That’s right folks, are you ready for another round of depressing realities in this world of gaming? I hope so! Since you are all waiting for PS4’s ‘greatness’ to occur in 2015 or later, and what other excuse third parties are trying to find on not support the WiiU, you can read this to pass the time.
Reality #1: Game Journalists are absolutely terrible at their jobs and its becoming harder to weed good games from the bad.
My last two recent major reviews I gave above average scores to on PixlBit were The Wonderful 101 and DuckTales: Remastered. I’m totally down on both games, but the rest of the game journalism field was not. How, you ask? To give a general consensus so you, dear reader, don’t have to give clicks to terrible game journalists, Wonderful 101 was panned for being too complicated to play despite the fact previous Platinum (and Clover) titles were highly rated and had the same learning curve as the rest of them. Also, DuckTales: Remastered, a remake based on a 1989 NES game that could be beaten in under an hour on the highest difficulty… was too hard.
Now I have witnessed before game journalists not giving two shits about wanting to put in effort to learn how a game plays, but somehow I think it goes much deeper than that… have they just gotten worse at playing video games? You know, the things they have to report on and review to tell us, the consumer, if they are shit or not? If so, I wouldn’t be surprised. After all, besides indie titles and those made by Nintendo, what genres were most major retail releases? In fact, what did we exactly see most of the time at E3 this year?
Open-world adventures containing cover-shooting 95% of the time, first person shooters that are almost like rail shooters but you are given more control over your character, and third person shooters that are like first person shooters but with a different perspective. I have nothing against these genres, mind you, but if you read my second Depressing Realities post, you know I touched base on this little problem about copy-catting; namely copying the problems that plague one game and go into another. When you play the same game 90% of the time, it has got to be draining to your enjoyment.
Yet these games continue to get good to great scores… until you take a quick sneak pick at the MetaCritic pages to see the user scores. Now I ask you all take a look at the Watch_Dogs page. Notice how the game journalist scores are higher than the users? On top of consumers being extremely unhappy with UbiSoft downgrading the impressive visuals shown in 2012, its basically copies GTA and the ‘hacking’ portion, much hyped for the game, turned out to be bland and anal at best.
So why didn’t this reflect in the scores from journalists?
Publishers pay off reviews. Are you shocked? You shouldn’t be, its common fact and if you deny it as reality then there is something seriously wrong with you. For god sakes, a journalist got fired because he refused to give a good score to a terrible game. Yes, that whole Kane and Lynch debacle. While Jeff Gerstmann is an ass and Gamespot is freaking terrible at their work, when a publisher pays you off and basically forces you to review a terrible game well, your job security is non-existent.
Reality #2: The lack of Virtual Console games people want on WiiU (3DS included) may have a lot to do with either the property holders not giving the game rights to Nintendo, or the property holders no longer existing/under new non-Nintendo ownership.
Let’s get real; you want Nintendo to release all sorts of different games for the WiiU/3DS eShop. While it’s a good sign Nintendo is going to try to get back on track with Virtual Console releases, if hiring M2 is any indication as their work is good, its not as easy as most people think to get these games onto the eShop. Besides having to be re-programmed if they have seizure inducing flashing effects, or taking out things considered iffy to some people (the Twin Towers), and the fact Nintendo’s developers are extremely busy since hardly any third parties want to developer for both their console and handheld, there is also this: licensing issues.
For Nintendo to release a Virtual Console game, they have to actually attain the rights to said game from the company who owns it. While the NES and SNES have a vast library of quality games that were released in North America (and to an extent Europe), you have to ask yourself this question: “Do many of those publishers exist anymore?” To which I answer… kind of. Capcom and Konami are still alive, and Square Enix in and of itself is two whole publishers. Yet there are many many publishers who are no longer alive, making said acquisition of rights even more of a problem to get a hold of.
And if the publisher is still alive? Awesome! …Except when you combine “Nintendo” and “third party publisher” together, you know it’s a headache inducing cluster-fuck of bizarre wants and needs. Nintendo themselves have to get the license from the publisher, and its common knowledge these publishers actively try to not work with Nintendo under such petty means, unless of course its to save face (ie Capcom actually putting out Mega Man games faster on 3DS/WiiU then they did with the Wii).
Its been oft-demanded that Nintendo release Goldeneye 64 on the Virtual Console, something which has been damn near impossible to due for several reasons which I will get into. While Perfect Dark pretty much made Goldeneye 64 its bitch three years later on the same console, its still a fun game to play and pretty much set a standard to what first person shooters on consoles should be. Why can’t it be re-released, and why did we get that Goldencraig game instead?
The original Goldeneye 64 was funded and published by Nintendo. The developer, Rare, is now owned by Microsoft. The rights to Goldeneye and the Bond franchise in terms of video game adaptions is owned by Activision. Now, you may have heard that Microsoft and an outside developer (read: not Rare) planned to do an HD remaster similar to the Banjo games and Perfect Dark for Goldeneye. It was a bold plan; Nintendo could re-release the game on the Wii Virtual Console as well, but with one little problem: Microsoft wanted some of the sales, and Microsoft basically wanted Nintendo to let MS make money on a remaster of a game they funded and published on the Nintendo 64 back in 1997. When Nintendo said ‘no’, the internet raged at Nintendo, like they did with Bayonetta 2. Without realizing something.
Nintendo got the game made with their own pocket money back in 1997. Just like with Bayonetta 2, they are not, nor ever, going to allow a game they got made put onto another system for a competitor to make money off of. Its basic business sense.
Reality #3: Third party publishers, along with Sony and MS, have devised ways to control the way you play video games, yet nobody calls them out on it.
I touched based on the DRM controversy last year with my second Depressing Realities, and how it seemed like a valid reason the WiiU was getting third party games (along with the usual bullshit reasons). Granted, this touched the nerves of a few people because hey, Sony and MS don’t have DRM systems in place!
Correction, they do, you just don’t see it as DRM at first.
Over the last few years, major third party publishers have been hell-bent on tackling the notion of used games sales. When budgets getting larger because of pointless spending on things that don’t better a game, publishers need to get as much money as they can on a game’s first retail run, which also includes digital sales. Yet because of DLC practices, day one patches and online passes, less people are buying games at full prices. It also doesn’t help many of these games aren’t worth the full asking prices game journalists praise them for.
Microsoft’s DRM policies, to this day, destroyed the Xbox One’s reputation amongst other things. Would you consider it ironic that the same people who had no such problem with this are also the ones actively not supporting Nintendo? Before Titanfall, Xbone’s supposed killer-app, was released, it was learned the DRM policies was a deal with EA for MS to have exclusivity for the game. And despite Sony’s mockery of the policies at E3 2013 in regards to the PS4, they are not innocent in this whole affair. Ever though they said they wouldn’t use it, why are they are pushing a streaming based system instead of putting in backwards compatibility?
So you can buy the game they know you will pay them for. Those hard-earned dollars are not going to the independently owned used game store, they are going to Sony, and the publishers that wanted this. Hell, Xbone users better be prepared for Live Streaming to happen too, because like Sony they chose streaming service instead of backwards compatibility. On top of that, there is this bullshit:
I have to ask this simple question: why does this have to exist when gaming networks like PSN, Live, Nintendo Network and Steam exist? Third party publishers like EA and UbiSoft have made playing games with other people harder to do because you have to be logged into both your gaming network ID and theirs at the same time. It gets even worse when recent releases by UbiSoft, like Watch_Dogs, cannot be played unless you log-in to uPlay. Yes, you can’t play UbiSoft’s most recent multi-million dollar hype fest unless you log into their network. If it doesn’t work? Well too bad, you have to wait for it to work.
For Christ sakes, you people want Nintendo to work and money hat with them?! Why?!
You have arrived at the end of the third and definitely final piece in this series I started last year in July. I am not doing any more of this things because unlike most armchair analysts I am going to be playing and enjoying games while publishers and developers crash and burn. Oh, I forgot to mention Nintendo? I’m sure you will find the billionth article on Nintendo being doomed elsewhere.
Peace out guys.