One Paragraph News
VGA can be uneven, to say the least. I try to approach the feature from different angles and bounce around between all sorts of topics and article formats, but sometimes the end result feels unfocused. My goal is to address that by sticking to a simple, consistent layout from now on. Instead of mangling one idea in each installment I will now cover several of the week's biggest news stories and screw them all up in unique ways. Each story gets a paragraph. Sometimes a story will be goofy, sometimes it will be a rant.
Grand Theft Auto V Will Feature Three Protagonists, Probably Won't Be As Vibrant And Full Of Character As Its Promotional Art
This week we found out about the first potentially interesting thing that Rockstar is doing with Grand Theft Auto V. You will reportedly be able to switch between three playable characters at almost any time. When you are in control of one protagonist the others will go about their business. We don't know if this means that they will actually wander about and be active participants in the world, or if it's marketing speak for "they will disappear from the game world but when you switch back they'll be in a different place than where you left them". Either way, it's something that hasn't been done within the open world genre before. Even more exciting? My inside sources tell me that the protagonists will all be annoying cousins. The entire game will consist of the three characters receiving phone calls from one another, meeting up to play mundane mini-games, and expressing turmoil about their disillusionment with the American dream in overbearing self-serious dialog. Occasionally there will be some of the insightful commentary that has earned Rockstar its storied reputation, such as a cell phone with a bowl of fruit on it instead of an Apple logo or a business named Tw@. There might even be a gun-loving Republican and naive hippie.
About That Wii U...
Everyone in the game industry needs to stop what they're doing! I believe there has been a very serious mistake! All sorts of press outlets received their Wii U review hardware units this week. They opened boxes seductively, pawed at stands and zoomed in for close-up shots of AC adapter ports. It's all been terribly exciting and terrible. The problem? We did not receive a Wii U at Video Game Article headquarters. Unfathomable. Now, I'm not going to point fingers. Nintendo is a large company with a lot of moving parts. In the leadup to the launch of their new system I can see how this oversight might have taken place. Also, I might have forgotten to contact them to request a Wii U. That's neither here nor there. The simple fact is that I'm boned. You, the reader, are boned by extension. Perhaps the biggest bone of all, though, is Nintendo, who obviously needs my thoughtful and fair One Sentence Reviews to survive. It's not too late, though! At least three thousand of the people who read this feature are either Nintendo employees or live close enough the Nintendo offices to yell out of their car window and be heard by Mr. Iwata or Reggie. If all of you can give it your full effort, Nintendo will provide three thousand Wii U consoles to the VGA offices. That would make our reviews three thousands times as effective! If you let me down, we will only have a few hundred units. I am willing to settle for everyone but one person letting me down.
World Of Warcraft Back Up To 10 Million Subscribers, Blizzard Doesn't Have To Turn Off Their Money Furnace Just Yet
Boosted by the release of Mists Of Pandaria, World Of Warcraft has recovered from a gradual decline and surpassed the ten million subscriber mark once again. Perhaps more impressive is another figure: The ten billionth phishing attempt in my Spam folder that resulted from having a Battle.net account.
Assassin's Creed 3 And Halo 4 Exist As Obligatory Sequel Products, Don't Seem To Have Further Purpose
The events that blunder about in the cinematic cutscenes of Assassin's Creed 3 and Halo 4 are not good by any stretch of the imagination. They are perfunctory. Like the games themselves, the stories are there because they are expected. Each tale clumsily reaches for low-hanging fruit at every opportunity. People who apply any critical thought to entertainment might wonder why those forced stories exist at all. Most gameplay changes feel tacked on (with varying degrees of success) rather than considered parts of a greater whole. Neither game tries to do anything even remotely creative within the medium. Each one makes obvious technical improvements and includes most of the features that you associate with their respective franchise. Those features mostly work. Both games present their barely functioning stories in a haze of something that might be called spectacle. In other words, congratulations to Halo 4 and Assassin's Creed 3 for existing as functioning things. Reviews that follow the standard buyer's guide format will definitely note that all of your parts exist and check off the appropriate box on the list of expected features. A suitable number of dollars will appear to make sure that more of you will function in the future, perhaps with DLC that downloads and adds something resembling content.
I'm convinced that this series only continues to exist so a handful of modelers can giggle in a dark room as they make Cortana more babe-like. 6/10
Now with a story editor that's more robust than Final Cut X, and a roster that's more up to date than that joke. 6/10
Need For Speed: Most Wanted
It's a prettier, smaller Need For Speed Paradise, with cops that are less Smokey And The Bandit and more Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. 7/10
Assassin's Creed 3
The greatest mystery presented in this series: How can someone possibly take such a potentially interesting setting and all that money and manpower, then create something that feels like a wobbly step backwards from Assassin's Creed Brotherhood? 6/10