Ben's Week In Review: May 23
It has been a supremely busy week so tomorrow I'm going to do next to nothing until I have to do news at night.
Westerns suck...but Red Dead Redemption doesn't
And you know, the gaming public has definitely responded. They estimate that over a half-million copies have been sold in the first few days of availability and after analyzing the game, it's easy to understand why. However, I think it proves just how important immersion is in games of this nature; i.e., wide open, freedom-oriented. Thing is, RDR is absolutely GTAIV in the Old West so there's no reason whatsoever for a person to hate one and love the other...besides the very different settings. When it comes to interacting with an expansive, vibrant world, designed entirely to suck us in from the get-go, we have to like where we are. And I've found that although I don't like Western movies, I most certainly like playing a Western movie. And that's crucial. No matter how good San Andreas was, I didn't like it anywhere near as much as Vice City. It's ridiculous to say the latter was superior; just about everything was better in San Andreas in terms of "reviewable" facets. But hey, it's about...absorption.
This is what's going to keep me playing RDR for a very long time, and it further proves that games and movies are vastly different. The interaction has completely changed the idea of a Western for me.
Maybe Square-Enix SHOULD try new stuff...but then again...
So the company wants to maybe try their hand at some "new IPs" in the near future, so as to bolster their current stable of franchise titles. Back in the original PlayStation days, they were able to give us stuff like Vagrant Story, Xenogears, Threads of Fate, Parasite Eve and even Einhander. Now, I have no illusions of returning to the glory days of Squaresoft but after S-E disappointed a lot of long-time Final Fantasy fans, maybe it is a good idea to try something fresh. Maybe they can introduce the next big role-playing series. The more I hear about Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the more I'm starting to think it's not the answer (just more real-time, RPG-lite stuff, it seems), so maybe an epic new approach will be welcome. Of course, they still won't cater to their long-time fans; they seem determined not to do that, but maybe an answer to something like Dragon Age: Origins. Wouldn't that be interesting?
On the other hand, they have tried new IPs in the past and they didn't exactly impress critics or heat up the sales charts. This is why they've been sticking with so many established IPs (obviously), and maybe it's best they continue to do this. I don't know. All I know is that while FFXIII was indeed a great achievement, I will probably never play it again and FFVII will always be played.
Personal gaming update
So it's going to be all about Red Dead Redemption but I'm actually going to start over and play it the way I play most RPGs I love. I sort of had to rush along the story and miss a lot of side missions and other optional stuff to do the review, and I hate that. So I really want to dive in and start fresh, which I can't wait to do. But because I also hate to have so many incomplete games on my plate at once, I'm going to finish Nier, 3D Dot Game Heroes and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands first. I just finished reviewing the latter and while I don't recommend it as an automatic purchase, I've always loved the Prince games and I like it, so I'll finish it. I'm close to the end of Nier and I doubt 3D Dot Game Heroes can take very long. And oh yeah, I'm wearing an RDR t-shirt now. ;)
I've also played ModNation Racers (Arnold will give you the review soon but Sony also sent me a copy), and it's about what you'd expect. I think it's great; so much customization and freedom. You can really lose yourself in that one; I promise. But it's not really my thing, so onwards. But there's little rest for the weary as Backbreaker, Alpha Protocol and Naughty Bear should be coming my way in the next few weeks.
5/22/2010 Ben Dutka