Ben's Week In Review: March 2
More good stuff to talk about this week, so let's get right to it.
Tim Schafer is da man
Arnold just did a preview for Brutal Legend, and I'm glad he did, because it's one game that sits high on my radar. Certain video game industry geniuses simply never get the recognition they deserve, while others somehow thrive given the appropriate foundation. For example, look at David Jaffe- he toiled in obscurity for a while, sure, but with the Twisted Metal franchise (only the good installments) and the unbelievable God of War series to his credit, he is now one of the foremost development authorities in the biz. Schafer should be viewed in the same light, and often is by avid fans of gaming, but the sales numbers almost never reflect the man's talent. Without any doubt, his titles have been excellent in the past; the most recent of which was Psychonauts. I'm not big into platformers, but someone convinced me to give it a try, and I loved that game to pieces. The level design was downright amazing; both The Milkman Conspiracy and Black Velvetopia might be two of the best-designed levels in game history (and let's not forget Waterloo!). Now, with the upcoming Brutal Legend, we're gonna get more Schafer originality and goodness.
As soon as I saw the trailer, the first thing I said to myself was, "yep, that's a Tim Schafer game." See? All the great ones leave their mark. And that's exactly the point...if only the mainstream gaming public would stand up and take notice. Turn Brutal Legend into a sales success, guys!
Quantic Dream preparing another gem?
We still haven't confirmed if the quote in this news article is actually referring to Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain, but even if it's not, I've been wondering... I remember Indigo Prophecy very well, and I remember being very impressed with the story. The only thing that was missing was an engaging gameplay mechanic, and for most titles, that would spell ultimate disaster. After all, gameplay is always the most important aspect of a game, right? Well, that's just how good the story was; even with a repetitive mechanic, IP remained a great title almost entirely because of the plot and atmosphere. Now, let's just say Quantic has refined the gameplay mechanic with Heavy Rain, and we have yet another wonderfully crafted storyline. Wouldn't that make for an automatic "AAA" title? Some say the adventure genre is dying - or even dead - but in many ways, these are the types of games that carry on the old-fashioned idea of exploration, story, puzzles, character development, and nothing more. If it's done correctly, such a project can become ingrained in our minds.
We cherish the memories we have with games, and nothing has the same impact as a story we recall with great clarity and fondness. Heavy Rain could provide yet another memorable story, but it might also be a video game masterpiece...
Personal gaming update
So I located a copy of Twisted Metal: Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition, but I haven't cracked the seal just yet. I'm almost 20 hours into Lost Odyssey now, and the game just keeps getting better with every passing minute. I'm a little disappointed that my latest character acquisition (Sarah) is basically the same character as my last acquisition (Ming). I can't really tell the difference between the two, and I hope that doesn't continue to happen for the rest of the game. I like characters with unique skills and abilities. But outside of that, I'm still loving the story, and the gameplay has improved with the addition of more characters in my party and my nifty new boat! It's progressing very much like the good ol' traditional RPGs of yesteryear, and that's exactly why I like it so much. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with the idea that I'm "stuck in the past," or that I "don't want games to advance." As far as I'm concerned, turn-based RPGs offer waaaaaay more diversity and variety than real-time RPGs in the first place, and a lot more can still be done. Just because the current trend is rooted entirely in real-time and open-endedness doesn't mean "old" formulas are suddenly bad.
Anyway, I've also remembered that my next purchase will just have to be Hot Shots: Out of Bounds later this month (provided it's not delayed again). I'm also considering Dark Sector, just 'cuz I might have to play the bloodiest game of the generation. Well, provided it's actually good. :)
3/1/2008 Ben Dutka