Franchises that really must end, now, for real, seriously.

I play video games as most of you know, I even get to review them sometimes. As the video game industry has expanded and become more mainstream. It has also become more cautious and established games have become more and more prevalent as publishers look for a sure thing to return on their investment. There are some franchises though that no longer deliver on the promise of great game play, or have become so bastardized and watered down that they bear no resemblance to their progenitors. So here is my list of game franchises that the most be put to rest, some quickly and quietly other violently and extreme prejudice! Now in no particular order:

10. Sonic the Hedgehog – What started as Sega’s edgy assualt on Mario Brothers has become a tired mess. Sonic stopped being good around the 2nd game. The move to 3-d for Mario created new exciting gameplay and opened up the Mushroom kingdom, it put Sonic on rails and saddled him with a terrible camera. I stopped paying attention to the horrors of the franchise when their new game was about a black, gun-totting hedgehog… Please Sega put the poor guy out of our misery!

9. Final Fantasy – I’m a hard core Final Fantasy fan. I own every single one, including FFXI which I played for 25 minutes before deleting from my hard-drive (the irony being that it took me over an hour to install the game and jump through all the hoops SquareEnix wants you too (damn those codes!)). I’m done though now and I’m ready for the next thing. I’m tired of buying these games and playing through them for nostalgia’s sake. The developers must have other ideas and games concepts they rather explore, so why cram that in to a FF and load it with all the baggage that comes with FF, the good and the bad. It’s had a great run but the last few instances have been hurt more by their association with Final Fantasy then helped. XII is a great example of this, a great game with innovative gameplay that takes flack for not being close enough to it’s predecessors. Also I’m sick of whiny spiky haired blond kids being the protagonists and girly goth looking bad guys.

8. Half-Life – the FPS game on the PC, Half-life revitalized single and on-line gameplay when it was originally released, and Valve continues to make great games using the engine, which is what they should be doing more of market the engine and create new content using it. I no longer care about Gordon Freeman and the world he lives in. I’m also sick of waiting forever for episodic content, if you’re going down that route you have to deliver more often than every 2 years. The long wait is half the reason I’m no longer interested in the Half-Life world.

7. Guitar Hero – I don’t want to ever see Guitar Hero IV. There isn’t any need for it, all that needs to be done now is sell music to those who already own the game. There really shouldn’t have been a 2 either. All you need to sell is the engine and the guitar at brick box stores and then sell content on-line through Playstation Home or Xbox Live. There isn’t anything else you can do to change the guitar to make it easier and there isn’t anything new to add gameplay wise (Guitar hero is just a rhythm beat game with a different peripheral).

6 . Pokemon- I’ve caught them all, next please.

5. Warcraft- World or otherwise. I think Blizzard has made enough money cribbing ideas from Games Workshop, let’s see something new now Blizzard (this doesn’t mean Diablo or Starcraft either, new means new).

4.  Halo – Maybe I’m at heart a PC gamer but I’ve never. ever been impressed with Halo and I doubt I ever will. The story-line is cribbed from a half dozen sci-fi standards and is overall weak, as is the gameplay. I’m so glad Bungie left Mircosoft and I hope they never ever make another shooter. Halo is about the most over-hyped franchise ever. Doesn’t help that 80% of the people you’ll end up playing with on-line are immature fucktards.

3. Metal Gear Solid – I love MGS, I forced myself through MGS2 and 3. I’m not buying a Playstation 3 to play the fourth.  I don’t care about Kojima’s take on cold war politics or his convoluted (read: unreadable) storylines. I ignore the storylines completely in Metal Gear, as they make no sense whatsoever, I’m there for the gameplay and that has gotten worse through the iterations. I don’t understand how they teach history and politics in Japan but one has to wonder if illegal substances are involved. Anyway, the gameplay has stalemated and I don’t care about Solid anymore so let’s all move one

2. Mega Man – This is a given. Has any franchise been exploited as much as poor Mega Man? I’ve lost count of the games that have the little blue bomber in them. None of which have been as good as Mega Man 2, which was released in 1989. There you go, 18 years of Mega Man games that can’t live up to an original NES game. The latest games to have his name branded on them are wholly unremarkable. Capcom needs to end it or put the guy out to pasture for a while. We’ve all had enough.

1. Metroid Prime – The first Gamecube game got rave reviews from the industry for bringing Samus into the 3rd dimension successfully. I don’t know what game they were playing. I hated the controls for the game, the cycling through visors, the clunkiness of Samus, and the shrinking of the game world. I think the DS, PSP, and Indie game market on PC have proven that 2d games are still viable.  If you want to continue the Prime series of games Nintendo needs to farm out the coding to someone who knows how to do FPS, maybe make some contacts with PC game developers. Cause they are doing it wrong. End it or fix it.

Lazy Wednesday

This is counting as a post for yesterday. What did I do yesterday? I worked from 6 AM to 2 PM. I then ran some errands. After completing those and returning home I thought it’d be fun to fill my garbage can up with water and then dump out on the kitchen floor… It was as awesome as it sounds! Clever fellow that I am, I decided to fill the trash can with water, to clean it, while it was still in the house. I did not notice that it has openings in the bottom to facilitate the pedal top. As I poured water in through the top it happily mixed with bleach and trash juice and leaked all over the floor. By the time I noticed, a nice pool was forming. Good times, good times.

I’ve played through most of New Super Mario Bros., but I’m getting stuck on the final level. It appears to be longer than every single level before it combined. This wouldn’t be an issue if the game prepared you for this kind of difficulty. It doesn’t though, up to the final level the game almost coddles you along from stage to stage and level to level. By the time I arrived at Bowser’s gates I had over 60 lives!? It’s a good thing too because I’m losing all of them trying to get through the damn thing. Again, I don’t mind a challenge but the level is incongruous with the rest of the game , the player is completely unprepared to have their platforming skills put to the test. I’ll keep at it.

In other gaming news I’ve stopped playing Faxanadu. For two reasons: First, the name is really hard to spell, also it’s dumb. Second, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I don’t feel like I should have to download a FAQ to be able to understand and beat this game. We’re gamers smarter back in the days of the NES? Or were we simply more forgiving (read ignorant). Whatever the case is, I’ve set it down. I’m writing up some thoughts on Final Fantasy (mostly the early incarnations) that I’ll post later today or tomorrow.

Wake up in the late afternoon

Death in Shivah

I was playing Shivah again today and found myself stuck. I searched on-line for a FAQs, because I am weak. But there were no FAQs, so I had to start trolling through forums to find one, *le sigh*, I hate forums. It is there that the lowest of the internet species live out their lives, bitterly complaining and venting their powerless rage on the fellow lifeless husks that live there with them. Only the bravest of explorers goes there or the most hardened veterans. I finally found one in the forums of the game developers, I looked over some of the hints I didn’t want an entire walk-through just a point in the right direction. Turns out the FAQ was only for the deluxe version of the game. I went back into the game and tried some more, fiddled around and discovered a game mechanic that isn’t mentioned in the docs anywhere?! This opened up a few more conversation paths for me, which lead to a new location, which lead to me dying… not fun. I still like the game, but from my readings in the forums, the deluxe 5 dollar version has many of the trickier and esoteric parts of the game fixed. I don’t really want to pay money for a game I already have… still it might be worth checking out if you want to spend 6 dollars on an retro styled adventure game, here’s the link.

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