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Conduit Dev Wants Support For His Game, How About Support For ‘Better’ Games?

The Conduit

I’ve never understood the idea of purchasing a product to show “support” for something. Unless proceeds are going directly to a charity or special cause. In the video game world, dropping money down to support some invisible idea really boggles my mind. For example, I have a friend that to this day will pick up any game with ‘Dynasty Warriors’ in the title. Not because the recent games themselves are any good, but because he’s always been a fan of the series and wants to see it keep going. Even if the latest iterations haven’t been worthy of a purchase.

That brings us to the topic of the day. In a Q&A session with ONM (Official Nintendo Magazine), Eric Nofsinger the Chief Creative Officer was asked how Wii owners would react to The Conduit. Here’s his answer,

“We were really hoping to raise the quality bar of games on Wii. All the developers and publishers we’ve talked to, I think they’re playing sort of “wait and see” just now. If it does well and the gamers support it, then I think we’ll see a lot more titles like this. Otherwise we’re going to see a lot more games with Fit and Sports in their name.”

What’s funny is that Nofsinger isn’t alone in his thought process. I’ve been to many sites, and read through many forums with people rallying support for The Conduit. I ask, why? The answer always reverberates back to — we want to see more games like it. See more games like what? Derivative shooters with bland A.I and a lackluster single player experience?

I’m being rather inquisitive today, and I’m going to keep going with it so here’s another question. Would you rather play the most amazing experience of your life in a Wii Sports game, or play a mediocre shooter or action game? Ponder on that as we move on.

While I would love to see more FPS games on the Wii, I’m not going to purchase a game to support that statement. What we should really be clamoring for is just more quality titles in general. Be it platformers, or shooters. In the ONM article I linked above, MadWorld is mentioned as a game that hasn’t performed well sales wise. The reason for that is because quite honestly it isn’t deserving of a purchase. The game is short, and the gameplay while fun the first time through isn’t worth playing through again. So, you’re left spending $50 (price has gone down now, so it might be worth your money) on a game that only provides 8-10 hours of entertainment. I might be alone in this, but I require more than that for a purchase.

If you have played The Conduit, and bought it because it provides you some fun and entertainment then that’s great. I hope the game provides you with hours upon hours of shooting frenzy. If the game is sitting on your shelf because you want to see more games like it, then please tell me your reasoning. Either way, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the situation.

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Nintendo vs. The Hardcore …. *sigh*

If the video game world were boxing, then March 09 would be a round that you’d want to forget. Nearly every system took a dive in sales. Software sales were down. The doomsayers in the analyst world see this as prelude for things to come. While those who actually have a clue as to what’s going on, know that March 2008 is the reason that March 2009 saw decreasing numbers. Big releases March 2008: Grand Theft Auto IV and Super Smash Bros Brawl. Big releases March 2009: MadWorld and GTA: Chinatown Wars.

March 2008
GTA IV: 3.6 million units sold (first day)
Super Smash Bros Brawl: 1.4 million units in first week (fastest selling game in Nintendo history)

March 2009
MadWorld: 66,000 units sold (first month)
GTA Chinatown Wars: 68,611 units sold (first week…sales are growing though)

Hmmm…two big releases from some of the most storied franchises in gaming vs. an obscure 6-7 hour long beat-em-up and a re-imagined GTA game using a style that was out before GTA III. What do you think is going to push more software and hardware sales? Also, GTA: Chinatown Wars sales figures are growing. Maybe, no one thought it was going to be any good when it first came out.

Some blame Nintendo for not releasing enough core titles, even though the most storied Nintendo franchises have already seen a release. With my favorite franchise getting a release in May.

There’re some video game writers that blame gamers for the awful month of March. Wow, really? You think gamers should buy games they don’t want just to support some mythological, journalism fueled fight between “hardcore and casual”? I can’t speak for GTA: Chinatown Wars but I can speak for MadWorld. As someone who’s loved games since 1989; games of all genres and systems I’ll give you this advice…rent it. MadWorld can be beaten in just over 6 hours. Why spend $50 on a game that you can spend $3-5 on and still receive the same amount of enjoyment? To support some make believe idealogy?

It really is almost getting to the point that I’m ashamed to call myself a gamer. This new market of gamers that are fueling the industry at the moment; and all we can do is huddle in our corner. Surrounding ourselves with Final Fantasy discs/cartidges, and a blow up doll imaged as Link of Hyrule. Instead we should be embracing this new market. They might just surprise you given the chance. Newcomers have to start somewhere, why don’t you recommend a title to them instead of cursing them from a distance for somehow ‘ruining’ your hobby.

This weekend, my mom read a comic book trade for the first time. It was the Origin story of Wolverine. She absolutely loved it (mostly for its colonial setting, and art style). Still, my mom … reading an entire series of comics, and enjoying it should prove that anything is possible. So, get out there and start showing off the games you love to people who might not know any better. They might just end up enjoying them, and who knows…maybe March 2010 will blow 08 out of the water.

As a silver lining, Nintendo’s stocks have dipped considerably and are perfect to snatch up at the moment. Thanks to Kotaku for the tip.

Super Punch-Out! Time Records

Ok, I was extremely excited for the release of Super Punch-Out! on the Virtual Console yesterday. So much so that I put my play through of MadWorld on hold to relive my glory days of doing speed runs through Super Punch-Out! I was curious to see how much of my talents carried over through the years, for the game I’ve logged more time into more than any other. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. My time records for the minor circuit are below. I’ll provide pics tomorrow, and see if you have what it takes to top them.

Gabby Jay – 0′ 15″ 93″‘
Bear Hugger – 0′ 25″ 43″‘
Piston Hurricane – 0′ 12″ 32″‘ (I’ve downed Piston Hurricane in 8 seconds before, and to my knowledge is still the world record)… ;)
Bald Bull – 0′ 31″ 22″‘

For those who’ve played it, or downloaded it yesterday…what are your records so far? Practice and you might be able to top me one day.. ;)

Wii

MadWorld First Impression – It’s Bloody, and Good

MadWorld

Introduction:

I really got to start doing more ‘reviews’ than first impressions. My MadWorld review should be ready this week, and I couldn’t begin to tell you how long it will be for Rune Factory: Frontier. Anyway, I was able to get about 4 hours into MadWorld this weekend and so far have come away quite impressed.

The most impressive thing about MadWorld is how great a time I had, going in with low expectations. My low expectations stemmed from how disappointed I was with ‘No More Heroes’. I thought this would be just another dumb beat em’ up with stale gameplay masked in a gore-fest, and excessive swearing. Instead I was met with some tight, fresh gameplay, an interesting control scheme. Not to mention great visuals, audio, and comparable story.

First, I’d like to give kudos to Platinum Games with providing a very simple introduction to MadWorld. I think it’s a lost art in video games to provide a humble start menu. There’s no robust options, or create-a-name, or create-a-character. Just hit the “A” button, and you’re in.

Story – A little Escape from New York, a bit The Running Man, with shades of Metal Gear Solid:

Before you begin playing, you’re introduced to the story behind MadWorld. So far, I’ve been blown away by the story elements provided in MadWorld. Kind of loving the fact that it has a story at all. The narrative reminds me a lot of Metal Gear Solid, only more simplistic. Jack, the protagonist is dropped into what I could only call a mish-mash of ‘Escape from New York’ and ‘The Running Man’. The comparisons to Metal Gear Solid begin with the hero, Jack. He’s quiet, a total badass and also has a past that’s starting to catch up to him. Yet he’s trying to do the right thing against insurmountable odds.

The story that runs alongside Jack is a lot more deep than I was expecting. Jack is dropped into Varrigan City which has been turned into a deadly game show called, Death Watch. It’s here you’ll see the similarities to the 80′s classic ‘The Running Man’. What I’m considering the main villain is the CEO of Death Watch, who has turned Varrigan City into a breeding ground for murdering (hence Escape from New York). Jack has been dropped in undercover to play Death Watch, to thwart the shenanigans. You start out with a sponsor, XIII, who provides hints early on. Things take an interesting twist towards the middle, but I won’t give anything else away. Just know you’ll be somewhat intrigued with the story.

Gameplay – Bloody, creative, and fresh, and a chainsaw:

Once the intro to the story is over, you’ll begin with the gameplay elements of MadWorld. I’ve played to the final level of the third world. So far, everything has been a delight to play through. The controls are the backbone of the gameplay experience, and nearly all of them are executed well. The ‘A’ button is your basic attack, which leads into certain combos. Once you pound on someone enough, you’ll be provided with a few options for finishing moves. You can press the ‘B’ button which generally has you finishing up a bad guy with your chainsaw. Or the ‘A’ button which has you slamming your opponent back and forth. Most of the finishers have a motion attached with them which adds a heightened sensation, dare I say.

MadWorld

If you press the ‘B” button outside of a finisher you’ll whip out your chainsaw. This is your means for quickly dispatching opponents. Your chainsaw is attached to motions as well. Swipe vertically to cut top to bottom, or horizontally to cut your foe right to left. Again, very rewarding. You’ll unlock various weapons as well, which will have different styles attached to them. It keeps things quite fresh, and trying to find more interesting ways to dispatch villains.

The last element of gameplay is the ‘grab’ mechanic. This is where things get really creative, and important. There’s two things you can grab, enemies, and objects. If you grab an enemy, you have the option to throw them, drag them around, or headbutt. Throwing an opponent can clear space for you if you’re being hounded. You can drag your enemy to various locations to utilize some of the level’s surroundings. You can slam them against the prickly ‘Rose Bush’, or toss them into a barrel. There’s level specific additions, so things stay mostly creative in terms of killing options. You pick up certain objects, most of which will go on or through your victim’s head. There’s of course health items as well.

I mentioned that your grab mechanic is important, because your progress through most of MadWorld is based on points. Your points are mostly calculated based on creativity, and depth of your kill. Stick four sign posts through your victim’s head, and slice them in half with a metal garbage bin and you get more points. Or get less points just chainsawing them in half. All the stages have progressed the same, in that you unlock items as you gain points, until you’ll unlock the Bloodbath Challenges, and the boss of the stage.

MadWorld

The Bloodbath Challenges are the mini-games of the stages, but unlike most mini-games these are a blast. The Bloodbath Challenge intros are conducted by the pimptastic host, Black Baron. The intros are quite funny, if a bit sadistic. The Bloodbath Challenges are great because they actually add to your point total, so they mean something to your progression. You’ll have a time limit to conduct various objectives. Throwing enemies under a giant metal press, or golf clubbing them through targets are just a couple of examples.

The boss fights are probably my favorite part of the game so far. For me there are two requirements for a great boss, creativity, and balance of difficulty. MadWorld has exceeded expectations in both of those elements. The bosses for the most part haven’t been all that creative in terms of personality, but make up that with looks and strategy. Each boss I’ve fought against has had different patterns I’ve had to learn, coupled with some puzzles you’ll have to figure out as well. The balance of difficulty has been solid as all my encounters have gotten progressively harder as I’ve moved on.

Visuals – It’s Sin City, only with more red:

After the gameplay, another element of MadWorld I was impressed with is the visuals. Going into the game, I wasn’t really sure what to think of the black, white, and red motif. It’s definitely ‘Sin City’ inspired, but holds its own in terms of style. The textures are smooth, and the levels are filled with tons of detail. Feels a lot like a well drawn comic book. The game is truly appreciated once it gets set into motion. All of the animations are tight, and more crisp. Even with the most amount of enemies I’ve seen on screen, there hasn’t been a hiccup in frame rate. The kill effects, specifically the blood are some of the most over the top you’ll see in a game. On par, or even better than the chainsaw and curb stomp kills in Gears of War.

Audio and Music – Too much commentating, with too few lines; music rocks though:

The visuals are a delight, and that can be said for half of the audio. Unfortunately, the commentating is a bit of a letdown. Just like all other parts of the levels, the commentating is specific to the part of the game your in. Even with this, it begins to get repetitive. I appreciate the mood they’re trying to set with the cheesy, grandiose nature of the commentary it just gets old the longer you’re in a level. The music however makes up for the commentating. Again, it’s all specific to the level you’re in. In fact, you could turn off the commentary and just get caught up in the music. It’s all adrenaline inducing, and so far has fit in well with the levels they’re attached to.

The Bad – Have to like a certain style; it’s a blast but more than likely a short one:

The negatives I’ve found with MadWorld, are specific to length, and choice of style. Judging by amount of levels per world, I’m a little more than halfway in with only 3:50 clocked so far. There’s a multiplayer segment of the game which I haven’t tried yet, but doubt it will be enough. If the game released at $39.99, or $29.99, I would be more lenient. Unfortunately, in this economy people are looking for more depth in their video game purchases.

If you like a more linear beat-em-up experience, MadWorld might not be for you. Each level is basically a playground for you to romp around through. You progress by points, so everything is unlocked by you taking on hordes of enemies and killing them creatively. This might be great for some, but for those who like to just progress and fight ‘through’ a stage it might turn you off.

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So, who’s played through MadWorld already? I’d like to get your feedback, and let me know what you thought of the game. Is the comparison to MGS too much? Feel free to blast away.

Wii

Rune Factory: Frontier Is Now Mine (Pics)

Ok, so a few days ago I wrote about my MadWorld vs. Rune Factory: Frontier dilemma. As you can tell from the title of the post, I finally set my heart and wallet towards Rune Factory: Frontier. At the end of the day I’m just too big of a Harvest Moon fanboy not to hope that a game captures the spirit of the earlier Harvest Moon games. Plus, I’ll eventually rent and beat MadWorld. So, everyone’s happy.

In the spirit of the release, figured I’d post some pictures of my purchase.

Rune Factory: Frontier Picture 1
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Split Decision – MadWorld vs. Rune Factory: Frontier

They say that a man is defined by the tough choices he makes in life. I’m not sure who said that, maybe I just made it up but I’ve run into a tough decision. One that separates the men from the boys.

Due to certain parts of my budget being more important than others, I can’t buy MadWorld and Rune Factory: Frontier. For the immediate future at least. This week MadWorld released, and next week (March 17th) Rune Factory: Frontier comes out. There can only be one added to my collection; I just can’t decide which one it should be.

MadWorld

MadWorld

MadWorld is game I’ve been brimming about since I heard about last year, and one I’ve been greatly anticipating. If you don’t believe me, just read the previous posts I’ve made about it.

MadWorld Releases Today – Review Roundup (and a rant)
MadWorld Death Watch Episode 3
New MadWorld Videos – Let Me Learn Ya Somethin’
Evolution of MadWorld
MadWorld TV Trailer (Part 2)
New York Comic Con Gameplay Videos Of MadWorld & The Conduit
MadWorld – TV Sports Trailer (w/ Expert Analysis)
Top 5 Anticipations For 2009
Happy Holidays From MadWorld – Trailer
Top 5 Game Releases For 2009
Top 5 2008 E3 Moments

I’ve hyped the game quite a bit on the site, but now that its released does it live up to the talk?

From everything I’ve been reading, MadWorld is all the things we hoped to find within its black/white/red walls. Here’s a list of reasons to buy the game, and not to buy based on reviews thus far:

Reasons to buy: More blood than Dracula could drink in a night. The violence is couple with great controls. The graphics look solid, and animations are supposedly varied and provide some epic moments. Haven’t played a good beat em’ up in a long time.

Reasons not to buy: My first MadWorld adventure, according to reviewers will end at around 6-7 hours. Has some quirky control issues, but aren’t very rampant.

Rune Factory: Fronter

Rune Factory: Frontier

Rune Factory: Frontier is a little harder to judge than MadWorld mostly because it isn’t out yet. That and not much has been released about Rune Factory: Frontier. The best place I’ve been able to obtain information about RF:F is from its official site.

There’s also been a trailer released…

Ok, let’s get to the gritty about RF:F:

Reasons to Buy: Rune Factory series has been solid on the DS. The Rune Factory site shows that the game might have great depth. Harvest Moon based games provide a long lasting experience that requires a good amount of game time dedication. The ESRB rating states that ‘use of alcohol’ is back in Harvest Moon

Reasons not to Buy: Haven’t played any of the Rune Factory DS games yet (might not like them). Harvest Moon based games have been very hit or miss since the Nintendo 64 era.

Until reviews start coming in for Rune Factory: Frontier it’s going to remain a split decision for about a week. My first reaction is to just rent MadWorld since it can be beat in 5-7 hours. But maybe it’s worth more than one play through. We’ll just have to wait and see if RF: F impresses like I’m hoping it will.