanks Sega. It's a fun little game, I must admit that much, but it isn't worth $60. Even a Sonic 3 & Knuckles HD remake wouldn't sell for that. If this is the final pricing, then my purchase of this has just officially been reconsidered.

Shame, I was actually looking forward to buying this. Maybe when it goes on (inevitable) sale perhaps.

Paying To Beta Test

According to this poast on Kotaku... Bioware is coming out with an Ultimate Edition for Dragon Age: Origins.

I know I'm not the only one who thought, on day one, when the game was first announced that 'oo, nice, must try this!'.

Then when all the withheld content/disc locked content was announced, along with the fact you had to buy the same game multiple times in order to get ALL of the game made many prospective buyers go 'Ok fuck this shit...'

So now, over a year later, after all the idiots who DID pay for the withheld content have been bled dry, Bioware and EA are probably hoping they can entice the original 'would have bought' people back with this little number. Well, to that I say:


This was the version that SHOULD have been released from day one. If this had been what had come out last year initially, then I would have put down my $60 quite happily. Oh, did I mention that Bioware had the absolute balls to say that 'the entire game + withheld content is worth $114 USD' and that people are getting a DEAL by buying this little number for $59.99? So... They are saying that yes, even with Dragon Age 2 just around the corner, they are justifying selling a year old game in the format it SHOULD have been sold in from day one, for full new game price...

I also know what half of you are going to say at this point, let me sum it all~ up below because I've heard this all before:

  • It's not withheld content, they really weren't finished making the game at the time!
  • It's OPTIONAL content! If you don't like it don't buy it!
  • It's their game, they can charge what they want for it!
  • For what you're getting for $114 it's a BARGAIN!
  • People like you are why the PC gaming industry is dying!
Yes, yes, yes, I'm sure.

I'm very sure all the scam DLC was real! It was so real that you had to buy the same game several times to get it all at launch! It's so optional that they have NPC's in game that tell you to purchase it before you can enter this area/do this quest! Yes! It's all REAL DLC!

...And Halo: Reach is teh BEZT GAEM EVAR!!


*deep breath*

All I can say at this point is good luck Bioware, those who were going to purchase it, like yours truly, have already made our decision to never support your scamming ways, ever. We will nevar pay for your gaem either out of principle or just sheer anger alone. Yes, haters gonna hate, and I choose to hate. 

To those of you who say it's because of people like us who are killing the PC gaem industry, I say very simply: If this is what the industry has become... If games like this, are going to continue being sold in this manner... In this chopped up, episodic, withheld, disc locked manner, then it can just go fucking die.

Those of you who really want to play DA:O in it's entirety? A subliminal suggestion is the image below.

Yes, lets kill the PC game industry further! Why not! I mean, after all...


Thursday, September 23, 2010

On Trophies and Achievements

Gaming is quite a unpredictable thing. Things that should have been completely harmless become some of the biggest problems with gaming to date, and its all because of the Human element.

Achivements when they first debuted, really were harmless in my eyes, they were just one more thing you could do with your game and they gave you a external rating that showed what you've played and what you "accomplished". No harm with this when taken in moderation.

But humans do not know moderation.

It really was not long before people started gauging their own self worth as a gamer by their score and playing games they didn't like for the pure sake of increasing their "worth score". As now we come to the problem we have today.

I am going to give you a hint. Having that gamer score of 500000 is not going to get that cute chick working at the corner 7/11 you've been eyeballing for months to suddenly want your cock. nobody cares about your score BUT YOU.

Well ok. I lie a bit. Some gamers may look at your trophies and achievements a bit, but I can with absolute certainty assure you that they don't care about your "overall e-penis length" I'll use me for an example. when I look at someone's trophies I am looking at two things really.

- What they play on average, to get a generalization of their gaming preferences.
- CERTAIN achievements which I think are REAL ones. (getting "Mr perfect" in mega man 9 is a REAL feat. pausing the game in the Simpsons Road Rage is not)

If anything, those that "grind" gamerscore/trophy level on stupid games? all you show to us is how worthless a human being you are. Your 6 platinums all in Disney games do not impress anyone. Your youtube channel that shows your "gallery of trophies" just shows you REALLY need laid.

To the Achivement/trophy whores of the world. You should really make this your next one.

Picture worth a thousand words

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On the Subject of F2P Games and Microtransactions

A few years back I was sitting at the computer bull shiting with a friend on what we could play togather, being whole continents apart the amount of things we can play are very limited. For while we tried "free to play mmos" because it was something we all could run, worked fun over long distances (ie latancy doesn't really hurt a non realtime game as badly) and once more we THOUGHT it would be cheap to play.

Boy were we ever wrong.

Over the years we played many "Free to play" games.

Trickster Online
Atlantica Online

And all of them disappointed, but not in the way you'd expect. The games themselves were very fun and engaging. confused? What could possibly be wrong you ask? well the problem was quite simple. There never was never an end to the spending you were required to get the full game out of a "free game".

Starting with the first game we played, Trickster Online. the game was innocent enough at first. cash only got you some grinding boosts and better drills. (The gimmick of trickster was you could drill anywhere for resources to help your game) nothing too bad, then refining came in where you could quite literally gamble your gear to make it more powerful. now the feature was free to use, but it costed money if it fucked up. sounds fair right? and in the beginning it was, then slowly people noted he failed more and more often. The company in charge of the game dismissed that this was all in people's heads, but it was very obvious they had changed the formula to be very unfavorable so that could gain more money.

Around the same time also the first "GACHA" game launched. similar to Gashapon a person could turn real money into coins they popped into a mini game for unique gear and pets. at first there was no problem with this, all it got you was a unique look. as time went on however only the best stat gear was found in these towns, and content was tailored that unless you wear these items, you would NOT survive.

Back with Trickster I was foolish enough to defend this fuckery. Saying very tired lines like "the game needs to make money or the servers will not be able to operate" or "takes some to get some." but really looking back now that was just foolish elitist talk and I helped companies be told "This is completely ok, continue to rape my wallet please."

Fast forward to my final F2P mmo, Atlantica Online. When I joined at first it was the same formula as before at first their Item mall did nothing harmfull, it was only money for fluff. And the game truely rewarded skilled people in the fact they could save money by playing better. I thought to myself "have the companies learned? maybe the dark age has ended."

I should have known better, around 4 months later, the same trends formed, and even worse skill became completely mooted. Being skilled at the game ended up netting you very little in favor of people just buying everything they needed with cash. However if you don't realize the problem with this yet let me enlighten you.

"Why are you "playing" the game then?"

The general concept of a mmo is to get good gear so you can survive in a higher area to get better gear, repeat the process x 9001. If you can just get the gear guess what? You sit there looking like an idiot cause you've just removed all point to be playing. Which is exactly the route Atlantica went and to be quite honest, the route of all "Fee to play" or "pay to win" mmos go. They become very expensive babysitters rather than real games.

Now I personally think if you are going to play a mmo these days. stick to a pay to play mmo, at least they are honest up front about wanting your money. Also.... to be sickeningly honest a Pay mmo is actually CHEAPER than a "free" mmo in the long run if you want your content :/

Another good option is a business model similar to Dungeons and Dragons online. it does free to play but to get the full game you must subscribe. so it becomes "free 2 demo" which is in its own way fine, cause it lets you still try the game before having to pay in, and is still completely honest about "you wont get anywhere without paying"

Best option however is to find pay once multi player games. Support games like Guild Wars, Diablo and others of its buisness model. You pay once and are done. and you alone decide when the fun ends. not someone else.

The Cycle of Decline

This article over at Kotaku is a good example of the state of the industry nowadays. Company comes out on the soapbox crying foul over FUCKING PIIIIIRATES!!! stealing their hard scammed earned dollars and that they are refusing to release gaem on a platform due to the evils of piracy.

Well gee...

Let's take a step back here shall we?...

Let us take a step back in time, back to February the 17th, 2009, when vanilla SF4 was first released. Many were quite happy to jump on and buy the game then when it first came out, yours truly being one of them. We bought, we played, and the game... it was good.

In a happy sappy fappy fairytale world, this little flashback would have ended right here.

Instead, what should have been a near ideal game release, one to be savored and remembered fondly FOR ALL TIEM... Began to show signs of what we shall call the Modern Day Gaming Evil(tm) (MDGE).

The first evil: Costume DLC

The game featured alternate outfits for the characters, many of which were quite nice, and, if this had been a decade ago, unlockable through regular gameplay. Due to MDGE.. Capcom went on to nickel and dime us to unlock these costumes that were already on the disc to begin with.

Not only did that suck, it left a rather filthy taste in the mouth. But many gave in and decided that the game was good enough to allow Capcom their little extra profit. When a game is good enough, and if you like it enough, show support right?

Again, in a happy sappy fappy fairytale world, we'd be stopping right here too...

Now we move onto the second evil: A game upgrade 'patch' being announced and sold as a whole new installment not even 2 months after the vanilla game hit store shelves.

We can argue this utill we're all blue in the face and never get anywhere. Capcom claimed the Super SF4 upgrade was too big, and too major a revision to be a patch, therefore they had to sell it as a whole new game. Personally? I think that's the biggest load of shit since Guilty Gear 2 and it's XX #Reload Slash Final Really No It's Final This Time installments that put me off ever buying another Arksys game until the FINAL final definitive version has come out. No one's a stranger to Capcom and their magical god tier inability to count past 2 for years, instead choosing to rehash the same game as Super Champion Hyper What-Fucking-Ever Edition until the profit books no longer register the Idiot Dollar.

...Then they counted to 3 for the first time in years... and now finally to 4! AND THEY'RE DOING IT AGAIN!

But at least... At LEAST back then, they had the decency to wait until the corpse of the previous game was at least COLD before announcing the next installment. This? Not even 2 months? Sorry, that was a new low even for them. If you could announce it that soon, why not delay the vanilla version for a few more months and release it with the upgrades already in there instead?

...Oh wait, it wouldn't have scammed enough money then, my bad... Forget I asked.

But the fans, being blind, brainwashed and moronic enough they'd make Apple fanboys at a Steve Jobs keynote speech look objective and unbiased, lapped it all up and threw yet more money at the Capcom troll machine for this 'whole new game'.

...Only to find out, OBVIOUSLY, there was YET MORE DISC LOCKED CONTENT that, surprise surprise, they would be nickel and dimed for. Not only that, fast forward a little further today and now we have an announcement of... wait for it!... WITHHELD content, that was more-than-likely stripped out of the final product so they could charge YET MORE money for it later, when the Idiot Dollar from the scam DLC began to die out.

Oh sure, now I hear you say 'It wasn't withheld! They're really just developing it now!' and 'You're angry, bitter and jaded!' and whatever else you want to say.

But, prove me wrong? Go ahead. You can't.

You can't prove me wrong.

None of us know anymore, in this day and age of scam DLC, that DLC really is new addon content. History has shown ever since the beginning of the DLC era that how DLC should have been, and how DLC currently is... Are two very different things.

When in doubt, assume the worst... It hurts less later.

So... finally... All that above being said, now Capcom come out and say there won't be a PC version because the FUCKING PIIIIIIIIIIRATES are stealing their hard scammed earnt dollars. You know, if Capcom didn't have the amount of Disc Locked Content that it does in SSF4, not to mention all the other evils they pulled previously...a good number would be happy to NOT pirate. But after taking it up the ass repeatedly, can you honestly blame them?

If the industry was smart, there's a good lesson to be learnt here: Don't fucking go off and create more pirates by pissing people off, then get on the soapbox and cry about piracy. Yes, there are always going to be the piratefags that will never buy a game. THOSE PEOPLE WERE NEVER YOUR CUSTOMER IN THE FIRST PLACE. Stopping piracy there will NOT magically create more income for you! Get that through your fucking thick skulls!

But continue to pull the scams that you're pulling now, and you will be creating MORE pirates out of those who originally WOULD have bought your game and have decided not to simply out of anger at being scammed. You companies know exactly how it feels when you get robbed (pirated)... So why scam back? Two wrongs are NOT going to create a right here... It will push the cycle of decline further down to a point where everyone is going to lose at the end of the day.

But then again, looking at the way gaming currently is right now?... That may well be fine, nothing of value is going to be lost after all.

Sonic Adventure - Re-release Review


My First full game review, and we go back to something old. Sonic Adventure re-released this week for PSN (and a week earlier on XBLA, good ol' M$. still buying advance timing I see.) and I figured I'd see if it still holds up to my memories of it. those being it being one of the last decent sonic games.

Graphics 10%

Wow... just wow. did SA really look this bad? I know the game is dated but I do not remember the game, especially the body models of the townsfolk, being this bad. however for the rest of the game it doesn't look "too" terrible considering the game's age. Still it is slightly annoying that given releases like Banjo-Kazooie for XBLA, that tried to update where they could, that Sega would not even bother to polish it even a little bit.

Sound 20%

No real complaints here, the sound track for SA was always good, tracks fit the area that it played in, and all sound effects play with no emulation garble in this emulated port. and of course the classic vocal song "Open your heart".

Controls and Game Play 15%

SA shows clearly the looseness sonic plays that they improved upon in SA2. during loops or "rail" sequences he can still be effected by your movements quite easily, often screwing you over. early example is the boost pad race to escape the whale in sonic's first stage, twice the game pulled me off the track entirely, killing me outright. However aside from the odd glitch the game play is as solid as it always was.

Length & Replayability 20%

The game is decent length on its own, as long as any $60 release they try to shove down our throats these days. And if you like the pet raising Chao, prepare to not see the sun for a few weeks as chao raising will consume your life. they are like tiny little bundles of Everquest in each egg. and for the completionist there are plenty of missions to accomplish and A rankings to achieve.

What I paid 15%

The base game is $9.99 and the dlc? $5. not all that bad when wrapped up in a little bow for $15. however more on this in a minute.

Base Score: 80% out of 100%

Now here comes the "modern fail" as all games have today.

The DLC it touts? is simply the content from the gamecube version which was sold pack in. so they take a game from two gens back, go up one gen they add content and repackage, come to current gen they cut that same content BACK OUT and sell it separately. very rarely has "withheld content" been more clearly obvious than this.

- Published by major publisher (-5%)
- Contains DLC (Disc Locked Content) (-20%)
- Contains Withheld content (-10%)

Adjusted score: 55% out of 100%
Final words: sometimes the past really is better.

Blade Kitten Demo - Impressions

Unfortunately the game is a shade of brown.

Graphics: 20%

The game is 2.5d, so all you 3d > all fags will have stopped reading here, for everyone else the game is a pretty damn pretty 2.5 game, it does some foreground/background manipulation Ala Wario Land virtual boy. (sans the horrible damage to your eyes in later years) the enemies are decently animated. The level offered in the demo was colorful as was Kit, with surprisingly little to no fan service of her throughout the level despite several opportunities to do so.

Sound: 5%

Sounds were honestly rather generic. and music? I can't even remember a level song playing if that says anything about how memorable it was. As for menus and such alot of it plays with a techno/japanese theme which prays on my fear that all this games was trying to be was a easy sale to everyone's inner japanophile. my fears were not that far off.

Controls and Gameplay: 10%

I'd like to give this better but I honestly can't. Kit plays a bit like she's constantly on ice when on the ground, her climbing is fairly fluid and automatic however in contrast. combat as far as the demo went was a joke, lead in when a jump attack and then rape them while they are stunned, I'll give the game a few higher marks cause I'd assume this would get better as the game goes on. For the collector in you this game has alot to please, secrets and treasure in every nook and cranny. and while not used in the demo I'd assume the currency "hex" is spent on upgrades or fluff later on. there sure is plenty of it to find. One major gripe I have with the demo is the fact Kit has regenerating health. which is very pointless in a game with infinite lives. its like giving a two ended lolipop to a toddler, you'd think its a good idea, but it just is silly in the end. I mean how much babying do gamers of this generation need?

Length and Repeatability 10%

The game boasts "12 levels and a assortment of things to find and collect for kit" if my platforming knowledge does me any justice, the game will last 8 hours at most for the straight shooter and around 20 for the stamp collector. that is not all that much for the price it asks for and I can really only see someone playing this once.

What I paid: 20%

Demos are great, at least some companies still let you legitimately try before you buy.

Base score: 65% of 100%

Ah but wait! there is some external fail for all of you out there, before you get out your wallet this game. Popping in the demo greeted me with one additional surprise.

"Episode 1"

So some aids of "modern gaming" spill even into mediocre releases. and for that it will have to suffer a penalty

Adjusted Score: 60% out of 100%
Final words: Could have been a great platformer, and there is a possibility the full game is. but it certainly doesn't sell itself well in the demo.