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Four months into 2011 and I’m confident that this is the end of video games as we know it.

Four highly anticipated games have come out already and each one of them, despite getting high scores from “professional” reviewers,   these four  games have exhibited signs that the video game industry is slowly, changing into a bleak, soulless entity that will be absolute hell for consumers. Each game carries an idea that will taint the industry if more publishers and developers continue to implement them.

Dragon Age II (Bioware/EA)

A highly anticipated sequel gone awry. Churned out in a year and a half after the first game, Bioware/EA laid off most of the staff from the original game. What players got was a vastly different game: what could have been an actual sequel to the original Dragon Age: Origins became a halfassed mess. Taking out everything that made Dragon Age: Origins such a notable game, players now got a vastly different experience. If Dragon Age: Origins was the spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate series, Dragon Age II was the spiritual successor to Ninety-Nine Nights and Infinite Undiscovery. Except at least those games weren’t as lazy. Seriously, how many times do you go through the same dungeon, fight the same waves and waves of enemies, and notice the same exact backgrounds? On the positive note, Dragon Age 2 is probably the greenest game ever thanks to all that recycled material.

What is the detrimental element here?

Dragon Age 2 could have been an exceptional game. What it ultimately comes down to is that Dragon Age 2 was a game that was hardly polished, incredibly rushed, and  had nothing in common with what made its predecessor so enjoyable ,but having enough money for advertising (and bribes) to drown out any notion of it being anything but Game of the Year material.  But I don’t want to blame the advertising team, partly because at least they did their damn job right. Shame on the reviewers who obviously got paid off and gave this game anything higher than a 6. Shame on the developers who had their own team members write positive reviews on Metacritic while at the same time having the gall to condemn anyone who gave Dragon Age 2 a low score telling them they’re scores could be detrimental to them [the developers] in wages lost.

Please do the developers a favor and buy this game used if you really want it. These assholes don’t deserve the money.

Dead Space 2 (EA)

Actually, Dead Space 2 seems to be a fairly decent game overall. But it has one glaring issue that I’m afraid we’ll be seeing  in EA games from now on.

What is the detrimental element here?

Dead Space 2 isn’t the first game or EA game to do this: but it’s the first game that it really grabbed my attention. Dead Space 2, along with everything multiplayer EA game now comes packaged with an Online Pass code if you buy a copy new. The Online Pass is a code you redeem on your console that unlocks all online multiplayer content. This is supposed to sway people into buying the game new, because chances are if you pick up a used copy the previous owner probably already has used the Online Passcode. Making a used copy virtually useless if you want to play online. But don’t worry:  anyone who buys an EA game used , you can buy an Online Pass  on your console’s online marketplace for only ten dollars!

Luckily for anyone who bought Dead Space 2 used, you didn’t miss out on the multiplayer. It was shit.

EA argues it this way: “We don’t get any money from any copies that are sold used, and yet these players had access to our own servers to play online! How is that fair?!”

Funny fact:  after I noticed that EA did this, I started buying used EA games with the Online Pass intact. Even for games I originally would have bought new.

I understand EA’s train of thought when it comes to this, but as a customer I don’t like it. Why do I have to type in a code to authenticate my copy of a game I just bought new? Why are you making this small little hassle for people that actually buy your games new?  Instead of Online Passes, why not give every new copy of a game free DLC instead? That way, you don’t feel like EA is punishing you for used sales. Instead, they’re rewarding you for buying new.

They actually did this before the Online Pass. Why they became more aggressive is beyond me. All I know is that it lost them a few sales.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 (Capcom)

A game most fighting game fans waited ten years for ended up being a painfully lackluster successor lacking many of the standard featured in Capcom’s other recent fighting games. The game itself was decent enough—but felt like a bare boned experience compared to Street Fighter IV, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and Super Street Fighter IV. Where was Tournament Mode? Replay theater?Why couldn’t you watch other players fight when you were in a lobby? Why wasn’t Mission mode as detailed as Super Street Fighter IV’s trial mode? Where they even trying to make a whole game, or did they know they could do the bare minimum and still get the sales?

What is the detrimental element here?

About 3 weeks after Marvel Vs Capcom 3 launched, a slew of paid DLC was put up on the PS3’s and 360’s online stores. Content that was already on the disc. You were spending money for keys to unlock content that should’ve been available at launch. For free. Now, it isn’t like Marvel vs Capcom 3 is the only game that’s done this. In fact, there are many, many games out there that have not only done this, but done it to a sickening extent (Check out Hyperdimension Neptunia and Rumble RosesXX’s  online stores.). Why is Marvel Vs Capcom 3 on my list and not those games? Because Marvel vs Capcom 3 didn’t have content as it was. They locked out content from a game that was already bare, knowing that fans would ravenously buy it regardless.

But this is smalltime compared to the final game:

Portal 2 (Valve)

Another highly anticipated sequel. It came out last night. It features a much longer campaign than the first game, as well as a secondary co-op campaign.  Hell, if you buy the PS3 version, you get the PC version free! For all intents and purposes, this game shouldn’t be on this list.

What is the detrimental element here?

The very second this came out last night on PC, an 85 dollar DLC pack was available. It contains animated gestures like taunts for your characters to use as well as an assortment of vanity items like hats much and outfits for the robot characters in the co-op campaign.

At least Marvel vs Capcom 3 had the decency to wait a few weeks to release content that should have been available for free. Valve ? Yeah, they release it right as the game comes out. “Hey, look at all this content we were making while we were making the game!”

I’ve seen a lot of Valve fans and “professional” reviewers over at the likes of kotaku defend this , saying that the content that Valve is selling is merely aesthetic ; it in no way is integral to the game itself. “Its not like they’re selling anything that affects the actual gameplay”, etc.

So, I guess they’re trying to say that we shouldn’t be bothered by flagrant micro-transactions.

Did you ever imagine that video games would become this shitty? Did you ever sit in front of your Playstation playing Street Fighter Alpha 3 and go “Man, can you imagine if we had to pay real money to use taunts for our characters?”

This is literally what Valve has done. You’re spending two dollars on a second or so long animation. Remember when developers implemented this kind of extra little stuff without having you pay for it? This is it; this is the beginning of the end, the nail in the coffin for video games as far as I’m concerned.

The fact that developers would sink this low really makes me question what the future of video games will be like…two years from now.