Ben's Week In Review: July 17
No big games on the horizon until Deus Ex: Mankind Divided but it looks like there's some big retro news...
A mini NES with 30 games for $60? Sure!
I heard about this news earlier in the week, and frankly, I don't care if it won't get anymore games, nor do I care that it can't connect to the internet.
30 games is more than enough and I know they're going to include most of the great classics we all remember. Though I still have the SNES hooked up in the bedroom, I actually don't have the original NES, so I think I'll have to snag this when it shows up during the holiday season.
The video game experience has changed so dramatically over the years that NES games will be quite the nostalgia trip, and I've no doubt they'll remind us all once again just how hard those games really were. It might also remind me of Nintendo's legendary status and perhaps even psych me up for the Nintendo NX, even if the NES and NX aren't even remotely related in terms of technological capability. I do believe the SNES was the superior machine but hey, for $60 I see no reason at all to pass on this Mini NES. :)
I'm sorry but No Man's Sky looks like one giant snooze to me
Don't get me wrong, the PlayStation 4 exclusive is hugely promising and I hope it's a hit. And I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the developers, as Hello Games gave me one of my favorite games of the previous generation in Joe Danger. Clearly, No Man's Sky is a completely different beast; not only is it about a million times more ambitious but there's zero comparison in terms of gameplay.
My problem is that despite watching just about all the media available for this game, including the latest exploration trailer, I just find myself...yawning. I guess you have to have the MMO mentality, or at least the mindset that you require no direction, no story, and really, not even a defined set of goals. I believe I understand the fascination, in that what one player discovers will be entirely unique and there are endless possibilities. Perhaps people will get hooked on the immense exploration. But me, if it's only about exploration and cataloging things, and the like...I fail to see the attraction. That's just me, I guess.
Personal gaming update
I actually got a code for I Am Setsuna so I opted to forego starting the Blood and Wine expansion for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
As I recall the golden age of console RPGs with perfect clarity, I ran down the checklist in my head as I played. Everything is here, my friends. Well, almost everything. We've got the true turn-based combat, which is tops on my list, and we also have the traditional world structure (a world map!), traditional party structure, and even a traditional story structure. And oh yeah, it has fantastic depth, a hallmark of many old-school RPGs that certain morons either completely forget or never knew about. Turn-based RPGs had some of the deepest systems on the face of the earth and the depth is here in spades, from the unique system of obtaining and utilizing magic to the food recipes we find to the strengthening of our weapons via crafting materials. The game even looks fantastic.
But after about 3 hours of playing, something was gnawing at me. Despite completely filling my checklist (with the minor exception of no battles on the world map, which feels a little bizarre), I felt a little under-whelmed. I adore the game, of course, but something was missing and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. At first, I thought it was the voices, but that couldn't be it because most old RPGs didn't have voice acting. Then I thought it might be some visual lacking, but that made no sense because this title looks far better than any of those old-fashioned games. Then, I hit on it:
Yeah, I get it. We don't need them anymore and nobody wants them. Well, I've always called that a pile of streaming crap because when it came to relating a story, cut-scenes really did help. A lot. When you didn't have the tech to support the visual side well enough, cut-scenes served a very important purpose and let's not forget that some of the most memorable moments in RPG history have come from cut-scenes. There's a reason for that. It completes the experience, as far as I'm concerned. It gives those sprites personality and depth and dimension we never see in the actual gameplay, or when reading the text boxes. This only proves my belief that in certain structures, cut-scenes are not only welcome, but critical.
Of course, now that I've gone on this rant, I'll find that I Am Setsuna really does have cut-scenes and I just haven't seen any yet. That seems unlikely, though. Even so, I love it and it comes highly recommended to those who miss the good ol' days. :)
7/16/2016 Ben Dutka