What does constitute laziness in video games? For several years I collected several video games for various reasons, whether out of loyalty as a fan or because of the massive hype the game in question got. Most of the time the games I brought did hold up to their promise, like the Batman Arkham series and the Mario games… but sometimes the hype isn’t enough to influence my decision to buy a game. Sometimes I was able to see the game for what it really is, sometimes in a negative light. There are a few examples both past and recent that influenced my stance as a gamer.
Ever since I was a little boy I was a fan of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. I remember screaming at my parents to get me to new games for my Genesis and the lost gem known as the Dreamcast. But those were the glory days before attending college; I am no longer a fan of the series, and for good reason: A parade of travesties that angered the hell out of me and most other fans. You can tell just from playing these games that Sega threw together as potential cash cows. The first game I noticed is Shadow the Hedgehog. Shadow is like Sonic: he’s supposed to be fucking fast! He’s badass on his own and doesn’t need to become the Hedgehog equivalent of Dirty Harry… but low and behold, Sega thought otherwise and threw this mess together. Everything about this game is lazy: the “alignment” system is poorly implemented, guns are mostly unnecessary, and curses like “damn” and “hell” are thrown in a poor attempt to make the game “gritty.” Aside from these problems, the gameplay itself is half-assed. I rented the game and I am glad that I did not pick it up again after my first playthrough. I thought “why not wait for another Sonic game? Maybe Sega was a bit misguided on this attempt?”
But then came “Sonic the Hedgehog” for the XBox 360, more commonly referred to “Sonic the Disaster.” This game is the lowest point in the series, the ultimate epitome of laziness on Sega’s part, and caused several fans, such as myself, to leave the series for good. If you think Shadow the Hedgehog is a massive pile of dung, you ain’t seen NOTHING yet: Sonic the Disaster has been hyped to hell and back: an open world with a climate system, three playable characters as well as “amigos” which help you get past the levels, and 4Kids return from Shadow to do the voices! This would be fine by itself… until you have the misfortune of picking up the game. It is an OBVIOUS beta: game-breaking glitches, horrible voice acting, a sub-par storyline, SHITTY unresponsive controls, the list go on.. MY GOD Sega, what the hell indeed? The laziness is pretty much confirmed by Sega themselves: they rushed the damn thing out for the holidays for a quick buck before throughly testing the damn thing. Capcom also rushed out frigging Marvel vs Capcom 2, but at least that game’s popular; by following that example with Sonic the Disaster, Sega shot themselves in the foot.
Speaking of Capcom, it seems they also jumped on board the rush train. Over the recent years, Capcom released the popular Street Fighter IV: it is the game that revived the fighting genre! It saw the return of Ryu and the Street Fighter 2 gang, a majority which were absent in the Street Fighter 3 series! Reception was excellent and several tournaments were held at several venues. It was a massive success, so what does capcom do? They release rehash after rehash after rehash, not unlike the previous Super Street Fighter 2 series… but when do we say “enough is enough?” Let’s see… how about when Capcom lazily tacked on features just for the game to have features? There’s Super Street Fighter IV, which included 10 news characters. I ordered the game online and anticipated its arrival: when I got it, I was hooked for hours on end: it’s an improvement over the original Street Fighter IV and the new characters are fun to play! But then the fandom bitched and moaned… “WHERE’S YUN AND YANG!?!?!” A few years later, Super Street Figther IV Arcade Edition was released with the brothers tacked on… needless to say, they were broken as hell, placing high on several tier lists for the game, even higher than Evil Ryu and Oni Akuma, who were also in the game… how does Capcom fix this? They released Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition 2012, which aside from a balance patch is barely any different from its predecessor… and then comes the upcoming Ultra Street Fighter IV… this is when Capcom really touched on their laziness here.
5 new characters, new stages, new gameplay, new features! How can they possibly screw that up!? Oh hoho, let me count the ways. Raise your hands if you heard of Street Fighter x Tekken! I figure most people here did. Street Fighter x Tekken is an infamous trainwreck suffering from imbalanced gameplay and a DLC controversy that formed a mob hunting for Capcom’s throats. Ultra Street Fighter IV is the epitome of rehash! Four of the five new characters are Rolento, Hugo, Poison, and Elena! Guess where they were from? They were plucked out of Street Fighter x Tekken! But wait, there’s more! What about the stages? They’re all from Street Fighter x Tekken too! But the biggest facepalm came from the fifth “character”- Capcom advertised that this was her fight debut and that she came from the famous Udon Street Fighter comics! Everyone was guessing for months who this mystery girl is. When she was finally unveiled, everyone breathed a collective sigh of disappointment. The fifth character is named “Decapre,” which is Russian for “December.” Several fans, including me, were not impressed with this revelation; Decapre is, both appearance-wise and story-wise, a clone of the character Cammy, and initial gameplay videos show that most of her moves were carried over from Cammy as well. As much as Capcom tries to deny it and try to change Decapre’s gameplay, it doesn’t matter: the claw and charge gameplay doesn’t change the fact that she is little more than a Cammy clone; oh look! She can do Cammy’s Cannon Drill in midair! Who the hell cares!? This revelation, in my eyes, sealed Ultra Street Fighter IV as another a lazy rehash. I am not buying another “version” where fighters and stages were plucked from another game and the fifth character is a practically a clone of another. I made the mistake of buying games where the effort was lazily put in; I am fine with Super Street Fighter IV 2012; I’ll pass on Ultra Street Fighter IV because it feels like I played the friggin’ game two years ago.
The problem here is that some fans are like sheep: they jump onto lazily made and constructed games.and expect either some new or something of high quality. But I am glad that I am not the only one who sees those games for what they really are. I forgiven Sega after playing Sonic Unleashed, and I hope Capcom wakes up and cuts the crap before they shoot themselves in the foot again.