Nick's Gaming Blog

“This Week in Gaming” Or Something Less Catchy

Before anything else, let me say that yes, I’m aware that there’s a lot of pressure on me to “deliver the goods” now that the Internet’s only other gaming news site (Kotaku) is underwater thanks to that meteorological slut,  Hurricane Pecan Sandy.

Granted, some of you are only here to hear that the game where you climb things, jump off things, and then stab things with the things concealed in your wrist doesn’t suck.

And, despite scoring a few points below the last “numbered” entry in the series, Assassin’s Creed 3 is pulling a respectable “85″ on Metacritic with nearly 30 reviews posted.  Now, I haven’t played it, so this is pure conjecture, but I think it goes without saying that perhaps gamers are finally exhibiting “Ass Creed Fatigue” six years after its inception.

Now that I’ve presented my “unsubstantiated thought” (or at least, the most prominent one) for today, let’s move on to the points.

1.  “Blame Canada”: How Ontario-based developer Silicon Knights’ successfully created a X-Men licensed dud AND denied me “my precious”

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve never heard of Silicon Knights, the studio is neither prodigious in size, nor prolific in output.  You have probably played one or two of their games, though.  They’re behind Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes and Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem on the Gamecube, as well as that semi-ambitious mess deserving of its name, Too Human, which was for the Xbox 360.  Like I said, they’re not exactly churning out annual sequels, a la Madden.

Let’s be blunt: any chance I get to post a ED:SR photo, I leap at it.

Understandably, when a developer best known for favoring its own IPs (intellectual properties) over licensed fare, and taking several years to complete said projects produces a X-Men title within a year of it being announced…well, it had me making sure I wasn’t reading an article from The Onion.

I wish I had been. Part of me hoped that maybe this was a “Brave New World” where developers that were critically-acclaimed, but chronically overlooked by the public-at-large were given creative free reign over well-liked franchises, desperately in need of a creative jolt.  It’d be like putting the guys who made Amnesia: Dark Descent in charge of Silent Hill, or letting those behind Bastion create the next 2D Castlevania title.

At least, in theory.

However, according to some insider reports, X-Men: Destiny‘s funding from publisher Activision were being “creatively allocated”  to Silicon Knights self-funded project, Eternal Darkness 2.  Apparently Dennis Dyack, the “head honcho” at SK was frequently pulling people hard at work on the X-Men title to assist with the development of an Eternal Darkness 2 demo…putting SK further and further behind on X-Men.

In the end X-Men: Destiny suffered to the tune of a 47 on Metacritic, widely regarded as graphically antiquated, generically-playing slab of medium rare “apathetic cash grab.”  Eternal Darkness 2 didn’t fare any better, as one developer put it they’d only developed “one two-level church interior” when he departed.

And Silicon Knights?  When all is said and done, they might only be a company of five employees.  Yikes.

 2. “And here I thought Activision wasn’t hemorrhaging money,” said no one.

What’s that?  It’s time for Activision to remind the knuckle-draggers out there that it’s time to shell out some buckaroos in order to yell at tweenagers on Xbox Live?

Oh?  It is?  Well Kenneth, quickly get me a flashy over-rated film director, several B-list celebrities that probably can’t distinguish between a game console and a Japanese bidet, as well as enough explosions to induce ADHD in the most driven of individuals.

Yup, time for a live action Call of Duty commercial.  Gone are the days of Kobe “even my endorsements have endorsements” Bryant brandishing grenade launchers, and Jonah Hill engaging in semi-witty banter with Sam Worthington.  This time they landed Mr. Downey Jr…if only for a few seconds.  The rest appear to be Youtube “stars,” such as iJustine and FPSRussia.

And here’s something that’s NOT a surprise: A yearly CoD entry.

3.  Cliffy B, freed up from his Epic duties, offers Capcom free (albeit possibly unwanted” advice

If you were the guy that thought Cliffy B was not quite capable of “going off the grid”…well, then you would indubitably be correct, good sir.  Twitter tends to do that.  Regardless of your thoughts on Mr. Bleszinski’s neck-less chainsaw-romping trilogy, @therealcliffyb makes a solid point: the Resident Evil franchise as we “horror” fans know it, is broken.

So, let this photo be your guide if you were “undecided” on CliffyB

But when Dude Huge’s (how many nicknames has this guy self-assigned?) tweet goes on to suggest that he’s willing to be the one “fixing” the franchise?  Buddy, have you seen your games?  You decapitate, bisect, and genitally mutilate all the things one might possibly fear in your games.  Did I mention that you’re big on health regeneration as a game mechanic, and your favored method of killing doesn’t even rely on a stringent monitoring of ammo?

Here is the game Cliffy B needs to be working on.

4.  Skyrim: Premium Edition is “a thing.” A “thing” that lacks the one thing it SHOULD have: the DLC

Things this Premium edition will include: a map, a T-shirt, post cards, and an ENTIRE novel.  Those interested in the PC version will net a couple additional goodies, including the soundtrack.

But you won’t get the DLC, Dawnguard and Hearthfire, to be specific.  That wouldn’t be as surprising if it wasn’t for the fact that the precedent set by the GOTY editions of Morrowind and Oblivion is the inclusion of the DLC.

Why the change this go-round?  Well, quick, go find your friend who owns a copy of Skyrim for the PS3, and he’ll probably fill you in.

That’s right, Bethesda has been having a world of a time trying to develop said DLC for the PS3…not unlike their struggles developing Skyrim for the console in the first place.

And now we’re all going to pay the price.  To be fair, Skyrim was a buggy (though frequently hilarious) mess regardless what system you purchased it for.  It’s just that the PS3′s edition took it to a whole new level.

5. Don’t tell female gamers to “make you a sandwich” in Halo 4

See, in case you didn’t know 343 Studios head just so happens to be a woman.  And that woman, awesomely named Kiki Wolfkill has stated that those being sexist whilst playing Halo 4 will be presented with a very exclusive gift, that being a lifetime ban.

This is Kiki Wolfkill. And she’s not “down” with sexist discrimination from those playing Halo 4 online. And THAT is awesome.

Of course, some critics, despite approving of the general gist of Wolfkill’s message, wonder just how successfully this can be executed, or just if any parameters will be defined. Others wonder, provided that Microsoft can identify those being sexist, if they can financially afford banning all of those people, and potentially lose them as supporters of the franchise.

Of course, some might say that “of course they can, the amount of people behaving this way really isn’t that sizable.”

Which, of course, isn’t true.  And this isn’t even taking into account the racists and the homophobes, amongst the other antagonists on Xbox Live.

I say, even if the execution’s imperfect, it’s the right idea.  Nobody should have to pay for a quality service, only to face harassment with every gaming session.  Let’s be blunt, PS3′s gaming community is largely regarded as being the more mature of the next-gen consoles, and they don’t charge a dime.  Female gamers might take note of this when purchasing their next console, that’s all I’m going to say on that.

Well, that’s all of this week.


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