Reviewer fired for bad review, Xbox 360 Dashboard Update, & the Wii being put up on Ebay for grand larceny? – Welcome to the column that is always honest and promises that Kane & Lynch is indeed a steaming pile known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. Well as mentioned in the previous week, I finished Puzzle Quest and inadvertently started Carcassonne since it was offered free. To date, only Galaga has been easier for achievements. I finished the achievements on my own over the weekend. Easy 200 points, seriously. If anybody needs help, let me know. I also nabbed a couple of random achievements, one in Dig Dug (yes, yes I know but I only need the dig achievement now which seems to be impossible) and one in Outpost Kaloki which off and on is a fun as heck game. Off and on, I will also be playing Orange Box through since there is so much to work on. Fun stuff, fun stuff.
We all notice something different on Morgan. Perhaps it’s her looks, her talent or the just the way her mouth gets when she’s talking about a particualy bad console game. Watch that fire, watch that spit & venom. Mmmmm, spit. Anyhow, I see her hair; it belongs in one of those hair commercials. The kind with shampoo and her in a shower with no clothes and…I really should stop now. Cease and desist orders are so chafing.
Xbox 360 & PS3
We’ve heard an unsettling rumor today from an anonymous tipster that longtime game reviewer Jeff Gerstmann from Gamespot has been let go. That wouldn’t necessarily be newsworthy, but the conditions under which he was allegedly dismissed were. According to the source, Gerstmann was fired “on the spot” due to advertiser pressure for his review of Eidos’ Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. A visit to Gamespot shows that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game has taken over the site very prominently, with backgrounds and multiple banner ads all pitching Kane & Lynch. Allegedly, publisher Eidos “took issue with the review and threatened to pull its ad campaign.”
Jeff’s review was certainly less than glowing. He assigned the game a 6.0, otherwise known as “Fair” on the Gamespot scale. The game is currently enjoying a Metacritic score in the 65 to 69 range, which the site describes as “mixed or average reviews.” According to our tipster, it wasn’t necessarily the score that was reason for Gerstmann’s rumored axing, but the “tone” of the review.
Gerstmann has been no stranger to controversial reviews, as his scores of 10 for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and 8.8 for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess had sensitive internet users up in arms. It’s now possible that many bitter fanboys may have had their wishes for his firing granted.
As our tipster points out, if the rumor is true, it could point to a distressing precedent at Gamespot and parent company CNet. “As writers of what is supposed to be objective content, this is our worst nightmare coming to life,” wrote the tipster.
Our efforts to confirm the story with Gamespot haven’t proved successful. Our current requests with PR, Gerstmann and other CNet contacts have either gone unanswered or yielded a “no comment.”
Update: We did get confirmation that Mr. Gerstmann is no longer with Gamespot. The circumstances in which he was terminated or left of his own accord, however, were not disclosed.
Troubling. I am big on honesty and big on providing what I like to call real reviews. Sure I would like free games sent to my door on a regular basis. Heck, I would like any games sent to me on any basis. Sure would beat the drain on my paycheck and ramen noodles & mac n cheese food diet I’m on. From everything I’ve read; Kane and Lynch is an ok game. Nothing less, nothing more. So Gerstmann had every right to review it like he did whether he loved or hated it. But for somebody to get fired or pushed to quit over a simple review of not even a big name game is rather unsettling. Until I hear otherwise, I won’t even buy Kane & Lynch in the bargain bin. I rather take a chance on Two Worlds or another questionable game until this controversy is settled. I also wonder what it would take to interview Gerstmann and seeing if he is willing to “shoot” on his old employers.
Thought inflated console prices was so 2006? Wrong! Once again, Nintendo’s little white gaming box is in high demand. According to website and online retailer I4U, the best price for a Wii last December was US $476.11. This year it’s $538.80. Third party Amazon sellers are asking $548, and it’s possible to get a Wii on eBay for around $400. Of course, if you can find one in stores, the machines costs $249.00. From I4U:
This is crazy, products are supposed to get cheaper with time. The Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 actually did get cheaper this year.
That is crazy. Our advice is always “wait.” The console will eventually turn up in stores so why line the pockets of profiteers and scalpers? And Nintendo really needs to figure out that supply and demand thingy. First the DS hit shortages in Japan and now the Wii is hard to come by. We’re starting to see a trend. A very bad one.
Well I didn’t need another reason to not buy a Wii again this year but it looks like I found one. Supply and demand has hit again. People are willing to pay double what something is worth to get a Wii. When most of them (and it is proven) will play Wii Play or Zelda (or a Super Mario game) and never touch it after 6 months or buy another game. I know I hate a bit; but in this instance I’m more upset at the people who think they have to pay $500 for the Wii when they can spend less money for a 360 or actually a PS3 (as of their last price cut) and get way more for their machine. Have a little class and tell jr he simply won’t get a Wii for christmas. I’m sure someone will tell me, wait until you have kids. Yeah and I’ll tell them to hush up and go play the 360 or PS2. Daddy needs to finish Orange Box first though.
New features and enhancements include:
MORE DOWNLOAD OPTIONS:
* Xbox Originals – With this new service, announced on Nov. 13, consumers can download-to-own full original Xbox games that were previously only available at retail. The digital shelves will always be stocked with classic titles, such as “Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex,” “Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge,” “Halo,” “Fable,” “Fuzion Frenzy,” “Psychonauts,” and more as the catalogue grows over time, at 1200 Microsoft Points per game.
* Xbox LIVE Arcade Hits – On Xbox LIVE Arcade, the Arcade Hits program kicks off where some of the best sellers will become available at permanently reduced prices, making it easier than ever for everyone to build a library of downloadable games! The first games to become Arcade Hits will be “Bankshot Billiards 2” and “Lumines LIVE,” which will be available for 800 Microsoft Points each, and “Marble Blast Ultra,” “Small Arms” and “Zuma Deluxe,” which will be available for 400 Microsoft Points each. With free trial downloads for every game and over 100 games to choose from, Xbox LIVE Arcade offers something for every member of the family.
NEW WAYS TO KEEP UP TO DATE AND CONNECTED:
· Inside Xbox – A new direct feed brings current news straight from Xbox.com into the Xbox LIVE Dashboard providing members an easy, predictable entry point where they can discover what’s new in: game releases, events, and Xbox LIVE Marketplace offers.
· Enhanced online profile – Members interested in sharing a few more details about themselves will have the option to go beyond their motto and further personalize their profile with an expanded bio. The extended bios will be visible to “Friends Only” or the entire Xbox LIVE community.
· Expanded Friends List access – A quick and easy way for gamers to expand their personal community on Xbox LIVE, members will be able to see the Friends Lists of other Xbox LIVE members, boosting their social networking experience on the service.
ENHANCED OVERALL EXPERIENCE AND CONTROL:
* Enhanced Parental Controls – Family Timer, a strong and flexible new addition to the Xbox 360 Family Settings, enables parents to set the amount of time their Xbox 360 can be used on a per-day or per-week basis by their children or other members of the household.
* New video features – The convenience of full-screen movie previews and enhanced video codec support further expand the options when it comes to the Xbox 360 entertainment experience.
* Easy-to-use navigation features – With several noteworthy changes in the Xbox LIVE Dashboard, from the new Game Store button to the Video Store button to enhanced visuals and descriptions in the video library, Xbox LIVE members can find what they want, when they want it.
Let’s take this little by little. Xbox Originals, I’m kinda meh about this. I much rather own the physical copy if it actually exists. This is simply going to be emulated copies of the original Xbox games downloaded to your hard drive. The only thing it eliminates is your dvd drive wear n tear. But to be honest, it’s not anymore taxing than any other retail game. I would rather they spend more time on the backwards compatible list rather than bringing games already on the BC list to the download list and at prices 30 to 50% more than the disc form. The Arcade Hits is a great idea, good game at cheaper prices. I will explore this more in Arcade.
Next part is more News, more friends and more options for your profile. Just a good way to expand what you already do. I’ll be sure to write out my background a little more and I am a little curious to see who are the friends of my friends. However, I am a sneaky bastard and I just like spieing hehe, anyway. Moving on.
Parental controls, remember parents the Xbox is not a babysitter. If you don’t have enough involvement in your child’s life and have to set a timer; turn in your parent card and do not pass go and do not collect $200. But I suppose, good it’s there. The DivX support is very nice, I’m sure those with pirated television and porn collections will be very happy about that. More useful stuff in the navigation portion is always appreciated. Overall, this looks to be a great update. As a final un-mentioned note, supposedly (though I haven’t seen evidence of this yet and I got the update this morning) we will be able to delete 0 point demos from our game score list. We can only hope I’m able to get rid of that Backgammon turd that is on mine.
In celebration of a new dashboard update, we get essentially a greatest hits on our Xbox Live Arcade tab. The first 5 titles are good ideas. Bankshot Billiards has been long overdue for a cheaper price. 1200 points was outlandish, 800 is more reasonable. I paid about $7-$8 for the code card and have played my money’s worth I would say. Lumines Live is a quality puzzle game and I have a close friend who has played it to death. Again the reduction was well needed. Marble Blast Ultra, ummm I wouldn’t know. It’s a Marble game and it’s a blast, there you go. Moving on. Small Arms is a fun little arcade shooter and actually is the best of what is mentioned this week. It also was the first arcade game to make use of the extra achievement points via downloadable content. Too bad the extra content isn’t free. The final game is a fine little puzzler in Zuma. If you think Lumines isn’t worth it, you might want to try this one. I might be downloading Small Arms, we’ll see.
Zanac is a tiny shooter which actually appeared on the MSX system a long long time ago. It had 12 levels where the AI increased in difficulty along the way. This feature was actually innovative for the time. The nintendo version had slightly better graphics and is more player friendly. Powerups were plentiful and it helped pave the way for a lot of future shooters.
Eternal Champions was a fun little fighting game. It was supposed to be a diversion and released to capitalize on Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat successes. It was mostly just that, a diversion while we really dreamed of a Hadoken or a Babality. The funny thing about Eternal Champions is that it continued far past the game with Slurpee flavors, comic books and even pencil and paper role playing books. There is a thing most kids today haven’t heard of; pencil and paper role playing. Like using your mind to create your adventure *huh*? *sigh*, anyway…
This game’s real title is actually Wonder Boy in Monster World. It was orginally made for the Sega Master System and Sega Genesis systems. It was however re-named to Dynastic Hero and put as a Turbo Graphix cd title with audio, anime styled characters and just a slew of upgrades. It was a game that was in the Zelda feel with rpg and action to boot. You could talk to people, buy items, and get the usual weapons, armors and magic. I believe I own the japanese version of this (the US version is extremely hard to get and pricey to boot) and from what I can decipher and remember, it is a fun game. I recommend this title most of all and it is well worth the 800 points.
Alvin & The Chipmunks
The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass
Dance Dance Revolution Universe 2
Alvin & The Chipmunks
The Golden Compass
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
Alvin & The Chipmunks
The Golden Compass
American Girl: Julie Finds a Way
Left Brain, Right Brain
Strawberry Shortcake: 4 Seasons Cake
Yu-Gi Oh! World Championship 2008
*blink blink* This review week isn’t any better. But that’s christmas for you; all the cool games come out before Black Friday, not during or after. Since the Golden Compass comes to theaters this week, we get a slew of games that will probably be decent at best but leave us wishing for a better experience than what we got at the theater. I have two free tickets, here is hoping that Nicole Kidman doesn’t ruin it for me. It looks to have the same charm as Narnia. Alvin & The Chipmunks get a mass release which is scary for me to even write nevermind actually believe. It’s supposed to be some kinda music game I believe but I better go suck some helium first before attempting that one. Again, a decent sized Wii and DS list; but lets face it folks, if American Girl or Strawberry Shortcake is one of your leading titles then Julie won’t be finding a way into almost any DS this week. Skip the week, you’re probably still keeling over in pain from Black Friday.
Welp, I will be taking a break from the 360 this week. At least for the most part. I will still mess with it; possibly play Guitar Hero with my sweetie, that kinda thing. But Fire Pro Wrestling Returns is first and foremost on my mind. It deserves to be played and reviewed. I am anxious because I appreciate how good of a game it should be and hope it delivers. I’ve been disappointed before. Just when I spent that whole christmas under the mistletoe waiting at the G4 towers hoping that Morgan Webb would stroll by. Man, and those security dogs weren’t too friendly either. But as we move a little closer to Christmas, remember that giving is more important than getting. Sure we all want that Wii (and have $500 to blow), or that copy of Assassin’s Creed (because we like to dabble with small instruments of death). But perhaps somebody less fortunate would appreciate that more. That’s right, me! Send all the things to me beeotches! Okay, okay anyway…please be thoughtful and share in the christmas spirit. Take care kiddoes.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)