Saints & Sinners (Mar. 9)
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.
Folks, I’m really mad this week. While half of the human race wages war on the Reapers in Mass Effect 3, I’m stuck laboring away in the early stages of the series. I haven’t even touched Mass Effect 2 yet so how do you think I feel about the insufferable amount of hype and accolades surrounding the conclusion to the trilogy?
Such negative vibes coming from me can only mean one thing: there are going to be a lot of Sinners tonight.
Ubisoft: It can be said that there are very few things in this world I love; I love my family, my girlfriend, my copy for WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64, and the communal jar of Reese’s Pieces sitting here on my desk. If I could make one addition to that list, then that inclusion would belong to none other than the Assassin’s Creed franchise. There has been no series in this generation that has so captivated my imagination such as this one with its wacky retelling of history complete with action, intrigue, and more parkour than a Youtube video circa 2009.
Unfortunately, my beloved friends in the Assassin’s Guild have fallen upon tough times; since Assassin’s Creed II, all of the games have taken place within an identical timeframe that has only encapsulated a small section of history’s finest locales. I was fine when Ubisoft announced that Ezio Auditore de Firenze would be reprising his role as the lead protagonist in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, but when it was revealed that he would be pulling off a hat-trick with Assassin’s Creed Revelations I was instantly made to be on edge. This year’s Assassin’s Creed III, revealed in the past week via a “leak,” brings with it the much-needed promise of change.
The hooded warriors of the Assassin’s Creed saga will be taking their talents to colonial America, a nation on the precipice of revolution after a grand misunderstanding over a batch of tea muddied the waters of their relationship with Great Britain. This departure to the west marks the first time that Ubisoft’s lead franchise has ventured across the Atlantic, and it also happens to be the first time that the game will take place in an environment of vast wilderness that is exempt of the ludicrously tall structures that the game has become notorious for.
I’ll be honest in saying that I still have yet to play Assassin’s Creed Revelations; I want to catch up with the story, but I don’t feel nearly as compelled to shell out the money for it as I have with past games in the series. After three games of relative sameness, it’s time for a shake-up in the crazed world of Assassins and Templars; Assassin’s Creed III is that much-needed shake up and is, on its own, reason enough to make Ubisoft the one Saint for this week.
Capcom: Really, who else would I lead off with? I’ve about had it up to here with Capcom’s antics in the past few years and these most recent actions have done little to change that.
Street Fighter X Tekken has already earned my ire for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into but can very easily be found in every other column I’ve done on this website. It was just when I thought that my broccoli could be no further steamed that another golden nugget of Capcom debauchery was let loose to the public: all of the game’s downloadable content is already on the disc.
It’s not like this should come as a total surprise to anyone; Resident Evil 5 had a very familiar scenario arise when fans clamored for a competitive multiplayer mode and got there wish only to find out that the download was a miniscule unlock code for a feature far below the bar of mediocrity set by the rest of the finished product. Being an expected nuisance hasn’t softened the blow, though, and I’m more than a little upset over this development.
When did it become okay for developers to finish a game, isolate a set of the content, and save it for later to charge players more money than they have already spent on the product? This would be akin to ordering a value meal at McDonalds and unpacking your paper sack only to discover that your burger was delivered with none of the French fries to accompany it. Those French fries aren’t available to you yet; you’ll have to pay an extra 50 cents to unlock them for further consumption.
I’m not a fan of nonsense, hodge-podgery, or the like; everything I’ve heard about Street Fighter X Tekken fits into one of these three categories. Capcom, you continue to depress me and, as such, are once again this week’s featured Sinner.
Bioware: Mass Effect 3 is, as I will continue to say for the next several weeks, kind of a big deal. In the past week, I’ve walked no more than five steps in which my corneas were not affronted by the visage of Commander Shephard engaged in heated battle with the Reapers, conversation with his comrades, or intimate relations with one of his crewmates that may or may not have been a member of the same gender. The moral of the story is that Mass Effect 3 is everywhere; everywhere is a term that, in the case of this particular game, now extends to the living rooms of many a gamer far and wide. You would think that, in a world where reason served as judge, jury, and executioner, Bioware might have their act together for the biggest launch in company history.
Spoiler Alert: They did not.
The only thing I’ve heard more of in regards to Mass Effect 3 than the constant moaning and groaning of internet hipsters eager to bombard the game with criticism is the fact that the normal, targeted demographic that loves them some Mass Effect is having a hard time playing them some Mass Effect. A popular complaint found across cyberspace is that the facial features, a tool allotted to players to customize the Commander to their liking, has come upon troubled times in the transition to the sequel. Concerned gamers have cited issues converting any of the custom appearance data that has been around for the first two games to this, the last title in the trilogy.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it might be a good idea, in a game that so promotes itself as a purveyor of player choice in a medium of homogenous, linear adventures, to have a solution prepared for when players can’t keep the very appearance of Commander Shephard that they have treasured since the first installment. How something of this nature could even survive past alpha testing is beyond me but, hey, I’m no developer!
There have also been concerns, voiced mostly by a friend of mine on Twitter, that the Origin store has had many a problem allowing players to download the biggest game of 2012. This is a less reported issue and one that I only mention to overplay the failure on Bioware and EA’s part, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting uncontrollably angry about it for no other discernible reason than just to be outraged!
Bioware, I’ve defended you in the past, but I cannot, in all good conscience, defend a Sinner.
Lionhead Studios: Some poor, unwitting games journalists had the audacity to listen in on Peter Molyneux discussing his latest addition to the Xbox 360 library, Fable: Journey, during a demo shown at the Microsoft Spring Showcase. The reporters have obviously never seen, read, or heard a Molyneux interview and were assuredly then informed on why sitting in on such moments may be a bad idea as the esteemed developer launched himself into a long-winded spiel on the impact of horses in the Kinect-based title.
I hate horses. There are no worse beings, creatures, or animals in this world than horses. Tell me, friends, have you ever seen a horse walk? They are always out there gallivanting around like they own the place. Trotting? What the hell is that? I swear that everything they do, from the slightest motion to the most exaggerated gesture, is a means of taunting us over the fact that they are allegedly such graceful creatures.
Indeed, the presence of horses is all I really needed to set my tone in a negative direction for Fable: Journey. I could look past the tacked-on motion controls, the absurd on-rails action, and even the hilariously stiff presentation at last year’s E3, but I will not turn a blind eye to a bunch of arrogant, show-boating mares.
Horses are Sinners, and any proximity with the like is enough to make any one being or a group of individuals a Sinner.
Judgement has been passed