Ben's Week In Review: March 1
I can't believe we're getting another snowstorm. I love cold weather but this is just plain ridiculous.
Konami's response to Ground Zeroes backlash...?
I wonder if we saw not one, but two examples of such a response.
During the past week, the publisher announced a price drop for the next-gen versions, and they also revealed more purchase incentives (exclusive content and DLC for The Phantom Pain). It's not coincidental that we hear about this a few weeks after the "two-hour backlash;" i.e., when we learned that the prelude, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, could be as short as two hours. Later, many sources claimed two hours was a big exaggeration and it was important to remember that yeah, the game rules. That's sorta critical.
Still, one can't help but assume that Konami's news was the direct result of fan annoyance. Maybe they were already planning those purchase incentives, but I seriously doubt they ever had any intention of dropping the price. It only affects the PS4 and Xbox One versions but think about it: Those are the versions that appeals most to the core gaming crowd, and for MGS, that's the crowd Konami doesn't want to lose. Core gamers very likely have a next-gen system already and if they don't, they'll almost certainly have one when The Phantom Pain comes out. Very clever.
And if true, you can't say Konami doesn't at least try to respond to fan feedback. You know, as opposed to certain other companies that will remain nameless.
Where's our official sales update for the PS4 Japanese launch?
I expected to see a press release within a few days of the console's launch in Japan, but that didn't happen. We had to content ourselves with a third-party estimate, which was about 320,000 in 48 hours. No official word from Sony for the launch weekend...? Well, maybe they'll deliver a one-week total, or perhaps they're waiting for one whole month to pass. Either way, all we've got to go on is that 320,000 number: Is it lower or higher than you expected? It's a lot higher than the 88,443 PS3s sold in the same two-day period, but don't forget that the PS3 was impossible to get. Sony just didn't have anywhere near enough units on the market for that launch.
I think it's interesting that the PS4's two-day take was similar to that of the Wii U (308,570). Is that encouraging or discouraging? Hard to say, really. The Wii was a legitimate phenomenon but the Wii U didn't exactly explode out of the gate. Then again, Nintendo is still pretty damn popular in Japan, so if the PS4 beat the Wii U out of the gate, that's good news, right? Well, maybe we should just wait to see what happens during the first month of availability in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Personal gaming update
I was a little disappointed with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, so I probably won't finish it. It's just too disjointed; it's one of those games that has a clear-cut identity crisis. The stealth segments should never have been attempted (forget about trying to fix 'em, they just don't belong) and the story is muddled despite a few minor highlights. I wasn't a huge fan of the first title, either, but that game understood itself. It knew what it wanted to be. That's why it succeeded on a number of different levels; the sequel simply doesn't settle into a groove and as a result, it always feels wishy-washy.
I'll deliver my Thief review very soon, and that's another game that's a bit of a disappointment. It's better than Lords of Shadow 2 but unfortunately, not by much. It has too many technical problems - could've spent more time in QA - and it simply isn't dynamic enough from top to bottom. These two letdowns aren't disastrous but indeed, they are letdowns. All the more pressure is on inFamous: Second Son to deliver the goods this month!
2/28/2014 Ben Dutka