Features// SPOnG's Review of the Year 2010: October

Posted 3 Jan 2011 08:29 by
This is a continuing SPOnG retrospective of the year’s events.


It always seems to be round about this time of the year that David Jaffe does some soul searching and speaks openly about his own games. The Twisted Metal creator responded to comments from ‘a fan’ (we guess, it’s a funny way of showing it) that suggested that God of War’s gameplay mechanics were “clunky,” “poorly automated” and that “anyone with a clue considers Bayonetta, Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden” instead.

Rather than beat him down with a steel hammer, Jaffe said that God of War isn’t even trying to be like Bayonetta, as the flair used in Platinum’s game “blows the doors off” his own efforts (Jaffe: Bayonetta Blows the Doors Off God of War, 15th October). “The goal was never to be some amazing combat simulator,” he argued. “You may not like God of War but… there are other goals and ways of doing things.”

Microsoft’s Kinect was inching ever closer to its November launch date, and to help sell the device a little better a rather friendly-looking chap from GAME decided to make a video unboxing the peripheral for all to see (Video: Kinect Unboxing 5 Minutes of Spiel + Packaging, 29th October). He won’t get a career as a Youtube vanity star, but the delivery was adequate and his packaging skills are worthy of some real merit. Would watch again. Must look at the camera though. B+.

We wouldn’t have to wait until November for just Kinect - the Xbox 360 dashboard revamp was also to miss October. Rumours had flared up that Microsoft UK had unleashed the update at the end of the month, but Xbox Live Editor Daniel Maher poured water over that fire by confirming that “it’s actually coming sometime in November” (No New Xbox 360 Dashboard Until November, 26th October). Well, balls.

At least we can find something on Xbox Live Arcade to smile about. According to Foundation 9 CEO James North-Hearn, around 30 per cent of Xbox 360 owners are also spending money online to purchase digitally distributed games on XBLA (Foundation 9: 30 Percent of Xbox 360 Owners Buying XBLA Games, 19th October). He sees it as an encouraging sign that online sales will soon dominate game distribution.

October saw a mighty clash of the titans in the football genre - FIFA 11 and PES 2011 were both reviewed at the SPOnG Underwater Castle and it was difficult not to compare the two as we went along. Paul gave FIFA a good playthrough and concluded that some of the finer tweaks took the latest iteration “that bit closer to perfection,” awarding it 93%.

Konami’s effort didn’t fare as well - David liked it and said it was a “huge step forward” for the series, but “it still has a lot of work to do to catch up” to FIFA, earning 78%.

While the UK was focused on a footy war, in Japan the story was quite different. Huge, mechanised battle walkers with a ridiculous penchant for destroying things went to retail war against an army of cute little Pocket Monsters. In the end, the power of the Pokeball was too much, and Gekijouban Macross Frontier conceded the #1 chart position to Pokemon Black and White (Japanese Video Game Chart: Macross No Match For Pokemon, 15th October). The Nintendo DS RPG would continue to sell like hotcakes throughout the rest of the year.

Criterion was making headlines in October as it promoted its Need For Speed reboot. First of all came the assertion that its publisher, Electronic Arts, gives them the creative freedom they could ever want. This came after comments from Activision’s Bobby Kotick suggested that EA’s studio’s don’t thrive (Criterion: Kotick is Wrong! We Make the Games We Want, 1st October).
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