Backhanded Box Quotes: 'A Steaming Pile of Mundanity'Welcome to "Backhanded Box Quotes," a collection of super pissed-off user reviews from people just like you! Whoa, whoa, don't take that personal.

This week's review of measured disappointment and constructive criticism includes condemnation for a widely admired brand in independent games development, and sympathy for Hitler.

Minecraft Xbox 350

Released: May 9
Critic: ChodeyMitchell

"The only way you would ever enjoy this is if you have never played Minecraft in your life."

Score: 2.

Sniper Elite V2

Released: May 2
Critic: ApocalypseBrown
"Since my last review was deleted due to childish sensitivities and melodramatic over-reactions from amateur reviewers who either can't score games properly using decimal points or believe this game A.I is the second coming, to those professional reviewers who disgracefully rewarded this game a 4 when awarding Ridge Racer Unbounded a 9!"

"[T]his is a rental at best though you're welcome to believe the sheep and waste your hard earned!"
Score: 6.

Critic: ShootTheZombie
"I loved shooting a Russian sniper 200ft away from me in the eye."

Score: 6.

Fable Heroes

Released: May 2
Critic: S_Jake (Metacritic).

"Six words: Like Castle Crashers minus the fun."

"If you haven't played Castle Crashers, then download that instead of this steaming pile of mundanity." [Editor's note: That's actually a word.]

"If you have, then go and play it again rather than waste you time with this."
Score: 4.

Backhanded Box Quotes will be an occasional feature of Kotaku's Anger Management hour, unless it isn't.
There's No Appealing to the Court of Public OpinionIf the folks behind Kane & Lynch 2 should be sued, they should be sued for something other than the "vicious vilifying" of the Chinese people. And they should be sued for a lot more than $1,585 dollars U.S. That figure would represent no more than 27 copies of the title sold at full retail price here, and I'm certain the actual victims of the game's nausea-inducing shaky-cam, and the nauseating characters depicted by it, number far more than that.

Ridiculous lawsuits are a common news topic in video games, maybe because the medium and the discussion has such a heavy online component, where outrage spreads fast and embarrassments can be permanently recorded with ease.

But even as gamers' outrage mounts, much of it an understandable reaction to the consumer's shrinking say in a changing marketplace, nearly every public response to every lawsuit against the industry matches the one most had—rightfully so—to the claim against Kane & Lynch 2, a forgettable sequel-for-the-sake-of-a-sequel from nearly two years ago: Shut the fuck up.

Shut the fuck up, China, because Kane & Lynch 2 didn't speak well of video games either. Shut the fuck up, dude who sued Ubisoft, alleging his story was stolen by Assassin's Creed. Definitely shut the fuck up, Zynga, claiming you owns anything with the suffix "ville." The popular reaction to all of these is the same. They come to the court of public opinon bearing a heavy presumption against their validity. Any validity.

It's how we've been conditioned, from reading subjects other than entertainment. Seriously, when is the last time you read the story of a civil judgment for the plaintiff and said to yourself, "Good. I'm glad they got theirs." The cause isn't helped by oleaginous creatures like John Edwards, a lawyer who took on these cases—with some very sympathetic clients, mind you—before he was elected to the Senate, or by the constant bombardment of ambulance-chasing advertisements on 24-hour news networks or sports radio.

Yet personal injury is a very real thing. The woman in the infamous McDonald's hot coffee case suffered—let's not fuck around here—third degree burns on her crotch. She needed a goddamn skin graft. That's not ow-my-neck after getting tapped on the bumper. And yet, for a culture that likes to puff up in such a fuck-the-man posture in Internet comments and Facebook posts, as soon as someone decides to actually sue the man, then they're a whiner or, worse, trying to hit the lottery.

About the most sympathy you'll see is when EA decided to sue the maker of a helicopter that appeared in Battlefield. Gamers really didn't know who to tell to go fuck themselves—EA, a longstanding monolithic symbol of oppression, or a private company lawyering up to preserve its creative ownership of a vehicle built with taxpayer money. And that's a huge company taking on a huge company.

This isn't to suggest that the claim originating in China, the lawsuit against Assassin's Creed or, most risibly, Paul Christoforo, of the infamous "Ocean Marketting" fiasco, have cases worth respecting, to use three very recent examples.

But it does make me wonder what, if any, legal action would garner the sympathy of the public.

Hey folks, Something Negative is a rant. Love it or hate it, we all need to blow off steam on Fridays. Let yours out in the comments.

If Biker Show Sons of Anarchy Gets a Video Game, It Won't be 'Some Slapcrap Browser Thing'Back in February, word passed that Sons of Anarchy, the biker-gang television series broadcast on FX in the United States, was exploring a video-game deal. It quickly followed that the talks might concern something less than the full retail release hardcore video gamers expected. Like a bullshit free-to-play browser game that no one can respect.

Well, the series' creator wants to put an end to that speculation. Kurt Sutter, via Twitter, recently said he met with "a big distributor" and that "myself and everyone at FX and Fox is committed to making this happen.

"Yes, we definitely wanna do a real game. Console based," he Tweeted. "Not some slapcrap browser MP thing."

Going the non-slapcrap route will "take awhile, but it's the right way to go," he said, offering no other details on the provisional game or the discussions.

Still it's good to hear that these bikers, if they get a video game adaptation, will get a proper one, not some slapcrap browser-based garbage.

Sons of Anarchy Game Hitting Consoles [GameSpot]


Atari Kills the Ignition on Test Drive's StudiosEden Games, makers of the Test Drive series, staged a symbolic one-day walkout last year when Atari moved forward on plans to lay off more than half the studio. Now it's moving toward washing its hands of all of it.

Financial filings by Atari say the French maker of racing games is now considered a "discontinued operation" and that Atari has begun "a divesture process" for the studio, which sounds like polite-speak for "getting rid of it." But a corporate representative reportedly told Joystiq "the studio has not closed and we will continue to support the console and PC games of Eden Games, notably Test Drive Unlimited 2."

In the financial filings, Atari also reported a revenue decline of some 44 percent overall for the fiscal year.

Atari says Eden Games isn't closed, plans to continue supporting the studio [Joystiq]


Wal-Mart's Hilarious Diablo III Product Description Reads Like a Sixth-Grade Book ReportWe're all looking forward to next Tuesday's launch of Blizzard's long-time-coming action RPG Diablo III. Every store has some sort of preorder going on, and megachain Wal-Mart is no different.

The prices are about the same everywhere (though Wal-Mart does knock $0.03 off the $59.99 standard), so the key to get people to buy it from you is to really nail the item description.

Wal-Mart does… not really accomplish this feat. What they do manage to do is write a description so fragmented and child-like that it made me laugh for a few minutes straight.

From the Wal-Mart product page:

The Diablo III PC/Mac Game revolves around an interesting plot which will keep you spell bound. while you are playing. This Strategy Video Game also has some similar setting as the Diablo II like Tristram. The Witch Doctor is a new character in this game, is reminiscent of the Diablo II Necromancer, The Barbarians in this strategy video game have a variety of revamped skills at their disposal on the basis of the use of their incredible physical prowess. Bring home the PC video game to solve the mysteries of the mighty Barbarians.

Oh, you say it is a strategy video game, is it? The plot is interesting, is it? It will keep me spell bound? While I am playing?


The bullet points do a good job of recapping the salient facts from the product description:

  • The Witch Doctor is a new character reminiscent of the Diablo II Necromancer
  • The Barbarians will have a variety of revamped skills at their disposal based on the use of their incredible physical prowess.
  • 1-on-1' dueling system coming into play.

So you're saying there are… Barbarians? Man! I can't wait to solve their mysteries! What could they be?

I guess we'll have to wait until Tuesday to find out.

Wal-Mart's Hilarious Diablo III Product Description Reads Like a Sixth-Grade Book Report

Diablo III Product Page [Wal-Mart]


I Can't Stop Looking At This Twisted Take On Super Smash Bros.Witness Reddit user BansheeIndian's take on Nintendo's brawler Super Smash Bros.

It's terrifying. And awesome.

Full image below (click to expand):

I Can't Stop Looking At This Twisted Take On Super Smash Bros.

A Smash Bros. Drawing I just finished [Reddit]

Like the Playoffs, the NHL Cover Vote Drags OnNews and notes from around the world of sports video gaming:

• Nearly every title at EA Sports is being put to a cover vote. We've had contests now for Tiger Woods PGA Tour, NFL Blitz, Madden and NCAA Football. We haven't heard what NBA Live will be doing, but it's a good bet whatever it has in mind won't take as long as the NHL 13, which seems to mimic the span of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. This vote has now reached the quarterfinals, with Claude Giroux vs, Anze "Der" Kopitar and Scott Hartnell in one half of the bracket. Pavel Datsyuk vs. John Tavares and Henrik Lunqvist vs. Pekka Rinne are in the other. Vote here. The winner won't be declared for another month, the June 20 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

• Pastapadre, sports video gaming's bloodhound, notes that we are still a long ways off from a patch for MLB 2K12. This is significant because we didn't—couldn't—get one from its March release through the end of April because of the Million-Dollar Perfect Game Challenge. 2K Sports couldn't alter the gameplay or the structure of the game while the contest was in place because of, who knows, legal restrictions or something. The same kind of legal restrictions that couldn't prevent contestants from cheating in the qualifying round, and did prevent 2K from weeding them out or even discussing the controversy. While a patch still is in the works, it hasn't yet cleared internal reviews, and then it must pass Microsoft's certification. So don't expect it for another couple weeks, I'd say. [Pastapadre]

• Speaking of covers, we forgot to give you the official Madden NFL 13 box art featuring Calvin Johnson, who I correctly, properly and admirably predicted as the overall winner a month before the vote-off began. Here it is.

Like the Playoffs, the NHL Cover Vote Drags On

There's a New Way to Pitch in NCAA FootballI've often felt that the recruiting simulation in NCAA Football could be a salesmanship trainer at some kind of corporate retreat. Unlike the free agency or trading periods in other sports video games, you're not sending contract terms back and forth with the CPU. Money doesn't talk here, you do.

You have to understand a high schooler's priorities and sell to them. You have to respect the independence of their decisionmaking while chipping at what your competitors have told them. Sometimes you have to guarantee something completely beyond your control like, say, a national championship.

So, coach, what the hell are you gonna do when your starting tight end knocks on your door and tells you he's homesick?

That's one new wrinkle in a general overhaul of the "pitch system" in NCAA Football's Dynasty mode, whose recruiting mandate makes it the most intensive and interesting sports management simulation available on a console. Gone is the frustrating "roulette wheel" of past versions, where you'd simulate calling a player on the phone and having to discuss a random attribute of your program, whether it's a strength, a weakness, or even something the kid is interested.

The wild cards will now be manifested in scouting high school players, who may not be as good as their ranking suggests, and in managing the needs of your current roster, who may be looking turning professional early, or transferring to a school nearer to mom and dad.

But the underlying structure has become more transparent and less subject to whim. In the past, attracting talent depended upon a number of selling points beyond your control—your campus lifestyle, television exposure and the prestige of your conference . These were all graded and set throughout your career, even if you altered a conference's makeup. They were a source of considerable outrage from offended alumni, who would take to EA Sports forums to complain about being rated a B- in academic prestige or championship contender status. And an unduly driving factor was the team's Bowl Championship Series ranking.

"This year, we created the means to influence those pitches to recruits," said Jordan Peterson, "and the game exposes those conditions to the users." For example, the "conference prestige" grade. Meant to measure a recruit's desire to play in an elite league like, say, the Atlantic Coast Conference, it will now adjust for the performance of that conference's teams that year. This means a coach can sell into a spike, so to speak, if he's coaching a team in an up-and-comer conference whose programs are gathering a lot of attention at the time.

IThere's a New Way to Pitch in NCAA FootballThe pros and cons your football program presents to a prospect will be more transparent, more customized to the recruit's needs, and more open to influence by how your team performs.

A team's playing style will also be the basis for a customized pitch to the prospect; for example, a team largely based on an option offense won't have as much appeal to a quarterbacking prospect strongly rated as a dropback passer. "Championship contender," perhaps the most immovable of the gradings, will now examine your school's roster for the next four years and judge whether it has the talent to make a run.

The "homesickness" example is in what happens when your players get restless after they have signed. The design team promises that one will be rare, and sensibly managed (if he can't be persuaded to stay, the player won't go to a rival in the same geographic area, or to another school just as far from his home state). But it and the need to convince talented players not to turn pro are aspects of actual program management, and ones EA Sports wanted to reflect here.

But it also shows how your school's reputation can work for or against you. Being regarded as a prime refinery of professional talent can attract a lot of high school recruits. It can also encourage them to bail out on you early. Regardless, you will still get a chance to convince these players to stay—to re-recruit them with the same kinds of promises you make to high school kids throughout the year—playing time, postseason success, and the like. You can even use a player's projected draft status against his desire to leave.

As for the main high-school recruiting game, the game does away with the infuriating "roulette wheel" that governed a simulated phone conversation. Now you as the coach can select a topic to discuss or simply ask the prospect what he's interested in, and then react to that interest. If you're not bringing up something that's a strength of you program, you'll be asking the player to talk about a quality that's an actual priority, much more like a conversational negotiation. In the past, the game would automate the topic selection, and sometimes wind up on a subject in which the recruit had little interest and in which you were rated low (Coach Loyalty was my favorite.) Dynasty's biggest upgrade, outside of the presentation changes mentioned yesterday, seems to be in having a more productive discussion at a blue-chipper's kitchen table.

Scouting is the other new component of talent management. You can send assistant coaches to examine a player and see if he lives up to the hype, in virtual sessions as long as 60 minutes each. Depending upon the core traits influencing the position, (kickers have the least, a running back or linebacker would have the most) you can get a quick handle on whether you've found an underrated gem or an overrated bust.

By creating this variable, NCAA Football wants to pry the game loose from the rigid structure of past years, when the only way to bring top talent to your program was to convince a true 5-star recruit to join up. This is meant to create a chance to find overlooked prospects who increasingly form the story of a striver program's breakout year. You can go star-chasing as before, but the 3- and 4-star recruits you'd normally get will lose interest.

One final note about the changes to "Dynasty." The game will include the new Southeastern Conference alignments, of course, and figuring out its schedule rotation was a nightmare. The SEC will play an eight-game conference schedule, six of which will be divisional games that repeat every year, one of which will be an extradivisional protected rivalry, leaving one as a rotating random matchup.

The SEC provided EA Sports no guidance on this rotation, having not yet determined it. "If they ever want to know how that rotation works, they can come see us," sighed Ben Haumiller, a producer on the game. "I had to turn it over to a math major."


EVE Online developer CCP bundled their players' names into a pod earlier this week and shot it into the stratosphere, as near to space as they could get it.

The weather balloon to which the pod was attached also had a camera on board. Earlier, we had amazing stills of the view far above Iceland, and now CCP has assembled a highlight reel of the video as well. It's a stunning view from 100,000 feet above the Earth (if a bit dizzying in the middle), but unless you live in Iceland, you probably can't see your house from there.

Sadly, all great journeys must come to an end, and eventually balloon, capsule, and camera all returned to Earth, plopping gently into the water.


How Did You Spend Your First Day in Xbox Minecraft?In today's build-your-own edition of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter Arok Lazarus shares with us how he and his girlfriend spent his first day playing Minecraft on the Xbox 360. What did you do?

Wooh Minecraft on the 360!

Here's what I did my first day on it: My girlfriend and I splitscreened the game for several hours and after doing the tutorial we went to live in the tutorial town for a while. My first night in the bed in a nice pre-built house I was attacked by a creeper! In my house with the door closed! My girlfriend slept in the prison, although we weren't aware it was a prison until I accidentally locked her in. After this little mishap we stockpiled our resources (we had no idea what we were doing so I got a few fish and some more wooden tools) and struck off for new land to call our own.

Settled for a land south of the tutorial town and promptly tunneled a cave to live in temporarily. The next day I scouted for a place to build a house and my girlfriend started gathering more resources. Several creeper attacks over the course of a few days had us rebuilding our cave for a while and ultimately build a secret back entrance so we could escape if there was a creeper at our front door. Now we've managed to mostly level a very tall hill and we are now filling it in with dirt so we can start building our home.

In short, I love this game! I played it once on my laptop but the terrible frame rate made it an unenjoyable experience to say the least. Now however I can see why so many people love this game. I think the nice soundtrack really helps the game a lot too.

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.