SHAMELESS GRAB FOR CASH:
MX vs ATV Alive’s chiseling DLC
If you’re not familiar with the brand, MX vs ATV was a successful, well-made
series of off-road racing games that filled an under-served niche. MX vs ATV
Alive attempted to buck the standard business model, offering a stripped-down,
reduced-price game that the player could augment with paid DLC tracks and vehicles.
The problem was that players were required to unlock new tracks and bikes via
experience in the game, and unlocking the on-disc content required extremely
high levels of experience. This meant that without buying any of the paid DLC,
players were forced to repeat the same few initial tracks on the same few
vehicles over and over again. It’s the same sort of business model we’ve seen
in free-to-play games, but Alive was $39.99, and that’s too much to ask for a
game that quickly strongarms you, through boredom, into buying its DLC. The
poorly integrated business model hamstrung an otherwise fine game, and both the
franchise and THQ Digital Studios Phoenix were shuttered shortly after.
Runner-up: The $100 Need For Speed World car
Hello, valued gamer. Welcome to EA's Need For Speed
World. Please enjoy our free-to-play automobile-based MMORPG. Now that you're
here, perhaps we could interest you in purchasing one of our more exclusive
cars? Allow us to recommend the Koenigsegg CCX Elite Edition. Yes. It is
rather special. We think you'll find its performance most satisfactory. Price?
Of course. 25,000 SpeedBoost points. In real money? That's $100. No, you don't
get an actual car for that price. Yes, it's just a virtual car. That’s right.
To drive in our free-to-play automobile-based
MMORPG. Pardon sir? You'd like us to stick what where? Oh...
MOST SHAMEFUL BONER:
L.A. Noire’s corpses
on, second. I’m still, uh…looking for clues. Yeah. That’s it.
about “blunt force trauma.” There’s a moment in L.A. Noire that – disgraceful
as it is to admit – smacked many of us like a lead pipe to the kisser. For some,
it happened with that first victim in the Red Lipstick Murder case. For others,
it was a later vic in a string of beaten, bloodied, and bruised bodies. But
there we found ourselves, lingering a bit overmuch. There we were, slowly
moving Det. Cole Phelps’ virtual hand from head to shoulder to arm to leg. And
back again. And again. Struggling to turn the camera ever so slightly, and…
freeze. Is that…? Is that really…?
gents, that is indeed a fully realized pair of mammary glands. And yes, dears,
that’s also a realistically rendered mons pubis which our own in-game avatar –
the ever-charming Det. Phelps – is straddling while sensibly muttering, “Hrm.
Interesting.” And yes, YOU PERV, that is your own involuntary tumescence
tugging at your inseam. Because you are an awful, shameful, no good, very bad
alas, we were right there with you. For shame.
Runner-up: Duke Nukem Forever
The section of the game set in Duke’s strip club, Titty City, is
pioneeringly greasy thanks a beyond-awkward interactive glory hole in the
toilets (seriously) and the prize of a lapdance at the level’s crescendo. Much
worse though, is the aforementioned Hive level, in which the game delivers its
heaviest concentration of fully exposed boobs. Rather grimly, they’re either
disembodied muto-breasts attached to walls (surely the nth degree of
objectification) or part of real women captured for alien breeding purposes and
bonded to the environment in true H.R. Giger style. Who endlessly moan until
you kill them.
If you got a boner over any of this, you are a serial killer in the making. Turn yourself
TRAILER THAT WAS BETTER THAN THE GAME IT PROMOTED:
Having watched the Dead Island trailer again before
writing this, we can safely say it's still the most heart-wrenchingly sad thing
we've seen since that bit in Pixar's Up when the sweet old lady that can't
have children dies. And that's really sad. Like grown-men-crying sad.
When the Dead Island trailer – which was created by
Glasgow-based company Axis Animation – was released back in February, anyone
with a heart and emotions and a soul that watched it was left with a big lump
of sadness in their throat. Not to mention a sudden rampaging interest in a
game about zombies on holiday that nobody previously had paid much attention to
or really given much of a shit about. Powerful stuff indeed.
We dared to dream that developer Techland, whose
earlier work included the very decent but not exactly GOTY material titles
Nail'd and Call of Juarez, could deliver on the promise of the trailer. Sadly,
and rather predictably, it couldn't. But regardless of the game's various
shortcomings, this Dead Island promotional remains a stunningly moving
cinematic short in its own right.
REALLY NOT WORTH THE WAIT:
Duke Nukem Forever
Above: Remember when it used to look like this? Of course you don’t. It was 12
we like to speculate as to what went on at 3D Realms’ office during the time
between Duke Nukem Forever’s announcement in 1997 and its release in 2011.
Ping-pong tournaments? Hot dog-eating contests? Naps? Whatever it was, we don’t
think it was spent making a videogame, because Duke Nukem Forever sure didn’t
feel like it had 15 years’ worth of work put into it.
a while, Duke Nukem Forever sort of became our Bigfoot. We all kinda knew it
wasn’t really out there, but every few years, we’d get a blurry image of a
brown monster and we’d all be like, “Whoa! What if it exists? After 15 years it must be awesome!” And it did! It did
exist! But it wasn’t awesome, and it certainly wasn’t worth a 15-year wait – it
wouldn’t even have been worth a two-year wait.
Runner-up: Duke Nukem Forever’s load times
Honestly, it was hard to decide which was
worse: 15 years spent waiting for an ugly, pedestrian shooter to finish
crawling up its own ass and release, or 45-plus seconds spent sitting through a
loading screen every time we reached a new level or died. In the end, we went
with the former, but the latter still deserves recognition for every minute we
wasted waiting to play. PC players got off easy, with loads that lasted 10-15
seconds at most, but on consoles, the loads made DNF feel more like the DMV.