Ben's Week In Review: April 13
Another week, more big news regarding GTAIV and MGS4. Of course, we're still waiting on one more bit of news for MGS4 tomorrow (some sort of "very special surprise"), but there's already plenty to talk about outside of those two big titles.
Perception is everything
If you're old enough to remember the transition from the Atari, Colecovision and Intellivision to Nintendo in the mid-'80s, you'll know what I mean when I talk about graphical perception. Back then, when we saw Super Mario Bros. for the very first time, we thought to ourselves, "holy crap...games can't look any better than this!" After all, our perception and experience was related to the 2-bit world of Atari. 8 bits was 4 times what we were used to, and then they doubled the capacity again to 16 bits with the SNES and Genesis. The point is, it's difficult for us to imagine just how clear and realistic video games can get. This is why when I see Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, I have difficulty envisioning any sort of significant upgrade, and yet, Yamauchi says we can expect additional refinements when the final product arrives. I've seen parts of Prologue in full 1080p HD, and that's pretty damn impressive. ..what else can they do?
In another 10 or even 5 years, I'll know the answer to that. For now, I'm just anxiously awaiting the next phase in graphical upgrades, even though I'm certainly more interested in gameplay these days. And while we're on the subject of Prologue, you should definitely check out that GT-R Legend video; it's one of the sickest cars I've ever seen. How badly do I want that thing?!
Not so sure about Red Faction: Guerilla
As I was writing this preview, I began to realize I wasn't nearly as excited about the game as I thought I'd be. Thing is, I was - and still am - a big fan of the original Red Faction, and I'm just not sure I'll enjoy the new-look RF. While I certainly agree that we have too many FPSs already, I became used to this format with the first two entries in the series, and as of now, it'd be like suddenly making Half-Life a third-person action game. Well, perhaps it's not fair to compare HL and RF (I'll probably get angry e-mails for even suggesting it), but you get the point. I'd understand if the first two installments didn't turn out well, which would mean an overhaul might be appreciated and even necessary. But I think RF and RF2 were great, as did most critics. It's usually admirable when developers take it upon themselves to drastically alter the style of an established series, and in all honesty, this doesn't happen often enough. Even so, all that being being said, I'm simply not liking the idea of a third-person, open-world Red Faction. I just have a bad feeling this won't come out nearly as well...
I could say I have faith in Volition, and just leave it at that. Besides, I've been wrong before.
Personal gaming update
As much as I wanted to beat Lost Odyssey, I haven't been able to because the crappy fourth disc is scratched. Every time I try to make my way through the final area (Grand Staff), the game ends up freezing when going into battle or loading a new area. It's immensely frustrating, and if I can't finish, I'm gonna be pissed. I'm going to try again in just a few minutes here - I just need to get from one save point to another - and then I can turn my focus to Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds for a while. Of course, I have to be ready and waiting for Grand Theft Auto IV, which is guaranteed to take up a healthy chunk of my time, and I'm sure I'll want to play that one all the way through. I'm a huge fan of the series and I've done just about everything in each of the previous three GTAs, so I expect to be playing GTAIV for at least a few months. Therefore, Out of Bounds will be a pleasant distraction, and I really need to finish off Lost Odyssey. The most ironic part about this mess is that the fourth disc was the only disc packaged properly in the case! The other three were all stacked on top of one another and they were fine. Go figure.
4/12/2008 Ben Dutka