Ben's Week In Review: May 22
Well damn, I wasn't "raptured." Guess I didn't believe in it enough. ...cool, that means I get to play more L.A. Noire!
Fresh new IPs vs. awesome sequels
I have a ton of respect for Platinum Games and their continued drive to produce refreshing new titles, and I further applaud Sega's accommodation as a publisher. I also agree that there are too many sequels and spin-offs today. However, very much unlike the movie industry, our franchises tend to get better and better with time. Of course, most of that is due to the ever-increasing quality of the technology, so of course we can always do more with every new iteration of a particular series title. On top of which, if we look at the greatest games of all time, basically all of them are sequels or at least spawned sequels that are - arguably, of course - better than the original. Doesn't a game like Vanquish deserve a sequel?
I mean, do we really want to miss out on Uncharted 2 (and Uncharted 3)? What about any purists who would've just said, "eh, leave Uncharted the way it is; it's great so try something else now." The vast majority of the best games every year are sequels or follow-ups or boast familiar names. That being said, if we move too far in one direction, we eventually abandon originality. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we need a good balance...if that's attainable.
...and how hard should our games really be?
There was a time when I was amongst the hardcore gamers who complained about interactive experiences getting too casual; too mainstream...i.e., too easy. But I also wasn't the biggest fan of those controller-snapping games of yesteryear; essentially, arcade games that were never designed to be beaten. Furthermore, as I get older, gaming becomes more and more about relaxation. I still get that good old-fashioned sense of accomplishment upon completing a specific challenge, but I'm just not that interested in killing myself to complete a certain level, or something. This is why I'm a little leery about the new Ridge Racer Unbounded, considering what developer Bugbear had to say about gamers wanting tougher experiences. I don't necessarily disagree, but how far will they take it...?
Again, I'm talking about striking a balance. Some will say games have gotten too easy but I don't necessarily side with that viewpoint. For the most part, I find most games to be well-paced with sufficient challenges; enough to keep me entertained, at any rate. No, I don't really need that hair-tearing difficulty anymore. In reality, I don't think we ever "needed" it. We just got used to it.
Personal gaming update
Obviously, it's all about L.A. Noire, which really is one of my favorite games of the year. People can make a variety of complaints concerning the control and driving but in all honesty, I really don't care enough to complain. But I made all that clear in the review; also be on the lookout for my video commentary, which should go up very soon. I kind of want to savor the rest of this game so I'll take my time; in the meantime, I'll see if I can finish Final Fantasy IV on the PSP and try to get a Puzzle Agent review done (now that the PSN is back).
I had plenty of fun with MotorStorm: Apocalypse, by the way. It's recommended if you're an off-road racing fan. Lastly, be on the lookout for new announcements and new features...
5/21/2011 Ben Dutka