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Censorship Entertainment Games

Atari Tries To Supress Bad Reviews, Claims Piracy 275

Posted by kdawson
from the such-small-portions-too dept.
im_thatoneguy sends in an account up at Shacknews about Atari's actions to get early reviews of its upcoming game Alone In the Dark pulled from Web sites in Europe. Atari sued the German site 4Players, alleging piracy, and also cancelled an advertising deal on the site, after a pre-release review gave the game only 68%. 4Players posted a commentary (translation) alleging that Atari is doing this bcause the review is unfavorable. Shacknews reports that Atari has also demanded that both Gamer.no and GameReactor remove early reviews — both reviews gave the game a score of 3/10. Kotaku editorializes: "[Does Atari] fear that, because these outlets may have received copies of the game 'early' (i.e. from pirated copies), that they're somehow reviewing incomplete code, which could affect their opinion of the game? Maybe. Pessimists could, however, be forgiven for thinking it's a convenient excuse for Atari to attack negative reviews of the only game they're releasing in 2008 that has any chance of making them some money."
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Atari Tries To Supress Bad Reviews, Claims Piracy

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  • Hmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArIck (203) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @03:46PM (#23896685)

    If they have improved the game from the earlier 'privacy' version then i am sure all these sites would be willing to re-consider their reviews based on the new game play.

    What Atari fears is that the earlier review was the 'final' version of the game and these reviews may harm purchase from people who may accidentally buy the game thinking it to be better than it is.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by topham (32406)


      If the reviews are based on a pirated copy of the game, and the released versions game play is different then Atari has every right in the world to not only sue these guys, but put them out of business.

      • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by ArIck (203) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:02PM (#23896819)

        oh yes they do have the right to sue them but it only depends if the pirated version is different than the released version. If they are the same then the review still stands.

        There may be an issue with regarding to ho they got the copy of the game but the review still stands. So it all boils down to "Is the review of the pirated version the same as the released version"

        • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:05PM (#23896835)

          No the pirated version is not the same as the final version. The pirate version lacks annoying DRM and so provides a more enjoyable experience.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by ArIck (203)

            I am only replying to AC since I might be drunk but still here goes...

            You are missing my point.... the gameplay of both versions would be the same regardless of the DRM. I am commenting on the game itself and not any other stuff. Its life saying the pirated version has a .bat file for installer whreras the real version has a setup.exe file

            • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Informative)

              by Arimus (198136) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @05:00PM (#23897247)

              And from the TFA they didn't use a pirated copy. Someone broke the embargo on selling/giving the proper official boxed copy of the game prior to a set date.

              • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Sunday June 22, 2008 @06:10PM (#23897659) Journal
                Don't you just LOVE the translated text "What comes next? 4P bangs frogs in office ignite? Wives of editors with footballs bewerfen?" What are those scummy Atari people threatening to do to those poor editors wives with them soccer balls?


                But seriously if they did manage to get their hands on a boxed version prior to release I don't see how they can scream. It also might be a good test to show their true motives if someone set up a fake review praising the game and pointed out to Atari that they did the same thing. I'd bet Atari wouldn't say a word. Do they really think that this kind of crap is going to help in ANY way? Have they never heard of the Streisand effect? Now the story has been slahdotted and I'm sure it'll spread to most of the tech and gamer sites so instead of being able to sneak their bowel churner past the gate now everyone will know that it sucks. A really stupid move by the legal department at Atari IMHO. If they wanted to get the review changed they should have wined them and dined them and bought a bunch of ads. Instead the just stirred up the hornets nest. But that is my 02c,YMMV

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Opportunist (166417)

            Man, how much must the final suck, then?

        • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by dascritch (808772) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:49PM (#23897169) Homepage

          I do remember when Infogrames (was would be renamed Atari) owned Game One, the first game channel in France. Marcus did a very bad review from one of their games, he was fired, and nearly the whole staff. I don't think it was because of picary...

          Now they (the first staff from Game One)found their own game channel, Nolife. http://nolife-tv.com/ [nolife-tv.com]
          The Ankama company games just put money into this tv, but I doubt they will do the Marcus incident again.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cgenman (325138)

          Really? It was my impression that a review was one group's opinion of a game. A review can be as simple as "the game sucked. It wouldn't run on my PC. 0 / 10" Without real slander, what would be the basis of a suit?

          Now in the grand scheme of things, they should be sure to review final code. But even if they don't, what would be the legal basis for a suit?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by IAmAI (961807)
        A review is an opinion and attempting to remove such reviews would be censorship. If they want to sue them for copyright infringement, fine because there are laws against that. However, if Atari were successful in getting the reviews removed would be, in my mind, unjust.
      • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by schon (31600) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:42PM (#23897117)

        Atari has every right in the world to not only sue these guys, but put them out of business
        Yes, because god forbid anyone should have the right to freedom of speech, right?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Spy der Mann (805235)

        SUUUUUURE.... improving a 3/10 game to 10/10 in only a month. I got an idea. Let's hire THESE guys for Microsoft and see what miracles they can do with Vista in only 30 days.

        • Well, it is possible, depending on what that 3/10 is hanging on. If it's choppy animation and constant crashing, you can solve that in a month.

          If it's because the game is as entertaining and exciting as watching the world championship in synchronised swimming, then you can't.

          • Nah, I bet it was just a little glitch. They probably just forgot something minor, like shipping the textures... (Wireframe gaming! Woohoo!... Wait... That would suck. Nevermind.)
    • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mascot (120795) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @03:57PM (#23896781)

      At least one site (gamer.no) that gave an early review have confirmed they reviewed a store-bought retail version. Granted, the store may have broken the intended street date, but it wasn't some shady downloaded copy that was reviewed.

      At least it has gotten Atari and the game some publicity.

      • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2008 @05:01PM (#23897255)

        The German site also claims to have their version legally bought, which means that they could immediately charge Atari for making unfounded claims against them (based on the laws of coersion/intimidation and also the laws against threatening with legal action).

        • We're not speaking of another states inside the "full of trigger happy lawyers" USA.

          Here around it's much harder to sue everybody for any random trivial detail.

          That *does* mean that trolls like Atari will hardly have a case for such a story in Europe.
          But that also means that it'll be harder to counter sue on the grounds that Atari is attacking without a sound reason.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2008 @03:47PM (#23896697)

    ... once again. Before I read this I didn't know about "Alone in the Dark". I guess their strategy worked

    • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)
      Me neither, and now I know for certain that I don't want do buy it. 3/10? That's epicly low for a game review - usually a bad game doesn't get below a 5/10 on most sites.
    • I don't know who said that originally, but it's a load of horseshit. Let's say you were a struggling actor trying to get your name out there, then you were falsely accused of child molestation. Let's say that you were then completely exonerated, received damages, public apology etc. Would you then say that you got a lot of free publicity, therefore it's good? And make no mistake, it's not free. You'd pay for it for a long, long time. Your career is still finished, because you're radioactive as far as the in
    • All? I don't think so. Case in point: Kevin Federline...
  • by denzacar (181829) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @03:53PM (#23896753) Journal

    Kotaku article has an update:

    Gamer.no was the second publication in the world to publish a review, and we also gave it 3 out of 10. The review was based on a retail copy obtained from a store on Tuesday this week. Atari contacted us just minutes after it was published, claiming that our review is probably based on a preview or pirated copy, and requested it to be removed. We never removed it, of course.
  • Just take it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kiehlster (844523) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @03:53PM (#23896761) Homepage

    So I guess no one has learned from the wise ways of Penny Arcade's ad campaign [wired.com].

    On another note, if you get a bad review, you should take it. Crying like a baby only emphasizes the ratings. You may get sales from a small fraction of people who play it to verify that it sucks, but sooner or later all the review sites will say the game sucks and it will only make the situation worse. The whole "bad publicity is good publicity" paradigm is long dead in this age of gamers.

    • by Ford Prefect (8777) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @08:54PM (#23898715) Homepage

      I love bad reviews, especially those dripping with badly-spelled verbal venom. Here are some choice quotations from random forum postings about my own MINERVA [hylobatidae.org] mod for Half-Life 2:

      lighting was fucking shit, its just like these other fucking mappers making maps extremely fucking dark

      Despite the website that oozes more angst and self-hatred than an emo concert at an emo convention, this is worth downloading.

      Was anybody else annoyed by those frequent messages? That pompous, cliche tone gave the sense that a smarmy Brit with two dictionaries, three encylopedias and a latin textbook shoved up his ******* was faxing you orders.

      i made a box map with a giant penis that has better lighting that this shit

      Besides, the content of the website is overly presumptuous, overloaded with vague metaphors, random big words and allusions to irrelevant Greek myths, as if they were talking about anything but a second-rate Half-Life 2 mod.

      Other people [rockpapershotgun.com] claimed to like it, but I derive great fun from tracing Referers to the website, and reading what the Truly Informed Forum Users inhabiting this 'ere internet think of it...

      Strangely, nobody's yet told me it's rubbish in an email. I must try harder.

  • by TibbonZero (571809) <Tibbon AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:01PM (#23896805) Homepage Journal
    When will these gaming companies (and others) learn that this isn't the 80's anymore. This news spreads like wildfire and makes them look really bad. Its a much better idea to try to promote positive news instead of repressing and pretty obviously trying to force a lack of journalistic integrity.
  • 68% is unfavourable? (Score:5, Informative)

    by damburger (981828) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:01PM (#23896807)

    In the UK, if you get 68% in your final year exams at university you get an upper second class degree, and might be able to talk your way up to a first. So 68% is a masters/PhD candidates mark at most places.

    Game ratings are ludicrous in that they use perhaps the top 40% of the scale. Not since the days of Amiga Power have I seen a dire game get a single digit % score.

    • by ArIck (203)

      Ok in UK 33% is a passing grade. That is sad!

      Disclosure:And this is coming from someone who took GCE A Levels and studied in Canada for undergrad

      • It's impossible to tell from the number itself what is "good" and "bad".

        I hope you're not studying something analytical, like anything, for example.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Stormwatch (703920)

      I agree, it's absurd. They use only the upper range of the spectrum, except when a game is incredibly bad. Also, you can't be so precise with something so subjective; that's why I think magazines should use the old "star" rating. Some examples, in my opinion:

      0 star = abysmal: Big Rigs, Action 52, ET, Extreme PaintBrawl.
      1 star = crappy: First Samurai, Gods, Hook, James Bond Jr, Sword of Sodan.
      2 stars = weak: Daikatana, Power Rangers, Outlander, 3 Ninjas Kick Back.
      3 stars = good: Mickey Mania, Cool Spot, Fina

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cal Paterson (881180) *
        I don't know much about games, but most films fall into one of three catagories;
        1. Worth watching for people who don't hate the genre
        2. Worth watching for people who like the genre
        3. Not worth watching

        I find reviews of films useless in the decision process for watching a film. I am only able to isolate the third category through rotten tomatoes/imdb (obscenely low scores = category three). The only genre I intensely dislike is slasher films and action films, so they are easy to weed out via the promotional m

      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        Yup. I've put some thought into how I would grade games and I've come up with pretty much the opposite of what's common today: 100% equals the best possible game technology and human storytelling can make. In short, absolute perfection. Yes, that would mean that those games that regularly get 100% at "traditional" reviews would end up somewhere in the 60-80% range with good games netting maybe 40-60%. You couldn't call a game bad unless it was somewhere below 20%.

        I would probbly last for three reviews bef
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        The solution is simple. Take the game magazine's rating, scale it to place it between one and ten, then scale it by a psuedo-arbitrary credibility factor you made up on the spur of the moment, and finally subtract five. Then rank it on the five star scale. I feel there are plenty of games which deserve a negative score for wasting my fucking time, but really, there's just a ton of games you shouldn't waste more time on than it takes to read the review.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by slyguy135 (844866)

      Did you never read the UK edition of PC Gamer? I haven't looked at it for a few years now, but they regularly gave single-digit scores for games that were so awful there was no other non-violent response possible. They also gave Worms 1 40%, which confused the hell out of everyone...

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @07:15PM (#23898041)

      Ok, so I wasn't the only one wondering.

      Back in the days (the good ol' ones, a few of you might remember if Alzheimer didn't get you yet) there were basically five categories for games.

      The 90-100 games which were absolutely awesome. That's a grade a handpicked few got. Getting a 91 already meant that you made it. You created a game that will be remembered a decade from now. Every year, about 20 or so games got to this lofty realm of divinity.

      Then there were the 60-90 games. They were good. Really good! The kind that's worth its money. If you were at least halfway into the genre, you had to have them.

      Then there was that area of about 40-60. They were ... well, half baked, usually. Quite ok, but nothing to write home about. If you're into the genre really badly and if that really was your thing, you could buy them, but it was anything but a must-have.

      After that it got rather ugly. 20-40 was reserved for games that were quite bad. Even if you're into the genre, you might want to wait until it's in the bargain bin. And even then, you might want to avoid them lest you start to hate what you used to love.

      And then there was the rest, the kind of games you don't even want to hear about, where paying you to play them would have been an insult because of the time wasted. 0-20. Usually, about 1-2 games per magazine got that review, just to show that yes, there ARE games this bad and companies DO actually try to sell them. They were more a comic relief than a review, usually, and the writers also got quite creative describing them. Often, those reviews were more interesting and witty than a lot of the "average" ones.

      This all changed somewhere between the 80s and today. Today, the reviews are usually in the 90-100 range if the game is at least halfway playable and grants you more than an hour of fun. Go to your average review page and check for yourself. How many games hit that formerly so lofty grounds? 20? 30? Of the 50 reviewed?

      A review of 70 is already bad. A review of 60 a disaster. Anything lower than that probably mean that it won't even install without an error.

    • by krayzkrok (889340)
      Ah yes, but on the cardinal game reviewing scale of 7-9 (7 = sucks, 8 = ok I suppose, 9 = awesome), getting 68% is worse than "it sucks". No wonder Atari are pissed off!
  • by neokushan (932374) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:03PM (#23896823)

    In all my swashbuckling years (gone by, that is - I've since grown up and can actually afford to buy my games), I've only ever played 2 games where the pirated version's gameplay is actually different from the retail one - Postal (might have been postal 2, actually) and Red Alert 2. Oddly enough, both games had the same "different" gameplay in that certain pirated/cracked versions would work for about 30seconds and then everything on screen would explode and/or die.
    Oh how I laughed.

    Anyway, the point is that I very much doubt any pirated versions are different from the retail version of the game and Atari is just trying to stir up shit for publicity's sake - and good luck to them, but I still doubt there is actually a difference between the two (unless in-your-face-DRM counts as gameplay these days).

    But for the sake of a good conversation, what other "different" anti-piracy schemes have you all come across in games, such as the above mentioned "kill everything after 30s" technique?

    • by xaxa (988988) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:29PM (#23897041)

      But for the sake of a good conversation, what other "different" anti-piracy schemes have you all come across in games, such as the above mentioned "kill everything after 30s" technique?

      My version of Sim City would have a 'disaster' every 2 minutes if you didn't correctly answere the copy protection question (I think it was the "second word from line five, page three of the manual" type protection).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Triv (181010)

        Not sure if you had a different version than I did, but my copy of Sim City came with a pamphlet of codes composed of pairs of blocks with different corners of the blocks shaded, listed next to cities and their populations - the game gave you some combination of codes and populations and asked for the city name (or something like that).

        The best part was, it was printed in black on red paper so you couldn't photocopy it. My grandmother and I took the time to hand-copy the thing, line by line, onto graph pape

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        In the Settlers games, the forrester guys wouldn't plant new trees for you to chop down if you played a pirated copy. Took me a while to figure out that it was, in fact, impossible to finish a single game like that. Evil but ingenious as there was no warning whatsoever.

    • by Lazy Jones (8403)
      But for the sake of a good conversation, what other "different" anti-piracy schemes have you all come across in games, such as the above mentioned "kill everything after 30s" technique?

      I had the original version of Alternate Reality - the Dungeon for the 800XL, but made a (straightforward, i.e. no fancy programs) backup copy once (5 1/4" floppy disks ... they never lasted long). If you booted from the copy, you'd encounter 2 FBI agents immediately, they would attack you with "the long arm of the law" and

  • by GroeFaZ (850443) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:05PM (#23896833)
    The details of the story are:

    Because of AitD previews, Atari pulled already paid for ad campaigns. Requests for testing versions were completely ignored.

    Literally minutes after the reviews were online, Atari lawyers demanded that 4Players.de pulls the reviews, claiming they were "not actual objective product tests" (product tests as in refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, not something like games that can't objectively tested and which therefore do not fall under regulations regarding product tests). Also, because 4P tested based on the retail version before the street date, they alleged that 4P had downloaded the game illegally (they bought it early from a retailer they have contacts with). They allege that 4P just wanted "first review!" (ignoring that print magazines had even earlier reviews). The lawyers set the value of the case at 50,000 Euro.

    Later, they tried the same to 2 Norwegian online mags, Gamer.no and Gamereactor.no, with the same results, namely none.
    • by schnipschnap (739127) * on Sunday June 22, 2008 @05:12PM (#23897341)

      Hey! I just finished translating the whole article ;_;
      Since it reveals some things about the magazine's attitude as well, I publish it here anyway:
      (Note that I didn't proof-read it)

      Atari really tries everything to obfuscate our reports: First they ignored our questions about Alone in the Dark in its early stages of development, then they canceled an already arranged advertising deal after our preview, then they didn't provide us with samples of the test version even though we asked, and now they're even getting out their lawyers and want to instill fear in us with a 50,000 Euro lawsuit. What's next? Activating firecrackers in our offices? Throwing soccer-balls at the editors' wives?

      It's getting more and more ridiculous. The fact that publishers like to interfere with the freedom of the press has been demonstrated by JoWooD in 2006 in a most demonstrating way in the case of Gothic 3: They wanted us to take our report offline after a threatening call, and the magazine PC PowerPlay was to vanish from newspaper stands. Both magazines resisted and have in doing so strengthened the Culture of Criticism of the German press landscape.

      Atari is now demonstrating that publishers tend to lose their nerves when their games receive unfavorable reviews. And now, with their specious accusations of laughableness, they're [making it worse]. [Here's the order of events:] Yesterday afternoon, we published our review of Alone in the Dark. The game got 68% and therefore got a satisfactory rating. Yesterday evening, we got a facsimile from Atari's lawyers, extracts of which we can't help but share with you. If Germany shouldn't be able to laugh about anything anymore after tonight's match with Portugal, check this out:

      'By publishing this "review" (original: "test") you are violating applicable laws and infringing upon Atari's rights.'

      Hello? Are we in China now? Or in Iran? Here I had to gag on this as a journalist because Atari with its sloppy dubs against the rights of German listeners - Are they now allowed to sue for damages because they are avoiding paying for professional voice actors but still want the full price for a game with amateurish voice acting?

      And now the quintessence of the ridiculous accusations:

      'Your "review" isn't. The game is to be published on June 20, 2008. Your "review" must therefore be based on the pre-release version that was only to be used for preliminary commentatorship.'

      So is it the job of lawyers and publishers now, to determine what constitutes a "review"? The fact that some printed magazines didn't use the pre-release version either for their test, because their articles were published much earlier than ours, doesn't appear to concern Atari. Because it is quite common now that printed reviews aren't always based on the final versions of a game - See Gothic 3.

      Just too bad that we actually reviewed the final version. Atari's thinks (in surprising ignorance about distribution channels), that we can't even have the offical final releases - because Atari, as a precaution, didn't even send us those, even though we asked for them. However, we're used to such methods after years of reviewing and bought the final versions for the Wii, PS2, Xbox 360, and PC already on Monday at a retailer that we trust, who gets almost all games a couple days before their official release date.

      Instead of thinking about that, Atari speculated freely about how we could have managed to get ahold of the game, and accuses us of criminal activities:

      'The only possible explanation is that your "review" is based on an illegally downloaded version.'

      That isn't just extremely naive, that's insolent. But let's go on:

      'At the same time you're ignoring standards that usually apply to product reviews. Because product reviews have to be based on objective and informed analyses.'

      And "informed" is probably everything that gives a rating of more than 80%, right? And "objective" begins at 85%? Just for the lawyer who wrote this outrag

  • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:06PM (#23896851)

    This is surprising. Maybe I'll have to start learning German if I want to get honest game reviews now. I have a feeling the North American game reviewers will probably be a lot more accommodating to Atari's threats.

    I recall the same thing happened with Anarchy online. They released the game for sale but then told reviewers to hold off on their reviews because the game wasn't actually 'final'. Sure enough, reviewers didn't do their job and waited around till the Anarchy folks actually felt their game was 'ready'. This all boils down to game companies not wanting to be accountable for their lousy work. Really if you're going to be spending millions and millions of dollars on a game, you should at the very least make sure it's actually worth playing.

    • Well, if learning German gets you down and/or in the meantime you still want to read some game reviews, I would recommend eurogamer.net. They are extremely hard on everything they review (at least in comparison to American gaming publications) and are in the UK (and are extremely well written in general). Not that I agree with absolutely every review, but reading the review is actually more important than looking at the score. I own and have enjoyed immensely many games that got a 5-6 on eurogamer (discl

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      This is surprising. Maybe I'll have to start learning German if I want to get honest game reviews now.

      Or, you know, you can just visit TPB, get some source material, and do your own review like everyone else. You can be different and actually go buy the ones you keep :)

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:47PM (#23897149)
    Now, no matter good the game really is, the game and Atari have been stigmatized.

    What a bone-headed thing to do. Like the other thread a bit earlier about google-bombing McCain, trying to suppress information rarely works, and often backfires.

  • ATARI: (Score:2, Funny)

    by dodecalogue (1281666)

    from "pew pew pew!" to "p.u. p.u. p.u.!" .... awful. sorry.

  • by crovira (10242) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @04:54PM (#23897211) Homepage

    Seriously, you'd think that they'd use the opportunity to get people involved and improve their releases rather that trying to shut the door on their customers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by m8nkey (1312359)
      Atari in it's current form is simply a brandname, bought by Infograms who produced the original Alone In The Dark games. According to wikipedia, Atari has been a wholly owned subsidiary of of Infograms since '07. They've been releasing games under the Atari name for years though. First game I recall seeing released by Infograms using the Atari name was Unreal Tournament 2003.
  • by DreadfulGrape (398188) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @05:02PM (#23897267)

    Atari still makes games?

    • by toriver (11308)

      No, Infogrames do, but the Atari brand that they own is thought to be more "marketable".

    • Apparently -- but one a year. You can't rely on name carte blanche forever if you don't reinforce it.

  • by haaz (3346) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @05:14PM (#23897359) Homepage

    I didn't know Atari was still in business.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      It's Atari in name only. Infogrames renamed themselves Atari to try to "reinvent" after people wised up to the fact that everyone was used to mediocrity out of them.

  • DRM (Score:5, Informative)

    by Xian97 (714198) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @05:31PM (#23897437)
    I don't care if the reviews were giving it a perfect score, I was giving this one a pass anyway. It has even more restrictive install limits than Mass Effect - you can only install it on a single PC at a time so I can't have it on my desktop and laptop for example. I don't mind the online activation, but I refuse to buy any software that limits the number of installations. http://www.aitdunlock.com/ [aitdunlock.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mascot (120795)

      Granted, I don't approve of online activation of this type at all. But that really is exceedingly ridiculous.

      And, hilariously, the only way those sites managed to review the game early, was because Atari turned on the activation servers. Way to use that DRM you paid good money for to prevent early leaks, Atari.

  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @06:17PM (#23897705)
    ...and I think it's pretty true to the movie it's based on. I know the movie is not what the gme is (spposed to be) based on, but feeling-wise it does fit.

    I can also see where the game is annoying - sometimes you go quite long distances without healing items so you might end up in a battle where you die if anything hurts you just a little bit - and if you don't want to do the battle twenty times over you have to either replay the previous part of the game or skip to the next scene.
    Also, it feels badly tested; for example, if during a cutscene the camera is away from your body and passes by items on the ground the game will offer you to pick them up. Also, sometimes the game doesn't make much sense; for example, during the car escape scene there are cars parked in the middle of the street with no fleeing people around that might explain them. Getting to the car is convoluted in itself.

    The game does have potential for being unintentionally funny, though. In one cutscene a homing smoking crack in the floor races towards the player. Once, the (heavily injured) player stood on a burning item when the cutscene was triggered; when the camera came back to the player he was already lying on the ground, burning. The game's deadpan delivery of this made the scene exceptionally funny.


    Overall, it's a nice game but definitely not great. I can understand why Atari doesn't get rave reviews although I do think 3/10 is a bit low. I'd place it more around a 6.
    • ...and I think it's pretty true to the movie it's based on.

      This one [imdb.com]?

      If so, I do readily believe the reviewer that it sucks and blows at the same time.

      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        Yeah. It's not quite as stupid, but the story does.. well... it sounds like something you'd find in a semi-generic action movie. Actually, the game very much feels like one - cars exploding as if they ran on hydrogen, things breaking in exactly the one possible way to allow the player to reach his destination in a climactic escape scene... Oh, not to forget the selective character shield; you can be one tap on the shoulder away from death, but during cutscenes your character will happily take blows that hur
  • On a tangent, refusing advance reviews and litigious behaviour towards the press attempting to produce prerelease reviews can mean only one thing. The game stinks on ice and Atari know it.

    What really surprises me is that Atari have done anything whatsoever to draw attention to these reviews....perhaps one of the marketing team has misunderstood the phrase "no publicity is bad publicity" (i.e. don't be forgotten) to mean all publicity is good...

  • are you so dumb and stupid enough to think that you can suppress bad reviews on the internet ? havent you been able to conclude that just because of the shit you pulled, there will be blog postings of that reviews all over the internet ? internet is 'the people'. and people dont like being gagged or repressed.

    have fun drooling in the failure that is your new game, brought upon you by your own stupidity.

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

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