Ben's Week In Review: March 6
I know everyone is super excited for Tom Clancy's The Division but it's just not my thing. I'll play it to check it out but I'm not holding my breath.
I have no idea what to expect from No Man's Sky
I didn't completely understand it when it was first announced (nobody did, of course) but I still don't totally get it.
Even with a finalized launch date, I have lots of questions and despite some new gameplay trailers and footage, I'm still a little confused. I mean, this game could end up being a hugely ambitious triumph that actually stretches the boundaries of interactive entertainment, or it could be a boring, empty experience that gets panned by critics and gamers give up after an hour of playing. Or, it could be anything in between. I really have no clue what to expect and that's pretty rare, especially in this day and age. Given all the information and media we've got for any major new product, we know just about everything there is to know before the game ever hits store shelves.
But I think developer Hello Games and Sony has purposely left this aura of mystery in place. They use a lot of vague statements in their comments about this adventure, and that's definitely intentional. They want us to consider the possibilities of an endless universe that isn't the same for any two players, that has magical discoveries around every turn, that encourages and rewards all at once. But in the end, I maintain that all games still need a goal. One of the reasons I can't stand MMOs is because the only goal to speak of is leveling up; if the only goal in No Man's Sky involves getting more and better gear, for instance, or just seeing more planets, it will feel very underwhelming and uninteresting to me. Doesn't matter if it pushes boundaries; will it be fun?
This is an entertainment medium, after all.
Not getting Heavy Rain on PS4 and here's why
It really was one of my favorite games on PS3 but now that it has arrived on PS4, I won't be buying it. There's a reason for that.
In point of fact, I don't think it's a game that has aged well over time. We can't forget that it launched over 6 years ago and that's like an eternity in this industry. So, while my glowing review still stands, it's important to take into consideration the strides gaming has taken since 2010. Storytelling has advanced, voice acting has gotten significantly better, and control has tightened to the point of near-perfection. Gamers sometimes don't even notice such things until they go back a few years and play titles they thought were incredible. In a lot of ways, games like Heavy Rain helped blaze a path; for instance, I'm not sure Telltale's great narrative-driven productions like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones would've existed, and let's not forget newer interactive dramas such as Until Dawn.
But our expectations continue to grow at a rapid clip and I doubt Heavy Rain stands up to newer story-driven productions. I will never agree with those who tore it down then, trying to prove that it's "not a video game" or that the story was pathetic and somehow worse than all the other stories in gaming at the time. Idiots all, with pitifully little literary understanding and an obvious agenda to boot. Even so, one has to admit when a game ages poorly and unfortunately, I think Heavy Rain is one such title.
Personal gaming update
I'm very much enjoying Assassin's Creed Syndicate and I expect to be totally done before the next game I really want - Ratchet & Clank - comes out in April. I should add that I was pleasantly surprised by Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth; read the review to find out why. Let's just say I never expected to even remotely like anything with "Digimon" in the title, but the developers turned this traditional RPG into a really fun (and more mature) experience, so it doesn't feel like a piece of anime kiddie crap at all. I won't finish it but it comes highly recommended to fans of the franchise, and moderately recommended to people who want a solid turn-based RPG.
I don't really mind the Uncharted 4 delay; it's only two weeks and it gives me more time to play Ratchet. The only downside is that now May has three games I really, really want, including Mirror's Edge Catalyst (did you see the new gameplay vids?) and the new Doom. On the plus side, none of the titles in question will be very long, and I don't think there's anything else I want until Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in August. Oh, and to those bashing Far Cry Primal: Shut your face until you've played it.
3/5/2016 Ben Dutka