Sunday, April 5, 2009

New “Virtue” videogame disappointing players and parents alike


A videogame developer is on the receiving end of considerable criticism after its recent release of Virtue: the Game

Players win the game by being as virtuous as possible, accumulating ‘righteousness points’ through a variety of means, such as treating computer characters compassionately and assaulting homosexuals. The game features an open universe which allows players to explore, and a series of story-based missons, ranging from dropping off a younger brother at soccer practice to bombing abortion clinics.

As you might have guessed, the missions sometimes require the player not to complete them in order to gain righteousness. The developers believe that not being able to complete the missions in order to avoid damnation will add great value to the game, as customers will be “playing it forever.” Virtue also features a novel system that rewards players for not wasting time by playing it.

Within hours of its release, however, Virtue was already being lambasted by players unable to finish the game. One frustrated player called the game “pretty gay,” an accusation which caused the game itself to lose righteousness points and stop working entirely. “I didn’t realize that I couldn’t win without maxing out my character’s Faith stats,” complained another. “I don’t get how god belief is relevant, and it wasn’t in the manual.” The manual itself has attracted criticism, notably for being well over a thousand pages long, its obtuse allusions to game features, and earnest promises of a much better sequel. 

Many potential customers have been disenfranchised by Virtue as it’s currently only available on a single platform, XBOX 360, and Microsoft plans to retain exclusive rights to it. “I don’t even believe in Microsoft,” grumbled one PlayStation owner. “I mean, as a company. I don’t support them. Sorry, that could've been misleading.” Though owners of other systems and non-gamers could techincally acquire Virtue, Microsoft warns that it won't work. For the foreseeable future at least, Virtue will be beyond the reach of anyone else. 

Another player criticized Virtue for its bizarre game play. “I really didn’t get why there were zombies in it. They seemed completely out of place, but all the game literature says they’re integral to the storyline.” The multiplayer function has attracted criticism too, as it only allows married couples to play together, or siblings if the customers are from Arkansas.

For the first time in gaming history, parent groups have actually sided with their children in the condemnation of Virtue. “Unlike previous games, it’s not affecting their behavior at all,” complained a spokeswoman. “My kids have been playing Virtue constantly, and they’re somehow able to distinguish their experiences in the game from those in real life,” she added. “It’s enough to make me want to poke around for someone else to blame.”


15 comments:

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

I think I saw this game; I almost bought it, but the clerk at GameStop was kind enough to give me an impromptu review.

He said it had great graphics, and the final cutscene was phenomenal, but that the game had no replay value whatsoever -- worse than that, he said that if you don't beat the game on the first try, the game will never play on your system again, and the Xbox will get the infamous Red Ring of Death. Evidently, he says, buried in the thousand-page manual is fine print stipulating that purchase of this game voids any warranty on the system itself.

After this, I did some research on the game, and found that not only was the clerk's review accurate, but evidently it's only actually possible to win the game with a small, seemingly random number of units. These lucky few will find that the game is in fact impossible to lose -- but all other players will inevitably do exactly that, no matter their evident virtue in-game.

The strangest thing I found about this game was that if two friends were playing the game, and one of them reached the end before the other, the player yet to finish is unable to determine the actual outcome of his friend's game -- somehow, the game and/or Xbox blocks this information no matter the medium.

So, even though I did not purchase the game, and have not actually experienced it first-hand, nor seen either ending, I recommend that would-be gamers avoid this game. The odds are great that the version you purchase will force a loss, and that this will in turn ruin your Xbox. Even if you and a friend each purchase the game, the outcome realized by one will be wholly unknown to the other, so you can't even learn from your friend's mistakes.

Now then, I'm going to rock out in Guitar Hero: MercyMe.

--
Stan

Dani' El said...

What would you do without me?

Dani' El said...

I'm going to be offline for a couple of weeks Frodo, I'll see ya around.

Going fishing again.

It's been a kick in the pants.

Shalom,
Dani' El Mirth-Drubber

FrodoSaves said...

Stan,

Excellent review. I too had heard similar things about Virtue, but didn't want to slander it excessively in the interest of balanced reporting. Yes, that's it.

Interestingly, several news outlets are concerned that the release of the sequel will mysteriously cause all Xboxes worldwide to cease working entirely. But they've been saying the same thing since Microsoft was founded, so I'm dubious.

May I suggest Battle for Middle Earth as a more realistic gaming experience?

-----

Mirth Drubber,

Have a good couple of weeks off. I daresay there will be a substantial amount of mirth to drub by the time you get back.

Frodo be with you,

FS

PersonalFailure said...

This stupid game destroyed my xbox right after I killed the zombie- hello, how was I supposed to know the zombie was a good guy?

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Interestingly, several news outlets are concerned that the release of the sequel will mysteriously cause all Xboxes worldwide to cease working entirely.

According to the game's forums, at VirtueReady.com, the expected result of the much-anticipated (amongst players of the game, anyway) release of the sequel is that the select winners will find their game disks have mysteriously vanished. It is unclear how this would be physically accomplished -- some have postulated that the game disks are made of some material that will dissolve upon contact with some compound associated with the sequel's release, and that the game itself is actually a download that appears to use the disk -- but clearly there is no true consensus among players as to exactly what will happen, or how.

Curiously, I spoke with my brother about this game, and despite relaying the review I had heard from the GameStop clerk, he seemed intent upon purchasing Virtue. What he found, though, was that the game was not stocked at any of the stores he checked. He asked a store manager about it, and was told that in order to purchase this game, he would first have to believe the game was in stock, and that he would win the game if he purchased it. Only if he believed it was in stock would he find it actually was in stock, and when that happened, said this manager, he wouldn't have to purchase the game at all. It would be free. In fact, this manager likened the game to the U.S. Army endorsed America's Army. I suspect this comparison fails though, for America's Army is a blatant propaganda piece / recruiting tool, whereas Virtue is just an innocent game.

I went to this store, and spoke to this manager, asking him how the game could be given away freely. He effectively confirmed the "download theory," by saying that every Xbox owner already has the game, and is already playing it. The disk is symbolic, he said, and the console, despite being called the "Xbox" by its users, was actually referred to by Virtue players as the "Christbox." The reason for this name change was unclear.

While my brother has not yet "purchased" the game, I do have a friend who is an active player. I don't know if it's the game, or just the fact that he has no one to play with any more, but he constantly hounds me about it, telling me my Xbox experience is incomplete without it. I've politely told him I'm not interested in that game, preferring Viva Piñata, but he gets agitated, suggesting that my Xbox will fail if I don't begin playing Virtue immediately.

He's even begun hassling players he meets online who play a similar game, Peace, a game which is of the same genre, but which has a different feel. Evidently, in Peace, one of the achievements is to end the game by forcing a player of a competing game to close your account, or to press the issue by simultaneously closing your own account and those of several suspected competing players. It is again unclear how these different games, with different developers, interact so smoothly.

I feel as though I'm slamming Virtue here -- that is not my intent. Rather, I wish only for my fellow gamers to make informed decisions with respect to the games they pursue and/or purchase. If there are any players of Virtue (or Peace) who have a different perspective, I welcome it fully, but please, if you do engage here, remember that most of us aren't playing your game, and therefore direct references to it are not necessarily going to have the intended effect.

See you online in Viva Piñata!

--
Stan

CodewordConduit said...

I'll tell you what game truly sucks and that's "Appropriate Miracles" on - oh I don't know - a Playstation something-or-other.

Basically you wander around Judea from the Bible, as this magic preacher - right? Every now and then you have the opportunity to perform a miracle but you have to arbitrarily decide whether a miracle would be appropriate or not.

Like you can turn water into wine at this piss-up in Canaa - but you can't jump off the temple and have angels catch you because that would be showing off.

Not only is this game boring, but if you guess wrong about a miracle opportunity, Satan starts chasing you around this maze filled with pellets and bouncing fruit.

Forever.

piggymceatsalot said...

You're not selling it, FS. I'm going to stick with my Wii Dance Dance Revolution: Jonas Brothers Dance For Jesus edition.

FrodoSaves said...

PF,

You managed to kill him? Damn, I was trying forever and he seemed nigh on indestructible. I couldn't even relish in the fact I was inflicting all that pain when I knew he was fucking invincible.

-----

Stan,

It's funny. I had a game on my old Sega Genesis which I'm pretty sure was exactly the same as Virtue, although it had one or two more characters and the gameplay was slightly more believable. But now everyone I meet who has Virtue is trying to convince me that I never had Virtue, that I must have been playing an unofficial derivative, and that the newer game is the 'right' one even though the one I had is much older. What gives?

I thought Peace was still a board game, since most of its players are offended by electricity and the other games they can get online. Hmm, who knew.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

I had a game on my old Sega Genesis which I'm pretty sure was exactly the same as Virtue, although it had one or two more characters and the gameplay was slightly more believable.

I'm curious; was it Altered Beast? Based on your description, it seems a likely candidate. Either that or Choplifter.

--
Stan

Quasar said...

All I can say is: Thank Microsoft I don't have an Xbox.

By the way, I just had an interesting conference call with one of the developers of Virtue: according to Him, most of it is about marketing. The majority of the game features don't actually work. This isn't a bug, though: apparently the game decides to only reveal these features to people with mental problems, or who have been consuming certain types of mushrooms (although detecting this is a pretty impressive feature all by itself, if you ask me).

Also, I have it on good authority that the ending is nowhere near as interesting as they make it out to be...

FrodoSaves said...

Stan,

Nah, Jurassic Park. It was so frustrating. You could shoot those damn dinosaurs as many times as you wanted, but they kept coming back to life.

-----

Quasar,

Also, I have it on good authority that the ending is nowhere near as interesting as they make it out to be..

What gets me is the way Virtue fans go on and on about it, but most of them have never played anything else, or you know, stopped playing altogether.

Plus, just because I don't own an Xbox doesn't mean I hate them. Ya know?

ImtheRabbit said...

OMG please don't tell my boyfriend about this game, I don't want to live with someone who's played it. I can just think of how annoying that would be.

My Nephew thought he had bought the game but it has a lot of add-ons that Virtue doesn't seem to have. His friends keep telling him that his version is actually a counterfeit but he won't believe them

In his version you can drink the blood of the zombie to receive more righteousness points but it has to be done over and over. He also gets extra points for asking the zombie's mother for help and going into a room where he can tell of his unvirtuous actions and be forgiven thus earning back any points he may have lost previously.

Apparently this game uses the same basic code as Virtue but someone has changed the rules of the game, making it a completely different game all together.

Vitamin R said...

Within hours of its release, however, Virtue was already being lambasted by players unable to finish the game. One frustrated player called the game “pretty gay,” an accusation which caused the game itself to lose righteousness points and stop working entirely. “I didn’t realize that I couldn’t win without maxing out my character’s Faith stats,” complained another. “I don’t get how god belief is relevant, and it wasn’t in the manual.” The manual itself has attracted criticism, notably for being well over a thousand pages long, its obtuse allusions to game features, and earnest promises of a much better sequel. Bloody priceless :D

I'd totally buy this game, but whenever I play video games anymore, I seem to get fragged by a smug, nine year old opponent--or shot in the back. I doubt Virtue'll be any different. Though, Maybe I'd get some sweet martyrdom points and win by dying. . . .

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