Gaming Pop Quiz: Soapbox Edition

Alright friends, it’s been a few months since we’ve done a GamerSushi Pop Quiz, so I figured it was time to drop one in the bucket for you piranhas to devour.

Now that some of the huge titles of 2011 have been released (Portal 2, Little Big Planet 2, Dragon Age 2, Crysis 2, L.A. Noire, Brink and The Witcher 2), I had some questions on my mind about the nature of hype and how games live up to it. The year is already halfway over, and we’ve had some major surprises and major letdowns to boot. I’m curious how you guys feel about how 2011 is shaping up. At the end, you’ll even have a soapbox opportunity to talk about whatever gaming issue is on your mind.

As always with our getting-to-know-you type games, feel free to answer with as much or as little as you like. Answer to the best of your ability. Have at it, gents and ladies.

1. What game feels frustratingly close to perfect, if the developers had only changed a few things?

2. What’s the last game to completely exceed your expectations?

3. What title still set for release in 2011 do you find it hard to get excited for?

4. What’s the next game you plan to purchase?

5. How much money do you think you’ve spent on games this year?

6. What do you want to see the most at E3?

7. Soapbox: What gaming issue has been on your mind most recently?

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

12 thoughts on “Gaming Pop Quiz: Soapbox Edition”

  1. 1. The Witcher 2
    2. Metro 2033
    3. does L. A. Noire count? DNF
    4. Either Shogun Total War, Brink, AC: Brotherhood for PC
    5. $150-200
    6. skyrim and Deus ex
    7. PSN

  2. 1. Fable 2 and 3 were great games that could have used more variety in combat and, more importantly, an actual final boss fight. I mean, I know people have been talking about story in video games lately, and how the “final badass boss” is kind of a cliche, but I happen to like the cliche.

    2. Well, I guess I’ll have to mention Demon’s Souls again. I mean, it’s almost two years now and I’m still sitting down for hours-long play sessions. Not as often as a year ago, but still impressive. And 3D Dot Game Heroes should not have been as fun as it was.

    3. Uncharted 3

    4. Already pre-ordered Dark Souls…but if I get enough money to upgrade my PC to Witcher 2 specs, that.

    5. $80 – $100…not much, actually.

    6. The Last Guardian…haven’t seen anything about it in a while.

    7. C’mon, asking this after the PSN outage is hardly fair. But positively, I am thrilled with the quality of downloadable/indie games on consoles and PC. I mean, I loves me some Skyrim/ME3 trailer action, but I’ve been losing myself more often in $10-$15 titles than I can remember – Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, Costume Quest, Amnesia (when I can build up the courage), Limbo, to name a few. And I still haven’t played Outland, but I plan to…been hearing good things.

  3. 1. Whatever they released WAS the ‘perfect’ version. Whether or not I liked it is a different story.

    2. Bulletstorm [compared to all the complaints of douchery, I found it hilariously making fun of douchery, which is perfect. It completely did it’s job and surprised me]

    3. Call of Duty?

    4. Deus Ex 3

    5. I bought Super Bomberman 2 on eBay and bought a 6 Player multi-tap, bought Portal 2, and bought my cousin a copy of BFBC2 while it was on sale for $6 ish on Steam, so I’d say around $100.

    6. Bad decisions by dummies. And also HL3.

    7. ? I don’t know. Reading is funny. Just give me games, if I don’t get them, then I’ll have something to complain about. So far, so good.

  4. 1. A few of mine seem to be RPGs. Final Fantasy VIII (why the Draw system, Square, why?), Fable 2 (fantastic world and fun gameplay, but the story went all over the place in the last half) and Dragon Age: Origins, which would have been perfect with some shorter, less-padded dungeons.

    2. Probably L.A. Noire, which even though I thought it would be good, I didn’t expect to get drawn in so quickly and deeply.

    3. Probably Modern Warfare 3, Duke Nukem Forever and Dark Souls, since I haven’t played the first.

    4. If I don’t purchase Stacking, either Saint’s Row 3 or Gears of War 3, whichever comes first.

    5. Through a variety of deals, trade-ins and craftiness, I’ve managed to get $500 of games for $23 (I even kept a chart). When you add digital purchases, that probably comes out to around $45-50 total. Woot!

    6. Valve is not going to have a booth at E3, but I’m still hoping they surprise everyone with something at one of the big shows. Sony, anyone? I’m also curious to see how Sony handles their business after PSN, and I’m dying to see more of Project Cafe.

    7. I think it would have to be video game journalism in general. The more I visit video game sites, the more I’m tired of the entire thing. Everything is over promoted and just glorified press releases. On top of that, I’ve been thinking about how far games have come while playing L.A. Noire. It’s been overstated, but the facial animations have to be seen to be believed. They manage to be realistic without dipping too far into the uncanny valley territory.

  5. 1. L.A. Noire
    2. Bulletstorm
    3. The deluge of shooters arriving this holiday.
    4. Duke Nukem Forever
    5. Probably around $600. Including stuff pre-ordered for later in the year
    6. Nintendo’s new console.
    7. FPS and TPS overkill on the market. I mean, there were two years between COD3 and COD4 and that’s fine, and now it’s been an annual thing. Now with EA investing money into prepping Battlefield 3 to duel with COD, I wouldn’t be surprised if we won’t see developers just give up with subtitles and adopt an annual naming scheme, COD ’12, Battlefield ’16. And even without the two biggest publishers cranking them out, you’ve got COD-killers and GOW-clones coming out every two months. Then even if they turn a profit the companies fire like 80 people like that’s tradition for releasing a game.

  6. 1.) I’m gonna have to go with Brink. I really love Brink’s SMART movement, the map design and layout, and the balancing of skills and weapons and classes, but the story presentation is really lacking. It’s a real shame that Brink’s fantastic story can only be told via audio logs and not with cutscenes or in-mission events. The cutscenes in between missions are just forgettable, but there seriously is a rich story that could have been told with intrigue, interesting characters, and many missions. It feels totally underdeveloped and underwhelming. I think Splash Damage should have spent more time prioritizing the story even if that meant setpieces during multiplayer sessions. If done well, it would have been cool to go through a narrative each mission. It would have to be non-intrusive while also being non-ignorable. The setpiece would need to clearly change the way the mission happened, by altering the map’s layout or adding some condition to the objective. That way, the objective is not just something slapped on, but rather the story drives the objective even in multiplayer. That’s what Splash Damage was trying to do with Brink, but they just didn’t drive the story hard enough. The reason Brink isn’t horrible is because the missions are seriously top-notch.

    2.) Black Ops. I didn’t expect Black Ops to be so well thought-out and rewarding. MW2 had really spoiled my taste for CoD, but Black Ops turned out to be well-done, and it’s my favorite CoD in terms of good performance in multiplayer.

    3.) Um, since I’m not excited for it, I don’t remember any. *checks other posts* Oh, yeah, Duke Nukem Forever. Psh.

    4.) Deus Ex 3 Human Revolution is the next game that I’m buying coming up. It’s slated for August 23rd, and I’m really excited. I’m going dark to all previews and stuff. I want to enter the realm of DX3 with no expectations or spoilers. The most I’ve seen is the first teaser, a screenshot of the combat HUD, and a bit of the Adam Jensen trailer.

    5.) So far, I think $240.

    6.) It’s gonna be so hard to keep myself from looking at DX3, Mass Effect 3, and Skyrim previews. AAARRRGGGGHHH, I really don’t want to spoil them!

    7.) I agree with Eddy how I’ve thought about video game journalism ever since Kotaku’s entry into the “How Low Can You Go?” competition. I have a feeling that if Blistered Thumbs and That Guy With the Glasses continue to grow their fame and credibility, other video game journalist companies and communities will adopt, ya know, integrity and we’ll see an improvement in the culture of video games and thus video game journalism.
    Also, after borrowing Mass Effect 2 from a friend last weekend, I am thoroughly a Mass Effect fan. ME1’s awkward combat, time-consuming equipment micromanaging, and frikken Mako rover really turned me off despite enjoying the story a lot, and apparently I traded in ME1. I don’t even remember that. Thankfully, my friend lent me ME2 and I had an opportunity to give Mass Effect another chance. I knew that I loved the story, but I was unsure about the gameplay. Luckily, ME2’s combat and equipment was streamlined, and I honestly prefer that over armor and stat micromanagement. I was able to focus on the story, and even though I didn’t get to import a character, I still had a lot of fun exploring ME2’s world, characters, and planets. (I might be the only person who actually enjoys, not just tolerates, planet mining.) In fact, I think that having finished ME2 first instead of ME1 made me appreciate the depth of the ME universe. For example, Legion made me appreciate how much thought Bioware put into the Geth, and that they weren’t just faceless mooks to chop down. Even in my short time in ME1, nothing ever felt contrived; the whole world felt purposeful and rich, and I wasn’t playing “levels”, I was exploring worlds and continuing my mission. ME2 was a lot of fun, and I just wish I could have beaten ME1 so I could import a character all the way through the series. I also want to play ME2 again. Either way, I’m definitely buying Mass Effect 3 and importing my ME2 character. I’d hate to see Bioware let go of the Mass Effect universe after a third installment, and I bet they feel the same way. It’s just too rich and intriguing to throw away. At the same time, I hope that they don’t degrade ME into a game-a-year series or that the series just generally loses its flair. I think a fourth and maaaybe fifth Mass Effect will do the universe justice, and then Bioware should hold off until, ya know, 5-10 years in the future to do a reboot.

  7. 1. Dragon Age 2. I really enjoyed that game and if Bioware had more consequence in choices then it would have been exponentially better.

    2. ME2 (on PS3). I was confident it would be good but WOW. It was leaps and bounds ahead of what I imagined and the sheer quality of the port to PS3 was astounding. Bring on ME3 in 2012!
    ALSO: Cossack, I too love the mining. Reading all the info on each planet or moon of worth is great fun due in large part to my love of earth & space.

    3. MW3, even though I thought Blops was excellent.

    4. LA Noire and/or Portal 2.

    5. 3 new games and a PSN card = £140

    6. A new Metroid Prime game or Prime-esque game from Retro Studios and L4D on PS3. Also, Bioware could mention an Awakening-like DLC for Dragon Age 2. I want me some Thedas!

    7. We’re now seeing games like Heavy Rain, Dragon Age and LA Noire which have action elements but also dialogue and/or choice based systems. I personally wish we could see this in more games. A thought went through my head when playing Fallout 3 recently: I had a sawd-off shotgun and a lone raider was charging at me with a pool cue. I was low on ammo (which would have gone to better use against a radscorpion or something) and he on health plus I had the advantage in weaponry. In ‘real’ life I would have tried to get him to back off and then leg it back to Megaton. I’ve thought this ever since watching Mad Max 2 where Max has an empty sawd-off shotgun yet uses it as a threatening tool to get the crazy pilot guy to fall in line. Micro convo/choice systems like that would be awesome in games and I would love to see it implemented.

  8. Honestly can’t think of an answer for q’s 1 and 2. Lucky for me, this time Eddy didn’t put a punishment for terrible answers in the post 🙂

    3. What title still set for release in 2011 do you find it hard to get excited for?
    Duke Nukem, Skyrim and surprisingly Zelda: SS. I’ve never really got into the Elder Scrolls series. I played around in Oblivion for a few hours but it just didn’t grab me. That said, the trailer for Skyrim does look really good. I may pick it up eventually. I’m not sure what the problem with Zelda is. I love the series to death, but something just isn’t clicking this time around, maybe its just the lack of news we’ve had about it since E3 last year, or it could just be because OoT3D will be out soon.

    4. What’s the next game you plan to purchase?
    Zelda:OoT3D, Deus Ex 3 or maybe DKC Returns (still haven’t picked that up yet)

    5. How much money do you think you’ve spent on games this year?
    The only games I’ve bought this year have been Portal 2 and Pokemon Black. And some ME 2 DLC, so call it $200ish (Australians are getting rorted, but thats another story)

    6. What do you want to see the most at E3?
    I’m interested in what Nintendo does with their new console, how much Sony brings for the NGP and how Microsoft drags itself out of the hole that was all the Kinect info last year.

    7. Soapbox: What gaming issue has been on your mind most recently?
    Living in Australia, there are a couple of big issues hovering around the game industry down here. The first I’ve already alluded to, the massive mark-ups we are forced to pay for games (among other things). At the present, a new release AAA console game will sell in store for $90-100, first party DS games are approx $60, not sure on the PSP side of things. The hardware side of things is no better – taking the most recent example, a 3DS is selling for $350 in Australia, compared to (I believe) $250 in the US. Even buying online through Steam, the Iphone app store, XBLA or PSN is no safe haven. All these services set their prices according to region. 5-10 years ago it was not such a big deal, most gamers recognised that the Aussie dollar had a bad exchange rate against the US and it seemed reasonable that retailers would have to charge more to cover this. But in the last few years the exchange rate got better, and earlier this year went above parity (1 for 1 exchange rate), and now Aussie gamers are kinda pissed about having to pay so much more than everywhere else in the world. Especially for the online game stores, there’s not even transport/taxes to cover for.

    The second is probably more important, Australian gamers are currently attempting to persuade the government to introduce an R18+ rating for video games. Currently Australia’s highest rating is MA15+, anything that doesn’t meet that criteria is Refused Classification, and is essentially banned for sale in Australia. Under the laws here, changing the classification system requires the unanimous agreement of our 8 state Attorneys-General, a single negative vote stops the whole process. For many years the South Australian AG was so steadfastly against introducing an R18+ rating that it bascially was never raised as in issue because it was certain to be knocked back. Over the past 12 months since his retirement, there has been a massive swell of support for an 18+ rating. This has basically been ignored by the AG’s, who have attempted to ignore the issue. Thankfully, Australia’s federal Minister for Home Affairs has decided that its time for the classification system to change, and is currently looking at what options he has if the AG’s again reject a proposed system change at the next AG’s council meeting.

    If anyone is interested in just how screwed up the situation is getting, jump on the Australian branch of Kotaku ( and search for the tags “ready 18+”. I know Kotaku has had some bad press recently, but the Chief Editor of the Aussie site really has been bending over backwards to push this forward for Aussie gamers, and keeping us all informed as well.

    Wow, I need to stay away from the soapbox in future I think… I don’t think I’ve ever typed this much. Guess it makes up for not answering 1 and 2

  9. 1. Oblivion. I dont really have to go into too much detail but that game for me seemed close to perfect. If Skyrim can improve on what Oblivion lacked, such as combat, it could be poised to be a perfect game in my mind.

    2. Uncharted? I would say that series was way cooler than I could have imagined. I just went in thinking “Oh it looked cool” and it was so much more than just cool looking. Was exciting to play and dragged me into playing each game and anticipating the next.

    3. Out of the ones I am going to buy probably MW3. It will just be another one. Doesnt mean I wont love playing it online with friends, but I saw the teaser trailers and just thought “oh good, its coming out”

    4. Uncharted 3, I think.

    5. Lord, its more a matter of GOING to spend. I’ve spent probably…$120. Ill end up spending about $400 on games this year. Too much I think.

    6. Nintendo. Please, prove to me you are making an awesome new system. Come on, she us. Or at least tease us enough to believe instead of being skeptical. Without the prospect of a new system I guess all I could look forward too are games. I want to see new industry tech or something that will push current game boundaries.

    7. Soapbox: The Modern Warfare 3 leak has been on my mind, along with the idea that there is going to be a huge market share battle between Battlefield 3 and MW3. I think its going to cause a huge loss for one of the games. To me this is an issue just because it a bunch of name-calling between the two companies and is essentially an “Im better you suck” kind of thing. Im worried both games will be nice but there will be a fallout of one of the titles. Lets say BF3 is phenomenal, better than MW3 in all ways. If anything bad happens or timing is wrong in any way, it can become eclipsed by MW3. BFBC was eclipsed by MW2 and BO and people said it was way better. I just want the better Modern FPS to be recognized.

  10. 1. L.A. Noir, only for some minor control issues (like the pain of taking cover/moving between cover in gunfights).
    2. Tied between Portal 2 and L.A. Noir, I expected them both to be really good, I just didn’t expect them to be THAT good.
    3. Red Faction: Armageddon, I loved RF2, and RF: Guerrilla, but this one is shaping up to be disappointing.
    4. Probably Deus Ex: Human Revolution, or Minecraft.
    5. I’m guessing around $120-$170.
    6. Half-Life 2: Episode Three, or Half-Life 3, whatever, I’m not picky.
    7. Mostly, the journalism is really bothering me, I agree with what other people have already said on the subject.

  11. 1. I’m going to have to go with L.A. Noire as well. It’s so close to being great, but the walking/combat controls are pretty terrible. They’ve done some stuff to fix the clumsiness inherent to these kinds of games (like making running up fire escapes easier) but it gets kind of frustrating running along a wall until you find the exact right spot to jump up a ladder or pipe.

    2. This is a tough one. I’d say Crysis 2.

    3. Batman: Arkham City. The first one was such a great “Batman experience”, and it will be hard to top.

    4. The Witcher 2, and pre-order Battlefield 3.

    5. Zero dollars spent on buying games, but probably around $50 on renting. I trade in what I’ve got, so it usually ends up working out.

    6. Something from the Big 3 that isn’t a casual pander-fest. Seriously, all the best stuff is coming from third parties while the manufacturers scramble to try and appeal to a market that won’t support them in the long run (not that they aren’t good for quick cash infusions in the short term.)

    7. Just like Eddy, I’m a little fed up with gaming journalism. It’s kind of disheartening to see websites that you check everyday devolve into running jokes and re-blogged press releases. Seriously, every website ran the same story with the same headline about that stupid Suda 51 Resident Evil rip-off.

  12. 1. Red Dead Redemption… add a couple things in the online freeroam and Id still be playing (Trains & Lassos would be fantastic)

    2. Alan Wake, I heard mixed reviews and had no desire to play it. Then my brother brought it home and I was hooked.

    3. Well, it would have been Mass Effect 3, now its… Duke Nukem?

    4. Infamous 2

    5. A lot less then I thought. I looked through my games and apparently Ive been replaying old ones more (Gears 2 and GTA IV)

    6. Sly Cooper 4

    7. Games are Art! Hurray!…that and making fun of my friends who bought Brink for PS3 and couldnt play online, followed by making fun of them for getting Brink of course

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