I hate a lot of things this month. None of them are really strong enough to warrant individual hate-rant attention, so I'll just wrap them all up and get it over with.
SSX is a snowboarding game. It won me over for a short time, there was a lot of nostalgia in the intro sequence and the story made enough sense that I could forgive some dropped characters and retroactive continuity. It's important to note that SSX3 (2003) is the only game I played so much that I injured myself, nearly earning carpel tunnel syndrome trying to get max scores. So it's a major compliment when I say that SSX 2012's revamped controls were so much fun that I was willing to unlearn 9 years of muscle memory. Sadly, the fun stopped there. The game is generally frantic. The 2003 title had very tight controls, the characters had weight to them, giving them a solid, palpable feeling as you raced down imaginary slopes on an imaginary snowboard. 2012 makes the characters feel like they're made of paper, careening all over the place with no real solidity or gravity. EA seemed to be really sporting their character customizability, linking you right up to your console account to spend actual money on costumes, but with two editable features per character and no character select in single player gameplay, it doesn't even scratch the surface of 2003's depth of customization. The level design is lackluster, completely devoid of the imagination and exotic physics-defying fun we had 9 years ago (No ski-through-the-city level that I could see. Sorry, Jenn.) The spirit is just missing from this iteration. There's no substantial voice work for the characters or the DJ in one of the very few franchises with a history of good voice work. You mostly just hear the voice of each character's "pilot" giving you a not-particularly-helpful play by play. The background music is an over-mixed soundtrack that drowns out any sense of what song you're actually listening to, when in 2003 EA was pioneering the concept of having a diverse playlist of actual artists in your game. Altogether SSX 2012 is a poorly cut, unpolished stone disappointingly scraped from the same mine as the Hope Diamond.
2) Pliny The Elder
Let's be clear here. I am hating 100% game, 0% player. Pliny is an IPA style beer. It's pretty okay, but my mind remains stably un-blown. What infuriates me is the hype around this golden child and it's impossible-to-find childisher golden child, Pliny the Younger. The words that have been written about this beer are words usually reserved for messiahs and cures for cancer. I love tasty beverages. When I die and become a god, I hope to be either a god of movement or tasty beverages. I've had many beverages in my adventures, and among them I have tasted ambrosia worthy of epic ballads, but no earthly libation is worthy of this much laudation. I have friends who really truly enjoy Pliny and that is wonderful, but the hype is completely unwarranted.
3) Elder Scrolls
It's very strange to play a game you hate for 200 hours, unless you're conducting a study on the parallels between electronic and chemical addictions. I mentioned before that when Skyrim came out, I opted to play it's predecessor Oblivion, which broke my computer, corrupted my save game, devoured my free time and ended with a bloody awful escort mission that concluded with an epic boss battle I got to watch from the sidelines. There were fun things in this box, but my lexicon lacks the breadth to fully articulate how thoroughly this game systematically defecated upon each and every one of them. One could expect Skyrim to be better, or one could expect to grind for hours upon hours at a sequel that removed the ability to jump six stories like a super hero and run along rooftops like a ninja. Bethesda deserves not a penny more than the $5 they got from me for this garbage.
4) Soul Calibur V
One of the rewards for playing a fighting game is the animation. I play these games because I like to imagine I'm a martial arts master able to execute 5 animal form kung-fu, a capoerista who can shrug off gravity, a balletic staff-wielding Shaolin monk or even Tony Fucking Stark. I'm sure someone somewhere plays these games to be deer-eyed anime kids who stick their staff out their butt and waggle it around, but I think Namco was neglecting it's core audience on this one. Other new characters came in with magic crystal balls and werewolves. I need to write Namco a letter: Hey. Namco. Listen. We already have Capcom for fireballs and super heroes. They do it really well. Tekken and Soul Calibur are supposed to be our grounded, technical martial arts simulators. By adding super moves, you alter the entire strategy of the game. Where once we studied our opponent's strategy, kept our eyes on the fencing line and worked to make our own movements unpredictable, we now have both players executing the same strategy of charging and subsequently drinking super-juice. We already have games like that, and they have been around for long enough that they have their own layers or depth and strategy. Ultimately, Namco injected Capcom strategy into a Namco game, creating an uninteresting experience that wrecked what was great about the franchise while adding nothing original, all while we all knew they and their counterpart were working on a deliberate, well planned crossover in "Tekken X Street Fighter" and vice versa. Then to top if all off they felt the need to throw out half the old characters and freebase ground SquareEnix pretty-kid character design crystals to make the new ones. If I got this game for free, it still wouldn't have been worth the fire works display I got by microwaving it. Catastrophic failure.
It's not ready when you open it. It's majestic 10 minutes later. It's vinegar if you don't finish the bottle in a sitting. In interest of avoiding alcoholism, I'm labeling beer as the superior beverage.
PUT SEASON ONE ON BLU-RAY ALREADY! For fuck's sake how many people need to say it? Are you allergic to money all of the sudden? And while you're at it, have the toy department actually watch the god damned show they're making merchandise for. I actually don't have a strong opinion about Fifth Edition. If people like it they'll buy it. If they don't, there's plenty of stuff out there already for them to have fun without giving you more dollars. So, Hasbro boardroom members, enjoy being clueless and not making money, you cantankerous suited failures.
I mentioned I love beverages. It pisses me off that so many of the best ones are Alcoholic. I love the taste of beer, whiskey, rum, cider, mead, wine between 10 minutes and 4 hours of opening and also beer, but sometimes - most of the time in fact - I'm in no mood to be intoxicated. I just want something to taste exquisite. I want to go on a culinary adventure and enjoy the beautiful moment as a delicate libation washes across my pallet. I don't always need to relax or unwind. Sometimes I'd like to drive later. Sure, I could always drink a non-alcoholic wine or beer; you know, the one cheep tasteless brand for each. Alcoholic beverages are cultured works of art, brewed with love by some of humanity's most focused and dedicated craftsmen. I hate that enjoying something beautiful must be so inseparably entwined with a mood deprecating addictive substance.
8) High Heels
I had a big conversation with my friends on the Facebooks about this one the other day: I hate high heeled shoes. This is another 100% game, 0% player scenario. If a shoe makes you feel confident, attractive or just matches the rest of your outfit perfectly, by all means wear it with my blessing. Just don't ever be obligated. Not everyone associates attractiveness with heel-height. I personally think they look like a modern version of foot binding. Wearing those torture devices looks straight up painful. I can't even conceive the attraction to enduring such anguish, and I think flats and boots can cover pretty much the entire fashion spectrum. Seriously, you don't even need to make yourself taller. Humans generally look best in their comfortable default state. Stop mutilating yourself to mimic some photoshopped magazine cover. The previous sentence is a gender-neutral imperative.
9) Occupy Wall Street
OWS, I'm breaking up with you. You're a failure, an absolute embarrassing failure. I had faith in you guys that you were STARTING something. I enthusiastically defended you against everyone who spoke ill of your accomplishments. I did so because I thought that by now, like the Tea Party before you, you would have established progressive candidates for congress. You had national attention, you had righteous underdog status, you had an army of blogger-reporters spreading your message across the viral interwebs, all you needed to do was pick a handful of charismatic orators amongst yourselves and announce their candidacy. You didn't need millions of dollars, just the drive to speak up and beat the 1% at their game. The technology exists right now to wage a campaign that doesn't require corporate funding infusion. You squandered it. You wasted every last drop of hope America had in you by not evolving. You just repeated the same action, and now your opponent has adapted. You are an absolute disappointment, and will continue to be so until at least one of you RUNS FOR FUCKING OFFICE.
10) The Game
I'm no good at playing it. I try. I bust my ass. I speak my mind. I hold my own. Somehow, I go no where. I change nothing. Am I giving up? No. I'll figure out how the game is played. I'll keep working at it, trying every damn idea I come up with until I beat the game at it's own game, and come out on top. If I've accomplished nothing else in life, I've firmly established that - even when all evidence suggests I should - I don't quit. I'll never quit. I don't know what will ever qualify success, all I know is that quitting is failure.
...and you so totally lost the game.
*Disclaimer: Studio Splurd does not endorse drug use. We are simply suggesting that certain media is so bad that it may have been intended for enjoyment under the influence of mind-numbing chemicals or excessive sugar-induced endorphins.
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- On Development
- A God Damned Piano