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 recent news stories of the game industry. This week, we discuss the lasting power of Mortal Kombat, Valve’s incredible new game about Portals and potatoes, the crash of the PlayStation Network, a new generation for Sonic the Hedgehog, and another attempt at a Marvel Universe MMO.
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.
Mortal Kombat has exploded back into the pop-culture arena with a brand new nostalgia-fueled Mortal Kombat (read our review) as well as a gritty webseries in Mortal Kombat: Legacy. We ran a number of features on the topic this last week: the 10 Most Awesome Characters, Top Mortal Kombat 2011 Fatalities – and even chronicled the history of the series. However, despite a lot of reminiscing as well as time spent playing the latest game, no one is really talking about where the series will go from here (aside from a few DLC characters).
Much like the recent Star Trek “reboot,” Mortal Kombat has a fresh new canon to explore in future installments but will gamers keep coming back or has the team at NetherRealm put together an the ultimate fan-service MK title – leaving little reason for gamers to return in the near future? We all know Mortal Kombat (2011) is a great game but can the developer capitalize on the new-found momentum?
Loving With Portals
Even after writing a review, there’s nothing I desire more than to remove my objectivity and construct somewhat of a love letter to the masterpiece that is Portal 2. Not because Valve managed to make the four years of suspense following the release of Portal more than worth the wait, and not because the game is twice as long as most fans will expect. But because of the clear goal that the developers had for the game, and followed through on.
We’re talking an incredibly deep and compelling history of Aperture Science woven into the design of the game, accompanied by mechanics and tools that make Bulletstorm look uninspired. My hat goes off to Valve for showing us why we play games, by delivering a title with a female protagonist, a genuine sense of humor, and what should stand as one of the best video game endings in history. So on behalf of every shooter-fatigued gamer, thank you Valve.
As many PlayStation 3 owners are already well aware of, the PlayStation Network is down and could continue to be down for a few more days. It has since been confirmed by Sony that hackers are the cause of the PSN’s recent closure, but what really gets me is how the PlayStation 3’s online interface can be shutdown so easily. You’d think Sony would have implemented some serious precautions in order to prevent such an inconvenient closure, and while I’m sure they had set up some roadblocks for hackers they just weren’t enough.
The crash couldn’t have come at a worse time either, with Portal 2, Mortal Kombat and their exclusive SOCOM 4 releasing this past Tuesday. Portal 2 owners can’t connect to their Steam accounts with Portal 2, and Mortal Kombat fans can’t take their game online with their exclusive character Kratos.
Hopefully Sony can get their act together and find some better ways of preventing hackers from taking down their systems for day, or this could just be the tip of the iceberg for the PSN’s problems.
C. J. Smillie
Sonic Homing In On Fans
So the first bit of gameplay for Sonic Generations was released, which means that I was excited for the game and most other gamers were skeptical. I can understand that, because let’s face it, Sonic hasn’t been doing so great these past few years. But despite vast improvements with the recent games, many are still a bit reluctant to give Sonic another chance. Again, I can understand if you’re still a bit unsure, but what really bothers me are the ones who hate the new games because they aren’t exactly like the old ones. And by that I mean down to the graphics.
What’s worse is that these are the ones Sega seems to be listening to. They asked for more old-school gameplay, and they got it, but continued to complain because it wasn’t exactly like they wanted it to be. It never is and it’s these gamers who have pretty much ensured that there won’t be a Sonic 4: Episode 2 because Sonic dared to have the audacity of keeping his homing attack. I will admit, I was a bit concerned that the 3D Sonic level in the gameplay trailer showed Sonic with a “Boost Meter,” but I’m not letting it bother me that much. Bottom line, I’m going to wait for more information to be released before I make any judgments, a choice many others should make.
Maybe Make Mine Marvel
This week there was some little news about upcoming big news coming from the Marvel Twitter account, revealing that there is a brand new Marvel Universe MMO on the way and that we’d get more details next week. We know nothing of gameplay, developers or a release window, so all we have are memories of the previously cancelled Marvel Universe Online game.
If the the new Marvel MMO doesn’t offer something completely new and different than Champions Online, City of Heroes/Villains or DC Universe Online, then stop. Stop right now, and re-cancel this project. There are too many MMOs, most of them aren’t that good, people don’t like subscriptions, and we want more than a nice GUI attached to a spreadsheet. And most of all, we do not want repetitive gameplay aka the “grind.”
I’m not interested in running/flying/teleporting through vast open, empty spaces with a character I create myself using only limited/restricted options (a la DC Universe Online) just to meet famous Marvel characters here and there and then get bored of it in a few hours. The timing is perfect on Marvel’s part with their upcoming film and merchandising slate, but what is this game going to offer gamers who have other MMOs to play or are more interested in the seemingly weekly release of triple-A titles? I’m excited to find out soon.