X-Box 1 versus PS4, begin!

 A lot has happened, supposedly, that I haven’t posted on. Most importantly, Epic Console Battles of History has returned (no unfortunately there are not epiclloyd/nicepter video game battles). The rumor mill has been churning 24 hours a day, with a vengeance, for the past year about the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft. Sony came out months ago and made a completely vague, aimless, pointless facade of a console reveal that showed nothing but a new controller, and some tech demo’s running on PCs – basically, a Square Enix demo of the beautiful Luminous engine which will never be used to create a good game, showing some more or less unimpressive scenes to those who are already knee deep or further in the online 3D community.
Sony fanboys have fired the first and pretty much every salvo – the only salvos really – in the fan-boy war to decide which company’s  user-base and most dedicated trolls can affect the others sales as much as possible. I say that as a neutral observer because obviously I can’t see every single comment made by every single neckbeard or minor on the internet arguing about this – nor do I want to because I’m sick of it and I hope they all choke to death on a piece of plastic wrap when they unpack their new purchases – but from what I have seen, Sony’s paying sex-slaves are being viciously over-aggressive and inappropriate, and Microsoft fanboys are doing one of two things:
xboxconvert1
or
waittille3
To recap: Xbox fans are jumping ship, or, they’re being reasonable and saying “Let’s wait till E3. I shall hold my judgement till I have more information.” That sounds like an adult thing to do, doesn’t it?
Here’s what PS fanboys are doing: idiotps3

And so here is what I say to them:

@Incubus420 Yea what you just described, is not a gaming machine, you stupid fuckface. That’s the very definition of a multimedia entertainment machine. The same thing the PS3 is, the same thing the Xbox 360 is, the same thing the PS2 was, the same thing the Xbox was, and most importantly the same thing the XB1 is. That’s kind of why, since the very first generation of consoles, they have been called Entertainment Systems, not Gaming Systems.

Entertainment encompasses many forms, not just video games.

And, the last time I checked, being a jack of many trades did not hold back the PS2, the Xbox, the 360, the PS3, Windows or OSX in the SLIGHTEST bit when it came to excelling as a gaming platform.7nTnr

No fucking shit, right? I’m not going to be nice, either. You’re a retard if you say what the above guy, who I will not censor the name of because it doesn’t matter, said. It’s a simple denial of the facts if you say something like that. The PlayStation 2 played DVDs. It had a remote control accessory to control the DVD player. The Xbox played DVDs, it had a remote control accessory to control the DVD player. If you took it one step further and hacked your Xbox, you could put XBMC on it – which to this day is still one of the best Media Center options around if you, or someone you’re friends with, knows how to do it. Even if not you can drop someone 50 dollars to do what, an hour of softmodding? Anyone who knows how to do it and would turn down a free 50 dollars for an hour of not working is a fool anyway.

The Xbox 360 is a multimedia entertainment system. It plays DVDs. It plays games. It streams network and internet music and video services, and has a web browser. It has a motion sensor that plays games, helps you work out, and can be used by enterprising scientists for a number of applications, such as being hacked into a 3D scanner. The PS3 is a multimedia entertainment system. It plays DVDS. It plays Blu-Rays. It streams network and internet music and video services. It plays games. It also has a motion controller that plays games and can be used by enterprising people to be turned into something else.

The Wii is a multimedia entertainment system. It plays games. It has streaming network capabilities to play videos and music off of the internet, as well as web browsing. It sucks at it and at everything else but it can do it. It also has a motion sensor that can do things, like break TVs, walls, people, itself, and much more.

The Wii U is a multimedia entertainment system. It plays games. It has streaming network capabilities to play videos and music off of the internet, as well as other internet services like the weather channel. It also sucks at some things and has the ability to maybe be a good system if publishers would release games for it and get some more hype.

See what I did there? You are going to bitch and whine about the Xbox One, or the PS4, doing the exact same things that the Xbox 360 and PS4 currently do, better, all the while being completely ignorant of the product(s) that you already own and what that product can do?

It’s not just the “TV TV TV kinect kinect kinect football tv tv tv tv” thing, either. People do actually have some legitimate concerns about the Xbox One and the PS4, if it goes the same route which it will, and have no guilt over having blown them completely out of proportion, either.

Microsoft knows full well that a very large portion of the gaming market is based on second-hand sales.

Tomb Raider (2013)

I have no qualms with this game yet. I do have qualms with the marketing, specifically the trailer. I was actually involved, when I still worked in Market Research, with one of the initial rounds of studies with Square Enix and the people they go through, three years ago. Since then I’ve had my eye on this game and it’s so nice to put what we had seen in 2010 in perspective now. They fixed every single thing that the respondents had mentioned and so far I’m thrilled with the game. Anyway back to the point. The trailer that has been around forever made it seem like it was cut and there was more to the movie.

Nope. The trailer you saw on commercials or at E3 or online is literally the entire introduction movie from the game, not a cut. Which is okay, as you learn while progressing through the game – because they Lindelof the story. Evidently it’s illegal to tell a story in a linear way anymore. I just feel lied to by myself giving them the benefit of the doubt that there was more to that CG trailer. It wasn’t even QTE either, entirely CG trailer, which is no surprise from Square Enix.

As for the game itself, it’s refreshing to see a new take on Tomb Raider. However, it seems that Square Enix increasingly fails to comprehend what makes their franchises successful. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering they purchased this franchise when they bought Eidos. The same way they now own Deus Ex, and Thief, and Hitman, and Just Cause.

Unfortunately, that take is Nathan Drake. They watched the moderate success of the Uncharted series, which itself owes its existence entirely to Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones and The Librarian. So, what did they take from Uncharted in order to make this reboot successful?

The murder. The brutal, endless, delicious murder of armies of dudes. That’s it. Just the murder. Even the optional tombs feature less platforming than the Drake games.  The environment isn’t even as well crafted as the Drake games, although to CD’s credit you can actually explore Lara’s environment, unlike every Uncharted game where it served as nothing but a hallway to funnel you into the next batch of murder victims.

Tomb Raider was supposed to be Lara Crofts origin story wherein she transforms from just an archaeology student into a badass action hero. In the course of doing so, at the very beginnign she must escape from enemies and even kill some of them – which makes her cry and throw up and shake with emotion. So, then, not 10 minutes later once you go out and start actually playing the game, you are forced to murder about 50 people minimum with a submachine gun or ice axe, whatever you choose. Yet she has no gut wrenching reaction to this when, logically, she should have just shut down from shock and cried and puked to death. One could argue that once you kill someone, you get desensitized, but I don’t think it works so instantaneously, and certainly killing one person doesn’t imbue you with cold neutrality. Narrative disconnects like this where the gameplay flies in the face of the story the game is attempting to tell are a horrendous, rare accomplishment of bad game design.

Ignoring the disconnect, the game does feature a lot of cool mechanics. You can hunt animals and skin and loot them. You can kill people a lot of ways – such as your Nathan Drake hanging off a ledge with a handgun, or the bow and arrow, or the ice axe, or guns, you name it. As for the actual murdering though, it’s your standard third person shooter murder with very little flare or style or redeeming qualities to make it remotely interesting. As far as platforming, Lara’s animations and her lack of finesse at leaping and sliding and what have you do actually enforce the point that she is a newbie at all of this, but it doesn’t really excuse how boring and contrite the rest of the game is.

Hopefully, we might see a sequel if this game turns out to be successful. One much better and much more reminiscent of Tomb Raider.

Too many games

Have been silent for a while, on here at least. My video game acquisitions have gotten essentially out of control. Since last post I’ve bought FC3 on 360, Blood Dragon on PC, The Cave on 360, Dead or Alive 5, .Fable 2 (again), Brink, White Knight Chronicles on PS3, Red Dead Redemption, and prior to that last week I picked up Warhawk I think.

Trying to bust out 100% on Far Cry 3 to boost my GamerScore because the achievements are all easy.