Festive Feature #3 - Top Five Most Shameless Cash-ins of 2012
Written Wednesday, December 19, 2012 By Lee BradleyView author's profile
The video game industry is no stranger to shameless cash-ins. Year after year, businessmen with little or no idea about games throw the smallest amount of money and time possible at developers, hoping to score a few sales with titles based on successful movies, TV shows, books and more.
This year is no exception. Gathered below are the cheapest, nastiest, most desperate grabs for your hard-earned cash, a selection of tawdry games that feed off far superior subject material without honoring anything that made the source interesting or fun in the first place.
But which one will be our winner? Which of these games is the Most Shameless Cash-in of 2012? Read on to find out.
“Strap on some strong underwear and wade into crap-filled waters with me. Ice Age: Continental Drift - Arctic Games almost makes me wish there was another ice age in which to bury every copy of this game.”
That’s how our review of the latest Ice Age game started and we’ll be honest with you, it didn’t get any better from there on in. Rated an ‘unplayable’ 25, it was our lowest scored game of the year. “An insult to the film series,” Ice Age: Continental Drift - Arctic Games “doesn’t deliver on any level.”
Imagine the amount of poor little kids that came home with the game, eagerly anticipating exciting adventures with their favourite movie characters, only to unwrap this steaming turd. Ice Age: Continental Drift - Arctic Games should be reported for child abuse.
James Bond games should be great. The movies have a brilliant protagonist, fantastically outlandish bad guys, fast cars, action and exotic settings. Yet in a post-Goldeneye world they often fall short and 007 Legends is no exception.
What makes 007 Legends even more of a shameless cash-in, however, is the way it was marketed. Launched to tie-in with the release of Skyfall, and with missions drawing on such classic movies as Goldfinger, Moonraker and Die Another Day, 007 Legends was a painfully obvious grab at the return of Bond-mania.
Hell, they even stuck a trailer for the game at the end of a Skyfall promo, just to ram the message home.
So bad that it even led to the death of Eurocom, a British studio with over 20 years of experience in the industry, 007 Legends is an embarrassment to video games. We’d rather die in a tank full of sharks than play this nonsense again.
Capcom lost the plot with Resident Evil this year. But while the disappointing Resident Evil 6 was an understandable failure - the Japanese outfit at least tried to make a great addition to the core series - Operation Raccoon City is far less forgivable.
What makes the game such an awful cash-in is not that it’s bad (and it is bad, we gave it a 58 and advised that you avoid it like the T-Virus), but more that it ignores pretty much everything about Resident Evil that we liked in the first place. It’s not a Resident Evil game, it’s just an utterly uninspiring generic shooter.
Yet by slapping those two magic words at the start of the title, Capcom ensured itself success, with more than 2 million copies sold worldwide. But while gamers paid for a Resident Evil title in stores, they came home with a dull third person shooter and the nagging feeling that they’d just wasted their money.
It shouldn’t hurt any more. Star Wars has birthed so many horrible cash-ins that it’s becoming increasingly hard to remember exactly what it was we liked about the original trilogy of movies. But when nonsense like Star Wars Kinect comes along it’s like a scolding lightsaber stabbed through our geeky hearts.
It’s not even the main campaign that does the most damage. Hobbled by Kinect, it’s limited, unresponsive, laggy and incredibly frustrating. But at least it tries to stay true to the tone of the Star Wars universe. The dancing sections, meanwhile, do no such thing.
At first we found them hilarious, because seeing Han Solo, Princess Leia and the rest of the gang get their funk on to rewritten pop songs was so bizarre it inspired a weird kind of fascination. But then the reality set in. This is a game that draws on the phenomenal success of a few 30 year-old movies and then deliberately shits all over their legacy. It’s a dirty, shameless cash-in.
Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is completely and utterly rubbish. A lazy, unfunny, repetitive and unimaginative mess of a third-person shooter, it’s bad enough that our review of the game called it an “atrocity.”
Yet while it comes close, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse isn’t the worst game of the year. It’s not even the worst game of the year that ties in with a big name franchise. So why is it our Most Shameless Cash-in of 2012? We’ll tell you.
While tosh like Ice Age: Continental Drift is made for young kids, who are supposedly less discerning in their video game tastes, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is for grown ups. With its “adult” humour and mature audience, it’s a game clearly aimed at over 18s.
Trading off the good name of the hilarious TV series, the fact that we’re supposed to slurp up this crap is an insult. Paying actual money for Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is like being mugged by a friend. Congrats Activision, you just won an award.