Thursday, January 5, 2012

GameInformer Curbs Their Disappointment

Hello kids, I'm not fully motivated to type right now but once again, two GameInformer magazines are tossed on the table and I couldn't resist the urge to rip 'em again.  I have both the Dec. 2011 and Jan. 2012 issues.

But first, let me talk about the game covers.  The December issue has a Rainbow Six: Patriots cover, but that's not all.  Glued to the front cover is another "cover"that you can peel off.  This second cover happens to be an ad for the Spike Video Game Awards.  That stupid ass trophy of a monkey wearing a crown holding what appears to be a bong might as well be substituted for dog excrement.  Way to go GameInformer, just when I thought you couldn't stoop any lower.

What am I doing here???

Then there's the January cover showcasing this upcoming South Park game, complete with tons of photos and interviews with Trey and Matt.  Now, I'm completely indifferent to the show, but damn--since when did South Park become "down" with the gamers?  Ever since the World of Warcraft episode?  The Guitar Hero episode?  The Nintendo Wii episode?  Just like Spike TV or Mountain Dew--now gamers think they're hip cause they start advertising to them?  Sorry, I'm not buying.


Now, it's review time!  First up is Need for Speed: The Run.  We all know The Run sucksSo here's the GI review and it sucks even worse.  To spare you the pain, I'll quote parts of it:

Although The Run contains all of these constituent parts, it fails to execute or combine them in a way that is engaging. After I finished the game, I had raced across America, escaped the mob, and cheated death numerous times, but was left with relatively few postcards to remember the experience by.

My main problem with the game is that its cross-country trek simply contains too few highlights. The out-of-the-car moments can be counted on one hand, and when they finally do occur, the fact that they are little more than quick-time events dampens them as a novel gameplay experience in an otherwise foreign genre.

The racing itself isn’t boring, but it’s not novel enough in and of itself to make the game great – especially since it’s not being bolstered by the on-foot segments.

As much as the on-foot vignettes are a lost opportunity for The Run, I also feel like it drops the ball on the story as a whole.

Need for Speed: The Run is by no stretch a bad game; it just fails to capitalize on its chances. San Francisco to New York is a long haul, and it’s even longer when not enough happens in between.

Replay: Moderate

So let's play a game.  It's called "Guess the review score?"  Guess what it is:

A 7.75.  Personally, for me, reading this review without looking at the number, you'd think this would be somewhere in the 7 or less review.  Maybe even a 6.5.  It's almost as if Mr. Kato (the same dumbass extraordinaire who bashed OutRun 2) played the game, wrote down plenty of flaws, but at the last minute when it was time to write the final score, he chickened out a by a point or so.  Why would he do that?

Name recognition.  To him and many other mainstream gamer types, the Need for Speed brand is this glorious, fetishized object that they'll always respect, no matter how many crap releases Electronic Arts pushes every year.  So when they get to NFS: The Run, they play it and think "It's not very good" BUT they cannot will themselves to write down a score in the 6-ish range so they cut the deal and say "this game has problems BUT it's still a 7.75!"  Yeah sure, when the GameRankings average is 6.9, I buy it.

This is just like their previous review for Burnout: Crash.  Now we know this game sucks too but here's another quote from the GameInformer review: 

Despite these slight tweaks to the rules, the modes don’t feel all that different. After the initial hour or so, I started to feel the repetition setting in. You play the same intersection three times in a row, move on to the next one, play that three times, and so on. It really starts to feel like a grind as you try to plow through all the levels.

Replay: Moderate

They gave Burnout: Crash a 7.5.  See what I mean?  When they hear the name "Burnout," they piss their pants.  And when they find out a Burnout game just isn't very good, they weasel their way out of it with a short, non-helpful review with a few critiques to show they "care," slap a decent score on it, and they're on their merry way.  It's pathetic.

Oh, but reviews get even better!  GameInformer reviews Sonic Generations and gives it a 6.75 with a few choice quotes, here's some:

The result is a timeline that starts out strong and slowly deteriorates, serving as an apt history lesson for the struggling series.

 Unfortunately, the good times fade when Sonic begins cruising through 2D versions of levels from post-Dreamcast Sonic games. Traversing the burning ruins of Crisis City from the awful 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog reboot is an exercise in frustration packed with unfair drop-offs and annoying gales.

Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Heroes didn’t thrill me, and revisiting reworked versions only serves to remind me of how uninspired they are. Legacy issues, like wonky platforming and poorly communicated pitfalls, plague these later levels.

I felt smothered by Sonic Team’s insistence on shoehorning recent Sonic games, no matter how awful, into the 20-year timeline.

Concept: A whimsical trip down memory lane that ends in the gutter

 Replay: Moderately Low

I don't get it.  The only real critique behind the game is that it reminds them of bad Sonic games,  the controls "suck" again, and there's a few pits that you can fall in (news flash: a red warning sign appears in places you can fall to your death).  You moron, this is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT GAME.  If ONLY the mere sight of levels/characters from a mediocre Sonic game makes you sick, then you're a complete wimp.  Stop reviewing Sonic games.

Also, I don't get how Sonic Generations gets a "low" replay value when all I hear out of games like Burnout: Crash and NFS: The Run with their "medium" replay value is the repetitive grinding as usual.  Sonic has plenty of side missions and things to unlock--does Burnout and Need for Speed have the same as well?

Seriously, Sonic Generations faired much better than NFS: The Run ever did (a 7.8 average on GameRankings), so what's the deal with this review?

See what I mean?  When it comes to NFS or Burnout, those are special icons they cannot part with.  Sonic, however, is expendable.  It's for loser Sega fans, nerds, little kids, furries, and people with autism.  The "cool" gamers don't care about Sonic so they're not afraid to rip the game although they couldn't come up with much to say about the game anyway other than the usual talking points..."uh, Sonic's dead to us so this game automatically fails."

I did say this before and I'll say it again--GameInformer is a magazine sold by retailer GameStop so what the hell do you think GI is going to say?  That these games suck?  No, they're going to soften them up and convince readers to run to GameStop to buy all these wonderful games.  It's no use to them to rate a game poorly (except Sonic since that'll sell no matter what since we're all "tools").  Either that or Electronic Arts & Criterion are paying off GameInformer not to rate their games so harshly which is likely the case too.

Other GameInformer reviews include: Modern Warfare 3 (9.0), Battlefield 3 (9.25), Skyrim (9.5), and Zelda: Skyward Sword (a perfect 10).  So their reviews fall in line with everyone else's.  What's the point of reading this magazine again?


Oh, and one more kick in the ass for the road, on Page 50 of the Dec. 2011 issue, they run through a list of games of this generation you "shouldn't miss" from each genre.  Here's the racing games that you must definitely check out:

"RACING: You love the smell of burning tires and the press of wind against your skin, but nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that, at any moment, you could lose control."

Forza Motorsport series
Gran Turismo 5
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
Burnout series
Mario Kart series

I shed a tear at the guy's description but realized he's full of crap.  Really sad how this list has dwindled down to just this.  Forza is the only one that has any sense of credibility left.  Gran Turismo 5 is a heap of a mess.  NFS: Hot Pursuit is the only "good" NFS of this generation but even then, I think it's overrated and needed the assistance of both EA and Criterion to make it decent.  Burnout is Burnout and Mario Kart has Nintendo's blessing behind it.  It's the same-old same-old that you've heard for years and it makes me sick.  A shame that no other races have risen to challenge it.  OutRun 2, maybe, but no one cares about that anymore.  And Sonic didn't even get mentioned in the Platformer section, go figure.  Sega FTW!


I can keep nitpicking about GameInformer but it is futile and petty.  GI still puts out some decent editorials although I obviously don't put a lot of faith in these guys.  But it's not just about GI, it's about the gaming media in general which tends to follow the same thought processes.  Now you know why as a Sega racing fan I can get so irate.


  1. One of the local game review mags (CD-Action, I live in Poland lol) had a "50 games that shaped the gaming universe" or something booklet added with one of its issues and, to noone's surprise, they didn't mention any Sega games. No Virtua Fighter (come on, that was the 1st 3D fighting game for crying out loud), no Virtua Racing (Hard Drivin' wasn't there either), none of Sega's great rail shooters or these pseudo-3D games like After Burner or OutRun and no Sonic. (please note: it was more than 5 years ago when I last handled the booklet, so there's a possibility that my memory is wrong and they included a Sega game in there, though I'm 99% sure they did not, after all, I threw that crap in the bin shortly after I turned the last page)

    I never bought another issue after that incident, I refuse to support them knowing that they have no idea about gaming and pretty much ignore all of Sega's many successful moments from 80's and 90's. Allow me to rant a bit - in one issue (from 2005, I think?) they reviewed Sonic Adventure DX for the PC, one of the "flaws" they mentioned was that "the graphics were left untouched since 1999", well WRONG! DX sports different textures, higher resolution and character models with higher polygon count. Besides, what the hell did they expect from a re-release anyway?

    Final verdict: "Unbelievably enjoyable", "As far as gameplay and level design goes, Sonic Adventure is the embodiment of platforming perfection", "A mutated fox can use his tails as helicopter blades" - 6.5/10

  2. Gaming magazines suck. Glad to see more of us are wising up to this. You guys are great at picking out this stuff...