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We were wrong: VG247 cops to its most cynical game mistakes

Believe it or not, we're not always right about everything. Here are some of Brenna and Pat's most famous errors about games. Who knew Far Cry 3, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag and Destiny would be any fun? Not us.


Did you know Pat and I are old? It's true. The average age of gamers, judging by the way they're marketed, is about six - although to be generous let's say somewhere in the 20's. We're not in our 20's. I stopped being in my 20's (somewhat) recently and Pat can't even remember what they were like.

You don't get to be our age(s) and work in video games for the majority of your adult career without getting a bit cynical about the whole thing. I myself exhibit a cheerful demeanour, but it's a clever front for the dripping darkness of my soul. And Pat's Welsh, which explains a lot.

So when new games get announced, or revealed, or teased, or leaked, or whatever, we no longer do that thing new games journos do where they hop up and down a little bit in excitement. "It's got t*ts and guns and explosions!" we do not cry, happily. "It's so quirky and innovative and interesting!" we do not yelp. "Games are amazing and we love them!" is the farthest thing from our lips.

Let me paint you a word picture of what it's actually like, by which I mean judiciously copy paste from the VG247 chat room.

Pat: Morning
Brenna: Morning boss
Pat: What's happening in the fast-paced world of video game news today, make me excited
Brenna: Here's a great cat video I found last night
Pat: Ha ha
Pat: No really
Brenna: Oh well some games were announced or something
Pat: Good ones?
Brenna: What do you think
Pat: F**k
Brenna: Oh s**t! [Publisher] has literally just announced [major blockbuster]!
Pat: Go on then, let's have a look
[we watch the trailer]
Pat: Looks s**t
Brenna: I have seen better trailers for programming conferences
Pat: Nobody is going to play that rubbish
Pat: It's dead in the water
Brenna: It's just the same thing, over and over again
Brenna: What are we going to do Pat? The industry is destroying itself, we'll be out of a job by the end of the year
Brenna: [Publisher] has lost the plot
Brenna: Completely bonkers
Pat: 'S pulling traffic though
Pat: Headline it

This scorn and lack of appreciation continues from tease, through announce, through reveal, through previews and review round-up, and lasts right up to the point when we both have whatever game it is in our actual hands.

Brenna: PAT
Brenna: HAVE YOU PLAYED [blockbuster] YET
Pat: Yeah
Pat: That bit with the [usually someone getting murdered]
Pat: The [action gameplay] is f**king tight
Pat: It's just a really compelling loop
Brenna: LAST NIGHT I [something quite unlikely like dropping off a house onto a man's head, bouncing off, blowing up three other men, and stabbing a tiger in the face]
Pat: Ha ha
Pat: I've put 47 hours in already, it's eating my life
Brenna: I resent your fascist employment of me when I could be [usually blowing something up]

Here, in no particular order, are a couple of games that Pat and I agreed would be absolute bollocks, and then they turned out to consume our lives utterly for weeks on end.


Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

After the disappointing bug-fest that was Assassin's Creed 3, Pat and I were sadly convinced the series had done its day. "Does anybody even care about Assassin's Creed any more?" we moaned to each other. I held out hope, obviously, because Ubisoft was saying a lot of good things and I am (was, have been) a tragic franchise fan, but although I clapped my hands as hard as I could, in the back of mind a voice kept quietly pointing out how good Assassin's Creed 3 had sounded, and look where that left us. Meanwhile, Pat wrote it off as "man runs around killing things and there's stuff on fire".

Well, we were wrong. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is the t*ts. Mainly what we loved about it was the sailing. Yes, the much more varied environments and improved traversal made it great fun, and there was content for years. But what we couldn't shut up about, what we greeted each other with every morning for a month, what we PSN messaged each other about, was the glorious, beautiful ocean. "That's proper next-gen," Pat said. And he was right.


Far Cry 3

Far Cry 2 was a divisive title, and although Pat wasn't in that school of fan who raves about systemic open world gameplay, it had a certain nihilistic, fatalistic feel that appeals to a man who writes fiction about grisly murders for fun. I am in the aforementioned systemic-open-world fan group. So both of us ought, by all considerations, to have been super psyched - and yet we were not.

The whole thing just seemed so "modern video game", you know? bright colours, ultra-violence. Pat wanted that simple, dark core he had fallen in love with. I just can't be bothered with shooters unless they're doing something you can't get anywhere else. And Ubisoft was selling it with sex, for heaven's sake.

But how quickly the worm turned when we had it in our hands and it turned out to be frankly mental, full of weird drug references, a blissfully un-self aware "commentary" on game design, and fabulously flexible core gameplay. Pat praised its bold risk taking. For the first time ever, I fell in love with balls-out shooter action rather than some additional feature of a game. We're both looking forward to Far Cry 4, which we expect to up the ante.

Next: four more games that took Pat and Brenna by surprise.



Now here's a funny one: when Resogun was announced, it sounded great - a new game in the vein of Super Stardust from Housemarque, a Finnish team that does beautiful things with PlayStation hardware. But as the PS4's arrival grew closer, our hearts grew colder. Was a side-scrolling indie schm'up really going to be a key component in Sony's next-gen hardware line-up?

Well, it was, and this turned out to be a really clever idea, because Resogun is sticky, and gorgeous, and a really excellent showcase for Vita Remote Play and the PS4's emphasis on social. I personally mainly play it at friends' houses, beating their high scores and never coming back to check on their progress (I'm better than casual players, but I'm not good by the standards of even my limited PSN friends list). But we lost Pat to it for weeks on end, and if you can beat his scores, you're doing really, really well.



This one's not out yet, so maybe we're cheating a bit here, but Destiny's alpha and previews have taken nearly the whole VG247 crew by storm. You would not believe the cynicism we had about this one; it just seemed so formulaic, you know? Hire the team that made Halo, throw an enormous amount of money at it, tack on a bunch of ultra-modern features like ubiquitous multiplayer and persistence. It might make a billion dollars, or it might be tired and uninteresting and drag us all down with it.

Yes, well, we all know how that worked out, don't we. When even Brenna "I hate shooters and MMOs kind of suck" Hillier is refusing to come to work because she'd rather be playing Destiny, you know you're in for trouble. We might just close the site for a month in September.



Here's a little secret one you might not have known about. Glitch was a free-to-play, side-scrolling MMO from a team called Tiny Speck, which once boasted such luminaries as Robin Hunicke (Journey) and Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy). The project ran out of money, presumably because it was too beautiful to live, and the rather clever tech behind it is being sold off to power other things, which will probably be significantly less beautiful.

I was always very interested in Glitch theoretically but we didn't expect it to draw us in and eat it like it did. There was something about this simple world of patting pigs, milking butterflies, gathering fruit and growing vegetables that appealed to a deep need in both of us for self-expression and play in a world that isn't populated by people screaming insults and trying to kill us. About the most malicious thing anybody could do in Glitch was pretend to be stuck in a tree.

Glitch was home to some clever new ideas like crafting "raids" allowing users to build new portions of the world, and would eventually have unfolded into a story complete with all the trappings of a real grown up game - without combat, but with hugs. We miss it. I will always remember excitedly making Pat log in to see my octopus hat, or having him lead me half way across the world map to show me his carrot patch.


Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

"It's just free to play Magic, innit?" we asked each other. "Even if it does have Warcraft characters in it, nobody's going to give a rat's arse about yet another boring card battler, are they?"

It's moments like these you look back on and regret. Hearthstone is not just a free-to-play Magic, and Wizards of the Coast ought to be taking a long, hard look at precisely why Blizzard's first ever effort in this direction is so much more accessible, satisfying and life-consuming than the most famous of all card battlers.

Once Hearthstone has its sticky paws on you, it refuses to let go - poor old Pat has had no success clawing his way out. Personally, I tried it once, put the iPad down firmly, and vowed never to download it - much the same way I do not allow myself to live within a 10km radius of a candy factory.

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