No amount of authentic Toby McGuire voice noise could improve the miserable Spider-Man 3 game, and as good as they are, Akira Toriyama's character designs didn't alter Blue Dragon's game mechanics one little bit. All too often we're sold a game based on the involvement of someexciting creative type from outside the field of gaming, but the fact is, theirinputgenerally works out to be irrelevant.
Forget art stylings, well-delivered comedy one-liners and pounding soundtracks. Those things are great, but with repetition they all go the way of face-water in a monsoon. To reiterate a sentiment so clicheed that it's borderline offensive, tight gameplay, well-balanced design and a long but rewarding learning curve are what count. And actors, writers,and musicians are not game designers.
You don't make a home-buying decision based on your liking of the curtains, and nor should you be swayed by any similar decorative irrelevencies in a video game, however big or cool the celebrity name attached might be.
Above: Nothing upsets Clive Barker more than crap squad AI
And that's of course not to even bother mentioning the tragic cases when a creative's genuine passion for the video game medium is smashed mercilessly to death by a dev team's technical failings.
Jericho. Bloody Jericho.
The collective children of the world's Clive Barker fans will be born clinically depressed for generations to come because of that one, and the real tragedy is that none of them willeven know why.
Assuming that a game will be enjoyable because you like the license is like expecting to like the taste of a turd sandwich because poo is the same colour as chocolate. In both cases you'd be assuming the transfer of some abstract sense of quality because of completely superficial similarities.
The fact is, different media are constructed in - and operate by - completely different means. They stimulate your senses and critical and emotional faculties in completely different ways. Having enjoyed the visual thrill and vicarious tension of watching Christian Bale murder up a Terminator at deadly close range does not guarrantee you'll enjoy pressing some buttons to animate a digital version to do the same. Rollercoasters and cake are both lots of fun, but you wouldn't compare one to the other or expect it to take its place. And so is the case with licensed media.
Given that games, movies, TV and books all fill different gaps in the great Tetris stack of human happiness, the best one can ever expectfrom a licensed game is that itmaintains the tone and atmosphere of a favourite property while being an enjoyable interactive experience in its own right.But knowing that nine out of ten people just don't get that, publishers can keep pumping out generic misery simulators with familiar logos attached, just because they can get away with it.
They shouldn't get away with it.
Promotional crap translated into real-world truth
The very best and worst of games merchandise
Browse 20 items of fancy flash and utter trash gaming gear