Ben's Week In Review: July 26
MGSV creeps ever closer and I try to play the Street Fighter V beta without success. Oh well.
Rise of the Tomb Raider for holiday 2016? Sure, fine
If it isn't exclusive, it isn't exclusive. I've never been one of those impatient people who simply can't handle waiting for a game, and I'm sure I'll have plenty to play throughout 2016.
But when we heard the news that Rise of the Tomb Raider wouldn't reach the PS4 until late next year, I think a lot of gamers were miffed. They were simply annoyed that Microsoft had once again shelled out a chunk of change to grab timed exclusivity for a big title, and a title that follows a standard multiplatform production. Some have condemned developer Crystal Dynamics for being sellouts but quite frankly, they're not sellouts. They're in business. They took what I can only assume is a very generous offer, especially considering the fact that PS4 has greatly outpaced Xbox One sales so far this generation. I'm not losing any sleep over it, that's for sure.
And really, we all know what we'll get when the new Lara adventure hits PS4. It'll be another "definitive edition;" it'll have the spruced up visuals (most likely) and we can probably expect some new content as well. I'd be shocked if the PS4 iteration didn't turn out to be the best possible version by a significant margin, which is why I couldn't possibly care less about this timed exclusivity. Let me know when they announce a Lost Odyssey 2 that's exclusive to Xbox One and maybe then we'll talk.
Not sure about that "Law of Third Titles" theory, Matsuda
So, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda has offered an interesting theory concerning the success of new IPs. He calls it his "Law of Third Titles" rule, meaning you can't determine an IP's true potential until the third entry is on store shelves. He says many franchises didn't really take off until the third installment and I imagine he's probably right. But I'm just not sure there's enough evidence out there to make this a "law," as there are lots of successful franchises that didn't follow this formula. I also question which of Square Enix's current franchises followed this rule; are we talking Final Fantasy, perhaps? Not sure about that. It certainly doesn't hold true for Deus Ex or Tomb Raider (IPs they now control).
I really believe that if an IP has a chance at being a successful series, there are glimpses of that in the very first production. And if the second makes a similar statement, I think you're good. I mean, Matsuda was referring to their pursuing a second Nier adventure and I'm fairly certain that if it fails, there won't be a third. I seriously doubt Square Enix will go for the "law of third titles" if Nier 2 falls flat. Know what I'm saying?
Personal gaming update
First up, if you're looking for a fast-paced, old-school platformer to put a smile on your face, you might want to try Tembo the Badass Elephant. It has a ton of charm and it's really well put-together; it will especially entice those who miss the good ol' Sonic days. Of course, if you're too emotionally invested in Journey on PS4, I don't blame you. I really didn't think it would affect me the same way three years later but somehow, it was even stronger. I think it's just because it continues to stand head-and-shoulders above the crowd, because it stands out as a supreme artistic achievement. Such an accomplishment doesn't dull with age.
Still banging away at cleaning up The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and there are still way too many bugs. Yeah, Patch 1.07 added several great features (I love the alternate control scheme and the inventory management upgrades), but there are lingering issues. I actually have three missions in my Quest list that I can't do because the game is screwed up: It's pretty well-documented now that the latest patch broke the "Skellige's Most Wanted" contract; it's a damn good thing I had a few saves before I accepted the mission. Then there's one of the "Statuette" side missions with Triss (where she frees someone trapped in a jade figurine). I don't have the statuette in my inventory and yet, the mission is there and when Triss goes to do her thing, nothing happens. Whatever.
It'll end up being my favorite game of 2015, I bet, but there's zero chance it wins Game of the Year.
7/25/2015 Ben Dutka