Hello once again to our dear readers, thanks for settling in once more for the second part of my editorial.
Since there’s been a hiatus from the last entry, you can catch yourself up here if you wish. Dragon’s Crown and Saints Row IV weren’t going to review themselves, but with them out of the way, let’s begin.
My second major point about why used games can be a good tool for the consumer concerns something that has loomed over the industry for a long time: annualized releases. I’m not saying that every Call of Madden: Assassin’s Battlefield 13 (thanks to gamesradar for that awesome phrase) needs to be dumped on, but when you’re failing to innovate, what reason do we have to give your our money? New ideas are what breathe life into this industry, and taking the opportunity to let a studio flex their muscles, even on a downloadable title, are what is going to keep franchise fatigue from building up in every gamer out there.
Call of Duty takes a lot of flack for this from a lot of people, but I think the fault may lie in the wheelhouse of its publisher, Activision. After all, this is the same company that ran Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero into the ground with a yearly release model. Each one had a new feature or two with every new installment, but a little less soul each time as well. Considering Activision took the route of closing the development studios after milking the respective franchises to death, it’s pretty clear that they have very little soul to begin with. I’m certainly not hoping to see Call of Duty go the way of the Dodo, but given Activision’s history, if I were part of the team I think I’d be keeping my resume up-to-date as the weeks go by.
But I digress. I understand that Call of Duty: Ghosts is supposed to be trying something new with the addition of a dog, but how many more ridiculous set-pieces can we actually endure? You certainly can’t have the dog disarm the bomb on a school bus while you run to save the head of the Department of Defense from a poisoned catfish. Maybe it’s time to try a whole new direction. Maybe even have a main character that could squash all the racist commentary players suffer through online…
The other irksome entry for me personally would be Assassin’s Creed III. I followed Ezio’s exploits as he ran from rural Italy, to Rome, to Constantinople, loving every minute of this intriguing, fast-moving, dramatic tale, only to have its conclusion stuck in the worst entry in the franchise. Throughout all the criticisms, I remained faithful, but the day we moved from Claudia’s characterized and amusing “He’s making me work!” to Connor’s flat and dull “I won’t leave! I’m never leaving,” was the day I watched the titan fall.
Every aspect of the game seemed like they fixed what wasn’t broken. The stealth system was overhauled to the point of confusion, buying weapons and armor was no longer interestingly tiered off as you became stronger, and the lockpick system was one of the most horrendous I’ve ever played with. All of these things were flaws I could live through, but as I tried, I found the worst flaw of all: the game was boring. If a whole separate team had spent three years developing this game like Ubisoft says, I can’t imagine how awful the fourth entry is going to be with only one. After the game left me feeling like the butt of a joke for buying the Collector’s Edition, I can say one thing for certain: I understand Corey’s pain about Aliens: Colonial Marines.
In conclusion, when a franchise starts to crank out sequel after sequel, especially year on year, I encourage gamers to wait before dropping that sixty dollars. See if your new favorite franchise is really worth it. Maybe take some time to clear your backlog. By then, a good few price drops will have taken effect, and your used game dollars may just net you a bigger value than a day-one purchase.
– Brad Cowan aka “DevilSugar”