Konami has had an extremely busy holiday season, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to one of the most prolific companies in video game history. This year brought a number of long awaited sequels, including Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Silent Room 4, as well as some genuine surprises, such as the all girl wrestling game Rumble Roses. But don't let the diverse line up confuse you, Konami is one of the most level headed companies in the industry and seem to work like clockwork. But does this translate to a successful website?
Look and Design:
I like to call Konami's website high concept on a low budget. For a company worth so much money, it's more than a little shocking to see how cheap the U.S. Konami page is. It has a theme, but there are some problems with the front page (and many of the game pages) that keeps this from being a site we can recommend. For one thing, there are just too many links. And not only are there too many of them, but they are in really strange places that frankly aren't that becoming to the look of the site.
C'mon Rumble Roses, let's make Bill Cosby proud!
The game pages are full of nice touches, as well as game-related themes, but they seem extremely bare bones. Even big games like Metal Gear Solid 3 only have one page worth of writing, usually detailing very little about the game. A game like Karaoke Revolution Volume 3 could use a track list, and you're going to have to do better than just say Rumble Roses is the first "all-female wrestling experience". Still, it's no worse than Crave's website, so what's the point in complaining?
On the surface it probably looks like Konami is trying to help you and make everything extremely accessible, but that's just not the case. Something like the Release Date page sounds informative . but you'd do just as well by guess the dates. Konami hasn't given us dates; they have given us estimated projections, which is no use to some kid waiting for the next DDR update.
Does it surprise you that only five PlayStation games are listed on Konami's website? Does it surprise you that Castlevania: Symphony of the Night does not have a page on Konami's site? Well, it surprised us!! We expected that they would miss smaller titles like Poy Poy or Contra: Hard Corpse on the Genesis, but Symphony of the Night? Still, Konami's game pages do go back to some original PlayStation games, just not very many of them.
By now you're probably getting sick of listening to me whine and moan about dull news pages. Day after day you put up with me talking about cookie cutter news feeds, where all these companies simply give us press releases with no other information. Most of these sites don't even link the text links, and seem to ignore the fact that we're looking at a website. Konami's is no different, right down to the pop-up window that displays the news in the least interesting fashion available. I won't fault Konami, but it certainly doesn't help their grade any.
Just because the company finds one critic that likes it, doesn't mean it's good!
One aspect of Konami's site we found especially funny was its Reviews section. Reviews rounded up by the studios are always disingenuous at best, so you can't expect anything different from a game website. Here Konami plays off all their games as if not one of them is a stinker, not even that lame Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel. But what's shocking about this section is that some of the reviews sound positive, but upon further examination aren't. Take this quote about the newest Contra sequel, "when I've got a game I like this much, I can't help but wish for more." This sounds good, but when you read the full article you quickly realize the person is complaining about the games length! Either Konami misinterpreted what Gamer.com said, or they think we're really, really stupid.
Although Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater will no doubt sell a ton of copies, the game just was not hyped like its predecessors. Perhaps it has something to do with the collective excitement for Halo 2 or maybe the constant trickle of new information about San Andreas, but whatever it was, Metal Gear Solid 3 didn't have a very easy time getting on the cover of magazines this year. This could mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, but I choose to believe that Metal Gear Solid's fanbase may not be as rabid as those of other games. We'll have to see how this effects the next installment, which will probably not be released on the PlayStation 2. Hell, maybe next time they'll go ahead and package those old MSX Metal Gear games in as extras, like we've been asking for for years!
FINAL GRADE: C
(Important Note: This review was written in 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.)