And Now For More Me

[As Read on GIO.]

…Talking about the Games that Could’ve Stepped Up

Yes, for all the excellent games that released this year, there were- as is to be expected and as usual, some mediocre ones that sounded great but failed to execute. Now, for the sake of this blog, I am going to discount a lot of games that were exceptionally terrible (i.e. Colonial Marines, etc) but do not freak out if one of your semi-enjoyed titles that didn’t turn out great but was still acceptable, is not on here. I am only going to talk about some games, so of course not all of the ones released this year will be on here as I’ve done one too many ultra-long list blogs for the week already (see yesterday’s). Now, here’s a list of the games that will be featured here and talked about in two ways (pros/cons): SimCity, Dead Island: Riptide, Deadpool, and Call of Duty: Ghosts. Now that you know which four games to expect to be talked about, we are ready to get this show on the road! Let’s see where this talk takes us next…

♦♦♦

01 | Disappointment, Though You Wouldn’t Know From Sales

Call of Duty 10: Ghosts

You’re calling my Call of Duty a failure?! An “okay” game?! You little… Yes folks, this is what you may hear from a die-hard Call of Duty fan, much to the pleasure or displeasure of others. However, I am not calling the most recent game in this series’ downward spiral a “failure” or even a “terrible’ game at all- I am merely stating that, inevitably, despite some good sales numbers (meaning they will continue to drive this series into the ground just like Guitar Hero, because that is what Activision does) the game fails to live up to the standards set by its predecessors. I should have seen the linear Infinity Ward-like gameplay coming, seeing as Ghosts was of course developed by IW- however, I had hoped they would think a little bit more out of the box. The ending is the highlight of the game, though the game hits some other high points as well, but of course even the ending ushers in more of a “What da?” reaction than a shock and awe one. Seriously, since MW2, though the Treyarch developed stories have gotten better, the series has started to go downhill- at first gradually, and now more rapidly. Why, in all of my reviews these past few years, you can easily see it as well: I gave MW2 a 9.75, Black Ops 1  a respectable 9.25, MW3 an 8.5, the storytelling masterpiece of Black Ops 2 an 8.0, and finally, Ghosts a decent 7.5. At this rate of decline, the next game- if not finally lined up properly with quality (and hopefully Treyarch can now do this better, still), should come in around a 7.0 or so. But anyway, I’ve made some statements, but I haven’t really talked about just why we thought this time was “going to be different”. So let’s get to that.

Pros: What We Looked Forward To

+ Game has “new” graphics engine

+ Promise of a fresh story

+ Evolution of fluid gameplay- sprinting, sliding, etc.

+ Bigger set piece moments

+ ODIN Strikes- changing landscape

+ 300 vs. 10000 mentality

+ Story penned by credible writer of Traffic

Cons: Reality Setting In

+ Graphics were only a marginal upgrade, hardly noticeable

+ Story inevitably ends up about the same as others- cliched, short

+ Sliding just replaces drop shooting- otherwise, no real environmental traversal

+ Set pieces not even as great as MW3

+ ODIN strikes only matter during multiplayer really

+ Ghosts are basically unstoppable, except when they die

+ Everyone rates the game terribly, yet continues to play and buy (conundrum)

♦♦♦

02 | The Merc That Should’ve Stayed Silent, But Didn’t

Deadpool

Now, this game, I think we can agree was a slight disappointment- though it did do marginally well as most licensed Marvel games go, even though its sales and review ratings weren’t as good as they could have been by any stretch. I personally gave the game a decent 7.0 out of ten, which is not too shabby, though it will undoubtedly deter many from playing it who haven’t already- simply because it isn’t a 9.0 or above. Anyway, there are some good things about the maniac Merc’s adventure, or misadventure rather, and some not so good things. First of all, the achievements list is actually pretty good and encourages replaying through the better portions of the game, with only a few minor annoying achievements calling for defeating hundreds of enemies without using other weapons, etc. The game, despite its lack of real story, has some funny parts- as to be expected with this particular schizo, and some darker moments as well as it is of course an imMature rated game. Ha, so you see what I did there, eh? Anyway- whatever we expected of Deadpool’s game, we got part of it- as we got a semi-solid experience offering crazy combos and combat, a wild ride of a ‘story”, and some hysterical antics that while they often fall flat, can be charming as well. Now, let’s get down to the real nitty gritty…

Pros: What We Came in Expecting

+ Funny jokes and humorous cast of colorful characters

+ Insane combos and powerful weapons

+ Good dialogue and rogue-like story

+ Entertaining, good-length adventure

+ Solid quality in gameplay

Cons: What Really Happened

+ Sometimes humorous, mostly falling flat jokes (about genitalia)

+ Decent combos, repetitive hacking and slashing with mostly one or two weapons

+ Okay dialogue with some tied-in characters from the Marvel-verse

+ Poor story, if there really was one

+ Repetitive adventure against hordes of enemies

+ Decent quality- mostly jokes about Cable and Wolverine

♦♦♦

03 | Should’ve Been Alright, But Was Actually Dead Wrong

Dead Island Riptide

Now, before you get up in arms about this selection as well, I am not saying that Dead Island’s sequel was terrible by any means- in fact, it’s actually a decent game, it just has more flaws than its predecessor and rather than fixing what the first did wrong, it adds onto the list. I gave Riptide a solid 7.25 when I reviewed it, which is higher than some would deem it worthy of, and lower than what others would say. As is, the game’s core experience is fine, as it remains largely similar to that of the enjoyable Dead Island- however, it is when it tries to add in some new mechanics and moments such as tower defense-like checkpoints and boat rides of doom that things start to get shaken up in a not so good way. If you just want an almost RPG format for killing zombies, then you should definitely try this game out as the story still delivers for the most part- however, if you’re wanting an experience to one up the first game then look elsewhere for it, because you won’t be finding it here. The graphics look great for the most part, but in certain areas the textures have become muddied and crappy, which is a shame. Though for the most part the enemy AI does their best to put on the guise of semi-intelligent, flesh eating zombies, they also somehow have developed glitchy ways to perform inhuman feats such as flying and running at hundreds of miles per hour at you and flying through the map- something tells me that wasn’t supposed to happen, and it breaks the experience because of that. But anyway, let’s talk about what really happened and what we expected to happen and how those two visions don’t quite align.

Pros: What We Thought Was Safe to Expect

+ Loads of quests to live up to the hype of the first game and surpass it

+ Awesome new setting with new enemies and challenges

+ Better combo weapons and characters to use them on

+ Intriguing overarching story and dialogue

Cons: What Actually Occurred

+ Healthy number of quests, but mostly fetch quests for parts, etc.

+ Mostly failing to live up to the hype of the first game, though offering some thrills

+ Setting comes off as pretty much the same as the other island

+ A few new enemy types but mostly same ways of killing them off

+ Some new weapon types and a new character as well

+ Forgettable but forgivable story and dialogue

♦♦♦

04 | A Day in the Life of a Sad, Sad Sim with a Rough Start

SimCity

Well now, it’s time for the final game on this list and the one that I never actually got around to reviewing in a timely manner due to the fact that it had so many issues at its start, and still has quite a few server related ones even today, several months later. SimCity was a really promising and ambitious game that has fallen prey to some poor issues due to its mostly only-online policy and servers. Sadly, because of this, it hasn’t sold as well as it should and has permanently sullied the series’ reputation for quality as a result. Was was looking to be a reboot and a fresh start failed in its major task, despite still being a mostly decent game. For all of its original issues, I can give it no more than a 7.0 out of ten, though I can say it does for the most part live up to what I was expecting of the game originally as well. But, as this is going to be most likely the shortest list of things that we expected compared to what actually happened, let’s go ahead and talk this through before wrapping up for today folks.

Pros: What we Came in Thinking About

+ Fresh new take on the series

+ Interesting new mechanics and better graphics

+ New ideas, new options, new cities, new revolutions

+ Better creation tool with minimal glitches and promising online opportunities

Cons: The Dastardly Things that Happened Instead

+ Fresh but riddled with bugs and issues at the launch

+ Mostly same mechanics though they still work fine and graphics are better

+ Not many new ideas or options, though the cities feel more alive

+ Loads of launch related issues, glitches, bugs and poor online server connection

+ Server related and online only related issues galore

+ Offline servers unreliable and virtually nonexistent

+ EA non-responsive and not willing to work with servers usually

+ Poor PR and sales as an outcome of issues

♦♦♦

Well now, my first blog of the year is officially over, and it reviews some of the less-than stellar moments of this year in four brief synopses of games that didn’t quite live up to their hype, whether or not they were still decent enough. I think I covered a broad spectrum of genres and games and hype in these four brief segments, and I hope you have enjoyed this blog and the effort with which I took to craft it. Until the next time folks, I shall bid you a fair and well-weathered winter (or summer, depending on where you live) day. Adieu.

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