So last week XBox 360 was unveiled on MTV, and I can think of no more appropriate union. For the last six or seven years, MTV has become the place for cynical marketing executives to pitch total bullshit to complete idiots. This is a channel that would rather show you the inside of David Lee Roth’s house than play the “Just A Gigolo” video. If you’re under the sad delusion that people behind MTV actually care about music, you’re wrong. It is also rather laughable to think that Microsoft actually cares about games; they don’t. Microsofts gaming roots lying in solitaire games, crappy flight simulators, and their fairly enjoyable Warcraft rip-off, Age of Empires. At the end of the day, both of these organizations are more concerned with making an easy buck than providing entertainment.
Microsoft’s original strategy for the XBox was simply to have the best graphics and this strategy almost failed them. In the early days, XBox had a $350 pricetag and no worthwhile games that weren’t already available on PS2, Gamecube, or PC. The exclusive game that they chose to showcase, Halo, was a predictable 3D shooter with bad level design and repetitive gameplay that eventually garnered more attention than it should have for having multiplayer modes similar to better titles like Unreal Tournament and Half-Life. Most serious gamers turned their noses up at the system and it faired rather terribly in its first couple months with its main purchasers being 30-something accountants and frat boys who liked it because Madden 2002 looked “fucking awesome” on it. The giant XBox controllers that originally came with the system were seemingly tailor-made for these ham-fisted cretins. But just when Microsoft’s pathetic attempt to cut into Sony and Nintendo’s market share had almost failed, something happened. The XBox had a hard drive built into it, and techies eventually realized that this hard drive could be replaced with a much bigger one and the system could be modded in such a way that games could be copied onto this hard drive and played from there. Through the power of emulation, you would also be able to put your favorite games from other, better systems onto the XBox and run them as well. Thus XBox became popular not because it had a spectacular line-up, but because it was the most pirate-friendly console ever made. Since the XBox 360 is not going to have a hard drive, it seems hard to believe that Microsoft’s next overpriced piece of trash will be able to recapture the coincidental success of its predecessor.
Suprisingly, XBox.com doesn’t agree with me. The site guarantees that XBox 360 will have “the greatest lineup in the history of video games”. I assumed they meant it would run an NES emulator, but I was wrong. In fact, the greatest lineup ever is only made up of seven games:
1. Perfect Dark Zero (Microsoft Game Studios) – Actually, this game was developed by Rare who Microsoft now owns. Rare has more name recognition and credibility in the industry, so it’s pretty retarded that Microsoft wouldn’t tout the game as being by them. The game itself is just another 3D shooter and I don’t see it being anything spectacular. The 3D shooter genre is rather played out at this point, so unless the game has a good hook like Timesplitters: Future Perfect, Doom 3, or Metroid Prime, it’s not worth playing.
2. Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios) – Oh boy, another game produced Microsoft! I bet it’ll be awesome. (sarcasm mode off) Microsoft has kindly provided us in-depth descriptions of these upcoming games and multiple screenshots. Actually, they’re giving us one small picture and a two line description. In its entirely, the game’s description reads: “Harness the power within yourself to combat an ever-present evil in a mystical universe.” It’s good to see that Microsoft is trying to make a game with a unique compelling storyline instead of relying on vague conventions. Oh, wait.
3. Gears of War (Microsoft Game Studios) – Another Microsoft with an interesting plot: “The Locust Horde is surfacing from the underground depths of Sera. Join the battle to save humankind.” Yawn.
4. Project Gotham Racing 3 (Microsoft Game Studios) – With the exception of Mario Kart and maybe F-Zero, racing games suck. If this Project Gotham shit had the Batman license, then it might be worth playing. At least then we’d finally find out exactly what happens when the Batmobile loses a wheel. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of a Batman racing game. You’d race in gimmicky vehicles that never existed in the comics like the Freeze Ferrari and Penguin Porsche . That’s fucking money.
5. Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Electronic Arts) – Fantastic, another racing game. This one’s by EA, who I don’t think I’ve ever seen do an exclusive license, so I’d expect to see this on the next generation Sony and Nintendo consoles as well.
6. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 3 (Ubisoft) – Tom Clancy games suck, but this’ll make it onto the other systems when they launch anyway.
7. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 (Electronic Arts) – It’s by Electronics Arts, so you’ll see it on other systems. Hell, you’ll probably see it on PS2 and GCN. I never really liked sports games and I don’t understand why we need a new Tiger Woods game every year. Unlike other sports, it’s not like the PGA roster changes all that much every year, not that the Tiger Woods games even follow the roster. Justin Fucking Timberlake was in the 2005 edition. There’s also enough space on a game disc that EA could give us every major golf course if they wanted to. What can the 2006 edition offer us that 2003, 2004, and 2005 didn’t? Almost nothing. It can give us some added realism, but fuck that. When I play a game, I want it to look like a fucking game. I rather play NBA Jam with its hilarious Big Head mode than control a near-perfect clone of Lebron James. If you disagree, it means that you are wrong.
You can see Microsoft’s badly designed and uninformative game list here. In the event that you are reading this months later, here’s a screenshot.
That’s enough bitching for now.