Ben's Week In Review: September 29
GTAV is just waaaay too much fun. As if there is such a thing. ;)
RE remake flopped so Mikami had to reinvent...but is that the whole reason?
I'm certainly not calling the man a liar. Shinji Mikami created one of the most iconic and best-loved franchises in video game history, and I believe him when he says the "commercial failure" that was the Resident Evil remake on the GameCube is why the series adopted a more action-oriented theme. However, with such a shift, one has to believe there are other factors involved in such a decision. For instance, it was right around that time that Western gaming studios were starting to come into their own, and I believe Japanese developers and publishers were getting a whiff of what was coming. Therefore, I think that even then, they were on the lookout for flagging franchises that needed to cater to a wider audience.
So, we ended up with RE4, which was a massive success and got the franchise back on track (in terms of quality, not in terms of keeping with the survival/horror roots). In other words, Mikami's shift in tone worked. No wonder other Japanese teams have tried the same thing, right? However, I do have one little question: If it worked, what has been happening since? Too much action? Is the answer to return to your roots, ala The Evil Within? It certainly looks like true survival/horror. But isn't that like...sort of admitting you were wrong? But wait, how can you have been wrong when it worked before? And why go back to the old way?
It must be all very confusing for the Japanese developers.
Don't get microtransactions. Not at all.
Okay, so GTA Online will have those dreaded microtransactions. Everyone seems to hate them and yet, they keep popping up. Obviously, they work. Obviously, quite a few people are using real-world money to buy fake things in their video games. I grew up with games, I consider myself a big fan, I love my favorite forms of interactive entertainment, but for the life of me, I cannot figure this out. I already spent my money in buying the game. Now you want me to spend more so I can open up more of...well, more of what I thought I had already paid for? Telling me that I don't really need it to finish the game is fine, but when you tell me I need it to be competitive playing against others? Isn't that the same thing as a requirement? I'm not saying Rockstar is doing this with the GTA microtransactions but I think everybody sees the slippery slope.
There are just too many ways for publishers to take advantage of this particular money-making idea. Of course, we can't blame the publishers for it because we're the ones giving them our money. Microtransactions wouldn't exist if a lot of people hadn't already handed over their cash so as is typically the case, consumers have nobody to blame but themselves. I just don't get why it's appealing in the slightest. Sure, it's clever how those extra items are marketed (they don't cost much real money, for instance, so it's like apps on a phone) but we're still falling for it. It's a game. It's not my life. I paid for it once...I'm done now.
Personal gaming update
I took some time off from playing GTAV to play rain. I guess they're promoting it with the lower-case "r" so that's why I'm writing it that way, but it looks weird. I think Japan Studio did the same thing with echochrome, actually; maybe they have something against capital letters. Anyway, I can't divulge anything right now (embargoed until October 1, which is launch day) but I will say this- if you enjoyed Journey, I can't imagine you not liking rain. It's probably best described as a cross between a watercolor or oil painting brought to life and a project a graduate film student might try to create. At the very least, it's the polar opposite of GTA so it was kinda nice to have that change of pace.
Sadly, I doubt I'll be able to finish GTAV before a bunch of other reviews must be done. I still have to do Puppeteer, for example, and Beyond: Two Souls is next week, believe it or not. And we all know what the rest of October and November looks like, not to mention Gran Turismo 6 on December 6. I mean, good God.
9/28/2013 Ben Dutka