Ben's Week In Review: January 27
It has been a very interesting week, what with the release of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and my reaction to it. ;)
I think Platinum Games has the right idea
We've talked a lot about how the Japanese gaming industry has sort of gone off the rails this generation, in that it can't seem to find a central focus. Japanese designers have desperately wanted to appeal to Western gamers and as such, they've tried to adopt Western styles and traits. However, in many cases (as we all know), this hasn't worked and many veteran gamers know why: In attempting to cater to a wider demographic, the Japanese productions started to lose that which made them appealing in the first place. But good news, I think- First, the Tales producer says he sees his peers returning to their roots, which is precisely what fans have wanted.
Plus, as a good example of that, developer Platinum Games has clued us in to their general philosophy. In this case, it's just to prove that Japanese games can still be great, and they can be great simply by being Japanese. Platinum has indeed embraced a few Western concepts in the past; the fast-paced third-person shooter Vanquish comes readily to mind. But they never abandoned that distinct Japanese flair, did they? And while Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance will also be a super fast-paced action game that could appeal to Westerners, it is still distinctly Eastern, wouldn't you say? So it's teams like Platinum that impress me.
I'm on the fence about Sony being fined for the PSN security breach
I'm really not sure what to think. When the PlayStation Network was hacked, I was not blaming Sony for being unprepared, although I had heard various experts and industry insiders claim Sony hadn't done enough in terms of security. I did, however, have a problem with Sony taking too long to reveal the full truth to gamers, and I distinctly remember calling Sony out for that. However, when I learned that the ICO had had fined Sony £250,000, I wasn't sure what to think. The bottom line is that Sony did mess up to some extent, but perhaps not in the way the ICO is saying. I take Highlander's quote from the Comments section, which I find apt-
"Saying that Sony should've known is rather like saying that Japan should've known that there would be a 9.3 Magnitude earthquake and the largest Tsunami in modern history, and then fining them for being in the way of it."
And that's my problem with it. At the same time, maybe such a fine will send a message of sorts. Even if it's basically impossible for Sony to effectively prepare and plan for every conceivable attack on their systems, the fine might just push them to do even more than they're currently doing. I have no idea, really. Maybe the amount of the fine isn't enough to do that, but it still made headlines and that might once again remind Sony to be endlessly vigilant. Or as vigilant as they can be.
Personal gaming update
I have yet to start Halo 4 but I'm gonna. I'm technically on vacation this coming week, which only means that I'll be doing pretty much the same amount of work in a different location. ;) So I really won't be playing any games on my PS3 (didn't bring it with me), but I do have my Vita and it might finally prove useful. I do love playing Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational on it, and Wipeout 2048 is still awesome. I have a few other Vita titles that are quite entertaining, such as Touch My Katamari and Michael Jackson: The Experience. I almost brought my SNES so me and my lady friend can throw down with some old-school Super Mario Kart or Street Fighter II, but I decided against it at the last second. We've got plenty of other things to do, anyway. ;)
Expect Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and Dead Space 3 reviews very soon after I come back (both games launch on February 5). I've been playing one and I should have the other when I return, and I'll get on that immediately. I would also like to add that I knew there'd be some controversy about my Ni no Kuni review but I stand by every review I write, and by the way, 8.5 is hardly a bad score. If I'm giving something an 8.5, that's pretty much a recommended buy for any fans of the genre in question. Oh, and don't forget to try The Cave, especially if you have a willing friend or two. It's great puzzle/adventure fun. :)
P.S. I'd like to welcome Highlander back to the PSXE fold. He's one of the biggest and most important contributors in the site's history, and I'm glad he has opted to return.
1/26/2013 Ben Dutka