Friday, May 7

Deal with the Devil

How times change. Just over 5 years ago, Electronic Arts, better known as EA, was the evil empire of the gaming world. Pushing out sequels, spin-offs, spin-off sequels and annual installments of less than stellar quality in multitudes.  There were some diamonds in the expansive rough: Freedom Fighters, Def Jam: Fight for NY, The Godfather; but on the whole, gamers had to sift through tonnes of EA's crap.  I was a huge EA hater. Medal of Honour, Madden, Tiger Woods (05 excepted, I spent more hours playing that game than FFVII and VIII combined), Need for Speed, NBA Live, FIFA, World Cup 2002, oodles of Bond games; Electronic Arts was responsible for more crap in the naughties than most other publishers combined.

Fast forward to the present day. Activision merges with Blizzard Entertainment and becomes the world's biggest publisher of videogames. Its CEO often makes statements that are categorically offensive to anyone who follows the industry. The Guitar Hero franchise saw 5 titles released across multiple platforms in 2009 alone. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sells enough copies on day one to eclipse the most successful entertainment launches in history. It beat the Dark Knight! Activision prices the first map pack for Modern Warfare 2 at 1200 Microsoft points, causing waves of discontent to crash through videogame forums and media outlets. Activision becomes the new benchmark for greed and evil in the videogames industry.

To add to the confusion, EA starts releasing brilliant new games based on new intelectual properties. Mirror's Edge, Dead Space (haven't played it, but my brother swears by it), and Battlefield: Bad Company. The FIFA series gets better, Burnout Paradise is supported with an abundance of free content, the whole world goes mad.

Now after months of swearing I would never shake the devil's hand, I find myself contemplating the unthinkable, but inevitable: I should buy the Stimulus Package. Sure I would be supporting a corporation that sucks the fun out of the gaming industry, I would be spitting on my priciples but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm going to be playing some split-screen Modern Warfare 2 this weekend and I want as many maps as possible to slay my friends on.

Damn you Activision, you've broken me!!!!  


  1. I paid the high price of $21.95 last night. Don't get me wrong, I always knew I would pay for 3 new maps (remember that they included Crash and Overgrown), which comes to approximately $7.31 a map. I know I would do it, but after playing the "Stimulus Playlist" for 20 mins, it left a bitter taste in my mouth.

    My first issue is that I can only play the new maps on the "Stimulus Playlist". This playlist is essentially the Mosh Pit Playlist, except it is only on 5 maps. Ok, I can handle that. What I can't handle is the fact that I am getting Overgrown and Salvage with the regularity that a hooker gets crabs. It is ridiculous. I am yet to play on Bailout.

    My second issue is, I really don't like a lot of the modes included. No Domination, rare that you get Search and Destroy, Capture the Flag comes up every second game (a game type which was pretty much the reason for the phrase "spawn raped").

    On a high note, the maps look spectacular. I mean, they are really, really pretty. That sounds gay, but I don't know how else to explain how good Overgrown looks using MW2's engine. It is gorgeous. Crash now has ambient debris floating around. They are delightful to run through.

    On a whole, the maps are pretty nicely laid out. People were complaining about Storm, but honestly, it is so much better than Underpass, Downpour, Derail and Wasteland combined. Salvage has the potential to become a camp fest, but hopefully, as people's map knowledge increases, the camping will become non existent.

    I am glad I got "Stimulated", but I will be happy when the maps just start coming up in normal rotation.

  2. I think I've only bought the Warhawk expansions...actually, come to think of it, those expansions are the only expansions I've ever bought in all my years as a gamer. There you go!

  3. The map packs for the original Lost Planet were great. There was this 8-bit inspired number which always left me smiling.

    Thanks for the impressions Sambo. I think I will still pick it up despite the warning. It is mostly for local multi mayhem anyways.

  4. Trits, Lost Planet 2 is getting a flogging critically...but I suppose we were to expect that. I dunno if people are getting the style mixed up as "awkward". If you ask me, you won't find a more interesting franchise, multiplayer wise.

    Oh, and Red Dead co-op DLC coming in June/July! THAT is how DLC should be done, none of this nickeling and diming.

  5. It's a shame Lost Planet 2 is getting smashed but it justifies my decision to leave it for a few months. I'll pick it up from the bargain bin my friend. Lost Planet 1 was awkward, the controls and physics should have been more refined in the sequel if it was to be safe from critical lambasting.

    Looking forward to RDR. We'll hit the plains and rassle some cattle to the ground!

  6. Man, we are *so* going on a bear hunt. And we'll catch a big one. I'm not scared.

    Do you think it might be a sleeper hit in terms of multiplayer? Seems to have the legs...although, then again, it seemed that way with GTA4.

    And with Lost Planet 2, I'm going to enjoy it for the art direction and messing about on large maps in multiplayer. I do feel sorry for it...apart from the regretful missteps, it looks like a massive package.

  7. RDR will be a sleeper, no doubt about it. It is not an FPS set in the modern world, a lot of people will be unable to make the jump.

    GTAIV was a tonne of fun online. Rarely was I involved in a well populated game, but every time I had fun. There is something about being run over by a baggage car in the midst of a firefight which is nothing short of magical.

    Then you probably need extra coins!
    Start auto-trading with FUT Millionaire.