Ben's Week In Review: July 19
Summer break! From a deluge of high-profile games, I mean. Gotta get to Rogue Galaxy at some point...
Mirror's Edge: Catalyst should be great...I hope
Firstly, let me say that I really like the idea of building an open-world environment that opens up by degrees. It's honestly one of the biggest reasons I love The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Some will say I'm intimidated by gigantic worlds that are entirely and immediately accessible but that isn't true at all. I love Grand Theft Auto V, for instance, and the only reason I never really took to The Elder Scrolls games is because those worlds always seemed artificially huge to me. What I mean is that they were always massive but they always felt much too empty; it's like the developers just dropped in as many trees and mountains as they could, but forgot that wandering aimlessly gets a little boring. I know people who see such games in an entirely different light, but that's just what I feel when playing.
No, it's more that I like the feeling of progression, of earning something. I like unlocking things, and that includes new areas. It gives the game a more goal-oriented setup in my opinion, and it leaves a little something to the imagination; not knowing what was at Skellige, for instance, drove me forward in The Witcher 3. So, DICE adopting a similar style for the new Mirror's Edge (which is undoubtedly a reboot) is fine with me. I just worry about the necessity to appeal to a wider, more casual audience. They're talking about easing off on the difficulty and really, I don't remember the original title being all that tough. The main challenge was simply figuring out how to reach your goal; it was half-puzzle in that way, and I get the sneaking suspicion DICE is doing away with that element.
Hellblade could end up being one of the most important games of the generation
I have a soft spot for Ninja Theory, anyway (they absolutely didn't get their just due with Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West), and I love what I'm seeing and hearing concerning their new IP, Hellblade. I especially like what they said about taking creative risks. This tells me I can expect something ambitious and fresh and provided the gameplay is top-notch, the game could end up being a memorable experience.
The idea of having a mentally troubled protagonist is incredibly intriguing, even though I'm not sure it'll feel much different than having a possessed character. It seems similar in the footage, at any rate. Plus, the one-on-one combat idea, while potentially problematic, is a great one. The industry has had an obsession with countless, faceless enemies and I'd really like to play a game that focuses strongly on each encounter. As a Celtic warrior, each battle could feel special; you have to take advantage of every aspect of your skill set. On top of which, when every confrontation is potentially deadly, it adds that much more urgency and tension to any adventure. I just hope Ninja Theory achieves on the highest possible level for this one.
Personal gaming update
I could say I'm still playing Godzilla because I'm a masochist, but it wouldn't be true. I keep thinking some developer will make a decent game featuring the iconic Japanese thunder lizard, but it may never happen. I just can't imagine anyone, even hardcore Godzilla fans, having any fun at all with that mess. So, it's back to doing as much as I can in The Witcher 3 (and I do hope other teams take cues from CD Projekt Red in terms of female characterization). I'm at the end; I'm just trying to finish everything on the map, and I also want that Wolf Armor, which came with one of the free DLC sets.
I just can't believe Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be here in less than six weeks.
7/18/2015 Ben Dutka