: Ben's Week In Review: February 23

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Ben's Week In Review: February 23

GDC 2008 wasn't huge from Sony's standpoint, but we did get plenty of cool news (check it all out!). I'm gonna focus on other stuff for the sake of freshness, though.

Gee, Chains of Olympus is awesome...big surprise

As if we should've expected anything different. You know, it seems pretty obvious that the PSP is in line for some fantastic titles, and they've already got more than a few. For example, only recently have we seen the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (it's akin to video game crack for me), Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops+, Patapon, and now, the unbelievable God of War: Chains of Olympus arrives on our doorstep. Furthermore, what with the PlayStation Store soon becoming a mobile reality, what better reason to become a PSP owner? Like, right now? Anyway, getting back to the subject at hand, does anybody else find it incredible that every single God of War entry has been nigh-on flawless? We've had three now, and each one has been an easy Game of the Year contender. How come other franchises can't do this? Honestly, when's the last time the first three entries in a series were all so amazing?

I think it just proves what great talent and great motivation can do for you. Sure, David Jaffe wasn't part of the PSP production, but clearly, Ready at Dawn was up to the task. And I absolutely cannot wait until I'm playing God of War III for the PS3...it will be a blissful moment.

Final Fantasy XIII not until 2010? Unlikely

This rumor started thanks to a Japanese stock news site (Trader's Web), where it was suggested that FFXIII might not arrive until 2010. However, there is absolutely no evidence to support this theory right now, and Square-Enix has apparently been making good strides with the White Engine. This is a giant title for the publisher, and when we see media that's clearly polished, it usually means the team is deep into development. Granted, we can't rule out any possible delays, but at no point has this game been delayed. Nobody believed it would actually drop last year - despite a few hopeful star-gazers - and Square-Enix has never actually offered an estimated launch date. In fact, the latest evidence from the publisher's camp actually hints at a 2008 release, and it's something S-E is definitely shooting for. And even if it doesn't quite make it out this year, to actually predict it won't be released in 2009 is both premature and baseless. Unfortunately, just because it's a big-name title, it's easy to blow these things out of proportion, and I'm tired of it.

Whenever Final Fantasy XIII arrives, it will be a guaranteed must-own, no matter what. I'm convinced of that much. I'm also convinced that, based on what I've seen of the game so far, 2010 is an unrealistic target. Let's just leave it at that for now.

Personal gaming update

I must say, Lost Odyssey is really turning out to be a fantastic RPG. I said last week I really enjoyed the writing - its quality is rarely found in video games - and the story is shaping up nicely as well. I'm having a great deal of fun with the gameplay, too, especially now that I've gotten more party members and started to toy around with the front row-back row strategy. There's only one issue, and it seems to pop up in every traditional turn-based RPG I've played in the past decade...I hate to say it, but it's the cheat factor. It's bound to happen, but the unlikely occurs far too often for my tastes. For example, when an enemy is close to death and only a critical hit will end your chances, here comes that critical hit. Furthermore, only recently have I felt as if the enemies didn't have the automatic advantage in battle; how come so many of them are faster than all my characters? There's no doubt that Lost Odyssey is a challenging game, and I'm loving the story and gameplay (for the most part), but there is a dose of cheapness involved.

Anyway, I'm on to Disc 2 after over 12 hours of play, and with 4 discs, I think this will take a good long time to finish. And I'm perfectly fine with that. Next up just might have to be Chains of Olympus, or I might be able to find a copy of Twisted Metal: Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition for the PS2. Can't wait for that one!

2/22/2008 Ben Dutka

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