Ben's Week In Review: March 14
Crazy stormy night and the clocks go ahead, too... I almost prefer the clock going back these days.
Yes, please do bring back the RPG feel
It's bound to be a topic that rages long and burns brightly amongst the role-playing aficionados. While Final Fantasy XIII remains a fantastic game, I maintain that it simply doesn't feel like a Final Fantasy title or, for that matter, an RPG. Those who have read that review know my thoughts on the matter and I will always stand by them. I still love the game, but man, I really am looking forward to the time when Square-Enix brings back those missing elements. They keep saying they simply didn't have the time to produce high-definition towns, and this lack of time (and a lack of knowledge in regards to PS3 development) resulted in a loss of many recognizable features. However, they say that now they've worked past the initial difficulties, those towns we all miss will indeed return at some point in the future. Now, I wouldn't be so convinced of this claim if FFXIII didn't clearly show a significant drop in review scores when compared to the rest of the franchise. I think the critical average is around 8.3 or something like that, which is a good full point lower than we've come to expect.
Like I said in the review, if FFXIII didn't hold the "Final Fantasy" name, it'd be a whole different story. But the question is, are they willing to return to what some will now call the "older" style? They left turn-based behind; maybe they'll leave towns and world maps and other things behind, too. That's what I'm worried about...just gimme back FF, damnit. That's all.
You just gotta love Prince of Persia
With the possible exception of Warrior Within, this is one of the most critically acclaimed franchises of the past seven or eight years. So while we've already moved past a few of the biggest releases of 2010, I really think you should pay close attention to The Forgotten Sands. It may be different than the latest PoP but we're talking about a return to the Sands of Time style, and that remains my favorite entry in the series. That video is fantastic in my eyes; it may not represent a visual leap forward, but it's guaranteed to be highly polished and a ton of fun to play. I've often wondered why these games were never the blockbusters I expected them to be...I keep thinking it's because the game involves a combination of action/adventure elements that might throw the uninitiated. People want to stick to what they know. But the good news is, the new Prince won't have to battle FFXIII or GoWIII or something like that, so I'm hoping for a warm gamer reception.
Personal gaming update
Right now, it's all about FFXIII. I'll finish it before I start GoWIII, and that's saying something. I'm still not the biggest fan of that very automated combat system, but the story keeps getting better, and in general, the production is just amazingly refined. Anybody who appreciates design and development effort will appreciate at least some parts of FFXIII, and I also imagine it'll bring in some new fans, too. It's nothing like past installments and it manages to cater to that twitch-gamer crowd, too. In that way, I suppose we have to say it's a pretty damn good accomplishment...even though the long-time followers are going, "uh...what about us? Doesn't our loyalty count for anything?" But perhaps the best way to bypass that war is just to admit that FFXIII is indeed a great game, and that's that.
Obviously, Kratos is up next and after that, I don't think I'll be getting anything new until Red Dead Redemption and The Forgotten Sands in May. Then there appears to be a bit of a break...maybe up until Gran Turismo 5 at the end of the year. But who knows? Maybe that "massive sequel" will shed new light on the issue of upcoming releases...
3/13/2010 Ben Dutka