Ben's Week In Review: June 8
We got the biggest week of the year coming up - with the exception of the Grand Theft Auto IV launch at the end of April - so maybe we should start with that.
MGS4 Rumors Clarified
I still think it took too long, but the clarification from Kojima Productions finally arrived this past week. Thanks to a full explanation from Ryan Payton, assistant producer on Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, we now know the truth: Konami did in fact ask reviewers not to mention certain aspects of the game, but it's really nowhere near as underhanded as the media made it out to be. I can certainly understand Konami's interest in preserving the storyline for the fans, and I can also understand keeping particular details a secret just in case the press puts a hugely negative spin on them...which is what happened. I knew the cut-scenes wouldn't be 90 minutes long (Payton clarified that, too; he called it a "gross exaggeration"), and I also knew that what we'd get would be of the absolute highest quality. And best of all, now that we've got this whole mess out of the way, we can all look forward to the game. It comes out on Thursday, and we have no doubt whatsoever that it'll be one of the finest titles of this generation.
In fact, we're more than willing to bet it'll be one of the best games in history. I couldn't get into MGS or MGS2 when they first came out, for some strange reason, but after finishing and adoring every ounce of MGS3, I knew I had to go back and try again. And I still plan to; Arnold reminded me I had to pick up that Essential Collection, and I'm gonna do it. Can't be missing out on landmark achievements in this industry.
What exactly does "directionless" mean?
This is a question I have for Ubisoft, who recently called Sony's handheld "directionless.". I understand the basis of their overall argument, which is that if you do a direct comparison, the Nintendo DS does have a "direction;" a targeted audience and demographic. From what I could tell, Ubisoft was simply saying Sony wasn't doing enough to appeal to the casual gamer with the PSP, but I don't see that. Just because Sony isn't specifically targeting a particular group means the handheld is somehow lacking? ...whatever happened to just being a gaming device? Did the NES have a "direction?" Was it made for a certain type of gamers? No. It was just made for the gamer in general. Now, I can appreciate that this industry has changed a great deal in the past 20 years. And I can understand the fact that a product in an immensely competitive industry needs an established target audience in order to be successful, and in order for publishers to back it.
But at the very backbone of this industry is software: with the good software comes good hardware sales, and we're learning that. It helped that we had the hardware overhaul for the PSP last year, but it helps even more that games like God of War: Chains of Olympus and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII have already arrived. And as we see in Japan, Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G has put the PSP in the top sales position for the past month or so. It always has been, and always will be, about the games. Don't give me this "direction" stuff.
Personal gaming update
Well, yippee, I finally have all the characters in Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds, although I'm not overly impressed with the last one (Anya). It won't be much longer before all the events are done and I can put it away for now. It's one of those games I can always come back to for some fun, but I'll be moving on to finish up the last bit of Grand Theft Auto IV in an effort to prepare for MGS4. However, as Arnold is handling the review, I might do something unbelievably ridiculous... I kinda want a break from dramatic games like GTAIV, and in all honesty, I'm shifting into tennis mode for the summer (I'm a tennis player for those who don't know). This means I may actually pass on MGS4 - just for the time being - and get Top Spin 3 on June 23. Yeah, I know everyone's gonna be screaming at me, but please bear in mind that I most certainly will play MGS4. I'm just saying I might pass on it for a few weeks to take a break and play TS3. If the last two installments are any indication, it won't take me long to finish it, and then I'll be all set for MGS4.
Oh, and I'm bypassing Ninja Gaiden II for now. It's not getting the unbelievably high scores I thought it'd be getting, and like I just said, I want something a little simpler right now. :)
6/7/2008 Ben Dutka