This is the final part of a six part series to read the first post click here.
Metacritic doesn’t have an entry for Imagine Champion Rider. Game Rankings does but all it says is that the game exists. This is the only review of Imagine: Champion Rider I was able to uncover. It has basically escaped critical opinion despite it being published by a major publisher and available in most game stores. Imagine Champion Rider doesn’t even have a wikipedia page. I thought everything had a wikipedia page these days. It does get a brief mention in the larger Imagine page. Read it it’s terrifying. In two years Ubisoft has put out twenty eight Imagine games with five on the way between now and October. The series basically defines low cost high turn over shovelware and it’s a strategy that appears to be working in Ubisoft’s favour.
I get why Ubisoft are publishing these games, but why isn’t the videogame press reviewing them?
They’re clearly shovelware so what’s the point of reviewing them?
[Image via Appetite for Equal Rights]
Maybe it’s just me but surely bad games need to be reviewed more than good games. You need to let people know these games are terrible. Okay so a hardcore gamer isn’t going to pick up this title but imagine an average mother or father trying to decide what to get their daughter for Christmas.
I thought this was the reason the videogame press existed in the first place, to let people know what’s worth buying and what’s not worth buying.
Our target audience isn’t interested in these games, except for the occasionally laugh, so why should we waste our time reviewing them?
[Image via Geek Sugar]
Sure that’s true but hear me out. Ubisoft is publishing these games because they’ve looked at the market and seen that they’re reaching near saturation with their current target demographic, so to grow they’ll need to find new markets to exploit. Games for pre-teen girls are one growth area. This doesn’t mean they’re abandoning the hardcore market they’re just expanding their reach.
Has it occurred to the videogame press that maybe they might like to start thinking about this stuff too? Can IGN and Gamespot really keep growing by exclusively catering to the needs of a small group of man children? Bear in mind this is directed to the big sites, if you’re a small to medium sized blog there’s no way in hell you could keep up with all these games but the big sites should at least try.
Look I just don’t give a shit about these games, I’d much rather play something good okay?
[Image via Vortix Games]
No not okay damn it, critics need to criticise all parts of their chosen field, the good and the bad. If anything experiencing the bad helps give context to the good.
And why exactly can’t these games be good? Mario is a game about jumping for gods sake and it’s probably the most beloved videogame of all time. You know what’s stopping horse riding games from being any good? No one is providing constructive criticism to help shape them.
From the developer’s point of view how are you supposed to make a game about horse riding? No one’s ever made a good one so unlike the first person shooter where you can just copy and refine, you’re starting from scratch every time. Maybe reading reviews of previous horse riding game would help make your job easier.
From the publisher’s point of view why bother giving the developer the time and money required to craft a good game if in the end it doesn’t matter how good it is? When you don’t review something because it’s shovelware you let them get away with publishing shovelware. If the major sites suddenly reviewed all the Imagine titles it would tank Ubisoft’s Metacritic rankings which at the very least would send a message.
[Image via Tech Shout]
You need to pressure Ubisoft to publish less Imagine games so that they can produce better Imagine games. I honestly don’t blame the developer for Imagine: Champion Rider sucking, there are enough good ideas in this game to tell me that they’re not totally clueless. But given the dizzying turn over of these games how could anyone expect them to be good?
Despite all that I still think horse riding is fertile ground for a good game, there might even be a good horse riding game currently on the market, but sadly Imagine: Champion Rider is not it.