The Richie Report: Mining for Battleships as 38 Perish

Hello, readers. I have to admit that I’m a little confused. Like a perfect storm of global evil, the horrible trifecta of Chelsea FC, Activision and EA came together at half-time during the Champions League final as the world was treated to trailers of the new Medal of Honor and CoDBlOps games. EA seem to be kidding themselves that anyone bought Medal of Honor, and both games look like what they are: by-the-numbers representations of a Ross Kemp wet dream. Pretty sure when things like that align together, it’s a sign of some sort of impending apocalypse and I’m not sure why we’re still here. Surely that much evil in the world should have extinguished life as we know it?

It certainly helped ruin football anyway, but that hasn’t stopped new details emerging from EA and Konami regarding this year’s entrants into the FIFA v PRO EVO annual skirmish. I can save you a lot of time and just tell you that every year it’s the same old spiel. They crow about the improved AI and how it plays more realistically and makes smarter runs. Then you get your hands on it and play just like you always have, with absolutely no adjustment required. Every year, people. Are we learning yet?

One person who won’t care is Markus Persson, otherwise known as ‘Notch’ the creator of Minecraft, given that he now has more money than God and is just as likely to be found in a helicopter snorting coke from the breasts of supermodels. The indie PC hit has finally received its port to Xbox Live Arcade and instantly broke all sales records, even at the distinctly unpalatable price of 1600 Microsoft Buggery Tokens. It may be an old version of the game, and therefore lacks a few key features of its PC/Mac-based counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that even the briefest period of exposure to it won’t have you literally spunking away hundreds of hours on it trying to build a cross between Bill Gates’ dream house and Dr Evil’s lair.

Alas, one developer who hasn’t had such fortune is the US-based 38 Studios, who have had to lay off their staff despite the fact that they are the wonderful minds behind Kingdoms of Amalur, the RPG masterpiece that should have been called Anti-Persil because it puts the stains IN your clothing. Sad times. They’ll be snorting Lemsip from the face of Lisa Riley in the back of a Ford Escort.

In happier news, the roving newshounds are being let out of the GamingLives kennels to go and chew the fucking legs off of some publishers at E3. Last year they produced a solid month’s worth of sweet, sweet articles direct from the Los Angeles-based gaming expo and that was despite the fact that every game on show was a fucking Kinect game. So imagine the shiny nuggets of gaming news you’ll be choking on this year when everyone is getting ready to demo their brand new console efforts.

With Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo getting more leaks than a welsh incontinent-porn fetishist living on a boat built by Spaniards, expectations are high that we’ll see some actual details about the PlayStation 4, Xbox Please Don’t Call It The 720 and the Wii-U. As ever, keep your browsers locked on www.gaminglives.com or there will be repercussions. Horrible repercussions.

In chart news, it looks like Rockstar have pipped Blizzard to the number one spot with Max Payne 3, the ugly sequel to the magnificent previous-gen noir thriller, outselling Diablo 3, the pretty but technically-troubled follow up to the world’s most-loved dungeon crawling series. FIFA Street 3 is in third place, inexplicably. Sniper Elite V2, an enhanced port of one of the best tactical shooters of the last generation, comes in at fourth place. FIFA 12 is in fifth and at that point I stop giving a fuck. I don’t know what is in sixth place but it’s probably a song by Rihanna. She’s fucking everywhere right now.

She is in the Michael Bay dumbing down of the popular luck-based guess-em-up Battleship. You know, the CGI-heavy movie of the ‘you sunk my battleship’ board-game that was popular with kids in the 70s. Well with the returns ever-diminishing, it gets worse. Activision have employed Double Helix (who have never made anything good) to turn the whole thing into an FPS. But here’s the twist you never saw coming – it’s actually good. It’s a decent outdoor shooter that sees you topping all manner of tough alien beasties and nicking their weapons. The gimmick is that you can call in artillery support from your warships, but only if you can get them into position and fend off other ships. Don’t believe the mostly-damning reviews. This is good. If it had been called Halo: Fleet you could easily add at least twenty points to its Metacritic average. Such is the hatred we all feel for Michael Bay. Sometimes even wrong gaming opinions have an upside!

Ending on reasonably positive news, SEGA have announced the imminent release of various retro packs on Xbox Live Arcade. Ports of various Golden Axe (they were never good) and Streets of Rage titles are achingly-predictable but, happily, they are also doing a Wonderboy pack which features the magnificent RPG-platformer Wonderboy in Monsterland. Such cheerful whimsy is exactly what this cynical gaming world needs as we enter the dreaded summer drought. 800M$P per pack (each pack containing three games) seems like a reasonable deal for people too lazy to download emulators.

See you next time for a Richie Report E3 Special Bus special!




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9 Comments

  1. Ste says:

    Stella stuff as usual Rich. I am most definitely looking forward to your E3 edition.

    By the way, didn’t Lisa Riley die recently? Cake overdose I heard.

  2. Jo says:

    I recognise that castle…

    Tempted by Battleship now. You do get to kill Rhianna in some form of human sacrifice to the new Alien overlords, right?

  3. Chris-Toffer says:

    Awesome stuff. I’m looking forward to the E3 edition too!

  4. Rich says:

    Cheers, Loves.

    Massive respect due to the editorial crew as ever for

    a: letting me get away with it
    b: formatting it and making it look aces.

  5. MarkuzR says:

    So guys, what do you reckon about the PS Orbis? There’s a pretty strong rumour going around that those images are THE prototype unit and that there’s a good chance it’ll look like that. Not being a PS1, PS2 or PS3 player myself (our PS3 is still unplugged), I can’t really comment but I much preferred the aesthetics of the PS2 to the PS3 as I though it looked pretty ugly compared to the first model of Xbox 360.

    I had to look up Lisa Riley as I had no idea who she was and figured I’d try and find some sort of funny-looking photo of her to use on the page, and then Google Images brought up photos of her and my eyeballs near-melted. I decided to spare the readers the same fate.

    Damned, DAMNED shame about 38 Studios though. It’s ridiculous. I can’t get over how such a promising developer with such a well-loved debut title can find themselves in the gutter only months after its release and a year after its debut at PAX, especially with a huge entity such as EA behind them. You’d think that EA would have seen the potential in them and either bailed them out with a promise to produce a sequel or buy them out… just… anything other than let them fester and die. Such a shame.

  6. Rich says:

    The Orbis? I like it. It looks like the old Invaders From Space machine I had.

    38 Studios brought this on themselves. As great as KoA was (and it was), they fucked it by giving it a rubbish colon name that makes you think it’s a sequel to a game you never played.

    If they’d called it Fate Warrior they’d still be able to feed their children.

  7. Edward says:

    I forever need these on my screen.

  8. Lorna says:

    Halo: Fleet – yep, you’re absolutely right… that would be all it would need to get a handful of extra Metacritic points added to it. What the hell is up with a game being turned into a film being turned into a game again though? Still, more naval based stuff is good – I’m a sucker for awesome water in games. Last year’s E3, when we saw various games, the PR would be talking about gameplay and there was me thinking “Ohhh, pretty water…”

    Crying shame about Amalur devs – especially as they were working on a sequel :(

  9. Ian says:

    Orbis won’t have gamerscore so by default is already redundant.

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