The Videogame Crash of 2011

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Matt Barton
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It seems like every time you turn around, someone is criticizing the modern gaming scene, saying it's nothing but insipid sequels, remakes, and clones. At the same time, PC gamers are criticizing the industry for focusing on consoles, which they think dumbs them down. HOWEVER, I've heard the same complaint from old school console and arcade fans, who claims that even console games have gotten dumber and less challenging than they were back in the day (Contra, etc.)

We recently got hit with three high profile games in a row that were all roasted by the critics: Duke Nukem Forever, Alice: The Madness Returns, and Hunted: The Demon's Forge. It's looking like the new Deus Ex will suffer the same fate. Could we be seeing the first signs of an upcoming videogame crash?

The world's economy is in the tank, especially with Japan's earthquake and nuclear reactor woes. It seems a safe prediction that profits will continue to sink as people have less disposable income (as Bill likes to point out, games aren't and never have been a need). It's probably a safe bet that as more people become unemployed or never get jobs to begin with, the more gamers will turn to piracy or second-hand games, thus further reducing revenues for publishers. This will probably cause a backlash towards cheesy free to play models, MMOs, multiplayer, etc. We're probably going to see a lot more recycling of not just engines and assets, but a big shift towards DLC. Imagine a scenario in which you must pay seven times:

1. Upfront price to download the game (no retail; not an option)
2. Monthly subscription to the download service
3. Hourly fees for playing the game (free for X hours per week; fees imposed afterward under the guise of "controlling addiction")
4. DLC fees for items/characters/convenience (i.e., instant travel)
5. DLC fees to unlock areas/levels
6. Fee for required "validation service" through your cell phone/mobile
7. Fee for "punkbuster" required service to play any of the multiplayer

It seems that as games get worse and more people turn away, the publishers will try to milk the few remaining diehards for all they can. Will you still be interested in modern games if these trends continue?

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Matt Barton
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If you still like playing

If you still like playing Divinity next week, Clok, I just might have to try it out. ;)

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clok1966
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Well I will agree DS II was

Well I will agree DS II was not as good as DS one.. I found it to.. busy.. I have always hated the run from point a to b, and then back to a stuff just to "show you the map" and the towns populated with 20 people, but only 2 really have anything to say. Also town with 'shut out" areas.. DS II with its treetop where you couldnt get to certian areas without riding specific elevators and such.. dont make the game hub a twisty mish mash of annoy.. the dungeons can be the tricky exploration part.. not the town! I just felt like i was running alot of all over for no reason at all.

When i was out of twon I still bought a couple steam games (and installed um this weekend remotly) and got to try um Sunday. Very Disapointed with AD&D Daggerfall, and more than a bit happily suprised by Divinity II the Dragon Night. While not a deep story, Divinty has a pretty neat one, especially with choices that really effect stuff in game. While not to spoil to much I hope.. you are a Trained from birth (dragon Slayer) to Destroy Dragon knights (people who can become dragons).. neat twist quite early in the game.. you become one of the Dragon knights...( i have yet to find out if others know yet or not and my "freinds" will hunt me, or if its a secret). You also make some very UNCLEAR (good or evil?)discision.. there is a famine in a town away from the one you are in, a farmer asks for your help saving a couple pet pigs, Do you let him keep the pigs, or not?... there is no right or wrong... but the farmer will hate you (if you take pigs) and he has stuff for sale.. so you will pay alot to get it.. and.. sometimes later in the game (way after the descion is made) you will find out a much deeper effect.. in this case the guy who was collecting the food had 2 villages to feed, and was favoring one... so now you have to think if giving him the pigs was right becuase he was corrupt too and you probebly didnt help anybody by doing it.. There are more like this.. (3-4 in the first hour of playing) ...
its got all voice acting.. which can be a mixed bag, but so far its ok (i like it all voiced myself, even when its bad). its got a fairly decent combat system, I must admit I feel a bit weak at all times, so i never get that MOW um down thing going.. I walk into every battle worried im going to lose.. its amazing how much a game starts to make you think when you dont know if you can win every battle. I also like the "jack of all trades" class system.. you can be a warrior, archer, cleric and mage.. but you can be bad at all or good at one and pick chose a few slices from the the others. One thing.. the cleric doesnt heal.. which is a bit strange so picking his skills can make the game interesting ( he gets pets! undead!.. necro? no he is a cleric).

Oh.. its a FPS over the shoulder game.. all combat is real time (with a puase feature where you can take a potion or swap a weapon, etc) its a very nicely rendered world. I like the "lands" so to speak.. only a few hours in and have already found 5-6 small dungones in the starter area.. and moved to the next which is a HUGE abandoned tower... that im slowly fighint my way to... the undead are brutally mean to me.. like I did them wrong or something.

Bill Loguidice
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D&D: Daggerfail
clok1966 wrote:

Its sad to hear games are getting impossilbe to play on the PC when ported from consoles.. the "new" AD&D Dagerfall game.. it was $9 on steam so I picked it up, HORRIBLE on the pc.. generaly console ports are bad in menus, but gameplay is ok.. Daggerfall is bad.. the camera when shooting uphill will look straight ahead and things like this.. it mentions i can map keys, but have yet found a way to do it. When you tack on thats its already looking aged (graphics wise), has stuff we did away with years ago (quest givers dont speak, but they make it "sound" like they are mumbling... like every one is a PEANUTS cartoon teacher. It has horrible graphics glitchs.. as in, all the time... And the gameplay is pretty run of the mill, not bad, not good.. A game that really does seem that they phoned it in... to bad...

Daggerfall's atrociousness has nothing to do with being ported from or designed for console. It's awful on console too. It's just a bad game, period, which is not surprising because Atari seems to have no budget these days to make decent stuff. The pinnacle of that genre was actually the last generation of consoles, PS2, Xbox, and GameCube. We haven't seen good action RPGs on this generation of consoles, which is pretty pathetic considering how long this generation has been going and the fact that the model was so well perfected so long ago (Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Champions of Norrath, etc.). The Marvel games of this generation were decent, but they're not quite the same as fantasy-based games. Same goes for all the Lego games. Quality, similar stuff, but not quite the same. There are still a few more titles waiting to hit, so we'll see (and there are a few more current examples I still need to explore)...

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Matt Barton
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I've had a hard time getting

I've had a hard time getting into the Diablo clones. I honestly didn't really care for Diablo, and offended by the idea of an "action RPG" in general, but for all that, I really enjoyed the first Dungeon Siege. It felt fresh and the environments were great. It felt polished and worth playing. I'm not saying it was a masterpiece, but well executed. The second one just got boring to me. It was like grinding mobs in WOW but with nobody else in the world.

Console-to-PC ports are problematic for many reasons, but I'd add translated games, too. I've played lots of them, especially adventure games, and they seem to have a tendency (like Americans) to put everything into flashy graphics and are content with very generic writing and stories (wont' even go into the translation and voice acting, which tend to be laughably bad). So if we're talking about a translated action-RPG console-to-PC port, that's three strikes against it IMO.

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clok1966
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I really liked the first

I really liked the first Dungeon Seiges (both), just glorified Diablo clones, but good ones with a bit better quest system. And a much better enemy list. It seems the new one is a bit different.. I was kinda looking forward to it.

Its sad to hear games are getting impossilbe to play on the PC when ported from consoles.. the "new" AD&D Dagerfall game.. it was $9 on steam so I picked it up, HORRIBLE on the pc.. generaly console ports are bad in menus, but gameplay is ok.. Daggerfall is bad.. the camera when shooting uphill will look straight ahead and things like this.. it mentions i can map keys, but have yet found a way to do it. When you tack on thats its already looking aged (graphics wise), has stuff we did away with years ago (quest givers dont speak, but they make it "sound" like they are mumbling... like every one is a PEANUTS cartoon teacher. It has horrible graphics glitchs.. as in, all the time... And the gameplay is pretty run of the mill, not bad, not good.. A game that really does seem that they phoned it in... to bad... On a side note Divinity II was on sale on steam this weekend too.. AWSOME game (IMHO)...

Matt Barton
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Looks like Dungeon Siege 3

Looks like Dungeon Siege 3 might be getting the same treatment:

Gamespot: 6.0
IGN: 6.5

Looks like it's just unplayable on the PC unless you hook up a 360 controller.

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clok1966
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I hate to differ, 3 shitty

I hate to differ, 3 shitty games? as far as I can tell only Duke is getting the hate (at least in the press in an ongoing fashion)..

Alice is doing a solid 75 or better at most reviews( professional) its doing better with the players (at least at meta critic)
heck even duke isnt doing to bad with players (though Pro review are in the 55 area) players are saying about 75
And Hunted is doing the worst.. after the first few weeks of good review (the first few weeks it had almost 75+ acorss the board, but now I see pretty much all after are bad) it seems the backlash began it moved into the mid 60's from pro's and barely better from players.. I feel bad as it the most original of any of them to me.

You want some real sadness, most HIGH rated games (new) are all Clones/remakes/and sequals. In fact the highest rated new game in the last month is a REMAKE in 3d... not new...

While I might not agree with your assesment of the games... i do agree I think a backlash is comming, but I think its more the fact that the industry just cant support 90% FPS...... while the games actually comming out are not all FPS, all the HUGE one are.. and if you look at online stats (multiplayer) besides MMORPG's... its ALL as in every dang one a FPS. ite been comming for awhile.. look at hte high profile games (fps) that tank and kill a company. Maybe thats the core of it, the cost of the game and the penelty for failing.

I really still love games.. even the bad ones (not all) so it does worry me alot. I almost think alot of it is the evil attitude the people have now days... and I find myslef getting sucked into it sometimes. its not enough to not enjoy a game, now you have to rip it apart and make sure nobody else does too. its almost trendy to have "hate" for something you used to love. Maybe not, i sure hope not.

Well kids im outta town for the next few days.. enjoy the break from my horrible spelling, rants, and snap judgements :) catch you all next week.

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