Ben's Week In Review: October 27
November is almost here and the next-gen console wars are gonna begin. ...not sure I have the strength.
Lest we forget, PlayStation is always about the GAMES
Despite all the PS4-related news this past week, do you know which information made me smile? When I watched that new ad and saw that there were over 180 games in development for Sony's new console, and 24 of them are exclusive. Sure, the PlayStation App should come in awfully handy, all those great features enabled by system update 1.50 are probably essential for many gamers, and we now know the machine will support up to 8 players via party chat. That's all well and good, but the PlayStation brand is as respected as it is because of the games.
The selection on each console has been basically unparalleled each generation in terms of variety, innovation and originality. It's what PlayStation does. In my estimation, it has always been the hardcore gamer's console of choice ever since the original PlayStation launched. So yeah, give us all those fancy features that are all about multiplayer and the "social" aspect of gaming; I get that in this day and age, everyone loves that stuff. But without the games - the great games - to power those features, you're just left with a nifty box that nobody cares about.
I'll give Kojima the benefit of the doubt
When I heard that the new Metal Gear Solid entry was going open world, I didn't respond well. I couldn't believe that even the iconic MGS wasn't free of the lure of so-called "freedom" in a virtual open world. The linear narrative is dying right before our very eyes (of this, I'm fairly certain) and while just about all other games on earth want to go open-world, I figured the one franchise that wouldn't is the beloved MGS. This is a series that thrives on memorable plots and characters, both of which rapidly become diluted and ultimately lost when the player is given countless hours in which to roam aimlessly about. But I liked to hear that The Phantom Pain really won't be anything like Grand Theft Auto or The Elder Scrolls; Kojima has said it will still have a sense of direction.
While we'll be able to approach missions and objectives in various ways, and that's where most of the freedom appears to lie, we won't be distracted by a hundred random, miscellaneous, mostly pointless diversions. "Oh look, let's go try to fish with Snake!" Yeah, no. Stick to the mission, give us a chance to select our approach, and leave it at that. I'm hoping that will result in another MGS with a storyline that I'll remember for years to come.
Personal gaming update
Still cranking away on GTAV and I don't think I'm close to done. I always like to do everything that's available and all these reviews have been getting in the way. Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness very nearly hooked me - as these games tend to do - but I simply didn't have the time. For those who do have the time, however, it's great fun, provided you're a hardcore fan of the niche turn-based strategy/RPG genre. My girlfriend and I are still playing Dragon's Crown and The Cave, and I've started the review process for Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. I also have Battlefield 4 but I haven't looked at it yet.
Still not entirely sure how to approach these cross-gen games. Do I do a review of the PS3 version first and then just update that review when the PS4 version comes out? Or do I just review the best possible version, which would of course be on the PS4? Thing is, I can't possibly issue full reviews for all versions. And I don't think it's necessary, anyway, as the games are basically identical with the exception of better graphics. And I suppose the frame rate might be a touch better in the PS4 versions, but that's about it.
10/26/2013 Ben Dutka