Riding a wave of successful franchises, Activision is one of the biggest names of 2004. Be it Doom 3, Call of Duty, or Tony Hawk, if Activision released it, people ate it up no matter the quality. 2005 looks like more of the same, with more big name sequels and updates, as well as a few ports to keep everybody happy. But for all the success they've had, Activision doesn't seem to care much about their past.
Here is a company that has been around longer than just about every other company we're going to review, yet their games don't seem to reflect their past. These days Activision is more interested in Tony Hawk than Pitfall Harry. Is this a problem on their website, too? Look like we're about to find out.
Look and Design:
There's little denying that Activision's website is one of the best looking sites we've come across so far. Although the actual layout is a little funky, it's extremely intuitive, easy on the eyes, not to mention informative. But even with all this going for it, the
Vampire: the Masqurade may be one of the biggest games of the year, but if it doesn't have Drusilla in it, I'm not interested!
website still has a number of problems. For one thing, it doesn't set itself apart from other sites in any way or form. It's also not the most inspired site, and probably won't sway anybody towards the company.
Although each of the game pages are informative, they lack that style you hope your website has. The pages look very plain, almost lifeless, with even the most exciting games (like Spider-Man 2 or Doom 3). Admittedly, these games have full on webpages that are often independent of Activision's website, but a little effort on these pages goes a long way.
Like Atari, Midway, and so many other companies we've looked at so far, Activision appears to be suffering from some sort of short attention span. Here's a company that has produced many of the greatest games of all time, games that influenced scores of titles, games that withstand the test of time because they are insanely fun. Yet these games are nowhere to be seen. I'm sure I sound like a broken record by now, but Activision (as well as the other companies) is missing a golden opportunity here ... include your classic games, or at least give something to your older fans.
Atari's website seems to be missing a large chunk of their catalog, including games from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Only the most recent games seem to have a place on Atari's website which completely undermines a company trying to base
Can we all just agree it's time to get rid of all the stupid characters in the Tony Hawk games?
All of the sections work as they should, but I was a bit surprised by Activision's store. Actually, it's not Activision's at all, it's a game emporium presented by Deal Time, or Shopping.com, or one of those sites. It actually lets you browse through a number of sites, games, and accessories, and features a lot more than you'd expect. Defunct Games readers will
Obviously none of the sites we're reviewing are going to give out "insider information", they are in the business of giving us the press releases and nothing more. But sometimes a well organized news site goes a long way, and in Activision's case, it is the best part of the website. For one thing, Activision has a whole lot of information to give us, including announcements, shipping dates, and other such information. Although the news itself is not specifically flashy it is much better looking than other sites we've reviewed. The pages are easy to read and there's contact information for those whose questions weren't answered. Their archive is also easy to use, which eliminates the problems we had with Atari Games' news section. This is easily the best news section we've seen so far . but there are still plenty of days to go.
It's humorous how many partners are listed under the Spider-Man 2 game. Six companies have ties to this game, from movies to comics to developer; there are a lot of hands in Spider-Man 2's cookie jar. Not even fellow superheroes Wolverine, Gambit, and Storm could pull those kinds of numbers; X-Men Legends only snagged two partners. Of course, now that the game has is half a year old, chances are nobody cares much about the Spider-Man 2 game anymore.
FINAL GRADE: B
(Important Note: This review was written on November 28, 2004. As is the case with websites things tend to change and get moved around. We've decided to cover major companies who should have a presence on the web for many years to come, but the actual reviews of the layout may not be relevant for more than a month to a year. Having said that, we're hoping this article was still interesting, and if not, at least you go this extra little paragraph of explanation that you wouldn't normally get on the other websites.)