Tag Archives: Xbox

#420 A Response to “Are We Becoming Too Critical Of Video Games?”

For today’s post it is another response to one of Gamemoir’s Question of the Day posts from earlier this week. The post (found right HERE) talks about the abnormal amount of cynical criticism videogame players have with recently released AAA games when it comes to user reviews on meta-critic, using the Watch_Dogs backlash as the example.

I should get a frequent flyer card for how many responses I made because of them

I should get a frequent flyer card for how many responses I made because of them

Well you know where this one post is going, I am not going to be dedicating an entire blog post to echo someone else’s opinions, when it comes to the recent game releases we as consumers should never demand less our the amount of critical comments from ourselves, in fact I think we need all the critical observations we have right now and more so to ensure that only the best gets recognized.

Many – if not all – of complaints of Watch_Dogs spawned from Ubisoft’s over-promising features on their next big new IP game and under-delivering. From the launch of Watch_dogs we saw Ubisoft made the executive decision to hack off Week One DLC, create console specific and exclusive DLC, gimp the graphics on the PC version of the game and shoehorning in an unstable DRM service…ALL while advertising Watch_Dogs as a next great next gen game.

a next gen system that was released on the previous console as well.....hmmmmm

a next gen system that was released on the previous console as well…..hmmmmm

On the flip side there is hardly any criticisms towards games that simply told you exactly what it was going do and delivered it in spades.Just compare what promises given from Nintendo when they announced their most recent Mario Wii U game to the promises and designs from Ubisoft’s Watch_Dog reveal.

That is not the say that every game ever released by anyone should be held up the gaming standard of the cream of the crop, just like movies titles can be released two different -although VERY simplified- categories;

The first one is the fun to watch but stays in the comfort zone of slight immaturity, like what we see from Kirby titles and the over the top silliness of the Deadpool game. Or continuing with the movie parallel, the Die Hard series or any major summer action blockbuster movies It is there just to satisfy that itch in our brains of seeing stuff explode and have mindless fun.

The other category is the more appealing release for both consumers and gaming developers desires, the academy award winning titles that pushes the envelope of what it means to be a part of that media, the Spec Ops: the Line, the Walking Dead seasons, or the effects caused within the gaming world with the release of coveted, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

The reason Zelda OoT was so big was because it was the first time there was such a big paradigm shift a series. Going from a top down 2d to a full 3d third person open world game.

The reason Zelda OoT was so big was because it was the first time there was such a big paradigm shift a series. Going from a top down 2d to a full 3d third person open world game.

 

The problem with a perceived too much criticisms of games is when a company advertise a new release claiming it to win awards and show the true powers of what it means to be a game in the advertisements and lead up and gives us a run of the mill open world game with nothing new to offer. It is like going in to see Gravity in 3D IMAX and end up watching it in one of the smallest non-3D screens, it is still the same movie but the expected experience is completely different from the what we got.

There will always be people who constantly act as the nitpickers in movies, comics, music, and games but it is important not to let their complaints of not entering every house in an open world game drown out the legit critical claims of the game and the industry.

As patrons of this of a field of arts that is still just developing, we also need to be hyper critical of executive policies that would hurt the medium on the whole, like say rehashing franchises, excessive sequels, shoehorned in product placements, and practices that are only in place to line the higher up’s wallets instead of furthering the advancement of the media as a whole.


tmnt2014

 

 

But I want to know what you think, after reading the question from Gamemoir and my response here, where do you side with the about of criticisms in the gaming world?

 


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#389 Is there a true need for Exclusives?

E3 is wrapping up and while I am still trying to up on the various streams and press releases that I missed because of work for the next few day. While I am still surfing through Twitch and the YouTube highlights, one of the biggest E3 related news that I want to talk about is the announcement that Dead Rising 3 (a Xbox One launch title) and Grand Theft Auto 5 will be coming to the PC. With those two games going  multi-platform and moving to the PC I do have to ask, is there a need for third-party console exclusives any more?

I am not naive enough to claim that Super Mario 3D World should be ported to the PlayStation 4, because I know the importance of keeping Mario, Master Chief and Kratos as the respective console mascots. Between Capcom’s Dead Rising 3 and Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto and the old news of Kingdom Hearts 3 moving to the Xbox One and during the time where game developers have the first hands on experience with the new consoles, I  think we need to ask the question again.

As of right now the current generation of Microsoft and Sony console’s specs are so similar that there is no real reason why one game should be able to run on either One or the other (4). I understand that back in the day Sega’s Sonic games were created to advertise the Sega Genesis’s processing power compared to Nintendo’s NES and Super Nintendo. And during that time of the early 90’s there was a bunch of different consoles that had different controllers that provided different input controls that game developers needed to properly code. Right now there only advertised different in the two newest consoles, when it comes to gameplay and game performance, is the 720p vs 1080p resolution.

I do not need to say how good of a business model for 3 third-party videogame developers to constantly and only go multi-platform in the future and not even bother with the promotional exclusives with the console companies. Just going exclusively multi-platform means that these companies do not end up isolating their fan base or potential customers, which I know they do not want to do because these videogame companies are still porting their new AAA games to the last generation consoles (Be MOP #383)

But I want to bounce this question back to you guys reading at home, what do you think about the consoles exclusives (both first and third-party exclusives) with a gaming generation being so similar and standardized specs and controls? And where is the PC copy of Kingdom Hearts?

I think the only possible exception to my little rant to console exclusives should/may be titles that could not survive without divine intervention like what we saw with Platinum Games and Nintendo.

 

speaking of I cant wait go get around to buying a Wii U

speaking of I cant wait go get around to buying a Wii U


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#383 When Can We Move Away from the Last Gen?

This past few weeks we have seen some impressive modern game releases in the gaming world. Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs went live and the newest games from the Far Cry  and Lego Batman series were just announced. As expected all of these games are for the current Xbox One and PlayStation 4, generation, but these newest games will also receive a port for the last generation consoles as well. Watch_Dogs was suppose to be a system seller for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, how can Ubisoft do that if people can still buy it on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360?

I believe I have said everything I needed to say about Watch_Dogs. The Lego game now there is a series that has the potential for many more blog posts in the future

I believe I have said everything I needed to say about Watch_Dogs. The Lego game now there is a series that has the potential for many more blog posts in the future

 

I understand that gaming companies do this to get the non-converted players too but It would help the industry more of they ignored the old system and perfected the games on the newer, current systems. Right now we are still in that awkward transitioning phrase where the console gaming community, and by extent the gaming industry, are moving from gaming or making games on one set of systems to another system. As a PC gamer I do not want to bring up the mantra that consoles are hold back the gaming industry but it looks like consoles are holding back themselves. Despite what you personally think of the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One’s hardware components we can all agree that the hardware are miles a head than the computer parts used to make the consoles that came out almost ten years ago.

How much content had to be cut to make Watch_Dogs fit on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360? or another way to ask the question is, ‘how much more of the game could have been added if Ubisoft made the game only for the current generation?’ The same question could be asked with the most recent installments of Call of Duty, BattleField or the Lego games. E3 is coming up in less than two weeks and with all events and companies who have waited months to finally announce their latest games, how many of those new titles that will be slated for 2014 and 2015 release date will also be on the last generation? More importantly will the next Skyrim and Fallout, two Bethesda game that are known for their open world exploration, be forced to cut down potential content just so it could be sold to the people who still  have not  upgraded in the next few years? If this trend continues when will we have our first real wave of next-gen games?

At PAX East I heard how the developers pushed the Xbox 360 and PS3 to the limit to make this huge open ended game work on the consoles. Could they do that again on the same systems while trying to raise the bar above Skyrim?

At PAX East I heard how the developers pushed the Xbox 360 and PS3 to the limit to make this huge open-ended game work on the consoles. Could they do that again on the same systems while trying outdo themselves for the next Elder Scrolls game?

 

You would think that, as a PC gamer it should not bother me that much about what the people on the console side of gaming is doing base on the fact I can upgrade my system when ever I want. But because the console market is so influential in the gaming industry, I am anxious for every company to hop on board with the newest version of technology so we can see the next jump in gaming that we have all been promised for a while.

 


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#378 I Spy a growing problem with GameSpy shutting down.

Another news story broke earlier this week with EA officially pulling server support for dozens and dozens of their titles by June 30th 2014, following the announcement that the online matchmaking service, GameSpy, will be closing down at the end of May on top of Nintendo will be moving forward in their plans to phase out Wii and Nintendo DS’s Nintendo Wi-Fi connection by May 20th.

A handy chart of all the Pokemon related content and services going away in the next few days

A handy chart of all the Pokemon related content and services going away in the next few days

 

This is not a new issue and with the next-gen consoles becoming this-gen, one of  gaming company’s current elephants in the meeting room is the question, ‘how long can or should these companies supply support to these old online games after creating a gaming generation with an emphasis on online play?”

On the business side, these video game companies -despite what some people think- do have limited amount of money and they cannot expect to run these servers in-house forever, especially when some of these games are pushing ten years old. but I do believe these companies have some sort of duty to continue providing service to the paying consumers who bought a game with such a heavy focus on online play.

We now have games that sell themselves on the focus on online multiplayer. I do not remember anyone buying Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, or TitanFall for the single player story they were bought because they were used a portal to a new world of online play. This trend is partly because of the advancement of internet speed and access but also because of the console company’s choice to focus more on the online play which is not a bad thing, but it does come with the responsibility to care for the product after the game is no longer topping the charts? This is not just  a problem for EA and Activision but for all AAA gaming companies with at least some bit of online support whether it be; online multiplayer,  any exclusive DLC content or digital patches will have to face with the upcoming shift from Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

More importantly, what will happen in the gaming community when people who bought a game for the excuse to play online can longer have that ability to connect to the servers, like in the eventual phasing out of the Xbox Live and PlayStation network. What will the reaction when the from all the Halo 4 fans, and the Call of Duty Ghost players when no longer log on to their servers because the network that both games use for online play have gone offline? Not to mention the reaction from the players who will no longer have access to and retrieve or redownload all the indie, digital only games and DLC packs that they have already bought through XBL and PSN

Call me a history fanatic for my love of preservation the past and my concern with this the now obsolete games, but this issue will only be brought up again with more and more gaming services going offline and no longer playable. I wish I had an easy solution to fix this problem, the first go to answer would be to have every gaming company go the way of Valve and let the community have the ability to host servers of their favorite map. The problem is then to execute a major content patch for all consoles that changes exactly how these consoles connects to the internet and which 3rd party servers it connects to, a thought that Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony will not seriously entertain for long.

 


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#355 The Sin of Exclusive Content in Multiplatform Games

Watch_Dogs, in preparation for launch, released a video of the exclusive content PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 players will receive with their cop of the game. The video in question can be found HERE and it advertises 60 minutes of non-cosmetic content and gameplay. This is one of greatest sins on the console side of the videogame industry. We are out of the mid to late 90’s console war, there is no need to make content exclusive to one console or another.

I swear I don't have a personal vendetta against this game, it is just brings up a lot of problems I have with the videogame world.

After reading by last post about Watch_Dogs (Be MOP #348) one could claim that I am bias about this game. But I swear I don’t have a personal vendetta against this game, it is just brings up a lot of problems I have with the videogame world.

 

 

I discovered this problem with Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum PS3 only Joker DLC, it was continued with the launch of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV and peaked with Watch_Dogs. All of these games have content exclusive DLC only for the PlayStation version of those multiplatform games. I was going to write a top ten blog post about the worst videogame sins and this one was going to take the cake  and rightly so because it is holding content back for the highest bidder.

Because I bought this on Steam I will never be able to play as the Joker.

Because I bought this on Steam I will never be able to play as the Joker.

 

I know that back in the day (read as Generation 5 and 6) the specs on the different types of consoles were so different and varied that it made sense to have the few multiplatform games was going be different and varied but when the hardware between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is so similar that there is no reason to hold back content for one console or another.

I am not delusional, I know the importance exclusive gaming franchise like Mario, God of War, and Halo are to a console allure but holding back content on a game that comes out for all systems, from WiiU to the PC, is unacceptable.

Another great example of this is the recent Metal Gear V game and  how the game advertised an exclusive Raiden and Deja Vu campaign of  for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 respectively.

I could see what they were going with paying homage to the classic PlayStation game but it still doesn't excuse it from happening

I could see what they were going with paying homage to the classic PlayStation game but it still doesn’t excuse it from happening

 

These tactics are done for the sake of marketing, it is holding segments of videogame content hostage from the paying consumer. As a big Batman fan, if I wanted the full Batman Arkham Asylum gaming experience I would be forced to buy a PlayStation 3, neglecting my frankly better PC gaming laptop, to play as the clown prince of crime himself. I feel bad for the hardcore Metal Gear fans because if they wanted the entire MGSV experience I would have to buy two current generation consoles and two separate versions of the same game.

Again, what kills me is that this is all and only done for the sake of marketing and favoritism.  After spending a weekend I could think of no good reason to continue this practice, it is done for the sake of greed and greed alone without a second thought for the consumers who did not luck out on getting the one gaming system with all the exclusive DLC. That is why it is one of my most hated sin in the videogame industry.

 


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#348 Should Bullshots be Illegal?

Some news from the anticipated game Watch_dogs recently hit the web, with the game’s release date, the delayed release of the Wii U version and the game came under criticism for having the in-game engine and environments looking nothing like the previous gaming build that was shown off on stage at E3 two years ago.

Just to preface this post I have no interest or investment in this game. for the longest time I thought that this was a PS4 exclusive from the Watch_Dogs PS4 promotional bundles.

Just to preface this post I have no interest or investment in this game. for the longest time I thought that this was a PS4 exclusive from the Watch_Dogs PS4 promotional bundles.

 

Apparently this technique is called Bullshot. Bullshot, according to Urban Dictionary is a screenshot fabricated by a company to misrepresent the graphics of a game.  While this is not the first time I have seen this happen this is the first time I heard that word being used.

Far Cry 3, Uncharted, Steel Battalion Heavy Armor and most noticeable the flopped Rambo game are all perfect examples of gaming companies modifying their game’s image when releasing first looks screenshots of their games.

And while everyone in the gaming industry uses the Bullshot technique during the first previews and at the various trade shows, the question is should it be considered illegal for false advertising?

On one hand the game companies uses this method to build hype for the game and show the ideal end image of a product that is not completed yet. And I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that some of these graphical touches might have been dropped for the sake of finishing the product, and dealing with the graphical crunch from the limitations of the consoles. At the time Watch_Dogs developers did not have access (or the ability to publicly show off) the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One at 2012’s E3 so they had to resort to using a PC device to run their product.

A comparison shot of the prereleased and finished Forza 5. Source

A comparison shot of the prereleased and finished Forza 5. Source

 

But on the other consumer friendly hand…it could be argued that this is the gaming companies lying and misleading the paying consumers by manipulating the advertised image of a game to look better than the finished product,

A common phrase I use when talking about these issues but this is an issue that videogames have brought up and needs to be set a precedent for rest of the entertainment world, no other media does uses this technique (and if they do they do not do it as obviously and frequently). A few weeks ago Marvel released their first look at their the Guardians of the Galaxy and you can bet your bottom dollar that those clips or the CGI quality of those clips will be used in the movie despite the overall quality of the rest of the movie, same goes with comic books and T.V series.

With that in mind I want to bring this question to you, What do you think about the gaming industry using Bullshot option when showing off their games at trade shows or press releases? Has the bullshot process gone too far that we, the consumers, should lobby for legal action to stop companies from continuing to do this?

And where is should the line of Bullshotting be drawn? Should it include cutscenes? the prerendered videos of the gameplay at the trade shows or should it just be defined as the advertised ‘in game engine’ live game-play that gaming companies show on stage?

Leave a comment down below on what you think, I would love to hear what other people’s opinions about this process.

 


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#345 The questions raised with pulling online support of last generation

The latest buzz around the internet was the announcement that Nintendo will be pulling their online play support for the Wii and DS and this bit of news was just followed by Sony’s decision to stop supplying Gran Turismo 5 dlc after the end of April.

With the start of the newest gaming generation, players and the console companies need to start talking about what we are going to do with all of the ownership of digital content from the last generation and with Microsoft’s and Sony’s eventual dropping the support of the Xbox 360 and PS3.

On one hand companies should be able to pull support from their older systems, it’s one part because of the cost to continue supplying the support over the years and because it is obsolete.

It's reason why we don't have Pikmin 1,2 & 3 on the n64.

It’s reason why we don’t have Pikmin 1,2 & 3 on the n64.

 

But on the other, and arguably more important hand, this gaming generation is completely different from previous generations with the introduction  and heavy emphases of DLC and games bought and delivered digitally by way of the Wii’s Virtual console, the Xbox Live Market, and the PlayStation Store. and what will  happen to all the digital games and content that we bought and downloaded in the next few years?

Do we have the right to demand these companies to keep a cost prohibited system open for use to buy and redownload these old games if we bought a new PS3/Xbox360/Wii at a gamestop or thrift shop to replace our broken down devices?

Looking back on the console companies made the major mistake of advertising as actually buying these digital games instead of leasing these titles, that is if they want to continue their constant DRM policy. I imagine they should have advertised as the Netflix of gaming, with account tied streaming television shows and only borrowing the movies disk for a limited  rather than being the DRM-free music store like iTunes and Amazon.

I know iTunes's movies and TVs are still in DRM lock down but you own those drm free music albums you bought though the site.

I know iTunes’s movies and TVs are still in DRM lock down but you do own any drm free music albums you bought through the site. 

 

I have a feeling that video games, being the one industry to have a relatively quick and sudden turnaround in devices  will have to be the first to answer the question about owning digital content for the rest of the world.

But I want to know what’s your opinion on the matter of games bought on the previous generation and the eventual ending of support? If you don’t like that idea what solution do you propose that is reasonable to both the paying consumer and the company that are trying to make a profit at the end of the day?

I am asking you these question not to get your opinions but because I am at a lost for answers myself. 

 


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