Galvatron asks a few game industry based questions.

The interactive entertainment industry has come a long way in a relatively short period of time, continuing at a steady pace to penetrate into the mainstream psyche; not just with every blockbuster, replete with big budget marketing campaigns spread across digital and printed media, but smaller, more artistically recognised efforts made for a fraction of the development costs.

For every Grand Theft Auto that dwarfs previous revenue, once the royal reserve of film or music, there shines a Journey or Gravity Rush; elevated to gaming noir by the industry’s generation of gamers, now grown with emotional attachment, influence and expendable income to broker both their own habits forged years back, their children also.

Nostalgia combined with the evolution in gaming makes the prior stereotypes of Pacman or Asteroids not only ancient to today’s cinematic experiences, but positively insulting. Retro classics in today’s industry mean Flashback, Final Fantasy VII or Speedball II.

The image of gamers themselves has also matured to correlate with it’s larger audience; once laughably the domain of the bedroom geek, adverts and demographic analysis denotes that for every Call of Duty purchased by teenagers or gamers in their twenties, there’s Brain Train procured by parents FOR parents, or Football Manager for office workers via IOS / Android devices on the 7.23am to Fenchurch Street. In many a case the protagonist who skilfully sniped you from a bewildering distance could well be a female Lecturer based in Hawaii, or a serving Private enjoying downtime.

State it with a nudge; gaming is becoming an acceptable mainstay of popular culture. Movies, sitcoms and music increasingly reference it, from Rules of Engagement to Lana Del Ray. The gaming console has shifted it’s perspective from the bedroom to the living room.

It’s a disappointing situation then that the pivotal game review, hewn to inform the buying public of each titles DNA to separate it from genre staples, is currently a diluted, incoherent voice.

I take no inherent satisfaction from this attack, which it effectively is, save the opportunity to articulate issues bubbling under the surface; like most gamers, I’m a professional with varied interests outside of it, including sport, film and music. My interest was secured by the arrival of the Commodore 64 and it’s escapist digital representations of interactive worlds, an interest maintained with a roll-call of gaming systems, from Game Boy to Playstation, PC to Vita. All had their share of classics, some more than others.

As such, I remember reading my brothers copy of Zzap 64 regularly, primarily for it’s reviews of classics such as Rambo, Joe Blade & Sanxion, in addition to it’s free games sellotaped to the front cover. In my final year of school in Middlesex, with a progressive understanding of the English language, a quality publication surfaced which continues to be a valuable source of reference to this day; Edge.

Edge didn’t just use niche literary terms, imaginative metaphors or a mature perspective to preview or review titles supremely well. It gave – and continues to give – structure to it’s objective summaries which usually involved a key fundamental; outlining the mechanics of how a game actually plays. To elaborate; what is the cumulative effect to the player of a series of button presses and movement in relation to it’s digital representation on screen, and how satisfying is that experience?

Unlike film or music disciplines which are passive, albeit no less gratifying experiences, gaming requires active interaction by the recipient to indulge it’s worlds. Thus, in this reviewers eyes, it’s paramount in reviews to outline it’s specific play mechanics when informing whether to buy, rent or ignore. Whilst growing budgets dictate narrative should involve characters motivations or story arcs, that is a pivotal hook of a literary novel or film. Gaming has the capacity to bypass that necessity by placing the recipient into it’s world AS a character. It’s what you do within that world, and how well you do it, which is the key to determining the title’s level of success. Seminal classics such as Another World, Zelda: Ocarina of Time or Shadow of The Colossus rightfully placed a direct correlation between immersion and playability. A specific, recent example is Assassin’s Creed: Liberation on Playstation Vita; whilst the game was bizarrely criticised for it’s apparent lack of character motivation, I for one was primarily interested in the technological and thus immersive leap of a fully realised 3D realm into portable form. A fact sadly lost on many of today’s reviewers, unable to grasp this key differentiator to the growing bemusement of the gaming public it claims to represent. Many an owner of Liberation will be nodding accordingly at this point.

Conversely, many reviewers will be reading thus far and firming to the notion I am stating the bleeding obvious. It is precisely why I’ve chosen to write this article when I say the evidence is there to the contrary; either by design or through negligence, gaming journalism is failing to inform, it’s ability to influence hamstrung by it’s own proliferation, with professional perspective often replaced by a misplaced yet growing sense of self-importance.

Exhibit A is possibly the most pretentious review I have come across in 25 years of gaming; for Call of Duty: Black Ops II on home consoles, on a mainstream pure gaming website popular in both the far east and western hemisphere. It was less a review and more a 1500 word ‘article’ outlining the story and its emotional impact to the player in the first 1000 words. That’s right, the rambunctious Call of Duty series. The title has many strengths, however character narrative is not one of them. The remaining 500 words described the length of the campaign, it’s set-pieces and multiplayer component. At no stage whatsoever did the reviewer accurately relay the tangible feeling of the actual mechanics of it’s gameplay. Zero.

Moreover, this was a featured review. An exception to the rule? I’d genuinely love to say yes, but that would not only negate the point of this article, it’s unfortunately a growing trend by gaming Editors and writers to ‘innovate’ their verdicts, thus onwards to Exhibit B.

Recently, on the same website I came across an umpteenth review of a very different type of game which I’ve decided to purchase on the Playstation Vita; Persona 4 Golden. Whilst I’ve recently come to the realisation that many of my all-time favourite games have originated from Japan, including luminaries such as Shadow of The Colossus, Metal Gear Solid 3, The Ocarina of Time & Demon’s Souls, I’ve never been taken in by kitsch anime either by it’s form in film (Akira aside) nor games (Final Fantasy 7 also aside). Persona, a sprawling RPG, has received critical acclaim since it’s initial release on PS2. Whilst also carrying out day-to-day tasks as part-time jobs, making friends, attending classes and securing girlfriends, it’s a totally different title to many a gaming diet. As I say with a keen sense of intrigue; Japanese kitsch.

This particular review was effectively a ‘discussion’ of the title’s selected talking points by two reviewers who clearly revelled in what they felt was a revolutionary review, yet amounted to nothing more than an unstructured, uninformative conversation in the very best traditions of self-promotion. The type of conversation one is forced to endure on commuter-packed journeys to and fro work. In their defence, if i was seeking an article to confirm gaming is as sexist and churlish as ever it’s a great reference point. It certainly wasn’t a summation of the title’s gameplay mechanics. Yet not a single review has given me the information I sought to affirm my buying instincts; Are the characters walking past static screens a la Final Fantasy 7 / Resident Evil 2, or interacting with it in three dimensions? Can you move the camera in both the turn-based battles and the general world? For a title with circa 70 hours of gameplay, what level of interaction is there with the background?

It rankles highly that despite dozens of reviews on Metacritic and elsewhere, 75% of all reviews focus on what the player will do within the confines of the game environment, rather than relaying those actions directly to the gamepad. Read any of the 25+ reviews available online and chances are they will attempt to impress upon you that one of Persona’s key strengths is ‘you go to school, take a part-time job, choose a girlfriend or sometimes choose to study’ with a nonchalance suggesting you actually participate in those activities with zero questioning of suspension of disbelief.

Really? When you ‘go to school’, what does that actually involve in the context of holding a controller in your hands and how long is that an activity in real-time? Because if undertaking a part-time job amounts to a few button clicks, then that is surely worth mentioning?

Furthermore, look back at the Metacritic ratings for Far Cry 2. I bought that title on PS3 for the same reasons countless reviewers feigned upon; the variety of open-world stealth and gun options, it’s ‘living, breathing world’ and, my personal favourite, ‘grass swaying from wind adds strategy to burning out enemies’. None of this was true on the PS3 version; guard posts re-spawned, enemies lacked variety and amounted to mindless shooting. AI, supposedly refined, was a million miles from Halo, it was more akin to PS2. Surely the law of averages would dictate most reviewers will acknowledge this in the body of a review. Bizarre. Was it because the publisher and developer had made the reviewers feel part of the industry with endless preview invites, replacing true preview honesty with marketing spiel which simply ended up embarrassing the reviewers?

Exhibit C is the growing trend of pretentious reviewer who is ignorant of a gaming system’s audience and should respectfully choose to verbalise their comments in a pub rather than assume responsibility to accurately inform. Enter stage left, the PS Vita.

I’ll lay my cards on the table for the sake of transparency; so exacerbated am I and a growing base of gamers at the vitriol aimed at Sony’s Playstation Vita by popular gaming websites it singularly prompted me to respond as a volunteer reviewer to Push Square and The Vita Lounge and balance out the growing bias and negligence of certain ‘influential’ sections of the console reviewing community.

Like many a gamer who actually own’s the device and buys titles for it, I believe it to be a ground-breaking system. Certain titles deserve recognition not merely for their technical accomplishment but supreme gameplay – NFS: Most Wanted, Gravity Rush, Sine Mora, Wipeout 2048, MGS3 HD, AC: Liberation, Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Yet all have been downgraded by mainstream gaming reviewers for either lacking the technical wizardry in comparison to the PS3 or for other irrelevant reasons, such as lazy comparisons with smartphones or tablets, despite the laughable notion of playing any FPS on Vita’s twin sticks versus a pure touch interface deemed identical. Indeed, the recent high-profile release COD: Declassified makes this point irrefutable; the Metacritic critics average it out at 33. It is, by this reviewers own admission, flawed in a number of aspects. Yet users give it circa 5.5.

Why the anomaly? Certainly in part due to Activision not dispatching free review code (ironically anticipating a backlash due to minimal content) and therefore requiring review sites buy their own. Like their games-buying public.

The irony of that pomposity is seemingly lost on them, with vociferous denials rendered impotent by the sneering contempt for the device and evident in paragraph after paragraph in their own reviews and gaming podcasts, who on occasion tempt buyers such as myself to hold them to account in a live, public discussion and not only blow away these lazy arguments, but ensure they are not a sign of things to come. Oh, and these are allegedly PS3 or pro-Sony publications, yet the bile for Vita is so palpable in their rationales they fail to realise actual gamers don’t just seek true representation of customer feedback or a machine / title’s genuine worth.

We demand it.

For reasons unbeknownst to anyone but themselves, these ‘critics’ are salivating at every review opportunity to pen the machines epitaph. Yet owners, who have ploughed hundreds of their hard-earned wages, are absolutely enjoying the machine, it’s growing content and looking forward to increasingly impressive titles. Is Q1 or Q2 2013 barren in releases? Yes. Similarly to early PS3 releases, incidentally. Does the machine already have a glut of AAA quality titles after it’s first year to encourage optimism? Absolutely. It is, without any shadow of a doubt, the best portable console yet released, and as my downloaded copy of Prometheus testifies, a fantastic media player also, with PS1 compatibility fluent and digital downloading direct to the system a breeze.

From a journalistic standpoint, Vita owners deserve to have such positivity represented with reviews which aren’t skewed in the first instance. Moreover, the issue is compounded by stupidity on an embarrassing scale; continuously comparing titles on Vita directly to their PS3 counterparts so regularly they need to be informed that the machine is a handheld device, not a home console with a 250gb hard drive and multiple outputs designed to maximise HD / DTS connectivity.

There’s a discrepancy here between these gaming ‘experts’ and the buyers they claim to represent. Unfortunately, this realisation is the sole reserve of the machine’s owners and certain independent websites who restore your faith in not just positive critique, but sound judgement based on gaming fundamentals.

It’s time that certain ‘influential’ gaming Journalists and Editors took a step back and remembered their objectivity, especially if they evidently yearn to be considered on a par with their film and music counterparts. As the industry continues to expand with greater revenue, attention and media saturation, a holistic and structurally objective review community is absolutely necessary. Critics can still have the final word, should they approach the medium with a sense of responsibility.

Review both hardware and software fairly; inform the reader of key information to sway buying decisions, remove your personal bias and avoid ‘innovative’ reviews so as to not suggest you would prefer to analyse works of 1900 fiction instead.

Looking back at the history of gaming and my own introduction to it’s delicacies, it’s important one does recognise the indispensable role reviews play in providing commentary and critique to the industry’s most revered and equally reviled releases. This article, whilst seeking to hold ignorant or biased commentators to account, recognises there are many strong, independent and fair voices, both in tone and conclusion, within the industry. My focus in temporarily hijacking the spotlight direction and reviewing the reviewers, is in part drawn from frustration and equally recognition that for every such article, there’s a flipside of independent, high quality alternatives deserving greater voice for the right reasons. As gamers, we owe it to ourselves to highlight who exactly are serving our interests, versus their own.

Reviews are often, for millions of gamers, a pre-cursory taste of an ordered wine; just like a Sommelier with a negative critique however, it should recognise the responsibility of it’s recommendation. I have selected some of the finest wines in gaming largely due to the process of reviews both mainstream and independent and this will continue. The trick to keeping the balance, however, is to remember they and we are not part of the gaming industry. We are part of it’s audience.

After all, are we not all gamers in the first instance?

Galvatron

Reviewing the Reviewers

Edge – 9/10
Trusted Reviews 8/10
The Vita Lounge – 8.5/10
Push Square – 8.5/10
IGN – 4/10
Gaming Informer – 6/10
CVG – 7.5/10
Destructoid – 8/10
Gaming Age – 8.5/10
EGM – 7/10
GameCritics – 7.5/10
Kotaku – 5/10
Game Revolution 8/10
GamesTM – 7/10

 

Galvatron image is from yand.re

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Nothing rankles Galvatron's inner-circuits more than corrupt, inept gaming reviewers. Your wretched planet, whilst lacking in Energon, appeals to my sense of challenge; I have grown accustomed to genre's such as; FPS, action/adventure, old-school shooter and stealth titles. I'm also a reviewer for Vita games at Push Square (www.pushsquare.com)
  • teras

    Great article.
    I think that most vita owners will agree with what you say. Right now I own a vita with the following games:

    AC:Liberation
    Uncharted GA
    Mortal kombat
    SF x Tekken
    NFS MW
    WRC 3
    MGS HD Collection
    Ninja Gaiden Plus
    Virtua Tennis 4
    Oddworld HD

    Vagrant Story (PS1)
    Fear Effect 1&2 (PS1)

    GTA Vice City Stories (PSP)
    Gran Turismo (PSP)
    GOW Chains of Olympus & Ghost Of Sparta (PSP)
    Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded (PSP)
    Tactics Ogre LUCT (PSP)
    Persona 3 Portable (PSP)
    Valkyria Chronicles 2 (PSP)

    Moreover, I am not a new gamer. Most of the PS1 and PSP titles I had already played when I had those consoles in the past. Still I enjoy replaying some of the true classics of Gaming. Imagine someone who didn’t have the chance to experience these games and owns a vita now!

    There are also many other worthy titles for the vita. Persona 4 Golden (sorry, I’m a fan :), Playstation All Stars BR, Little Big Planet, Rayman, Lego, Sound Shapes, Zero Escape, Gravity Rush, FIFA, the classic PS1 Final Fantasy games, Parasite Eve 2, Castlevania SOTN, so many PSP RPG’s.

    Should someone invest in the handheld just to play old albeit excellent games? Probably not, however what is on offer is plenty and good. More will come.

    There is critisism and there is injustice. The vita so far suffers more from the latter.

  • Thanks Teras; some great titles there, I also have re-acquired some PS1 classics again direct to Vita, including FF7 & Tekken 2. Now if they released Tekken Tag 2 with 3G online, that would be the business.

    Re Persona 4: Golden, don’t get me wrong – I’m utterly convinced it could well be the systems best game thus far and I’m buying it; my example was purely to state how certain lazy writers relay in-game suspension of disbelief to the public in the contexts of control and real-time.

    Shout out to Virtua Tennis 4, it’s awesome playing with your HD avatar against Nadal in a grand slam final 🙂

  • teras

    Also there is an ongoing one-week 50% sale for the Final Fantasy games (all vita compatible).
    Special mention goes to FFVII, FFVIII, FFIX, FF Tactics and Dissidia 012 FF 🙂

  • I very much agree with you. Many reviews today seem focused on the emotional value reviewers hold to a game, as opposed to describing a game’s mechanics and if they work well; they also neglect to mention, if they like the game, why it may not work for others even if these reviewers do not perceive it as a problem themselves (to exemplify, Persona 4 Golden’s repetition in the dungeon-crawling mechanic which I adore, but may not be well-suited for everyone). I think in the general gaming community this is an issue as well; gamers often seemingly forget that their opinion and the one f their peers is not one that is reverberated through the entire (potential) gaming community. For many, the prospect of sinking a hundred hours into a lengthy role-playing game is horrifying, whereas playing a round of Just Dance is. Of course, this point pertains to various degrees of gamers and is not as black and white as the example I just stated. Therefore, in case the looks or general concept of a video game do not show the full premise of the video game, it is up to the video game reviewer to expose the hidden mechanics of the game and what purpose they fulfill in the grand scheme of gameplay, to ensure potential buyers know what they can expect (does the game feature moving animations? Does the combat become repetitive? Is the online multiplayer component balanced and not riddled with problems?) and I feel that is lacking in many reviews.

  • Jasper, I thought we’d be in agreement on this in the main – I read your recent article ‘an open letter to the gaming community’ and found myself nodding accordingly.

    It’s why I believe sites such as The Vita Lounge & Push Square are worthy of exemption and why I choose to write for them. Some of the larger names are increasingly detached from their core audience, deliberately so it seems to purely bring in more hits or subscriptions.

    Gravity Rush is a title that does have a few flaws (slight repetition of combat, inconsistent collision detection) but that game is utterly sublime and unlike anything else around on console, handheld or PC. It’s merging of Vita’s various control inputs, coupled with the sensation of flight & speed should have generated much more favourable reviews.

    Instead we got ‘it’s quite good, but not a system seller’.

    Well, it IS a system seller, except it’s on Vita so ‘meh’.

    • I think that is Buramu’s article you are referring to. And I do agree that being compared to home consoles is a major problem the Vita faces; this can be attributed to the Vita’s games being incredibly near console quality, but not having similar budgets and slightly inferior technology. A reviewer should easily be able to distinguish between a handheld and a home console, though.

  • Sorry Buramu, my bad 🙂

    Re distinguishing between console and handheld; exactly. If it’s an occasionally wrong comparison then fine, it happens. Yet the same perpetrators are spouting utter nonsense re Vita’s lack of decent games.

    Now that a few are countering that bile, they are starting to change tack or their level of vociferousness; a few months ago it was ‘it has no decent games and is destined to fail’, whereas now it’s ‘actually, there are some okay titles, but all third party support is dying’.

    These guys surely need to realise that there are lots of peeps out there that will challenge these views if it continues; the accessibility of social media and use of smartphones mean Vita owners who feel misrepresented should challenge these fools.

    I’d be happy to challenge some of the key offenders – see ratings – to a live discussion on the pro’s and con’s of the device, through one of their (bad) comedy podcasts, and expose their bias for all and sundry.

    Time to refill those canons 😀

    • I think most ‘Vita has no games’ arguments stem from the fact that
      1. The Vita is getting many console ports.
      2. Sony is marketing the Vita very much as a portable PS3.

      And back when the 3DS was not selling magnificently, there were also many features written calling it a failure. Journalists like to be on the winning team; and it’s much easier to write something that is happening now than make an accurate prediction for the future.

  • Don

    Thank you for a very interesting article, it is good to know that are other people out there who feel the same way, my faith in the world is slowly being restored, but I think there is politics at work here, Sony being a japanese company that is not doing that well financially it seems that these websites will put down any new system until it does well, then it is business and has no choice but to support the system. If you look at reviews for exclusive X360 games or any Apple product for that matter on these sites it almost looks like they have been paid to brain wash people.

    • Politics is a great point – Galvatron agrees.

      Yet there seems something larger at work; Jasper is spot-on re 3DS’ similar difficulty, just prior to it’s huge price drop the week before Vita’s release. The difference to me seems that the cost issue has been hijacked beyond sound reason; these guys lauded the Vita prior to arrival and actually felt the launch pricing was fair given the power afforded. The moment 3DS went down in price the Vita was sidelined. I don’t have an issue with that per se, but the hypocrisy which followed – no decent games, too expensive, disappointing ports – I’m not buying. That’s just embarassing on behalf of the reviewing community and Vita owners who fundamentally disagree with those statements.

      There needs to be a backbone of argument which accepts that whilst Nintendo’s price drop was pivotal, it doesn’t remove the value of the titles or superior hardware Sony offer. Or to put it differently, a great game is still a great game. I’ve had the Game Boy, SNES, N64 & Gamecube over the years so fully respect Nintendo and their market, but I want proper representation re Vita’s strengths and weaknesses as an owner and gaming fan, not financial forecasting to ‘back’ the right horse.

      Mind you, Galvatron sees a parallel with your planets greatest football team – Liverpool FC – and they are also on the receiving end of the media.

      That Autobot Gerrard reminds me of Prime 🙂

    • MikeRox83

      I’ve a feeling that the new Japanese government, is going to heavily tip the game back in favour of the Japanese companies. They will end up devaluing the Yen again (this has actually been one of Sony/Nintendo’s biggest competitive problems)

  • Yuuki

    really great post

  • Don

    At the end of the day these so called journalist probably don’t realize they are systematically helping to fundamentally destroy the games industry as we know it. If they continue to be dishonest and persuade people in to whatever agendas they have I fear they are taking the freedom of choice from us. I would not like to imagine a world without consoles like the Vita.

  • Don, that’s my fear also; we may be inadvertently empowering these guys by saying so, but if I were one of the guilty parties I’d hang my head in shame for effectively selling out my integrity and spouting nonsense which – in the case of the Vita and it’s owners – certainly doesn’t represent my thoughts or anyone else I know who actually has the machine.

    It will be interesting to see if anyone from the likes of IGN, PSM3, Kotaku or elsewhere have the strength of conviction to redress the balance.

    Galvatron suspects they’ll simply claim to be fans all along when Vita has a price cut, becomes interactive with PS4 and streams games via Gaikai.

    Let’s see…..

  • MikeRox83

    Nail on head!

    I was utterly disgusted to see Pocket Gamer mark down the Vita version of NFS: Most Wanted to 8/10 due to “techical limitations” whilst happily awarding the non recognisable iOS version 9/10.

    IGN’s Vita reviews are lol worthy if they’re multi-platform games. “Well it’s the same game in every way… but the graphics aren’t as good and it’s only 8 player rather than 10 player so we’re going to dock 2 marks.

    Vita games should be reviewed stand alone, not against other format versions. You can’t put your PS3 in your pocket, get it out on the train and earn gold medals on NFS. You can’t play a PS3 30,000ft in the air on a transatlantic flight.

    Vita allows me to do this. That alone makes it invaluable to me. I never thought I’d play a near perfect Jet Set Radio on the AA55 to Chicago.

    Sure, the graphics aren’t as good as the PS3… but accessing a PS3 here isn’t an option. The gameplay? It’s perfectly intact. I can’t get over how similarly the Vita versions of the likes of NFS/AC/Sonic ASR Transformed/FIFA 13 and the list goes on, play like their home console versions. No portable device has EVER offered such parity in the same generation.

    Unless there is a crippling compromise on a Vita version, there is no reason at all for it to score lower than the home console versions. Vita owners already know it’s not going to be graphically identical in most circumstances. So that’s really not an issue, and looking at other mobile gaming options, what else offers a similar experience?

    • Absolutely.

      Over the years, I’ve owned Game Boy, Advance, Atari Lynx, Game Gear and now Vita – the latter may have the evolution in technology on it’s side, but it’s an awesome device nonetheless. I actually look at as literally a portable Playstation. Once you factor in it’s digital download integration, media player, PS1 emulation, email/browser functionality AND it’s graphically resplendent games, it really deserves more support from the gaming community.

      When I first got my IPhone, I downloaded a fair few games. Things like the C64 emulator were simply amazing.

      Then I tried to play Nova. Or GTA. Whichever way you cur it, the virtual sticks are a royal pain in the ass which prevents intuitive movement. It cannot be done without accessories. Granted. Some shoot’em ups like Skyforce reloaded are awesome, but it requires the same response one should give biased reviews – one finger 🙂

      The dual sticks on Vita really come into their own for games like Gravity Rush, Assassins Creed: Liberation and Metal Gear Solid: HD. Killzone: Mercenary and Soul Sacrifice will also no doubt benefit from the tactile analogue inputs – and I’ll say it now; for top drawer titles like these, I’ll pay console prices.

      Now if GTA4 were recreated by Rockstar in full 3D for the device, that would probably double sales in the western markets within 6 months. One can only hope…

  • Jon Harding-Rathbone

    A thoroughly intelligent and enjoyable article. I completely agree with you. The whole reason I also put myself forward to review for this website is out of a respect for the industry and an opinion that things are done better here as the reviews ARE so objective. You mention black ops declassified, with it’s utterly attrocious review scores and yet it consistently sells well near the top of the psn vita chart, with an average review score hovering around four out of five stars. I remember spending a couple of hours looking for a decent review of WRC 3 that didn’t just slate the game without mention of how it actually handled and played before finding it reviewed here with depth and focus. It’s a shame that the reviewing industry is now so hellbent on sensationalist, audience grabbing articles that are often rants based on little or no fact. The vita is an amazing piece of kit and everyone who I have showed is amazed with it. Yes, I think Sony could do with giving it a bit more of a push, and it’s a shame that third party support isn’t where it should be, but with so much unreasonable negativity against the vita, it’s easy to see why this is happening. Sony always plans long term and a lot of websites pulled similar stunts when the vita didn’t shoot to millions in it’s first few months, and yet now the ps3 has surpassed xbox 360 sales, despite many users having to buy as many as 3 or 4 xbox 360s because of the RROD. I still fully believe that despite the situation the vita is in at the moment, people will be looking back five years from now wondering why anyone was concerned with the early days of the vita. I now have over 20 high quality games for it and the high quality titles will continue to come.

    • Jon, the thing that gives me hope re the Vita is ironically the very same thing it’s constantly criticised for; the initial slow momentum of software. Although it’s been out for a year, and call me naive if you wish, just like PS3 and early PSP cycles the software was drip-fed. The February Playstation conference will no doubt disclose hidden Vita games for 2013 and with Sony’s first party studios leading by example, third party studios will no doubt support it a la Criterion, Ubisoft, Tecmo, Capcom & Namco.

      Like you say, Sony are shooting themselves in the foot with a lack of consistent marketing support, but PS4 will signal true interaction with Vita and that’s probably when the likes of Rockstar will get involved.

      Given Konami & Kojima’s support for it’s predecessor though, it would be a case of when rather than if Metal Gear arrives….Phantom Pain, possibly?

      • Jon Harding-Rathbone

        Yeah, the funny thing is the 3DS was in exactly the same boat until it had a major price cut and nearly a full year in when ut started getting some games. People seem to forget that development cycles are getting longer and longer, so there must be quite a few unannounced titles floating about at the moment. I think you’re right about the next Metal Gear and ps4. I can imagine how cool it would be to have the vita used as a controller, just like the wii u does but with seriously more horsepower 🙂

    • I agree with your general point but I do have to note that user scores on PSN are not good for tracking a game’s quality and how much people like it.

      • Jon Harding-Rathbone

        No, perhaps not. Like with the app store/ play store things tend to get rated too highly most of the time in my opinion, but I guess a lot of people are enjoying playing it online.

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