Ben's Week In Review: November 8
So sue me if I care far more about Assassin's Creed II than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 this month. I love FPSs and I'll play both, but one I just really wanna play now.
Could March be the month to end all months?
We've seen some big years and some big months in the past but the way it's shaping up right now, March 2010 might end up being one of the most amazing 30-day stretches in the industry's history. Of course, we still need final release dates on several mammoth titles and the big key will be if our prediction proves true, and Final Fantasy XIII does manage to launch in the US before the first quarter is over. If that happens, we know it'll have to compete with God of War III, which certainly has a March 2010 date and just between these two games, you're looking at the single most anticipated action title and the single most anticipated RPG of the generation. That's gigantic in and of itself. But if you toss in the most anticipated racer - Gran Turismo 5 - you've got the most unbelievable month ever.
Of course, FFXIII is still up in the air and while GT5 has a March date for Japan, that hasn't been confirmed for North America. Sony has said it'll arrive "not much later" than the Japanese launch, but that could mean April or May. However, I'm just sitting here wondering what that could be like...to have all three show up at about the same time. Good GOD.
Hey, where'd The Last Guardian go?
There was a time, not too long ago, when one of the single biggest rumors concerned whatever Team ICO's new PS3-exclusive project was but now, it has really fallen off the radar. Maybe it's just because everyone is focusing on the huge titles on the immediate horizon and there's really no knowing when The Last Guardian will finally arrive, but even so... You know, people really do know who Fumito Ueda is; the guy who has been responsible for previous Team ICO gems that don't require a mention here (you know what they are). I was very impressed when I heard Quantic Dream's David Cage name Ueda as "the most interesting author" in the industry today. And while Cage's Heavy Rain will undoubtedly be more story-driven, it's the entire artistic and creative appeal of Ueda's games that make them so memorable. And I'm really pining for some new Guardian info some time soon; perhaps once the Modern Warfare 2 craze has died down a bit, or something.
I'd throw this one into a downright crazy March if I thought the game would be ready that early, but there's really no evidence of that happening.
Personal gaming update
You know, I was really starting to wonder if my RPG days were behind me. Back in college, I almost exclusively played RPGs (man, wasn't the PS1 awesome?) and it didn't change much with the PS2, although I did expand my interests to most all other genres. But ever since pumping 120 hours into Final Fantasy XII and doing everything there was to do - with my old completionist mentality - I haven't done that since. I think the only RPG I completed was Lost Odyssey, and that's it. Demon's Souls was excellent but it just wasn't for me, I no longer have the time or motivation for a lot of those niche JRPG/strategy titles I used to love, and so...I wondered, had I just lost my love of the genre? Well, after 18 hours of Dragon Age: Origins since Tuesday night, I can honestly say that love hasn't disappeared; it was only hibernating for a while. I guess I just need a role-playing adventure that grabs me like this one.
Obviously, I'm quick to realize just how very, very similar Origins is to FFXII. In fact, I could almost say it really is FFXII in a Dungeons & Dragons setting. The combat is basically identical - real-time with the ability to pause and select from menus - and even the Tactics are identical to FFXII's Gambit system. Heck, running around and exploring feels very similar, too, as the areas are large and open and the cities and towns are scattered throughout. But anyway, I love it, and I have to repeat that anything you heard about the console versions being "too easy" isn't true; this game poses a definite and constant challenge on either the PS3 or 360. And I've tested the PC version, too; I'm not seeing how it's any different at all.
So yeah, I'm all about Origins right now and it proves once again that I will be all over FFXIII when it arrives, too. My RPG appreciation isn't gone! Yay! :)
11/7/2009 Ben Dutka