Ben's Week In Review: January 14
Well, it's the editorial weekly update making its return, and here are my thoughts and updates for the past seven days:
My roommate and I have played through several great games over the past year, and our most recent titles are Resistance: Fall of Man, Champions of Norrath, Twisted Metal: Black, Halo 2, Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance II, and TimeSplitters 2. As soon as I can get around to playing Gears of War and Splinter Cell: Double Agent, we'll tackle those as well. Co-op story mode is something just about all games should have, as far as I'm concerned; the one in Resistance made that game ultra-intense and just plain awesome (as if it weren't awesome already).
I'd like to see this feature in many next-gen titles, as it was curiously left out of most titles last generation. Yeah, you have to deal with the split-screen, but that's okay. The addition of another player can really enhance the experience, and as much as I love my single-player play-throughs, co-op is a great option to have. I don't much go in for online multiplayer just because I don't like the lack of any story or direction, but that's fun as well.
As incomplete as they may be, they're looking awfully good right now. Everybody seems to be doing quite well, and that includes both Nintendo and Sony (even Microsoft managed to sell 100k 360s in Japan; the highest number ever since that system's launch). GameStop/EB had a fantastic increase of 29% in total sales during the holiday season, companies like THQ are expecting to do better than initially anticipated, and that European PS3 launch in March is looking more stable than ever. And the UK had a hell of a Christmas season, in general, didn't they?
On the software front, it's no surprise that the latest Madden installment ruled the sales charts, but it's also good to see so many great games get the recognition they deserve. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Gears of War did extremely well, for example, and even Resistance: Fall of Man managed to sell quite a few copies, despite the crazy PS3 shortage in December. I wish I could get into Guitar Hero II (speaking of fun co-op games), but I A. don't have the time, and B. don't really have the motivation. I enjoy rhythm/dance/music games plenty - still have to pick up Amplitude - but I just don't think Hero is my thing...
Final Fantasy XII Update
The title that takes up most of my game time is truly wonderful, but after nearly 60 hours of playing, I do have my complaints. I very much dislike both the Espers and Quickenings, but then again, I don't have the most powerful of either. They just don't seem that effective, especially for what they require in terms of MP, but I suppose that's Square-Enix compensating for the overpowered summons of past installments. Even so, it's frustrating. I also don't love the story as much as I probably should, but that might be because I'm so caught up in the gameplay. ;)
I'll be playing it until everything is completed, of course, and I fully expect that to take over 100 hours. Now you see my predicament...what with all the games I have yet to play, just sitting there, begging to receive my attention. Among that pile is Okami, but please don't crucify me.
- After reviewing Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, I realized I would miss the series, even though I'm no fighting fan. It wasn't a great game, but it was relatively well done and it gave me quite the nostalgic feeling. Of course, it was entirely 3D and there was a Konquest (Story) mode, so it didn't necessarily feel like the MKs of old, but still... Good times. :)
- I'm not sure how I feel about all these games going multiplatform this generation (there's that Saints Row on PS3 rumor, for example). In some ways, I'm glad it's not quite as necessary to own all three pricey next-gen systems because so many recognizable and quality franchises are going multi, but in others...I question if the change will hamper said quality. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
- Anybody else experience a twinge of good old-fashioned pride when we saw that Mario was still the highest-selling franchise of all time? Even though I haven't played one since Mario 64 (which I didn't like), I still think we should recognize the classics.
- I can't wait for that God of War 2 demo. The first was one of my favorite games of the last generation (perhaps only behind Final Fantasy X and the GTA Trilogy), and I just know the second will kick plenty of ass. That's how Jaffe and Co. roll. :)
- Contrary to my constant concern that the PS3 would face serious reliability issues - like the horrid, horrid 360 launch of 2005 - the system seems to be going along well. Mine works perfectly, even if it's on for 6-8 hours at a time; it's very quiet, it boots up extremely fast, and I'm just happy with the system's performance. I also haven't heard any news stories about major defective issues, and that's an excellent sign. Microsoft had nearly a 5% defective rate with launch 360s (effing absurd), and at this point, it seems both the PS3 and Wii are faring much, much better.
- I'm thinkin' my next PS3 game will be- White Knight Story. Or maybe F.E.A.R, which I haven't yet played...
1/13/2007 Ben Dutka