Saints & Sinners (Feb. 17)
In the video game industry, the fans are bombarded by two separate yet equally important groups: Saints, who bring with them only the purest form of joy, and Sinners, beings dedicated solely to evoking misery. These are their stories.
My name, as you may have noticed by this particular editorial’s byline, is Drew Robbins, and I’m mad. For almost as long as I’ve lived, I have sat idle as I watch the major players of the industry prey upon the emotions of their fans. Occasionally, their actions are fair and have their followers’ best interests in mind; these men and women are Saints. More often than not, though, they move with swift, menacing action that elicits a reaction composed entirely of primal rage; these men and women are Sinners.
It’s my job as an arbiter of the medium to parse through these, the news stories that comprise any given week, and pass judgement upon the respective studios that they belong to. After all, they can only be one of two things: Saints or Sinners.
Rockstar Studios: Oh Rockstar, my muse, how often you bring me delight. Based on the recent history of the company, it would be reasonable to expect their placement on this list as the product of more news about either Max Payne 3 or Grand Theft Auto V. As it turns out, they’ve found their way in to Sainthood via the righteous path of last year’s hit adventure game, L.A. Noire.
L.A. Noire, despite whatever quality it may possess, has every right to be dead. The game’s reception was as mixed as any blockbuster out of Rockstar could be, but that isn’t even the major obstacle standing in the way of a second adventure taking place in the shoes of a Los Angeles detective; Team Bondi, the studio responsible for developing the franchise’s debut, completely imploded in the wake of the game’s release and subsequent middling critical appraisal.
There have been far less reasons for the cancellation of a saga, but, even still, L.A. Noire is being toted as a possible recipient of a sequel in the future. Rockstar, mum on any specific details, says not to expect the second game anytime soon; hope is the only thing on offer today from these Saints.
Players like you: Yes, you read that right; in my first-ever column on Got Game, I’m openly pandering to you, my audience! It’s not because you’re taking valuable time out of your day to read my fledgling effort as a columnist, but instead because it’s people like you that took the money out of your wallet to make sure that this world would be one that sees another Tim Schafer-headed adventure game.
Known only as Double Fine Adventure at the moment, Tim Schafer’s latest game started as a mere concept dependent on the contribution of eager donors through Kickstarter. As it turns out, there are a lot of said eager donors; right now, at this very moment, over $1,800,000 have been spent in support of the iconic developer’s forthcoming effort.
I’m a man that loves only two things: Reese’s Pieces and adventure games. Double Fine Adventure satisfies at least one of those categories. Thanks to Saints like you, I will soon be a very happy man.
Capcom: If you’ve ever, for any reason at all, followed my Twitter page (@NGPDrew), then you would know how I feel about Capcom. As Borat would say, “they are pain in my assholes.” They’ve spent the past few years going out of the way to sabotage the Mega Man franchise and, at the same time, tarnish such wonderful fighting genre mainstays as Marvel vs. Capcom; now, they are taking aim at something else that I love: Resident Evil.
I’ll admit that Resident Evil 5 was a rather large departure from the series’ bailiwick, but it wasn’t such a departure that it made me wonder whether or not the game I was so looking forward to was actually a bizarre twist on the Gears of War franchise. Word out of Capcom this week confirmed that, unlike Resident Evil 5, players would have at their disposal such common tropes as shooting while moving, rolling, and ducking for cover. That’s not Resident Evil; that’s every other action game in the industry!
Resident Evil used to be survival-horror but, starting with the fourth game, it has become more like action-horror. In Resident Evil 5, the only fact that kept it from being a straight-up modern combat game was the fact that a limitation in movement still made engaging waist-deep into combat a scary proposition. I worry that now, with the modern staples of the industry, jumping into a battle will become a simplified, mundane experience that any brain-dead zombie (no pun intended) could overcome.
Capcom, you’ve officially stripped the last bit of Resident Evil from Resident Evil 6. Well, that’s a bit of an overreaction; the story still looks as ridiculous as it ever has. You have that much going for you, but you’re still this week’s spotlighted Sinners.
Naughty Dog: This one hurts; it hurts a lot. Naughty Dog, I love you so, but what the heck are you doing to Uncharted? Golden Abyss, the franchise’s first stint on the Playstation Vita, plays host to so many things that make the series great: fast-paced action, tremendous set-pieces, unrivaled platforming, and bogus touch-screen gimmicks. Oh, wait, that last one wasn’t a part of Uncharted 1, 2, or 3; that’s a nuisance exclusive to the Playstation Vita.
When the Nintendo DS first launched, it was the only system to incorporate touch-screen mechanics. Developers saw this innovation and thought to themselves, hey, let’s just start throwing a bunch of senseless gimmicks into our games! The worst offense was a port of Diddy Kong Racing, a classic from the era of the Nintendo 64, which required players to engage in tedious touch-screen mini-games at the start of every race to start up their vehicle. This would have been cool once, maybe, but it sure wasn’t cool after the thousandth lap around Hot Top Volcano.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss, having been opened up to review earlier this week, has been outed as featuring nonsense of a similar nature. At certain points, the game stops to have you fiddle with the Vita’s highly bizarre and just as highly unnecessary backwards-facing touch screen. You know what my favorite part about Uncharted 2 was? It was the fact that the game threw wave after wave of exciting moments at you with nary the trace of filler in sight. This is 100%, unapologetic filler; shame on you, Naughty Dog, you Sinners.
Judgement has been passed.