: Ben's Week In Review: August 4

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Ben's Week In Review: August 4

Had a birthday a few days ago, but as it's a bad age, I've decided not to discuss it. ;)

Dear Take-Two: "Permanent" might be okay, annualization is not

This past week, publisher Take-Two Interactive hinted that they want Red Dead to become a "permanent" franchise, in that it really doesn't have a finite lifespan and just keeps going and going. You know, like James Bond. And if we're being honest, we could probably call Grand Theft Auto "permanent" by this time. Now, there are plenty of pitfalls with keeping an IP running forever but if there's one company that could do it, I think it's Take-Two. The mini-headline for this bit is like preaching to the choir: They've made it abundantly clear that they do not agree with the "annualization" trend. And that's a good thing.

Next to Uncharted, Assassin's Creed is my favorite new IP of the current generation. But Ubisoft putting one out every single year has led to some issues, and I have my reservations about Black Flag. The bottom line is that you just can't keep a series fresh that way; the games are too big, too dynamic, too demanding of a developer's time. Take-Two understands this. They get it. And while I think GTAV is taking a touch too long (GTAIV was out over five years ago, remember), I'm patient. If another Red Dead comes along, great. I'm fairly certain none of these franchises will start to see continual annual releases, and that's the correct approach.

By the way, Take-Two seems to be doing just fine and these franchises are some of the best-selling and most revered IPs out there. So annualization isn't necessary, is it? I'm talking to you, Activision and Ubisoft.

Sweeeeet...the new Lara is coming back!

After hearing about how screwed up Square Enix's internal sales expectations were for the Tomb Raider reboot, I was worried the new Lara would be done before she really got started. But thankfully, a sequel is coming! That news really made my week.

See, I say that character revamp was not only essential for the franchise, it was one of the best aesthetic and personality overhauls I've ever seen. Sure, she's still pretty much invincible (she gets beat to sh** dozens of times in that game), but at least she shows that beating now. And besides, she acts very much like a real person...finally. It's not a matter of being realistic - 'cuz it definitely isn't - it's a matter of giving us a sympathetic, somewhat believable character. On top of which, the gameplay structure was excellent. I love the idea of being able to explore and find treasure at your leisure. Not enough non-RPG games do this.

For the sequel, I'd like to see very much the same structure, but with an even heavier focus on Lara herself. This was supposed to be like the birth of a legendary icon, and I didn't quite feel that. They just didn't do enough with the "beginning" premise, as I mentioned in my review. If they can really bring that out in the next effort, and they keep the structure and mechanic the same, I'll be happy. And Crystal Dynamics better be at the helm again.

Personal gaming update

I almost want to go through The Last Of Us again, just because it really is that good. I'd play it slightly differently, I think. However, Splinter Cell: Blacklist is only weeks away and I've been looking forward to that, and then it's Grand Theft Auto V on September 17. You know, I keep forgetting that Killzone: Mercenary for the Vita also launches on 09/17. And I've got a beta code, so be on the lookout for a hands-on impressions article this week. :) I also got a code to try the recently released Dragon's Crown, which is great. That review is coming soon as well, but I can say I strongly recommend it for anyone who liked the old-school side-scrolling beat-'em-ups. I might even recommend it to RPG fans because of the structure and depth...

My girlfriend and I played it for a while today, actually. I'm the Wizard and she's the Amazon and we both had a lot of fun with it. Balancing accessibility for newcomers with the combat intricacy for veteran hardcore players = big plus. And the artistry is beautiful...albeit highly exaggerated, as most of you already know. ;) That Sorceress is just ridiculous. LOL

8/3/2013 Ben Dutka

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Comments (25 posts)

Temjin001
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 11:22:16 PM
Reply

Happy Birthday Ben. I'm not too excited anymore for birthdays either as they now remind me of how old I'm getting.
Red Dead is a game I've been somewhat compelled to check out over the last year.
Splinter Cell I hope is cool but I have my reservations seeing that it's a new dev (I think).
PGU: Just playing Xenogears and DOA5 and some Jak2. I'm also really working hard to resist Steam's $15 Skyrim deal going on right now. I don't need anymore games right now BUT it's so cheap and awesome.

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 11:35:25 PM

Haha, I couldn't't resist...just had to get Skyrim at the $15 price. Also picked up Rage for $5 yesterday.

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Beamboom
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 5:56:06 AM

I regret I didn't buy Rage at that time too. Right now I am waiting for a 75% price drop on Dishonoured - if that happen I will pick it up. I played it some on the PS3 but was so tired of the machine that I never got to finish it.

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 11:36:58 PM
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Currently loving Borderlands2 with a few friends and patiently waiting for Final Fantasy XIV to release. I don't have fond memories from the beta 3 years ago but everything recently shown/discussed about the game resulted in me paying the $30 for it.

Happy B-Day Ben, once you get past 30 every bday is meh.

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 11:38:48 PM
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Forgot to mention, RDR is easily in my top5 current gen games. It has an amazing story, great acting, interesting characters, and a unique world.

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Dukemz_UK
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 11:39:52 PM
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Happy err...40th? That's it, you are now officially over the hill, mate :-)
I lost interest in Assassins Creed after the 2nd or 3rd game, it was just too much, too soon, and it didn't change enough to warrant buying the game annually. The next gen AC has perked my interest though. I may buy into it again, depending on the review from this site. I think at least 2 years between games from a decent franchise is just about enough.
I believe Killzone Mercenary will have an open beta later in August, so I'm looking forward to try that out.

## Could everyone who has a UK Amazon account please head over to the site's gaming section and vote for The Last of Us as Game of the Generation, if you are a fan that is. It's currently trailing Skyrim by 10%, and I believe that TLoU is by far far the better game. Cheers! ##

Last edited by Dukemz_UK on 8/3/2013 11:40:23 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 11:40:52 PM

Ben isn't 40.

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Beamboom
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 3:22:06 AM

Got the URL for that voting? I can't find it?

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/4/2013 3:22:21 AM

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Dukemz_UK
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 4:57:33 AM

LV: I was trying to wind him up. :-)

Beamboom:
Do a search for "Amazon Game of Generation competition"

Last edited by Dukemz_UK on 8/4/2013 4:59:37 AM

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Dukemz_UK
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 5:07:37 AM

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000726563

Last edited by Dukemz_UK on 8/4/2013 5:08:48 AM

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Beamboom
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 5:35:28 AM

Thanks!

... And hey, there's nothing wrong in being 40-something. :)

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/4/2013 5:36:07 AM

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PlatformGamerNZ
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 11:43:59 PM
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happy birthday dude hope you enjoy ur special day of the year. wish you the best for the next year and i don' think i'll be gettin any games till the new rachet or if i get a vita before tearaway or killzone not likely but maybe. but i can't think of a game i really want till rachet into the nexus or those vita games but really till the ps4 but thats just me and my game interests.

happy gaming =)

Last edited by PlatformGamerNZ on 8/3/2013 11:44:09 PM

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bigrailer19
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 11:50:27 PM
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I think RDR will become a GTA of sorts. Ots obvious the fans loved the game and considerind RDR's success its a no brainer to me.

PGU: Still Borderlands 2. Ie completely quit playing with my Siren even though I am only 1 level away from cap. I need to get there but since aive started the Gunzerker I just am having too much fun.

Going to try and finish the Walking Dead Season 1 so I cam start on the new downloadable 400 days or whatever its titled.

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ART359
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 12:05:36 AM
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Ben, Killzone: Mercenary actually comes out on 9/10/13. About a week before GTA V. This is great actually so it will give me time to devote on GTA. Lol.

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Killa Tequilla
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 12:22:54 AM
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I'll tell you my age if you tell me yours

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xenris
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 12:41:45 AM
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Im so excited to get Dragons Crown on tuesday, I'm glad you are enjoying it.

I'm going to get a bunch of friends over and dive into the co op.

To me Dragons Crown and Rayman Legends are my most anticipated games this year, and potential my personal game of the year.

PGU - Been playing Rainbow Six Vegas 2 split screen on the PS3 and man I missed these games. Found it for 4 bucks at a pawn shop and had only played the first one so I got it. The tactical gunplay is so refreshing in a world where every shooter feels and controls exactly like CoD or Halo.

Other than that been on a dota 2 losing streak due to abysmal match making, but still it is a game I tend to play the most right now.

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cLoudou
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 1:13:16 AM
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Happy Birthday, Ben!

I've got a nice backlog of games but been barely gaming at all. Recently been playing a bit of Fire Emblem on my 3DS, I also bought Shin Megami Tensei IV, and Project X Zone for the 3DS. Don't know when I'll have the time to play all of this.

I think I'm just waiting on Tales Of Xillia. I also wanted Dragon's Crown but I only could afford 1 at launch.

Last edited by cLoudou on 8/4/2013 1:13:43 AM

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 6:38:04 AM
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Happy Birthday! That makes you... 35? Totally understand why you don't want to celebrate.

I agree with the subtitle, but I think that Take-Two understands that, especially when it comes to Rockstar. They never seem to have pressured them into pushing out anything before it's ready. And RDR could definitely be a permanent franchise, so long as they take the same approach as GTA and tell a different story in a different setting with each new iteration. I can only imagine what future stories could be told in the Wild West... The potential themes are pretty cool; slavery, subjugation of natives, going further on the revenge angle... I could do with more Red Dead, especially if we aren't going to see GTA VI until four or five years into the next generation.

Still haven't played the new Tomb Raider. It's kinda hard to catch up with games when you don't have a system, especially when there's already an easy half-dozen released this year; TR, Bioshock Infinite, TLoU, I need to finish Ni no Kuni, then there's MGR, Dead Space 3, Sly 4, God of War, Metro, Remember Me, I'm tempted on Fuse, MGS Legacy and Xillia. And that's only what's out right now, ignoring what's on my shelf. Crazy.

I'll skip the personal update this time, except to say that so long as my tax return comes through this week I'll have both new computer and PS3 next weekend. Woo!
Peace folks.

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Oxvial
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 8:20:25 AM
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HBD! Ben! and here I was going to ask if you were going to review Dragons Crown :)

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Solid Fantasy
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 8:34:22 AM
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Does anyone else have too many games to play right now?

Skyrim has been on the back burner for some time now. I need to finish Golden Abyss before my plus runs out. I haven't installed Wipeout 2048 yet. I bought Amy because it was only 2$ and that Jouney and Unfinished Swan package b/c it was too good to pass up (thanks Ben) and now that I'm done with TLOU I'm playing online. Which is aweseome plus a another playthrough of the story mood b/c it really is "that good" I still have FFVII save to finish.

And that's only games. There are books and movies that I would like to do before I die. Preferably b/f the next gen ramps up. I don't know if I can make it.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 11:29:43 AM
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Playin Metro: Last Light and Time & Eternity.

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bebestorm
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 12:16:13 PM
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Happy Birthday Ben! No mention of Tales of Xillia will there be a review? Ive actually been playing The Last Remnant its so much better on pc than the 360 this time Im really enjoying it.

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johnld
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 1:08:27 PM
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as for gta games, i havent really gotten into the franchise. nothing storywise or gameplay wise draws me in. i tried playing before but i would just get bored playing and quit. i know red dead is supposed to be good but that also doesnt interest me at all, which is weird because i tried a bunch of different game genres this gen.

i dont know about this new assassins creed, i may pass on this one for a bit. it seems to be focusing on naval battles which i didnt particularly enjoy in assassins creed 3.

new tomb raider, im all for it. liked the first one and i hope square enix is just ignored throughout the entire development process. also i would prefer is lara fell down a bit less. saw her fall so much during playthrough and around by the end, i didnt want to see that anymore. it may be the kind of reaction the devs were going for but for me it was a bit too much. especially when all i can do is watch.

for gaming, ive just beaten survivor+ in last of us, love that game. all thats keeping me from platinum are multiplayer trophies. there shouldnt be multiplayer trophies for a game like this. i dont mind multiplayer but dont put trophies for it. im sure ill try it sometime later but for now ill do my 3 game uncharted story run.

as quickly as dice said they were investigating stat/progress transfer from current to next gen bf4, theyre already saying that they wont do it because theyre treating each console seperate. that annoys me because im planning to get bf4 on ps3 first because i cant afford to get ps4, bf4, and ps plus right away. it would be convenient if they allow it. however, the fact that they reversed their stance so quickly leads me to think that they would tie that feature to their premium membership like the stat wipe was only available to premium members right now.

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FatherSun
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 3:31:02 PM
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Happy Birthday!

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Hand_of_Sorrow
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 6:01:51 PM
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if it was any other publiser/developer besides T2 & R* thinking about
turning Red Dead Redemption into a franchise, i'd be worried.
but imo, i don't think T2 & R* will rush a RDR so theres one every year.

pgu: have'nt been gamming much, but when i have,
its mostly been The Sims 3.

Happy Birthday Ben!

Last edited by Hand_of_Sorrow on 8/4/2013 6:02:32 PM

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