Ben's Week In Review: January 10
'looks around' Why does it feel like I'm looking down the October/November barrel? What is with all these games coming out in January, February and March?!
This past week's Bayonetta/Darksiders conundrum
Okay, so I've played both now and although I only just started Bayonetta, I feel I can make some accurate comments about both games. I read Arnold's review for Darksiders and a friend brought his copy over today; I played through the introductory portion and watched about an hour's worth of his saved game (he's about 11 hours in). It's quite fun and the mechanics are solid, even though it certainly isn't the prettiest title I've ever seen. I really like the whole atmosphere; it's just so dark and gritty...it's kinda like the style of Gears superimposed over the format for God of War, you know? Worth playing, IMO. But then I opened up Bayonetta and here's where I'll toss in a quick side note-
Arnold has the PS3 version of Bayonetta and I have the Xbox 360 version. Because these two versions are reportedly very different from one another, we'll want to give you a comparison review. So that's coming.
I won't give away too much before the review goes up but I just really love the over-the-top cheesiness of the game. Those who frown upon it just don't get it; the entire purpose of this game is to feature a female character that may as well be half-witch, half-stripper. It's why she sucks on little lollipops, spanks her enemies, and has numerous abilities that often leave her curvaceous form quite exposed. It's silly and absurd and maxed out in the "cheese department." But that's the point. It never once takes itself seriously but the gameplay...that's some serious sh**. Just unbelievable. Stay tuned.
FFXIII might really BE the end of an era 'sob'
I almost wanted to cry when I wrote the article in question; Square-Enix has clearly hinted at a drastically new direction for their flagship role-playing franchise. Obviously, they feel they need to innovate and progress in order to keep pace with Western developers and the general advancement of the industry. But do they really think it means nothing when half the damn PS3 population in Japan buys FFXIII? Do they really think the fans suddenly want a "new direction?" Granted, one could point towards FFXII and say that represented a definite removal from the norm but in my eyes, it was still distinctly "Final Fantasy." I think Square-Enix is inferring something else; I think they're going to try to force the series into a WRPG or action/RPG mold so as to somehow appeal to the twitch gamers who can't tear themselves away from titles that require constant button presses and no attention whatsoever.
I can't even begin to tell you how annoyed I will be if this happens. Hell, if it does, I'll go back and play every real FF from IV on through XII again. Oh yes, I will.
Personal gaming update
Halo 3: ODST annoyed me so I haven't gone back to it yet, but I believe I'm somewhere near the end. I started Resident Evil 5 and I know a lot of you have been wondering what I think of it, especially after we scored it a little lower than other sources. Well, I'm on Chapter 3-1 and while I like it - I like every RE, really - they really needed to abandon the tank controls for this one. See, it was okay in previous installments for two reasons: 1. the enemies were nowhere near as fast as they are in RE5, and 2. with the exception of RE4, they all presented us with a true third-person camera view, in that you could see your character and all of the screen. Plus, there were screens; i.e., separate sections that could only hold so many enemies. In RE5, the very speed and scope of the game is just begging me to move while shooting...sadly, it doesn't work as well in this format.
But it's still fun and I'm sure I'll finish it. The AI is good; Sheva isn't irritating me and she's an effective companion. Perhaps the best co-op tandem except for Elika and Prince in Prince of Persia. And yes, as you've already seen, I've started Bayonetta, which is just...plain...cool. I'm never playing without a smile on my face. ;)
1/9/2010 Ben Dutka