Saturday, March 22, 2014

Metal Gear Solid Fame or Metal Gear Solid Shame

Big Boss is angry, contempt, it's kinda hard to tell?

Recently the masses got their hands on the latest Metal Gear Solid game called Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros. When I say masses, I really mean it, as this game's release is available on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The game is a prequel and a starting point for the much bigger Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, coming later sometime in 2015. The events take place right after Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and the focus this time around is with Big Boss in an action-adventure stealth environment set in a new shiny open world Fox Engine. With the game releasing for either $30 (physical copy) and $20(digitally copy) many have questioned the legitimacy of such a short demo, which is said to have 2 hours of gameplay for the main story, at such a high price.
Each system has its own exclusive bonus or visual flare.

No matter your opinion on the price and value of this title, one can positively say that it doesn't feel like a full fledged video game release. What the masses are getting is a little snip-it of what and how developer Kojima will be utilizing the Fox Engine to bring a whole new era of Metal Gear Solid. In my eyes though I feel like this is the console's first version of "early access" which has been a staple on the PC marketplace for some time now-and an opportunity for a struggling studio to take advantage of their fans. Developers are allowed to charge players an early-access charge in Valve's Steam program and digital giant distribution service. In trade, players get to toy around with the latest game still in progress, as given like VIP passes to experience all of the game. Often or not these games are at such an early process in their development that many key features are still missing or the developers go back to the drawing board wiping their current progress to start a new. Here Kojima has allowed people to toy around and mess around with Metal Gear Solid's new engine and get a piece of the story puzzle along the way, for a price.
Starbound is a notorious early-access game available on Steam, which has seen many server wipes over its development.

As the game came out there were reports that a speed run had clocked in the game in 10 minutes. Other reports were that if you did everything in the game, side missions and collectibles and all, it would go around to 6 - 8 hours of play. In my eyes, that's not much of a value but diehard fans have jumped on board to what I hope doesn't become an industry trend. Critical reception have also poured out for the game as many are hailing the game since it's behind the Metal Gear Solid franchise pedigree veil, eager to get more from the impending release of MGSV: The Phantom Pain. However take for example how Capcom, yet another Eastern developer and publisher, allowed players to sample a bit of the next installment of the Dead Rising franchise.

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, a downloadable Xbox Live Arcade game, which ties the story from Dead Rising 1 to Dead Rising 2, allowed players a glimpse of what to expect with the next installment, acquire XP to bring over into Dead Rising 2 and all for a $5 digital entrance fee. At that time some people thought $5 for a demo, something you'll no doubt hear some echo about the MGSV: GZ release, was too much. You can think however you want on the value for MGSV: Ground Zeros, as that can always be debatable, but one things for sure, "early-access" has breached the console environment. Games are expensive, publishers don't want to take high risks and if they can get some cash from gamers eager to play the latest while a future game is in development then they'll no doubt continue this trend. It's just smart business, although due to it being relatively new a business that's taking advantage of gamers at the moment.
Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, let players experience the improvements over Dead Rising 1 in a small bit sized Xbox Live Arcade chunk.

I don't think this is advantageous for gamers out there. Even though many would love to test-drive a new game that's in development, as we're seeing more and more closed and open Betas for titles about to launch, I just don't get that motivation as I'd rather play a finished/polished product. However with a Beta program, you're not paying 30 or 20 dollars to play. The developer of Rust on the PC for example even urged players not to buy into the product he was still working on and stated it wasn't finished, had plenty of bugs that needed to be fixed and wasn't the final experience that he wanted gamers to experience. That didn't stop millions from plopping down their money to join in on the latest talked about the video game, as after all video games are in the entertainment medium sharing such other water cooler topics with movies and TV shows.

If anything I'll laugh if this "glorified demo" is included in the release of MGSV: The Phantom Pain , as the demo of MGS 2 was included originally with the copy of Zone of the Enders for free! It just strikes me funny when critical sources harp on how a game like Titanfall or Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare feel "bare bones" due to no meaty single player questioning the full asking price, $60/$30 respectively, yet when it came to the MGSV GZ game you rarely heard such acquisitions. It's a slippery slope we're heading down here and it's apparent the industry is changing, sometimes you hope the non-advantageous shifts come out being trends and not standards.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Titanfail 360: Microsoft's Silence Causes Concern

The latest must-have game is a somewhat questionable purchase on a last-gen system.

With Respawn's Titanfall on Xbox One already out and kicking, it's within two weeks now and we've still  not seen any footage of Titanfall on the Xbox 360. In an industry that loves to tease or build up hype by showing off footage or even screens months-if not years- in advance from the game releasing, is this a sign of caution or a sign of greedy marketing? Microsoft assures us that the Xbox 360 version of the game will be good. When does it become a common courtesy to consumers and not a legal action in hindsight? Do publishers, developers and hardware manufacturers have the right to not show any footage of a game?

Other than having the information that Bluepoint will be handling the Xbox 360 version of Titanfall, very little information is known. This is oddly suspicious as in either that version pales in comparison, there's not a whole lot of difference between the Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions or rather they would like to show you the "next-gen" version of the game to sell Xbox One consoles as a marketing strategy. I'm thinking the latter since Microsoft pulled this marketing move previously with Halo: Spartan Assault and to tell you the truth as a Halo fan, that game isn't anything special. That game didn't come out onto Xbox 360 until a week after the Xbox One version launched. Considering that the Xbox 360 player base is vastly larger than the Xbox One player base, I think people have the right to know what's going on with the Xbox 360 version of Titanfall.
Strangely enough, this also applies to the Xbox 360.

Now I have a lot of faith with developer Bluepoint, as their previous ports were good - porting over HD collections of such classics as the Metal Gear, God of War and Ico & The Shadow of Colossus Collection - but no screens, no video, not even a press release of the Xbox 360 version has me wondering can they do this? Can companies hold off information of a product, a product that many people have probably already paid or set aside pre-orders for, and still follow acceptable business acts? What happens if the game launches and it's in serious disarray? Will we have another Batlefield 4 case on our hands? Time will tell, and that time is closing ever but so very slowly. I can't wait til the 25th and I can get my hands on my Xbox 360 copy of Titanfall - and hopefully this blackout of Titanfall on Xbox 360 is just a marketing move by Microsoft and not hiding an unplayable game.