Rants and raves about all the latest in video games and other forms of mindless entertainment.

November 24, 2005

One broken Xbox, medium Rare...

By now you've probably been caught in the middle of some Xbox 360 buzz about it's diseased guts and the craptastic Perfect Dark Zero. Reviews have been pouring in for Rare's highly anticipated killer app, PDZ. Whats funny about this high ratio of high scoring reviews, is that it's unusually so. For the most part, every review tears the single player apart...shreds into strips of scrap paper, boils it and feeds to the dogs. PDZ suffers from "the same exact enemey 100 times" disorder, renders characters via injection molded Barbie and Ken templates, and has textures that are almost next-gen, but not really there - and I'm of course citing these reviews here, not my own experience. Some reviewers construe the "dodge for cover" and lack of jump constricting and limiting. The flip side to that coin is that the online co-op and multiplayer options have gamers gleefully smiling and raising their controller grasping fists in the air. Yet, despite a piece of shit single player campaign, most reviewers are scoring the game high - and even extremely high - simply because the multiplayer is so great. Okay, so multiplayer is great...that's incredible, I'm happy for you. But what about those non-online, non-multiplayer kind of people? Would it not stand to reason that if every facet of your game, especially the primary single player campaign, are not up to snuff, that the game should not be scored well? If half of your game is a torrential shit storm and the other half an ocean of warm, delicious, gooey chocolate...does that not put the overall product somewhere in the middle?

It would seem reviewers are taking for granted that they can actually play online. They mistakingly forget about the single player campaign in lieu of the multiplayer, which is down right wrong. If the single player were great, but the multiplayer
"shit faced", you can bet your bottom dollar the reviews rolling in would be at best slightly above average. I take pride in being part of that niche species of gamer that actually read the words accompanying the shiny score in the top corner...and I'm not impressed. I'm reading reviews that explicitally call the single player version of Perfect Dark Zero sub-par and dreadfully disappointing...yet I'm witnessing scores of 9.0+, because it features some extravagant fluff mode, that is almost standard with every game anyway. This same phenomenon occured with the dawning of Halo 2, and it's stellar online mode. Despite an obviously unfinished and unpolish single player experience, the online was great...and some how warranted scores of anywhere from 9.5 - 10. This perplexes me, and has me wondering if the single player experiences of these games were really as good as their multiplayer counterparts, would reviewers be so inclined as to slap an "11/10" approval stamp on the title, breaking all laws of mathematics, setting new precedent in the review community?

To say I don't have some journalistic discourse with these people reviewing the game would be a lie. I do, and quite a lot. Time and time again, I find people like Greg Kasavin of Gamespot and Hillary Goldstein and Doug Perry of IGN Xbox to be the biggest bull-shitters in this industry. Who are they kidding? These people fall victim to hype far too often, and really do taint what could be great publications. with contradictory reviews and numerical scores that just don't click with the written word. (I will however only point out IGN Xbox. Matt Cassamassima, Jeremy Dunham, Ivan Sulic and Craig Harris of IGN Cube, Ps2, PSP, and DS respectively run their channels with the prestige and videogaming honour they should. However the entirety of Gamespot is still a steaming pile of excriment.) I'd hope that in a few years people will see that this idea of multiplayer trumping single player is a dated and erroneous practice; sure it's great, but grade the game, not just what you deem gradable.

On a related note, 24 hours later and Microsoft is running into some serious problems with Xbox 360. It would appear that a portion of Xbox 360's are actually crashing mid-game, disconnecting abruptly from the internet, and just plain not working. Official word is that ""It's what you would expect with a consumer electronics instrument of this complexity .... par for the course.".

Par for the course? Par for the course?! That's right. You heard it here first, Microsoft calls a complete system crash, "par for the course"...coming from the people behind Windows 98, NT and ME, I can't say I'm surprised. I'm sure there are a few of you who experienced the notorious Disc Read Error (DRE) on the Playstation 2. Sure, occasionally a game wouldn't load - though most eventually would - and some claim a repurchase to solve the problem, but did the Playstation 2 ever crash and give out during a game? Never. Dead pixels on the DS and PSP (not to mention any LCD screen in existence) is "par for the course". This isn't just a minor glitch...this is a full on crash. When you purchase a car, "par for the course" is oil changes, perhaps worn break pads, and the occasional defect; be it kinked transmission fluid hose, or faulty oil pump causing the car not function properly, but fixable at reasonable cost (if any) to the consumer. That's par the course. Starting up the engine, having her purr like a tiger to then promptly drive herself off of a cliff is not "par for the course". Nice try though Microsoft, perhaps next time we'll wait until our product is ready for the consumer, and not just ready to take a bite out of your competitions marketshare. Greedy pricks.


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