Welcome to another edition of the Game Ranter Banter. Five writers take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to give their opinions on some of the most compelling and controversial news stories of the week.
Our readers are as knowledgeable and opinionated as our own writers, so here is the place for all of you to discuss these stories as well as any others that may have piqued your interest throughout the week.
With some of this summer’s major blockbuster tie-in games dropping trailers or screens this week, the topic of storylines comes to mind. While, with previous tie-ins, giving an experience comparable to that of the feature film had worked, it seems like nowadays games are trying to distance themselves from their associated property as much as possible.
Games like Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Thor: God of Thunder are using completely independent storyline as their major selling point, but is that helping? Do studios think hardcore gamers, or at least those who read enough reviews to know tie-in games’ propensity for mediocrity, feel that it’s the storylines that bring these games down? Or should these tie-in games follow as closely to the film’s storyline as possible because that’s what the casual gamer is looking for: the movie they just saw in video game form?
Sticking Up For Hardware Rivalry
I’d like to praise Quantic Dream for sticking with Sony as their exclusive publisher. In today’s day and age of multi-platform released sequels, it’s really nice to see a third party developer say that they want to stick with one platform not because they were given any direct incentive to, but because they’re loyal. Epic Games already has this kind of partnership with Microsoft, so hearing this kind of news for Sony is great news for the gaming giant.
Hardware exclusive content is often some of the most innovative in the industry because the pressure is there to perform well with a smaller installed base buying the games. I personally miss the hardware rivalry of the 90s between Sega and Nintendo, so it’s nice to see Sony and Microsoft re-live those days in a way that isn’t driven by fanboyism.
The Value of 3D Gaming
The Nintendo 3DS releases in North America this weekend but it might not be a good buy to get at launch. At the moment, the 3DS is launching alongside a rather weak and unexciting line-up of titles and worse, highly overpriced ones. At $39.99 a pop, you’re not getting good value so it may be worth your time to wait a few months until Nintendo launches the eShop to see what the downloadable selection will be like.
With the company avoiding competition against the Android and iOS app markets and competitive pricing, I’m afraid Nintendo handheld players will be overspending for quite some time. How much do you value 3D if your eyes can take it?
This is the Day the World Starts Over
In my humble (and likely disagreeable) opinion, Halo really fell off the rocker after Combat Evolved. There’s no question that the gameplay was top notch, along with the visuals and voice acting. Unfortunately, the story became so uninteresting and convoluted, I couldn’t make myself keep up any longer. I wanted to love the series, and ended up being completely turned off by the time Halo: Reach rolled around.
News that 343 Industries is significantly overhauling the next Halo has turned my head. More of the same is completely unnecessary after three relatively identical products. Hopefully 343 can figure out exactly what made the first game so special, and capitalize on those features along with growing the series. Otherwise, Master Chief should probably just stay home.
It’s Not A Popularity Contest
EA is allowing fans to vote on who will appear on the cover of Madden NFL 12. That’s right; the cover boy of the biggest and best selling annual sports release will be decided by fan votes and I have a problem with this. The honor of gracing the cover of Madden is being reduced to whoever can manipulate their fan bases more. Last year there was fan voting, but only on 3 choices, all of which were true stars worthy of the cover (Drew Brees, Reggie Wayne and Jared Allen).
But this year, with the field of choices expanded to 32, the face of football gaming could be: one of two offensive linemen, a WR from a 4-12 team or even a metaphysical idea (Seattle’s 12th Man). I’m not knocking these athletes – they’re solid NFL players – but they’re not cover boy material. EA, don’t reduce Madden to this. You’d be putting it just above picking the newest marshmallow inside of a Lucky Charms box.