Ben's Week In Review: October 7
The week's biggest news was the unveiling of that much-rumored 40GB PS3 for Europe, but...well, it's for Europe. I've got other things to talk about.
There aren't enough games like Folklore
Yes, we all know how insanely popular Halo 3 is, and perhaps that's one of the reasons why Folklore isn't doing so hot on the sales charts. But despite some mysteriously low reviews, Arnold and I both agree that this particular title is well worth a look. I wouldn't have scored it quite so high, personally (playing Keats felt far too much like retracing Ellen's steps rather than a separate story, and the camera isn't great), but it's still a unique game. And everyone always whines about how we never get original concepts, anymore! Here you go, something that embraces the art of a mystery by conveying a story in an appropriately spooky and effective atmosphere, combined with a beautiful artistic style and an excellent combat structure. But do gamers flock to it? No. They're too busy playing mindless games. And while I'm absolutely certain Halo 3 is fantastic, I'm sick of hearing people complain about not having something new, because it's these same people who ignore something like Folklore.
Granted, one could say they kinda copied the Blue Mage concept from Final Fantasy, but not really. It's a far deeper and more fleshed-out system, especially because it functions more like a puzzle (which Folk defeats this Folk?). Just give it a try, everyone. For the sake of the industry.
Yes, I WANT a sequel to either ICO or Shadow of the Colossus
Two of the best games on the PS2 - SotC remains one of my most memorable gaming experiences ever - and now, it seems Sony may have let something slip regarding another entry in the series. Calling it a "series" may be inaccurate, but Shadow certainly tied into ICO's storyline, so when that executive said he believes they're "making a sequel," it could be another very original title. We've been waiting to hear more about such a project for quite some time; one has to remember just how many fans those two games acquired. Again, following in the same vein as the previous topic, these were games that excelled in originality. They gave us something fresh and new. And in so doing, they gave us the opportunity to have singular interactive experiences, experiences that reminded us why we became gamers in the first place. I only wish Sony would stop hiding the obvious fact that they're doing something in the ICO or SotC realm, and just tell us what it is!
Personally, though, I wouldn't mind a direct sequel to Shadow. That game was so awesome, I just pine for more Colossi to discover and conquer, and it would be the perfect game for the PS3. Why? Downloadable content, of course! How sweet would it be to be able to acquire new Colossus downloads? :)
At least Epic is doing things the right way
Okay, so the PS3 version of Unreal Tournament 3 might be delayed. However, I very much like the way Epic is approaching the situation: they're being honest. Right from the start, they never once said the game would "definitely" arrive in November; this is why we never had a concrete release date. November 2007 was the goal, but they weren't sure they'd hit it, so they didn't issue a false release date just to net pre-orders. And when Midway got a little premature and announced the "official" delay for the game, Epic was very quick to clarify. The PC version is still on track, and they'll continue to work hard to hit their PS3 version release date goal. You know, being honest and forthright with the consumer isn't a difficult concept. And in the long run, it benefits everyone...nobody gains anything from assumptions, inaccurate predictions, and of course, flat-out lies.
And they also don't blame a zillion different reasons for why the game might be late. They're working hard on it. They want to produce the best game possible, as Epic's Mark Rein has said over and over. They don't want to deliver a sub-par product just to hit a release date. All of this makes sense, and as a gamer, I'd much rather wait a bit and get that spectacular FPS I know they're capable of producing. Really, this is the way all developers should approach any game's press and PR: forthright, up-front, and honest.
10/6/2007 Ben Dutka