Ben's Week In Review: August 8
Damn, some decent weather...finally. Actually feels like you can go outside without melting.
Not that I want to harp on this Activision thing, but...
I think we talked about it enough this past week; what with my editorial and the news that Activision would join the battle in combating pre-owned games. The latter turned into more of a dispute concerning the pre-owned industry itself - which I'm not about to touch - but there is one final element regarding the analysis of Activision that we should at least recognize. Being the world's biggest publisher of video games, they have their name attached to a ton of titles. It just so happens that their focus is indeed on blockbusters, so the sequels and continual entries in established franchises are always in the limelight. But this causes the new IPs published by Activision to fall by the wayside; a good example of this is Singularity, which has a darn good shot of becoming our Most Under-Appreciated Game of the Year, and other examples are DJ Hero, Blur, Prototype, etc.
One of the company's reps, Neil Wood, mentioned this when he contacted me after reading the editorial. Company policy says he can't post in our Comments section but he wanted to respond to some of your comments made to the article. It's a little late in the day now, but his reminder is worth mentioning. I'm not pro- or anti-Activision; I'm just trying to be as reasonable and fair as possible.
Me likey SC and PoP
Although I can't really say that this generation, Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia were two of my absolute favorite franchises in the PS2/Xbox generation. I still say the first Splinter Cell may have been the best game of 2002 and I've played every entry (except for the last one, Conviction, because I heard the single-player just wasn't worth the cost of admission). And yes, I played them all on Xbox because, let's face it, they were better than the PS2 versions. For me, I would always play SC for the really fluid, authentic gameplay and I'd play MGS for the story. As for the other series, The Sands of Time is still one of my favorite games and although I didn't really like Warrior Within much, The Two Thrones was a return to glory. I also enjoyed both PoPs from this generation. So to hear that trilogies for both SC and PoP might be coming is intriguing...I might just want them for my collection.
I have all the games that would be in those trilogies, though...hmm... Anyway, if you missed out on these gems from some time ago and these HD remake trilogies really do come out in November, I would strongly suggest you give 'em a shot. Great stuff.
Personal gaming update
So SMG2 is on permanent hold as I go through Alan Wake. I like it a lot; the story is cool, the acting is good (though not fantastic), and the writing in the actual manuscript pages is solid. It's really uber-creepy, which I wasn't entirely expecting. This is one game that will legitimately freak you out if you play it at like 1 a.m. with all the lights off. The concept is fairly unique, too, in that you must expose the enemy's "solidarity" with light before being able to use a firearm. Then there are some possessed things that can only be "exorcised" by light, either by your flashlight, flares, or flashbangs. Lastly, they did the right thing by focusing on the story and not the fighting; you actually play through episodes like it's a TV series, so when a new episode starts, it'll go, "Last time, on Alan Wake..."
I have a few small problems with it, and some of those are the technical misgivings and I'm sorry but it has to be said- they're technical missteps that I just don't see in PS3 exclusives these days. It really shows the 360's age. The game looks great but...well, I won't continue. It's just more evidence that the 360 has pretty much been tapped out.
Reviews to look out for: Madden NFL 11, NCAA Football 11, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, and Mafia II. Just a heads-up for about the next month or so. :)
8/7/2010 Ben Dutka