Ben's Week In Review: June 15
First of all, Happy Father's Day to all you daddies out there. :) Now, onto the big subject at hand...and it just so happens to be related to Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Not exactly a surprise, is it?
Okaaaay, so I should probably play MGS4
Before I get lambasted for being Editor-in-Chief of a Sony-oriented website and not owning Metal Gear Solid 4, let me just say in my defense that we do have our review up; Arnold took care of it, as you can see. We made a deal earlier in the year that I would do Grand Theft Auto IV and he'd do Kojima's masterpiece, so I got a bit of a break this week to handle other things. Now, I will play MGS4, but I've been very busy and in all honesty, I really want to play Top Spin 3. I mentioned it last week, but now I'm wondering if I can even do that in good conscience... Obviously, MGS4 is wonderful, and waiting for the sake of something like TS3 seems downright absurd. I'm sure it seems absurd to most readers out there. However, GTAIV was indeed a ridiculous amount of fun, but it was also long and involving. MGS4 is another long and involving game, and I kinda wanted something on the lighter side. Besides, the warm weather is here and I've started playing tennis again, so it's a perfect time to pick up a tennis game for me.
All that being said, I'm not sure I should be without MGS4 for even one day longer. Even if I don't play it immediately, every self-respecting hardcore gamer should have this in their collection. Besides, I'm always yelling about how we need better writing in video games, so why should I put aside the one game so far that probably has the best writing yet? Yeeeaaaaah, I dunno what to do...
Afrika...who does it appeal to?
We found out all the pertinent information on Afrika this past week, and while I usually like original concepts, I'm not entirely sure what audience Sony is targeting. On the surface, it seems to be little more than a graphical showcase for the PlayStation 3's significant visual capability, and that's fine. Furthermore, I do like the original idea of playing the role of a real-life photographer out in the field; I've always thought it would be a fascinating career. On the other hand, I'm wondering if that concept alone is enough to make for a truly involving video game. This is an interactive hobby, after all, and when all we're doing is snapping photographs, I'm wondering what's going to keep us coming back for more. The idea that some dangerous predators might attack if you get too close certainly adds a degree of intensity and anxiety, but even then... With games like GTAIV and MGS4 already out and helping to redefine how we look at video games, I applaud Afrika's originality. But I must also question the overall appeal.
I just hope it's worthy of our time and money, because new stuff like this can feasibly open the door for future projects that take the next step.
Looky! EA wants us back!
So EA is making a bold statement by only allowing the PS3 and PSP versions to be playable at their upcoming 20th anniversary Madden event. This is an obvious nod to Sony platform owners and it's clearly an effort to win us back after last year's travesty. You all remember the PS3 version of Madden NFL 08 running at a paltry 30 frames per second while the competing Xbox 360 version ran at 60 frames per second. And that was hardly the only example of EA's failing when it came to Sony's next-gen console in 2008, and bitter gamers have made it plain they're not too happy with the world's biggest game publisher. You'd figure EA couldn't afford to lose the trust of such a large group of gamers, so perhaps it's no surprise to see this move. However, it's still good to see, and we have to assume that this year's Madden can't possibly suffer from the same drawbacks as last year's, right? I mean, making your 20th anniversary celebration exclusive to inferior versions of your game is just impossible to imagine.
At the same time, actions speak louder than words, and we have yet to see EA fully embrace the PS3 and give us a top-quality product. And I'm talking about games they develop; not games they just publish. ...like GTA in the future.
6/14/2008 Ben Dutka