No Strategy Guides for Vita Games…What Gives?

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I have been absolutely shocked at the complete lack of strategy guides for Vita games. It’s not as if all games for the Vita are direct ports of other games, puzzle games, or games meant for brief bursts of play, such as many 3DS and DS games. The Vita has had an RPG and an Uncharted game, both of which typically have strategy guides. Not even Unit 13, which could use a strategy guide for those of us who hate freaking timed missions, has one. From the looks of my two most anticipated upcoming games, Resistance: Burning Skies and Gravity Rush, neither will have strategy guides.

Does this mean that Silent Hill, Ragnarok Odyssey, and Dragon’s Crown won’t have strategy guides either?

Strategy guides for handheld games are definitely nothing new, and I don’t believe that there haven’t been any guides simply because the Vita is so new. I remember that the DS and PSP both had games with guides fairly early on. Well, let me backtrack. Nintendo launched the DS with mostly platformers, which, at that time, traditionally did not have strategy guides. As for the PSP…well…the poor thing hardly had any games for months.

That said, though, neither the DS nor the PSP had a launch lineup that the Vita has had, with the caliber of games the Vita has and will have in such a short time. As such, it seems crazy that the only strategy guides for these Vita games can be found in the online universe. In other words, neither the DS nor the PSP had a launch game like Uncharted, and it absolutely baffles my mind that Uncharted: Golden Abyss does not have a guide. Not having an Uncharted guide seems like such a sorely missed opportunity for both guide collectors, Uncharted fans, and guide publishers’ wallets. I mean, have you seen how much strategy guides for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune sell for?

I admit that I know nothing regarding the behind-the-scenes work to secure a license for writing and publishing a video game strategy guide. Most likely, it’s a complete pain in the ass. But, maybe it has nothing to do with the licensing and everything to do with the predicted market for the Vita and Vita games. Maybe the publishers decided not to take a chance on spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on publishing a strategy guide for a game on a system that isn’t predicted to do well. As the Vita still hasn’t done well–thanks to a high price at launch and a fizzle-out with game releases–perhaps publishers are in no hurry to take that risk in the near future.

Whatever the reason, it’s very disappointing. IGN wikis and GameFAQs will have to do for now. Ooh, that made me shudder.

Discourse on Strategy Guide Organization

Friendship via VGCats

I just like this comic from VGCats.

This morning I woke up to text messages from one of my closest friends griping about the strategy guide for Final Fantasy XIII-2. She was having difficulties with finding out how to unlock one of the gates in order to progress through the story. She swore the guide was zero help, which puzzled me, because I thought the guide was extremely helpful in finding pretty much everything. After some back and forth, I had asked her if she looked in the Tour Guide section for the answer, as the guide is split up between the main walkthrough and a tour guide of each era. Sure enough, she found the answer there, and was close to livid that all of this information wasn’t glomped together.

As I said in my review, I was initially disappointed that all of this information wasn’t together, but the more I played the game, the more I was pleased that it wasn’t all crammed in together. If it had been, the walkthrough would have been an overload of information, most of which you wouldn’t need until much later in the game. I believe that that would have forced me to flip through the guide more than I already did, and it would have additionally forced me to take more time away from the game to read through what I needed to.

She pointed out that I did not like The World Ends with You strategy guide whereas she did, so we obviously look for different things in guides. That made me scratch my head, because my big beef with that guide was that it narrated everything that happened in the game, down to actual dialogue. With so much text I didn’t need–because OMG that’s why I’m playing the game–I had to take more time away from the game to weed out what I was looking for.

What was fascinating to me about the whole conversation were the differences in our preferences for strategy guide organization and what we considered to be taking us away from the game. She seems to want everything bunched together so she doesn’t have to flip through the book, no matter how much she has to read through. I want the guides to require as little reading as possible in order to find what I’m looking for. While I am normally not a fan of guides breaking up the walkthrough sections, in the case of Final Fantasy XIII-2, I think it was done perfectly in order to cut down on the massive amount of unneeded information.

Obviously I’m not going to be changing my preferences, because they are my preferences, but I am going to rethink how I discuss a guide’s organization. Maybe a warning or two for those who prefer the guide to be organized in a lump sum or spread out. It’s definitely given me something to think about.

What are your preferences? Do you have any?

What Strategy Guide Would You Want from a Kickstarter Campaign?

Kickstarter-logo

Ever since Double Fine had such a huge success with their Kickstarter campaign, and Obsidian has sent out feelers about possibly doing their own campaign, I’ve been thinking about strategy guides I’d fund via Kickstarter.

There are a few video games out there that did not have official print guides published that I would love to own. Obviously, I played the game just fine without them, and I could just go online for the guides if I really needed help, but there’s something about having a guide for a game you truly enjoy. Not to mention, I find using print guides to be ten times more efficient than using guides online.

So what do I want? Here are what I would gladly fund in a Kickstarter campaign. (Hey BradyGames and Prima Games…please take note!)

LEGO Harry Potter Strategy Guide

Why there was never such a strategy guide created is beyond me, but the fact remains, if you want a guide for finding all of those damn collectibles–because there are a crap-ton–you will have to go online. And while I needed little assistance with other LEGO games, I have had a beast of a time with LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4. So, so many collectibles that for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to get.

Or more importantly, I don’t have the time to figure them out.

Kingdom Hearts re:Coded Strategy Guide

I had zero problems finishing this game and unlocking all the hidden stuff, but that’s beside the point. The point is that I have strategy guides for all of the other Kingdom Hearts games and I feel like I’m missing a gargantuan hole in my collection. So yes, I admit this is purely because I’m a mad KH collector, and my addiction must be appeased.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Strategy Guide

I have seen zero information on a guide for this upcoming Vita game. I’m sure that this Uncharted  game is easier than most thanks to the touch screen, but come on…it’s tradition! And yes, it burns up the collector in me to not have one.

If there is one, will someone please announce it already. I hate being in the dark.

There are mine. What guides would you like to see made?

Sad Week for Strategy Guides: Prima’s Let Down with Mortal Kombat

In case you haven’t heard the news, Prima Games’ Mortal Kombat strategy guide is apparently riddled with errors, inconsistencies, and useless information. To get a better idea of what is wrong with the guide, watch one disgruntled owner’s review below.

While I believe that this reviewer was a little immature with his antics–albeit, the language and funeral pyre were funny–I can’t deny that he was absolutely right with all of his points. The number of screenshots is overboard and ridiculous, and they’re to the point of not being useful to the user, especially in terms of efficiently finding what you’re looking for. The inconsistencies are also unacceptable, and what is up with the misprints for the control commands? Someone in QA obviously fell asleep at the wheel when this guide was approved for print.

Mortal Kombat Strategy Guide Problems

According to Kotaku, Prima Games will not reprint the guide due to fiscal reasons (somewhat understandable), but they will offer character cards as amends to unhappy guide owners.

“The cards will be complete with all moves, Fatalities and Babalities, and free to anyone who bought the Official Guide or the Kollector’s Edition Guide. To receive your copy of the cards, please send your name, address, and e-mail to feedback@primagames.com.”

This news has greatly saddened me for several reasons. For one, Prima Games is known for putting out high quality guides, and to let something like this slip through the cracks baffles me. Then again, I know I just ranted about their Mass Effect 2 strategy guide, so I am saddened even further. In addition, not only does this damage Prima Games’ credibility, it damages the reputation for print guides, period. Why would someone pay $20 for a risk of bad information? Not to mention, why would someone pay $20 for the promise of updated information? You can just wait for IGN Guides to produce their online guide for free and catch updates there anyway. For an industry that really wants to prove that print guides are still relevant for today’s needs, this is a huge step backwards.

Just like game developers can’t be expected to produce a triple-A game every time, the same goes for publishers with the quality of their books. The big question is if whether this trend will continue, or if this was Prima’s one bad guide of the year–like how Mass Effect 2 strategy guide was the bad egg for 2010. For both Prima’s sake and for the sake of my personal love of strategy guides, I hope this problem will be nipped in the bud for future publications.

On another personal note, a lot of the complaints about the Mortal Kombat guide echo my feelings on Prima Games’ Mass Effect 2 strategy guide. If I wasn’t such a huge Mass Effect and obsessive collector of things, I’d want to incinerate this guide as well. That also greatly saddens me.