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Sunday, May 19, 2024

How to Tell If A Game Is Going To Suck

It can’t have escaped your attentions that Aliens: Colonial Marines is a bit of a disaster. The game is way too short, contains shoddy graphics, gameplay and AI and manages to ruin the canon as well. I truly feel for anyone who pre-ordered the game based on the misleading and unrepresentative demonstrations that Gearbox issued.

But really, the signs were there. And for next time, here are the key factors to watch out for to avoid buying another stinker.

Long Development Cycles

People might say that a work is done when it’s done, that art can take time to come to fruition, especially when it is a collective act between dozens of people.

To them, I’d say Duke Nukem Forever.

Aliens: Colon Mariners had been in development since Fifa ’08 and has languished there, bouncing from generation to generation. Each time there is a graphics bump, with an improved engine, a game has to be ported across and this transition creates additional bugs and errors that need to be worked out at the expense of actual gameplay.

Final Fantasy 13 is another example. That took quite some time to finish and ended up being the worst iteration of the series for more than a decade.

This says some very worrying things about Final Fantasy Versus 13 though…

Review Embargoes

This is a good piece of advice for all media really; whenever a publisher or studio detects a level of whiffiness around a piece of work, they ensure that the professionals whose job it is to filter out such pieces of rubbish don’t get to warn everyone before Release Day.

There are countless examples of this. All Points Bulleting was awful beyond comparison and the embargo on that extended a week beyond the Release Day.

Alan: Colin Mitchell was no exception. As soon as we knew that there would be no reviews until the game came out, we should have known that it was going to be completely awful.



Enough said.


This does give people a bit of a problem when it comes to pre-ordering a game well before it comes out. Normally, I’d say that you should look to the Publisher / Developers and decide whether you can trust them but Gearbox Studios were well considered with their two Borderlands games and look where that took us…

My advice to you would be to either accept that you’re taking a risk with a lengthy preorder or to wait until reviews come out. This may cost you a few quid you’d save ordering well in advance but it would save you from paying £40 for Al Ian: Coroner Supreme…

Sean is an editor, writer, and podcast host at Geek Pride, as well as a novelist. His self-published works can be found at all good eBook stores.

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