Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Now it's Craig's turn....

Why get a real review when you can read our crap?

We’re now clearly on a roll, so I’ll keep the ball rolling. My god, let’s also see how many times I can use the word “roll” in this analogy of moving along. Speaking of moving along…

This has been a radically different summer than the norm so far in terms of game releases. While we typically assume that the summer is the time where you go back to finishing all those Christmas releases that you never finished, companies have finally realized that gamers actually want to purchase new games beyond of the winter. Honestly, did companies believe all games were bought by parents for their children as a holiday gift? Don’t those damn studies show that the average gamer has risen to 35 (which, by the way, makes me incredibly happy that I am on the low side of that study…Mike, on the other hand...)? Seriously, how many 35 year olds are saying, “Mommy, here’s my Christmas list…don’t forget to add Batman: Arkham Asylum at the bottom!” What the fuck?? We're semi-adults, goddammit. Please, try to treat us that way. And I say that with the full realization that I do a podcast where I get to get hammered and talk about tech and video games, so I have very little credibility in the "adult" regard.

Okay, back to the original point. Fact: Games are actually coming out in the summer time, which is a good thing. Fact: Not all those games are going to be good, which is also a good thing. Without average, or better yet, crappy games coming out from crappy companies, we would never really understand how great the other games really are. Final Fact: Sometimes average games come out very close to great games, and are destined to get slammed in the comparison. Sucks to be those games, but it happens. Remember when “Mamma Mia!” was released in the theaters? Probably not, because you were busy seeing “The Dark Knight” for the fifth time at a midnight showing in IMAX. Whoops…great timing.

Now, imagine if “Mamma Mia”! was about a brooding superhero who fought crime, but had clearly sub-par special effects, a non-existent storyline, and still starred that bug-eyed chick from “Mean Girls” singing shitty ABBA songs. Not only would it still have been destroyed by TDK, it also would’ve been panned for being a copy-cat that was clearly inferior. Any idea where I am going with this?

A few weeks back, inFamous was released for the PS3. For those not in the know, it stars a gravelly-voiced 'who-cares' character that is suddenly infused with the ability to control electricity during an explosion that rocks some major city. The player gets to decide whether they use these powers for good or evil. The choices are often rather heavy-handed and evenly poorly implemented, but the idea is interesting and the power schemes are cool. What makes the game a must-buy for the PS3-owner is two-fold: a) the controls are incredibly, and hearken back to the feeling of “Assassin’s Creed”, and b) you don’t own shit for the PS3 that was worth a damn, so at least you can buy something for your shelf other than another stupid Blu-Ray.

I love this game. While the character (Cole something or other, but let’s just call him Generic Video-Game AntiHero, henceforth know as GVGAH) is a pretty generic representation of the old 80’s action movie star, the way he moves about the city is incredible on the eyes. You really get the feeling that you can go anywhere and do anything. You never worry about landing a jump, grabbing a handhold, or shimmying down a wall. Mike and I instantly agreed that one of the best parts of the game is when you jump to a lamppost. Seriously, that conversation actually happened. The way GVGAH slides down a bit as his momentum carries him to the post is the definition of immersive. You immediately understand how he interacts with the world, and you don’t have to work to pull off cool moves. It becomes second nature, which is what games are supposed to do. I shouldn’t constantly have to think about the controls, I should just be able to do stuff. Go try it, you'll see what we mean. No worries, we'll wait.

Now on to the other game that came out a few weeks back. You may have heard of a little game called Prototype. You may have even purchased this multi-platform game. Go return it, right now. If you opened it, I apologize. Speaking of which, remember when you used to be able to buy a game, beat that shit, and return it to Babbage’s for a new game? Hahahahahaha….dumbasses.

But I digress. So, back to my original point, which is this: Prototype sucks. The game is so similar to inFamous in multiple ways: the idea of an open world, a character with powers, concept of being able to run over and up anything and everything, etc. But it’s just not as well-implemented, or even as fun. I played a total of 10 minutes, and then went back to inFamous. The character is cornier, the controls are weaker, the animations are much worse, and the graphics aren’t even as good. Sure, there are more powers, but they are exponentially less fun to control than GVGAH’s electric-based power set. And I couldn’t care less about the stupid character and his revenge mission. He is a hoodie-wearing weak mash-up of potentially interesting ideas put in a blender, resulting in some douche who is inexplicably less interesting than the mentally-challenged mute from GTA3. He actually made me angry at my screen. Jesus, how hard is it to make a character that draws you in, or at least doesn't pull you out of the world? Apparently harder than we think, because most developers suck at it.

Can you imagine the thoughts that went through said developer’s heads when they saw inFamous was released? Here’s my guess:

“Wow…another game with a character running through a city, kicking the shit out of everyone with his anti-hero powers! Awesome! That will totally help our game sell more units. Wait, what? You said the game controls well? Oh well, who cares. People bought a shitload of Res 5, and that game controls like a retarded person. Oh, and it looks beautiful? Ummm….okay, well, we can steal people’s souls! So it also animates well and draws people in to the world instantly? Oh fuck, can we delay launch until 2010??”

Sucks, huh? We play a ton of games. You may have noticed. We don’t necessarily beat a lot of games. I will probably beat inFamous. I will never, ever in a million years beat Prototype. Honestly, I may never even put it back in the tray. If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what else to say. I can say I know this isn’t really a review; it’s more of a rambling stream of consciousness. But in the end, if you only take one thing from this comparison/review, remember this: Mike is old. Way older than me.
Barcode Ratings:
inFamous: 21 out of 30, or a terrible, incredibly flawed incredibly fun and immersive model-level game
Prototype: 6 out of 30, or an average at best horrific crap game

No comments:

Post a Comment