Headshots & Friendly Fire: Round 2

September 6, 2009Written by Cameron Teague


The gaming industry has gotten bigger and better with each passing year, but sometimes they just don’t do things right. Whether its gameplay, story, pricing, or business practice, sometimes the industry needs a little friendly fire from the gamers to keep it in line.

Other times, developers look down their sight and fire off a well placed bullet right into our unexpected head. This is Josh & Cameron, and this is Headshots & Friendly Fire.

A Bit of Friendly Fire

  • Sega,  Pay More Attention to the West – Do you remember seeing commercials for Valkyria Chronicles? Do you remember when Burger King put pictures of Madworld characters on their cups? No? That’s because the last time Sega was able to properly promote a game, people still used cartridges. The amount of effort Sega puts into marketing a game in the US  is perfectly suitable for Barbie’s Horse Adventure, but not supposedly AAA titles, especially not games I want to have a quality sequel. Because of Sega’s lack of making gamers give a shit about their games, Valkyria Chronicles 2 will be on the PSP instead of where it belongs on the PS3, and we probably won’t see a Madworld 2. Although the latter probably has more to do with Platinum games putting Madworld on the Wii, instead of an actual game console. Sega still has time to redeem itself with Platinum Games next game, Bayonetta, and there is no reason why this game shouldn’t sell decently. It’s got tight, faced-paced action against Demons, by a woman that undresses herself every few seconds. The game practically sells itself.
  • Sorry, You Can’t Pause/Skip this Cut scene – “Hey Cameron, can you pause it and come help me? Sure, let me just pause it…. wait, what the hell, I can’t pause it during the cutscene???” Not sure about all of you but I know this has happened to me on more than one occasion. Cutscene pops up and I try to pause so that I can do something, such as hitting the restroom. But alas, there is no way to pause during the cutscene, or heaven forbid the pause button actually skips the cutscene. Not sure why this feature is not included in every game, but it should be. You shouldn’t have to miss anything in the game because you had to get up and there was no pause option.  Could you imagine a game like Metal Gear Solid without the ability to pause during the 90 minute cut scenes, or legendary two hour ending?  Now almost as worse is not being able to skip a cut scene.  This used to be a huge issue in older RPG’s, especially when you died and had to go through the same scene again 2 or 3 times without the ability to skip it.  I know it is starting to finally be implemented in most games but there are still a few that fail to add this much needed feature.
  • Wild West Shooters – lets face it, they just aren’t done right. They all boil down to just regular shooters with crappier guns and uninspired environments. The genre presents a great opportunity to create a game that highlights the experience of being in a strange, hostile land, where people use their guns out of a mixture of necessity and psychotic blood lust, that is never realized in any of the games. Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is the latest entry to the Wild West genre, which sadly continues the bland gameplay that plagued its predecessors. The mediocrity of the game is further exemplified by the obvious simple fix; Let me do the stuff in the cutscenes, instead of a bunch of “go from point A to point B” missions. It’s amazing how game developers can take a story that’s filled with sex, stagecoach robberies, cold-blooded murders, and mass genocide of the Native Americans, and convey none of that in the gameplay. G.U.N. was the only western shooter that came close to getting it right. It was set in a large, well-designed environment, in which you were free to roam around whenever you wanted. In addition, the world was filled with tons of places to explore filled with threats like bandits, Indians, bears, and mountain lions. The experience of riding your horse at full speed across the countryside, while a large group of Indians chase after you with arrows and guns, is exactly the experience I want in a Wild West shooter. Where G.U.N. fell short, was its inability to convey that same sense in the main story missions. There was a little bit of freedom in how you went about a mission, but not nearly as much as I would have liked and because of it, you still got that feeling that you were on tracks the whole game.  I haven’t given up on the genre entirely, but if the next game doesn’t allow me to ride into a town, hook up with the sheriff’s daughter, rob the local clerk of all his money and booze, and then leave town before the cavalry arrive, I’m going to take it out to the gallows and wait for the legs to stop kicking.
  • Sorry PS3 Owners, Valkyria goes PSP –   Here recently a sequel to the hit game from SEGA, Valkyria Chronicles was announced, but not for the PS3, however it was announced for the PSP.  As a gamer who does not yet own a PSP, this slap landed pretty squarely on my face.  This game was a breath of fresh air in the Strategy RPG genre and when i first heard about the sequel i was overjoyed.  Yet what SEGA did felt very cheap and rude to be honest.  I don’t agree with a direct sequel on a different console, i feel it alienates many of the people who purchased your first game.  A spin off on the PSP would be fine or atleast VC2 as a PS3/PSP game would have been nice.  Another series that did this same thing  was Kingdom Hearts.  You had the first game on PS2, then the second game on the Game Boy Advance, with the third game releasing back on PS2.  This is actually worse because it went Sony, Nintendo, Sony and really left a lot of PS2 owners in the dark.

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