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A host of ridiculously overprotective features intended to prevent child predators still couldn't keep Nintendo out of the headlines It still showed up in the news relatively frequently as its web browser function was portrayed by mindless talking heads in the sensationalist mainstream media as an inevitable black hole that would suck your children into a life spent primarily looking at donkey porn. The Wii’s ridiculously over the top safety features (friend codes, etc) may have prevented a few kids from being verbally fondled over the internet, but it has prevented millions of gamers from getting any enjoyment whatsoever out of the anemic online options available.
It could have been better if: We could go back in time and kidnap the person who invented friend codes and have them invent something less annoying instead… like Ke$ha.
In the two years leading up to the release of Too Human, developer Silicon Knights’ Dennis Dyack (formerly known as a very nice guy) went off on a couple of high profile rants targeting journalists who called out Too Human. He swore it would be a great game. He argued that people who didn’t like it “didn’t get it” – because apparently none of us have played an action RPG before. He basically went ballistic, like an overprotective parent off his meds, and nobody could figure out why. Then Too Human released and it was all too clear. The game he'd been working on for nearly ten years was wretched. That's enough to put anybody in a foul mood. The gameplay was completely meh, and the story was not quite as clever and creative as it was clumsy and overwrought. Vikings battle robots in a bleak technofuture? Who honestly believed that was going to work? The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles make more sense than this garbage. And they’re teenage, mutant, ninja turtles.
It could have been better if: It was aborted 6 years before release.
Years from now, if Microsoft is remembered for only one achievement in the gaming business we hope people remember them as the only company in history that failed to sell cheap plastic crap to gamers. Stick a Zelda, God of War, or Halo logo on just about anything and gamers will flock to lay down their paychecks for it. And yet somehow, even a decent idea like the interchangeable Xbox 360 faceplate still managed to fail.
Maybe it was the insanely greedy $20 (for most) asking price. But faceplates more likely failed because you had to stab your console 50 times with a screwdriver to get the damned things off, and every time you did, you ran the risk of destroying the faceplate itself – particularly important things like the power and reset buttons. Gamers would have been more than happy to accessorize and snazz up their gaming gear, but they don't take kindly to mistreatment of their hardware.
It could have been better if: You didn't need a jackhammer, crowbar and degree in mechanical engineering to safely swap one garishly painted slab of plastic sheeting for another.
Let’s see: You’ve got the license to a sorta beloved, sorta unknown but definitely geek-rich cyberpunk tabletop RPG that hasn’t been the subject of a videogame for nearly 15 years. What’s the best thing to do? Make a super-hardcore role-playing game that pays tribute to the original source material? No. Make an action RPG, like the SNES and Genesis games were? Forget it. Oh, how about a masterful update of the original RPG concept, with the deep world and awesome imagery wrapped into a modified shooter body, the way Fallout 3 would soon do? Not even close.
No, the clear solution is to make a squad-based shooter that’s multiplayer only and ships way late with only six maps and three match types. Oh, and then be sure to go online and whine that review scores are low because reviewers were unfairly comparing your game to other games in the market, not because you suck at making games. Then pre-teen girls will think you’re tragically misunderstood and emo and draw your name on their notebooks.
It could have been better if: The developer and publisher hadn’t been scared to death of making anything other than a shooter, there had been any single-player mode at all, graphics hadn’t sucked and there had actually been a whole game’s worth of content. Or if they’d just hired Valve to do it.
Nov 23, 2010
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