Friday, December 26, 2008

The 5 Biggest Disappointments In Gaming 2008!

The year is coming to a close. Most of the huge marquee titles are readily available, with only a few left out examples. But I'd say at this very moment in time, as of writing, just a short rock toss to Christmas, we can judge the industry. While I take my time to set up and post my year end Best of '08 and my other big project, I can take some time and talk about the 5 biggest disappointments of 2008, seen through my very own eyes. Your opinion may vary. It would be wrong, but still, it may vary.

5.) Grand Theft Auto IV

Originally, it was going to be Too Human. But I realized some better, since at least Too Human feels like it's own game. GTA IV, while visually a leap forward is nothing more than GTAIII: The Sequel. While living comfortably on the PS2 and XBox, GTA evolved. III went from a top down goof off fest, to a 3D living, virtual city where you can commit the most heinous crimes possible. Vice City took the idea, and expanded it, giving it something that more closely resembled a real storyline, set it in the 80s, made it homage all the classic gangster movies, gave it an awesome soundtrack and gave us new play mechanics. San Andreas was, in essence, the pinnacle franchise. It's the biggest city, that spans a large variety of different locales, included almost RPG elements for you character, and had a story that closer resembled a movie than either of the others. GTA IV takes away planes, takes away the RPG elements, and brings in the gritty realism. Play with the "current affairs" idea, we get a foreigner, running away from his past and doing his best to adapt. Now, my opinion is clearly not the popular opinion. GTA IV is one of highest rated games of the year, but it's story doesn't engage me, the city doesn't entertain me, and it just feels like I've done this all before, being a criminal with a conscience performing the same lame boring task over and over again. While they change things up on occasion, it just feels like I'm always tailing some guy (BUT DON'T GET TOO CLOSE!), I'm racing some guy, I'm chasing some guy, and I'm entering a building and killing some guy. And while the game is sandbox "do what you want," I fell like during the story itself, they hold your hand leading you around. I've had more fun playing the goofier, more over the top Saints Row 2, since I'm an amoral prick that does the same stupid missions as GTA, but with some more interesting twists, like insurance fraud, wide scale pandemonium, eradicating unwanted guests in places I want to use as hideouts and having to gain street cred if I want to progress the story. GTA IV is far from a terrible game, don't get me wrong, but I just don't find it as engaging as it could be. I would have liked to have liked this game more than I did, but I'm just tired of the mission structure.

4.) Sony Updates PSN. Still Sucks.


PSN is not XBox Live. Nor will it ever be. While the system isn't broken, it might as well be. First of all, PSN store used to be browser based. Which I think we can all agree on is retarded. Luckily, with some new features introduced a short while ago, we got a software based PSN Store, so now you don't have to sit through a painful load while you're trying to buy Super Rub-A-Dub or something. The store itself is lacking pretty much any pop to its servers, considering there isn't a whole hell of a lot to pick up, and the original titles, while some being totally awesome, are now where near on par with what you can buy on XBLA. Having friends on PSN is like having a friend via Ham Radio. Yeah, they're there, and you can get in contact with them sometimes, but what's the fucking point? Luckily, now we actually have cards and things to look at so we know when they were last online and what game they're currently playing if the game supports it. "If The Game Supports It" is a phrase you're going to hear a lot. We can now listen to our own music from our hard drive during a game......if the game supports it. We can access the XMB (Xross Media Bar, because "X"s are EXTREEEEEME!) through most games so getting a message isn't completely useless now. Screen grabs are possible now, not that you would know, since nobody supports them. And of course, the PS3s answer to Achievement Points over in 360-topia. TROPHIES! You can earn trophies from all of your "favorite" games, if they support them, and collect and share them with your friends! The cool thing about trophies is that it's like an RPG, your player card actually levels up the more trophies you get. It'd be awesome if games actually supported trophies. Fuck, even MGS4, the PS3 marquee title, doesn't support trophies. PSN exists. It's there. And it ain't anything to write home about. Plus, for whatever reason, I get booted out a lot more than I do XBL. Which is to say I actually get booted off whereas I never do on Live.

3.)Might As Well Be God Damn Homeless


While PSN may be disappointing, it still has limitless potential. Trophies will be linked to your PSN name and can be displayed in HOME, a virtual world where you can meet, converse, and play around with friends and strangers using a 3D virtual avatar! You can meet up with friends, meet, get them into a 3D rendered room for Warhawk and then launch RIGHT into the game! Well, this would all be true if Home were an actual existing piece of public software. Instead, we're given blanket promises and vague company lines that ensure us that it's totally amazing. I can confirm that this is a Home that deserves to have it's Christmas lights left on over night on a dry, dead tree. Home went live via a public beta a mere weeks before Christmas, thusly crashing PSN for the most part. And when people were allowed in, they realized that basically the only fun thing to do at all is chase girls around and harass them, and trying to convince them to enter your Summer home. The only good to come out of Home is "Quincying". If you're curious as to what that is, go to and search for it.

2.) Mario Kart Wii


Mario Kart is a Nintendo work horse franchise. Since it's franchise inception on the SNES, we expect and demand awesome and fun over the top wacky arcade racing with our friends, with only a couple of minor slips along the way. Well, then you might ask, what is so wrong with Mario Kart Wii that you go so far as to claim it to be one of the most disappointing moments of 2008? It's simple really. Nintendo's new company line is ruining their franchises. Simple, dumb fun enough to keep things going, and I agree with that, but when you LITERALLY make it dumb, we have problems. Anyone can win any race. It's a ridiculously unbalanced that decided the weapons didn't play a big enough role before. So here we are, getting bombarded with blue shells out the ass, the rubber band AI is utterly relentless, and the multiplay is basically destroyed. Everyone is a winner with Nintendo, which is why we are team based now. And those balloons that used to signify your health? Don't worry about those anymore, they're useless. Why are they still's really unknown. The only saving grace is the WiFi play, but even that isn't pointless, since Nintendo insists that having friend codes is the future of gaming.

1.) The Nintendo Wii Sucks.

Should you take that line seriously? Probably not. Don't get me wrong. I really like the Wii. It's a great fun system with some nice features that really go above and beyond what we're used to Nintendo giving us. Which is REALLY a sad statement when you begin to realize how little we've been given this generation as gamers that have stuck by Nintendo through the shit they've made us endure through. 2008 has been a mess. A simple look at their release schedule reveals that. The biggest holiday titles for Nintendo on their console are Wii Music, an interactive tale of what it would be like if you were that idiot savant pianist, and Animal Crossing DS...I mean City Folk. Because it's totally not the same as the DS game. I mean, they have a city you can go to now, it's totally different. Look at all the amazing stuff shown off at E3 too! Uh....a sequel to Wii Sports which lets you fix the Wii controller to what we thought it actually was with Wii Motion Plus. And of course Wii Music. Wii Music is reason enough to hate Nintendo. Their non-game that lets you wildly flail about to make music with little or no regard to the fact that the basic aspect of a game is to accomplish a task. And wiggling a controller so it looks like your playing Jazz sax to Twinkle Twinkle is not a task. At least god damn Mario Paint let you fill in a picture of a dinosaur and MAKE the music too.

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