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by Ethos

Hey! Look! Listen! #64 – Dream of Californication

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

“I’m not going to bore you with three paragraph non-introductions like Riddles did with his Hey! Look! Listen!…”

Seriously, what a jackass. You guys enjoy my lengthy introductions, right? They’re a nice personal touch, right? I’m an interesting person, right?

Wrong? Well fuck you too, asswipe.

David Jaffe Responds to EA Louse

Remember last week when I wrote about the Tragic Rantings of EA Louse? Y’know, the guy from Mythic who worked on the Warhammer MMO and said that BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic was going to fail epically?

Well, while the man may have had some valid complaints, he was also a butthurt sap who was about to get fired. What I mean by that is: his perspective is far from unbiased. So, it’s hardly surprising that David Jaffe has taken the opportunity to call him out on a few things. You can read Jaffe’s blog entry here.

Jaffe’s a pretty straight shooter, I have to concede. His point about the dancing is spot-on, and mirrors what I thought myself. And this is coming from Jaffe, a guy who’s worked on plenty of games, and most likely worked with plenty of less-than-stellar dev teams himself. He knows what he’s talking about.

I mean, he created God of War. And for that he will remain immortal.

Perhaps wrongfully so.

D’OH

Check Out This Video About Black Ops’ Multiplayer

Awwww yeah. I’m admittedly pretty stoked about Call of Duty: Black Ops. Call of Duty’s online multiplayer is the only competitive online game that I’ve ever become moderately addicted to. Y’see, I don’t tend to be the type of gamer who obsesses over any single game for an extended period of time. So, the fact that Modern Warfare 2 has taken up so many days (days) of my time is an impressive thing.

Is there *anyone* else out there who likes Call of Duty? Nobody? Too bad,watch this (highly informative) video anyway.

November 9 can’t come soon enough.

Capcom Defends Dante Redesign

Okay. Between myself and Ethos, I’m the bigger Devil May Cry fan. I’ve played through the entirety of the first two, and a good chunk of DMC3. I like the series quite a bit, so naturally I paid attention when Capcom unveiled their flashy new series relaunch. However, as you may have noticed, I said nothing – nothing until now.

I’ve been doing this thing long enough to have learned to avoid knee-jerk reactions. They often end up making a fool of you, and I’m not partial to being made a fool of. So, when a developer or publisher does something that  rubs me in every conceivable wrong direction, I force myself to take a moment, step back, wait for the initial shock to wear off, and then see what I think.

When Capcom unveiled the new design for Dante, I hated it. I hated it just as much as the throngs of angry gamers who set the internets ablaze with their vitriolic complaints.

But I remained silent.

Until now.

The new Dante sucks. He sucks, he’s terrible, I hate him. Why’d they do this to him? Why? How? Please, can’t anyone tell me why?

Maybe Christian Svensson, Capcom’s VP of Strategic Planning and Business Development can tell me.

The original concepts that came back for Dante were actually extremely close to the Dante everyone knows and loves,” Svensson explained. “The feedback that came back from [Keiji] Inafune and [Hideaki] Itsuno was, ‘No guys, this needs to be completely different, we need you to go much further and be much more creative.’”

And literally dozens of potential iterations later became what we as a team felt comfortable and actually happy with.

Okay… so they wanted him to look different. Fine. What Capcom needs to understand is that we’re not furious because they changed Dante. Necessarily. Rather, we’re furious because they changed Dante into such a douche. Seriously, could they have come up with a (pardon my language) faggier look for everyone’s favorite demon slayer? Dante is a wisecracking badass, not a fucking brooding grease-haired emo F*GGOT.

Again, pardon the language. I only deem it necessary in these dire times. Sucker Punch was wise, and responded to the outcry of their fans. Hopefully Capcom will do the same. Because I do not want to look at that for eight plus hours.

Man, I Love Back to the Future

I do. Even the second installment, which many people seem to disdain for whatever reason. In my opinion, the second movie is the second best. And the first is the first best. A cookie if you can figure out which I think is the third best.

Granted, it is somewhat amusing (and disappointing) to look at the second film’s depiction of the year 2015. And, while we may still have four years or so until we reach said year, this video from Landline TV more or less has it right. Poor Doc Brown. The guy deserved better.

Somebody *did* make a Hoverboard, though. We have that.

Ba-hahahaha: EA Wants to Kill Babies

Well, not really. However, the unfortunate placement of this pop-out ad for Medal of Honor makes it appear so:

Oh, I love it.

Irregardless of any and all rumors of baby-killing, Medal of Honor managed to sell 1.5 million copies in a week. What? In spite of its “shameful” 75% aggregate ranking?

What a spoiled, spoiled industry.

I’ve Seen This Trailer 82372 Times Before

I know a lot of people are excited about The Last Story. I should be too; it’s Hironobu Sakaguchi. The last game he made was Lost Odyssey, and I loved the shit out of it. Hell, I even enjoyed Blue Dragon for what it was. (Braces).

That said, this trailer looks like it was pieced together from every other JRPG trailer ever made. Ever. The fact that it’s all in Japanese doesn’t help its cause.

So, why would I end this HLL with a boring video that I didn’t even enjoy? Well, one half to appeal to the hopeless JRPG nerds in the crowd. (I can smell you.) And one half because I hate you. I hate you all.

Nah, not really. I had fun writing this. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

~Riddles

Hey! Look! Listen! #63 – Not So Lost, as it were

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Hm. I’m having a difficult time coming up with something interesting to say for this little intro. Usually I say something self-disparaging, apologetic, or both. But I don’t feel the need, nor really have the cause to be self-disparaging or apologetic right now, so that won’t work.

I’d relate some intriguing story sampled from recent events in my life, but my life is actually really boring, stale, and monotonous. Nothing of particular interest has occurred since… well, probably since I moved into my new place. And yeah, that was fairly recent, but even still, it’s not like any exciting stories have arisen from it.

Sad as this is to say, the most interesting thing I’ve done in the last couple weeks is start watching Lost. Yes, you read that correctly. For no reason other than the fuck of it (and because I enjoy the show, I guess) I’ve begun the sure-to-be-lengthy process of watching Lost from start to finish. I’ve seen a lot of Season 6 (which, by the way, is probably the worst place you could ever start watching the show) but other than that I’m a noob.

So, how does it feel to be watching the first season after seeing almost every episode of Season 6? (I managed to avoid the finale, that was about it.) Well, it’s still an enjoyable thing to watch, but it’s obviously somewhat disappointing that much of what I’m supposed to find mysterious… isn’t. But I can only blame myself for that one. Stupid, stupid me.

The Tragically Comic Rantings of  EA Louse

HEY! – Why I Care I greatly enjoy these rare glimpses into the inner workings of Corporate’s seedy underbelly in the videogame industry. What we have here is a rant written by an employee of Mythic Entertainment – now known as “BioWare Mythic.” The guy’s pissed because he heard he was being fired soon, decided to write a scathing blog entry exposing the incompetency of Mythic and BioWare’s upper management figures. The article is labeled, simply, as “Why Warhammer Failed“.

LOOK! – Why You Care This guy was clearly pretty involved in the development of the now-largely-forgotten MMORPG, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. He tells an interesting story of what “really” went on behind the scenes of the game’s tumultous development. Oh, and if that doesn’t grab you: he blasts BioWare’s upcoming MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. In his own words:

Old Republic will be one of the greatest failures in the history of MMOs from EA. Probably at the level of the Sims Online. We all know it too

See? This guy has some crazy shit to say. So…

Listen! Mythic Entertainment has been around for a while. Founded in 1995, they finally made a name for themselves in 2001 with the MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot. In 2006, EA bought them out, and they were known as “EA Mythic” for few years afterward. Then, as you should all recall, EA merged with BioWare Entertainment. (Y’know, the Mass Effect guys.) Shortly after that acquisition, EA took the liberty of merging Mythic Entertainment with BioWare to create what is now known as “BioWare Mythic.” Dr. Ray Myzuka still runs the entire shindig, Mythic’s general manager was replaced, and things went along with ease and efficiency.

…or DID they? Apparently not, if this dude is to be believed. I mean, sure, it’s possible that it’s all an elaborate host, but it sounds legit enough to me. Hell, even if it’s not, it’s a legitimately entertaining read. The merger between EA and BioWare was a huge, huge deal – a deal that, seemingly, went over without a hitch. We still got our respective Dragon Age and Mass Effect fixes. And oh looky, Dragon Age 2 is set for release in less than five months! And Mass Effect 2 is coming to the PS3! No sign of greedy corporate evil here, right?

Probably wrong. If you still aren’t interested in reading his rant, then at least treat yourself to this glorious excerpt:

Oh yeah, and he needed Paul Barnett. You know him as the crazy British dude that appears in random videos at EA to promote his latest bullshittery. We know him as the crazy British dude who we have no idea of how he still has a job. This man was supposed to be the savior of Warhammer’s vision and design. Now all he can do is promote his strange ideas about his little secret project web Ultima game that’s been almost universally criticized by all of us and focus groups. What’s that? You didn”t know Paul loves one of those old Ultima games sooooo much he’s making a literal copy of it for Facebook? Well, the cats outta the bag. Too bad it sucks ass.

Oh… the hatred in his tone. I soak it up like a week-old sponge.

So, assuming that you’ve read his rant at this point, what are your thoughts? Rightly disgruntled employee with legitimate, if raging, critiques? Or a pill who just got burned and felt like bitching?

Or… both?

Aggregate Ranking Roundup: Final Fantasy XIV, Enslaved, Medal of Honor

Huh boy. It’s that time of year again.

Last year I had quite a bit more money than I do now, so I was set and ready to stem the tide of big game releases. This year, however, I am not so fortunate. One fortunate thing, though, is that it now seems that I can safely cross two games off the list.

Final Fantasy XIV – 55% (7 reviews, PC version) Ouch. Well, I guess we all saw this one coming. Final Fantasy XIV never looked like it would be anything more than a grindy, unpolished mess, and now that reviews are starting to roll out – almost universally negative – I guess we can finally put it to rest. From Kevin VanOrd’s review for GameSpot: “When the simple act of creating an account for the massively multiplayer online game you just bought is a convoluted mess, you know you’re in trouble.”

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West – 82.07% (30 reviews, PS3 version) Yeah. I still want this game. Really badly, actually, and I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve heard that Lameish (or whatever his name is) has it, but despite my repeated demands that he airmail it to me, he has refused. I’d fire him, but then I’d be admitting that I hired him in the first place.

Anyway, yeah, Enslaved looks really good. Granted, an 82 percent aggregate ranking isn’t exactly cause to blow one’s load, but it is quite respectable. General consensus seems to be that Enslaved greatly succeeds as an experience, a story, and a visual spectacle. Why do I want it so badly? Well, for one thing, I haven’t played a good action-adventure game in far too long. Secondly, I find the post-apocalyptic-yet-healing world setting incredibly appealing. In a sea of big-name releases with much larger ad campaigns, it looks like Enslaved might be doomed to obscurity. And while I’ve yet to play (though I promise I will) I think that’s a damn shame.

Medal of Honor – 75.3% (20 reviews, PS3 version) While I may spend a fair amount of time wanking Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the only way I’d spend money on EA’s Medal of Honor reboot is if it received sparkling reviews. And, while reviews for said reboot have been positive, they have not sparkled. I’m frankly surprised. Not that the game is only average, but that so many reviewers actually took the liberty of pointing this out. A big, fat, heavily advertised series reboot from EA is precisely the sort of thing that most media outlets would love to fellate. And yet they haven’t. Good for them. Bad for EA’s shareholders, as it were. Apparently, due to the average-only reviews, EA’s shares dipped six percent. Boo-hoo, I know.

QUICKIES – Short and Rough. Uh, Sweet.

The PS3 Will Soon Netflix Sans Disc – Oh thank fuck. The PS3 is my system of choice, so I prefer to Netflix on it rather than my 360. The problem? The PS3 makes me stick a disc in the drive, while the 360 does not. It presents quite the moral impound, but it will soon be a nonissue. Starting Monday, a system update will allow us all to watch Netflix without the damn disc. It will also now feature 5.1 surround sound due to some partnership with Dolby, and it will allow for video qualities up to 1080i. And it’ll look better and move faster. Sounds like epic winsauce all around.

Dragon Age II “BioWare Signature Edition” Announced – Woo. Well, actually, it is kinda cool. If you pre-order Dragon Age II before January 11, you’ll get a download code for a new character and mission, a digital soundtrack, and some kinda digital in-game armory. At no additional cost. I really need to finish Dragon Age Origins.

You Can Get Married in a Chinese McDonald’s – Ah. This is… something. Crazy Hong Kong-ians.

And that’s it. There’s no more. This thing is almost 1500 words long, which is pushing it a little bit given the average attention span of a Riddlethos reader.

Anyway, Ethos should be here tonight with some thoughts on the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer beta. The next time you see me, I’ll probably be reviewing the new South Park. (Preview: it’s pretty funny.)

~Riddles

Hey! Look! Listen! #59 – I Miss My Desk

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Aaaand I’m back.

Man, I really should stop pulling this frequent disappearance act. But (sadly) Riddlethos doesn’t pay the bills. And it was my birthday week, and the only present I received was the gift of laziness, which I gave to myself.

As for the title of this post, it’s in reference to my super-awesome desk that I received as a birthday present some years back. Right now, though, it’s collecting dust in a storage unit. Why? Because I don’t have an apartment, as you all know. Sitting on the bed with my legs wrapped around my laptop is not the most ideal position for typing. But I suppose it beats sitting in a dirty Murfreesboroan alleyway.

(Actually, I don’t think we have many dirty alleyways in Murfreesboro. If any.)

That aside, let’s see what trifles have managed to catch my fancy in the world of videogames.

THQ Feels Cheated When You Buy Their Games Used

Aw. Poor THQ.

A growing trend amongst videogame publishers of today is an outspoken disdain for the sales of used games, and for the penniless sots who purchase them. It started with EA and their “Project Ten Dollar” initiative, which charged used game buyers an extra ten bucks to access DLC and online play. THQ quickly followed suit, revealing last May that UFC Undisputed 2010 will come with a one-time use code for DLC and online play. Those who buy it used will have to buy a fresh code. Seeing that a lot of people purchased games used, there’s been more than a few disgruntled fans. I mean come on, everyone picks up a used game here and there – some of us honestly could use the five or ten bucks it saves us, y’know?

Well, THQ’s Corey Ledesma has come forward and revealed to CVG precisely how the company feels towards said purchasers of used games. Long and short, they really don’t give a flying fuck:

I don’t think we really care whether used game buyers are upset because new game buyers get everything. If used game buyers are upset they don’t get the online feature set I don’t really have much sympathy for them.

That’s a little blunt, but we hope it doesn’t disappoint people. We hope people understand that when the game’s bought used we get cheated. I don’t think anyone wants that, so in order for us to make strong, high-quality WWE games we need loyal fans that are interested in purchasing the game. We want to award those fans with additional content.

Cheated? Really? THQ thinks that Average Joe Gamer buys a used copy of UFC with the intent of “cheating” them? From where I stand, it looks like the guy just wants to save a few bucks.

I understand that THQ, along with every other publisher in the world, doesn’t see a penny from used game sales. I understand that they may find this frustrating. But to attack used game consumers in such a way, and go so far as to call them cheats (essentially) is way over the line. Sure, they may not be the one lining THQ’s pockets, but gamers who buy used are the ones doing the most spending, playing, living, and dying in this industry. Don’t piss us off.

Especially you, THQ. What the fuck have you released in the last… well, ever that gives you anything close to the right to talk down to consumers?

To conclude, words from Kotaku commenter Grahamillion:

Ironic because I feel cheated when I buy a THQ game.


Some British Politician Wants Medal of Honor Banned, EA Doesn’t Care

Given the sensitive subject matter present in EA’s upcoming Medal of Honor reboot, I’m surprised we haven’t heard more shit like this. I mean sure, games like Modern Warfare have broken the ice when it comes to games representing current military conflicts. But Modern Warfare took the concept and sensationalized it; you weren’t literally running around in the midst of Afghanistan shooting at Taliban members.

However, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing in Medal of Honor, which is pretty ballsy. I mean, sure, I’d say that the world at large is pretty over the fact that we’re still shooting at sand (our current administration has done a pretty good job of not talking about it, if nothing else) but still. To the people over there, at least, it’s still a sensitive thing.

Anyway. That being the case, you’d think that, say, an American politician might have a beef with the game. We’ve got plenty of reactionary, headline-grabbing asshats over here, after all.

But no. The first political figure to make a stink is the fucking British defense secretary. Yeah. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox doesn’t like the fact that, in the game’s multiplayer mode (which allows you to play as the Taliban) one of the maps is set in the Helmland province, where U.K. forces are stationed.

I am disgusted and angry. It’s hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.

Funny thing, though: There aren’t any British troops to be killed in Medal of Honor. So, Liam’s argument is totally, entirely, and completely baseless. Sounds like a good time for a retraction, right? Wrong. In the face of these facts, Liam stood by his call to ban the game:

The point remains that part of this game allows you to play the part of the Taliban attacking ISAF troops in the area of central Helmand where British troops are operating.

Christ.

A final hilarious irony is that the British government has swiftly and decisively distanced themselves from Fox’s insane comments. In a statement released to GamesIndustry, the The Department for Culture, Media and Sport had this to say:

Dr Fox was expressing a personal view and we understand why some people might find the subject matter of the game offensive.

There is a ratings system in place which exists to categorise games appropriately, in this case the game in question is rated 18 so should only be sold to, and played by, adults.

There is a clear choice for consumers which they can exercise when making decisions about purchasing videogames.

Right so, right so. Way to save face, U.K.

EA Games president Frank Gibeu also released a statement in retort to Mr. Fox’s assertions, which I was happy to see.  ”At EA we passionately believe games are an artform, and I don’t know why films and books set in Afghanistan don’t get flack, yet [games] do,” Gibeu told Develop.

“Whether it’s Red Badge Of Courage or The Hurt Locker, the media of its time can be a platform for the people who wish to tell their stories. Games are becoming that platform.”

Or at least they’re trying to be. Given the subject matter, Medal of Honor should be scrutinized. But it should be scrutinized by those who play it, and by those who are interested in critiquing its artistic merit, and how well it handles its subject matter. Pointless controversies like this one tend to distract people from this, and to me, that’s an incredible injustice. (Kotaku)

Catherine Looks Like Some Fucked-Up Shit

Seriously, it does. If you haven’t heard, Catherine is an action-adventure game being developed by the minds behind Persona 3 and 4. The story focuses around a man named Vincent (first seen in the PSP port of Persona 3) and a seductive, myserious woman named Catherine. (D’oh!) It also happens to be the first HD title developed in-house by Atlus. (We won’t speak of Operation Darkness, which, while published by Atlus, was developed by Japanese studio Success.) It also happens to be… really weird-looking. This trailer’s a few days old, so you may have seen it. If not, please to enjoy below. It’s worth watching for weirdness alone.

Color me intrigued. I can’t deny that I’m a little disappointed they didn’t announce Persona 5 instead, but Catherine looks like it could be a unique, atmospheric experience. Looks like Atlus is manning up and putting actual sex scenes in their games, which is long overdue.  That, and I’m hoping they’re using the game as a test-run for a Persona 5 engine. Makes sense, right? The game hits Japan in Winter 2010.

QUICKIE: Toshiba to Roll Out Glass-less 3DTVs by Year’s End

This interests me. I’m not going to try to paraphrase the article here, head to Gizmodo for the full story. (Lots of big words and phrases like Integral Imaging System, Motion Parallax, and low-temperature poly-silicon.) Point being, it looks like we may be seeing glass-less 3DTV technology a lot sooner than we might have hoped.

And that’s it. Sorry it’s so late. Today has been… really dumb, to put it lightly. There’s still no new banner, and I apologize for that. I have tomorrow off, so I’ll deal with that shit then. At this point, I really have no idea what it will be. Suggestions, perhaps? A Murfreesboro Week (as suggested by SiliconNoob) is actually pretty tempting, but it might require a little more preparation than I’m able to handle at this point. Still, if the people call for it, I could find a way…?

But seriously. Suggestions. Make them. And comment on the news stories too, or I’ll cry. This is the longest HLL I’ve written in a while.

Love you all,

~Riddles