Ben's Week In Review: September 21
All kinds of topics this past week worthy of attention, but as usual, I have to select only two. So...let's start with White Knight Chronicles. :)
Level 5's "Shocking Announcement" Is...
So Level 5 says we can expect some "shocking announcements" this week, and I'm going to tell you what one of them is: White Knight Chronicles will launch on January 31 in North America. The release date is set for December 25 in Japan, and with so many Japanese developers seeking to appeal more to a Western audience, they're going to speed up the process. This is why I expect to see WKC 4-6 weeks after it launches in Japan; Level 5 has admitted this is their biggest project to date, and they also know that Dragon Quest VIII and other recent titles sold relatively well in regions outside of Japan. So even though there's always an optimization process involved, I think we're well past the days of 6-12 months required for a developer to complete this process. Of course, there is one other possibility I thought of, and PS3 owners aren't going to like it: WKC could also be coming to the Xbox 360. From a business standpoint, it wouldn't be a terrible idea.
Then again, these announcements this week may have nothign whatsoever to do with WKC, and RPG fans in North America won't see it until summer of next year. I could be completely and entirely wrong, but I'm just going by recent history of news in the industry. Plus, I don't mind looking like an idiot; it's a common occurrence, so I'm used to it. ;)
Not sure I want Metal Gear Solid Existence
If it's a re-release of MGS4, that is. We heard about this new name when it popped up in the Japanese Trademark database, and it seems many believe it to be a special re-release of MGS4 like Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. ...but in all honesty, I don't really want that. As some of you know, I like to have a great game collection, which is only populated with the best of the best (or games I just deem uber-entertaining). Anyway, I really don't like being forced to upgrade all the time. This is a new phenomenon; I didn't have to deal with this in previous generations. I got Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox, then I had to trade it in to get Ninja Gaiden: Black. Then I had to get rid of that and get Ninja Gaiden Sigma on the PS3. I got Devil May Cry 3 then I had to get the Special Edition. I got MGS3 then I had to get Subsistence. It's not that I want Collectors or Special Editions for everything; all these re-releases mentioned here were - in some way - slightly better than the original release. And in the case of MGS3, significantly better. So will Existence be the same thing?
Look, MGS4 was amazing, so of course I'll want a re-release with a bunch of extra stuff. And yeah, it'll be half the price or something as these re-releases tend to be, but damnit...knock it off. This seems to be more about milking something great than giving the gamer something new. And really, I'm having less and less tolerance for remakes, re-releases, bonus content that requires a fee, etc, etc, etc. What happened to the days when you brought home a game, loved it, knew it was spectacular, and kept it in your collection for decades, knowing full well it was the one and only version?
Personal gaming update
So I picked up Yakuza 2 and I've been playing that the past couple of days. Much like the original, it's a damn good game, although I think this one has even more story (at least, in the beginning). The action is still just as fast and brutal as I remember it, and I've been encouraged by early positive reviews from places like IGN (8.5). I'll be reviewing the game myself, and that score seems about right so far; I just love the gritty atmosphere and the combat never seems to get boring. And yes, I still play DoAX2 in between, just because it's a relaxing diversion. I already have a few of the girls in the Venus, which essentially means they're naked...seriously, the amount of bouncing going on during volleyball matches is just plain comical. But if you're wondering, Yakuza 2 is certainly a more engrossing and complete game; I haven't lost my mind just yet.
Oh, and I'm officially in the Resistance 2 beta now, so I'm sure I'll be spending time with that next month. Can't wait! :)
9/20/2008 Ben Dutka