B3yond the Report 12.07.10: Analyzing the VGAs
Posted by Derek Robbins on 12.07.2010
News on Red Dead Redemption and four other game of the year candidates being revealed at Spike TV's Video Game Awards, Capcom explains why there will be no Marvel vs. Capcom demo, hackers bringing a Wii emulator to the PS3 soon and more!
Hello and welcome to B3yond the Report. This is you host Derek Robbins. If you haven't read before, this is a weekly look at the world of Sony and all of the Sony-related news from last week. Obviously since a lot of stuff this generation is cross-platform, some things that may also appear on other consoles will be covered here as well. Hard to avoid. Well, with the introduction out of the way, let's get this baby rollin', shall we?
Spike Announces PS3 Game of the Year Nominees for the VGAs
Hoo boy, the VGAs. We all know the ultra-prestigious VGAS, the gaming awards that gave the overall game of the year award to Madden in the same year it was introduced. Well, to be fair, the VGAs aren't quite that bad anymore. Sure, they may not be the ideal award show, but what award show really is? Spike has announced the nominees for PS3 game of the year and the list manages to raise a couple of questions. Here it is:
God of War III
Red Dead Redemption
My initial quandary with this list is the inclusion of a cross-platform title. What is the point of including something that could be played elsewhere as one of the best games on a specific console? This is the same philosophy I take when writing the 10th hour it's hard to be the best game of a given system if said game isn't exclusive to the system. Instead, it should just be placed into an overall best game category. It actually was placed there, but are you telling me there are no other games that could have made the cut for PS3 game of the year? Spike couldn't get an advanced copy of Gran Turismo 5? They didn't like White Knight Chronicles? 3D Dot Game Heroes not flashy enough?
No, not all of those games are exactly game of the year material, but at least they are Sony exclusive, right? Bah, whatever. Now that those complaints are out of the way, let's look at the nominees and then predict a winner. God of War III was a very good game and served as a fine "conclusion" to the trilogy. We all know there will be more God of War available on non-PSP consoles soon enough, but let's pretend shall we? It may be short on plot quality, but it is a consistently enjoyable and exciting action experience and a game that fans of the franchise will absolutely dig.
Heavy Rain was an interactive adventure game movie-thing. It probably wasn't one of my favorite games released this year, but it did do a lot of interesting things. Having to watch all of the game's action tensely while waiting for the next QTE definitely helped to make the title exciting. It was also cool how your actions could lead to the deaths of your four main characters. The problem with this is that no matter how you did, the origami killer was always the same. That's kind of a drag, though I understand why they went with that logic the origiami killer is killing before you start the main part of the game. So why would the killer change based on the actions of the player? It still would have been cool to see something different.
Modnation is a pretty solid kart racing title that emphasizes creativity. Single player isn't as fun as some other kart racers can be I really can enjoy Mario Kart Wii solo, sorry if that makes me weird but the multiplayer really shines. I'm mildly surprised to see it nominated, but I'm glad it's getting some recognition. Lastly, Red Dead Redemption is a pretty fun title that blends a familiar Grand Theft Auto-ish gameplay style with the wild west. It has everything you expect from a Rockstar sandbox game great voice acting, great story and great game world. This is a fantastic game, but I still don't think it belongs here.
Out of these choices, I would probably say my favorite game is Red Dead Redemption. Since I refuse to let it win, I have to default to my number two choice Heavy Rain. No, it isn't my favorite game released this year, but I would be a fool not to acknowledge how much quality it has. The game contains some ridiculously intense moments and also has a great story with some nice vocal performances. It's also a new IP, which gives it bonus points in a world filled with sequels. I think no matter what I think, God of War III will very likely be the winner here. This belief is furthered by the overall game of the year nominees.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
God of War III
Mass Effect 2
Red Dead Redemption
Well gee, if GoW III and RDR are nominees here, doesn't that mean one of them will win the PS3 game of the year? How can something else possibly win and not be nominated here? Might as well just throw Modnation and Heavy Rain. This crop isn't too bad, though I'm not sure what Halo: Reach is doing there. I'm also not sure why Black Ops made the cut, but I will admit my opinions on that one might be a tad outlandish. Where is Mario Galaxy 2 or any Wii title? Looking at the field here, I would say Mass Effect 2 should win the overall game of the year award. It's one of the most fun and compelling titles I've ever played. I hate WRPGs and I usually don't play shooters. If I can love a game that melds those two genres, I think the creators have come up with something special.
See, the first thing I thought about when I read this article was creating a new Blood Elf and running to Silvermoon City and getting rewards in that way. Of course, then I realized I was just being silly. As we all know, Playstation Rewards is the system Sony is testing out as a way to award loyal Sony gamers. The system currently awards gamers free avatars, dynamic themes and also offers a chance to win trips to various places, including Las Vegas. The system has three different tier levels. Select, Pro and Legendary, with rewards being dispensed based on the current tier the gamer is at.
The system is currently being offered to select Playstation Plus members as something of a beta test. They want to make sure they don't have any ridiculous issues when the system sees general public release in April. In order to make the leveling up from tier-to-tier progress easier, Sony has implemented a quest system. This way progression from one tier to the next doesn't have to be based solely on grinding on boars or whatever! or purchasing PSN and PS3 titles.
There are nine different quests that are being launched tomorrow, with three being revealed on the Playstation Blog. Let's take a look, shall we?
"Move It" rewarded for playing select Playstation Move titles
This leads me to believe that eventually they are going to implement quests that involve completing something in a game. You know, getting some points that can go towards a tangible award for 100%ing a game or whatever instead of the trophy system. For now, we get a simple quest such as "Play the Move game" I know that may seem challenging to some, but who am I to question free reward points?
"Check Your Pulse" Watch Playstation Network's PULSE in HD
This is probably the only way they could get me to watch something on Pulse. Those tricky guys. I don't understand why they are bothering to reveal this quest now. Don't Plus subscribers get Pulse for free anyhow? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of paying for something and then giving back something for that payment? Oh well, it's not like they'll complain. I'd probably just turn on PULSE and play Golden Sun or something as it runs. No harm, no foul.
"No Place Like Home" Visit the Central Plaza in Home
No, no! Not this Home stuff again! I definitely understand why they are doing this. It's an incentive to get people playing Home again. I mean, if you can't get folks to play your horrible social networking game on its own merits, why not bribe them instead? Bah. I can see more Home achievements incorporated as new areas get added to Home, to make sure people actually visit them. I can't wait to get into Home and get with a bunch of dudes and dance with them around one girl who is probably actually a guy.
So what do you think the other quests will be? I think they will start with simple things such as changing your avatar or changing your theme and stuff like that. I'm hoping they eventually give out trophies for reward usage. There are a lot of people who put stock into trophies and rewards and it might actually be an incentive to make some of these quests also put out trophies. Will there be a trophy for moving up to the legendary tier? Who knows. I'm curious to see how this expands.
What are some things you would want to see implemented as quests down the line?
As we all know, Capcom took a gigantic piece of coal and shoved it into our Christmas stocking by saying there would be no demo of Marvel vs.Capcom 3. People have been asking why and we have some answers for you! It pretty much comes down to time, but I'll let you decide how much stock to take into some of these reasons given for the lack of a demo.
Christian Svensson, the Vice President of strategic planning for Capcom, said a big reason for the lack of a demo is concerns over the quality of the game.
"If you wanted a demo, you'd have had fewer characters, less polish or some other tradeoff in the full game because the game absolutely had to ship within this fiscal year (business reality)."
I don't see why that is. Why do you have a build of the game ready to go with select characters available dubbed "the TGS build" that you take to select tournaments and venues? I guess that was too taxing on the developers. I don't see why it would be so hard to lock most of those characters and have only six different fighters to choose from for a demo. Like Ryu, Chris and Morrigan for Capcom and Wolverine, Ironman and Super-Skrull for Marvel. Two veterans, one newcomer for each side. I don't see why that would be so tough to pull off.
"Demos take time to make, test and submit and they aren't cheap which would mean something else would have to be cut or reduced to have time in the schedule and budget to do it."
I guess that explains why so many indy developed titles have demos up for download.
"Historically our retail fighting game releases have not had demos and we don't believe that has hurt sales or long term consumer feedback if the experience is good (and in MvC3, it is great)."
I read this as: "We know this game is going to sell because it is a fighting title, why the fuck should we let people play it for free? Stick to PC games you jerks."
"We have made the game available to play at literally dozens of events around the world, so sampling opportunities have existed. It doesn't mean everyone who would want to try it has had the opportunity, but I would venture a guess that literally hundreds of thousands have since we announced the title back in April."
As I said, and am surprised he mentioned here, MvC 3 has been available to play at various venues around the country. There is a demo build for this game with a select roster of fighters. Not every character has been made available to play I do believe. Yeah, some people have gotten the chance to play it, but not people who were on the fence about the game just hardcore fighting fans who would have bought it anyhow. There could be some guy out there who lives under a rock who hasn't heard this game is coming out. He could pass over demos and see MvC 3 and boom! A sale!
So here is essentially what he said. "MvC 3 is going to make a shit load of money and putting out a demo is not needed, deal with it." What do you think of no MvC 3 demo?
Well, still waiting to make that long awaited move to Tuesday nights, but until then we're stuck together on last week's PSN update. Let's see how things were in the land of yesterday.
Vector TD minis (Free to PlayStation Plus Subscribers, regular price $3.99)
Well, it's a free tower defense game. You could probably do worse for free.
Dead Nation (20% off) (PlayStation Plus price $11.99, regular price $14.99)
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (50% off) (PlayStation Plus price $3.00, regular price $5.99)
Twisted Metal 2 (50% off) (PlayStation Plus price $3.00, regular price $5.99)
Blockids PSone Import (50% off) (PlayStation Plus price $3.00, regular price $5.99)
Dezaemon Plus Psone Import (50% off) (PlayStation Plus price $3.00, regular price $5.99)
There are lots of cool discounts here, but the real treasure is Dezaemon. It's yet another imported schmup, but with a twist! You see, you have the ability to create your own levels, enemies characters and music in this title. So if you're creative and love schmups, like I'm sure you do if you've bought any PS1 import titles since they all seem to be schmups, this is the game for you. Lots of replay value. The other import title is Blockids, which is essentially breakout.
Smoke and Mist (Free and exclusive to PlayStation Plus Subscribers)
PlayStation 15th Anniversary Dynamic Theme (Free to PlayStation Plus Subscribers, regular price $2.99)
Shouldn't commemorative anniversary themes be free regardless of plus status? Well, I guess it's not, but the theme is actually pretty neat and is worth your PSN Plus dues. As for Smoke and Mist, no idea what that looks like, but as I mentioned before, exclusive themes are a nice bonus incentive.
Hot Shots Golf 2 Sale (PS3/PSP) (now $2.99, original price $5.99) **Part of the PlayStation 15th Anniversary Sale
Uno PS3 Sale (PS3) (now $0.99, original price $7.99)
Dynogems Minis Sale (PS3/PSP) (now $1.49, original price $1.99)
Tehra: Dark Warrior Minis Sale (PS3/PSP) (now $2.49, original price $2.99)
Tehra: Dark Warrior & DynoGems Bundle Sale (PS3/PSP) (now $3.49, original price $3.99)
MAG Escalation Mission Pack Sale (PS3) (now $7.99, original price $9.99)
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Permanent Price Drop (PSP) (now $29.99, original price $39.99)
Well, you should have bought Peace Walker when you had the chance for like 10 bucks less. Now who is laughing? Uno PS3 is now .99 cents? Not gonna lie, I used to play a lot of Uno on X-Box LIVE arcade. 99 cents is not a bad price for this, I might end up picking that up. Hot Shots Golf 2 for $2.99 is hard to look down on.
Dead Nation ($14.99)
Funky Lab Rat ($9.99)
Dead Nation takes place in the super innovative and never before explored environment of "Zombie Apocalypse" and Funky Lab rat is apparently a move-supported platforming puzzler. That seems like it could be interested. Maybe Mr. Salmela and his infinitely large Move collection can see a place for this guy. I wonder if he's holding out hope for Target Terror: Move.
PSone Import Classics
Blockids PS one Import ($5.99)
Dezaemon Plus PS one Import ($5.99)
I talked about these earlier. I know Dezaemon isn't the PSN Digimon title that we have all been hoping for, but you should pick it up anyhow. We all need 50,000,000 schmups in our libraries and this created content one seems as good as any to me.
Funky Lab Rat Trial
Awww, c'mon, no demo for Dead Nation? So close to impressing me PSN, so close.
Add-on Game Content
ModNation Racers Holiday Props Pack ($4.99)
Hustle Kings Trickshot Pack ($1.99)
LittleBigPlanet Santa Hat and Beard Costume (free)
LittleBigPlanet Santa Coat and Trousers Costume (free)
LittleBigPlanet Festive Pack ($2.99)
Fist of the North Star DLC Pack 3 ($4.99)
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light All The Trappings Challenge Pack 1 ($3.49)
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom Special Challenge Pack ($1.99)
DJ Hero 2 Tiesto Mix Pack ($7.99)
DJ Hero 2 Hard Edge Mix Pack ($5.99)
Rock Band 3
o "Saturday Night Special″ Lynyrd Skynyrd ($1.99)
o "Sweet Home Alabama (Live)″ Lynyrd Skynyrd ($1.99)
o "Tuesday's Gone″ Lynyrd Skynyrd ($1.99)
o "What's Your Name″ Lynyrd Skynyrd ($1.99)
o Lynyrd Skynyrd Pack 01 ($6.99)
o "Hold On Loosely" .38 Special ($1.99)
Rock Band Network
o "Bled To Be Free (The Operation)" RX Bandits ($1.99)
o "Head Up High" Firewind ($1.99)
o "Lionheart" Amberian Dawn ($1.99)
o "Rx" Wounded Soul ($0.99)
o "The Great Salt Lake" Band of Horses ($1.99)
Well the Majin DLC seems pretty decently priced. They offer three different play styles, one new costume and four levels for each one. That isn't bad. The Lara Croft and Fist of the North Star DLC packs aren't too bad either I really need to buy Fist of the North Star by the way. I loved the anime. The others, and I know I sound like a broken record, don't really impress me. The DJ Hero stuff doesn't even let you choose different songs! Just different mix packs. It might be kind of a good thing that both Rock Band and Guitar Hero failed this year. Maybe they won't release a million different games a year and just focus on DLC now? Maybe? Probably not.
Devil May Cry 4 Avatars (x4) ($0.49)
Mega Man Legends 2 Data (Injured) Avatar ($0.49)
Rival Schools Avatars (x5) ($0.49)
Top Gun Avatars (x2) ($0.49)
Rival Schools Avatars!? I sure hope I have a spare $.49 available. Also, Capcom, release Project Justice on PSN already. Not enough people got to play it on Dreamcast. Oh, also PLAYIN' WITH THE BOYYYYYS.
The Tester Season 2 Episode 5
Dead Nation Story Trailer
LittleBigPlanet 2 Sackbots Featurette
I still don't want to watch 8-bit Mickey do things. Also, gametrailers.com. I just saved you hard drive space.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam Theme (free)
Full Metal Alchemist Dynamic Theme ($2.99)
Blue Toad Murder Files Advent Calendar Dynamic Theme ($1.99)
PlayStation 15th Anniversary Dynamic Theme ($2.99)
Sari Theme ($1.99)
Streets Theme ($1.99)
Gold Tiger MP5 Dynamic Theme ($2.99)
So, Battlefield is the free one this week? Well, I guess there is a first for everything. Don't try to transmute any of these custom themes into free themes, though. Unsavory things could happen.
No Heroes Allowed! PSP Demo (free)
100 daily dungeon designs in demo form you say? Good to know.
Hey, at least the costume is free! Generally, LBP DLC is a waste of money
The Tester Season 2 Episode 5
B3yond the Tabloids
Remember when Square Enix took over Eidos and people were all like: "Oh boy, a Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider hybrid, what could possibly be better?" Well, we still don't have that. Instead, Square Enix is making a new Tomb Raider title. More details will be revealed in an upcoming Game Informer, but a PR statement from Square Enix said the following:
After a brutal storm destroys the boat she was travelling on, a frightened youngwoman is left washed ashore on an unknown beach. On her own but not alone she has only one goal, to survive.
Here begins the first adventure for a young and inexperienced Lara Croft in a story which charts the journey of an ordinary woman who finds out just how far she must go in order to stay alive.
Prequel time! It sounds like Square is planning to reboot the Tomb Raider franchise and take it in an entirely new direction. This could be interesting. I assume longtime fans of pinning Lara against the wall so the camera gives them better viewing angles will be most displeased if Square alters gameplay significantly.
Spike announced that the host of the VGAs was going to be Neil Patrick Harris. Harris is a pretty safe bet as far as hosts for a gaming show are concerned. I had my money on Felicia Day, but I'm not going to complain about this choice one bit. Maybe we'll even get to hear him sing!
So Super Street Fighter IV arcade, a game I was once told wasn't going to happen, is happening! They are adding new characters that will allegedly be added to the console versions as DLC. Yun and Yang were confirmed long ago, but recently two more characters have been announced. Oni Akuma and Evil Ryu are in the game. Really? Wow, what lame additions. More shoto characters? I thought for a second that Urien might have been the addition or hell, even somebody like Q. This is what we get? Damn you.
So, do you still play Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2? Well, if you do, you might want to hurry and buy the DLC for the game. The DLC goes offline forever at the end of the year due to some sort of licensing agreement. The DLC includes some challenges, but the big thing you will be missing out on are some extra characters. Psylocke, Magneto, Cable, Black Panther, and Carnage to be exact. I hope Psylocke makes it into MvC3. As the saying goes, no Psylocke, no Buylocke.
On his Gametrailer's show, Michael Pachter said that the Wii's Epic Mickey will eventually come out on the Playstation 3. He said it was inevitability and pretty much guaranteed it would happen. He said it would take a long time for the title to be released and when it does come out, it will probably be download-only and cost less. The reason for this is due to the lack of upgraded graphics. Epic Mickey seems like an excellent experience and I hope to play it soon. I am a big Disney fan.
Well, it's been a slow year for our good friend Sony over in Japan. At the Playstation Awards, a ceremony dedicated to the best selling Sony games, only one game was awarded the Platinum award, reserved for titles that have sold over one million copies. Take a wild stab at what won. If you didn't say "Final Fantasy XIII" you were incorrect! Ah, such a shame. I sometimes feel like one of the only people who truly enjoyed FF XIII even if it had one of the worst endings ever. I thought the fighting system was truly excellent. FF XIII has sold 5.5 million copies worldwide and has probably been sold back to retailers 4.5 million times. Here are the rest of your award winners!
Platinum Prize (Over 1 million copies sold):
Final Fantasy XIII - PS3
Gold Prize (Over 500,000 copies sold):
Yakuza 4 - PS3
Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage - PS3
Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker - PSP
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite* - PSP
Monster Hunter Diary Poka Poka Airu Village - PSP
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
God Eater - PSP
Phantasy Star Portable 2 PSP
User's Choice Awards:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - PS3
Final Fantasy XIII - PS3
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite - PSP
Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition - PS3
Demon's Souls - PS3
Yakuza 4 - PS3
God of War III - PS3
Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker - PSP
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA 2nd - PSP
The Legend of Heroes Zero no Kiseki PSP
PlayStation Store Special Prize (Top sellers):
Wizardry Torawareshi tamashii no meikyu
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Deluxe Pack 1
After Burner Climax
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Dreamy Theater
Weekly Toro Station
I'm guessing users choice titles were voted upon since FF XIII also appears there. Peace Walker and MH Freedom Unite also appeared on both. Nice to see CoD: MW 2 get a nod here since traditionally our shooting titles don't fare so well over there. Then again, I'm saying that on the heels of Black Ops getting the top spot last week on Japanese charts. Why wasn't Birth by Sleep on both lists then!? Ahhh c'mon, it was the best Kingdom Hearts yet.
Remember last week when I told you Sony had a ton of 3D games in development? Well, you can add a certain high profile title to the list of games not getting the 3D treatment. Little Big Planet 2, which has already been confirmed to be launching without Move support though it will be getting it later in patch form will not be making an appearance in 3D. Ah such a shame, I'm sure a lot of people would have enjoyed Sack Boy in the third dimension.
I don't write the, hopefully soon to be revamped, Nintendophiles so I can't talk about the wonderful world of Nintendo Piracy, but there is a news story this week that allows me to do so! An emulator team is hard-at-work on getting a port of the Wii and Gamecube emulator Dolphin onto the PS3. That's right, provided you hack your system, you will soon be able to play Wii games on your PS3! Well, we already knew hacked PSP's were the best portable system to have, so hacked PS3s must be the best console titles to own as well, right? Right.
So, there is no Third Impact this week. I know it feels like I skip every other week, but thanks to a certain university having issues getting a certain someone his diploma, I got a bit of a late start today. I imagine it's going to be worse when I start grad school next summer. Ah well, I promise I'll get an earlier start on B3yond the Report next week and give my favorite part of the column, and probably the one people care about the least, its proper due! I hope to finally have a new banner for it on Monday, but you know how I am. I've been promising a new banner for the 10th Hour for three years, and except when other people take over and use their own banners, we've been stuck with the same one.
Apparently Lara is going to look slightly different than this
B3yond the Mailbag
A guest gives his thoughts on the number of games we're subjected to.
Too many games is the exact reason that a lot of developers are going under. Gaming companies believe that hiring more staff and cranking out more products equals more money and happier shareholders - all of a sudden, oversaturation and the law of diminishing returns cause huge financial stress on the company.
Oh I agree with this. More games does not equal more products. If a game sells poorly then it means a company loses money. With so many similar titles on the market, how are gamers supposed to choose? This is why I think finally Rock Band and Guitar Hero sales have grinded to a halt. You mean releasing Guitar Hero: Anthrax wasn't a bridge too far?
Da Juice corrects me on a Metal Slug related issue:
When it comes to Metal Slug games 4 and 5 are considered to be the worst of the series. 6 wasn't bad only thing I hated about it was they took out your player getting fat.
Hmm, I'm not sure that I disliked Metal Slug 4 all that much, though I didn't like 5. What I didn't like about 6 was that if you didn't meet certain conditions, you would not be able to advance past the third level. For people who suck at Metal Slug such as myself, we need to be able to play through the game no matter what the conditions! I think probably my favorite of the franchise was Metal Slug 3.
A different Guest likes Disgaea almost as much as I do.
"Disgaea 4, future game of the year." thank you for the disgaea love
Truth be told, I love Disgaea. I think it is less of a strategic game and more of a grinding game, but I still very much enjoy it. I used to use "Disgaea 3 is the future game of the year" gag when I first wrote B3yond the Report in 2008, relieving Salmela of his duties. I think Disgaea 4 will probably be one of my favorite games on the PS3, regardless of quality. This is why I am a hypocrite for bashing shooting fans.
I'm not the only one who loves Bayonetta. Here is another guest!
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that Bayonetta is the best action title since DMC 3. :)
Some people had issues looking past the fanservice, but there was a lot to Bayonetta. It was really fast paced, it was bizarre in the God Hand style and it required a lot of skill. It was not an easy game. Frankly, Bayonetta would have been a better representation of Devil May Cry 4 than the real DMC 4 was. On the DMC topic, why do people keep asking for Bayonetta in MvC 3? She's not Capcom at all! Silly people.
B3yond the Cinema
Super Street Fighter IV Arcade trailer.
Tales of Grace F
Yakuza 4 introduces a new character
Back to the Future trailer
Disgaea 4's opening
Well, that's it for this week. I appreciate you reading. Feel free to leave feedback down in the comments. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at dynamite_derek. I must apologize again for no Third Impact this week, but I assure you it will be back next week! Then I'm sure it will go missing again the week after that. Whatever the case, tune in next week for more Sony news! See you then.