Ben's Week In Review: August 24
I didn't need to search high and low for topics to talk about this week; two recent topics hit pretty close to home for me.
Yep, developers can be fanboys, too
Many gamers out there believe developers are both gamers and businessmen, but they're certainly old enough to have outgrown the fanboy phase. Hell, it would have to happen almost by default if you wish to be successful in this industry. You can't just keep siding with the same platform over and over and expect big profits; that's just bad business, no matter which way you slice it. It's completely illogical. However, Valve seems to be attempting to struggle along with the same archaic outlook: "PC gaming is the best; Sony sucks." Yeah, great. Apparently, it's still 1998. Valve is in an effing time warp and doesn't feel like acknowledging the very obvious fact that PC gaming isn't what it once was, and that if they continue to ignore the PS3, they're limiting their growth potential. The only reason they refuse to pay any respect to Sony's machine has nothing whatsoever to do with business, but everything with adolescent fanboy bias. It's mind-boggling.
Furthermore, I think they expect us to be impressed when they recycle yet another tired old formula. I was never all that enamored with Half-Life 2, and in many ways, I think most console games easily eclipse even the best PC titles in a number of different categories. And lastly, every time I hear Valve slip another jab at the PS3 - yeah, it wasn't "in the race" before - all I can think is that they don't have the talent to handle the system, and they can only work with archaic PC technology and relatively simple 360 hardware. It just sounds like a bunch of whiners, pissed that it really isn't the '90s anymore, and trying to prove the lie that PC gaming is somehow just as strong as it was. Give it a rest, Valve. And please, do us all a favor and grow the fu** up.
Let's properly understand Heavy Rain
Here's an interesting comparison for you guys- those who didn't really see anything but the gameplay trailer, and choose to kinda ignore the gameplay details, really aren't too happy with what Quantic Dream showed at the Leipzig Games Convention. But ask any games journalist who was actually there, and he will invariably say the unveiling is awesome. Why? Because I think there's a lot that got lost in the translation - no, not literally - insofar that the majority of the gaming public focused on the questionable. "No cars, guns, puzzles, or enemies?" That's something that got tossed around the Internet like mad, and furthermore, everyone is harping on the one gameplay sequence found in the video. Yeah, it does indeed remind us all of the simplified mechanic found in Quantic's past titles like Indigo Prophecy, and yes, I too am worried that it will fail to deliver in this generation. But here's something I also remember from IP: an unbelievably good story and an atmosphere that was almost second-to-none.
See, that's what I'm looking for from Heavy Rain. When I read about the added gameplay info, it didn't really have much of an impact on me because I knew storyline and atmosphere would be paramount. I want a whole new experience; not so much in how my fingers touch the controller, but how my brain processes what's on the screen. I want a deep, involving plot that makes me think, and when I do move, there's a sense of authentic creepiness that makes me reluctant to even turn a corner. "Am I making the right decision?" I want that to be a recurring question, and I think I'm going to get all this from Heavy Rain.
Personal gaming update
Yeah, it's all about MGS4 now. But I'm trying to savor this bad boy as best I can, so I spent three and a half hours going through the first chapter. I just entered the second and I'm in the jungle now - finally, some true-blue stealth stuff - and I'm enjoying myself immensely, as expected. I have just seen the emergence of Liquid Snake and Naomi, and the first reference to Mei Ling. Oh, and that was Vamp out there at the start of the chapter, and I can't wait to beat the snot out of that guy...he always irritated me before. The story is starting to heat up and I'm sure it's going to be fantastic - any bets on which game gets Best Story in 2008? - which is the reason why I'm playing this game in the first place. When it's done, I figure Infinite Undiscovery will be out by then; it's scheduled for a September 1 release, and I doubt I'll have MGS4 done in a week. After that, I guess it's all about Resistance 2 and Gears of War 2 before the end of the year, although I will have to check out LittleBigPlanet.
By the way, if anybody drops any MGS4 spoilers into the comments, you will be INSTA-BANNED. LOL ;)
8/23/2008 Ben Dutka