Ben's Week In Review: March 20
FYI, I've sort of been on vacation since Thursday but I have managed to keep the site updated almost as normal. No previews or reviews for the past few days; you'll forgive me for that, I hope. I'll be back tomorrow night and hit it hard once again. See a brief update of what's to come below.
Length...it's a touchy issue these days
When Rocksteady said it would take 25-30 hours to do "everything" in the upcoming Batman: Arkham City, my immediate reaction was, "woah...that's pretty damn good." An instant later, I flashed back to the '90s and my RPG days and went, "...wait a minute, aren't you the same person that didn't want any game to last less than 40 hours?" Granted, I played RPGs almost exclusively in those days and in truth, action/adventure games are not that much shorter this generation. However, with the length of shooters leading the multiplayer charge, we're starting to become more and more familiar with 5, 6, 7-hour campaigns. And those who almost exclusively go online for multiplayer (a similar practice to my RPG-loving days) will say the campaign length is irrelevant. Plus, RPG fans will point to The Elder Scrolls and Fallout and go, "hey...lots of hours! Don't complain!"
But there has to be something to my reaction to the Arkham City revelation. I think we are getting used to shorter games, slowly but surely, and we are more accepting of shorter adventures. But then again, 10 hours in Uncharted 3...5 times longer than a movie and some of the most fun you'll ever have. I can't really see myself complaining. What's your take on the length issue?
P.S. The reason there's a SaGa Frontier picture here is because I think I'm the only person I know who actually completed the entire game; i.e., all stories for all characters. I think it took about 120 hours. Anybody do it?
How will girl gamers establish themselves?
Okay, so another girl has had another apparent revelation. And while I don't necessarily doubt her complaints nor do I have anything against her public rant, I'm just wondering if female gamers are still seeking a particular voice in gaming. Let's face up to facts- the vast majority of interactive adventures typically don't include features, settings, and concepts that would be considered appealing to women. That's not a sexist comment; it's just an observation based on historic fact. As some form of violence - on whatever level - is usually a mainstay, that is hardly conducive to thoughts of female entertainment. In other words, the standard Lifetime flick is nothing like your standard video game. Yes, stereotypes play a role and while the girls battle that - as all of us battled the general gamer stereotype for many years - I wonder if they realize that they're facing a steeper climb.
The most popular video games every year most often include, for the lack of a better term, "guy stuff." The mainstream world will see it this way, regardless of what you perceive to be the truth. As boys, we were nerds for playing games, but we were playing virtual versions of G.I. Joe, now weren't we? I only have one question: how do female gamers wish to be viewed? And don't reply, "we just want to be seen as gamers, and that's it," because...well, I'm not buying that right now.
Personal gaming update
I probably won't stop playing Dragon Age II until it's done; it's too limited and the story seems barely existent, but I'm just hooked on the building and mission-ing process. As soon as it's done, I'll start up a Career in Top Spin 4, and I can't wait (review coming soon). I feel behind but the good news is I don't really want to play anything else until L.A. Noire drops on May 17. I admit I'm intrigued by Duke Nukem Forever, though.
This week, expect reviews for TS4, Homefront, and Crysis 2. I may also have some interesting new information for SOCOM 4, as I'll be participating in a conference call on Thursday. Finally, we're sort of nearing the end of our new project; it just needs to be approved, which admittedly may take some time. After that, we can announce it...hope you'll like it. :)
3/19/2011 Ben Dutka