: Ben's Week In Review: September 1

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Ben's Week In Review: September 1

Where the hell did August go?! Well, now we're closer to Grand Theft Auto V. ;)

Activision isn't wrong about Call of Duty

It's the franchise many core gamers love to hate. And in some ways, they have good reason to hate it. But you can't really attack the publisher's decision to put out a new Call of Duty entry every year. There's a demand for it and hence, the publisher is offering the supply. That's all Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said when defending the "annualization" of the popular series: "There's demand and excitement each and every time out." And of course, he's right. It's also true that with two development teams, both of which are obviously given almost unlimited resources by Activision, the quality of the games can remain high. Love it or hate it, this is a fact.

Sure, innovation must take a hit for two big reasons: First, because the fan base doesn't want the games to change that much, and second, because no matter what the resources, you don't have enough time to infuse a whole lot of originality. And yes, CoD has infected other developers and publishers with the belief that all gamers want to play is shooters, and that annualization is a good practice. But until CoD begins a downward trajectory, Activision is correct in defending their yearly release schedule. It isn't their fault; you want it, so they're giving it to you. You have to prove that you don't want it first, and then things might change.

Who knows, though? The fall may begin this year, as many analysts have predicted, and then Activision will have to reassess.

When accomplished actors seem appropriately impressed with a video game...

Have you seen those behind-the-scenes videos for Beyond: Two Souls when the actors are being interviewed? The latest featured Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe and I found it quite encouraging. The game footage looked great and I'm really looking forward to the story, but something else stood out: You're looking at two esteemed and accomplished actors who obviously have great respect for the script. It struck me that in listening to other actors talk about other games of which they've been a part, they rarely sound awestruck. They rarely praise the script as being something special, and something that makes them proud of the work. This is the power of David Cage's writing, I think, and we need to see more of it in the industry.

Of course, one can't dismiss another factor: Gaming is still relatively young and as you might've noticed, Hollywood can be pretty clueless about interactive entertainment. So, maybe older guys like Dafoe are a little behind the times, and are just surprised what video games have become. Page admitted she was quite unfamiliar with video games before Cage brought her the script. Still, I don't think either of them would've taken the gigs, nor would they have spoken so highly of the script, if the writing was mediocre. Perhaps we're still a ways behind the stellar writing we find in some movies and books these days, but it's guys like Cage who are capable of pushing us forward. It's just so important.

Personal gaming update

Man, I was so happy to see how Splinter Cell: Blacklist turned out. I was so nervous about it, especially after Conviction, but Ubisoft did a fantastic job of delivering what I deem to be the true modern successor to Chaos Theory. It's even fun playing with others; in fact, that's one of the game's most attractive elements. Stealth fans are gonna love it. I wasn't as impressed with Saints Row IV but it's still lots of fun. If I had the time, I'd definitely complete both. I don't have the time, though, so it's all about Blacklist for me right now. I also need to work on Killer is Dead and I've got the review code for Killzone: Mercenary.

The reviews are coming fast and I probably won't have time to breathe. I'm just glad that Splinter Cell is back and as a matter of respect, I will finish it.

8/31/2013 Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (25 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, August 31, 2013 @ 10:56:13 PM
Reply

I'm glad the Cod fans have all the cod they want because I remember what it was like to bask in the glory of a beloved franchise. That rug can get yanked out from under you quickly though, fair warning friends.

Apparently Killer is Dead isn't so great, which isn't all that surprising since they made it so fast but I'll still read the review.

I made a mad grab recently due to great prices, snagged GoW: Ascension, Binary Domain, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, and Dead Island: Riptide.

Playing Ascension and Xillia but I'm just itching to start FC3 too, even though I have other games started. There isn't enough time in the days I tell ya, even though I'm on the injured list.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Andivarious
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 12:53:40 AM

I really liked Binary Domain. A word of warning, if you chose to use a mic to talk to your team, be careful. I guess the sensitivity for my mic was too low and it was picking up background noise or something and started translating it into random things. It wasn't too bad until the game started translating the background noises into me swearing at my team and then telling my male teammates that I loved them. At that point it got a little awkward...

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 4:04:40 AM

Could you share where you found Far Cry 3 on the cheap?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 9:44:50 AM

lol that's pretty funny, I didn't know there was anything like that. I'll only be playing offline so I'll be good but thanks.

@bigrailer I got Far Cry 3 used with MP code for $15 from Gamefly, the sale has probably passed but every now and then they offload games they've been renting and they are always in great shape.

I get text messages about these sales from CheapAssGamer dot com. It's a great little service.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

SayWord
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 11:07:42 AM

Hey world I know my opinion doesnt mean much in the greater scheme of things.But Iim loving killer is dead. Way more technical than sudas previous games and im loving the fluidity of the combat even though it can be somewhat difficult. The graphics are really something else but there is screen tearing. Im not to far into the story but the characters especially mondo are great and the story seems almost as wtf as killer 7. As for the gigolo missions well they are kind of mundane but doesnt take much time and the inner pervert in me loves it. We seem to have similar tastes in games so im sure youll enjoy it if you ever decide to grab it.

Also when does suda ever get great reviews? ;-)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 11:41:00 AM

World - I always forget that they do that. Ill have to chec k more often. Thanks.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 3:53:17 PM

I appreciate any feedback Sayword you know I dig Suda's games. If I don't get a copy for review I'll grab it sometime down the line probably.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

xenris
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 11:07:16 PM

World you can use your mic to talk to your team mates in Binary domain while playing SP. It sometimes miss translates though. Its a cool feature, but I ultimately just used the button inputs.

Binary Domain is one of my favourite TPS games this gen. It came out around ME3 and I played it and liked it more than ME3 in pretty much every way. The only thing worse about it in my opinion was the cheese voice acting, but if you watch anime dubs you might find charm in it like I did.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Saturday, August 31, 2013 @ 11:13:34 PM
Reply

I remember a Viggo Mortenson interview during the LotR PS2 games. He was describing how cool the game was. How cool it was with all of the 'ninjas' and stuff to fight. I was thinking, "ninjas"? When did LoTR have ninjas?
=p

Anyway, August is over and now we move on to the soon to be historic gaming month of September. That's right, September 3rd 2013 will be regarded by many as the day DOA5 Ultimate released.
I know, I know, I'm freaking out too.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, August 31, 2013 @ 11:27:38 PM

wtf?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 1:36:15 AM

an interview with Aragorn about the production of the LotR PS2 games had him referencing how cool it was to see himself fighting ninjas.

Obviously he wasn't very invested in the content the game was offering, treating it as an afterthought, as he used ninja to describe the bad guys you fight.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 9/1/2013 1:40:35 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 9:45:30 AM

That's amazing, he must not have known anything about the movie he was in either.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Gordo
Saturday, August 31, 2013 @ 11:28:45 PM
Reply

Killzone Mercenary for the Vita. Can't believe how much time I've put into the beta. The multiplayer is brilliant. Can't wait for the full game.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

CrusaderForever
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 3:09:37 AM

I know, me too, it's an amazing beta. I am well over 15 hours. I cannot believe it's a handheld game.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Lawless SXE
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 12:54:29 AM
Reply

Man... It's so difficult to play The Last of Us. I get so sucked into it that by the time I look back at the clock two and a half hours have gone by. Why does that make it difficult? Because I don't have that kind of time during the week. I can pretty much only play it on weekends which means that after three weeks, I've still only put 8 hours in. Woe is me! I'm planning an analysis on the title for when I get it finished...

I think that I'm starting to be drawn into the excitement surrounding GTA V. Seriously, I can't wait to sink my teeth into Rockstar's current-gen opus. It's going to be a treat, and that is a massive change from this time last year when I was questioning whether GTA was even still relevant in this industry...

As far as Beyond goes, I'm really intrigued by it. No doubt it will be a bastion of the potential writing and acting quality of video games, but I think it's most important not to forget that what separates gaming from film and novels is the interactivity. I want to know more about how the game plays because that is what will really determine whether it is to become a benchmark for storytelling via gaming or whether it's a glorified visual novel. I do trust Cage, but I can't put these reservations aside. Either way, I'm still super excited for the game.

In other news, I finished Les Miserables on Friday. Wow. It's utterly brilliant and comes most highly recommended by me, however, I do have one rather major issue with it: the character of Cosette. She is the most central element of the entire novel, ultimately being the reason for pretty much everything that the other characters go through, yet she doesn't feel like a character. She's a symbol of purity and innocence more than anything else and it makes her the weakest in the entire ensemble. Compared with the depictions of Bishop Benvenuto, Jean Valjean, Marius, Thenardier, Eponine and Gavroche, Cosette's is so, so disappointing.

Peace.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Knightzane
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 1:12:24 AM
Reply

I've been playing Max Payne 3 and i didn't think it would have been god. I felt like it was going to be some action fest and lose the purpose of max's story. I was dumb, i absolutely love max payne 3. Sure the action has what i've come to call "Uncharted tomb syndrome" and what i mean by that is the unatural ammount of enemies per area.

Anyway, its great. I stopped playing Metro because i don't want it to end. They seriously better not Skyrimize it because they want more sales. I also watched The Road tonight. Didn't have any sort of The Last Of Us vibe in my opinion. I also didn't enjoy it as much as i hoped. I guess i didn't like being in the dark about a large number of things. There was no explanation to why the world ended. It just kinda did. I'll have to re-watch it sometime and try and not analyze it as i do with everything. I guess the ending to everything based with what i see and i ruin it for myself.

It happened while a friend forced me to play Xenogears. How many people didn't see ID's twist? I did, in the first cutscene. Friends and family get so mad at me for guessing the ending to things because they think im going to be shocked. I normally never am. It feels so good playing Final Fantasy again. Sure when i can get on my server i don't want to leave due to the fear of not being able to get back on but i understand. They had to stop digital distribution because of how jam packed they are. Thats just insane. Between Max 3 and Final 14 i think im completely held over till GTAV.

Played 30 minutes of Vice City and i can't believe i played that when i was around 8-9. To think im not running around killing people or stealing cars either. The music though... One of the greatest things to do in a video game is to be running away from cops, while the song "I ran" plays on the radio. Ah... Good times. Hope everyone is enjoying their weather. Over here, its been super hot and then spontaneously rains for 20 minutes. Gotta love season changes

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 9:47:12 AM

MP3 surprised me too. I'm also putting off an end to Metro :)

The Road just sucks, don't bother rewatching it.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 9/1/2013 9:48:37 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

PlatformGamerNZ
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 1:51:12 AM
Reply

well i think the cod series is due a rethink and i'm looking forward to KZ mercenary when i get a vita.

happy gaming =)

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 2:19:25 AM

I dont know if it need a "rethink", as much as it needs a face lift. The formula is there and its solid no matter what anyone says. When games start to change is when people get upset. KZ2 was a huge hit, even halo fans loved it. But when Guerilla tried to make it more mainstream it wasnt recieved as well.

Point is the gameplay in CoD is solid and it is the best mp experiwnce for an FPS. But they are dragging their feet when it comes to gettin with the times.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 2:15:33 AM
Reply

Ive been more interested in behind the scenes stuff as of late, and quite a few actors give nods. I guess it depends on how and who we are talking about. We typically dont see an actor or actress tjat we know from the big screen doing voice overs for games. Not that its rare but it not reoccurring either. But im just an impressed with a voice actor and in fact sometimes more so considering they are not acting a part but trying to match a voice to it.

Anyways theres lots of talent give games and scripts more admiration these days, particularly this generation.

PGU: Had some friends over last night, played some board games and then booted up Risk: Factions on the PS3. Since then Ive started a game and so Ive been playing that on and off today. Otherwise its still Borderlands 2 and Im really looking forward to Diablo 3. Unfortunately it comes out the same day the new Borderlands 2 level increase comes out. But Im buying both and Diablo will get played, alot!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

CrusaderForever
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 3:14:52 AM
Reply

This will be the first year I skip CoD. Oh well, it's not that big of a deal. It's going to be KZSF FTW! I will be picking up BF4 for the PS4 later on down the road.

PGU:
Been playing the Killzone Mercenary Beta and loving it. It's going to be an amazing Vita game. Hopefully it translates into the sales Sony needs. I cannot believe it's a handheld FPS.

September will be all about Diablo III for me. I am counting down the days to release. I am going to introduce myself to the Demon Hunter and play all month. Looks so amazing and the reviews have been very positive.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 9:49:55 AM
Reply

Diablo III is like an 87 on metacritic, it'll be interesting to see how it does here.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 11:12:41 AM

Ive never actually played any of them. But the loot system has always intrigued me. Not to mention im a huge fan of games like Champions and Baldurs gate. So im really looking forward to it. I knew I was getting it when it came out that it woukd release on consoles. Especially after the great reviews.

I was watching a video last night and Blizzard said they basically built it from the ground up.for a controller and it looked like it.played very well from the demo. I really like the loot system, its sort if like Borderlands 2 which is that its streamlined so you dont have to bounce in and out of the menu. They also said they changed the interface from that of the PC version.

Looks like a good one.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Axe99
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 6:35:37 PM
Reply

Good luck with all those reviews Ben and the rest of the crew :)

Last edited by Axe99 on 9/1/2013 6:35:50 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Burton
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 11:24:46 PM
Reply

Continuing to play Saints Row IV with my buddy, lots of fun but it still hasn't grabbed me. Gonna boot up Killzone Mercenary beta for my VITA, see if Sony can resurrect FPS interest on a handheld. I really don't want a repeat of my experience with the COD or Resistance on the VITA.

Just started book thirteen of the Wheel of Time, Brandon Sanderson still jumps around from character to character a little too quickly for my liking.

Excited for the release of the new GTA, I hope to rediscover the fun of my Vice City days. Rockstar does know how to make open world games.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

Do you regret buying the PS4 so early?
Nope, I love it!
Not really; I still play it plenty.
A little, I was hoping for more games.
Yes, I could've waited.

Previous Poll Results