Monday, June 27, 2011

Capcom joins EA in the fight against used game sales.

A while back, I was lamenting about EA's controversial "Online Pass" feature that has been shoehorned into the majority of their online-enabled games over the past year. In essence, this "Online Pass" is something that is included with the first-time purchase of said title, however anyone wanting to subsequently play that copy would have to pay $10 to $12 additional for another pass if they wish to take advantage of the online gameplay. It was a transparent attempt to siphon profits from the booming used game market, and I remember thinking to myself that other companies will follow suit once they find a way to do so. Enter Capcom into the fray, and their method is even more egregious - the "one save" limit. 

The first game to have this feature is Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, and what it means in the simplest terms if that owners of the game are only allowed one permanent save file. Once created, it cannot be altered or deleted, and another one cannot be created in it's place. Any stats, points and game enhancements you obtain will also be permanent, so anyone else who comes into ownership of your copy will be forced to play using your save file. What this essentially does is render your game a one-play affair, since the majority of gamers will not revisit the game once everything has been unlocked. You are not restricted from going back and playing the game again, however it will be a significantly diluted experience since the fun of discovery has been killed off. This also jilts people who have to share their 3DS with a sibling or partner, since I can't imagine two people wanting to share a save file, let along having to buy two copies of the game. This is a ballsy move from Capcom and one that is likely to have many gamers up in arms, and rightfully so.

So what is the reason for this? Well, much like EA's rationale behind the "Online Pass", Capcom is one of many game developers that is taking a stand against the use game market, presumably because national chains like Gamestop are reaping record profits while the developers get nothing. Since all used games were purchased at full retail price at one point, I never saw this as anything more than a cash grab, since very little reliable data exists on how much the developers actually lose due to people buying their games used. Even if their losses justify these ends, implementing restrictions on how the game is played and hindering the enjoyment by effectively handcuffing gamers is not going to make them any more likely to buy new. In the comments I'm reading online, many gamers are opting to pass on the new Resident Evil title altogether because of this. This might make Capcom a little money, but make no mistake that it's PR suicide. 

For now, the new Resident Evil title on the 3DS is the only game with this "one save limit" restriction confirmed, however this can lead to a snowball effect much like we've seen with EA. I don't agree with this and I think it makes the gamers suffer for exercising a choice in how they wish to purchase their games, and owing to financial limitations, purchasing games used is the only option for some people. It sets a bad precedent in which games, expensive enough as they are, will start costing more and fewer options will exist for people to get their games elsewhere. I hope this is something that doesn't catch on, but my gamer's intuition has a far from optimistic outlook.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Crysis 2 (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC)

The last thing we need in the gaming world is another First Person Shooter that offers the same bog-standard campaign and cookie-cutter multiplayer features that I’ve grown tired of – these were my first impressions when I saw previews for Crysis 2. Having never owned a gaming PC that was up to par with the times, I know of the first Crysis by reputation only and it is still highly regarded as one of the most innovative and immersive shooters of all time, but my expectations for the sequel on a console were not especially high. This is when I love being proven wrong. The sequel’s attempts to bring the experience into the home console market may result in some changes that jilt fans of the original, but I personally found it to be a challenging and immensely rewarding FPS experience. A proverbial breath of fresh air in a genre that has long since grown stale with repetition, Crysis 2 is perhaps the best game that you’re not playing.
The story of Crysis 2 is loosely connected to the first game but is essentially unique to the sequel. You play the role of Alcatraz, a soldier who has been equipped with the futuristic “Nanosuit” that grants him special abilities in combat. These skills are limited to cloaking and scanning the environment for tactical points and ammo drops early in the game, but your abilities open up later and you are able to upgrade your skills with a form of alien DNA that acts as the games currency. The suit provides you with tactical advantages, so it’s not surprising that the rival army wants the suit and to kill you as well. In tandem with fighting off waves of rival soldiers, you also must contend with an alien invasion that is laying waste to New York in spectacular fashion. Perhaps sensing that a good percentage of gamers will not have played the first Crysis, the sequel alludes to the events of the first game to provide some exposition but it is never overly referential. The barrier to entry for people new to the series is thankfully minimal, so you won’t feel lost or hindered if you are getting this game with no knowledge of the original. In a nutshell, Crysis 2 has a solid but uncomplicated story that is accented by a few unexpected twists later in the game, a few inevitable clich├ęs and some genuinely thrilling firefights that push the story forward.
Visually, Crysis 2 is a gorgeous game and easily one of the best looking shooters ever released on a home console. The environment paints a believable picture of a city ravaged by war and a catastrophic alien invasion, and everything from the textures to the character animation is absolutely stellar. Given that home consoles don’t have the same power under the hood as a good gaming PC, expecting it to be in line with the high PC standards is perhaps a little unrealistic, but Crysis 2 does a respectable job of giving us a visually stunning game and complementing it with great sound effects and an excellent soundtrack that is more memorable than what you would find in other FPS games. The drawback with the limitations of the console hardware is that it is not always able to keep up with the action, so expect some framerate issues and slowdown when the auto-save kicks in and during the more chaotic battles. Having only played this game on a console, I cannot compare how it looks on the PC platform, but I can say that this stands among the best that the genre has to offer.
A refreshing change in Crysis 2 from the current genre standard is the lengthy single player campaign which clocks in at roughly 10 to 12 hours depending on the difficulty chosen, and the hidden collectables and  tactical freedom offered in firefights provides a great deal of replay value. The pacing of the campaign is relentless and it relies less on cinematics and setpiece battles and more on tactical gunplay and progressing through stages to get to your next objective.  Whereas the Call of Duty games guide you down a very linear path, Crysis 2 presents more of an open environment akin to the recent Battlefield games, with the ravaged New York proves to be an excellent battleground. Despite the open environment, don’t think of this in terms of a sandbox game as the story and stages are very linear. However, you are given the freedom to tackle each wave of enemies in any manner you see fit and your Nanosuit is invaluable to scoping out tactical points. In addition to your suit, you have a variety of weapons at your disposal including pistols, assault rifles, and even some cool gadgets that become available later in the game..
The gameplay in Crysis 2 will feel very familiar to anyone weaned on FPS games and most fans of the genre will be able to pick this up without enduring a steep learning curve. The controls are familiar, responsive and have the right amount of sensitivity and weight to them, however you are able to customize certain aspects in the “Options” menu. In playing the game, how your approach a given situation is entirely your choice,  such as employing the “cover and shoot” style of gameplay that is familiar to most FPS fans or being stealthy and using your Nanosuit’s powers to catch your enemies off guard. It’s your choice, but you’ll quickly learn that some approaches work better than others in a given environment, so experiment often and expect some trial and error. One of the downsides of the gameplay is the difficulty being unusually high even at the lower settings. As soon as you are in the presence of gun-toting soldiers, any part of you that is exposed instantly becomes a bullet magnet and your NPC enemies are alarmingly accurate with their shots. That, coupled with their tendency to quickly surround and overwhelm you, leads to plenty of frustration and reloaded checkpoints. The alien enemies are also heavily armored and fast moving, so using your cloaking abilities and the variety of guns at your disposal is essential to survival. No matter what the circumstance, running out into a firefight, guns a-blazing, is never a wise move and you will learn this early in the game. For most gamers, you will have a fifty-fifty split between hiding behind cover and patiently picking off your enemies, and being stealthy and flanking them. This does wear a bit thin after a few hours, but the pacing of the game, some vehicular combat segments and the variety of tactical options at your disposal does help keep monotony at bay.
Given how strong the single player campaign has proven to be, one would expect the multiplayer to deliver in spades and sadly it does not. The multiplayer modes are exactly what you would expect, being derivatives of the standard Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and King of the Hill, which has you holding down points on the map for as long as you can. The maps are expansive and offer plenty of room for creating chaos with your friends, but it also provides ample opportunity for campers to thrive. The reward system comes in the form of leveling up based on your performance and you are able to unlock genuinely good perks, though the best perks that give you substantial advantage in battle are only made available after an exhaustive number of hours. The Nanosuit from the campaign is also useable here and it can be augmented as your level progresses, providing more incentive for you to keep playing. Like all online multiplayer games, you will deal with the usual annoyances of connection lag, lengthy wait times in the lobbies and obnoxious players who play by their own rules. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of fun to be had here if you can get some friends together, but this is ultimately familiar territory with not enough differences to make it stand out in a meaningful way. Within weeks of release, the online lobbies were sparsely populated and finding a public game with enough players has proven to be a challenge. The release of DLC might improve matters, but I still recommend getting Crysis 2 mainly for the single player experience as the multiplayer is clearly not the focus of the fun.
Having never played the first Crysis and buying this game sight-unseen based on strong reviews, I was unsure of what to expect but I am very happy I made the leap and picked this up. I am a fan of the FPS genre and I often lament about how the genre is steadily going downhill with a plethora of games that all do the same thing, but none of them do it exceptionally well. Crysis 2 breaks the mold by offering an exciting and robust gaming experience that doesn’t feel like it ends as quickly as it starts. Gamers who favor a solid single player experience are well advised to get this game, but those looking for an amazing multiplayer experience might be left wanting. Either way, this is an exceptional game that many people have unfortunately overlooked. With time, hopefully this will be corrected.
Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

E3 2011 Impressions - Day 2. The Day Nintendo Stole The Show

The second day of E3 2011 was indeed a special one for gamers who have been chomping at the bit for news on Nintendo's next console, and depending on how you liked their presentation, you are either very excited or extremely disappointed right now. Nothing could be more hyped up than the upcoming release of a new system and Nintendo, currently experiencing a regression with Wii sales falling, has a mountain of expectations to scale with their first foray into the HD realm.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of one of Nintendo's flagship franchises, the Legend of Zelda, and it was clear from the opening of the press conference that Zelda fans were in for a treat. The announcements of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time 3D came as no surprise to anyone since these have long since been confirmed, however the big surprise was the addition of Link's Awakening, previously exclusive to the Gameboy Color, to the eShop and the announcement of Legend of Zelda: Four Swords being available as a free download later this year. The opening of the conference saw fans treated to a Zelda montage with a live orchestra playing a selection of songs from the various games, so it's safe to say that the Zelda series was well served at this years E3.

After the strong opening, we were treated to a selection of 3DS games planned in the near future that will no doubt win over any franchise fans who have yet to purchase the system. The expected titles like Super Mario 3D, Mario Kart 3D and Kid Icarus: Uprising were showcased and they all looked fantastic, as did new entries into Starfox series and a sequel to the long dormant Luigi's Mansion series. Rounding out the news were short videos for a variety of games that 3DS owners can look forward to, including Resident Evil: Revelations, Driver Renegade, Pac-Man and Galaga Dimensions, Tekken 3D; Tetris Online and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D. It's good to see that Nintendo is properly supporting their new handheld with a
solid roster of quality first-party titles combined with entries from quality third-parties franchises. For those who adopted the 3DS early and those who have yet to take the plunge, the future for the 3DS looks bright.

However, the big news of the day was the grand unveiling of the new console, dubbed "Project Cafe", and the successor to the mammoth-selling Wii. Everything from the name to the specifics of the console have been a source of rabid speculation for weeks and the time has finally arrived. Officially called "Wii U", the new console boasts full 1080p HD support for games and a confirmed library of games that include exclusives and cross-platform titles such as Darksiders 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3. Given that Wii owners have never been well served with cross-platform titles, the HD capabilities of the Wii U definitely level the playing field with the competition. The biggest draw of the Wii U is the unique controller, which was the focus point of the presentation and the source of some initial confusion. They started by showing the controller and this led to initial speculation that the Wii U was going to be a handheld. Bearing a closer resemblance to a tablet PC than a game controller, the Wii U "New Controller" boasts a 6.2 inch touch screen, a rear-mounted camera, gyroscopic functionality, full web-browsing capabilities and the ability to play Wii games remotely from the console.

The console itself is currently seen only in prototype photos, but it bears a strong resemblance to the original Wii and looks to be just as compact, in keeping with Nintendo's minimalist approach to console design. Nintendo also revealed the technical specifications and this also reveals the first weakness. While the Wii U does support 1080p and boasts a powerful processes, there is one basic element that has been once again left out - the hard drive. Like the Wii before it, the Wii U only comes with internal flash memory, unlikely to be enough to keep all of the downloadable games, so purchasers will need to rely on SD cards for extra storage. Given that downloadable games are the perceived future of gaming and high definition titles will no doubt take up a lot of room, omission of the hard drive seems nonsensical when it is a standard in other consoles. However, this may also be a calculated move by Nintendo to keep the price low at launch. Other specs include support for up to four Wii controllers, support for peripheral controllers like the Classic Controller, and backwards compatibility for Wii and WiiWare titles. It is not known if backwards compatibility for Gamecube titles will carry over from the Wii, but it is unlikely given that a special control jack and memory card slot would be required.

So will the new console be the home run that the Wii has proven to be? It's too early to tell. Nintendo's focus on the unique controller leads me to believe that the presentation was rushed for E3 and more substantial details will be known a we get closer to launch. How the console's online functionality will be improved upon is unknown, though I hope they finally drop that horrible friend code system, and what is included with the console also remains to be seen. My biggest question is whether or not the "New Controller" will be included with the console or be a pricey extra. Given that Wii remotes are $40, I can only imagine how expensive the Wii U controller will be and I wouldn't be surprised if were to be sold at an extra cost. In terms of branding, I can't say that I'm a fan of the name Wii U. While it's "we, you" inference that pushes interactivity and portability is clever on one level, the name seems unfitting for a game console. Additionally, a new platform should have a name that differentiates it from the previous generation, rather than a name like Wii U that implies that it's an add-on or an augment of the Wii as opposed to being an entirely new platform. That's what I say now, anyway. The name could still catch on.

Part of the fun of this years E3 is following the reactions of the gamers I know on Twitter and Facebook, and it became clear that Nintendo's presentation went over very well. There is some discontent over the name of the console, some skepticism on whether or not the Wii U will improve on the weakness of the Wii, and the occasional fanboy/hater debate. Either way, it's too early to get overly hyped or overly cynical about the Wii U and what it has to offer. Nintendo is five years late to the party in terms of HD gaming, but Nintendo is more about pushing innovation rather than following the crowd, hence the feverish consumer loyalty they have cultivated over the past 25 years. I am excited to see where this technology will go, but I am reserving judgement until the console is launched and we see what it is capable of.

Monday, June 6, 2011

E3 2011 Impressions: Day One

Video game enthusiasts around the world look forward to E3 with the same level of anticipation that movie buffs look forward to the Academy Awards - it's a who's who of the gaming world and it gives game companies and software developers a chance to preview what we can look forward to in the coming year. This years E3 promises to be the most interesting yet, since it is coming at a time when Sony is recovering from a disastrous data breach, Nintendo is set to unveil their successor to the massively popular Wii console and speculation mounds on what Microsoft is going to bring out. I followed three main events today: the Microsoft conference, the Ubisoft conference and the Sony conference, easily the most anticipated of the day. Here are my impressions.

From Microsoft, we received a fairly by-the-books showing of games we already knew were on the way, such as Gears of War 3, as well as the announcement of Halo 4 and a re-release of the first Halo in a special anniversary collection. For fans of the series, this is fantastic news though how a developer independent of Bungie services the flagship series remains to be seen. The most welcome surprise of the show was the announcement of a new Fable game, however I am somewhat leery of the Unreal 3 game engine being used. For an RPG series that's becoming less RPG-like with each installment, I am unsure of how this will turn out. The rest of the games, which represents the bulk of the conference, was Kinect-centered titles that were of little interest to me. From the get-go, it seems like Microsot was going to heavily push the Kinect and this was proven to be correct. I am okay with this, however it seems like Microsoft is intent of shoehorning it into every game they plan to release, which makes me think they're overplaying their hand a bit. Overall, some bright sports were to be found but the conference was weak overall.

Ubisoft is the classic example of great material being poorly presented. The main games that stood out to me are Rayman Origins, which looks like a fantastically fun co-operative gaming experience, Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed: Revelations. All of these games looked great, but the presenter, dubber "Mr. Caffeine", was as annoying and obnoxious as they come. Many attempts were made at humor and all of them fell flat, and my fellow watchers on Twitter also affirmed this by saying he was painfully unfunny. However, it's all about the games and Ubisoft had a strong showing. Being a big Assassin's Creed fan myself, I look forward to the new game with feverish anticipation, even if it has been less than a year since the last installment.

The main event of the day was the Sony press conference, and this proved to be the make-it-or-break-it point for them after a month of data breaches, system outages, bad press and bruised consumer loyalty. They needed to bring their A-game to the proceedings and they did so admirably. Hosted by Jack Tretton, wearing a peach shirt and blue tie combo that seemed more fitting for a Florida bingo parlor, he opened with addressing the PSN system outage and apologizing for it to everyone, which I give credit for being a classy move. The games he went through included Uncharted 3, Resistance 3, Sly Cooper 4 and a few Move-supported titles. Re-releases included the God of War games on the PSP being given the HD treatment and finally a release time for the Ico & Shadow of the Collosus collection has been firmed. However, Sony really shined when it came to the hardware announcements, which included a cost-effective 3D television that retails for $500 and their newest handheld, the Playstation Vita (PSV). The PSV looked absolutely fantastic and it's clear that the graphics engine is miles ahead of any other handheld to date, and the price of $249.99 makes this a formidable platform that may jeopardize Nintendo's dominance of the handheld market. Adding social media and cross-platform functionality with the PS3, the Vita looks incredibly promising. Overall, Sony delivered a solid roster of games and the reactions of other gamers I saw online was one of almost universal approval. In the eyes of gamers, it seems, Sony has been redeemed. 

The last game I'll mention is Batman: Arkham City, which is shaping up to be the blockbuster that Arkham Asylum proved to be. Added to which, you can play as Cat Woman, so this is shaping up to be another must-have title.

Tomorrow is another big day for E3 as this is where Nintendo will unveil their new console that is set to replace the Wii. In order to top Sony, Nintendo will really need to bring out the big guns and focus on the strength of their new hardware and back it up with some excellent game releases. Given Nintendo's track record at E3, they will no doubt be a show-stopper and I can't wait to see what they have in store for us.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Gaming Backlog - The Epic Challenge

Anyone who follows my activities on Twitter will know that I'm an avid gamer and I was inspired by a conversation with two fellow Tweeters, Megan (@ComicalDisaster) and Stephanie (@Stephs2Def), to enter into a little challenge that will test my metal with video games. It's called the Summer Backlog Challenge and the premise is simple - select five games that you have either never played or have only partially completed and you must finish these by the end of the summer. The games I have selected are as follows:

1. Nier - One of the "hidden gems" of this console generation, and one that most of my gaming buddies hold in very high regard despite the lukewarm critical reception. Given the insane premise of the game and the mix-up of gaming styles, I can't wait to sink my teeth into this one.

2. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - A game I was never able to get into but one that everyone continues to rave about. It hasn't aged well as some other RPGs have, but it's one of the top-rated games of this generation and I'm giving it another chance.

3. Gears of War - Yet another game that everyone loves but that I never could get into, however I played this right when I bought my Xbox 360 and I have since become better at shooters and action games in general, so I might like this more now than I previously did. 

4. Dante's Inferno - I started this game a while back and was immediately struck by how well it controlled and how much I liked the art design and setting of the game. I never did get far, so this challenge gives me some onus to go back and finish it.

5. Fallout 3 - I made it about 3 hours into this game before I moved on. Like Oblivion, I see why people like it but I found it difficult to warm to. However, patience is a virtue with games like this and I imagine I'll grow to love it once I delve deeper into Fallout universe.

There are no specific rules with this challenge, but there are two basic ones I will be following. First, the game is considered complete once the main storyline has been finished, so this does not require completing expansions and going for 100% of the achievements. Second, the games must be finished by September 30. The prize: Nothing but the satisfaction of completing some awesome games. I mean, since when gamers need an incentive to game? 

This is going to be a challenge for several reasons. The summertime is always extremely busy for me, with lots of things to do and several birthdays to celebrate, including my own. I also tend to prefer to be doing things outdoors during this time, especially since we only get a few short months of good weather here in Canada and we relish it, so staying inside and playing video games is not usually how I prefer to spend my free time in the summer. However, work slows down a bit and I find my self having to work less overtime, so that frees some time for me to devote to the games I have selected.

Will I succeed? It's definitely possible, but at the end of the day, this is just a fun challenge and I enjoy doing things like this with fellow gamers. Let the good times begin!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nerd Rage: Gamestop - Power to the Players (My Ass)

Just like Wal-Mart has become synonymous with big box retail stores, Gamestop (and its Canadian subsidiary EB Games) have become engrained in gamer culture as the most ubiquitous game store franchise around. Everywhere you go, there is one conveniently located and many gamers rely upon them to purchase their new and used titles for the current generation of consoles. However, like Wal-Mart, they also define “love or hate” with gamers since their convenience is offset by their prices, the condition of the games they sell and their sometimes dismal trade-in value. Some people love Gamestop and swear by them, however I am not one of those people for the reasons noted above as well as some of the worst experiences in customer service I have ever experienced. Grab some popcorn – this is going to be a long one.

The issues I have experience with Gamestop are likely echoed by thousands of gamers, but they start with a pricing structure that is beyond idiotic at times. It’s no secret that many people prefer to buy their games used because they either can’t afford to pay full retail or they don’t feel the game warrants a first day purchase. Perhaps sensing this, Gamestop typically prices their used games at a meager $5 below the full retail, therefore a game that goes for $59.99 brand new will cost $54.99 used.  There is very little value in a negligible price difference when the purpose of buying used is to save enough money to justify waiting. I frequent a few independent game stores and they price their used titles $10 to $20 below retail, which represents a better value in my mind and is the reason why I shop there. This disparity in price is also reflected in order titles, some of which Gamestop is very slow to reduce the prices on. The best example of this was finding a copy of Nier on the Xbox 360 that they priced at $37.99 used when it goes for $20 new almost everywhere else. The one thing that Gamestop does guarantee is that the title you are looking for will be in stock on release day, which is far enough for people who have no choice but the shop there, however  I have plenty of places in Toronto where I can buy my games from and I choose not to make Gamestop one of them.
The prices aside, the condition in which they sell the games is the biggest reason that I avoid Gamestop. Due to their anti-shoplifting policy, all games that are displayed on the selling floor are opened and empty and the discs and manuals are kept in drawers behind the counter. This would be fine if they were simply for display, however Gamestop sells these gutted copies at full retail price, despite the fact that they are opened and effectively rendered used. You can avoid this by requesting an unopened one that they keep behind the counter, however if they are out of stock, you either have to settle for the gutted copy of wait until new stock comes in. As bothersome as this is, it’s nothing compared to the abundance of stickers that Gamestop sees fit to plaster all over the game cases, and even on the game artwork itself on occasion. Most used games sold at Gamestop have three stickers – a price sticker on the front, a barcode sticker on the spine and another barcode sticker on the back. Talk about overkills, and worse yet, these stickers seem to use a cheap adhesive that makes removing the stickers a major chore. There are no games I have purchased at Gamestop that don’t have torn stickers or “sticker gunk” adorning the cases. For more casual gamers, this is not a problem and many don’t care about these stickers, but they can be the bane of a collector’s existence.
My third main complaint about Gamestop is the customer service I have experience there,  and I would be very polite in stating that it has been terrible almost every time. One such occasion was the time I went looking for a Suikoden game that as released on the Nintendo DS.  At the time, the store was empty and it was just a girl and a guy working there, and they couldn’t have been any older than 19 or 20. I asked the girl if she had this game in stock and she gave me a quizzical look akin to the almighty “WTF”, and she proceeded to ask me how to spell it. This was not a big deal, since I can’t reasonably expect people to know every game on offer, so I spelled it out for her. It came up as being not in stock, and she asked her co-worker if he knew of this game. His response hit me like a load of bricks: “Yeah, it’s one of those gay RPGs”. It took me a minute to process what this asshole just said, and when I finished my double-take, I replied that his commentary is uncalled for and I just want to know if the game is in stock. He confirmed that it was not and I left the store, struggling with the urge to give him a beat-down for his attitude and partially kicking myself for not doing so. After debating what to do, I decided that this was unacceptable and I called the store later and asked to speak with the manager. If the employee was Beavis, this guy was Butthead. I told him what happened and his demeanor was one of total indifference. I ask him what he planned to do about it, and his reply was “What do you want me to do? I don’t pay these people much and I can’t really control what they do when I’m not there.” This from the manager of the store, the one who hires employees and handles customer complaints. I did entertain the thought of complaining to the corporate office, however I sensed that it wouldn’t get me far because the culture of the company is such that they put morons like that in charge in the first place. I moved on and thankfully found the game elsewhere, purchased from a nice guy who complemented my taste in games.
I’ve always held the firm belief that you should never paint an entire group in a bad light just because of the misdeeds of a select few, so I will avoid hyperbole by not insinuating that all Gamestop stores are terrible and all staff who work there are bad. While I have had some bad experiences with their customer service (or lack thereof), there are probably many great people who work there and I’m sure some customers have had nothing but good experience with Gamestop. Sadly, I cannot claim to be one of them. Their prices are uncompetitive and sometimes just plainly off the mark, the condition of the games they sell is very questionable and the management of the stores is sometimes terrible. Other issues I could harp on include their aggressive push for people to pre-order games, but that's a lesser concern for me. However, I do recognize that Gamestop is the only option for some people due to a lack of other options where they live, so the convenience is one factor that works in their favor. If you just want a place you can quickly and conveniently get a game and you’re not bothered by the condition you get it in, Gamestop is not a bad option. If you’re a game collector, bargain hunter or someone who wants some friendly service, you may want to look elsewhere as I do. I have several stores in Toronto that are better than Gamestop in every way and this is where I prefer to put my money. With so many other places and great places like Amazon where you can get games, Gamestop's time has passed in my opinion.