Tuesday, April 24, 2012
What's This "No Games" Crap?
This is going to be another one of those unfortunate occasions where I let my fanboy flag fly free (yay alliterations!), but I assure you that it's only because I really really get annoyed when people like to pretend that things are so much worse than they are. As such, with all the whining and bullshit going on with the Vita (that launched two months ago, officially mind you) has made me a grumbly person lately because of all the doom and gloom at, uh....certain corners of the internet. Because it's a Sony product or because people don't really, uh, have good pattern recognition skills or something, the fact that fifteen AAA-quality games haven't come out for it yet means that it's failing and it's selling poorly because there are, ahem, 'no gaems' for it, which means that it's the worst thing ever, etc. etc. So, I've taken it upon myself to sort of root out just how the releases have sort of worked out between the 3DS and the Vita.
So, let's talk launch line-up where most everyone, even detractors, will give the Vita the win or at least the benefit of the doubt here. It's well-deserved, since the line-up was fantastic by any measure, much moreso in comparison, but you'll get those people who say launch games don't really matter. Mostly because their chosen system had shitty launch games, assuredly, since a good launch line-up just really doesn't come around that often. Still, let's take a little look at some of the games that launched on March 27th, alongside the 3DS, shall we? Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, Nintendogs + Cats (One of three versions, apparently), Pilotwings Resort, Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, and Samurai Warriors Chronicles. Those are the five top scoring games via Metacritic at launch and they go from 85 to 61, which is fairly respectable, all told since launch games aren't usually, er, spectacular. A 61 for a launch game isn't particularly the same thing as a 61 for a game that comes out a year or two into the system's life.
Now, let's take a gander at some of the Vita games on (or before) launch and see how that works out. Rayman Origins, Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, Lumines: Electronic Symphony, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend, and Super Stardust Delta all ranging from 88 to, uh, 82. But you're like "Gee, Mogs, there are like three ports out of those five games and that's a bad thing!" and I go, "Well, so is the 3DS picks? But, okay..." So cut out Street Fighter IV, Lego Star Wars III and Samurai Warriors Chronicles (Because I'm sure it reuses assets, or if not because I'm being generous and not cuttings Nintendogs+Cats), and cut Rayman Origins, Lumines and BlazBlue, and you still have Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Not to mention the non-ports in the list) at a solid 80 above the 71 for all three versions of Nintendogs + Cats.
So this is where people will tell you that launch games don't matter. Who cares that a major first party game was released at launch (because Nintendo didn't really do one), it's all about the follow-up, it's all about the games that come out afterwards, when the first big ones start cropping up, -that's totally what's important-. Okay, whatever, so this is when we look, and the next major release would be The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.....or it would be, but, as we've discussed, ports are evil and terrible and ruining the industry and such, etc. etc. so it doesn't count. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D came out on June 28, 2011, a full three months after the 3DS' release....to some poor reviews and really, really dumb save game ideas, so maybe we shouldn't count it, yeah? So the next 'big' things would be Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner Overclocked for third party and Star Fox 64 3D for first party which released on August 23rd and September 9th respectively. Both are ports/remakes, so again, we don't count them in the interest of fairness.
It's not until December 4th, a full eight months following the 3DS' release that a 'major' game is released for the 3DS in the form of Mario Kart 7, which I'm counting as a wholly original and new game because jesus christ if I don't I'll be looking forever. There are a few things before there that I would personally count for myself, but they're hardly big draws to the system - Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns most specifically. Mario Kart 7 was really the first hard throw into the 3DS and ever since, they've been doing better, but fuckin' eight months of console ports, remakes and assorted drivel alongside niche or low-profile games does not a game library make. Mind you, the 3DS was still selling for $250 for four and a half of those months, which clearly plenty of people were happy to pay for reasons that are pretty much beyond comprehension aside from "It's a Nintendo Handheld". People are pretty forgiving of having no real games when it's not a Sony Handheld apparently!
So let's return to the Vita now which has been out for two full months. I feel like I have to reiterate this fact a few times just so it sinks in. Because, again, two months is not a lot of time in which a system should be, or could be, saturated with games, despite what anyone thinks. We've already covered the launch games (aside from me stating directly that there were 26 of them), so let's move beyond that, yeah? In the span of the two months since we've had the Vita, we've had the following releases: MotorStorm RC (for free, mind you), and Unit 13 (which admittedly has some technical problems, apparently and was Zipper Interactive's swansong, unfortunately) which either use Known Entities in the form of Branding (MotorStorm) or Studio (Unit 13 with Zipper), making them fairly high-profile games. Also we've had MLB '12: The Show and Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention which I won't link nor mention beyond the mentions all the above ports received. Not only that, but in the next few months, we have Gravity Rush (First-Party title), Resistance: Burning Skies (First-Party title that makes use of an existing brand), Mortal Kombat (Yes, a port, but I mentioned all the other ones), and, unless it gets announced otherwise, LittleBigPlanet (First-Party title that makes use of an existing brand). If none of that changes, that's all between May and the end of June which would put it at four months after the release of the system.
I guess the problem here is that there's not really a whole lot of fluff coming out for the Vita every week like, well, every other system that's been out for more than two months. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that this is because Developers looking to put fluff on the system are just now getting or putting in for their Dev Kits, meaning that they won't be releasing for a few months yet. It's the classic Quantity over Quality argument given new form in 'Console Warz', and it's quite frankly bullshit. I know people who are going to tell you that the Vita 'has no gaems' aren't interested in little things like facts, and it seems that those are the majority at the moment, but that doesn't make it true. So if you take away anything from this, then, hey, take away the facts here, double-check them for yourselves, even. I understand opinions differ and can make all sorts of things seem true or not, but they're only opinions; no more. Of course, if I'm wrong in anything I've presented here, do feel free to let me know.