The Richie Report: GAME Over And Different Strokes
It’s the most exciting time of gaming year! We have a new console out in the shops. The PSV Eindhoven was released since the last time we er… interacted and it’s basically some sort of futuristic James Bond type shit. Effectively a handheld PS3 (although how it doesn’t burn through your hands, lap, and eventually the crust of the Earth given that it has no fan, I just don’t know) but with about fifty different control methods, wi-fi or 3G internet browsing, and able to download full, console-quality games, which is especially handy if you’re in the UK (more on that later). If there is any justice, it’ll outsell the Nintendo 3DS by a factor of Donald Trump (although, depressingly, the exact opposite is happening in Japan right now but they’re all addled by earthquakes and radiation). I don’t like the 3DS. I played it once and my eyes literally melted, and I’m now having to get my guide dog to type this. The joke’s on the master though; he doesn’t know that next time he wants to go to the shops, I’ll take him into a Greggs bakery. He’s not had his shots. He’ll be fucked.
The only problem with the PlayStation Vita is that the game pricing is a little bit absolutelytheworstthingever and the SD card-sized proprietary memory cards (every time Sony, every fucking time) are about as good value as Michael Jackson tickets, and just as expensive. It does look lovely though, and after having a dabble at the Eurogamer Expo I can safely say that when the price drops to £120, I might pick one up to play Touch My Katamari. Until then, I’ll stick with the PSP as mine has been [enhanced] so that I can play SNES roms, which is clearly the best thing in the whole world, and with Apple finally unveiling the iPad 3, gadget fans may find the allure of a slightly better iPad all too tempting when it comes to parting with their green queens.
Getting hold of a Vita might get a tad trickier soon. Imagine this: you’re in a desert. Sand extends as far as the eye can see in all directions. You have no food, and the only thing to drink is a can of Diet Doctor Pepper, so basically you have nothing drinkable and you’ve already exhausted your own supply of wee. You are surrounded by cannibals who were raised on the N4G forums and are, as such, unable to communicate in any way apart from with violence. You look up and a kilometre-wide asteroid is heading directly for your location. As it hurtles towards you, the air underneath it is compressed, heating up to the surface temperature of the sun. As your skin frazzles like cellophane in an oven, one of the cannibals begins to sing a song by Adele.
Well that’s how fucked GAME and Gamestation are right now. SSX is apparently the last EA game they’ll be stocking for a while and other publishers, such as Capcom, are sticking the boot in by refusing to let them sell their games either. Sony are only allowing them to sell the Vita by insisting that they still own all the stock until the point of sale. All it’ll take is for Bobby Kotdeath to block sales of COD15 or whatever and GAME will be done (if they even last that long). They are currently having a fire sale of all their pre-owned trash, so you know it’s looking desperate. Of course, none of this comes as a surprise. I work five minutes from a GAME (you’re always only five minutes from one of their stores these days) and I’ve got a bit of disposable income, and yet I’ve not bought a game from there in ages. Mainly thanks to the fact that they appear to shit over all their games before they sell them, and then they put about fifteen different promotional stickers on everything before trying to sell you Mortal Kombat vs DC for like fifteen quid. Cause and effect, GAME.
If GAME were allowed to sell EA games, they’d be selling Mass Effect 3 right about now. Indeed, they are probably looking for the best supermarket deal so that they can go in, buy all the copies and then sell them for £38.99 as preowned. The end to the trilogy is garnering all sorts of lovely reviews including this one by our very own Stu. Probably a sure thing, although EA’s rolling snowball of evil has led to the day one ‘project ten dollar’ DLC only being available in Collector’s Edition copies of the game. You can buy it on Xbox Live, of course, but you don’t get it with the regular £40 version of the game. Because, you know, EA are fucking horrible. The DLC is also apparently very spoilerific too. Approach with caution.
Stu also reviewed Final Fantasy XIII-2. No, I’ve not had a stroke, they really did give it a name that stupid. Thanks to the stupid naming convention, I’m not sure how many of these games there are but this far in, you’re probably only going to buy it if you’re a fan of the series. I do know that a really annoying character constantly says ‘kupo’ in it, which is probably some sort of Japanese method for torturing gamers. I started – and stopped – playing the Final Fantasy games with FFVII so I won’t be dabbling, but it’s apparently good.
Not as good as Kingdoms of Amalur though. I mentioned it in the last report, hailing it as a delicious lemon of a demo. Well I’ve completed the game twice since then and it’s already a candidate for game of the year. Amalur combines all the RPG trappings of a Skyrim but with the fluid, arcade-style combat of a Conan or God of War. The mix of great action and hot looting RPG action makes the game as addictive as crack and twice as butterscotchy. Suffice to say, I loved it more than you love your mother.
The rest of March looks pretty healthy with such big-named rehashes and sequels as Street Fighter X Tekken (which looks lovely, but we’re all getting a bit bored of Capcom rehashing the Street Fighter IV engine now), the return of Twisted Metal (hasn’t been good since the second one, but if they get it right it could hasten my eventual PS Vita purchase), FIFA Street (why are they still making these? They’re blatantly shit!), Armored Core (whatever) and Ninja Gaiden 3 (which actually looked kind of decent from the preview build available at the Eurogamer Expo). Last up is Ridge Racer: Unbounded which gives a bit of Burnout style pizzazz to Namco’s long-running drift ‘em up. Shame it’ll probably be sullied with awful DLC.
In industry-related news, legendary games producer and sinister vampire Peter Molyneux has sensationally left Microsoft and Lionhead and formed his new studio, 22 Cans. No details yet about what his next project might be but you can bet it’ll be a little too ambitious for him. Here’s hoping he’ll make a Syndicate-type game that doesn’t shit on the memory of the original. His last game for Lionhead will be Fable: The Journey but, of course, we all stopped caring when Fable III came out.
Still, we’d rather play that than Old Republic right? Well no, apparently, as 1.7 million paying subscribers are happily sticking lightsabers in each other’s faces even though MMOs are just glorified chat rooms. Blimey. My thumb really isn’t on the pulse of the modern gamer it seems. Still, stats can be misleading. After all, there are 90 million people on PSN and yet I’ve only ever met like one. Different strokes and all that.
Right, that’s enough. Find out next month if I’ve succumbed to the charms of the PS Vita. Here’s a preview: not yet!
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