Thursday, December 20, 2012

If I die on the Canadian Front, bury me with... Well, you know the rest: New Releases for the First Half of December, 2012

Arctic Combat

(PC) A free-to-play first-person online shooter set in a near-future war between Russia and the United States fought in the Arctic region.

Must we fight the Russians yet again? Admittedly, this really isn't the game I should single out for this, since in Arctic Combat making the main belligerents the United States and Russia is actually neccessary for the whole “combat in the Arctic” premise. Geographically and politically speaking, there aren't a whole lot of countries that would be at least semi-plausible leaders in a war against the United States in the Arctic region, and a game where the United States had to fight Unspecified Middle Eastern State #76-B's invasion of Alaska or struggle for dominance of the Arctic Circle against the mighty war machine of the tyrannical Norwego-Canadian Empire would be sort of silly. (Than again, Homefront actually got made.) 

Screenshot from early beta version of Arctic Warfare, final release may differ
Still, it's getting a bit repetitive. At this point I'm pretty sure there've been more video games about Americans fighting Russians released in the past decade than there were during the era when they were actually directly hostile to each other. It's like modern videogame development takes place in some mirror universe where, instead of dissolving in 1991, the Soviet Union embraced the even more oppressive and anti-Western ideology of Supercommunism and became more hostile to the United States than ever.

Vampire Slayer FPS

(Xbox 360 Live Arcade) OK, that's not a title. It just isn't. Maybe something like this would fly in the 70s, when it was perfectly acceptable for a game's title to be a dry summary of its premise and games like Boxing and Air-Sea Battle filled the shelves, but those days are past. I picked on Killzonefor having a title that seems like it was selected at random from a list of military terms, but at least that's still a title and not simply a description of the game's subgenre. This is more like releasing Gears of War, Europa Universalis III, and Dante's Inferno, as Burly Man Third-Person Shooter, Early Modern Period Europe Strategy, and Stuff I Drew in My Math Notebook When I Was 12.

Look, for all I know it's a fine game. You shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But you shouldn't publish your book with a cover that just says Spy Thriller Third-Person Omniscient, either.

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