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Calendar Man – Week of 11/5

This week sees the release of the only game I see Black Ops 2 getting out of the way for, Halo 4. That’s not to say that the holiday schedule ended up the way that it did because of this, but of all of the games releasing or released this year, Halo 4 is the only one I can see Black Ops 2 steering clear of. It will be interesting to see how the sales of Halo 4 do against the sales of Black Ops 2, what with Black Ops 2 having a significant base on the PS3.

Oh, other games come out this week too. Little Big Planet gets a kart racer on the PS3, the Mass Effect trilogy gets a combined release and Harvest Moon hits the 3DS.

New Releases

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent or something else altogether, I think we can all agree that a standing army of armor clad super soldiers would be awesome. Right up until they overthrow the government, that is. Halo 4 has such a soldier, and he seems to have done pretty well for himself. Barnes was quite taken with the game, as was most other reviewers on the planet. Despite having quite the backlog, alas, these good reviews may have worked their magic upon me, possibly pulling me into a launch day purchase.

I don’t know why the Mass Effect Trilogy is only getting a 360 and PC this week with the PS3 release coming a month later. I wonder if that’s the remnants of 360 exclusivity hanging on for dear life. Whenever it comes out, that’s a lot of silly sex scenes and crazed scientist punching. Say goodnight Manual.

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Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection (PS3, 360) contains DBZ Budokai and DBZ Budokai 3 and more spiky hair than you can shake a energy powered fist at.

LittleBigPlanet Karting brings the player fueled creation and sharing of levels to the world of karting. I look forward to the first fully functional scientific calculator made completely our of kart racers.

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning has more farming and uh, farming and maybe some, well, farming. It’s just farming, right? Just a game of farming?

Chaos on Deponia, the sequel to Deponia, comes out in North America this week, following a German release earlier this year. I have a code and will be playing this one, once I work through my backlog of other games.

NASCAR The Game: Inside Line (PS3, 360, Wii) drops this week, left turns and all.

Ragnarok: Tactics is here to tell you that yes, they still are making games for the PSP.


Toys R US – Two for $40 on a bunch of DS and 3DS games. There’s a whole bunch of them, so either check your local store of hit up the ad at Get a free $10 gift card with purchase of any game $59.99 or up, get a free $40 gift card with purchase of two games priced $59.99 and up. Save $20 on purchase of Halo 4 and the Halo 4 themed 12+1 Xbox Live Gold subscription card.

Target – Free $10 gift card with purchase of Halo 4 and, wait for it, Doritos and Mountain Dew. Get a free $20 gift card with purchase of Halo 4 Xbox 360 bundle.

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Best Buy – Save 50% on the Halo 4 Collector’s Edition strategy guide with purchase of Halo 4. Get a free $20 gift card with purchase of Halo 4 Xbox 360 bundle. Get Medal of Honor: Warfighter for $49.99. Free $10 gift card with purchase of Toy Story Mania.


Brandon loves games, which shouldn't be a surprise given where you're reading this. He has written for GameShark, The Escapist and G4, and made them all less relevant as a result.

22 thoughts to “Calendar Man – Week of 11/5”

  1. “Barnes was quite taken with the game, as was most other reviewers on the planet.”

    Most, but not all. A certain Metacritic-listed reviewer gave it 1 star out of 5. I think his name is Tom Cub. Or Tom Puppy. Well, something like that. ??

    1. Yeah, I wrote this Sunday around 5:30PM. I then read Tom’s review around 8PM and didn’t feel like updating the post.

  2. Tom Chick hates a sequel? Stop the goddamn presses :P.

    I appreciate the work Tom does, but could not agree less with his style of reviewing.

    But I am not invested either way, so meh.

    A week of Professor Layton and Dishonored here. Gotta mop up the huge holiday influx.

    1. I do love how Tom is willing to kick the hornets nest though. While his appraisal may be overly harsh (I don’t know, nor do I really care since I don’t play Halo) the frothing rage is hilarious. Tom stated before how he will use the full scale, and by God he does. The neck breathing luddites, still dripping in primordial soup, berating him for having the audacity to give games a low score for reasons other than ‘technical performance’ astounds me.

      That entire article is a microcosm of everything wrong with games reviewing today. People have this inbred belief that technical specs and ‘objective’ parsing of features is more important than narrative quality, emotional resonance, or personal affectation. While I feel Tom’s score doesn’t quite mesh with the text of the review, I respect his judgement even though the things he critiqued wouldn’t bother me as much. Likewise I felt Barnes assesment was overly fond, basically downplaying his concerns. But those are readings informed by my own biases. The problems Barnes brought up, and subsequently wrote off, stood out because they were things that would have bugged me.

      At least NHS has reasonable adults who can understand criticism, because those fuming troglodytes alternatively amuse, and scare me.

      1. Yeah, I just don’t get this kind of weird tribalism around certain games, consoles, and so forth. I never have. Maybe because I’ve never identified myself or who I am based on media products, I dunno.

        Anyway, as for Tom’s review, I am always in deference to him because he was a big influence on me and he’s been in this racket a lot longer than I have been, and I totally respect where he’s coming from. Even when he’s dead fucking wrong.

        With Halo 4, I do think his review raises valid points but more importantly, it is 100% the Tom Chick opinion. I think he’s dead fucking wrong about some things in it, and I still don’t understand why he expects these kinds of huge, multi-gazillion dollar franchise titles to reinvent the wheel when there’s neither the impetus, demand, or assumed return on investment for these developers to do so. I don’t disagree with a lot of things he said, but at the end of the day when I play the game I have fun, it’s undeniably a supremely polished product (note- product, not objet d’art), and the negatives I mentioned really don’t matter so much. The goodness overwhelms the nitpicks, and come to find out I wasn’t so concerned after all.

        He’s dead on about the Tron stuff though, I was thinking that the entire time. Good thing I love Tron. He’s also right about the “new” stuff all being color-coded orange.

        You know what else is neat? No microtransactions. No “online shop”. At least not right now. I appreciate that.

        But also too, I know Tom likes to be that one critic that said no. I absolutely respect someone who isn’t afraid of- and in fact relishes- opportunites to upset these mush-brained trogs that let a low score ruin their day. It illustrates so much of what’s wrong with gamers and what happens when gaming is such an intense, all-consuming focus. I like being that one critic myself, the one that wasn’t afraid to put it on the line and back up their objections rather than provide a bullet-point list of features and mealy-mouth, pushover opinion that really says nothing. Tom’s comments, whether you agree with them or not, are Toms’s alone and that’s more than I can say for most of the “journos” that get ranked at Metacritic.

        1. You? Pushing against the norm? Challenging consensus? Never! You would never dare challenge the purity of the Euro.

          Anyhow you’ve got it. Personally I will read one of the highest (though rarely a perfect) review, and the lowest reviews. Gives me a more balanced perspective. I see what works well, what the shortcomings are, and make my decisions from there. This isn’t just for games though. When I bought my car, I chose a car that was rated lower by Consumer Reports. That was because what they downgraded (aesthetics, sportiness) I viewed as unimportant. The things I viewed as important (fuel mileage, reliability) were relatively unimportant to them. As an adult I used their review, by comparing their biases against my own. In that way a review I disagreed with had great value.

          This is where the immaturity of public discourse kicks in. While we can look at differing opinions, and weigh them against our own tastes and biases, many can not. It’s sad, but it is the current reality. Look at old media stalwarts like the Academy Awards. Remember how they got slagged off when they snubbed The Dark Knight, just because movie critics don’t appreciate genre films? The vitriol wasn’t as prevalent, but was certainly still there.

          1. You know Craig, what it really comes down to I think is that people do not want critics/reviewers to be PEOPLE. There’s this weird, highly uneducated and ignorant opinoin that is common that a critic or reviewer is TELLING you what to think about something. Of course, smart folk understand that a writer (at least a good one) wants to engage the reader in a kind of dialogue and find points of resonance or dissonance. Part of this means that the writer has to have solid, personal opinions about something. In other words, a SUBJECTIVE viewpoint.

            But I see people- mostly forumista trogs- calling for “objective reviews”. An objective review is a dispassionate bullet list of features.

            But when you’ve got a really strong personality like Chick (or myself) that has sometimes extreme, contrary opinions…you abraid against this “you are what you own” sentiment as well as giving the trogs a target that they can vent their rage against.

            I have to say though, Chick does it far better than I ever have, even at BGG. He knows EXACTLY what to say to get trog hackles a-risin’. The thing is, I don’t think he’s being intentionally confrontational about it…it’s just that his perspective is that volatile among the groundling fanboys.

      2. Aren’t we blending the mediums when we base our review on the narrative content? Personally if I want a good story, I read or watch a movie. But with video games? Not so much. Eh, I tend to get involved in the characters and their situations with RPG epics, but generally no. Case in point: The Mario Defense. The same, rehashed scenario, time after time, game after game, yet some of the best experiences I’ve ever played.

        It bears the question of interactive entertainment or an actual game? The line is becoming blurred.

    1. Oh bugger — my comment was totally about the dickheads posting to Quarter to Three, not the posts above.

      I still don’t understand why reviews are taken so personally. Really. Why is that?

      1. People are crazy that way.

        I used to be a published movie reviewer for a few years and I was fairly vicious; you would be amazed how personally people take that.

        1. Correct. Until immature humans find the value in their “self”, they need a shield that projects their assumed values.

        2. To be fair, some people get upset about negative reviews because the game/movie/thing is relatively obscure. They’d like more of that thing made and more people to play/watch/manipulate it. Negative reviews reduce that chance.

          That’s not the case with Halo 4, of course. That’s just internet rage. I wonder if people ever wrote angry letters to newspapers if a movie reviewer panned the Godfather part 2?

          I bet they did.

  3. Yeah… It really says a lot when I’m still rabidly playing and enjoying a review game after the review phase. I don’t want to play anything but Halo 4 right now, totally hooked. It’s going to be a madhouse this week.

    I used not like BTB at all, but I love it in Infinity for some reason…it’s cool that you get points for things like driving and partnering up with someone and causing a distraction.

  4. Speaking as the LittleBigPlanet enthusiast, I can say that it’s ModNation Racers with the stronger LBP art design and branding, and the track editor is more robust than MNR. That said, it is *not* LittleBigPlanet 3. People will not be building 3D graphing calculators with the track engine.

  5. Sadly Tom Chick giving AAA shooters very low review scores has gotten as tired and cliched as 1Up and IGN giving them overly inflated scores. At this point I toss all of them into the same irrelevant bucket.

  6. So, I don’t know how much Ascension people are still playing, but Gary Games is organizing an iOS tournament that starts next Monday. You’ll have to go to the website for information and it’s limited to the first 128 people to register for it on Monday, but I thought there might be some people interested in it. And the next expansion comes out next week as well, although it will probably still be awhile before the expansion comes to iOS.

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