Welcome to another edition of the Game Ranter Banter. Five of our 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, the Game Rant team discusses the recent DLC issues of Arkham City, an early review of Skyward Sword, used game sales, an addition to Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and a brand spankin' new Pokemon game.
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.
The Case of the Complicated Catwoman Content
Regardless of how people feel about special season passes or "VIP" passes that allow gamers to access exclusive content, these features are going to be a part of gaming until the market decides otherwise.
If developers and publishers are going to implement these systems then they should also have ways for consumers to get support should things fail. The issue with the Batman: Arkham City VIP passes is an unfortunate one, but the way Warner Bros is dealing with the situation is cumbersome to those who already shelled out their hard earned cash for this content.
It's understood why they are making consumers take photos/scans of the blank vouchers as well as provide other forms of identification, but this is a complicated process to get something that's already been paid for.
This is my personal opinion, but Catwoman (and Robin) are integral parts of the Batman mythos and should be part of the game instead of being exclusive DLC. Providing exclusive content is all fine and dandy, but holding out content that should be in the game – or that's already on the disk – is nothing more than a money grab.
Luckily, with this situation there are some who have had GameStop come to their rescue - they are giving the Catwoman DLC for free on used game purchases, much to the dismay of other retailers..
Compliments Only Please
There’s a part of every gamer that loves to read reviews, and loves to read them as early as possible — that’s why publishers send out review copies and that’s why game journalists ferociously absorb as much game content as they possibly can. But, every once in a while, a review, usually a lone review, pops up before any other publications’ review, and it’s usually an absolutely glowing one. It happened with LA Noire earlier this year, it happened with Batman: Arkham City, and it happened a couple of days ago with Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
While the review may be valid, and may be filled with adequate justifications for its over-the-moon score, it still makes one wonder that if this same publication had put out a bad review would it be released so early? Are we living in a world where sins like breaking embargo are forgiven if they are in service to one’s own betterment?
Now, I’m not saying that Skyward Sword won’t be a great game, or that Official Nintendo Magazine didn’t get a much earlier embargo. I’m just curious to know how things would be different if the game was considered a dud.
So NOW Consumers Care About The Impact of Used Games?
It seems that any time a story comes up about a publisher enacting some sort of Online Pass' or paid multiplayer to curtail used game sales, another wave of publisher-bashing begins with renewed vigor. I'm not happy about having content restricted if I rent a game, but only looking at one side of an issue doesn't solve anything. Used games didn't just come out of nowhere over the past few years to become the sales juggernaut they now are. It happened because retailers (namely GameStop) made it their strategy to sell and re-sell every copy of a game multiple times before selling a brand new one. The publishers were getting screwed over by the entity that was only supposed to act as middle man, since they neither create or serve anything but their bottom line. For years, nobody cared, since the consumer was getting a deal. Then the publisher screws over the retailers who've been screwing them, and their customers get screwed over from it, so they attack the publishers and are outraged.
I really do get both sides, and would like things to go back to the way they were, but nobody gave a damn when GameStop made this situation by making it company policy to try to maximize profit by keeping people from buying new copies, and offering credit for trade-ins that was short of the game's actual value. They pushed publishers into doing this, and considering how GameStop doesn't put their customers above profit (as they continuously show) it's difficult for me to ever look at them as working in the consumer's best interest. Because they aren't. That isn't their job.
Nor is it the publisher's. Let's not kid ourselves here; GameStop acted in an ethical grey area to make money, so the publishers have joined in. I understand both sides, but consumers who only now care about the financial reality publishers are faced with because it's affecting them aren't going to be getting my support automatically (and for the record, stealing from someone who has a lot of money still isn't right, sorry). This issue has two sides, and the one that isn't offering you cheaper games is taking all of the attacks.
Evolve Or Die
I've been an avid enthusiast of the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise since its conception. I remember when I was a wee lad going into my local comic shop, I would relentlessly shove quarter after quarter in that machine until I was broke poor.
Today, almost a bajillion years later, we have come to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and with it comes a most excellent DLC in the form of Heroes and Heralds mode. This awesome new mode in the MVC universe allows you to collect cards in order to upgrade and add abilities to your fighters. Heroes and Heralds mode will drastically change the way MVC loyalists will play when up against invisibility, invincibility, etc.
In the ever evolving world of the gaming industry, if you don't evolve you die. Just look at the new Mortal Kombat game and how many awesome things you can do other than just your standard 1 vs. 1 campaign or multiplayer. With the addition of H&H mode in MVC the floodgates are open to a whole new realm of possibilities for the series. I can't wait to get my grubby little paws on it.
What I'm really interested in seeing is how professional gamers will take it and how they would utilize the new abilities in an H&H tournament.
Feeling the Opposite of Gray
As many loyal readers probably know by now, I'm the Pokemon guy. I'm traditionally at the butt of every Pocket Monster-related joke here at Game Rant (all in good sport, mind you), but I'm more than okay with that if it means I get to write up all the news and review all of the games. The most recent news that popped up involves the registration of a Pokemon Gray web domain, which was conveniently registered by the same company that applied for the official Pokemon Black and White website.
There are many reasons this could have been done, but it seems more than obvious that Nintendo plans on releasing a third game in the Black and White saga — a move that isn't uncommon for the franchise. What will really be interesting is to see which portable this game will appear on. The Nintendo 3DS is undoubtedly in need of a real Pokemon game, because of the series' ability to sell absolute gangbusters. It wouldn't even have to take full advantage of the 3DS' tech, just enough to clean up a few pixels and give gamers a few mild 3D effects.
Pokemon Gray isn't official yet, but that should change very soon.