Judging a Mega Man social game based on a demo?

5 mins read

It seems like Capcom has managed to find itself in a spot of hot water over its Mega Man franchise again. This time, it’s over the release of a social iOS game that ties in with the franchises’ 25-year anniversary.

Now, on one level I do get that frustration. Compared to, say, Square Enix and the way it celebrated similar milestones for both Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, releasing a game on a platform that most of the diehard Mega Man fans would never dream of touching would seem like a slap in the face. Far be it for me to criticise fans for getting upset over that.

However, would it really kill people to play a game before judging the quality of the game itself? This news report makes it quite clear that the author has judged the game not only before playing it but on the basis of a brief demonstration of one of the earliest levels in the game. The video that the article links to quite clearly shows “level 1” in the top left corner – the game has just started. And yet according to that author “brief look at a gameplay demo shows that there’s hardly any skill required anyway.” The last I checked most tutorials involve hardly any skill, and this is the equivalent of judging a game based on its tutorial. That the person writing the criticism of hadn’t personally played.

I’m not saying it’s going to be a deep game, but people really do need to reserve their judgements of games until they’ve had proper hands on time and can make a fair assessment of the merits of the game, rather than its premise. This attitude echoes criticisms of other games that I’ve seen in the past, such as Silent Hill Book of Memories (it’s not a survival horror game? Terrible game!) and Metal Gear Rising Revengeance (it’s not a stealth game? Blasphemy!) – and a host of others from even further back (Devil May Cry remake, anyone?). It baffles me that people will hate a game they’ve had no experience with. Silent Hill and Metal Gear Rising are both great games, by-the-by, and the developers of Devil May Cry’s reboot have yet to put a foot wrong.

Some of the best experiences in life are those that we didn’t necessarily see coming. I had always dismissed the Warriors games out of mind on the basis that they were, apparently, ‘button mashers.’ I hadn’t played them before, but that’s what everyone said about them, and they got such low scores in reviews. But one day I picked up a copy of Samurai Warriors 3 on the Wii and I have bought (and loved) every Warriors game since then.

Likewise, I thought social games were silly time wasters, but then I found one I liked, and it no longer mattered that it was a silly time waster – it was fun, and I enjoyed it. From what I can tell there is no reason to think this Mega Man social game is any different.

But it seems we live in an era where it’s easier to simply judge a game on the basis of the idea behind it, without giving it a fair shot. This Mega Man Xover game might well be a lot of fun – social games can be fun, and indeed Capcom has shown it has talent with social games in the past; that Smurfs game was ace.

Of course it’s not a traditional Mega Man game, and as I said before, I get why that is disappointing. But dismissing a game out-of-mind for the simple fact that it’s a little different to the traditional games in the franchise? That’s just not on.

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  • I'm not a fan of Mega Man, but judging from the trailer, tutorial footage, and Flash parody, I wouldn't be interested in playing it. The way I see it, it's the game's job to look appealing, so if it doesn't, I probably won't play it. I know that means I'm bound to miss out on some good games, but considering time and resources constraints, it's the safest way to operate.

  • Oh, I agree with you there, but there's a mountain of difference between saying "this game doesn't appeal to me" and "this game is bad/ has no depth." The former is, of course, a truth. The latter is an assumption – and the only way it's justifiable is 1) every Mega Man game is bad (not true) 2) every social game is bad (not true) 3) you've played the game for long enough to form a defensible opinion of the game.

    There seems to be equipment upgrades and the like in the game. So, it'll likely be as complex and engaging as any other social game. Which is, of course, not as much as a "proper" Mega Man game, but by no means is it an indication that the game itself is "bad." If it had any other license no one would bat an eyelid, so the only real complaint here is that it's got "Mega Man" in the title.

  • What exactly are you trying to address with the article? You seem to be taking the mobile game out of context. It's not that MEGA MAN FANS are mad that there is a Mega Man game on mobile devices…well, at least not at the core. They're mad that Capcom isn't meeting their expectations of what the company should do to celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the franchise.

  • And that much I do understand – If Square Enix had have only released a Final Fantasy Mobile game on iOS for its 25th anniversary, I would have felt that was a wasted opportunity. I might have even cried into my Chocobo pillow for a couple of nights. Thankfully Square Enix did a good job with the 25th anniversary, so my Chocobo pillow survived the drenching.

    But there seems to be a lot of "this game sucks," thrown in there as well. And that much I object to. There's no reason to think a Mega Man social game would be bad, really.

  • So your point is that it's not fair to judge a game by the beginning level? Or, are you trying to point out that being stubborn isn't always a smart thing to do, as the last triad of your article implies? Are you trying to defend the game? Or, are you trying to address another issue in journalism since you used NintendoLife's article as a reference?

    Anyway, the message I get from your article is this: even though Capcom is going to release the game for iOS, a platform that hasn't yet saturated the traditional gaming audience, people shouldn't be judging the game solely on a promotional ad focused around the beginning of the game.

    I'm weary of linking stuff, but I will show you this comic of what I think:

  • I would just like to open this by saying that you, sir, are a genuine artist. If at any stage you would like to do a webcomic, I have this server space that is all yours (and no, I do not joke).

    Now to answer your question – it's a bit from column a), b) and d). I'm not really defending the game, as that would be kinda my point in reverse – I would be forming an opinion on a game I haven't played.

    I do, however, think that everyone else should stop to think before trampling me over in the lynch mob rush to Capcom offices. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is the social game to end all social games? We don't know that it isn't – and Capcom actually has a good record with these things.

    After people have played it, if it turns out to be crap, then by all means, tear into the game. But people do need to stop with this kneejerking rage to every game announcement that they don't agree with in some way (Bayonetta 2, Devil May Cry, Silent Hill Book of Memories etc etc).

  • What the comic is trying to do is portray how you are responding to the situation. You either used the wrong response to address the issue of overly-distressed fans, or you're not setting any Mega Man fans to the same level as yourself…

  • I finally finished my post that replied to my comic post. You might want to refresh your browser and read it…

  • This is great, and I do think you're very right – I am coming from a very different perspective to, say, the majority of people commenting on the NintendoLife article (with a couple of key exceptions – I actually do like Mega Man, and there are certain games that I have a deep, passionate love affair with, capitalist exploitation of my emotions be damned). And because of that, seeing eye-to-eye is just not going to happen with an issue like this.

    I don't necessarily think I'm going to be able to change anyone's opinion on the issue right here and right now, but often with these kinds of articles I do feel the need to get it out there as a statement of record that there is a different way to look at it.

    What I'm ultimately trying to get people to do is to think, rather than just react – even if they don't agree with me and they want to explain to me how I'm wrong. And it's worked – you've come in and engaged with the article, added depth and a different perspective to it. You've questioned the article, and forced me to think more deeply about the issue. There's no right or wrong here – it's one person's emotions vs another person's logic – neither can be an objective 'right'. Thank you for your input, because that's what we're all about at Digitally Downloaded – people and ideas. This kind of thing is a healthy debate and it's the kind of thing that the industry needs far more of.

    In other words, the main point of this piece is, rather than simply goading the Mega Man league into rage, I'm asking them why they feel that way. 🙂

  • While I completely understand the reaction from hardcore Mega Man fans — I was excited for Mega Man Legends 3 myself — I have to agree with you that knee-jerk reactions aren't appropriate, because you never really know until you try it.

    I do doubt the "social" aspects will flow together with the core Mega Man gameplay, as it's a series that has thrived off of pure gameplay. Heck, the series is known for being expertly designed in such a manner that it actually teaches the gamer how to play its levels without ever using a tutorial, because if it had the text tutorials, it would severely break the game's immersion level.

    Capcom is taking a huge risk here.

  • Here's the big question, I guess – do traditional Mega Man games actually sell well enough to justify investing in more of them? I have no idea, so if someone could show some evidence one way or another it'd be greatly appreciated.

    I do have a hunch that the numbers are simply not there to justify a new hardcore Mega Man game. Yes the fans would buy it one and all, but that fan base alone would not necessarily recoup the costs of development. "Hard" games are pretty niche games these days.

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