Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday afternoon tidbits

Whoa, quick week. Can't believe it's time for the links already. Let's get to it!

-Hit Self-Destruct is no more. The last post went up this morning. I highly recommend you read it, along with the archives. Duncan is one of the best game writers out there -- maybe the best. It's a shame to see him move on. There may be more to say about this later.

-Recently, Edge's "Time Extend" feature took a look back at the superb Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, one of my very favorite games from the PS2 generation. I'm glad to see that they didn't merely focus on the gameplay, as terrific as it was. They're correct in observing that the storyline and characters were atypical for the genre, smarter and more heartfelt. The Prince of that game was cunning and roguish, and his inner monologues were genuinely funny -- not at all like the angst-ridden prefab Prince of Warrior Within. No wonder it didn't sell very well.

-Newsflash: Video games are not recession-proof. Is this a surprise? Not really. But it does help to explain why so many publishers are pushing games into 2010. It's not about polishing or revamping. They're afraid nobody will be buying. They may be right. I still think this fall represents a golden opportunity for gamers.

-On the Fall 2010 front, Bill Harris's console posts are always worth reading, especially when he drops in a fact like this: This fall, there are five music games coming out in the span of eleven weeks. We reached saturation point on these things long ago, didn't we? Especially with news that Rock Band revenue has been dropping precipitously, you have to wonder who they're still marketing the instruments to. Consumers would be much better off if they released this new games as digital downloads, as well as physical media.

-Sparky Clarkson does one of my favorite things a writer can do: takes a video game seriously. He looks at the storyline versus the mechanics of Red Faction: Guerrilla. I admired this game quite a bit, as you may remember, but it's hard to do anything but smile sheepishly when I read a criticism like this:
Although 'guerillas' often show up when you need a hand, nobody ever attacks a convoy or hijacks a truck without your assistance, this despite the EDF's tactic of regularly sending lightly-protected, high-value convoys to destroyed bases in territories it no longer controls.

That's dead-on. It's the sort of thing you can ignore when the gameplay succeeds on its own terms, as this game's does. But Sparky is right that the world of Red Faction is not one that is believable in its own right, not in the way that something like Far Cry 2 or Fallout 3 was (my comparisons, not his). Still a blast, though!

1 comment:

Gravey said...

I never did figure out why the arms dealer in FC2 was so intent on disrupting his competition. He runs the only game in town, and those trucks only drove in destination-less circles anyway.