Ben's Week In Review: February 28
Wow, seems like everyone is really excited for Tom Clancy's The Division. Didn't think it would be as huge as it's obviously going to be.
Is there an ulterior motive to re-releasing all these Resident Evil games?
Now, as as announced this past week, Capcom will bring the fourth, fifth and sixth installments back as well. I'm just wondering what the point of all this is...yes, of course they're cashing in on widespread brand recognition while they try to figure out the franchise's next step. But that leads me to my question: Are all these re-releases indicative of Capcom's indecision concerning the future of this legendary IP? Obviously, you don't go to all this trouble for the express purpose of determining a future plan, but I'm willing to bet it's at least part of the reason. I still say Resident Evil 6 suffered from a serious identity crisis; it was clear to me that the designers were totally on the fence in terms of the kind of game they wanted to make.
Then there was the ill-fated Operation Raccoon City, which only further proved Capcom doesn't really know what to do with RE. Perhaps that's why we haven't seen a main-line entry since 2012 and why we haven't heard much of anything regarding RE7. This company has some issues, I think; Street Fighter V doesn't have an identity problem but it certainly has a content and presentation issue, which most fans have noticed. Like I said before, Capcom might be as confused and completely out to lunch as Square Enix, if that's even possible.
Naughty Dog reminded me why they're still the best
It always surprises me. I love Naughty Dog but somehow, they keep topping themselves and every time they do, I'm once again blown away. When I saw the new Uncharted 4: A Thief's End trailer, which the developer called the "best they've ever done," I just sat back and admired. How do they keep doing this? Clearly, there's a big benefit to being a first-party developer for Sony because they've been making the most of PlayStation hardware for years, and that much is abundantly evident in every technically superior product they make. But in addition to that, they continue to produce extremely well-produced stories with great characters, which results in sublime interactive experiences. The drama, comedy and emotion is always there, and it's amid some of the best gameplay on the planet.
That all being said, I still have my reservations for this one. It still irks me that lead writer Amy Hennig left, and we learned that her departure set the project back 8 months. Other key team members left as well, and one wonders if the game will suffer from a storytelling standpoint. I also hope the developers haven't strayed too far from the linear structure; i.e., I'm crossing my fingers that the industry-wide idiocy of linearity being "inferior" hasn't irreparably altered one of the greatest franchises in video game history.
Personal gaming update
Yep, still working my way through Assassin's Creed Syndicate, which remains oodles of fun. I will add that I definitely enjoy Far Cry Primal, perhaps more than any other series entry. I'm not a big fan of this particular IP but the latest installment is pretty special, as the developers correctly explained. It retains the familiar structure that Far Cry fans will easily recognize, but also implements excellent survival and strategy elements. Plus, the immersion level is through the roof because the game does a tremendous job of immersing the player in an ancient world that demands attention and respect. I say give it a try, whether you're a fan of the series or not.
The Division will be out soon, so I'll have to look at that soon. I didn't play the beta so I'm going in fresh; however, this also means I'll be starting from scratch, so it'll take a little longer for me to deliver an accurate assessment. Oh, and I know Hitman is coming as well, and I'll be interested to see how that turns out. Hitman: Absolution was damn good.
2/27/2016 Ben Dutka