As sunlight glinted off a grenade reaching the zenith of its soldier-bound arc, I could only wonder what my hapless opponent was thinking. See, the man was rooted -- as though entangled in nearby bushes -- to his position. There had to be a reason. Maybe he was a mathematician without peer; he'd done the calculations and no matter how fast he ran, he'd soon be engulfed by my ordinance's cantaloupe-colored splash. Or maybe his path in life had been bordered by four leaf clovers -- his luck so great, he was certain the grenade would be a dud. Maybe he just couldn't take life anymore. But then all of that ceased to matter.
As I continued my stroll through the brightly colored playground of destruction, I noticed that other soldiers were, all told, pretty okay with Havok-powered, life-halting flights.
Yeah, my enemies were walking vegetables. The only damage I accrued was a sinking sense of utter disappointment. Mercenaries 2, after its top-notch predecessor, labored development cycle, and catchy commercial jingle, was a big, fat letdown.
So, have you ever surfed a game's hype wave, only to reach a completely non-descript shore? What's your biggest gaming letdown? What game had you brimming with excitement, but only left you shuddering with rage? (And don't say Daikatana, because that's a cop-out.)
Today's Roundup is reporting live from outside a dark, ominous cloud that's recently enveloped one of the decade's biggest upcoming games. Additionally, you'll find stories about the MMO market's failings, a dev whose unmentionables you'll want to boot, and the Xbox 360's upper limits. All that and more after the break.
Ruh-roh, will this be Will Wright's Star Wars: Episode One? Here's the tale of the tape:
* The Creature Creator * Great animation * Endless Content through downloads * Tons of community features
* No real depth until the fifth stage * Uneasy mix of simulation and strategy * It’s easier to wage war than to be diplomatic * No “one more go” aspect
Apparently, this review -- as well as another by German mag Gamestar (79/100) -- broke the European embargo, which is set to expire on Friday.
Frankly, though, I don't think review scores will even make a scratch in Spore's amorphous, vaguely phallic armor. Sims fans will likely forgo playing the game altogether, and simply grind up the disc and freebase its shards, while other gamers will give it a shot out of curiosity. In short, EA won't let Spore flounder -- or rather, they've already succeeded in that pursuit.
And really, I'm not sure if a review score can do justice to a game like Spore. The question, then, is whether or not the game remains fun in spite of its flaws. And, for those flaws, Dr. EA has already prescribed a heavy dosage of expansion packs. So don't count Spore out just yet. Or ever, really.
“At some level I wanted Conan to succeed because for the last few years people have been saying it’s all Blizzard and nobody else can do it,” Mythic VP Mark Jacobs said. “‘Only Blizzard can get those kind of numbers,’ and so far they’ve been right. But now it’s our turn.”
“If we don’t succeed with EA behind us, the Warhammer IP behind us, with one of the most experienced teams in the industry, that’s not going to be good for the industry. We need to show the world that it’s not just Blizzard who can make a great game, and that the audience is absolutely willing to try new things and to play a game other than WoW.”
Obviously, the MMO market -- which is quickly om-nom-nom-ing a decent portion of PC gaming -- is somewhat of an enigma. You can't topple WoW by being different, but neither can you zip to the top by imitating Blizzard's 10 million-armed monster.
So, with that said, what do you want out of an MMO? Given a position of power on the S.S. MM-Oh-No, what would you do to sink WoW?
“So it’s great, it’s a great problem to have,” Blizzard senior VP Frank Pearce said of WoW's obscure niche in the MMO market, “but it is a lot of work. We’ve learned a lot, made a lot of mistakes along the way. It’s been good experience for us, I wouldn’t say that we’ve regretted it… but ‘interesting’ isn’t how we’d describe it necessarily.”
Cool guy. Really down-to-earth and totally normal just like us. Money changes people? Feh.
"Mooooo" is the sound that a cow makes. "Baaaaah" is the sound that a sheep makes. And "clunk, clunk, clunk" is the sound that Resident Evil's control scheme causes you to make while you bang your head against the wall.
The new control scheme is said to be "Gears-like" and will probably debut at the Tokyo Game Show.
"I think it's just a matter of, you know, it's a slow cycle; you only get a kick at it every couple years, and so it takes a while for people to see that progress," said Gears of War 2 franchise senior producer Rod Fergusson.
So devs are getting close, but it'll be a while before they reach the top.