Ben's Week In Review: March 27
Happy Easter! :) There really aren't any Easter-themed video games, are there? Maybe we can play the next shooter as a big pink bunny.
Good time to be a PlayStation 4 owner
No, I'm not talking about the oft-discussed and apparently very real "PS4K." I still don't like the idea and I've wondered if this will be a polarizing issue for current owners, and I don't have anything else to say until we know more.
Rather, I'm referring to a couple of really great exclusives on the horizon. Both just went gold in the last few weeks; the first is obviously that amazing-looking Ratchet & Clank remake, which has been near the top of my priority list for a while now. I wonder if I'll really love it, though...as I've said in the past, I've never completed one of these games and in truth, the gameplay has never been up my alley. But as we leave this kind of carefree action/platforming behind, I find myself more intrigued by this dying breed. Besides, it seems ridiculous that I'm a PlayStation fan and I've never finished a Ratchet & Clank; the games really are great (well, most of them; I'm not talking about the ill-advised spin-offs). And as it's very different than any other game I've played in a long time, and probably any game I'll play in 2016, it should feel awfully refreshing.
The other title is Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, which I have no doubt will be excellent. I still have my reservations, though: While I'm aware of what Naughty Dog has done to "modernize" this typically linear experience, I'm still afraid it will get branded as "old-fashioned" simply because it isn't open-world. And for whatever reason, I've noticed that critics love to find fault with games that excel in the graphics department. ...wait, we all know the reason. It's so they can present themselves as an "I'm about more than graphics so I'm 'true' gamer," which is just so painfully transparent. But whatever. If Uncharted 4 isn't a Game of the Year contender, something went terribly awry.
Oh but of COURSE we have to worry about FPS in Final Fantasy XV
Square Enix says they're targeting 30fps for FFXV, which is important because after all, frames per second needs to be stable in any action game. Yeah, action game. Action first, role-playing second. It has been the ongoing motto of this project from the beginning, from the moment Square Enix boasted about the game's new High Action System, and they really drove home that action-oriented theme with gameplay that would never remind anyone of an RPG. Honestly, this was one of the more comical quotes I'd ever read:
"True, we did want to get rid of the UI, remove hit counters, restrict the playable character to Noct and so on. But if we did all it that it would become just another action game like all the others. The team is saying, ‘don’t forget this is Final Fantasy before it is an action game.’"
LMAO So, we've got a party-based system and you limit us to only using one character, you take away any visual semblance of an RPG with the UI and hit counters, and "so on," and then there are features like the Cross-Link mechanic...? Yeah, you've had that backward all along, S-E: It's an action game well before it's Final Fantasy but more importantly, it isn't an RPG. It just isn't.
Personal gaming update
I really do like Tom Clancy's The Division. It's one of those games that is both widely accessible and appropriately deep, thereby catering to a very large audience. I find that I can pick it up and play for an hour or so and not feel outmatched or outgunned by other players, and that's partly due to the high entertainment level of playing solo. So few multiplayer-centric titles can manage this, as we all know. I don't know how much more of it I'll play but it's rare that I have any interest in going back to such titles after reviewing them. It should say something that I've already gone back multiple times. As for the bullet sponge thing, I know it's an issue for some, but I think it amps up the depth. It's one of those things that makes it feel a bit more like an RPG, actually, and I don't mind the challenge.
I'm almost done with Assassin's Creed Syndicate, I think. I've got almost all the best equipment for Jacob and Evie, the map is just about done (all districts have been cleared), and I've just got the main story missions and a few side missions remaining. Looks like I'll be done just in time for Ratchet. :)
3/26/2016 Ben Dutka