Ben's Week In Review: January 27
It was a pretty eventful week - which isn't something we normally see at the end of January in the video game industry - so let's not waste any time.
GTAIV date official: April 29
That's right, we finally have the new date! I say "new" just because the original release date was set at October 16, 2007, which wasn't accurate...obviously. However, we weren't lacking in the way of fantastic games in 2007 so it wasn't a crippling loss, and besides, I'll have more time to play it in April and May than I would've had in November and December. Being a huge fan of the franchise myself (GTAIII, GTA:VC and GTA:SA combine to be the best gaming experience of the last generation for me), I'm very happy to see the April 29 date. We all knew the game would show up eventually, but with an actual day selected, it just seems more tangible somehow. It seems more real. It's like, "hey...this thing is on the way! GTAIV is a go!" Now, I understand the environment plays a big role in a player's enjoyment of these games, which is why my favorite is Vice City. Like VH1 says, "I Love the '80s." It's also why I didn't identify quite as much with San Andreas, but still loved it.
With GTAIV, I'm not sure what to expect. I'm really not familiar with the Russian underground or anything, but remember: this is set in modern day like GTAIII; it's not a historical set piece like the previous two installments were. So maybe it won't matter so much. Either way, though, I'm totally stoked for it. :)
DMC4 demo rocks, plain and simple
The GTAIV release date announcement was good enough for me, but we got another treat when the Devil May Cry 4 demo popped up on the PlayStation Store this past week. Arnold handled the hands-on as you can see, and I downloaded it as well...man, that game is gonna kick some serious ass. The addition of the grapple adds an entirely new dimension to the combat mechanic, which we only glimpse with the sword and revolver. The camera isn't 100% fixed as it always was in the past, there's a bit more diversity in the environments, and the control is tighter than ever. The speed is also excellent; Nero seems to move faster than Dante, although I can't be entirely certain. My only real complaint centered on Nero's sprint, which automatically kicks in after running in one direction for a few seconds. I'm not really sure what it's purpose is, and if you were going to have a sprint option, why not just assign a button for sprint? I also think the average player might be able to seriously abuse the grapple feature, but I doubt it'll work so well on a Normal difficulty setting with tougher enemies.
Chances are, I'm going to have to struggle through this one just as I did with DMC3, but I'm hoping it won't be quite so brutal. I'm not the best when it comes to action games, so games like DMC3 and Ninja Gaiden are massive challenges for me. I find it more enjoyable when I don't always feel as if I'm trying to survive, which is why I love the God of War games. That being said, I'll definitely be getting Devil May Cry 4 as soon as it comes out.
Personal gaming update
Okay, Half-Life 2 just refuses to end. I must've put a good 20+ hours into this thing, and there doesn't appear to be any conclusion in sight. I played another few hours today, met those Strider things (which were very cool, by the way), but it's really starting to wear on me. I took time out to play and beat Beautiful Katamari, though, which was great. However, it didn't seem to be as good as its predecessor (We Love Katamari), and I know for a fact I was more frustrated more often. The camera just wasn't as good as it used to be, which proved to be very problematic, and unfortunately, the game was very short. I distinctly remember spending a good 10-15 hours with WLK, but Beautiful Katamari was done in barely 5 hours. It's a good thing the game was only $30, because I wouldn't be a happy camper if I had paid the standard price of $60 for this thing. Sure, Katamari is always a lot of fun and I'm glad I played it, but in many ways, I think it's a step back rather than forward. I also have no idea why Namco thought it would sell better on the Xbox 360 than on the PS2 or PS3, but whatever. That's just a mystery.
But HL2 should still be completed by the time I pick up DMC4 in a couple week's time, and there's really nothing else I desperately want. I should be getting Turok for review (which should be pretty good, and I don't have to pay for it) and Burnout Paradise is probably awesome, but I really don't crave either. Just DMC4 for now, thanks.
1/26/2008 Ben Dutka