Ben's Week In Review: December 13
It has been a nightmarish week due to a family emergency that is now - blessedly - over. It has all turned out well and things are back to normal but let's just say it was a week I'd rather forget, so we'll move on to happy holiday stuff. :)
I don't know what to do with you, Famitsu...
So you give Nintendogs and Bayonetta a perfect 40/40 and Final Fantasy XIII a 39/40, according to the leaked review. But while this is the first fact that leaps out at me, I must quickly dismiss it: as both Arnold and I have told you, it's really not fair to compare review scores between titles in two entirely different genres. This is why we're always trying to tell you that an 8.9 for Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time shouldn't be compared to the 8.9 Modern Warfare 2 received. Therefore, it'd be hypocritical for me to complain about FFXIII's score in comparison to Nintendogs (another reason you can't do that is the gap in release time). However, you know what I never knew (and you can laugh if you like)? That the "40" point total actually comes from four different reviewers. I'm not familiar with the magazine and I just thought that was some bizarre Japanese scoring scale. But it's not; it's four normal 10-point reviews.
And that's something I think we all need to remember when looking at Famitsu. What do we really have in that FFXIII review? Three perfect scores and a 9 out of 10. This is similar to having IGN, GameSpot and Game Informer all hand out 10s, and we give a 9. If you look at it this way, shouldn't we all be extraordinarily enthusiastic about this? ...then again, I'd be interested to know how much collaboration is going on between those four reviewers; as far as I'm concerned, there should be none. They shouldn't even talk to each other until the review is published, you know? But I can't tell about that.
PlayStation 3 closing 2009 with a major surge
Okay, let's see if we can recap just a bit: despite sales that still aren't high enough, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves just won Game of the Year at the 2009 Spike TV Video Game Awards, and it also won Best Graphics and Best PS3 Game. This is a PS3 exclusive that is destined for many more awards before the year is out. Then you've got the November NPD results, which is proof of the PS3's upward surge; an 88% year-over-year growth in comparison to the mostly stagnant Xbox 360 and the huge 38% decline the Wii suffered (despite still selling over a million consoles during the month). Finally, the PS3 topped Metacritic's first annual Platform Power Rankings. Oh, and let's not forget that God of War III, yet another PS3 exclusive, won Most Anticipated Game at the VGAs, too, so... What are we looking at here? What some loyalists considered inevitable? The final push to eclipse the 360, even if the Wii is too far in front to ever be caught? Well, maybe.
In all honesty, I was not one of those people who believed the PS3 would experience such a drastic turnaround so soon. I did think the system would rise, of course, but 2009 has only proved that I underestimated Sony. Well, after handling the news for a mostly abysmal 2007, can you really blame me for being skeptical? But man, things have turned around...
Personal gaming update
Assassin's Creed II is complete. Altair's armor is awesome, I found all the Treasures and Glyphs, completed all the missions, scaled all the View Points, built my villa up to maxiumum, and bought everything there is to be bought. The only thing I didn't do was find all 100 feathers; I just didn't have the patience for that, but I loved the game and I especially like Ezio's final look. That beard coupled with Altair's gorgeous armor makes Ezio appear to be the total bad-ass he really is. Oh, and ACII even beat out Uncharted 2 for Best Action/Adventure Game at the VGAs. I don't necessarily agree with that, but U2 took home three other big awards (including the biggest), and I did want ACII to receive some recognition. It's just too good to be ignored. Now that I'm done, I will return to Dragon Age: Origins, which just so happened to win Best RPG of the Year.
But before I do, I have to admit I'm 20 hours into a new game of FFT. It just had to be done. I hadn't played it all year up until now and even after 11 years and oh...I'd say a good 500-600 hours of play, it just never gets old and every now and then, I have the irresistible urge to play. I'm hoping I can get my fill and get back to Origins to beat it before Christmas comes around because if not, whatever I get as gifts might take precedence. And I so want to beat that RPG! Well, anyway, gaming is looking good for the next 4-6 months, isn't it? :)
12/12/2009 Ben Dutka