The Corrente Review of Games: Volume II Number 6 (English Edition)
The Corrente Review Of Games: Volume II, Number 6 (English Edition)
The Corrente Review Of Games is published on the first Saturday of the month.
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You knew this was inevitable, right?
I mean, the whole damn thing, from start to finish. It was inevitable that after enough time some software developer - Ubisoft in this case - would decide it was time to use the Wiimote for something a little more edgy than bowling or archery. It was inevitable there would be a racy teaser video. The spanking wasn't necessarily inevitable, but the girl-on-girl action was.
The subsequent parental blowup over the corruption of our innocent young people was predictable. (Every time something like that happens I think, weren't these people ever young themselves?) The hasty announcement that it would not be made for sale in the US was inevitable. And I will now play my part and make the inevitable observation that the outrage reeks of a peculiarly American brand of puritanical hypocrisy, in which we shrug at harrowing, explicit depictions of violence but freak right the hell out over anything even vaguely titillating.
So let's just stipulate that it's a scandalous game and while the developers have every (yawn) right to publish it they should (feeling sleepy) have been more [zzzzz...] (sound of forehead bonking on keyboard). Here's what I want to know: what was the business plan for this game? Wii isn't a very cutting edge hardware platform, so maybe it's relatively cheap for developers to take a flyer on something that might provoke a firestorm of criticism. Maybe it will be worthwhile even if they have to keep it out of the American market. I don't know about the economics of game development, so maybe this little venture will turn a tidy profit even if it has a very limited market.
Still, I can't help but think that any mainstream outfit wants at least a theoretical chance at a blockbuster for each title. So even if it had wide distribution, where do sales come from? Teenagers? They are notoriously shy about publicly revealing the low and smutty thoughts galloping through their brains. If it's laying around I'm sure they'd pounce on it, but I don't think too many would actually walk into a store and say "hey, give me that sexytime title!"
Young adults? The Wii isn't exactly a hot item in that demographic. It might played in a hip and ironic way if the opportunity presented itself, but that's once again in the "if it's laying around" category. I have a hard time envisioning a bunch of urban professionals circling their calendars for a "We Play" party. At that age there are much more appealing options for getting the same result.
Older adults? Look, I'm a video game enthusiast and it doesn't appeal to me. Maybe it would be a big hit at swinger parties or among those looking to do some partner swapping, but that seems to be a fairly small demographic. Maybe between that and an initial curiosity-driven spike in sales it could be a money maker, but aside from that it doesn't seem to me that its prospects would be that good.
I understand what Ubisoft seems to be trying to do here. Video game demographics have skewed older; it's not like the market is dominated by fifteen year olds. Video games have a history of racy content as old as video games themselves. There should be enough adults buying games for themselves for a well done sexually frank game to be a big success. I have no idea what something like that would look like though, and at the moment neither does Ubisoft. How about you? Can you think of one that would tempt you to put some money down for, and actually play?
As I've just recently acquired an XBos 360, after years and years of gaming on an old and battered PS2, I was eagerly awaiting the next generation of gaming. And many things about it are very enjoyable. I'm a bigger fan of downloading content than I thought I would be(Peggle!! Pac-Man!). Netflix is bomb-ass. Knowing what my friends are watching on Netflix is great, as it allows me to taunt their tastes(and vice versa. But that wasn't me you saw watching Xena for 6 hours straight!!)
Oh yeah, but the games? So far, meh. Admittedly, I haven't had an opportunity to play every game in the 360 catalogue, but I've gotten more games than I though I would have by now.
Firstly, I purchased Oblivion when I bought the XBox, and went home and tried to play it immediately. First of all, picking up things is a PITA. It looks similar to Champions of Norath, but Norath was much simpler in the acquiring of fallen items. When you ran near it, it highlighted, and you picked it up. Oblivion, apparently, requires that you hold your mouth just.....right. And that's if you're lucky. It's an endeavor.
Secondly, while I can appreciate the depth of the gameplay, a game where I have to follow an NPC around for hours, is just not appealing to me. I haven't yet completed the first major mission of the game, taking an amulet to someone, and I'm already daunted by the scope of this game.
Next, by best friend bought me the game that he's been playing, so we could play together online. We have yet to do this, but the game Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, while simple, straight forward and uncomplicated, is so far plagued with glitches. Also, it's very gender restrictive. If you want to be a warrior of light, you must be a female Seraphim. If you want be a dark warrior, you mist be a male Corrupter(or something like that). Magicians, techs and archers are a little more flexible, but still. Also, your Seraphim loses clothing as you gain more armor points. And you start the game in heels.
We bought another game for the Spawn, the 360 version of an earlier XBox game, Fuzion Frenzy. Let's just say we all agree the previous version was superior.
The third game I've tried to get into, is Golden Axe, Beast Rider. It's a fighting game, with the requisite red headed warrior maiden. You acquire different creatures to ride through combat. Attacking is simple and straightforward. It's the other part of combat that is annoying and distracting.
The game wants to be a hack-n-slash, but, it also wants to be more than that. So it requires, in the middle of combat, you evade or parry. Your enemies weapon's conveniently glow different colors as they prepare to attack, telling which defensive maneuver to perform. In the middle of a massed attack upon yourself by 5 superior fighters(which all converge upon you the moment battle begins, you can't really try to position yourself in a way to stagger the assaults) you have seconds to decide which attack you wish to parry, or evade, and you better hope you can orient your character towards the attack you wish to defend. And the gaming gods help you if they have mages in the combat group, who will hang back and target you in the middle of the mob, without fail, as you begin to recover from the last attack you failed to defend against.
And those problems don't even begin to cover the over-wrought voice acting, gratuitous nudity and gore, and the fact that the heroine carries an awkwardly big sword that makes her run funny, as you travel from stage to stage.
The only game I've purchased, that I have been satisfied with, is Lego Star Wars. Which probably shouldn't be a surprise. Simple, straightforward, energetic. And still challenging. You can't die, but you want to keep your studs. And the game taunts you with areas you can't access with the characters you have acquired yet, driving you to complete more and more.
But hey, YAY Netflix!