The Richie Report: The (250,000 / 515) * 1000 + One = ZERO Conundrum
“puppies before we untangle”
Hello, Loves. The Richie Report is back in your lives and, given that we’ve just had five days of sunshine in a row, that can mean only one thing – the summer drought is upon us. It also means that E3 is in season and ready to fuck all the puppies. Before we untangle the web of spin from the big players at E3, let us riffle through the recent big releases before we literally die of gaming thirst.
First up are a couple of morsels of digital content. Thomas Was Alone is the current indie darling of the PlayStation Network and proves that a smarmy voiceover can get even the dullest of platforming games a host of decent review scores. Bastion did something similar with its well-narrated but basic isometric RPG stylings but Thomas Was Alone is just too minimalist and easy for its own good. It is cheap though.
“wank a first person”
Zeno Clash II also arrived. If you never played the original, good for you. It was wank. A first-person fighting game that held together considerably worse than Charlie Sheen smoking a bag of hookers. As such I’d rather drink directly from a kangaroo’s cock than touch the sequel.
But fuck that digital noncery, what about those circles of plastic we love so much? Well, Metro: Last Light, the sequel to the simultaneously-interesting-and-dull Metro 2033, has been getting all sorts of plaudits, some from our very own Tim the Enchanter. He praised the story, setting and the improved gameplay mechanics, saying that it is second only to BioShock Infinite in the wee pond that is the 2013 FPS genre.
“even lower than Jumper”
The unwanted tie-in to the even-less-wanted sixth (SIXTH?!) Fast and Furious movie also came out last month and, given that there are roughly a googolplex of driving games on the Xbox 360 to be inspired by, it appears that Activision have put out the worst movie tie-in in the 360′s history. The Metacritic score is even lower than Jumper, and I reviewed Jumper back in the day giving it one out of ten, and that was only because the software on the site didn’t support zeros.
Resident Evil: Revelations arrived, looking to wash away the stink of Resident Evil 6 with its simplified 3DS-originated gameplay. This hi-def port scored relatively well with our own Ric (we love him and his daft, chewable face!) and scored seven brains out of ten. A simpler affair than the recent Resi games, this focuses a bit more on action and a bit less on being some sort of fucking flouncy ponce. If you’re on the fence, don’t bother with the demo. It’s as short and pointless as the average midget, and just as likely to make you run out of ammo.
GRID 2 came out courtesy of UK industry dullards, Codemasters. The Codies have come a long way since their early ZX Spectrum days (ATV Simulator is still their best game though) but all these fucking driving games are starting to meld into one giant yawn.
“a bit French if I had reviewed it”
Last but not least is Remember Me. Chewable Ric gave it a very solid eight baguettes out of chef du pompty pomp, praising the setting (the wonderfully-schizophrenic Neo-Paris) and the story while criticising the superfluous platforming (fair enough) and the simplistic combat. I beg to differ re: the fisticuffs, and am finding the pace of the combat to be a breath of fresh air, playing as it does like a sort of strategy game rather than the usual brawler. As of right now (I’m roughly halfway through it) it is amazing and I’m completely in love with it. Despite it being all a bit French. If I had reviewed it I would have given it neuf out of syndicat d’initiative (assuming the high standards continue). In fact, if it comes out on the next-gen consoles I’d buy it and play it all over again.
“following their piss”
Speaking of which, the gaming world is really only talking about one thing right now and that’s the next gen and I’m writing this one day after the big E3 press conferences.
It opened with Microsoft, who were positively reeling from the intense anger of millions of Xbox 360 owners following their piss-poor Xbox One reveal just a week or so earlier. The criticism was focused around the mandatory Kinect filth, the focus on “redefining the TV paradigm”, restrictive DRM and the need to be online at least once a day as well as the fact that the reveal showed no interesting games at all.
Microsoft swerved all this by not speaking about the main issues and instead showing nineteen games and none of that TV shit. To their credit, that was a wise move even if most of the games didn’t look very exciting. It didn’t start well though. Ryse: Son of Rome was as generic a hack and slasher as you’ve ever seen and seemed riddled with QTEs. Not the introduction to the next gen we wanted.
The most interesting thing on the menu was Sunset Overdrive which looked like a Dreamcast-style arcade romp in the style of Jet Set Radio. Unfortunately it soon descended into terrible Crackdown 2 mutant combat.
That was followed by Dead Rising 3 which had the chance to sway me into Xbox One ownership the same way the original Dead Rising made me buy a 360. Unfortunately, the game seemed to be a gritty, grey slog with similar combat to the highly-rated-but-not-all-that-good State of Decay. Technically, it looked remarkable but overall it didn’t look like a lot of fun. Shame.
Add to that the confusingly-named Halo sequel, Halo, as well as Borza 5′s footage of shiny cars looking dull and nobody seemed particularly hyped for the Xbox One with the cheers from the gaggle of journalistic cocksuckers in the audience eventually being replaced by jeers when the Battlefield 4 trailer fucked up leaving DICE’s streak of piss representative looking hilariously-crestfallen by the whole thing.
The Witcher 3, on the other hand, looks like being a bit special with some lovely graphics on show and some decent Kingdoms of Amalur style combat. It’ll look great on your PC too (hrmmm hrmmm!) and speaking of PC games, the Xbox One is also getting Turd of Wanks, a free-to-play multiplayer tank ‘em up.
They didn’t clear up the DRM nightmare any further but they did announce the price. A mum-fucking 429 quid, effectively ruling them out the console race for anyone apart from the daftest of cunts.
“the same but plants”
Like any sane man, I decided to pass on EA’s conference in order to watch the Game of Thrones finale but skipped through it afterwards to pick out the highlights. Aside from the usual mix of shooters and sports games there were a few interesting nuggets to test the resolve of all us EA boycotters.
Famous PopCap flagships Plants Vs. Zombies and Peggle are getting updates. Peggle 2 will be more of the same but Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare looks like a very daft take on the third-person shooter genre and is full of all of your favourite undead-maiming flora.
More interestingly, the fluid-but-fiddly parkour-em-up, Mirror’s Edge, is getting its long-awaited sequel. The footage looked like more of the same albeit in a stunning level of detail (you could see the pores on Faith’s chin) and got a good reaction from the crowd.
“gob for a living”
For those of you who know your omaplatas from your rear nakeds, the upcoming UFC game could be of some interest. The trailer didn’t reveal anything at all about the gameplay but EA did well to drag out sweary UFC president, Dana White, and current lightweight and light heavyweight champions Ben Henderson and Jon Jones to talk a little bit about what its like to punch people in the gob for a living. I’m a huge UFC fan though and so I found it all deliriously entertaining if very forced and awkward.
Aside from that it was all Need For Speed and Battlefield dogshit. None of which interested me in the slightest.
Ubisoft are usually good value at E3, having pretty much owned the last two, and they brought back the lofty Aisha Tyler (LANA! LANA!) to host their conference. She was a little bit awful last year and didn’t get off to a good start this time around with her #girlwood t-shirt.
“cats or whatever south”
My most stupid purchase of last year, Rocksmith (Guitar Hero with real guitars), is getting a 2014 edition. Whatever. Rayman Legends sees the not-really-that-popular platformer return yet again for another year. It looked alright. Lana kept calling it ‘adorable’ with the same conviction I show when women in my office show me ‘cute’ pictures of cats or whatever.
South Park: Stick of Truth didn’t show off any gameplay but it still looks like being an excellent and funny RPG and probably the best thing to come out of the South Park universe since the AWESOME-O episode of season eight.
“just showed a fuck”
The first ‘ooh, that looks particularly next gen’ Ubisoft reveal was The Crew, some sort of online driving game. Initially they just showed a fuck off big cutscene which may or may not have had live action in it (that’s how fucking ridiculously good their video sequences are getting at Ubisoft these days). Colour me not bothered. But then the gameplay was demoed and it looked like a sort of ridiculously-good mix of Burnout Paradise and Daytona USA. I don’t even like driving games, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy this one the first chance I get.
Then it all went a bit shit with Mighty Quest for Epic Loot (unfunny MMORPG), Rabbids Invasion (Xbox One exclusive cute-em-up) and Just Dance (like a cunt) 2014. Luckily a double-pronged Trials reveal brought it all back with Trials Fusion (a tricks-based take on the usual gameplay) and Trials Frontier (for mobile devices). It all looked like more of the same but you can’t go hugely wrong with Trials can you?
“been to Somalia last year big moment”
Assassin’s Creed IV, the sixth game in a series that stopped being interesting about halfway through the second game, showed off some fancy cutscene action and then some gameplay which looked like the usual nonsense but with a lot more boats. Ubisoft twat went on about pirates being the spirit of freedom. He’s clearly never been to Somalia.
Last year’s big moment of E3 was when Ubisoft showed off Watch Dogs and that got another airing this time around and still looks fabulous. They pulled the same trick this year with The Division, the latest excuse to kill Chinese and Mexican people (probably) from Tom Clancy. Initially, it looked fairly generic but the combination of absolutely stunning visuals and solid co-op Clancy ‘em up action was too much to resist for an old Ghost Recon/Rainbow Six fan like me.
Ubisoft certainly made the next-gen look appealing and with Microsoft’s dickheadish pricing and DRM policies ruling out any kind of Xbox One purchase, it was up to Sony to reel back all those disenfranchised PS2 owners back into the fold.
“and nice shiny bits”
It started conservatively with a bit of PS3 and PS Vita housekeeping, with the PS3 showing off The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls and the Vita getting in on the fun with Tearaway and The Walking Dead.
Then they revealed the PS4 which looked dinky and sleek with oddly-angled edges and nice shiny bits. This was followed by the games. The daftly-capitalised superhero romp, inFamous, returned with Second Son. This could be excellent if they make it like Crackdown and nothing like Prototype. Killzone: Shadow Fall was more of the usual Sony fanboy wet dream bullshit and The Order: 1886 was an interesting-looking steampunk shooter although we only got to see a trailer and no gameplay.
After that we saw Destiny (looks like every other sci-fi shooter ever), Watch Dogs (looks like it wants me to love it), AssCreed IV (looks like it wants to get lost at sea and drink its own piss) and Elder Scrolls Online (looked alright but Bethesda bore my tits clean off). Things got a little more impressive with Final Fantasy Versus XIII (Final Fantasy XV) which was ludicrously grand when it came to the visuals although I’m not one for your Japanese RPG bollocks. Kingdom Hearts III also got an airing as well as a Mad Max game. Hopefully that won’t be too Mel Gibson-y.
Sony drafted a few indie developers to show off their wares with Octodad looking like the pick of that crop and they announced a new self-publishing scheme to allow indie studios to painlessly get their games onto the PlayStation Store which can only be a good thing.
It was all very nice, if not hugely impressive, but then Sony made things personal by directly addressing the DRM issue that has plagued Microsoft since their reveal. The PS4 will have no DRM, no bullshit online check-ins and it’s going to be a full £80 cheaper than the Xbox One too. On top of that, PS+ will work between the Vita, the PS3 and the PS4, although it looks like proper multiplayer may require you to pay for that.
Overall, Ubisoft stole the show when it came to the games and Sony blew away Microsoft when it came to hardware. Nintendo, who are currently flopping with the Wii-U which looks like this generation’s Dreamcast (but not as good), didn’t even show up at all this year.
I’ve played 515 games on the Xbox 360, spent over £1000 on digital content and have a gamerscore just shy of a quarter of a million and Microsoft have lost me as a customer. I’m not the only one either. As long as Sony don’t do anything stupid (like the six-month delay of the European PS3 launch that helped push me over to the Xbox 360), I’m going back to my Sony roots. Didn’t see that coming.
Let us finish up with a quick look at the charts.
- GRID 2 – dreary driving for petrolheaded plebs.
- FIFA 13 – detailed simulation of the heartbreakingly-evil national game.
- REMEMBER ME – absolutely stunning contender for game of the year.
- THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM – a Game of the Year bundle of the dullest RPG of last year and all its DLC.
- FAR CRY 3 – douches in paradise themed piratecide simulator.
- DEAD ISLAND: RIPTIDE – pointless semi-sequel to the massively-underrated zombie holiday ‘em up of last year.
- TOMB RAIDER – virtual misery ‘em up with the UK’s poshest heroine
- LUIGI’S MANSION 2 – fucking hell, a Wii-U game!
- DONKEY KONG COUNTRY RETURNS – Nintendo taking advantage of the summer break in order to get their big names into the top ten.
- ASSASSIN’S CREED III – the worst game in the popular murder ‘em up series.
Rest well, people. For next month WE DINE IN HELL. Toodles!
Last five articles by Richie
- The Richie Report - Trading Es for Zs
- Score Rush Extended - Review
- The Beginner's Guide to the ZX Spectrum
- Party Hard - Review
- Risk of Rain - Review