Tonight is a blog post about the major three publishers in the West, who have been rather embarrassing as usual.
Eidos apparently didn’t learn their lesson after the fiasco caused by Gamespot’s review of Kane and Lynch. Rumors flew last week about a desired embargo on any early UK reviews of Tomb Raider: Underworld that gave it less than an 8/10. The first rep from their press company claimed this was an active attempt at artificially boosting that favorite number of Corporate Gaming, the Metacritic average. The followup from a superior claims this is hardly the case, though whatever is the truth, the damage is done. Eidos’s reputation has been taking a nosedive in the last year and a half thanks to their aggressive love of shovelware and their complete disrespect for their potentially great original IP. They have deemed it fit to strongarm the gaming world in order to save face, and quite frankly I am sick of it. Having your press mouthpiece send out a followup that sounds slightly more personal than something straight out of the company script isn’t nearly enough to throw us off the scent of foul play. If videolamer review Underworld, you can be assured it will not be by me. One protester among many will not make a difference, but I doubt it will be good enough for me to give this company approval for their recent actions.
EA has been up and down depending on their various strategic choices over the last year, but right now I only care about one thing – the continuing decline of Need for Speed. Before I ever touched Mario Kart or knew what a Gran Turismo was, Need for Speed was the drug of choice for my brother and I. Exotic cars racing in equally exotic locales was a mixture too good to pass up, and the cops ‘n robbers element introduced in the third game was delicious. Unfortunately, the series fizzled out until EA revitalized it with the Underground sequels, which rode the trend of Japanese imports and street racing to millions. Nowadays, “The Fast and the Furious” is old news, and the series continues to be obsessed with riced out wheels, crummy licensed music, cheesy FMV based stories, and samey open world cities. They tried to go back to traditional circuit based racing with last year’s Prostreet, but no one seemed to care. Their newest entry is back to the previous formula, and the result is something most reviews equate to being NFS: Most Wanted with slightly different streets.
EA, I don’t know how else to say it, but your obsession over buying up developers is costing you here. You already have a game that does open world racing ten times better than Need for Speed. Its called Burnout Paradise, which has also been a the gold standard for free online upgrades and community building for the year plus it has been out. Don’t be embarrassed that Criterion outdid your inhouse efforts on their first try. Instead, go back to Prostreet and give it some more elbow grease, enough until Need for Speed resembles something similar to its glory days. You’d have one thankful customer right here.
Activision are the biggest creeps in the business right now. They aren’t worth more than two sentences.
With that done, I’ll be signing off for a bit for Thanksgiving break. By the time I get back I’ll have Street Fighter HD Remix ready and waiting, and perhaps reviews of Fallout 3 and Dragon Quest 4. Have a safe and happy time.