Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: February 17th
Namco Punched Me In The Mouth
Ok, look, I know you guys are sick of me talking about Virtua Fighter already, but damn-it...I really can't wait to have this game. When I first played Virtua Fighter 4, my PS2 was literally on for 10 hours that day -- 8 of which I played. While I really couldn't stand VF3tb on the Dreamcast, the first two games and VF4/VF4: Evo were a Godsend to me. As much as I love Tekken, the series has seriously taken a hit for the worst. While Tekken 5 (and Tekken: DR) were fantastic, they both seemed to lack a certain fluidity that Tekken Tag Tournament had. Then there's Tekken 4, which, unlike TTT or T5, hasn't aged very well. In fact, Tekken Tag may be the PS2's best aged game; even today it looks gorgeous.
But with yesterday's announcement of Tekken 6 came disappointment. It just doesn't look next-gen, at all. You look at Virtua Fighter 5 and you see arguably the most detailed fighting game on the market, and you look at Tekken 6 and it looks like a marginal upgrade from Tekken 5. Something's putting me off from the game, and I'm sorely disappointed that it isn't the visual tour de force that the series is known to be. The screenshots released are from the arcade version, so perhaps the PS3 code will see a notable bump in graphics - much like Tekken Tag did when it came from the cabinets to the PS2. We can only wish.
I don't need to unwrap the game...I'll just give it a 4/10!
Moving on, let's talk about something I've sort of been dealing with in the gaming community. Sony was kind enough to ship me an advanced copy of Formula One for the PS3 this past week and I stumbled upon some reviews bashing the game with completely invalid reasons. It's not even a question of objectivity, it's a question of actually knowing what you're doing and talking about before you label a splendid racing game with a pitiful score that it doesn't deserve. And while I'm not a masterful wizard of automobiles, I've learned my way around them in the past two years. Enough to know how to properly adjust suspension components to have a car behave a certain way in real-life and in a videogame. So it's a little unhealthy to my mental state of mind when I see critics writing off a game and panning it because they don't know what they're doing or adjusting, and claim that the game isn't capable of something - when in reality, it is. Tinker around with the game's truck load of customization options before you cry about erroneous physics, because the physics are quite spot-on. In any case, my review of Formula One will be coming soon.
The Galaxy's Not That Far Away
It's been nice to break away from Final Fantasy XII lately, but playing other RPGs makes me realize the kind of impact the series has had on the genre. I've spent some time with Rogue Galaxy, and I was pretty impressed. I must say, anyone who was into games like Threads of Fate, Dual Hearts, and Kingdom Hearts will really like Rogue Galaxy. Likewise, the game has strong flavors of Skies of Arcadia (must be the pirate thing) and Grandia, which is always welcome in any RPG game. The battles, while random (like Chrono Trigger), are real-time (like Kingdom Hearts) - so the game is technically an action-RPG. Although I'd argue that Rogue Galaxy's combat is far deeper than your typical A-RPG game.
Man...Long Plane Rides Are About to Rock!
So how's about that God of War on the PSP? I'm pretty sure I heard Ben break down and cry tears of joy. Not only will we get one God of War game this year, but possibly two! After playing Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters and seeing how f-ing amazing it looks, I can't even fathom the thought of God of War on the PSP. The game is currently being developed by the guys who did Daxter, another PSP visual wonder, so it's certainly in good hands. We just hope Sony gets on with it and reveals it already...hopefully at Game Developers Conference.
Banging On the Trash Can...Jammin In a Taxi
I heard a bit of news by way of Sega not too long ago about the PSP's Crazy Taxi: allegedly it's going to have custom-soundtracks! I may or may not be mistaken, but custom soundtracks in Crazy Taxi would be a PSP first. An already great game will have a great feature that I've been dying to see done on Sony consoles. Now let's hope that it opens up the flood-gates and more developers begin to follow; and not just on the PSP, but on the PS3 too!
Forfeit Your Wallets Immediately
Lastly, I can't help but feel excited at the thought of the PS3's software line-up coming up. Word of Gran Turismo 5 hitting the PS3 in 2007 has me doing cartwheels in my head (note: I can't do cartwheels, otherwise). Devil May Cry 4, Metal Gear Solid 4, Lair, Grand Theft Auto 4, and a multitude of other 1st party and 3rd party titles is going to make the PS3's presence known. And if Sony is able to roll out both Warhawk and Killzone 2 for 2007...we're going to have some serious heat.
Final note: Looks like both Ben and I feel the exact same way too, we didn't even plan on concluding both of our recaps on the same note - but coincidentally we did.
2/17/2007 Arnold Katayev