April 6 - April 10

You'd think Nintendo could be bothered to release something worth a damn to go along with the DSi. I suppose someone out there is interested in Rhythm Heaven, because god knows it's been a long time since we've seen a game where you interact with the hardware in time with music. At this point my animosity toward the DS in general is getting out of hand, and I recognize that. I don't know why I am so grumpy at the hardware, perhaps because it showed such promise in its formative years, and then just became a platform for whatever Activision could whip up over a weekend. I am intensely skeptical that I will really ever be back on the handheld gaming bandwagon anyway.

On the topic of skepticism, I brought a full bucketfull of it to the announcement of the Chronicles of Riddick remake that releases this week. They've turned me 180 on that skepticism, and even if I had bought the previous Riddick game -- I did not -- I would be seriously considering this upgrade. It's a two-fer. If you've never played Escape From Butcher Bay, after putting in your pennance you should run, don't walk, to the store and slap your money right down on the table. I suspect that the remake may be worth the price of admission alone. I can only hope that the new campaign, Assault on Dark Athena equals the 2004 awesomeness.

Never in a thousand years would I imagine that I'd be this interested in a game based on a character from the hack 2000 popcorn sci-fi flick, Pitch Black. Still, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena gets my nod for Game of the Week. Also of note, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor.

PC
- Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor
- DCS: Black Shark
- Elven Legacy
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
- The Godfather 2

PS2
- Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus

PS3
- Hannah Montana: The Movie
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
- The Godfather 2

Xbox360
- Hannah Montana: The Movie
- Ninja Blade
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
- The Godfather 2

PSP
- Dragonball Evolution
- Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus
- Hammerin' Hero

DS
- Professor Heinz Wolff's Gravity
- Rhythm Heaven

Wii
- Hannah Montana: The Movie
- Professor Heinz Wolff's Gravity

Comments

Riddick!

eeeeeee!!

"Wanna live? Get a shiv." Words to live by from the first Riddick game.

Oh lord, I hope this will run okay on my computer. I never got to play the original, though I tried forever. Stupid Radeon card.

Here's hoping!

Shouldn't you start adding the iPhone games to these lists?

As far as Riddick goes, I'd hold off a bit on purchasing. Tom Chick isn't enthusiastic about it which to me is a red flag:
http://fidgit.com/archives/2009/04/a...

Nice to see a concurrent PC release with Riddick. Seems like the AAA stuff is more and more delayed jumping from consoles to PCs.

Elven Legacy looks fairly interesting. Is it turn-based or RTS? I haven't heard anything about it.

Tom Chick isn't enthusiastic about it which to me is a red flag:

Tom Chick is a terrific writer and honest source. However, his preferences almost never align with mine, so while I appreciate his input I find it rarely useful.

You'd think Nintendo could be bothered to release something worth a damn to go along with the DSi. I suppose someone out there is interested in Rhythm Heaven, because god knows it's been a long time since we've seen a game where you interact with the hardware in time with music. At this point my animosity toward the DS in general is getting out of hand, and I recognize that. I don't know why I am so grumpy at the hardware, perhaps because it showed such promise in its formative years, and then just became a platform for whatever Activision could whip up over a weekend. I am intensely skeptical that I will really ever be back on the handheld gaming bandwagon anyway.

I think it's fine to acknowledge that something "isn't for you" anymore, but I also think you're completely misrepresenting where the DS library is. The last few months have seen some excellent releases for the system - GTA Chinatown Wars, Henry Hatsworth, Trackmania, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, Big Bang Mini, Dragon Quest V, Retro Game Challenge, Moon, others I'm sure I'm forgetting - none of which can fairly be labeled "whatever Activision could whip up over a weekend". And that's just in the last few months - 2008 as a whole had a ton of great original DS content, and while I'm not terribly familiar with the rest of the 2009 lineup it certainly hasn't disappointed me so far. There's more out there than I have money to buy or time to play.

So yeah, I think objectively your statement that you're off the handheld gaming bandwagon is fine (and as you say, apparent, since you've been pretty down on it for awhile now), but to claim there isn't quality software coming out for it just isn't true.

As for Rhythm Heaven, it isn't a game I would automatically buy, but it is getting pretty great reviews, and there is absolutely a difference in the vibe I get from a music game like Guitar Hero or Rock Band and the vibe I get from something like Elite Beat Agents, so another game in that 2nd category is totally welcome in my book.

Minarchist wrote:

Elven Legacy looks fairly interesting. Is it turn-based or RTS? I haven't heard anything about it.

Turn based. It's the sequel to Fantasy Wars, which was basically a reskinned Fantasy General.

The last few months have seen some excellent releases for the system - GTA Chinatown Wars, Henry Hatsworth, Trackmania, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, Big Bang Mini, Dragon Quest V, Retro Game Challenge, Moon, others I'm sure I'm forgetting - none of which can fairly be labeled "whatever Activision could whip up over a weekend".

No, you're right. I've been entirely unfair against the DS lately. I think part of that is the quality to noise ratio, it tends to be exceptionally high on both the DS and Wii. I'm not sure I agree personally with much of your list, but I do recognize I'm not the final arbiter of quality and clearly others are getting some happy-jolly-funtime.

Turn based. It's the sequel to Fantasy Wars, which was basically a reskinned Fantasy General.

I hate to admit how much I am intrigued.

Minarchist wrote:

Elven Legacy looks fairly interesting. Is it turn-based or RTS? I haven't heard anything about it.

Elven Legacy is a good but not great Turn-based Strategy game.

GamersGate had 'Fantasy Wars' on sale this weekend for $8 - might still be in effect. That is the prequel to this one and offers pretty much the same experience.

As for the DS, I think it had perhaps the best library of releases in 2008, but also the greatest amount of shovelware. But the attitude taken is much like PC gamers who hate consoles for the singular reason of the perceived impact of consoles on PC releases.

I have been really looking forward to Riddick. I never picked it up for the original xbox, I really wanted to but just never seemed to get around to it. So now I get to play that game all prettied up and a new campaign to boot. I already downloaded the demo and thought it was pretty good.

Elysium wrote:
Tom Chick isn't enthusiastic about it which to me is a red flag:

Tom Chick is a terrific writer and honest source. However, his preferences almost never align with mine, so while I appreciate his input I find it rarely useful.

Hmm, I'm going to have to start paying attention & compare what the two of you say about the same games...since my gaming time is limited I rely on GWJ to help me maximize that time by only playing really great titles. But the events of late give me pause; first you're down on Fallout 3, then The Witcher, then every time I listen to the podcast you're waxing poetic about some tedious strategy game...I mean, Birth of America sounds to me like a way to recapture all the excitement and glory of learning about Samuel Gompers & Eli Whitney in 6th grade history class.

What gives, Elysium? Is this some kind of trick, trying to see if you can get us to agree with you, only so that you can prove that we have no ability to discern gaming quality? Like one of those jerk poetry professors, who asks grad students to critique terrible poems, just so that he can later rip their work to shreds in a book?

I'm on to you, man.

Elysium wrote:
Tom Chick isn't enthusiastic about it which to me is a red flag:

Tom Chick is a terrific writer and honest source. However, his preferences almost never align with mine, so while I appreciate his input I find it rarely useful.

Also, in that post he gives absolutely no basis as to why he thought it was a 'bad game.' If it has the same mechanics and atmosphere as the original with twice the content then I'm sold.

I think Flock is out this week as well, that looked pretty cool.

Did anyone played the Riddick demo? I was really excited about the game, since I loved EFBB. But, after playing the demo...

Some things were really off. The textures seemed mostly bland and the level on Dark Athena without much to look at. And the gameplay wasn't as tight as I remembered it.

EDIT: Thought AoDA was already released, since I already saw some reviews for it, but I'm mistaken. Anyway, ain't too hot about it. I hope to listen something regarding it in the conf. call.

There have been many games so far this year that I've been interested in, but they have all been "I'll get it later" games. Riddick may be the first one I pick up as soon as I see it on the shelf.

I got quite far in the original and have been meaning to restart for a while. To do it again with current graphics will be sweet, if my system can handle.

Riddick has "Eventual Steam Sale Pickup" written all over it for me. I'm interested on it based on the positive word of mouth alone - and that's not enough to warrant Day 1. Oh well, still tons of pile games to be played!

How long until we see a full-fledged article on the growing frustration towards Nintendo? I'm half joking with that comment. As much of a Nintendo fan(boy) I am, I find myself saddened by what is happening on their platforms and how they have not done a whole lot to serve their long-time fans. I'm fine with lots of the casual stuff, but not at the expense of the traditional game types.

Elysium wrote:

No, you're right. I've been entirely unfair against the DS lately. I think part of that is the quality to noise ratio, it tends to be exceptionally high on both the DS and Wii.

Isn't that always a problem with Nintendo, especially with their handhelds? There was a lot of great titles for the GBA 5 years ago, but you would have known it walking into your local Mal-mart. The GBA case always seemed full of Barbie, Dora, and various Nick cartoon tie-ins.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

I'm fine with lots of the casual stuff, but not at the expense of the traditional game types.

I think the problem is that it takes much less time to rustle up a cheap, casual game than it does to make the next zelda (and by looking at the DS zeldas it now takes less time to make a zelda).

Also, i wish to reiterate my dislike of Tom Chick and i'm worried about his continued subversion of GWJ from both the users and the podcasters..... :/

Second also, i will be buying Riddick when it is released here.

Trachalio wrote:
Elysium wrote:

No, you're right. I've been entirely unfair against the DS lately. I think part of that is the quality to noise ratio, it tends to be exceptionally high on both the DS and Wii.

Isn't that always a problem with Nintendo, especially with their handhelds? There was a lot of great titles for the GBA 5 years ago, but you would have known it walking into your local Mal-mart. The GBA case always seemed full of Barbie, Dora, and various Nick cartoon tie-ins.

Yeah that's certainly true. They're also the same games you can see on the end of aisles (aka leftovers).

I like to think Elysium's view is based primarily on the lack of Nintendo releases for the DS. A new Mario platformer would shatter any amount of noise created by Bratz et al. I suppose that's what the new Zelda was supposed to do, but that drew a rather large yawn imho.

Duoae wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:

I'm fine with lots of the casual stuff, but not at the expense of the traditional game types.

I think the problem is that it takes much less time to rustle up a cheap, casual game than it does to make the next zelda (and by looking at the DS zeldas it now takes less time to make a zelda).

And more importantly, much less money. Those games exist because they're so cheap that they can be a financial success at 20,000 units, whereas a AAA title can sell a million units and still conceivably lose money.

I think the shovelware is much more notable in our industry, as well, because it's so much smaller. Every week here at GWJ Elysium makes a list of every purchasable game that's coming out for every platform. I get to see EMI's full release schedule each week, which is the smallest of the four major record labels, and it's pages and pages long. Industry-wide? I don't think such a thing even exists; it would be far too unwieldy (maybe SoundScan, but no one would want that data). Music, books and movies have grown large enough as an industry that you couldn't possibly note all the "shovelware" products even if you wanted to; here, we're reminded of them every week.

Yay for more Company of Heroes! Now Relic just needs to get moving on a full sequel, using their pretty new DOW2 engine.

Minarchist wrote:

Good observation on mass media.

So what you're saying is that if i release a crappy album recorded just in my own time and using my own equipment that i'll make megabucks?

Minarchist wrote:

Music, books and movies have grown large enough as an industry that you couldn't possibly note all the "shovelware" products even if you wanted to; here, we're reminded of them every week.

I would assume that 50 years from now we'll be having this situation happen with games as well. You could make the argument that this is already happening with the PC; look at how many flash games are out on places like Kongregate.

Trachalio wrote:

You could make the argument that this is already happening with the PC; look at how many flash games are out on places like Kongregate.

The difference is that you don't have to pay for them

I have to admit that i don't think this will be the case. The games industry has effectively two segments: cheap/free and hugely expensive/OMFG i'm going to die in this money/time pit.

They both are more like the movie/recording industry: the first segment covers the amateur stuff and the second covers movies (both indie and mainstream). In the book/music markets, it's relatively inexpensive (in both expertise and production) to be able to produce something that can be considered good or great.... being able to produce a game isn't quite like that and nor is TV/film production.

Duoae wrote:

So what you're saying is that if i release a crappy album recorded just in my own time and using my own equipment that i'll make megabucks?

With the right marketing, yeah.

DS
Rhythm Heaven

The fact that this one comes out in the US is a small miracle. Get it, people, it's like Rhythm WarioWare, totally crazy and awesome at the same time.

Minarchist wrote:

And more importantly, much less money. Those games exist because they're so cheap that they can be a financial success at 20,000 units, whereas a AAA title can sell a million units and still conceivably lose money.

I think the shovelware is much more notable in our industry, as well, because it's so much smaller. Every week here at GWJ Elysium makes a list of every purchasable game that's coming out for every platform. I get to see EMI's full release schedule each week, which is the smallest of the four major record labels, and it's pages and pages long. Industry-wide? I don't think such a thing even exists; it would be far too unwieldy (maybe SoundScan, but no one would want that data). Music, books and movies have grown large enough as an industry that you couldn't possibly note all the "shovelware" products even if you wanted to; here, we're reminded of them every week.

So are you saying that the shovelware is indicative of a growing and maturing industry? I personally think it's a bit premature, if anything. There's too much cannibalization happening. One thing is pushing something else out, when they really should co-exist. Some games make me think there's a movement to push back, but it's from the small guys, which has been covered here before.
And like Duoae said, the next DS Zelda is one example of what I'm seeing. It will almost definitely be a fun game, but it looks like such a cheap cash in after playing Phantom Hourglass. I mean, they even kept the cannon thing. It doesn't help that I found the ship to be the part I wish was cut from Phantom Hourglass.