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EYEMO PRESENTS: All Video Games Are Disappointing (A Mercs 2 Review)
by Detour (detour)
at October 7th, 2008 (09:16 pm)
MOOD: good



All video games are disappointing.

"What a ballsy, completely broad generalisation!" - You

FACT: No single video game is ever as groundbreaking, exciting or meaningful as it's marketing would suggest.

FACT: Every single triple-A title in the last 5 years has fallen short of amazing due to one or more completely retarded flaws.

I know it's very easy to talk shit about games, and it's done much better by others (Yahtzee, AVGN to a degree), but for reals. I was sitting at work today wondering why I didn't feel like playing any of the games I own, once I've owned them for about 3 days.

When a game is announced, I get excited. I watch all the preview videos, I read all the developer interviews. The game seems to be doing something different, something to push the medium forward. I get the game, sit down, play it, and get bored. While I'm playing it I force myself to like it, and I don't know why.

Let's look at some specific examples.

BioShock.

BioShock was going to redefine story telling in videogames. Levine hyped his MORAL CHOICE so hard I was about to blow. Then I got into Rapture and my MORAL CHOICE was "PRESS X OR PRESS B". I was like, what the fuck, really? I've done this a thousand times in fucking a thousand other games. Fucking DOOM 2 had a similar choice (poor Commander Keen). And the whole experience of Rapture was completely fucking wrecked when I realised I could die WITH NO PENALTY. Why not just make the player character invincible? It would save time backtracking so we could get through your precious story a little quicker (PS THE STORY IS EXACTLY THE FUCKING SAME AS SYSTEM SHOCK, GG LEVINE, DIDN'T SEE THAT ONE COMING).

Mass Effect.

While Mass Effect did push the cinematic experience home rather convincingly, the GALAXY fell quite short of what we were expecting. Imagine my delight when I first saw the star-map. ALL THAT REAL ESTATE! After 5 odd surface walks I was depressed. If I had an emoticon for slowly sagging shoulders as the realisation of the one thing you wanted being torn away from you set in, it would go here.

Oblivion.

Morrowind on better tech. How hard can it be? Extremely. Let's completely neuter the scale of the world by allowing instantaneous travel to any landmark on the map. Let's fuck it's scope even further by literally pressing crtl+c then ctrl+v a million times to flesh out the landscape. Let's destroy any sense of character progression by completely and utterly breaking the leveling system. Let's destroy any sense of immersion by having the same fucking 5 people voice 250+ NPCs. Seriously, who thought these were good ideas? Someone at bethesda should have been castrated. It's laughable that to make the game tolerable for any length of time I have to mod the ever loving fuck out of it.

I could (and will, if prompted) go on and on.

Not a single triple-A title has lived up to it's own hype. And I'm sick of it. Shut the fuck up already. Here's an ad campaign for you "Hi, We made this game and we reckon it's pretty good." There. It's a videogame.

This is why I enjoy a game like Mercs 2 more than a big STAY HOME FROM WORK DAY game, like Halo 3, for instance. Mercs, despite it's flaws, knows it's a videogame, has a solid core mechanic and is, wait for it... fun. It didn't try to sell me itself as anything but "a pretty good time on the xbox". I've enjoyed my time with Mercs moreso than any other retail release this year. And I'm not being bias - it did also disappoint me, but that is quickly forgotten when you're lobbing fuel-air RPG's at gas stations. Scott, I'm sure you have a pretty good idea of what I personally value in a videogame, and I want you to know that your game delivers in spades.

I'd be interested to hear what you all think on the subject. I know it bothers me more because I am HARDCORE, and I let it bother me, but still, it's a real issue, EYEMO.

Comments

Posted by: spyndal (spyndal)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 10:43 am (UTC)

Hmm.

I thought there was as much hype for Mass Effect as there was for Mercs2. I can go back and read through the multitude of forum posts that we read through, and we would both be extremely fucking ansty pansy about both of those games. So I can see how you didn't get the same expectations of the 2 games, and then have Mercs come on top? I just can't see where Mass Effect tried to sell itself differently from Mercs2. When I say 'sell' I mean your definition of 'word of mouth' - everything we took in over the period of time leading up to the game. I really don't. I can see where you're coming from, but if you didn't bring this down to "Why I love Mercs2 still" - it would feel like it had more credability. But you did, and so I can't agree with what your saying about this particular comparison, EYEMO. So If I break it down like a comparison of both those games for the moment..

For the record, both games were a stay home from work day, and Mass delivered. I had higher expectations of Mercs2 to be fair, because of your/our tie with the game, but overall it felt stale. For me it had no replayability. No matter how fun explosions are, the story was so lack lustre. So I guess it's my own expectations that let me down when it came down to that particular piece of software. Good, not great.

I still think Mass was Great. No matter what you throw at me, I reckon. It was fun. You threw out the landscape of the planets - yes, fairly dissapointing. But anything else? You forgot to mention Mercs2 voice acting, modelling, story? Surely you can't say all those were on par with your expectations? Does a Fuel-RPG really compensate for all that? I don't think so. Maybe you can, and that's cool. I just don't see how you could, but that's my problem again.

You're right that most games have dissapointed, or I wouldn't be sitting here and going through back catalogues trying to reconnect with that feeling we used to get. But yeah, Mercs2 should be in bold with the rest of those games up there.

Posted by: Detour (detour)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)

But that's why I said it did disappoint. And why the title is called "ALL Video Games are disappointing". I fail to see how my opinion of Mercs somehow lessens my argument's "credibility". I'm not comparing the two games anywhere.

I'm not saying Mercs is BETTER than Mass Effect. I'm saying I had more fun because it got the most important thing right. Did you really go into Mercs expecting an award winning story? I could give a fuck about the voice acting because it's not about the voice acting (and I don't Mercs VA is all that bad, to be honest).

Mass Effect's Galaxy was a bullet point everywhere you looked. They could have pulled it off, But they didn't. That said, it's still one of my favourite games from last year. It was fun, but disappointing. It had lots of technical issues, a horrible, horrible menu UI, an extremely derivative story, and Seth Green.

Posted by: spyndal (spyndal)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 11:15 am (UTC)
stay out

Derivative? You raved about the story.

I think you're still comparing, just maybe in an inverse kind of way.

"Mercs2 has faults in the lesser important areas than other games have had, and they did the things they were suppose to do right less effectively than Mercs2 did"

Like you've typed: "it did also disappoint me, but that is quickly forgotten when you're lobbing fuel-air RPG's at gas stations". Wasn't their things in Mass (I'm using this game almost exclusively as it's the only one I am remotely familiar with to an extent I'd fight on it's behalf) that got you over the (longer than I'd expect - horrible UI menu? Techincal issues?) list of things 'wrong' with it.

I don't know if it's a typo, or I can decipher your writing:
"(and I don't Mercs VA is all that bad, to be honest)" - do you mean it's VA is or isn't bad?

It still seems bias, because of the last bit. Like I said, I agree with what you're saying to an extent. Crediability was the wrong word. How would I put this into one word: "I could agree with this being an article I'd tell my friends/bring up with other gamers(lol I don't have any others) if it didn't finalise with you telling me why Mercs2 is the least disapointing game you've played."

Posted by: Detour (detour)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 11:48 am (UTC)

I nowhere said that, though.

See, you're coming at this like I'm saying Mercs is not disappointing, while all other games are.

I'm not.

I was disappointed with more than a few things in Mercs. But it's core is solid and I like it very much (build your network, access gear, use gear to maim and kill). It also has some really, really solid mission design.

It should read "and I don't think Mercs VA is all that bad, to be honest". The VA is quality. Fiona gets a bit annoying, but the VA is fine.

Re: Mass Effect -

The menu was horrible. How can you not agree? Do you even remember how clunky the gear equip screen was?

Technical issues like tearing, slowdown and pop-in were everywhere.

I enjoyed the delivery of the story, then I read a few books that mirror it's themes to a tee. It's derivative. That doesn't mean I didn't like watching it unfold. It's just... unoriginal.

Posted by: spyndal (spyndal)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)
me

Nah, I'm coming at it like you're saying that Mercs is the least disappointing game that's had the quality we admire.

Mercs VA was repetitive. But like you said, the game wasn't about the VA.

I can't remember anything standing out as much as you did. So EYEMO it was a much better game for me, than for you. As Mercs was a better game for you, than for me. EYEMO.

I JUST CANT SEE WHY LOL. jks.

Edited at 2008-10-07 11:57 am (UTC)

Posted by: Detour (detour)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 12:50 pm (UTC)

>>I'm coming at it like you're saying that Mercs is the least disappointing game that's had the quality we admire.

And I'm telling you that's not what I am saying. HOW HARD IS IT? CHRIST.

Posted by: spyndal (spyndal)
Posted at: October 8th, 2008 04:03 am (UTC)

So you don't hold Mercs 2 as the least dissapointing game out of the games we could list/already have been listed? And any other game we could list/has been listed doesn't, at it's core, know it's a video game?

Posted by: mangocoma (mangocoma)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)

Balls. I'm enjoying video games more than I have for years.

(Aside: I killed the seventh of the eight dragons in Final Fantasy VI last night. I have no clue where the eighth one is, and am torn about whether or not to find a faq on the issue).

I think it's personal, Tom, because I went through a similar stage about two years ago. Just accept that right now the thrills seem diminished, go with that ebb, and sooner or later the tide will come in again (probably around Resident Evil 5, methinks).

In the past while, I've lovedlovedloved: Call of Duty 4, Resistance: Fall of Man, The Orange Box, Wipeout HD, Rainbow Six Multiplayer Co-op.

The next few months have, let's see: Tomb Raider (loved the first one, refuse to give up hope, trailer looks promising), Resistance 2, Bioshock, Dead Space, Fallout 3, Castlevania Order of Ecclelsjkerkjl;j, new Call of Duty, new Far Cry, Little Big Planet, etc, etc. It's RETARDED. Now, are all those games going to be good? I hope not, because I can't afford it. But are at least two of those going to be awesome? Hells yes. So what the fuck. It's your headspace - I thought I was done with gaming two years ago. Don't worry about it - it'll come back.

Posted by: spyndal (spyndal)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)

"Rainbow Six Multiplayer Co-op"

I wish I was your friend more than Tom. HE HATES THIS GAME AND I LOVE IT.

Posted by: mangocoma (mangocoma)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)

Seriously, sitting down with a friend playing split screen with beers and co-op terrorist hunt is fucking awesome. I know, "split screen sux" and all that but holy shit is it fun. One mistake and BOOM UR DEAD, with the added bonus that the further you drink the more likely you are to shoot your mate in the back.

But, honestly, that's what we love about it. You can't slip up because you get killed in a nanosecond, and that gives it a different feel than other games. Also, discussing tactics before storming a difficult room (and then dying anyway) = best.

Posted by: mangocoma (mangocoma)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)

Also, the game deserves major props for varying enemy placement and/or unpredictable behavior in terrorist hunt. So good.

Posted by: spyndal (spyndal)
Posted at: October 8th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
jimdwight

I think I should repurchase and play co-op with you.

Posted by: Detour (detour)
Posted at: October 8th, 2008 05:07 am (UTC)

ON PS3 LOL

Posted by: Detour (detour)
Posted at: October 7th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)

Dead Space is the only game on that list that registers a blip on my radar.

See, I don't know if it is a phase. I've always kinda felt this way, about all the major releases. I play for a day or two then shelve them.

The only games I can think of that upon completion I didn't say to myself "That could have been better" are Mario Galaxy, Portal and Braid. That's it.

Posted by: tell me what you know (tribalist)
Posted at: October 8th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)

with LittleBigPlanet i cannot understand the hype. everything i've seen so far just reeks of a) jumping in on the whole "you make the game as you play ZOMG!" trend, and b) this really annoying British sense of humor/cuteness that i find alternately smug and insufferable (see also: Lemon Jelly). why would i want to build my own things to jump over? i'm sure i just don't get it.

Posted by: mangocoma (mangocoma)
Posted at: October 8th, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)

I was kind of sketchy about LBP myself, but read today's (October 6th's) Penny Arcade column. (I'd link directly but I don't know how to do that as it's on the front page now and will shortly move off the front page). Tycho has a lot of intelligent ideas about gaming, so his enthusiasm is moving my needle back to "tentatively optimistic". But I agree, it's hard to tell what the fuss is about, although I like the artistic direction.

Posted by: mangocoma (mangocoma)
Posted at: October 8th, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC)

Another front page post about it is up now...

Posted by: tell me what you know (tribalist)
Posted at: October 10th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)

Hmm, this new Tycho post just about convinced me. Oh well -_-

Posted by: mangocoma (mangocoma)
Posted at: October 10th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)

Seriously, that calculator video? That's mental. I wonder how much of the allowable file size that uses. (If you don't want to read/watch, somebody built a working calculator with the LBP editor out of magnetic switches and pistons and shit).

Posted by: tell me what you know (tribalist)
Posted at: October 10th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC)

I saw it this morning ... kind of nuts. Cool that it makes you think of the 2D (or 2.5D) platformer as a kind of blank canvas, the flat world as gamer gods saw it....

Posted by: tell me what you know (tribalist)
Posted at: October 8th, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)

i'm in overall agreement w/ you about Oblivion. i can't speak to the RPG design elements, but the world just feels really empty. it's completely transparent each time i find myself in a situation that's supposed to be immersive, and i have this constant struggle to want to believe that i'm talking to a shopkeeper or even being ambushed by highwaymen, and it just falls flat.

Posted by: spyndal (spyndal)
Posted at: October 8th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)

I didn't finish Oblivion, so I agree with you and Tom also.

I'll finish most games that are classified as good to me (some ended up being bad, but deserved to be finished), but I couldn't finish Oblivion. It could have been so much. I hope Tom's prediciation that Fallout 3 is just Ob with tech is wrong, but I can see it happening.

Posted by: King of Snake (kingofsnake)
Posted at: October 9th, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)

I swear I'm about to go up and read all these comments. But I have to agree with you.

The most fun I've had lately with video games has been Mega Man 9, which is the pristine example of not pushing the envelope. They just copied the envelope as it was in 1988.

Meanwhile, Bioshock blows my mind with the atmosphere, but I can't get up the motivation to play it. I haven't gotten past my first big-daddy encounter. GTA4 looks fun, but overwhelming. Mass Effect's copy and paste terrain and familiar areas is seriously disappointing.

I agree with you 100% on Oblivion, but I played a whole hell of a lot out of that game. The super-mega teleportation and retarded leveling system annoy the crap out of me, but for a while it was all I did every night. For me, it was the epic feeling of the game, and sneaking around was crazy fun. Once I kind of realized that I was doing the same things over and over (for the most part), I lost interest.

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