Game Ranter Banter: Wii U Doom, Xbox 720 Denial, Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer & Controversy
We're in a nice place for video game releases right now. After all the titles that hit in the first half of March, the rest of the month is relatively calmer. Sure, we've still got Operation: Raccoon City to look forward to this week, but things are certainly quieter. With that being said, we hope you're using the extra time off to check out this week's Game Ranter Banter!
BioWare's controversial Mass Effect 3 remains a hot topic this week as we discuss the some of the fan rage towards the game along with its first multiplayer event. Also in the news is Patcher's thoughts that the Wii U could be Nintendo's Dreamcast, Microsoft saying there will be no new Xbox at E3 and Crytek hyping up Homefront 2.
Next-Gen Takes a Number (By Brian Sipple)
By now it's more or less official that the Xbox 360's tombstone won't be etched with the year 2012. Make no mistake — the plot arrangements have been brokered, the coffin carved, and the will written. But Microsoft's announcement that they won't be talking about a new Xbox at E3 all but guarantees that their next-gen console is saving itself for a 2013 reveal - perhaps later.
Sour news for some, to be sure. But it's the right choice. A 2013 unveiling is just the right time to let the Wii U's hype storm blow over and subsequently drench any sales momentum Nintendo starts to build by the month of June. It's also worth noting that the PlayStation 4 looks to be last in line for the next generation in 2014. Transitioning to a pricier console now in the midst of a still worrisome economy and Sony's improved PS3 sales would be a chaotic gamble way too hasty for Microsoft to afford.
In a time when technology is advancing at a torrid pace, patience is both a virtue and a necessity. And as much as we might want to see a next-gen Grand Theft Auto 5 or Halo 4, a little bit of perspective (and great gaming) should get us through the wait.
A Mass Effect Of Problems (By Matt Rowland)
We gamers can be a fickle bunch. The days of developers putting out a half-finished product with little customer angst is a thing of the past. Gaming consumers have increasingly high demands for the products they purchase, especially considering how expensive they can be.
But how far is too far when it comes to griping about a game’s release? Mass Effect 3 was released to rave reviews across the board, including from our own Rob Keyes, but quickly suffered numerous attacks from players finishing the game, complaining about the "terrible ending." They started petitions for DLC to "fix" the ending; they complained about plot holes; there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth that Casey Hudson tried to address. We jokingly wrote about what could ruin Mass Effect 3 before the launch, and now to some players, it has come true.
All this being said, with one person’s version of Shepard potentially being entirely different from the next, a send-off that pleases everyone would be nearly impossible without resorting to lazy and cheap writing that is reserved for summer popcorn flicks where you know the ending before the movie starts. No, BioWare didn’t take the traditional approach to Mass Effect 3’s ending, and I applaud them for that — the product is still one of the better games on the market today. Demanding a publisher change the ending because it didn’t fit our own preconceived notion of how it should end is overstepping our bounds as consumers in my opinion. Does the disappointment in the ending make the entire series worthless, or even the game itself? No! Mass Effect is about the journey. I for one am happy to have been on it since 2007.
I know not everyone will share this opinion either, and that’s fine. What a boring place this would be if we all agreed! Cheers….
It Wasn't A Dreamcast (By Riley Little)
This past week gaming analyst Michael Pachter stated that he believes Nintendo will "Dreamcast themselves" when they release the Wii U later this year — referencing SEGA's last console and its untimely demise back in 2001. While we watched Nintendo suffer early last year, as a result of poor 3DS sales, it would be a bit of a jump to assume that they'll be repeating the same mistakes any time soon.
It's also far too soon to be calling for the demise of a new console that has yet to be given specs, a launch lineup, or even a price point. We can't even begin to comprehend how well or how poorly the Wii U will sell until more details are released, so in the meantime fans shouldn't be worried about the unfounded speculation. Similar things were said about the Wii when it was first announced, after all, and it went on to dominate the console war (in unit sales).
Suburbia (By Anthony MolÃ©)
I'm not American. Normally that shouldn't really mean anything, but in the case of Homefront, I think it does. I was pretty hyped up for Homefront's campaign, but in the end it was a huge let down; the lack of character development, a terrible story that tried to be emotional - it just didn't work. But what made it worse was the fact that I couldn't connect to the game's setting.
I've never been in a Whitecastle, yet THQ tried showing that off as something that would play to the game's authenticity. Sure, maybe for Americans, but to me fighting in the burger joint was no different than the Burger Town level in Modern Warfare 2. Then there's the (spoiler) assault on the Golden Gate Bridge, a landmark I've never been to. I'm not saying these these places shouldn't be in Homefront 2, but Crytek really needs to try and tell a more universal story, one that Kaos failed to do.
Crytek says Homefront 2 will make a big splash when it launches, but if the game's singleplayer is anything like the first, you can count me out.
Mass Event 3 (By Rob Keyes)
Mass Effect 2 & 3 drew a lot from the gameplay mechanics and design choices from the Gears of War series, and the inspiration doesn't stop at the shooting and cover mechanics. With Mass Effect 3, BioWare (and more likely, EA) wanted to include multiplayer to they tacked on a one-mode Horde clone (a Gears of War mode) and let players fight off waves of enemies on six maps from the campaign.
While extremely basic and occasionally buggy, it's also (and most importantly) fun. It's a platform BioWare can and will easily expand upon. Part of that is due to players being able to play non-human characters, part of it is because of the progression system which rewards players with XP to level up their characters as well as credits used to buy packs of randomized items to unlock weapons, characters, mods and upgrades (unfortunately there are also microtransactions which hurt the spirit of it).
As of this weekend though, there's a third part which further increases the ME3 multiplayer fun factor: events! FYI, these again, also taken directly from Epic Games and how they handle Gears of War multiplayer. While I'd love to see more multiplayer innovation and less Gears of War cloning, I'm not too upset because again, it's fun. Having specific tasks to accomplish on 'N7 Challenge Weekends' that reward players with more in-game items is how it should be. Promote and encourage people playing multiplayer instead of charging for every little piece of it. Rewards for playing > rewards for paying.
That's all for this week's Game Ranter Banter.
As always, let us know what you think of this week's news in the comments, or on Twitter @GameRant and Facebook.com/GameRant and if you have specific topics you'd like any of the team to cover, don't hesitate to ask.