Hyping The Unhyped: 5 Games That Require Your Attention
We all recognize the big names: God of War III, Modern Warfare 2, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Gran Turismo 5, Final Fantasy XIII, Assassin's Creed II, MAG, Alan Wake, The Last Guardian, Guitar Hero 5, etc, etc, etc. These are titles that will remain in the limelight until they arrive and will always garner plenty of attention.
But wherever there are powerful blockbusters there are quality titles that get overlooked. And as we roll onwards in 2009 and looking forward to the first part of 2010, we've found five titles that really need more attention from both journalists and gamers alike. We turn your attention to them now:
1. Brutal Legend
Tim Schafer must be the brunt of some massive cosmic joke: he continually produces original, engaging, and even memorable video games that almost never make a big splash on the sales charts. And as much as we'd like to think that Brutal Legend will be his defining moment and rightly elevate his Double Fine studio to a lofty position in the industry, we see it laboring beneath the aforementioned blockbusters. But really, that won't stop us from promoting its potential greatness. Perhaps it's limiting its sales potential due to the emphasis on the metal music culture (and not everyone likes that), but if you're questioning its appeal on these grounds, we beseech you...please, don't. Just give it a chance even if you're not into metal. This is gonna be kooky, zany, quirky and above all else, fun as hell.
Well, at least we think it'll be all those things.
2. Resonance of Fate
Some things never change. If you're a role-playing game and the words "Final Fantasy" aren't in the title, it's very unlikely that you'll see any hype or publicity whatsoever. White Knight Chronicles is doing well in terms of widespread recognition thus far, but remember, it has been bouncing around since it first showed up at the Tokyo Game Show almost three years ago. Resonance of Fate is the latest effort from tri-Ace, who very rarely lets RPG fans down, and it appears to be both stylish and an absolute blast to play. At first, we had nothing but a gorgeous cinematic video that didn't show anything in the way of gameplay, but then, a Tri-Attack Battle Trailer really opened our eyes. It almost looks like "The Matrix" only with heavy Japanese overtones, and we really can't wait to see more of this game. It seems someone finally decided to make a JRPG based around guns and not swords, and while we all have our personal preferences, you gotta love this idea.
Platinum Games is working on a true-blue action gem for us, and it should be getting almost as much hype as a new Devil May Cry. Of course, that won't happen as Hideki Kamiya's new title is an IP and DMC is an established franchise, but the sultry heroine who reminds us of a gothic supermodel needs your attention. There's an awesome gameplay trailer up on the PlayStation Store; it won't take more than a few minutes to download and view, and it's well worth your time. Fast, furious, loaded with that patented Kamiya flair, and absolutely appealing in every possible way. You should also visit the Platinum Games website, which features frequently updated articles concerning the development and design process. Everything we've seen thus far has excited us and it remains near the top of our "most anticipated" list. Yeah, you can have your Modern Warfare 2, but we wanna beat on demons with that leather-clad minx. Just remember, though: we have been warned that this attitude-laden adventure will be tough.
4. Demon's Souls
Mostly due to the fact that it launched in Japan first, Demon's Souls is a game that garnered unbelievable reviews. And when we say "unbelievable," we're not really exaggerating; some of the quotes we've seen have been along the lines of, "the most innovative action/RPG ever." PSW Magazine and Eurogamer have already awarded it 9s, RPG Fan gave it a 8.4, and it has recently been confirmed that it will most certainly be coming to North America later this year. Again, much like Bayonetta, this won't be for the faint of heart; it has been rumored to be one of the most challenging RPGs ever made, and one of the hardest games of the generation. But that won't stop us from giving it a whirl, and if you're looking for a ton of fantasy-based immersion in a truly atmospheric virtual world, you can't ignore Demon's Souls. We just gotta give some love to the upcoming RPGs, although we should probably point out that this one is a PlayStation 3 exclusive, unlike Resonance of Fate. Not that it really matters.
5. Katamari Forever
It's kinda like the cult classic franchise in video games. Each and every installment got great reviews and sales were decent, but of course, none could compete with the giant mega-releases that always stole the show. And now, after Beautiful Katamari was exclusive to the Xbox 360, Namco is returning to its home base where the series began; Katamari Forever will be a PS3 exclusive. But really, I don't care where it goes; I'd even buy a Wii if it was exclusive to that system (no kidding). There's just something about rolling around that sticky ball and picking up everything that is of the appropriate size; it's just so damn addicting. Perhaps it's useless to try to stir up some hype for this game, but I don't care; this needs to be said. And if you haven't ever tried a Katamari game before, you are hereby ordered to play this one. I'm all serious and stuff.
7/9/2009 Ben Dutka