tempest in a teacup

the pointless musings of a strange recluse

Is today “reveal crappy games day” or something?

Capcom and Konami appear to think that it is.

First off, Megaman 9. Let’s start off with a disclaimer – I’m not a Mega Man fan. My experience with the franchise is limited to a few minutes with Megaman X and Megaman Zero 2. That said, MM9 has me somewhat dumbstruck. It’s not that it’s a 2D sidescroller (that isn’t an issue at all, and in fact is probably a good move to appeal to Megaman fans). What I take issue with is this:

Mega Man 9 eschews the style of the more recent PlayStation-era Mega Man 8 or even the SNES Mega Man 7, instead going all the way back to 8-bit visuals, imitating the style of the NES games. Series creator Keiji Inafune commented that old-school Mega Man games don’t “fit into the grandiose and expansive world that the consumer gaming industry has become, and so you have to make games that match the current expectations.” This helped determine the game’s direction as a retro-style downloadable title for the WiiWare service.

2D is one thing, but the last thing I expected Capcom to do was take a leaf out of SNK’s book and completely recycle old assets. Actually, even that comparision isn’t appropriate any more, seeing what SNK is doing with King of Fighters XII. Yes, the old Megaman games are revered as classics, but if anything they are loved because they were good games, not because they used art from the 8-bit era! All this seems to be is another cheap attempt to cash in on fan nostalgia (see Street Fighter IV) by completely missing the point of why people love these games in the first place.

If they’re going to put it on a modern console, why not go all out and make a game with state-of-the-art 2D graphics that still stays true to the Megaman legacy? Heaven knows.

On top of that, it looks like Konami saw the announcement and decided to one-up them with their announcement of Castlevania Judgement for the Wii. The game is (of all things) a 3D fighter with motion controls.

I don’t know why Konami thought that Castlevania was great fodder for a fighting game. The system snippets in the article suggest that the game will play exactly like the main games, with heart meters and sub-weapons, but in a 1-on-1 format, which sounds strange. Still, it may be doable. The main reason I’m panning this announcement is the fact that the game uses motion controls.

I cannot think of a single fighting game on the Wii that has benefited from motion controls. Bleach: Shattered Blade is a shallow waggle-fest. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core has motion controls but no-one with any sense will use them. And the flagship fighting game on the Wii, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, eschews them entirely. The precision and timing that such games demand from their players means that control is of paramount importance (which is why any fighting game player will always insist on using an arcade stick). After about 9 months of using the Wii, I can safely say that the Wii remote does not have the necessary control. Games like Sonic and the Secret Rings suffer because of this, particularly on the later levels where it demands split-second reaction from the player.

If Konami knows what they’re doing, they will provide a classic controller option.

There was also that Ubisoft announcement of that new Prince of Persia platformer for the DS which inexplicably uses a chibi art style, but I don’t really consider that to be on the same level as these two dumbfounding announcements (although I think it’s probably just as unimpressive at this point).

3 comments

3 Responses to “Is today “reveal crappy games day” or something?”

  1. KK says:

    Megaman 9 = WIN. :3

  2. Sheba says:

    This decision is pretty much the illustration of why the VG industry has stagnated over the years. As long as the customer look at the past game through rose-tinted nostalgia glasses, publishers will play “safe”.

    On the other side of the spectrum we have squaresoft churning out RPGs filled with Tetsuya Nomura crap and obeying the tyranny of the cutscenes.

    Or the korean companies pulling all variations of heroic fantasy MMORPG grindfest, instead of treading in untapped genres like gothic à la Bram Stocker or steampunk or Far West or even Arabian Nights.

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