Saturday, December 29, 2018
By: Patrick "TheLaw" Morris
Hey everybody welcome back to LegalSpeak a ColdNorth Production. I'm TheLawMorris and this is the video essay series in which I get to talk about the games I've been playing and what I think of the video game industry as a whole. You can find everything we do all in one spot over at ColdNorthPro.com. Today we are going to be talking about Metal Gear Solid and more specifically the significance of Venom Snake. Now I do have to take a moment to issue a major spoiler warning: If you haven't played Metal Gear Solid and you don’t want any spoilers stop watching, listening, reading or whatever right now!
Despite not starting to play the Metal Gear games until earlier this year I have a fairly memorable history with them. They have always intrigued and stuck with me when I came across them. When the first game came out my dad's friend from work raved and insisted my dad needed to buy it. When the second game came out my friend who was about four years older than me and much more ready for a more mature game like Metal Gear played through it and was offered 50 cents when trying to resell it because the store had so many copies they needed to sell. When I bought my PSP my friend James Hamilton loaned me Metal Gear Acid and I had no clue what was going on. When I bought a PS3 a friend of mine bought Solid 4 and would sit in my parents basement playing it even when I wasn’t there. Over the years Kojima's flagship series and I have crossed paths many times and I even bought copies of many of the games with the intention of playing them but I was always a bit intimidated and unsure of where to jump in.
Choosing the games from the series to play and the order in which to play them is one of the most important aspects of how one can experience Metal Gear Solid. I personally chose to only play official canon games and as mentioned by Kojima himself if the game doesn’t say "A Hideo Kojima Game" at the start then its non canon. After choosing to play only canon games I was left to choose what order to play them in. The obvious choice is order of release to experience the story in the same order that everyone who played them as they came out did. But I chose to play the games in the order of the story. So I played Solid 3 Snake Eater, Peace Walker, Ground Zeroes (which from here forward I will lump into Phantom Pain because that’s what should have happened anyway), Solid 5 The Phantom Pain, Solid 1 The Twin Snakes, Solid 2 Sons of Liberty, and Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots.
After playing through and falling deeply in love with the Metal Gear games I couldn’t possibly be happier with the order I chose to play. I've always wondered what it would be like to watch the Star Wars saga in the story order ignoring anthology films and episodes 7 and 8. When embarking on this Metal Gear journey I was afforded a similar opportunity. The series can be broken down into two trilogies, the Big Boss trilogy which goes Snake Eater, Peace Walker, and Phantom Pain, followed by the Solid Snake trilogy which goes Twin Snakes, Sons of Liberty, and Guns of the Patriots. Playing the games this way left me completely in the dark to who Big Boss was and why he was so important and as a result I was 100% behind him every step of the way as he transformed from the hero Naked Snake into the villain Big Boss. When he felt betrayed by the Boss I felt his pain, when he toyed with Ocelot I experienced that mutual respect, and when he learned the truth I supported his defecting. I was Naked Snake throughout all of Snake Eater and Peace Walker and I was happy to see him reject the title of Big Boss because it was one given to him by the corrupt system that had used him as a tool in their twisted power struggle.
When Phantom Pain came out in 2015 it was divisive to say the least. Audiences loved it for its tight gameplay and incredible expansion on the Metal Gear lore but almost unanimously hated and were confused by the ending and as a result the character Venom Snake was fairly widely disliked as well. It's a fairly unpopular opinion to hold but not only do I love the character of Venom Snake and how he and his story was presented to the player but I also think that Venom Snake is fundamental to the Metal Gear series and without him and his story the entire Big Boss arc falls apart.
Big Boss started his trilogy as Naked Snake a highly experienced and effective agent with very little knowledge of the more inner workings of the global intelligence game. At the beginning of Snake Eater Naked Snake says to the Boss "I follow the will of the leader, no matter who's in charge." and by the end of the game Naked Snake learns the last lesson his mentor had for him, free will. Upon his return Naked Snake is dubbed Big Boss but then defects from the CIA and goes into hiding. Early in Peace Walker is when we as the audience see the the hero Naked Snake start to become the villain Big Boss. There is one particular scene where he swaps back and forth almost as thought the two personalities are fighting within him for supremacy. When Naked Snake rescues Chico he comforts the boy telling him its nothing to be ashamed of and that the pain gets the better of us all. Immediately after Chico wishes he was dead and Big Boss points a gun at him offering to put him out of his misery. Over the course of the Big Boss trilogy the audience sees Naked Snake become Big Boss who will go on to be the viallain of the Solid Snake trilogy. The transformation is subtle and well executed and takes place over the course of three games and almost two decades but it couldn’t have been complete without Venom Snake.
Venom Snake starts his story as an insignificant medic on motherbase who happens to be on the helicopter Big Boss is on when Paz explodes during the raid at the end of Ground Zeroes. Out of dedication and loyalty to Big Boss' cause the medic throws himself between Big Boss and the explosion. He actively demonstrates that he is instinctually willing to give his own life to save Big Boss. How Big Boss reacts to this act of pure unadulterated loyalty is what solidifies his succumbing to the game and becoming the exact type of war lord whose actions caused him to defect at the end of Snake Eater. Big Boss manipulating Venom Snake and allowing him to believe he was Big Boss while the real Big Boss hid behind the curtain pulling the strings was the final nail in the coffin of the hero Naked Snake. His willingness to go to the same lengths that the CIA, KGB, and Chinese Intelligence had in Snake Eater is evidence that at the end of Phantom Pain what remains of the hero Naked Snake is gone and all that remains is Big Boss.
So the end of Phantom Pain wasn’t bad. Considering it was cut short and tensions between Kojima and Konami were high in the final stages of development it probably wasn’t as good as it could have been but it certainly was in no way bad. People hate on the ending and Venom Snake calling him "some asshole in the desert" but without Venom Snake what is arguably one of the greatest character arc's ever conceived couldn’t have reached the highs necessary to justify a satisfying end.
What do you think of the Metal Gear Solid series and the ending of Phantom Pain? Let me know in the comments down below.
If you're new here make sure to subscribe for a new video and new podcasts every week. And if you're not new here thanks for coming back! Don’t forget to check out our video game podcast HardReset for more free form video game discussion and our movies podcast NoRefunds the podcast that watches bad movies so you don’t have to! Where this week we discuss one of the many sequels that should have never been made, Bad Santa 2. You can find those on iTunes, Spotify, iheartradio, YouTube, and SoundCloud and you can find everything we do all in one spot over at coldnorthpro.com. I will be back next week talking about Tom Clancy games so until then just go play some games.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
By: Patrick "TheLaw" Morris
Hey everybody welcome back to LegalSpeak a ColdNorth Production. I'm TheLawMorris and this is the video essay series where I get to talk about the games ive been playing and what I think of the video game industry as a whole. You can check out our podcasts and everything else we do all in one spot over at ColdNorthPro.com. Today we are going to be talking about how to play a video game…that’s right this will be a video tutorial of how to play every single game ever made. Of course I'm lying and that is a pretty weak attempt at a joke. No today you just get to listen to my disjointed dumbass thoughts about whether or not there is a right or wrong way to play a video game. Full disclosure I play pretty much all video games the wrong way so with that in mind…lets jump in.
There are three fundamentally different ways of approaching how to play a video game. Minimalist, Organic, and completionist. All three have their merits and while I may share some of my own feelings throughout this video please don’t let what I have to say dissuade you from playing anything the way you want to play, unless you're a griefer then please seek help because you're an asshole.
The minimalist cares about nothing but getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible without stopping to smell the roses or admire the scenery the way the organic player does, and the minimalist definitely will not be looking under every single rock and making sure that there is not a single square inch of ground that has gone untread the way the completionist does.
Games that are great to be played in the minimalist style are primarily story driven games. Yes there may be other things to do like collecting small meaningless shit but on the whole these games are made to tell a story. Very few games are literally nothing but a story because when that’s the case there's no gameplay to be had and you might as well be watching a movie. But Then again I think of Firewatch and that makes me reconsider that statement because SHIT that is a great game that's nothing but story. Some of the best games ever made are played very well in a minimalist style. The Last of Us, Uncharted, Halo, these are all great games that can be thoroughly enjoyed when played in a minimalist style.
The Organic player (usually what I am) sets out on an experience with no rush to get to the finish line but also feels zero pressure to pick up every single thing along the way. A lot of insecure assholes call organic players casuals but that’s just because their dads didn’t love them enough so they have to pick on other people to feel good about themselves. Games that are best played organically usually include some sort of story as the primary focus but also have a decently thought out progression system that can interest the player and require the player to veer off the beaten path in order to be powerful enough to continue in the story.
Some of the best games to play organically are Horizon Zero Dawn, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and Owlboy. I stick to the story and any collectibles or side quests I come across during my natural progression through the story are a fun bonuses that may help with world building but aren't integral to my understanding of what is happening and they definitely aren't going to help me sleep at night knowing that I collected them all.
Speaking of collecting them all the completionist seems to be obsessed with that sort of thing. Now this is a mindset that I will never fully understand and I'm fairly certain that all these people should seek professional help because what they’ve got going on up there cant be healthy. All that being said its always fun to watch someone psychologically torture themselves with promises that every moon in Super Mario odyssey will make them feel good about their life.
The best games to play in the completionist style are games with very clearly defined objectives and goals where story telling takes a backseat to the 30 second loop experience. Pokemon, Destiny, and Mario Odyssey are some of the best games for those of you that feel that hole in your heart that can only be filled by 900 Korok seeds. I hope one day you find what you're actually searching for in life.
Any game can be played in any of these three styles but there are some games that are meant to be played in one specific style and if you don’t the developers will come to your house and kill you while you sleep. Most of the games that are designed to be played in a specific way are "get shit" games (for those of you that don’t know "get shit" games is an industry term for games that require you to collect things like guns and gear). Destiny and Diablo aren't designed to be played to the end of the story they're designed to keep the player in a constant state of frustration and feeling of inadequacy so that those dummies will keep playing games that they don’t even love just to "make their dude better." Skyrim is a game that isn't quite a "get shit" game but more of a "do shit" game. "Hey man why you playin Skyrim for the eighth time?" "I don’t know man I just have shit to do." that’s the "do shit" game.
Sometimes games are tailored to be played a specific way and while playing them in the way the developer originally intended may yield the most widely appealing experience that doesn’t mean that’s what's best for you. And ultimately that’s the entire point of what I am trying to say today; don’t let me or anyone else tell you how to enjoy your hobby. I played Super Mario Odyssey, a game that is very obviously meant to be played to completion, for about ten hours. I got through the main story and I was satisfied.
There are so many different ways to play and as long as you're enjoying yourself none of them are wrong. Play what you want in the way you want to play it. Video games are art and everyone interprets art in their own way. If something was reviewed poorly but struck a chord with you don’t be afraid to show that game some love. I personally trust IGN's Ryan McCaffrey and enjoy pretty much everything he makes. McCaffrey reviewed the 2014 game Alien Isolation and gave it a 5.9 which is a fairly low score when compared to other IGN reviews. I personally adored Alien Isolation! I loved every second of it and when it was over I was champing at the bit for more. Does this mean that I played the game wrong? No! Does it mean that Ryan played the game wrong? Of course not! It simply means that he and I had different experiences with the game and got different things out of it. Nobody can tell you how to play a game the only way to play a game wrong is to not play it in the way that it is best for you!
How do you typically play games? Let me know in the comments down below.
I'll be back next week talking about the order in which I experienced the Metal Gear Solid games. If you just cant get enough make sure to subscribe and check out our podcast HardReset on iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and iheartradio for more free form video game discussion. This week we talked about the worst reviewed games of 2018. And our movies podcast NoRefunds the podcast that watches bad movies so you don’t have to this weeks discussion centers around the 1997 cult classic Starship Troopers. You can find everything we do over at ColdNorthPro.com but until next week just go play some games.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
By: Patrick "TheLaw" Morris
Hey everybody welcome back to LegalSpeak a ColdNorth Production. I'm TheLawMorris and this is the video essay series where I get to talk about the games I've been playing and what I think of the video game industry as a whole, you can check out everything we do all in one spot over at ColdNorthPro.com. Today we're going to be talking about my thoughts on Just Cause 4.
Quick disclaimer I haven't finished the game at the time of writing so please do not consider this a full review of the game just my take on my first 15ish hours with the game.
In my first few minutes with the game I found myself experiencing a familiar feeling one that I have felt for far longer than the Just Cause series has been around. I felt the same way I still feel anytime I go into the theater to see a new Bond movie. Every time I see a new Bond movie for the first time I hope its great, I expect it to be okay, but I know I'm going to enjoy myself.
Some Bond movies are fantastic like Goldeneye and Casino Royale. Even though these movies haven't aged well they still ooze with style and intensity and are fondly remembered as the high water mark for the series. When it comes to Just Cause the second game is that high water mark. The game that set the series apart as something to be revered and adored. When compared to it's contemporaries Just Cause 2 succeeded in so many ways other B-Tier games could only dream of.
Other Bond movies are lacking in that intangible quality but still provide a perfectly serviceable adequate James Bond movie experience. You would be hard pressed to find a Bond fan who lists Tomorrow Never Dies as their favorite Bond movie or even their favorite Brosnan Bond movie but that doesn’t change the fact that as a Bond movie its still perfectly enjoyable. Just like Tomorrow Never Dies followed the high water mark Just Cause 3 plays that role in it's own series. Just Cause 3 was good yet unremarkable. Back in 2015 it satisfied my thirst for a next gen Just Cause game but three years removed, hell even at the time it was obviously no Just Cause 2.
And of course there are a few Bond movies that are so wild in their approach they stand out not for being bad but for being absurd. I recognize the many MANY flaws of Die Another Day but the camp, bad dialogue, over the top story, and terrible acting make me love the movie even more. Die Another Day leans into everything that makes it a Bond movie in such a ridiculous fashion that the only time it could have survived at the box office much less succeeded to the degree it did was the early 2000's. Just Cause 4 hits that same level of commitment to being a Just Cause game. The introduction of a jetpack in Just Cause 3 flirted with that line but the fact that it was DLC felt non committal. Dropping a constantly roaming super tornado that never goes away right in the middle of the map for the player to interact with and eventually manipulate is something that is so unbelievably Just Cause that no other game, not even Saints Row, could get away with.
Story has always taken a back seat in Just Cause games but when played all the way through the stories end up in what I can only describe as crazytown. The biggest problems with the stories has always been the time it takes them to get to crazytown because once they're there that’s where they're at their best. Apparently the writers of Just Cause 4 read my mind and start the story of Just Cause 4 right on the steps of city hall in crazytown and go from there. Insane rivalries, soap opera levels of familial connection, and Rico's never before mentioned father!? Just Cause 4's story is obviously a result of Telemundo and Bollywood having a few to many drinks and needing to do the walk of shame the next morning. And just so we are all on the same page I think that’s a good thing!
The performance of Just Cause 4 (at least on a PS4pro) is not so hot. Frame rate issues run rampant through the game, motion blur looks like its cranked up past 11 all the up to 13 and texture pop is out of control. As I played the game I couldn’t help but notice how ugly character models are and how terrible the optimization of the console versions of the game is. But as I write this I am beginning to question myself, are the graphical and performance issues intentional? Are they just a part of the package that Avalanche is trying to deliver? Similar to how soap operas look absurd with their perfect stage lighting and higher framerate than the 24fps standard across almost all other film mediums. This is probably one of the few times I'm giving the developer to much credit but regardless of whether it was intentional or not the game looks like butt.
If the game looks like a bad butt it plays like a great butt! The game plays like Jessica Biel's butt in that one Adam Sandler movie looks. It's been said a million times since the dawn of 3D games that in order to make a game fun something as simple as moving around in a 3D space has to be fun and in Just Cause 4 not only is it fun its an absolute blast. The movement in the game is so incredibly fluid and well controlled that its immediately accessible to just pick up and play but the seasoned player that really sunk some time into Just Cause 3 will be satisfied to find that the skill celling is extremely high. While the past three games have been entirely focused on finding things that are red and blowing them up Just Cause 4 is more story focused than chaos focused and this provides for more meaningful interactions with missions and led to me being more invested in the stakes of the moment to moment gameplay. Gunplay is punchy and sounds satisfying, and blowing stuff up while less of a main objective is still oh so sweet.
I walk into a new Bond movie with a sense of excitement not for a conclusion to anything, because I know that wont happen, but simply for the contained experience being presented to me right now. I got that same feeling in the opening hours of Just Cause 4, excitement in what I was about to experience. Excitement in spite of knowing the series wont have changed in any substantial way at the conclusion of the game and knowing there will be another entry in 3-5 years. Just Cause has become the video game equivalent of high quality comfort food and despite all its flaws I love me some high quality comfort food.
Which Just Cause game is your favorite and what do you think of this one? Let me know in the comments down below.
I'll be back next week talking about whether or not you're playing games the right way. If you just cant get enough make sure to subscribe and check out our podcast HardReset on iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and iheartradio for more free form video game discussion. This week we talked about what games roster would have made the PlayStation classic actually good. And our movies podcast NoRefunds the podcast that watches bad movies so you don’t have to. You can find everything we do over at ColdNorthPro.com but until next week just go play some games.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
By: Patrick "TheLaw" Morris
Hey everybody welcome back to LegalSpeak am TheLawMorris and this is the video essay series where I get to talk about the games I've been playing and the video game industry as a whole. Today we are going to be talking about remakes and remasters. Before we get into all of that though I want to take a minute to remind everyone to check out our podcasts HardReset where we discuss video game news and video game related topics in a more free form conversational format and NoRefunds the podcast that watches bad movies so you don’t have to! You can find both of those on itunes and youtube, HardReset is also available on Spotify and iHeartRadio and NoRefunds will be available in those places soon. You can also find everything we do all in one place over at ColdNorthPro.com. Now…Remakes and remasters.
Before we dive into whether or not remakes and remasters are good let's nail down a definition of the terminology that is thrown around about these types of games. There are a lot of "Re" words thrown around pretty willynilly these days and frankly I get annoyed at people misusing these terms. So for the purposes of this video and hopefully as a public service announcement here's a quick definition of the four terms commonly used and abused around this conversation.
Remake: A remake is making the same game from the ground up. Same levels, characters, style, essentially the same game but new game engine, graphics engine, art, etc. same game new assets. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a perfect example of a remake.
Remaster: A remaster is a game that uses the old game and essentially gives it a really solid spit shine. Same assets but those assets have been polished and made to work on and utilize newer hardware. Same game with new polish. Final Fantasy x and x-2 and Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 on PS4 are excellent examples of remasters.
Reboot: A Reboot is a fresh take on an existing character. A new artist having a new idea for a character or IP that already exists and wiping the slate clean to start the story anew. Tomb Raider 2013 is a reboot. There seems to be a lot of people that call sequels reboots just because it's been a really long time since the last entry, Live Free of Die Hard, Predators, and The Force Awakens are all sequels not reboots.
Port: Finally a port is the least exciting term that needs defined. A port of a game is simply taking the same assets and game that existed on one platform and making some modifications to provide the same experience on different hardware. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories originally released on PSP was later ported to the PS2.
Now that we are all on the same page with respect to terminology we can discuss remakes and remasters.
During the eighth generation of consoles there has been an increasing number of remakes and remasters released when compared to previous generations. The reasoning for this can be speculated on until the cows come home but regardless of why this has been happening it doesn’t change the fact that there is a fairly vocal group of players that dislike remakes and remasters. While I am someone that loves remakes and remasters (more on that later) I think that the anti group has some legitimate arguments.
The main sticking point that the anti group leans on is that remakes and remasters are consuming resources that could be used to make new games rather than just remaking old games. Video games cost money to make and good video games require talented developers. If publishers are spending money on and assigning talented developers to remakes and remasters that leaves less money and fewer developers to work on new games which in turn means fewer new games available to play. What lends this argument credence is that over the course of this generation the double A segment of video games has almost entirely disappeared. There used to be small indie games, mid tier games, and big budget triple A games. In 2018 there are more triple A games than there ever have been but the smaller budget games from major studios are nowhere to be found. Without the "double A" segment we no longer get games like Chronicles of Riddick, Ratchet and Clank, or Indiana Jones and the emperors tomb instead we are getting more remakes and remasters than ever before.
These games are sometimes also seen as blatant cash grabs. While I am definitely of the opinion that sometimes remakes and remasters are cash grabs there are some people that are ready to call any remake or remaster a cash grab and even go as far as to accuse developers and publishers of manipulating and withholding products to double dip on the same game. Early in the PS4's life cycle people were quick to accuse Sony of forcing Naughty Dog to build The Last of Us for PS3 and PS4 simultaneously so they could stagger the release and sell multiple copies to some players. Similar accusations were leveled against Rockstar claiming Grand Theft Auto 5 was ready on PS4 much earlier than it was released but held back so that people would buy the game on PS3 then eventually again on PS4. I personally am of the opinion that the people that make these claims are conspiracy theorists that are convinced the world is out to get them.
And finally some people dislike remakes and remasters simply because they force people to come to terms with the fact that they have romanticized games in their minds. I know people that have raved about Red Faction Guerilla for years but when the Re-Mars-Tered version was released earlier this year that person was forced to face the fact that the game isnt as good as they were remembering.
Regardless of all of this I am still of the opinion that remakes and remasters are not only a fun stroll down memory lane but they are good for video games as a medium and the industry as a whole.
One of the most daunting threats to video games as a medium is compatibility. Video games are relatively still in their infancy and as a result there isnt a mass organized effort to preserve them. We are finally just now getting to the point where software and hardware developers are starting to think about the past and what it will take to be able to run older games now and in the future and conforming to universal standards. The PS4 and Xbox one both run on an X86 architecture similar to the one that PC's have been running on for years. At this point even the laymen like myself are starting to expect the next generation of consoles to be backwards compatible and for that backwards compatibility to be standard moving forward. Remaking and remastering games for the Xbox one and PS4 means those games and memories will be preserved for years to come. A great Remake can trick the player into thinking they are playing the old version of the game, I still from time to time find myself thinking that I'm playing the older version of Halo 2 while I play Halo 2 Anniversary and I press the button to change the graphics to the new style only to realize I've been playing the new style all along and the game is simply emulating my memories of how Halo 2 originally looked. That memory is worth preserving.
Over the years many great games have faced technical issues and without an internet connection to patch in a fix those issues have tainted an otherwise great game forever. The original Spyro the Dragon games have atrocious controls that have been immortalized on those discs and can never be fixed. The PS2 classic Shadow of the Colossus has always had frame rate issues that stand out as an eye sore on an otherwise excellent game. And Skyrim famously had a terrible memory leak on the PS3 version making it less and less playable the more you play the game to the point that the game finally just crashes upon launch. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy has resolved the control issues and made the game more comparable with contemporary games, the Shadow of the Collosus remake runs at a rock solid 60fps on a PS4pro, and the memory leak is nowhere to be found in the PS4 version of Skyrim. Remakes and remasters allowed developers the chance to make minor fixes that greatly improve the overall experience of otherwise great games.
Not only do remakes and remasters offer developers a second chance to fix what they have let slip through the cracks but they offer players a second chance to pick up a title they may have missed for any myriad of reasons. The first time I ever played some of my favorite games of all time was when they were remade or remastered. I was an xbox and gamecube kid during the sixth generation and didn’t have reliable access to a PS2 so when I had the opportunity to jump on Shadow of the Colossus when it was remastered for PS3 I was all over it. I played the entire Bioshock series and The Last of Us for the first time on PS4, and the catalyst into one of my favorite stories ever told happened when I was stuck on a plane and had nothing else to do but sink my teeth into Metal Gear Solid 3D on my 3DS.
Remaking or remastering a game can offer developers and players a second chance for romance but they also have the potential to set the stage for a more meaningful future. After the Crash Bandicoot Nsane Trilogy, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and the recent announcement of the Crash Team Racing remake I have little doubt that Vicarious Visions and Toys For Bob wont be trying their hand and picking up where Naughty Dog and Insomniac left off.
Overall some remakes and remasters are bad but the same can be said for anything else. I appreciate the work that goes into remaking and modernizing some of my favorite games and allowing me to relive some of those experiences on contemporary hardware.
What are some of your favorite remakes or remasters? Which ones did you think were a disaster and never should have happened? And what games from yesteryear do you want to see get the anniversary treatment? Let me know in the comments down below.
If you liked what you heard or read make sure to subscribe for more videos like this and check out coldnorthpro.com for everything we do all in one spot. This week on HardReset we will be discussing the what games would have made the PlayStation classic and instabuy for us and we made the mistake of watching Gotti recently so we will be discussing that on NoRefunds on Tuesday. I will be back next week talking about Just Cause 4 so until then enjoy some remastered games!
By: Patrick Morris
Hey everybody welcome back to LegalSpeak I'm TheLawMorris and this is the video essay series where I get to talk about the games I've been playing and what I think of the video game industry as a whole. Today not only will I be talking about but I will also be defending Star Wars Battlefront 2 so get ready. Before we get started with that though I need to take a minute to remind you of our podcasts HardReset and NoRefunds where we discussed Micro Consoles and Spider-Man 3 this week. You can find both of those on itunes, HardReset is also available on spotify, iheartradio and now on youtube, and NoRefunds will be on Spotify and IheartRadio as soon as possible. You can visit us at ColdNorthPro.com to find everything we do all in one spot. Now with all that out of the way…lets ruffle some feathers.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is not a bad game. It's not a good game either but its definitely not bad. If anything I would say Battlefront 2 is an okay game. The graphics are fantastic and on both the PS4pro and the Xbox one X it looks absolutely jaw dropping. Mechanically the game is uninspired but sound and functions as intended. And overall performance is good. The game runs well with minimal issues on a huge range of hardware configurations from the xbox one and base PS4 all the way up to the latest 2080ti. While there is a lot wrong with the game at the end of the day it would be unfair to criticize it for mechanics, visuals, or performance.
When the game launched people were extremely frustrated and Battlefront 2 actually wound up getting more attention than pretty much any other game last year, granted it was almost entirely bad attention but it was still attention. Now I'm not saying that Battlefront 2 shouldn’t have gotten the attention it did because the way the game was monetized and marketed was undeniably predatory. EA is a money grubbing company that pushes the envelope in what are acceptable monetization strategies and with Battlefront they pushed to far. The blunder that was the launch of Battlefront 2 has been discussed at length by almost everyone on the internet, I'm not here to defend the game it was I'm here to defend the game it has become.
After the dust settled and Dice was left alone to continue to develop Battlefront 2 there were still a ton of people hating on the game and the biggest complaint that I saw on the internet seemed to be that it wasn’t as good as Battlefront 2 2005. Now please don’t hate me for saying this but the original Battlefront and Battlefront 2 are both very shallow arcade shooters. They were both without a doubt fun games but even comparing them to their contemporaries like Knights of the Old Republic and Halo 2 both of the old Battlefront games were extremely shallow and one note. That’s not a criticism of the old Battlefront games because its okay to enjoy a game like that but everyone is constantly putting the old games up on this pedestal held up by nostalgia and rose tinted glasses. People are constantly comparing Battlefront 2 to Battlefront 2 2005 and citing it not being as good as a reason why they don’t play it. Battlefront 2 is a very real game in all our recent memory that is being compared to some of the most romanticized memories of any video game to come out this century. In preparation for this video I actually went back and played my copy of Battlefront 2005 and yes I had fun and yes it was nostalgic but im not arguing that that was a bad game I'm just saying that its not as good a game as we all remember it being.
The new Battlefront 2 certainly isn't a good game. It's a game that is full of problems and was especially disappointing because during the lead up to the game it was marketed so incredibly well that we all believed it was the game we were all hoping for since Battlefront 3 was cancelled. The campaign was genuinely awful, the story was short and cliché and the characters were lacking in personality and depth. I am almost never one to advocate for axing a single player element from a game but if EA bankrolls another Dice made Battlefront game I really hope they don’t try to include a single player campaign. The loot boxes were terrible and predatory, no matter how you spin it the game was very obviously designed as a money making machine. And there simply wasn’t enough content at launch and there is still a shocking lack of content that I would have assumed would have been in the game by now. We just got Obi Wan Kenobi in the game and theres still no Anakin Skywalker? What's the hold up?
Now that all that has been said here's my defense:
Its not the best game ever but does it have to be? Its not an online casino aimed at children anymore so that complaint is no longer valid.
The Dice Battlefront games have gotten a ton of hate over the last several years and a lot of it has been deserved but what they havent gotten is recognition for the good things they have done. Every single time I play Battlefront or Battlefront 2 I have fun. Dice made two games that are meant to be arcade style shooters to be fun with friends. I get online pair up with a friend or two or eight and we have fun playing Star Wars. It's that simple, its not a genre defining game and it certainly wont be winning any awards but it's fun and sometimes that's all I want a game to be is fun.
It's become a hip thing on the internet to hate on Battlefront 2 as though it was some terrible war crime against humanity. And the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people that hate the game haven't even played it. It's a fun game that has righted a lot of wrongs and while yes it's no where near the best game you'll ever play I would challenge any Star Wars fan to sit down with a handful of their friends and play Battlefront 2 and honestly tell me they didn’t have fun. Video games are supposed to be fun and that exactly what Battlefront 2 is, so it gets a pass in my book. People are willing to pay $15 to go see a two hour movie that's mediocre at best why not pay $10-$20 for Battlefront 2 for four hours of fun with your friends?
What are your thoughts on Battlefront 2? Let me know in the comments down below.
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