Game Franchises You Will Always Play
Obviously, there's no such thing as the long-running flawless video game franchise (typically, there are one or two stinkers even in the most revered franchises), but for some, certain names have an immediate impact on a player. And the impact I'm talking about is the "yep, if that name is on the box, I'm buying it" impact.
Over time, the "must-buy" franchise tends to dissipate because something could happen: maybe the aforementioned stinker comes out, or maybe the series simply takes a turn for the worse. For example, despite the early days, Arnold sobbed uncontrollably for months when he learned that the great blue streak might never reclaim his former glory. No, seriously. Sobbing. He almost had to go to a mental ward for a while (;), Arnold). Anyway, this type of thing can happen. But are there still franchises out there that make you rush to the store whenever a new installment arrives, regardless of what any friend or critic has to say? Back when I was a lot less diverse and really only cared about RPGs, I would've said I'd always play anything with Final Fantasy, Suikoden, Wild ARMs, Lunar, and Star Ocean in the title. Then, we got stuff like Suikoden IV in the PS2 era, they didn't make any more Lunars, and Wild ARMs just went downhill on the PS2. But FF...
Now, I'm not talking about spin-offs like Chocobo Dungeon or Crystal Chronicles; I'm talking about the actual entries in the main franchise. This means I absolutely would get Final Fantasy XIII with no questions asked. Final Fantasy Versus XIII, on the other hand...I might have to do a little research first. So I'm going to count FF as one franchise that I will always reward with my hard-earned money. Another franchise that gets this kind of automatic attention from me is Gran Turismo. Actually, it's one of the very few franchises that have never suffered from a merely average installment; they all kicked ass and redefined the simulation driving genre as we know it. GT5 will do the same thing, I'm sure, so there's no question there, either. As for Grand Theft Auto, I'm going to count that one because I've adored every single one from GTAIII on, and I will buy GTA5. Again, no questions asked. But I have to point out I never played a GTA before GTAIII. Lastly, I'm going to include God of War. Any game with that name on the box, and I'm definitely buying it.
In the future, I'd like to say I'll buy anything with Metal Gear, Gears of War and Resistance in the title, although I can't say that with 100% accuracy right now. Thing is, I wasn't into MGS back in the PS1 days (never even played MGS2), and both Gears and Resistance are a little too new. I will say that MGS3 and MGS4 were so incredible that there's a 99.99% chance I will buy any new game with Metal Gear in the title. Besides this, there's not much else out there...I almost always have to see the reviews first. Devil May Cry is a fantastic franchise and I'm really looking forward to DMC5, but remember DMC2...? RE5 will rule just like RE4 did, but I wasn't so enamored with RE3... I've played every Onimusha, so I might be very willing to buy another entry if Capcom decided to do one, but it wouldn't be crazy high on my priority list. I'd like to put Uncharted on the "no questions asked" list at some point, but again, it's too early, and the last possibility is Prince of Persia. I've played them all from Sands of Time on, and I've really loved them all, buuut...you never know.
So that's mine. What about yours?
1/30/2009 Ben Dutka