The Stupid Gamer

Video Games, Opinions, Thoughts, & Tomfoolery

The Stupid Gamer - Video Games, Opinions, Thoughts, & Tomfoolery

Assassin’s Creed 3 is a 10/10 game, right?

I’m kind of pissed off. The early reviews for Assassin’s Creed 3 did not talk enough about how buggy this game is. There are passing mentions of a little rough edge here and there, but by in large, not enough was said about how flat out buggy and glitched up the game would be. As of right now, there are five perfect scores for the game. Well you know what? That perfect score went right out the window for me within the first two hours when the following things happened:

  • A weapon that an enemy dropped got “stuck” about 15 feet in the air and I couldn’t pick it up (I needed it badly)
  • A mission critical enemy fell through the ground and I couldn’t reach him
  • I got stuck on the environment and had to quit/reload
  • My horse got stuck in the environment and I had to dismount and walk to my destination
  • And what you see below happened a few times…

Why I’ll never buy another Polytron or Phil Fish game

Fez was a game that took years to develop and it enjoyed a strong amount of hype leading up to its release. For those waiting on the game, the wait felt long and painful, but finally the game hit on April 13, 2012. Gamers purchased Fez in droves, and although neither Microsoft nor Polytron released sales numbers, we do know that it sold over 100,000 copies in the early going. All seemed well, but it didn’t take long for people to start finding bugs, glitches, and hiccups in the Fez experience.

And then Polytron patched Fez.

With the patch that Polytron released for Fez, many of the bugs, crashes, and performance issues were resolved, but for a small number of gamers out there, the patch corrupted save files. The only fix was to completely abandon progress and start over, which has proven to be a tough pill to swallow by those affected.

When it became clear that the patch was problematic, Polytron pulled the patch and promised a better fix. The promise, however, would never be fulfilled. After going the rounds of negotiation with Microsoft, Phil Fish, owner/founder of Polytron decided that he’d rather not pony up the cash it costs to issue a second patch (first patch is free, second patch costs money) and just tell those who were affected by the bug, myself included, that they’d have to dump their progress and start the game over.

Well, I don’t want to start over. I don’t feel like I should have to start over. I feel like if you’re going to publish a game on a major platform that you owe it to your supporters to make sure that they get a bug free experience. Phil ranted about how it was expensive to issue a patch. So what, Phil? Fix the game and put out that patch. Eat the money.

What irks me almost as much as my flawed save file is that Phil complained about Microsoft and how it was so terrible that he would be faced with this fee. Cry me a river, Phil. YOU CHOSE TO SIGN AN EXCLUSIVE DEAL WITH MICROSOFT, DON’T TURN AROUND AND WHINE ABOUT IT LATER. Phil has gone on record saying that the exclusivity deal has been a nightmare. Yeah, I bet it sucked having Microsoft market your game aggressively for you, right Phil? I bet it sucked having prime real estate on the Xbox dashboard.

Phil likes to paint himself as a victim, but he knew what he was getting into when he signed the exclusivity agreement. He put out a game that was bugged and then issued a patch that had even worse bugs. If Phil says he was unaware of any potential problems when signing an exclusivity agreement, it was because he was blinded by dollar signs.

And Phil has a history of being a total douchebag. He’s put down PC gamers, media outlets, Microsoft (who offered to work with him on the patch issue and he kicked dust and cried instead), Japanese developers, and his former business partner who was by all accounts horribly misrepresented in Indie Game: The Movie on the account of Phil’s one-sided account of things. All these things could be swallowed until he burned his consumers to save a few bucks, which is often an unforgivable sin in retail.

Well, that’s it. I’m not ever giving Polytron another penny. If they want to make things right, I’ll reconsider, but I have a habit of not dealing with companies that wrong me and then make no attempt to make it right even though it’s fully within their means to do so. Maybe I’m alone, I don’t know, but I just think that Phil Fish’s stance is childish, disrespectful, and greedy.

Latest PS3 and 360 updates causing issues with older systems

Update: It now appears that the culprit for the freezes, lockups, and overheating is actually L.A. Noire itself. Sony’s update seems to be safe, and any consoles having issues after that update seem to be coincidental at this point. Rockstar has admitted that L.A. Noire is having issues jiving with some 360 and PS3 consoles.

Both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have seen system updates lately, and it seems that both updates are somewhat problematic for older versions of the consoles. In the case of the PlayStation 3, the newest update is to address the issues with the PSN security breach, and the update is required to regain access to your PSN account. The problem, however, is that people are reporting that after updating their consoles that they’re starting to have random console shutdowns or lockups. Rockstar has posted in their support FAQ the following in response to people complaining about freezes or shutdowns during L.A. Noire play sessions:

Question: My PS3 turns itself off when I am playing L.A. Noire. What can I do?

Answer: We have received some reports of PS3s overheating while playing L.A. Noire or beeping three times before shutting down/turning themselves off, mostly on older 60GB and 80GB fat models.
Primary reports seem to be that updating to firmware 3.61 will cause PlayStations to overheat. There have been various reports of this on a few different games now, all reporting their PS3s turning off or “Red Lighting” after having installed 3.61. This can range from games randomly freezing to PS3s turning off anywhere between 30 mins use to 2 hours. We have confirmed locally that multiple games (Rockstar and non-Rockstar) overheat or freeze only when 3.61 is installed.
At this time we are recommending contacting Sony directly to report the overheating issue. However, this is not the end of our support; we are continuing to test L.A. Noire on all firmware versions and hardware models to isolate the issues and see what can be done. As always, we will update this article as soon as we have updates.

So Rockstar seems to have internally found that it’s the older 60GB and 80GB models that are having issues, but it doesn’t sound entirely limited to them. Obviously overheating is a dangerous thing for your console to experience, so if you have problems after the update, don’t continue to play or else you risk damaging your console. I have a 60GB launch system and I don’t plan on updating until I know it’s 100% safe to do so.

As for the Xbox 360, the latest update seems to be equally problematic, if not worse. After updating with the newest update, many Xbox 360 consoles have been unable to read discs. At all. Microsoft has already responded and is now sending replacement consoles to anybody affected by the issue, but there’s no denying that it’s a major hassle and inconvenience to have to wait for your new console to arrive.

These updates are necessary, but it’s crazy that they can get into the wild with such crippling side effects. It seems to me that the console makers need to include a rollback option on these firmware updates, though I understand that often times the updates exist to plug security holes with the previous version. At least you’d still be able to play your console until they fixed the latest release, however.

Hacker takes control of Stepto’s Live account, posts video

For those that aren’t familiar with Stepto, he’s head of the Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement Team. Basically his team is responsible for banning cheaters, hackers, or suspicious accounts. The hacker, known as PredatorSik, recorded himself toying around with Stepto’s account after he was able to gain access. PredatorSik then threw the video up on YouTube and sort of nerded out and cussed his way through a string of words of disbelief. We’ll see if the video remains up on YouTube, as I’m sure this kid will be running from Microsoft’s lawyers in the coming days. Check out the video.

http://www.youtube.com/v/ryfZv_qq7Uk

Mirror’s Edge 2 canceled?

If true, this would be very disappointing news. According to a Press 2 Play TV report, which was translated by Eurogamer, DICE had presented a prototype for the sequel to EA and EA made the decision not to pursue the project further. We don’t know how far along Mirror’s Edge 2 was in development, but a hard blow at this stage could really put the game’s future into serious doubt as DICE is currently working hard on Battlefield 3 for PC, 360, and PS3. Despite EA’s show of confidence for Mirror’s Edge in the past, things aren’t looking good for the sequel.

Here’s hoping that EA has just told DICE to hold off on Mirror’s Edge 2 until Battlefield 3 releases, because Mirror’s Edge was actually a great game despite its flaws with the combat system. I had high hopes that a sequel would be able to smooth out the rough shooting (or remove it entirely) and provide more interesting paths through the levels.

2010 Game Awards and Overall Game of the Year

My list comes out a little later than others, mostly because I had some catching up to do on a few 2010 titles before I made my picks. A few games didn’t end up getting enough play for serious consideration, but I guess that’s just due to other games being engaging enough to keep me glued to them. I hesitated as to whether or not to do a top 10, and I’m still deciding, so for now enjoy the category-based awards. 2010 was a fantastic year for gaming, this wasn’t easy to put together!

Best Graphics of 2010

Winner – God of War III

Runners Up – Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain

This was a tough pick, because one could argue that God of War III is just a really shiny and higher poly God of War II, but that would be ignoring the massive scale of the game and the rock solid framerate and overall fluidity of the visuals. Simply put, few games really have pushed a console so hard this generation as God of War III.

Best Audio of 2010

Winner – Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Runners Up – Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption

Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption challenged for the title based on the strength of their soundtracks, but it would be really hard to deny Bad Company 2 this year. The gunshots are incredible in this game, as are the booming explosions and crunchy sounds of vehicles rolling over debris and vegetation. Whether the sounds are close up or the muted sounds of a distant skirmish, Bad Company 2 really showed how a battle should sound.

Best Story of 2010

Winner – Red Dead Redemption

Runners Up – StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Mass Effect 2

Both the method of delivering the story and the progression of the storyline were bright spots in the overall experience Red Dead Redemption offered. When you reach the end of the game (the true ending, not the first one), it’s a powerful moment and one that will pry a fist pump out of even the most unemotional gamer. Red Dead Redemption isn’t just a great story for a video game, it’s just great for any medium.

Best New Character of 2010

Winner – Bayonetta

Runners Up – John Marston, Legion

It was hard not to give this to John Marston, but as great as he was he sort of fell into the typical Rockstar main character trappings of being made to serve fate. Bayonetta was just something so insane and crazy that I had to give her the nod when she managed to pull it off. The hyper-sexualized heroine was something that is sure to spawn horrific fan art and cosplay costumes, but hopefully great sequels as well. In the end, Bayonetta will have the longer impact on the gaming industry than any other new characters of 2010.

Best Online Multiplayer of 2010

Winner – Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Runners Up: StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call me crazy, but Bad Company 2 easily provided the best online multiplayer for me this year. The way that the game rewards team play but also allows for lone wolves to do their thing is truly admirable. With the different classes, gamers can play how they want and still contribute to the team’s success. While it lacks the audience and stat tracking of Halo: Reach, Bad Company 2 is more accessible to newcomers and fosters a greater importance of teamwork. StarCraft 2 could have taken this award if it was more friendly to new players, but the game can be quite daunting even for those that put many hours into the campaign.

Best Sequel of 2010

Winner – Super Mario Galaxy 2

Runners Up – StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Mass Effect 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Not an easy award to settle on with such a big year for sequels, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 took the award because Nintendo basically perfected the 3D platformer genre with this year’s effort. Galaxy 2 doesn’t just give us more of what we liked in Galaxy 1, but it does so with so much more imagination and polish than we could have expected. Mass Effect 2 could have taken this award if the game didn’t wrap up so quickly after assembling the team. It seems like as soon as you have everybody on board, it’s time to go up against that final boss, who was a pretty ridiculous boss if you really think about it.

Best New Franchise

Winner – Bayonetta

Runners Up: Angry Birds, Vanquish

Platinum Games had a great year. They gave us two franchises that I think have some solid staying power. Bayonetta, in its first effort, put Capcom and Team Ninja on notice. There have been some great action games this generation, but I feel that Bayonetta stands above them all; and that’s quite impressive for a first effort.

Best Xbox 360 Exclusive of 2010

Winner – Halo: Reach

Runner Up: Alan Wake

Halo: Reach was a fitting curtain call for Bungie under Microsoft care. While it might be feeling a bit familiar at this point, the game still stood out above all other exclusive releases on the Xbox 360. Alan Wake could have made a more serious threat to win the award, but the repetition and ho-hum combat held it back.

Best PlayStation 3 Exclusive of 2010

Winner – God of War III

Runner Up – Heavy Rain

This was an easy pick for me. God of War III is a fantastic first entry for the franchise and it offered up strong action, amazing graphics, and a varied experience that keeps you engaged from start to finish. Heavy Rain, while really disappointing from a story resolution standpoint, needs to be commended for its bold approach to both storytelling and gameplay techniques. The impact Heavy Rain will have going forward will be noticeable, but I can’t shake how unsatisfying the reveal of the villain ended up being.

Best Wii Exclusive of 2010

Winner – Super Mario Galaxy 2

Runner Up – Kirby’s Epic Yarn

It’s hard to top Mario when he’s on his game, and he really was in 2010. Kirby’s Epic Yarn might be the most imaginative effort from Nintendo for a while, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 is no slouch in that regard and the gameplay is unmatched on the Wii for 2010. It remains to be seen if there will be a Galaxy 3 or if Mario will change up his formula once more, but I’d be happy for more spherical planetoids and funky gravity at some point.

Best PC Exclusive of 2010

Winner – StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty

Runner Up – Civilization V

I probably spent more time on Civ V than any other game this year, but it didn’t quite provide the same balanced experience as StarCraft 2 did. Besides, how many other games foster such a large e-sports scene that is as much fun to watch as it is to take part in? Especially in the past few months, if I’m not playing StarCraft 2 at my PC, I’m probably watching match replays or reading up on emerging strategies. Few games were as exciting in 2010 as StarCraft 2 on a global level, and even fewer will remain as exciting going forward.

Best Multiplatform Game of 2010

Winner – Red Dead Redemption

Runners Up – Mass Effect 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2

For its incredible story, delivery of plot, and cohesive and immersive world, it’s tough to deny Red Dead Redemption the top spot here. I’m a documented critic of Rockstar, and the Grand Theft Auto franchise in general, but I was blown away by their effort with Red Dead Redemption. My favorite story moment of 2010 was when the Red Dead Redemption title card flashed up as the game’s true ending took place. It was satisfying and true to the Western genre. Mass Effect 2 was no slouch, but the recycled plot, only with a less cool enemy force than ME1, was just enough to drop it down to runner up status.

Best Game of 2010

Winner – StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty

Runners Up – Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Super Mario Galaxy 2

Honorable Mentions – Civilization V, Battlefield: Bad Company 2

This was one of the most hotly contested years in gaming history. 1998 is often pointed to as the best year in gaming, but 2010 wasn’t too far behind. In fact, 2010 might have provided a higher volume of quality titles, though it wasn’t as top heavy. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty leads the 2010 pack because of its strong showing on both the single player and multiplayer sides of things. The single player is fantastic for gamers of any skill, and multiplayer offers an amount strategic depth and balance of depth that’s nearly unmatched. Furthermore, the StarCraft 2 community is among the most healthy that any game in history has ever enjoyed, with heavy competition taking place around the world. If you haven’t looked into the emergence of e-sports, take a look at the competitive StarCraft 2 scene for an eye-opening look into the future of competitive gaming. For its overall impact on the industry, quality of experience, and longevity, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty wins 2010’s award for best game of the year.

New Xbox 360 coming…packed with some stupid decisions

What is this? Everybody knows that the d-pad on the 360 has been terrible since day one, and it’s nice that they’re finally doing something about it (only took 5 years, congrats engineering team!), but why do they have to dumb up the rest of the controller? Take a look at the video and I’ll whine after.

So this thing is going to cost $65 because the morons at Microsoft feel like they’re only offering the controller packed in with the play and charge kit. Why do I need another one of those? I don’t. This is another lame cash grab by Microsoft. Why would they remove the face button colors? Sure, it looks kind of neat, but the button colors no longer line up with in game prompts. That’s stupid. Why can’t they implement the new d-pad into all of their controllers? Why not make that the default design going forward? This doesn’t make any logical sense.

Ugh, after the price increase on Xbox Live and now this, I really have to wonder what kind of monkeys they have making the decisions over at Microsoft’s Xbox division.

Xbox Live price increase is an insult

Microsoft announced today that there would be a price increase coming to Xbox Live Gold. Here in the United States it will be an extra $10 per year for Xbox Live Gold, making it $59.99 each time it renews. While it is common for the price of products to increase over time in many instances, there’s really no excuse for Microsoft to do it here, and it’s highly dubious given their statements back at E3 that ESPN would be coming to Xbox Live and that it would be free for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Well now, ESPN hasn’t even hit yet and Microsoft is upping the price by $10 per year. Doesn’t it seem like we are indeed paying for ESPN, just through the back door rather than upfront?

What do we pay for when it comes to Xbox Live anyway? Let’s break it down.

Playing Games Online

When it comes to playing multiplayer games online, Xbox Live is nothing more than a matchmaking service. When you log into Xbox Live and go to play a FPS game or a racer, you’re not connecting to Microsoft servers, you’re actually being paired with other players and one of the gamers in your session will host the game on his Xbox. All the bandwidth during multiplayer gaming is being shouldered by the gamers through their own Internet connections, nothing passes through a Microsoft server. The expense for this part of the service isn’t even remotely near what we pay for Xbox Live.

Social Networks

You can use Twitter, Last.FM, and Facebook on you Xbox 360, but why should these be costing any money to either Microsoft or the end user? All three of those services are free ANYWHERE ELSE YOU CHOOSE TO USE THEM. I have all three on my cell phone, netbook, laptop, and desktop and I’ve never paid a cent for any of them. If these are part of the “value” Microsoft touts when talking about Xbox Live, the US Government should be talking about how much value they provide in the way of breathable oxygen in the atmosphere.

Access to Game Demos

Yeah, downloading these does use bandwidth on Microsoft’s end, but each one is basically a sales pitch to the gamer. The cost to Microsoft in bandwidth for a game demo is so minimal that if only 1 in 1,000 people that downloaded a demo bought the game, they still come out very much ahead in licensing fees to the 3rd party developer. You should not have to pay to be advertised to.

Netflix and ESPN (ESPN is coming soon)

Netflix on Xbox 360 is still using yours and Netflix’s bandwidth to stream the videos to you. Microsoft’s role is to act as a 3rd party application to browse videos, and it’s not even the full catalog! If Microsoft is factoring this into the cost of XBL, it’s another ridiculous claim as you get a lesser experience on the 360 than you do on the Netflix.com site. You also still have to pay for your Netflix subscription independently from the Xbox Live Gold account. Like the PS3, Netflix should be free to use for all 360 owners. ESPN on the 360 is the same thing you can get for free online right now at ESPN3.com. Also, that will be limited to the same people who can already use it now. Check ESPN3.com to see if you can already use it. Again, this isn’t anything that should be costing Microsoft much, if anything.

Friends Lists and Profile Management

This is basically all Xbox Live does for you that they’re not actually making you do for yourself. Yes, Microsoft maintains space for your profile and your friends list, but that’s such minimal content that it’s silly to think that it costs them anything worth passing along to the consumer.

Add up everything there and it doesn’t really make any sense why Microsoft charges the $50 they do for Live and why they need to up it to $60. Also, Microsoft serves up advertisements to subscribers that can’t be filtered out, so despite adopting a paid subscription model, you still get nagged with ads that generate money for Microsoft. It’s a shame that PSN is so far behind in regards to overall quality of experience, because Xbox Live’s pricing is out of control. It was always bad, but we’ve dealt with it. At this point I am extremely dissatisfied with the “value” of Xbox Live and really hope that going forward Sony and Nintendo (fat chance) can catch up in their online support and force Microsoft to reevaluate their pricing scam, er, scheme.

Microsoft Kinect to cost $149.99, comes with a game

Microsoft has officially announced the price for Kinect this morning, and it will come in at $149.99 and will be bundled with Kinect Adventures. Most games, including Dance Central from Harmonix, are expected to cost $49.99. It remains to be seen how well received this will be by the casual gaming audience, but I have a few opinions on why it’s a steep uphill battle for Microsoft. If you’re hoping to pick up Kinect, at least you know it has some sort of pack in title.

Source: IGN