Mad Mack: Six New Games Worth Getting Excited About
It is a pretty good time for video games at the moment, with a number of highly-anticipated sequels hitting shelves soon. Well, it is sort of a good time, as long as you can accept that we are moving towards a game singularity made up entirely of Mario, Zelda, Halo and Final Fantasy knock-offs (I am sure the posters advertising Final Fantasy 27 in Human Revolution were supposed to be a joke, but it just made me shudder).
So, because this website is too tight to actually supply me with any new games, and because I have other things to do (like have sex and drink beer and stuff), I have not actually got my hands on Dead Island or Space Marine, so instead I am going to look forward to some future games that I may or may not play (FYI I feel like I got burned with the paltry four levels of Left 4 Dead 1 and 2, so it will take quite some convincing to make me part with my cash for another zombie game – who the fuck are they to charge me £40 for two short games and then charge me more for the DLC? Blow me Valve).
So, below are 6 games that have managed to arouse a modicum of interest out of me, a number of games that may have some potential and a handful that I hope will never see the light of day. Some of the good ones may just suck dick, and a few of the bad ones may actually have some merit beyond making the flashing square thing in the corner of your room make different noises.
Gears of War 3 – Released 20th Sept 2011
The GoW franchise is almost as synonymous with the Xbox brand as the Halo franchise. I for one have found myself at odds with the previous two GoW games. On the one hand, there are few things in this world as satisfying as carving something in half with a chainsaw in a video game (except, you know, sex with another real person), but on the other hand the characters are annoying (except for Terry Tate), the story makes about as much sense as a bottle of crisps (seriously, are they on Earth or what?) and the actions of the NPC humans and military forces make me wonder how they lasted more than 30 seconds after the bad guys emerged. I also have trouble with how bland the landscape and vehicles are, being basically various shades of grey and brown, though I will grudgingly accept that they are being true to form in the design of their post apocalyptic wastelands, and there is not much room at the end of the world for the gay roller assault vehicle.
That said, I am excited about this game – the trailers have promised me lots of haunting music, deadened sounds and tragic last stands – and I just love that shit.
Batman: Arkham City – Released 11th Oct 2011
After the success of Arkham Asylum, there are sky-high expectations for the new game. The original’s combat was fluid and instinctive, and you really got the feeling that every blow you struck on an enemy rattled their teeth and eventually knocked them the fuck out. There was a good balance struck between platforming, exploration, stealth and combat. Despite the whole game being spent in an area smaller than your mum’s ass (oh no he di-nt), the levels were suitably varied (well, as varied as concrete, glass and grass can be). So given the quality evident in the first game, there is every chance that the sequel will be equally entertaining.
Of course it could be utterly shit. I will offer that there will be an inverse correlation between the number of brutish enemies that you have to convince to knock themselves out on a wall and the overall quality of the game. And that ‘Detective Vision’ bullshit where you have to follow clouds of smoke in the air – bitch please.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Released November 11th 2011
I may actually consider giving up my day job for this. I cannot express how much I am looking forward to this game. Morrowind was one of the most spectacular games I ever played, and by all accounts Skyrim is set to exceed it in every respect (I played Oblivion, but it did not quite tickle me the same way Morrowind did). Skyrim is set to deliver up to and over 300 hours of gameplay. Now, I will never actually play anything for 300 hours, but I reckon I will be able to give 3 or 4 days of my life in entirety to it and consider myself satisfied.
Bethesda just need to make sure they have got the balance thing sorted out, and make sure that 290 out of the promised 300 hours are not variations of ‘go here and fetch/kill/speak to that’. Because that is some weak shit right there.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations – Released 15th Nov 2011
Hmmmmm. This is a tricky one. On the one hand, the first game was pretty good (not great, but I respected what it was trying to do), and its sequel was a decided improvement. But Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was pretty much more of the same. Where is the Feudal Japan they promised us? The ancient Rome? Shit, wasn’t the American civil war or European age of discovery mentioned at one point? But no, once again we are in the Renaissance era. It’s a pretty good era, don’t get me wrong. But with the Borgias now on TV and three fairly similar games already out there, there is just not the same appeal any more (especially with all the titties the Borgias offers). Also that guy Desmond is the type of person who would corner you at a party and proceed tell you all about Magic: The Gathering.
So Ubisoft, the onus is on you. Make Desmond, the man in the future (or present day or whenever) have more personality than a bowl of mashed potatoes and throw in some genuine variety and gameplay innovations and you might be on to a winner.
Seriously – this franchise is in real danger of sucking a lot of dick. Be careful Ubisoft.
Ninja Gaiden 3 – Released Early 2012
I fucking loved the first Ninja Gaiden remake on the Xbox. While playing I could forget that I more closely resembled a bag of wet cement and semen than I did a death-dealing, wall-jumping, magic-using, demon-slaying, tank-destroying ninja warrior as I executed 30 hit combos on squads of demons and soldiers and demon soldiers. I loved how one minute you could be using a sword to kill ghosts and demons, and using a bow and arrows to destroy tanks and gunships the next without missing a beat. The setting was a delightful mish-mash of settings and time periods, the enemies were varied and interesting, and there was just enough exploration and free roaming to keep it fresh.
Then I played Ninja Gaiden 2, and discovered the claws. And realised that I could now die satisfied.
However, Team Ninja, please, please ensure the camera does what it is supposed to and you know, actually shows us what is going on, and don’t throw in dick moves like bosses that explode when they die and kill you unless you are holding the block move. Shit like that winds people right up.
And for anyone reading this, if the game is too hard for you, don’t moan. It makes you sound like a pussy. Just accept that you ain’t shit and move on.
Mass Effect 3 – Released March 2012
I have mentioned in a previous article that I consider Mass Effect 2 to be the gaming equivalent of the Second Coming of Christ. If this is the case, then Mass Effect 3 should be my equivalent of the rapture. Now, this has the possibility to go both ways. Either the rapture could lead me to Scarlett Johansson Land, complete with the Bisexual river beside the Cocaine Fountain, or the Mormons could turn out to be right and the afterlife is utter bollocks (I may be labouring this analogy a bit too much – what I am trying to say is that ME3 could be mega or could be a more crushing disappointment than the time I realised that threesomes were nowhere near as common as I had been led to believe. By porn. A lot of porn).
So what is looking good about it? Well they are bringing back some of the RPG elements that were missing from the second but were a little bit over-egged in the first (weapon customisation more resembled collecting Pokemon cards than it did shopping for awesome), and many of the decisions from the first two games will have an impact on the outcome of the third, with storylines being (hopefully) nicely summed up. With any luck there will be a starting state carrying over a save that is continuous from the first two games that actually makes it impossible to win the game from the outset – you know, killed the Rachni queen, killed Wrex, destroyed the collector base and caused the whole squad to die in the final battle (spoiler alert by the way, though if you have not already played the ME games by now you are not likely to do so off the back of this shittatribe) etc. etc.
So why am I concerned? Well, in a developer interview, it was mentioned that they were putting more of an emphasis and focus on action and combat to make it appeal to a wider audience. This is the sort of shit that ruins good, rich games. The complex elements that require a bit of time and effort to get to grips with are omitted and other features that are pressing the hot buttons on this week’s demographic study of 16-24 year old males are crammed in:
‘Hey, kids these days like Portal – shove in a cake reference. Fuck, let’s make a whole side mission filled with cake-based humour.’
‘Jesus Bob, you are a genius. Pass me the cocaine’
Bioware, I really like Mass Effect. Please don’t fuck it up. I do not want to play Gears of Mass Effect, so don’t make it an over-the-shoulder shooter with RPG elements. Keep it as an RPG game with a complex and engaging story with realistic and interesting characters. I implore you.
I would also like to make some honourable mentions:
ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD – A deviation from the normal game format, I respect these games for trying something new and different. They deserve a shot at HD glory, especially since setting and atmosphere are central to the game enjoyment.
Rise of Nightmares – About fucking time Kinect got a game that wasn’t for housewives and teenage girls. It is about zombies of course, but hey, baby steps people.
Sonic Generations – Only because I find the idea of a hedgehog off his tits on PCP hilarious, and because it was that very same hedgehog that made me fall in love with computer games. It will probably be shit though.
And of course, there are games which I cannot help but feel will suck an enormous amount of dick:
Anything by Nintindo – Let’s see, a new Mario game (Mario 3D land), a new Zelda (Skyward Sword) and of course a new Mario Kart (Mario Kart 7). Fuck me Nintendo, can you not please just pretend that you actually still give a shit? You have had some good games in your time, and I know that most of the anticipated games above are sequels, but Jesus, get some new IP. Was Rocky any good after Rocky III? Was Rambo? (Rambo 4 was pretty kick ass to be fair). Look at any horror franchise and see how dogshit they become once they get past the second sequel. So just cut it out Nintendo. Seven is rarely a good number to come after a product title (and we all know the Kart franchise has not really progressed since Mario Kart 64 anyway).
Any sports franchise update (Fifa 12, WWE 12 etc.) – I refuse to believe that the technology has advanced in any meaningful way to justify paying full whack for a game that is essentially the same as last year’s game but with the names moved around a bit. I actually enjoy football games, but within each franchise and the same console generation there is just not enough development to justify any excitement about them, and certainly not enough to justify paying for them.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – Ultimate: Adjective: Being or happening at the end of a process; final: “their ultimate aim was to force his resignation”. If ‘Ultimate’ implies that is occurs at the end, then how can you have any sequels to a game with ‘Ultimate’ in its title huh? Explain that one to me Capcom.
Halo: Anniversary – Oh fuck off Microsoft. I already paid you for this once. Don’t even think about charging full whack for a game that is 10 years old and is (in the words of the dev team) the exact same in every respect to the original, right down to the option to switch from the 360 HD graphics to the original Xbox graphics. Awesome. I get to be reminded of a shittier, blockier time – when will people realise that retro games are, in general, pretty shit? I loved Halo back then, and I enjoyed the franchise right up to and including Reach. But Halo: Anniversary? Seriously, fuck yourselves.
Just Dance 3 – Oh fuck off.
So there it is – a list of games I am excited about, some that I am looking forward to, and some that I hope never see the light of day due to the game development team all simultaneously getting hit by a train.
I am going to be at the Eurogamer Expo in Earl’s Court, London, on Saturday and Sunday 24th and 25th respectively. If anyone is about and wants to meet the big dog, then please email me at email@example.com
Dave McConkey is off to take PCP with Sonic The Hedgehog. Mad Mack continues next week…