Ben's Week In Review: March 1
As the insanity surrounding The Order: 1886 winds down, the hype for Bloodborne amps up. Fun time to be a PlayStation 4 owner. ;)
Know what we really haven't seen much of in all these Final Fantasy XV videos?
Story. Know why? I'll say it again: Because open-world games can never have a cohesive, ultimately involving plot simply due to the nature of the gameplay.
Now, they claim they're more than 60 percent done with FFXV and "the end is in sight." They say the playable demo sidetracked them for a while but now they're back for the final push. It sounds like gibberish to me (I wouldn't waste all that time and money on a 2-hour demo) but whatever. The point is that if they're so close to done, we'd have heard a lot more about the characters, setting, plot, etc. The reason we haven't is not because these things don't exist, but because they always take a back seat in any open-world adventure. The developers have no choice in the matter. If you're going to give the player the freedom to do just about whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and go wherever he wants, it's impossible to maintain a continuous thread.
The worst part is that story and characters have always been at the core of this franchise. But, like so many other things Square Enix has ditched - like, say, actual role-playing - in this series, it's falling by the wayside. I get the feeling nobody will care one jot about the characters in FFXV, and it will go down in history as having one of the most forgettable plots in the franchise's history. Perhaps more forgettable than FFXII and yes, the story wasn't memorable because that game was more open. That's how this works.
That study didn't surprise me at all
When I read the results of Nielsen's gaming study, I just shrugged and went, "yeah, so?" I mean, who didn't see that coming?
I'm always surprised when I hear that people buy Xbox because of the brand, and then I chastise myself for being surprised. Of course they buy it because of the brand; the sad truth is that for the most part, consumers are stupid. Marketers have been making money off that truism since the beginning of time. As for PlayStation 4 getting the nod on "resolution," I don't doubt it, but that system really needs to step up with the exclusive software. That's what has always set PlayStation apart; it needs to be there for PS4 as well. The Wii U's "fun factor" is a little annoying...this implies that nobody buys PlayStation or Xbox to have "fun," and it also insinuates that games for a younger audience are inherently more "fun." I think the proper term is "accessible" and that doesn't automatically equate to "fun."
It's great to see how many different gamers Sony has enticed this generation, though. There's a hefty percentage of current PS4 owners who never owned the PS3 and in fact, owned another console. That's a big win for PlayStation and honestly, the #1 reason they remain in the lead this generation.
Personal gaming update
Now that we've got The Order: 1886 out of the way (again, thanks much for all the kind comments on that review), it's onward to Bloodborne this month. It's not my thing but I know quality when I see it and unlike some of my peers, I don't ignore quality for the sake of my own personal preferences. I can't stand RTS but Age of Empires is hardly worth a 5. However, I still believe there's a trend in the critical community to reward harder games while punishing easier ones. Perhaps it springs from the unspoken elitist streak that often runs through game reviewers; I don't know. I just know that "easy" often equates to "bad" in the eyes of many core gamers.
Oh, and if you never played DoA5 or the Ultimate version, you should probably check out Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. However, as I said in my review, if you've already got Ultimate, there's not much reason to spend another $40. There just isn't enough extra stuff to warrant the upgrade, unless you're an extreme graphics whore. ;)
2/28/2015 Ben Dutka