They deserve each other more than Sid and Nancy…

Filed under: Stuff — Syd Lexia @ 6:49 pm

      So last week XBox 360 was unveiled on MTV, and I can think of no more appropriate union. For the last six or seven years, MTV has become the place for cynical marketing executives to pitch total bullshit to complete idiots. This is a channel that would rather show you the inside of David Lee Roth’s house than play the “Just A Gigolo” video. If you’re under the sad delusion that people behind MTV actually care about music, you’re wrong. It is also rather laughable to think that Microsoft actually cares about games; they don’t. Microsofts gaming roots lying in solitaire games, crappy flight simulators, and their fairly enjoyable Warcraft rip-off, Age of Empires. At the end of the day, both of these organizations are more concerned with making an easy buck than providing entertainment.

      Microsoft’s original strategy for the XBox was simply to have the best graphics and this strategy almost failed them. In the early days, XBox had a $350 pricetag and no worthwhile games that weren’t already available on PS2, Gamecube, or PC. The exclusive game that they chose to showcase, Halo, was a predictable 3D shooter with bad level design and repetitive gameplay that eventually garnered more attention than it should have for having multiplayer modes similar to better titles like Unreal Tournament and Half-Life. Most serious gamers turned their noses up at the system and it faired rather terribly in its first couple months with its main purchasers being 30-something accountants and frat boys who liked it because Madden 2002 looked “fucking awesome” on it. The giant XBox controllers that originally came with the system were seemingly tailor-made for these ham-fisted cretins. But just when Microsoft’s pathetic attempt to cut into Sony and Nintendo’s market share had almost failed, something happened. The XBox had a hard drive built into it, and techies eventually realized that this hard drive could be replaced with a much bigger one and the system could be modded in such a way that games could be copied onto this hard drive and played from there. Through the power of emulation, you would also be able to put your favorite games from other, better systems onto the XBox and run them as well. Thus XBox became popular not because it had a spectacular line-up, but because it was the most pirate-friendly console ever made. Since the XBox 360 is not going to have a hard drive, it seems hard to believe that Microsoft’s next overpriced piece of trash will be able to recapture the coincidental success of its predecessor.

      Suprisingly, doesn’t agree with me. The site guarantees that XBox 360 will have “the greatest lineup in the history of video games”. I assumed they meant it would run a NES emulator, but I was wrong. In fact, the greatest lineup ever is only made up of seven games:

1. Perfect Dark Zero (Microsoft Game Studios) - Actually, this game was developed by Rare who Microsoft now owns. Rare has more name recognition and credibility in the industry, so it’s pretty retarded that Microsoft wouldn’t tout the game as being by them. The game itself is just another 3D shooter and I don’t see it being anything spectacular. The 3D shooter genre is rather played out at this point, so unless the game has a good hook like Timesplitters: Future Perfect, Doom 3, or Metroid Prime, it’s not worth playing.

2. Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios) - Oh boy, another game produced Microsoft! I bet it’ll be awesome. (sarcasm mode off) Microsoft has kindly provided us in-depth descriptions of these upcoming games and multiple screenshots. Actually, they’re giving us one small picture and a two line description. In its entirely, the game’s description reads: “Harness the power within yourself to combat an ever-present evil in a mystical universe.” It’s good to see that Microsoft is trying to make a game with a unique compelling storyline instead of relying on vague conventions. Oh, wait.

3. Gears of War (Microsoft Game Studios) - Another Microsoft with an interesting plot: “The Locust Horde is surfacing from the underground depths of Sera. Join the battle to save humankind.” Yawn.

4. Project Gotham Racing 3 (Microsoft Game Studios) - With the exception of Mario Kart and maybe F-Zero, racing games suck. If this Project Gotham shit had the Batman license, then it might be worth playing. At least then we’d finally find out exactly what happens when the Batmobile loses a wheel. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of a Batman racing game. You’d race in gimmicky vehicles that never existed in the comics like the Freeze Ferrari and Penguin Porsche . That’s fucking money.

5. Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Electronic Arts) - Fantastic, another racing game. This one’s by EA, who I don’t think I’ve ever seen do an exclusive license, so I’d expect to see this on the next generation Sony and Nintendo consoles as well.

6. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 3 (Ubisoft) - Tom Clancy games suck, but this’ll make it onto the other systems when they launch anyway.

7. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 (Electronic Arts) - It’s by Electronics Arts, so you’ll see it on other systems. Hell, you’ll probably see it on PS2 and GCN. I never really liked sports games and I don’t understand why we need a new Tiger Woods game every year. Unlike other sports, it’s not like the PGA roster changes all that much every year, not that the Tiger Woods games even follow the roster. Justin Fucking Timberlake was in the 2005 edition. There’s also enough space on a game disc that EA could give us every major golf course if they wanted to. What can the 2006 edition offer us that 2003, 2004, and 2005 didn’t? Almost nothing. It can give us some added realism, but fuck that. When I play a game, I want it to look like a fucking game. I rather play NBA Jam with its hilarious Big Head mode than control a near-perfect clone of Lebron James. If you disagree, it means that you are wrong.

You can see Microsoft’s badly designed and uninformative game list here. In the event that you are reading this months later, here’s a screenshot.

That’s enough bitching for now.


  • Posted by Valdronius on May 15th, 2005 at 9:45 pm  

    I couldn’t agree more. Particaularly with the crap about putting all
    the systems hopes on better graphics. It pisses me off that developers
    have abandoned gameplay for graphics. If Microsoft put out an old-school
    2D RPG where plains were light green pixels, paths were brown, and forests
    were dark green pixels, etc., but with the playtime of a modern RPG,
    I’d buy it in a second. I’d even be okay if they threw in a FVM at the end
    or for intermissions.

    You know what, screw MOHAA and Diablo 2, I’m going to play Ultima 1.

  • Posted by Tebor on May 16th, 2005 at 2:51 am  

    Hail Syd Lexia for calling Microsoft on this outrage! “The Xbox 360™ unleashes the greatest lineup in the history of video games.”? WTF are they thinking!? That’s worse than the “Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett of the Tactical Narcotics Team are back and oh so bad” quote! Yes, the xBox does suck. Besides Deus Ex Invisable War and Riddick, I’d never play the system in my life… of course, both games are also on the PC which kind of null and voids my point about xBox.

    Enough about this crappy new system. Let’s talk more about this Batman racing game. Finally, a change to relive the driving levels from the SNES Batman Returns game! Unlike Mario Kart, this game shouldn’t be cartoony in that the characters are Muppet Baby ages and sizes. Think of the level designs! Race around the Batcave! Gotham docks! Gotham streets! Outer Space! A bonus level could be Joel Schumacher’s Gotham City and random stautes would be everywhere!! Damn it, somebody, give us this game!

    Has anyone noticed that Perfect Dark really isn’t that good of a game after the first three levels? Then the game just sucks once an alien named Elvis shows up? However, the Air Force One level is okay because of the similar design of the map to the movie Air Force One’s layout.

  • Posted by Syd Lexia on May 16th, 2005 at 10:52 am  

          The Perfect Dark single player wasn’t so bad, sure the storyline was silly, but it was playable. The thing that really bothered me about the original Perfect Dark was the multiplayer. It was a little blurry to begin with and there was an annoying glitch where if you punched to death, you were still punch drunk when you respawned. Calling a system XBox 360 is a little puzzling too. As they pointed out in Last Action Hero, the phrase is “do a 180″, not “do a 360″. Not that I would have bought it anyway, but the previously rumored names of XBox 2 and NeXtBox were a lot more clever.

          I also agree that Batman racing game should be onimous and dark like Tim Burton’s Gotham or the one from Batman: The Animated Series. Some of the car designs would probably have to be a little cartoonish though to fit in with their drivers’ themes. After all, what fun would it be playing as The Penguin if he didn’t at least have a penguin hood ornament on his car?

  • Posted by Valdronius on May 16th, 2005 at 4:10 pm  

    What other vehicles would there be? The Commissioner Gordon Camaro? The Joker
    Jaguar? The Cat-illac?
    Valdronius has been beaten to death by a semi-ethereal 2″ X 4″

  • Posted by Syd Lexia on May 16th, 2005 at 4:26 pm  

    Killer Croc’s Kia?

    Shortly after writing the Microsoft piece, I came down with some sort of stomach virus. While I can’t prove for sure that Bill Gates wants me dead, I wouldn’t be surprised.It’s almost passed, but it severely disrupted my plans to work on the site today.

  • Posted by doodoobrova on May 16th, 2005 at 4:30 pm  

    XBox 360 is a gay name and does not make any sense. What do the graphics look like?

  • Posted by Syd Lexia on May 16th, 2005 at 7:32 pm  

    Unless you watched Elijah Wood shill for the 360 on MTV, gameplay videos and screenshots are a bitch to find online. E3 officially starts Wednesday, at which point they should become a lot more abundant. E3’s site is annoying to try and navigate though, so I recommend going somewhere else for E3 coverage, like here.

  • Posted by doodoobrova on May 19th, 2005 at 2:09 am  

    I recently saw a video about the new John Woo game they are making with Yun Fat. It looked pretty sweet, but it also looked like everything they showed was a cinema. I act like it suprises me, but I really should know better. They have been pulling that shit since PSX.

  • Posted by doodoobrova on May 19th, 2005 at 2:10 am  

    Thanks for the link too, where the fuck are my manners Syd?

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