Rundown (11/07-11/13) Dreadful Diamond – Disaster Deluxe

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Wherein I discuss the leaks of a title neither brilliant nor shining, a duo of disconcerting delistings, the worst Definitive Edition of all time, and another accursed acquisition.

This past week, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl leaked out into the wild. As one would have expected, people have been unfurling everything these games have to offer, and… it’s not much. The games truly are straight remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl with few improvements, alterations, or features lifted from the objectively superior Platinum version. Furthermore, the games themselves were incomplete, with features like an intro and ending movie being relegated to a version 1.1.0 patch. Meaning that, not only is this a barebones recreation of a 2006 game, but it shipped in an incomplete state. 

I could point out how sad it is that the industry has made such practices the norm… Though, my biggest grievance with all of this is the reveal that, instead of using the Platinum base roster, the games instead use the terrible roster from Diamond and Pearl. Meaning that I once again need to reassess what exactly my balanced team of 6 will be. Also known as the nightmarish chore that haunts me with the release of every Pokémon game. 

Now, part of my problem is that I do not respect or acknowledge the competitive end of things, and insist on playing Pokémon the same way I did back when I was 16. I need to have a team with offensive moves that cover all 18 types (with one or two permissible omissions). Thunder Wave and False Swipe to aid in catching Pokémon. And no repeated types among the team. 

Without Houndoom, my team would be a combination of Torterra, Staraptor, Gardvoir, Manaphy, Luxray, and Lucario. Who would be named Notorious B.I.G., Old Dirty Bastard, The Pharcyde, TSF, Big Boi, and Andre 3000. …But that team does not have a False Swipe user, which is so stupid. Lucario learns metal claw, but they cannot scratch someone? And Staraptor has these big meaty talons, but they can’t false swipe a mother? Have you ever seen a bird fight? All birds know they’s got knife feet and know how to use them! Especially battle pigeons who are dope at punching people!

Something that always frustrates me is when publishers decide to wait until the last minute to announce that a product is being delisted. These are things that publishers do and should know months in advance, but it is shockingly uncommon for them to only give people a few weeks to respond to this news and let it spread. Or, if you are Konami, you only give them about a day to rally, and drop this news on a damn Sunday.

On November 7th, 2021, Konami announced that Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 were being “temporarily” removed from all digital storefronts. The reason as to why has to do with archive footage used in cutscenes seen in both games, which Konami presumably purchased a 10-year license for that went into effect when they released Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection on November 8th, 2011. Konami has every intention of renewing this license, but for the foreseeable future, you cannot purchase any digital versions of these games. Not for Xbox 360, PS3, Vita, 3DS, PC, or Nvidia Shield.

Now, I want to give Konami crap for failing to renew the license in time, and needing to delist these games, which they REALLY should port to modern systems. But with the pandemic, corporate restructurings, and an oft-rumored revival of the Metal Gear series, I can see how this might have fallen through the cracks, and at least they are trying to get the games re-listed as soon as possible. Hopefully, this time they have the foresight to sign a perpetual license, as one should whenever releasing a digital product.

That being said, perpetual licenses are not always the most attainable, especially when licensing multiple properties with differing license rights across different regions. Which is why 2019’s Shonen Jump crossover arena fighter, Jump Force, is being delisted on February 7th, roughly 3 years after launch. DLC will also be delisted, including the 14 DLC fighters, and online functionality will only continue until August 24th. 

This delisting is especially strange, as the game was supported with DLC up until April 2021, so clearly Bandai Namco invested a lot of resources into this title. But now they are killing it off after a relatively short time. I’m guessing this is because of a mutual disagreement between the rights holders and Bandai Namco, as I find it hard to believe that the reason for a delisting like this is as simple as ‘Bandai Namco does not want to pay the licensing fees anymore’. 

I could complain about this, but at least Bandai Namco gave people a 3 months heads-up that they were delisting the title, which should be considered the bare minimum industry standard. Plus, they also had the decency to bring the title to PC, where it will live on through a cracked ‘complete’ edition with all DLC and content updates. Which, for the record, is in no way immoral or wrong. Because piracy is only potentially a crime when you are robbing someone of something valued. And delisted digital games inherently have no value, because they are neither bought nor sold.

Next up, Rockstar Games put out Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition this past week. Now, the release of such a title carries a lot of weight behind it. It is positioning itself as the definitive version of three of the most influential games of the 2000s, and titles that have touched the lives of millions of people— probably in every country around the world. But instead of delivering a finely tuned and meticulous recreation, the game is kind of a mess. 

The game was clearly a rush job by developers who lacked the time to make sure human proportions remained consistent, that textures matched their models, and that the game stayed true to what the original titles offered. From afar, the game looks fine, but it is all too easy to find things that look wrong and clearly did not receive the TLC that they deserved from the developers. 

However, without even LOOKING at this game, I would say it is outright false to call this the definitive version of these games. Due to the fact that they positively gutted the soundtracks from these games… except GTA III for some reason. They removed 25 songs from Vice City and they removed 22 from San Andreas.

The default defenses for an action like this would be to highlight how the songs removed were of low quality, or to insinuate that this removal in some way ‘does not matter’. When… no, it really does. A lot of people underplay the importance and power of a license soundtrack. A licensed soundtrack can introduce people, especially adolescents, to musical genres, eras, and artists. It can help people get more into music, and the use of a licensed soundtrack can be additive to the overall experience that a work offers. 

I say this partially from experience, as the soundtracks to Saints Row 2 and Saints Row: The Third helped broaden my musical palette. Partially because I quite enjoy the soundtrack to Vice City, as it is filled with a bunch of grade-A bangers, all neatly curated as best of playlists with cute interstitials. And partially because Rockstar is being a cost-saving little turd, who just did not want to pay the licensing fees for these songs.

This stands in stark contrast to 2020’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, which brought back the full soundtracks of the original games, with no cuts and no omissions. You know why? Because the people in charge of this project knew how vital the soundtracks to these games were, and they ponied up the green when they had to. But I guess Rockstar is somehow less good at these things than a company as vile and abusive as Activision Blizzard, which is just kind of pathetic. 

Also, the post-release handling of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition has been positively laughable. Publisher Take Two has tried DMCA-ing various GTA mods around the release of these games, because it’s not like mods help sell games or anything. And the PC version of Definitive Edition was so broken that Rockstar had to delist it, and… I don’t even know how you screw up that badly.

Moving onto acquisition news, Tencent quietly acquired Wake Up Interactive Group. A holding company that owns both Soleil (Ninjala, Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time) and Valhalla Game Studios (Devil’s Third). The reason why they were acquired is fairly obvious. Because these two developers have experience making online multiplayer games, and Tencent, as a giant Chinese game company, is all about online games. While it is odd for them to acquire a majority share in a company like this, instead of their usual minority investment, the takeaway from this news is all the same.

China is spreading further and further across the global games industry with routine acquisitions, and China’s terrible government will gain more sway over the games industry. Sadly, there is nothing that can be done about this recent trend, as Chinese game companies are among the biggest in the industry, and can easily pick off small fries like Wake Up every couple months. I have seen this trend billow and grow, and now… now there’s no stopping it. Just like the inevitable death of most coastal cities across the Earth, all because capitalists were too stuck in their ways to actually address climate change before it was too late! And it was too late several years ago!

Header image comes from Slime-ka shita Boku to Nottori Gokugoku Nyotaika Taiken by InuCream, or InuCreamice. …Whoo boy. Where do I even begin with someone like InuCream? Well, let’s just say that there are certain creators who aspire to create transformation-riddled words that are gooey, bereft of any morals or care, and are about as gross as they are imaginative. And InuCream is not only one of those, but they are among the best in their class!

The comic itself follows a school boy, who’s probably 12-years-old, and somehow has ready access to a magical tonic that turns him into this wad of green viscous goop. He drinks this stuff and then begins using his new slimy powers to possess his cute classmate by crawling all up into her holes, and then masturbating in an alley, which triggers the good old rape flag. But instead of ending there, and not trying anything narratively interesting, this slimy boy then starts gaining new powers, giving themselves humongous tits, before crawling up into their rapist’s numerous holes and turning them into a woman. 

Then, after becoming a gosh-darn hivemind with two ladies on lock, this scumwad deceives two men into a day of crepes, karaoke, and cummies. All before setting the clock to slime-time and getting all up in their guts and kicking off a slime-orgy where everybody winds up with a vagina, because why not? 

Finally, on the last page, after the presumed 12-year-old protagonist finished a presumed day of raping four random people, some of them minors, they then transform themselves into a hybrid version of all of their victims. Because apparently they earned enough SEXP (Sexual Experience Points) to get their own human body. Which looks like a schoolgirl, and the minute after realizing this, the protagonist is all like “Let’s go get more kinds of semen…♥”

I have seen a lot of wild stuff similar to this, but this comic is positively relishing in its own degeneracy and absurdity… And it delivers just about everything I can hope for when I do my weekly TSF comic check-in. Works like this really make me wish I had the time to run a TSF Showcase segment where I could gush about DOPE TSF comics and art. 

However, I also have a policy to not host images featuring child characters in sexual situations. And while I will make exceptions for things like the header image of my ST Scenario Review of A New Life, there is NO getting around something like Slime-ka shita Boku to Nottori Gokugoku Nyotaika Taiken. If I talked about it in-depth without showing how insane things get, that would be doing the work a disservice. And while I can censor some of the images, as I have a hard no (detailed) nudity policy… the main character is a bunch of slime. How do I even censor a character like that?

Now, if that is my policy, you might be wondering why I talked about Metamorphosis by ShindoL. The answer is simple: If something is sold on Amazon, and has remained there for over 4 years, then it is not child porn. That’s just a fact, Jack.

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