*A forward, by Nelly.
So here we are almost half way through 2011. As per usual, the gaming industry has been hitting us with tons of new titles, even news of new consoles on the horizon. If you remember back to 2010, there was big talk of just how great *this* year would be for gamers. The hype machine was working overtime and we were walking around with bibs, as to not drool on ourselves every time we thought about all the fantastic games in the pipeline. But has this year lived up to the hype so far? Two of our resident Rioters, Ben and Matt, duke it out. Enjoy.
Matt: My eyes were bright and I was optimistic for the future. Gas was under $3 and my brother had just found the warps to take him to level 8 in Super Mario Bros. Papa Cheeks was full of cheesecake and owning Super Meat Boy. We were knee deep in a discussion about video game when we were over taken with glee because of the promising titles on the horizon. We concluded that 2011 was going to be the greatest year for games ever! Man times were much more simple back at the Christmas of 2010. 2011 was going to be the year that justified our undeniable love for games. Now I sit here, almost at the half way point on 2011, and I am left with a table of underwhelming games, (thank Marvel V. Capcom 3, Homefront, Crysis 2, Brink), a stolen credit card (thanks PSN), and herpes (thanks whore).
Merry Christmas Bitches
Not to say that there has not been some bright moments this year. January got things off to a kick ass start. Little Big Planet 2 delivered what it promised, a fun platformer for the arty hipster kid in all of us. Bulletstorm also came out of nowhere. That game seemed to throw so much freshness up the industry’s ass that I think Epic Games and People Can Fly earned 500 skill points for its release. Now before you start flaming on me, I understand that it's another shooter and the online doesn't have the best experience or many various modes. But did anyone expect anything from Bulletstorm to begin with? Who could forget about how Dead Space 2 made my mother disgusted and horrified at the same time? It seemed that January had more hits then a hooker who partied with Charlie Sheen.
But then February came and it was like someone let out a fart at the party. Not to say that Killzone 3 (KZ3) and MVC3 were bad games but did either really live up to the hype that surrounded them? (Yes, I said it.) KZ3 has sold 1.49 million copies worldwide. It is loved by many people out there. But sorry to break the news to you fanboys, it couldn't live up to the hype. All we heard before it's release was how KZ3 was the COD killer. The stage was set KZ3 vs. COD:BO, Kevin Butler was ready for action. We were told that after KZ3 other FPS will have a new standard to live up to. Then it was released and it just didn't connect with the casual fan. This past week (in it's 11th week of release) KZ3 sold an impressive 30,000 units. Now compared to COD:BO which (in it's 26th week of released) sold 33,000. So much for the "killer hype". It was supposed to be the game that changed the FPS genre until the next game that changed the FPS genre. Instead it went unnoticed by most.
Kevin Butler Ready for War
Then MVC3 was supposed to take us back to the days when a button smashing war was better fought with a balanced team that juggled their opponents. Instead the gameplay and cheapness of the game voids any skill and fun that the player may have.
Ah but March will get us back on track. “It will be better, it has to be better.” This was one of the lies I kept telling myself over and over again. We had the new IP Homefront coming out and it will be a breath of fresh air that brings the war home. It sounds and looks like balls to the walls fun. Instead we were treated to a 4 hour enema. With its lack of innovation and single player campaign, Homefront turned out to be another clone. However Crysis 2 was going to be the better game of the two all along. I mean when the first one came out it looked amazing and the environment was destructible. We were also able to go anywhere we wanted within the world [but Crysis 2 was filled with invisible walls.]
As gamers, we kept playing and it seemed that April would become our savior. We had 3 huge releases coming out on the 19th and there was a title for any fan. When that came we all rejoiced and walked away with some great games. Well maybe Xbox fans did because Sony would soon piss on our legs and tell us it was raining. As every gamer knows, the PSN was hacked and the situation will go down in gaming history. So the true experience of two games that were released on that day will forever be tainted. Socom 4 (which relies heavily on its multiplayer) has given gamers no reason to buy it at no fault of its own. For about a month, Portal 2's co-op (which adds valuable campaign time) could only be enjoyed by half of the gaming landscape.
Mortal Kombat has been the truly shining moment that this spring delivered. After years of disappointing the family, the father of brutal fighters was home on Easter. The revitalized franchise is selling a ton of copies and everyone seems to be satisfied. Many also believe that Portal 2 is one of the greatest games of all time. Singlehandedly with the release of these two games things were starting to look up. May even has a slate of promising new IPs which has us gamers excited.
Brink is finally here and well it seems like it showed up a little too early to the party. From all reports the game is average. The release of Brink best sums up 2011 as a whole right now. There has been a lot of hype and a lot of excitement in the gaming community but someone has let the air out of our balloons. This year was supposed to be amazing, with the best slate of games we had ever seen but instead its been just an average year. The best shooter to be released this year has been the Gears of War 3 beta.
It’s not that the games that have been released this year have been bad, the industry as a whole has just been blah. The games are suffering from being average and the lack of innovation has killed some of the new releases. Remember when everyone got a Kinect and a Move? Where are the games for them? Let’s not start the PSN debate either. When my brother, cousin and I talked last Christmas we were expecting to be blown away. Instead I feel like King Hippo after Little Mac punched him in the stomach. But I’m still hopeful. LA Noire has me wet in the panties. Infamous 2, Gears of War 3, and Uncharted 3 all look amazing. Of course, I have gotten this far without mentioning the 3DS launch for a reason. Even that was a let down. Maybe I’m just a disillusioned gamer or victim of the hype machine but 2011 just hasn't lived up to the hype.
Ben: There's so many problems here.
We have just been handed one amazing game (Portal 2) and one is landing on our doorstep (LA Noire). We are staring down at an incredible looking E3. We are about to see a new platform from Nintendo that rivals our our current gen consoles. Infamous 2 is two weeks away.
Marvel vs Capcom 3 "voids any skill and fun that the player may have..."
Wait. What? MVC3 is being played and talked about by every fighting game aficionado around. I follow a few on twitter and everyone is playing it. New tournaments are popping up around the country every week and guess what game is part of their showcase.... MVC3 (and MK) hold the most talked about games position on many websites.
From the message board based site Gamefaqs, most talked as of today:
01 L.A. Noire
02 Call of Duty: Black Ops
03 Mortal Kombat
04 Fallout: New Vegas
05 Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
06 Modern Warfare 3
07 Marvel vs. Capcom 3
09 Mass Effect 3
10 Gears of War 3
01 Mortal Kombat
02 L.A. Noire
03 Call of Duty: Black Ops
04 Marvel vs. Capcom 3
05 BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
06 Demon's Souls
07 inFamous 2
08 Super Street Fighter IV
09 Gran Turismo 5
10 Final Fantasy XIII
Now, I know one website doesn't speak for all of us but it does have many vocal users and a hefty percentage of that base are playing and talking about Marvel Vs. Capcom.
The other "underwhelming" games you mention are fine games. But, you speak as though you actually believed Killzone was going to be a "CoD killer" and no one with any sense ever called it that. No one actually believed that it was going to "change the FPS genre." Who even says that? SONY Marketing Department, I'd guess. If you ever hear that a game is a supposed "*insert popular game* killer," then you are being sold to.
And, what's the big disappointment with it being what it was? Was it average? Above average? Oh no! Same goes for Brink. It's average! Oh no! Crysis is average!? Oh no! Homefront didn't magically transport us to our hometown thats been taken over by Korea like all that marketing said it would! That's shocking!
Plenty of people like those games, by the way. Killzone and Homefront especially. Just because each game doesn't speak to every person, or make it into Game of the Year talks, it doesn't make them a failure in any way. It is a shame that most people have that mentality. There are people out there playing these and enjoying them. I have had no problems finding games to enjoy, have you?
What year are you comparing it to? When was the last time that a new Elder Scrolls, Killzone, Capcom fighter, MK reboot, Infamous, Valve game, Uncharted, Diablo, Star Wars MMO, Nintendo Handheld launch, Nintendo new console (I could really go on here) approached all in the same year. There's a slew of new properties and amazing new concepts. What is your basis for comparison? When did all that happen before?
You can't just name off what you feel are disappointments of the past few months and call the year a bust. Games and consoles are getting cheaper than ever. Stores (and Steam) have sales every day and free games are on the rise. Esports are bigger than ever. This brings so much exposure and money into our hobby. And, you can rest assured that any night of the week you can watch your favorite competitive game from some amazing teams and players live. Downloadable games are all over the place and provide cheap entertainment and provide massive innovations. Played Minecraft yet? On the retail side, you'd have to unplug your TV and internet in order to make a bad purchase these days.
Gaming Utopia? Maybe not but 2011 will not go down in the books as a letdown.
So what do you think? Make sure to comment and let us know. Just be polite or have your post horribly mangled
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