Ben's Week In Review: August 26
Well, the time I've been dreading has come- after a good 7 months of a lackluster to average frequency of quality games, said titles are starting to flow. And with it, more game news, so let's get to it.
PS3 Power Speculation
Two stories piqued my interest over the past week, and they both had a lot to do with the power potential of the PS3. The first came from Allegorithmic's President and Founder Sebastien Deguy, where he talked about his company's work with Sony's console, and just how much better the graphics will get. The second came from Crytek, and all their talk of the secret technologies they're currently using with the PS3 (it's great that Crytek is develping a game for the system, by the way; Crysis looks totally sweet). I don't think there's any doubt we'll see a great deal more - visually - from the PS3, but I'm beginning to wonder: just how much more "impressive" will the graphics be? And how quickly will it happen? If they start to outstrip the Xbox 360 as soon as 2008, perhaps both the price tag and Sony's original claims will be justified and validated. Check out how unbelievable Killzone 2 looked in that awesome debut trailer, for instance. And we should expect to see even better than that? It almost seems difficult to believe...
Hey, I think we've always expected the PS3 to have the most potential, but I was concerned developers wouldn't get even close to accessing that power for another few years. It appears some devs are stepping up to the plate a whole lot sooner.
...honestly, I'm not sure I want car damage in GT
On the one hand, I know it will add to the realism, which is exactly what I want. On the other hand, I don't like the idea of a simplified and stripped down damage model (like we find in Forza), because I actually think that takes away from the overall realism. So when Yamauchi said there'd be car damage in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, I immediately had mixed feelings about it. It's almost impossible to implement an entirely simulated damage model, and that's simply because it wouldn't appeal to anybody but the truly hardcore. Logically speaking, if you hit a wall - any wall, at just about any angle - at 100+mph, you won't be racing any more. And that's a relatively low speed in a game like GT, with players who hit walls at least once or twice per race...and those are good racers. Maybe it'd be best to have the option, or something, but I'm not sure I'd use it.
Yes, I play GT for the realism, but I also play it because it's fun. If I have to do repairs the instant I shift wrong, scrape a wall or opponent, or because my back end swung out too far in a power slide and smacked a corner, I'll be annoyed. That's all I'm saying. There's a fine line to walk between virtual simulated entertainment and virtual simulated frustration.
Bioshock lead designer hurts our hopes of a PS3 version
The game's lead designer was crystal clear in this interview, and it probably dashed the hopes of many a PS3 owner. However, bear in mind that this doesn't completely eliminate the possibility: if the game sells as well as I think it will, and Sony is willing to pay for it, there's really nothing stopping 2K from bringing the game to the PS3. Well, besides that pesky exclusive deal they signed with Microsoft. But then again, we've seen these "deals" go up in smoke before, primarily because money is always the deciding factor. If it appears to be a profitable move for all parties involved, I see no reason why Bioshock won't appear on the PS3 at some point. Still, that being said, I would strongly recommend that if you have the means, you should play it now. It's guaranteed to be a Game of the Year candidate, and I honestly believe that - even if it did go to the PS3 - the Xbox 360 version would remain the best.
It's for the same reason I tell people not to wait for Unreal Tournament 3 on the Xbox 360 next year, when you can play it exclusively on the PS3 this year. Clearly, Epic worked closely with Sony to optimize that game for the Cell, and while I'm sure it'll be great on the 360, I'm willing to bet it won't be any better. At best, it'll be identical...so why wait? Bioshock is in exactly the same boat, IMO. So hop to it, gamers.
Personal Gaming Update
You didn't think I'd be saying Bioshock is a GoY candidate without actually having played it, did you? Of course not. I'm a good 6 hours into the game, and it deserves every ounce of praise it receives. A perfect score is too high (there are some game glitches here and there, and I think the story is a touch convoluted), but a mid-9 is in the right ballpark, so far. Everything is just done so well, and it's biggest strengths are the incredible AI, balance, surprising depth, voice cast, collision detection (so often screwy in PC-like FPSs), and atmosphere/environment. A must-play for every gamer out there. I had hoped to finish it by the time Warhawk releases on Tuesday, but it doesn't seem like it'll happen...I think Bioshock is a good deal longer than I had anticipated, but I'm definitely not complaining.
I'll still get Warhawk on launch day, though, and as soon as Bioshock is done, it's time to head online. :) As for Heavenly Sword, that one's gonna have to wait a bit.
8/25/2007 Ben Dutka