KOGBlog 16-06-2013: The Little Things…

… like having a week of content planned out.

Okay, here’s the plan.

MONDAY – Unless something else comes up, I want to talk about Triple-A titles in general. You see, the definition of what is a primary market-dominating title has changed dramatically. Once it was the big-name franchise sequel, you did a few games and got yourself famous and liked then you announced a game and we all waited with baited breath at what was to come. People worked their way into our hearts and minds. This made sense. Now of course, Triple-A is defined by its credentials; celebrity voice-actors, expensive marketing budget, DLC plans and ‘appealing to a broader audience’. The end result is a massive fiscal black hole. The modern check-list is a cheat sheet, a set of short cuts designed to somehow give the illusion of being of a higher quality than you perhaps are, or deserve to be. The industry has forgotten that such cheats come with penalties; just like an immortality cheat in Golden Axe used to get you stuck should you fall down a pit (many of us have done that…), if you’re going to jettison the idea of working your way up the ladder in favour of dumping celebrity and money into your project, you need to understand there are risks. There are side-effects. There will be a cost to cheating your way to the front of the queue, and that will usually be in the reality you can’t buy any drinks once inside – so yeah, you got into the club. And now the only thing you can afford to do is to leave.

The market doesn’t seem to understand that shortcuts aren’t always easy to pull off. The amount of times I’ve seen someone fail the boost on Koopa Troopa Beach (Mario Kart 64) and end up losing badly doesn’t bear thinking about. If you get it right, sure. But ultimately there’s still that funny feeling inside that… well, you did sort of use the short-cut to beat people. You’re “special”, and you’ll have that tag lumped onto your head for weeks and weeks and weeks as your once-friends, bitter and resentful, look for every opportunity to throw it back into your face that you are a filthy, nasty little cheat and they will never truly forgive you for what you’ve done.

Ahem. Let’s just say I’ve seen it.

WEDNESDAY – Lady Hunk. I have the most incredible amount of bile to vent over Lady Hunk, the new DLC character in the technical balls-up that was Resident Evil: Revelations HD. It’s not the sexist angle that offends me, that Lady Hunk is basically hunk with boobs and no pants. It’s not that she goes “That was… that was scary!” at the end of each stage, sounding like she’s about thirteen freaking years old. Although it’s certainly more fuel for the fire. No, what offends me is that she’s awful and slow, nasty and cumbersome, vile in her design because you think “Oh it’s Hunk and OH GOD THERE’S THE THIGHS EVERYTHING IS RUINED IT”S RUINED FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER AFTER!”, has no functional freaking use outside a Magnum (WHO THE HELL USES A MAGNUM IN RAID MODE THESE DAYS?!), costs actual money and is generally just a nasty, shocking, pervasive example of the utter lack of bloody care that Capcom are exhibiting for its premier franchise. She’s utterly, 100% completely and totally useless in pretty much every regard and I frankly find myself tutting disapprovingly at Capcom. Capcom, you disgust me. You just… you just disgust me completely.

THURSDAY – I’m playing The Last of Us. And why yes, I am enjoying it, although if anyone is expecting a ten from me, it ain’t gonna happen. I already found a list of bugs and technical issues that frankly denote this is well short of technical perfection. However, the story, the characterisation, the pacing – The Last of Us takes a genre on the brink of going stale, toasts it up a bit and it suddenly tastes as fresh as you’d want it to be. It’s a great game, still got more to play on it but I am very much enjoying my time with it. Obviously, more later this week.

FRIDAY – To end, I am going to talk about the sheer volume of technical hiccups and issues at this years E3. Now, I’m as eager as anyone would be to get their hands on a PS4. Maybe less so an XBox One but y’know, such is life. Anyway, the thing that stops me dead and leaves me cold is when you see such blatant crashes, such huge loading issues and such shocking, appalling, insultingly awful in ever single way optimisation jobs going on. You’d think with all this shiny new technology we’d perhaps be seeing LESS bugs, but no, no we are not, we are seeing more of them and more frequently. Never have I sat through an E3 showing and thought to myself, “So, the next gen is like this one, just prettier and with more bugs, right?”

I find myself rather frustrated by this. I know it’s early days but the Wii U is seeing the problem now, with piss-poor optimisation jobs going on. Never mind it has more memory, a better graphics card and a snazzier processor. No-one seems to give a rats arse about the quality of the end product when it’s dumped on the Wii U. I want to be excited about the next-gen, I really do, but when the biggest marketing opportunity anyone has in the Western World at E3 is home to a deluge of technical cock-ups, I frankly find myself wondering if the next-gen could possibly do with another year or two cooking in the damned oven…

I am just sick of paying for crappy hack-jobs. And no, I don’t blame Nintendo. The potential and the power is there. If a company is too lazy to do a decent job in the porting, that’s their fault and I will judge them based on their crappy workmanship. It’s too easy to blame Nintendo, blame the hardware, but that hang in the middle of Assassin’s Creed 4 just showed the world that bad optimisation is a widespread ill, and it’s one the industry needs to be careful in that it doesn’t ultimately end up with them being lumped to specific hardware platforms, because hey! They simply can’t be arsed to learn anything else…

Anyway, with the week planned out, I am off for some sleep. Have fun all, and catch you tomorrow!

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