A couple of things

September 17, 2008

Force Unleashed Reviews
Got a few different things to talk about today. Starting first off with all of the bad reviews that The Force Unleashed has recieved since it's release yesterday.

I'm not quite sure what the problem is, and granted I've only played the demo. There was so much hype surrounding this game and the amount of talk it has been getting in the video game media since very early this year, it makes me wonder if the industry shot itself in the foot by hyping it up too much and then had no choice but to give it poor reviews when the game didn't live up to their own bloated expectations. From all the reviews I've seen or read, they all seem to nitpick some of the same issues and really what it boils down to from what I've seen of the game is that the game environments got a huge amount of polish to create a fantastic Star Wars universe to play in, but the game play didn't receive the same amount of polish to ensure that you had a good time while looking at the pretty graphics.

Cheating in Fable II Pub Games
The pub games on Xbox Arcade give players a unique opportunity to earn some gold before the game is released for your Fable II characters. Pretty much as soon as people started playing them, a cheat was found that allowed you to amass huge amounts of gold very quickly. Since the cheat was very simple and Fable has always been a game of consequence (your game play morality choices affect the outcome of your character) it seemed fairly clear to me that this "cheat" was intentionally put into the game so that it would alter the game world in some way. The easiest thing they could do is give your character lots of evil points for cheating, but they may even take it a lot further by making the game have incredible inflation on all the prices of anything you can buy in the game. 1000s of gold to buy some apples wouldn't be much if you had several million gold in starting cash. Several people have speculated that the cheat was intentional, but now we know for sure that it was. It will be interesting to see what happens the day the game is released and people choose to cash in on the items and gold they collected in the Pub Games.

The other thing that was a bit of a clue this was planned is there was a lot of talk and hype about a "patch" that would reset the gold and fix the cheat, however, one was never released to fix the issue allowing players to continue. Since it was widely known about and could have been easily patched via Xbox Live, why wasn't it done if it truly wasn't intentional? Well it was intentional and we will get to see what prank the game plays on us with all our gold we cheated.

Spore DRM Issues
EA has taken a lot of flak for their inclusion of SecuRom as Spore's DRM. Everything from the Amazon review fiasco and now EA's changing their stance on allowing an authorize/deauthorize mechanism for moving the game to and from different machines. My opinion is that EA really screwed the pooch on this one. The people who are going to pirate their game will pirate it no matter what kind DRM they implement. All they do is screw the regular paying customer with crazy restrictions on content they legally purchase. It comes down to bad PR, but that is also something EA is pretty much known for, so I guess no surprizes there.

Something fun...
If you haven't seen the fun little video with the Portal song "Still Alive" then you should check it out.