No More Pre-Orders

My last thoughts, in what has turned out to be an impromptu three-part exposé on the release of unfinished games, turn my attention to the way that we shop for our games.

I am going to come off a bit hypocritical to some who have read this blog for a long time, and more so to those who know me personally. But I’ll say this in my defense: Over time, we all learn and either choose to adapt or continue in our own stasis. The reason for my hypocrisy is that I have been the biggest culprit of the pre-order. In the last few years I’ve been known to pre-order 20+ games during the E3 sales either to accrue extra points or receive steep discounts.

Now this is what I’ll say: I have learned, recently, that pre-ordering is just doing us a disservice. I mean, getting a game day 1 at a discount is great. In theory. In practice, what it means for us as gamers is that we’re adding to the companies bottom line and their brag-rights. Huge titles are almost always going to receive massive day one sales numbers. Why? Because most of us pre-order. Whether to get that discount, some knick-knack or some kind of digital chocolate chip cookie that they entice us with. In time, I have pre-ordered for every one of those reasons.

But what we’re seeing now is games coming out to repudiation of what should be consistent values among us gamers. Expectations of quality are not being met. Instead we’re getting games that become memes and that’s all they end up being known for. But the companies making these games are still seeing mass profits, ignoring user sentiment, and continuing with practices unchanged.

Now last week, I said: what can we do? And I didn’t have an answer then. But I have the semblance of one now. We need to stop pre-ordering games. This isn’t the only thing we can do, and it may not even be the best thing we can do, but I think it’s a good start.

2863254-million

Look at the boast here. Now, CD Projekt Red and The Witcher are examples to the contrary of what I’ve been discussing lately, but I use the image to make a point. If games are getting a million pre-orders, then it doesn’t really matter what they end up releasing. Because even if it’s bad – if even half of those pre-orders go through as full sales – the company has already made back (a substantial portion at least) it’s initial investment. Meaning, they only see black in the books and whether or not it’s a good game is irrelevant. Companies like Ubisoft seem to be ignoring their user base on titles like For Honor, despite massive boycotts and protests like the one on April 3rd. For a company, I’m sure the comfort of seeing the numbers in the black is huge. And the concerns of fans can be brought up during the PR and marketing campaign for the (pretty much inevitable) sequel.

By avoiding pre-orders and trying to have a wait and see attitude towards all new releases, companies putting out games that are unfinished or inferior will have to take a step back and look at those red numbers for a while longer. And this can only serve to benefit us as the end users. A) We will (hopefully) start to see a change in the way games are released and B) by the time we get around to buying the games they will end up being around the price (in some cases and in others possibly lower) than what the discount we would have seen from a pre-order anyway.

If this post tickled you in all the right places, I fully recommend checking out this article I read on Polygon, that struck me as relevant to the discussion.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments below, or check me out and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

From my time

As a sort of indirect follow up to my last posting regarding unfinished games, I wanted to give a bit of professional perspective to things.

Now, one of the big complaints about a lot of games these days is the lack of QA. Now, for those of you not in the know, QA is Quality Assurance. Every game goes through different levels of QA testing. Be it compliance (making sure that the release meets the standards of the specific platform Sony, Microsoft, etc), localisation (compliant with language standards of the region it’s being released in) and functionality (making sure, you know, that the game works and all).

I used to do QA testing for a living. And before people start getting all “wow playing video games for a living? AWESOME!” It’s not as cushy as it sounds. Don’t get me wrong, the company I worked for is definitely my favourite that I’ve worked for to date, but there is a lot to be said for the actual job. I’m not going to get into this now. If you want to know more, I’m happy to answer questions in comments or you can e-mail (theegogames@gmail.com) or tweet me.

What I want to focus on is how some of the issues we’re seeing become predominant in gaming arise.

The biggest issue, at least in my opinion: not enough time. The last big project I worked on was a AAA title for the PS3. Now, this game was a sequel and what I can tell you is that the original time from from start to release was approximately two years. The development cycle for the game I worked on: Nine months…Now, there are some things to take for granted like the fact that an engine doesn’t need to be developed for the game the second time around. But, where as the first game had a little over a year for testing/development, this one didn’t have anywhere near that kind of time. This one had about six months. Now, as a tester, you’re expected to find tens of thousands of bugs over the course of the project. Which, given how many builds a game goes through, isn’t really a challenge. But it is a challenge for the devs to be able to fix everything. There comes a time in a project, especially when they are rushed, that choices have to be made to decide whether or not it’s worth the time to fix said issue. Now, there are going to be a lot of small things that your average player won’t run into, the issue is when those things you don’t have time for, end up in the forefront. Like it did in AC: Unity, ME: Andromeda, etc.

The other big issue I ran into was devs butting heads with testers. Like any time you’re dealing with other people, you’re going to have clashes over decisions. For me, I can remember a series of what I considered extremely obvious bugs (one being a game breaker if you play like me) just being flat out denied (ignored too, but consciously) by the devs. I had to watch one of them play out during an E3 demo. There seems to be some level of animosity between the two stations, with the devs often feeling superior due to their more “prestigious” placement in the scheme of things. Sometimes the end result of a bug going un-dealt with is simply a matter of opinion or (sometimes) pig-headedness. One such instance I faced, having a background in writing/editing, I pointed out and corrected a number of text issues (grammar, spelling, etc) where rather than just copy/pasting my corrections (as emphasised by my supervisor and the functionality manager of the company) they chose instead to leave the mistakes in place.

Well, that’s a small glimpse behind the curtain and a bit of my experience. It definitely doesn’t answer all of the questions, but I hope it sheds a little light on things.

– The Ego

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hype

So I’m trolling through the various gaming media outlets and creators I follow on Twitter and I came across this article on Gamesradar. The best upcoming games of 2017 and beyond (for those of you who don’t want to read the link).

Now, in principle, I don’t have an issue with talking about the upcoming games. But best upcoming games? I mean, come on. First off, this is total speculation. More than half of the games on the list are still TBA release dates. Which, in and of itself isn’t a big deal. You know, if the games had a substantial amount of info already released to the press or public, then one could at least make an informed decision on what’s available. But with the majority of these games, there is so little announced that one could barely interpret what to expect out of a tutorial…

I’m going to pick on Destiny 2 for the majority of this post. Why? Well, because it’s the easiest target.

Didn’t we learn anything from Destiny 1’s pre-release hype and subsequent launch? I mean, I would hope that the media at least would have the sense to treat everything about Destiny 2 with a grain of salt. But, nope. Here we are with this game already making the list of best upcoming games for 2017…

maxresdefault

Now, I don’t hate Destiny. I bought it. Hell, I even bought it for both platforms because my friends insisted I play with them on X-Box, and they paid the lion’s share. But what Bungie promised on Destiny 1 and what they delivered were worlds apart from each other.

Now here we are again: Bungie is making some big promises. So far I’ve seen promises of bigger, more diverse worlds that will feel substantial and different from each other. I’ve seen richer story with developed characters.

A lot of that sounds really familiar. I remember when Destiny promised to bring us total exploration. The ability to go anywhere you can see on the planet. How’d that work out? I also remember hearing about a big universe full of stories. Well, we did sort of get that, but definitely not in the game. And all Destiny really added was a bunch of really expensive expansions that didn’t change the overall play space.

So why are people getting themselves all revved up already? Why is the media leading people by the nose again? Fool me one, shame on me and all that.

Is the hype, the possibility of that sequel or that new game being exactly what we all want it to be worth the eventual disappointment? Because let’s all be real for a moment: Nothing is ever as good as what we build it up to be. I look at games like Insomniac’s Spider-Man and the new God of War game – and I know that those games are being made by studios who I have a lot of faith in. And I have yet to be disappointed by a God of War game. But the truth is: speculating and talking about how great they’re going to be without a shred of tangible evidence – well, that’s just begging for a let down.

Now, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe part of being a fan is buying into the hype. I don’t know. But what I can say for myself is that there is only so much I’m willing to buy into. I can anticipate and look forward to a new game. But what I won’t do is start telling the world that it’s going to be the best game of 20XX. From time to time, I’ll even buy into the hype. I will get more excited than I should. But there is still a vast difference from personally buying into the hype and selling it to the masses.

As always, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. Let me know what you think in the comments. Is the hype worth the risk? Am I just being too hard on Destiny?

– The Ego

Buy, Buy, Buy

Has gaming gotten too commercial?

I mean, at its core, obviously the industry is a business. With making money as its key component. I personally have never been one to shy away from a good collector’s edition and I can say for certain, I have more than a few gaming collectibles about my house. But the question I’m asking myself, and you, is: is there a line in the sand?

I’m not even sure that the auxiliaries are necessarily the problem. Expanding the market on an already commercial product is pretty much a given. I mean, if there is a way that a company can make up for a loss in profit or a short fall from one title in order to shore up a studio, make sure that quality games are still seeing the light of day, then I’m all for all of the licensed extras. Even if I don’t personally partake.

No, I think the problem – assuming there is one – lies in the development process itself. If companies start looking at games solely as vehicles for quarterly profits, then we start to see issues. Namely – because we start to see games that are rough around the edges, at best, and at worst – incomplete games.

I think that’s the central thesis here.

And I don’t necessarily just mean games full of bugs. Though – we have sure seen our fair share of those over the last few years.

funny_video_game_glitches_08

Having worked QA testing for a bigger release I can say this: Sometimes it’s just not possible to attend to all bugs. Game release schedules are much tighter, budgets are lower and staff expectations are higher. That being said – I think we would all like to see less of things like this.

However, when I say incomplete games, I mean incomplete. As in, you get to reel three of the movie and all it says is “Reel Missing”.

I think of games like Fable 3 – if you’ll be so kind as to let me dredge up the past. I mean, that game had a huge following and made big promises. Now, I’m less concerned (for the purposes of this post) with the broken promises. But what I can say was missing was any kind of discernible plot. The game’s first half basically had you working towards dethroning the king. Once you accomplished that, it was preperation for the war to come. But then it came, and there was really no explanation as to why or what it was you were fighting. The game just comes to a crashing halt as you battle this ignominious enemy.

Or, if you want a more recent example – the much vilified No Man’s Sky jumps right to the forefront.

Now, at it’s core, I still think No Man’s Sky is a pretty good game. And, admittedly I haven’t played it since the “update”, it is supposed to be better.

But the idea that this game – devoid of the majority of its features, would actually launch, is a special kind of deviousness. Seeing this is the perfect example to me that the industry’s commercial interests have become pervasive. It tells me that the industry doesn’t care enough about consumers that they’ll just release whatever and hope we don’t stir up a fuss.

Worse yet, it’s a sign that they think we are placated enough that the majority of people will just buy. Regardless the quality of the product. And sadly, in some ways, we’ve proven them right. That’s not to say some fuss isn’t put up and there isn’t the occasional backlash. But there is a lot of complacency on the part of the consumer as well.

This is all to say that there is a level of acceptance on both sides that has become unacceptable. Though the responsibility still lies mostly on the corporate culture side of things. But we, as consumers (and gamers) need to hold everyone accountable and be willing to forgo the latest game if it’s being produced poorly.

– The Ego

I’ve been watching

Yea, I have. Watching videos, and more importantly – watching the people I play with. One of the videos I see pop up a lot on YouTube a lot is “10 things gamers hate”, and various versions regarding specific games. Today, I think I’ll take a swing at something that has been on my mind for a while.

I think the thing that gets my guff the most when I’m playing a game (especially multiplayer) is when other people can’t seem to grasp the core mechanics of a game. Now, let me preface the rant that’s about to take place by saying:

I accept that there are different people of varying skill levels playing every game. And by no means do I expect them all to be at the same level as me – frankly unless they’re devoting the same amount of time I am, there’s a good chance that’s not even possible. And I’m sure most will agree – amount of time spent playing does not equal skill level. I will also say I don’t have any expectations that people spend as much time watching strategy/developer videos either.

With that said: I really can’t understand it. I’m going to use Overwatch as my prevailing example because I do play a lot of Overwatch.

Now, I get that CoD and BF are the biggest online games and have been for some time. I get that the majority of online FPS players have or do play one of those two regularly. But here’s the thing: Games like Overwatch do not operate on the same principles! This is really where my frustration sets in.

Overwatch, for those of you who don’t play it, is primarily a team, objective focused online FPS. Yes, you need to be good at the FPS part to be good at Overwatch. Being able to put the opposing team down is key. But understanding that going lone-gunner in a 6v6 match-up where the objective is to move a payload from point A to point C will not achieve that objective is the crucial element that seems to be overlooked. It’s so ridiculous that a page on Facebook called Overmeme exists, and is constantly posting stuff like this:

15826188_369047693452624_6940999198240568074_n

Of course, from my games, it doesn’t seem like anyone made that their resolution.

But deep down, I think what bothers me the most is people’s inability to understand the team mechanic. Even without the use of verbal communication, I think that the concept of playing together is totally possible. If everyone understands that there is a goal, and that the only way to achieve that goal is through co-operative play – then victory is usually assured. I mean, the game breaks down to three simple facts:

  1. There is a goal to be met
  2. Teamwork is imperative
  3. Everyone has a role, and everyone needs to understand their role

Making sure that these three things are met is all the game really asks. And, considering the majority of players are in the competitive games – one would expect this to go without saying. In fact – if you’re going to play competitive, I would hope people would familiarise themselves with things like competitive metas, good team composition, etc. But, failing those two things, the core basics should go without saying. But it is often not the case. People don’t protect support characters, healers focus on healing their friends rather than crucial roles like the tank and the biggest one is the people who only play for themselves. The latter being the most common. Overwatch is not a death match. There is no death match mode. Everything requires that those three principles be met. If not – you can basically guarantee a loss.

Now, some of you are probably thinking that I’m taking the game too seriously. And, maybe that’s true. But like anything you invest time into, you want the people you do it with to put in the same level of effort that you do. Videogames are no different.

Till next week fans.

– The Ego

Rebuttle

Ok, so this post is a response to the following article I read on IGN last week (PSX and GOTY took precedence over me writing this counter-argument). I recommend reading it before reading this.

Here’s the link.

First off, in case this hasn’t become abundantly clear through my use of u’s in my words, I am Canadian. So I won’t be addressing the American Dream/American conflict aspects of the article. I am, however, going to break down the three aspects of the argument where I think the piece falls apart.

Guns sell/Sex Sells

Yes, of course this is true. People love to be excited and titillated. And, just like sex in games and movies, if it’s just shoe-horned in there for no other reason than because ‘who doesn’t like a bunch of violence and some fucking?’ – then I agree it’s stupid and it’s hindering the game. I’m no prude or violence abolitionist – but when something is there for no reason but to serve itself (like 90% of the sex in shows like True Blood) – it annoys me. And in those cases, I would agree that it is just a hindrance. It won’t further serve the art form, and it won’t lead to more great games being made. But one could easily make that argument for a number of things that hold the medium back. Once again – there is no one thing that is stopping the progression of games from getting better.

The Bioshock Paradox

So, the “ludonarrative dissonance” mentioned as the main issue with the series is mistaken, flat out. The whole thing about Bioshock is it’s a morality tale in story and in play. Put a man in a chaotic situation and make him fend for his life – and survival instincts are going to kick in. But where the “dissonance” fails to rear its head is in the choices you make – slaughter the Little Sisters for power and become a monster. Save them, and be a hero. And this choice has nothing to do with guns. The Last of Us is a perfect game to go hand-in-hand with Bioshock on this point. Is there combat? Yes, but it’s presence is not the aspect of the game anyone is (necessarily) praising it for. The guns in this game are simply a vehicle. A mechanic to push the story forward in order to get the story out of it. Could you do it without the guns? Definitely. And it would make a great movie. Does the action/inclusion of guns as a medium hinder the actual story or the message that Ken Levine is trying to get across? Not in the least. If anything, I would argue that the gameplay, in this case, is the most minor part of the series.

Playing it Safe

Is there laziness in the gaming industry? Fuck yes. Like any industry. Sometimes it’s just easier to make another game where you just shoot a bunch of dudes and forget about it. Where the story is just a reason to shoot more people. I get that. The same way the music industry pawns off derivative clones of pop music stars whose albums are nigh-indistinguishable. And there are times where the guns are there for no other reason than people like shooting people in games. I do agree, in a sense, that FPS games like Doom, CoD, etc are safe AAA games to make. They have a following, and they don’t require much in the way of “creativity” to an extent. But the genre of gun-heavy games compared to the rest of the industry is a relatively small number. For every CoD there is a Portal, Skyrim, Diablo, Final Fantasy, Heavy Rain and the list goes on.

So, thesis statement: Are guns holding the medium back? No. Are there numerous games with heavy-handed (gun) violence shoe-horned in to create appeal? Definitely. But the medium, as stated, is in its infancy and it is already proving that it is more than a one trick pony.

– The Ego

Prey for me

I know from time to time we all get at least a little excited – delve into the hype so to speak – over a new game. One of those games for me was Kingdom Hearts 3. When it was announced, I was going absolutely nuts. Waiting for it though, has softened that blow a bit in the interim. But Kingdom Hearts isn’t what I want to talk about today.

Today I’m going to talk about my new hype wet dream: Prey.

Before I get into it, if you haven’t watched the new footage released by Arkane Studios, do it now:

prey_box_shot

Arkane Studios is one of those up and coming game makers – well that may be under selling them a bit. Having released both Dishonored and its sequel – I think they’ve made it. But what I mean is – they haven’t got a lot of titles under their proverbial belt. But everything they have put out has met critical and financial success and has been extremely well received by fans.

And in comes my newest obsession: Prey. Now, when they released the first trailer at E3 last year, it piqued my interested. And, in my spaghetti against the wall method of pre-ordering games, Prey was one of those games. I mean, worst case scenario the game turns out to look bad or I lose interest, I cancel. But I can say right now – this is a day one buy and play. And, saying that about any game for me is basically the highest praise I’d give it. Even if I hadn’t pre-ordered it at a discount, I would happily buy this at full price on day one.

The game seems to carry with it tropes from a variety of different and amazing games. The one that strikes me the most from the onset is how similar it looks to Bioshock. And, given that Arkane did assist in the development of Bioshock 2, I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. I digress. The similarity in level design and the HUD, play style are all great things. Arkane may end up turning Prey into the same giant success that Irrational Games was able to do with Bioshock. Of course, the story of Prey will determine whether or not it is able to reach those same heights. Prey also seems to be going along the same sort of upgrade RPG path as games like Deus Ex – using body modifications to upgrade the protagonist’s abilities. Of course, neither Bioshock nor Deus Ex had cool features to their RPG upgrades like Prey is currently boasting. As you’ll see in the video – using the alien mods  too often can bring about, shall we say, uninvited guests.

The thing that interests me the most about Prey is that even though it seems like a game we’ve seen before, it’s still showing that it has it’s own unique spin. There is still something that separates it out from the rest of the FPS and RPG games. And I don’t know if it’s the graphics or the style, but there is something about Prey. Maybe it’s the ingenuity it provokes the end user to employ to find creative solutions to progressing through the game. But it has that special quality that only truly great games possess.

Now, will it live up to the hype? That’s always the question that one has to wait out. Games like No Man’s Sky have proven that going too far down that road is extremely dangerous and leads to ethical and legal issues (despite being exonerated). Though, Arkane is good about letting just enough slip about their games to keep the appetite whetted but not enough to gorge ourselves on. And, like pretty much all Bethesda released titles, it will almost certainly be worth the wait.

As always, if there is a topic or game you’d like to see covered, let me know here in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook. Until Monday, enjoy your weekend and game like it’s your last.

– The Ego

Best and/or Brightest

The new. It’s something I, and I assume others, struggle with. Always wanting that new thing. The latest and greatest. This mantra seems to apply pretty evenly across a bunch of aspects of the industry. From the latest consoles – which even seems to apply several times across a generation now, to new fads like Virtual Reality and even to updates in games like new characters. And that’s where I want to start.

I exist inside of paradox where I both understand and am baffled by people’s desire for the new. So let’s start with the small stuff.

As I’ve said a lot lately – I’ve been playing Overwatch again. And, in Overwatch, Blizzard has recently release a new character: Sombra. Now, I get that everyone, to an extent, is always going to want the new characters and everyone is going to want to play that character. But come on guys. Like everything – there is a time and a place. This is one of those paradoxes I was talking about. I understand wanting to play as a new character after a year of playing with the same 20. But at the same time, playing it in competitive mode where ranks are decided and team composition is important, is not the time to learn how to play the new character.

VR. That’s a big one for this generation. The proverbial toe in the water. VR is fancy, and it’s new. And, as such, carries a price tag that matches its status. But is it really that exciting? Or, I guess the real question to be asked is: Is it worth 700$ plus the applicable taxes to find out? It’s an interesting foray into an undiscovered medium – I’ll grant it that. And I think in time it will prove to be the next major leap that games take: Total immersion. I mean, we’ve seen it in science fiction in books like Neuromancer and TV shows like Star Trek’s Holodeck. It’s the logical progression.

Lastly – consoles. Now, in the past – and we don’t have to go back that far to see it, the PS3/360 generation had it – we’ve had multiple versions of consoles be delivered throughout the life cycle. PS3 started fat, with a small hard drive and it was backwards compatible. Then we go the slim, which offered a significant improvement on design, HDD size, over all size of the console and better functionality (i.e. less burnout). And the 360 saw several iterations of the same concept. But they were all effectively the same system. More or less, anyway. But this generation is funny. We’re being “treated” to several versions of the console, some with “vast” improvements.

playstation4_g_03-0

Now, how vast that improvement is is definitely based off of what kind of tech you have supporting the console. If you’ve got a 4K TV and you’re fully set up with the next rung of Blu-Ray discs, then consoles like the Xbox One: Scorpio are definitely what you should be aspiring to. Now, that’s to say, if you don’t already have a console from this generation. Because, if you do, and you have all of those supporting pieces of tech, the reviews are pretty underwhelming. Anyone with a good 4K TV will tell you, the upscaling that the TV does, regardless of whether or not you’re running the PS4 Pro, Xbox One: S or (granted this is an impression at this point) the Xbox One: Scorpio, is going to provide a significant improvement in graphical quality. Of course, the rest of the tech specs and in the case of Microsoft, the added 4K Blu-Ray player is something to consider I suppose. At least until things are developed in native 4K.

But I leave you with the question – is newer always better? Does it have to be the latest and greatest to keep you happy, or are you good with what you’ve got?

Sound off below or hit me up on one of the social media platforms that I’ve linked below.

Twitter. Facebook. YouTube.

– The Ego

Just when I thought I was out…

What’s enough to bring you back to a game. And I don’t mean a franchise. I covered Second Chances on Monday. I mean, you’ve got a game, you probably bought it a year ago, but it’s being published by one of those good studios who keeps giving you content (for free no less). But it’s been sitting on your shelf for the better part of the last year. So what kind of content is enough to bring you back?

Take Diablo 3 for example. Now, Blizzard is renowned for constantly updating and providing new content for all of their franchises, and Diablo has been no different in this respect. Here we are nearly four and a half years later and they are still giving us the goods. Recently at Blizzcon, they announced a new playable character and a new mode.

r16bebzpj11r1478285467370

Yup, it’s the Necromancer from Diablo 2.

So is that enough? I know it’ll be enough for me to dust off the game. And frankly, if I’m willing to, I bet a lot of others will be too. I got the platinum for the regular release on PS3 and I got the platinum for the re-release on PS4. So suffice it to say, I’ve dropped hundreds of hours into the series already.

And it’s not like I don’t have other games to play. But I’m curious. Plus I feel like when companies go out of their way to provide free content and support after this long – I owe it to them to at least check it out. Plus the idea of playing the old Diablo on my flatscreen should be pretty cool. I wasn’t privy to the original Diablo games because I didn’t have a PC that could run any kind of games when I was growing up.

Rockstar and GTA V are another good example. Now, I have friends who play GTA Online and only GTA Online. Granted – it can be pretty fun. There’s a whole slew of things to do there. But after a while, I feel like greener pastures are calling. Playing the same sorts of missions against/with the same sorts of people gets dry and requires a break. But then they release major updates like Heists and Bikers. Again – for free.

With major updates to the game the likes of Bikers (giving you the ability to form a Motorcycle Club and buy and manage illicit businesses, run MC missions and purchase your own clubhouse) it’s a real game changer. And, again, something worthy of blowing off  the dust and popping the game in for another run.

Then again, there is also examples of games like Destiny. Where the running joke seems to be “People still play Destiny?”. They seem to be putting out a combination of free and paid updates to the game, and it seems to be a harder and harder draw towards maintaining and bringing back their player base. Though, that probably has more to do with the initial offering than the applicable content.

But is that enough? Is new content a good enough reason for you to come back or is playing the game while it’s new and fresh the only joy that can be derived from the medium? Especially in this trade and play culture that we have set up all around us. Once beaten, does it get dropped off for something new and shiny? What about when it’s not free? Are you likely to pick a game back up if it requires you dropping another 24.99$ to access the content and play with friends? Where is the limit as far as price goes?

You can sound off in the comments below, I always respond. You can also now find me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. So please like, subscribe, follow, etc. Everything helps. And as always, if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered here, just let me know. The new plan is to release content on here every Monday and Friday. This will allow me consistency.

– The Ego

Second Chances

So Watch Dogs 2 came out this week. And, frankly, I haven’t paid it too much attention.

Actually, I haven’t watched much other than the “Before You Buy” video from Gameranx. As an aside, if you haven’t checked out their videos, Gameranx and Jake Baldino are pretty fantastic.

So I have a pretty vague impression of the game so far, but what I do know very well, is how Watch Dogs 1 performed. So the question I ask today is: Do you give second chances to franchises that seriously under preform?

To start: This is Ubisoft. They have a track record of new IPs that stumble start, but end up being pretty fantastic. I’m of course referring to the Assassin’s Creed 1 and 2 debacle. For those of you un-aware of what I’m referring to: Assassin’s Creed 1 was an amazing concept with an incredibly flawed delivery. When Ubisoft came around to releasing 2 (and subsequently the whole Ezio saga…which was re-mastered and released this week) they took the concept and fixed all of the problems.

The problem with Watch Dogs, I think most people would agree, was that it was incredibly over hyped. We’ve seen a lot of that lately

The game itself was okay. I didn’t hate it, but I definitely didn’t love it. The hacking could be pretty fun. And the online aspect, having the ability to infiltrate someone else’s game and mess with them was incredibly fun. But the rest of the game was monotonous at the best of times. The description of Aiden Pearce as a “revenge man” is apt. He was one dimensional and so was his struggle. The gameplay was lacking in most areas – especially combat and the driving was a poor GTA imitation.

e6a9le

Okay, yea, I’m being pretty hard. But to be fair, it was a pretty big let down. I’ve always liked Ubisoft as a company, and for that reason, I gave them the benefit of the doubt by buying their games at release, instead of waiting till Christmas time like the deal-hunters and watching the game drop 2/3 the price.

So, do you give second chances? If a franchise is really bad from the get-go, how do you handle it? In the case of Assassin’s Creed; I did give the IP a second chance because the conceptual stuff was so spot on and really hit a niche of my interests that it was worth it for me. And in that case – Assassin’s Creed 2 paid off. (Aside: We’ll forgo commentary on the current state of the series until they comeback with their re-worked game.)

And I know this isn’t a blanket moratorium on second chances. Because let’s face facts, giving something a second chance doesn’t always mean it’s going to work out. I recently started eating a lot of vegetables I hadn’t eaten since I was a kid – but I’ll be damned if you think I’m going to eat eggs.

I ask myself, and you dear reader, what does a game have to do to redeem itself in your eyes? Does it have to go the route of Assassin’s Creed 2 and completely fix all of its mistakes before you’ll give it another chance? Or is it a burned bridges sort of scenario?Once ruined, the earth has been salted.

I think the biggest thing I look for is a company’s willingness to hear out the fans and the critics. If they demonstrate the ability to take in criticism, and at least strive to make the changes the people playing their games ask of them – then I am generally willing to give them another shot. And, as I write this, I’m looking up reviews and articles on Watch Dogs 2. If I see it – that spark – the touch as light as butterflies wings that shows developers heard the issues and worked to correct the direction the series was taking, then I will likely grab Watch Dogs 2 and give it another try.

If you have topics you’d like covered, hit me up on social media.

– The Ego