Drift City (Episode 75)
THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:
Part of what I was doing with the still ongoing “Tell us how you really feel…” series was to cut any and all pretense on how I feel about games. I don’t feel a review needs to be filled with angry rants and excessive hyperbole to express one’s love or disdain over a title, and technically MMO Grinder is more of a report and resource. A guide to help you decide if you’ll like a game or not. Neutrality is mostly at the forefront and it’s up to others to project their own interpretations on what I was really saying about the title.
But this… THIS is what we’re really saying about the title.
From this point on, “The Grindstone Tribunal” will take a few of the most active players of Grindstone who worked on the most recent title with me, allowing a few of us, myself included, say our true piece on what we really feel about the game we just played and place it under the video exclusively on this site. Don’t look to start arguments on Youtube due to misunderstood takes on what was being said… Here is where we’re cutting the bullshit.
This round, in addition to my own take, I’ll be including the thoughts of Co-Writer Setch Dreskar, longtime Grindstone members and supporters Nate “Karis” McPherson and Paul “Dobar” Matson. Read on and enjoy!
When Jon and a few of us in Grindstone originally decided that this was the game we were going to look at, we admittedly had very low expectations. That fact that this game failed to meet a single one of them is astounding to me. For the first two cities in the game, everything was ok, the soundtrack seemed fine, the missions steadily grew more challenging, the story was stupid as hell, but hilariously so, and all in all, I was having a fun time. Then we reached city 3, the point where we could actually see the developers just say, “Fuck it!”
At first, it seemed as if it was just a drastic drop in graphics quality, which is bad enough when your game already looks very dated, but it was worse than that, the game actually became horrible to play. Impossible time limits, to where you actually need to fail a mission multiple times to increase the time allotted just to have a chance at succeeding, cars popping in and teleporting around the street, making it almost impossible not to hit anything, and the very small pool of repetitive mission types becomes a test of your sanity. Mixed in with the story offing you no real reward for suffering through this, and the soundtrack just becoming this repetitive droning in the background, not too unlike the blaring of the engine, and it suddenly hits you like a freight train, “I’m not having fun.” The game had become a chore, something many of us actually dreaded having to start up after a while, and when that happens, sorry game developers, but you have failed at your job. In short, avoid this game, there is no reward for playing it, and you are doing yourself a disservice by wasting your time with it. There are better games out there, so enjoy those, and leave this one in the dust where it belongs.
Recently a question was posed over at the Escapist, wondering whether there was a game we felt should have never existed, and as extreme as that sounds I find myself thinking exactly that about Drift City. This is a game that the developers phoned in, getting worse and worse in quality as you play, has poorly translated and broken english with a story that makes Birdemic look like high art. While others have said, “Ya the story is terrible but it’s a hilarious kind of terrible”, I just can’t seem to accept that and perhaps it’s mostly the fault of the terrible mission design that when your reward is such an appalling story it just rubs salt into the wound. This game is another one of those situations where some light hearted absurdity, and a rather generic driving game were needlessly drawn through the ringer and slapped with so much cash exploiting garbage that it would make EA blush.
Unless you are morbidly curious, or just can’t believe that the entire story hinges around angel tears that act as fuel, and a Government that wants to stop all fighting ever by making killer uncontrollable robots to kill people and fight a lot, then avoid this game like the plague. This is a game that everyone would have been far better off not being made, the developers look terrible, it is a waste of time and a shameless money pit, and could only really serve on how not to make a game. While it is free, it certainly isn’t worth anyone’s time and you can find much better offerings elsewhere, even in the free to play racing genre.
Recommended?: NO. Not at all.
When I first tried this game, I was a bit interested in the game, as I have not played a racing MMO and the little time I played before we started made me interested in it. The game felt odd to start, but at first, I was having fun. I played this game with a controller and got used to what the game wanted me to do quickly. I was having fun with the stupidity of the story and the reactions that others had when they hit certain points, like the NPC of the third station in the first city, or when they saw the third city for the first time. Once I hit the third city and the game was asking me to do the impossible, my fun started to turn into frustration and I wanted to push on, just to see how dumb the story gets. Spoilers: it gets really dumb. By the end of the main story, I was intentionally failing missions 5-10 times just to make the timed missions reasonable. The game become a chore to play and many times, I was just playing on auto-pilot. And when you finished the main mission and began the Neo City part of the game, which involves time travel, the game got even worse. They introduced gun mechanics that if you used a controller, like I did, would screw you over because you had to use the spacebar to fire the gun, even if you had it set to your controller. After trying and failing the first and only solo mission from Neo City, I had enough and quit. The game got even worse and without having three others to do the other Neo City missions with you, there was no point in continuing to play. The only fun I had was hearing the reactions out of everyone else as they hit certain points in the game.
This game is bad, very bad, and as much as I hated ArcheAge, I think I hate this game slightly more. The terrible quality of the graphics as you play through, the blatant pay-to-win aspect of the game, the horrible and monotonous missions, the really dumb story, everything about this game is bad. Even though they distributed the game and not published the game, I am still sad that a game like Drift City is still under the Games Campus name, while a game I kinda enjoyed, World Tour Fishing, got shut down. Avoid this game, at all cost. This game is not worth even the free download, as there are many better free-to-play games out there. This game is not even so bad it’s good, it is just bad.
I don’t want to play the contrarian here, but I did not hate this game nearly as much as everyone else seemed to. Technically, I didn’t hate the game at all. I found it unremarkable, frustrating, and blissfully stupid to the point I never bothered to pay attention to the story at all, unless I was specifically told to look for more amusing portions. That part where you drive up to a factory in the middle of nowhere looking for the “mysterious” Area 71… only to drive up to the main gate where “AREA 71” is adorned in giant blue glowing letters, and your mission guide chimes in with “..there is a high possibility that the large factory is in fact AREA 71.” Fucking beautiful.
I never felt the missions were entirely out of my reach. Unfair and frustrating, certainly, but game-breaking and awful…? I wouldn’t go that far… save for the “tailing” missions, those can eat me. I say this, knowing there were plenty of places where I straight up snapped in a screaming fit, much to the amusement of the Raidcall, and unfortunately guys, no, I didn’t get any of that on audio. (The footage of the moment did make it into the review, though. In the part where the medal award pops up when I’m driving to a small side street.) I have snapped at games I like, too. I’m pretty unstable like that.
Hell, I likely would have kept playing this if I just didn’t feel like getting out of the house as I was plagued with the need for, all these past two weeks. I was generally curious on seeing how the Neo City “Bad future” worked, much against the warnings of Dreskar and Dobar. Call me crazy, it’s your right, but I think this might be worth giving the game a shot if you’re even remotely curious about it, as it could just be a heavy case of “Your Mileage May Vary”.
HA HA CAR PUNS I DID SO MANY OF THEM!
Recommended?: YES. Sure. I’m an asshole. Why not see if you hate it as much as they do?