August 2nd - August 6th

Cheating? Yeah, sort of. Until you look at this week's release list. Then you realize that there just ain't much to talk about, so making Starcraft 2 the Game of the Week two weeks in a row makes a little more sense.

I promise not to go back to this well again, but when some of the other options include a Chuck E. Cheese game and Dora the Explorer, it's not like I'll be playing anything else this week. I believe a number of you could likely make a solid argument for Monster Rancher DS, but I have to be true to who I am, and right now who I am is an unapologetic fan.

It is also worth noting that Castlevania: Harmony of Despair and Earthworm Jim HD hit Ex Bee El Ay and Pee Ess En (XBLA & PSN) respectively. Besides that, it may just be a good week to save your money.

PS3
- Disney Sing It: Family Hits

Wii
- Chuck E Cheese's: Party Games
- Disney Sing It: Family Hits

DS
- Dora the Explorer: Dora's Big Birthday Adventure
- Monster Rancher DS

Coming Soon -
- Mafia 2 (PC, 360, PS3) : August 24
- Metroid Other M : August 31
- DC Universe Online : November 2
- Kinect : November 4
- Little Big Planet 2 : November 16

Comments

No, you're right for sure. I was one of the folks who professed no interest at all in Starcraft II, but somehow a copy ended up in my house. I think I blacked out or something. And it turns out it's really good. Really-eat-my-hat good. I didn't expect them in the least to sell me on one game, and now I think they may have gone and sold me on three. Well played, Blizzard.

SC2 is fun. It's an older style of RTS, but it works and I like it.

I think Starcraft 2 may be my game of the week until The Witcher 2 comes out. I've lost interest in every other PC release of 2010.

I may get over my infatuation, but I can't see it happening.

I think SC2 is going to end up beating out Mass Effect 2 and Mario Galaxy 2 for my game of the year so far.

This is the first time in a long time I've beaten the main single player content in a game and haven't even thought about moving onto the next game in my big ol' pile of shame. The multi player is going to keep me busy for quite some time.

I think you should make it TF2, just for fun. It still draws twenty or more goodjers every single night. And you don't have to buy it in three parts!

Mafia 2 is going to be such a tease. Part of me hopes it sucks because I don't have a good enough PC to run it (probably).

Which leads to a question: why aren't XBLA and PSN on the standard release lists? Not that I have access to either one, I'm just being pedantic.

You could do this for the rest of this month, and probably most of September too and I would agree with you every time.

GenCon is my game of the week. Potentially that new Ravenloft board game, in particular.

The Game of the Week is a lie!

Gremlin wrote:

why aren't XBLA and PSN on the standard release lists? Not that I have access to either one, I'm just being pedantic.

I'm guessing it's because they aren't available for purchase at Amazon.

Speaking of XBLA/PSN games, I don't think it's fair to award GotW to a HD remake of an old game last week, then deny GotW the very next week when not one, but two new games are being released that are HD remakes of old games. When looking at what else is actually being released this week, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair deserves the honor IMO.

My game of the week is Hide the Salami.

Speaking of XBLA/PSN games, I don't think it's fair to award GotW to a HD remake of an old game last week, then deny GotW the very next week when not one, but two new games are being released that are HD remakes of old games.

Yeah, because that's the same.

Elysium wrote:
Speaking of XBLA/PSN games, I don't think it's fair to award GotW to a HD remake of an old game last week, then deny GotW the very next week when not one, but two new games are being released that are HD remakes of old games.

Yeah, because that's the same.

It goes without saying (which is why I didn't) that SC2 is a "bigger" game than HoD or EWJ HD, but I stand by my point.

I think my game of the week is the August Tournament that started yesterday for Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup.

Thin_J wrote:

You could do this for the rest of this month, and probably most of September too and I would agree with you every time.

Condisdering there are 2 games on the coming soon list, I doubt it. I'm quite looking forward to Metroid: Other, despite being a bit worried about some aspects.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

Condisdering there are 2 games on the coming soon list, I doubt it. I'm quite looking forward to Metroid: Other, despite being a bit worried about some aspects.

For you? Sure, but I'm talking about me up there. I'd have to actively try to care any less than I do about everything on that coming soon list.

Thin_J wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:

Condisdering there are 2 games on the coming soon list, I doubt it. I'm quite looking forward to Metroid: Other, despite being a bit worried about some aspects.

For you? Sure, but I'm talking about me up there. I'd have to actively try to care any less than I do about everything on that coming soon list.

Fair enough. But for me, Metroid is quite an interest and LBP2 is at least a little interesting. I don't even own a PS3 - yet.

I would be interested in Mafia 2 if either a) My PC could run it or 2) I had a console, even then only after a price drop. Other than that, meh.

StarCraft II, game of the week? Pffffffffft! Game of the year!

Minarchist wrote:

I think you should make it TF2, just for fun. It still draws twenty or more goodjers every single night. And you don't have to buy it in three parts! ;)

No kidding. I usually wait for an empty slot on my favorite UK server for 15+ minutes every single night.

Rat Boy wrote:

StarCraft II, game of the week? Pffffffffft! Game of the year!

Just on the fact that saved games reside on the battle net server makes it deserve game of the year!

Starcraft does not deserve to be game of the year. Just Game of the Week... ...for 52 consecutive weeks in a row.

I dunno, I just can't get excited about an RTS that has purposefully stepped back and ditched every progressive update the genre has recieved in the last twelve years. It's unfortunate, too, as I tend to really like Blizzard and their games; I spent the money for collector's editions of Warcraft III and WoW even. But I'm not willing to pay them $10 more than what PC games typically cost (even though I regularly spend $59 on PS3 games) for a retro game with a single faction campaign and some slightly updated graphics.

Just my opinion, and I realize that I'm in the minority.

r013nt0 wrote:

Just my opinion, and I realize that I'm in the minority.

It's a valid opinion, but nearly every RTS I've played since Starcraft has had me saying, 'I wish I was playing Starcraft right now.'

I listened to the latest Jumping the Shark podcast last night and Tom Chick said something pretty funny. Along the lines of, it must be frustrating to be one of the RTS developers that has brought innovation to the genre to see Starcraft 2 sitting there having ignored everything that's been done in the last 12 years.

There have been plenty of interesting and innovative titles, but there's nothing out there now like Starcraft 2.

Scratched wrote:

I have to wonder if Bliz (or another company of similar standing) did a wildly different game than their areas of specialisation, would it still sell on the strength of the company name?

WoW?

That's the curse of any wildly popular game, not just Blizzard's. Change it too much and you're pissing off your fans, too little and it's not the same game. You can't please all the people all the time, with the scales Blizzard deal with they have to please most of the people most of the time.

I have to wonder if Bliz (or another company of similar standing) did a wildly different game than their areas of specialisation, would it still sell on the strength of the company name?

I'd argue that WoW was based off a combination of the WC world and Diablo, not entirely new.

r013nt0:

It depends on what you mean by "progress." The RTS games of the past few years have all been different from the basic SC formula, but I never considered them superior to SC1, especially in terms of competitive play. In fact, I've often come away thinking of all of them as "RTS-lite," or "way too confusing," or some other flaw.

As an example, I played and enjoyed DoW2, but the lack of unit diversity and the basic lack of the element of time in the single player campaigns plus the relatively repetitive nature of the combats often had me risk units just so I could get the mission over with. The level of detail in the models and background also made combat harder to read visually.

The MP mode of DoW2 was... ...opaque. You had resources that were not and bases that were not bases. Unit counters were unclear and the entire thing had a grindy feel. There was no information war, limited hard counters or super-dramatic wins, at least as much as I played of it. It was not designed as a spectator sport.

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Many games that have successful formulas go on to spawn clones that were successful in their own right. I think that the relative lack of excitement in the RTS genre up until SC2 lies in the fact that the makers of all these "innovative" RTS games have innovated the fun right out of their games.

SC1 was, and still is, a very fun game to play and watch. In order to come up with a fun derivative product, you need to ask not "What don't I like about this game?" because that's liable to just get you a product that doesn't have something you didn't like, but which may not have things that you or other people did like. You need to ask, "What about this game DO I like?"

Examples of very healthy game types that are popular throughout the world that have been derived from basic RTS tropes is DOTA-type games, and Tower Defense games. DOTA takes the macro out of the game completely and focuses on unit micro-control exclusively, almost like a mini-WoW. That's a compelling competitive game for people who like to micro. Tower Defense does the opposite - it takes the micro out of the game completely and focuses on economic development and gross troop deployment.

I found the scouting game in SC1 and SC2 to also be compelling sub-games. I suppose that a good game could be made out of a more robust, but exclusively information wargame, but that's beyond my expertise.

I heard it observed recently that RTS games have been taking the strategy out for a while now. SC2 brings it all right back.

Unlike a lot of modern RTS' it is like juggling live cats, that are on fire, and covered with shards of glass.

I love it with a passion that is near immoral, but I'm surprised how popular it has been.

LarryC,

I'm not even saying that there need to be large-scale changes to the SC1 formula. And I'd tend to agree with you that the vast majority weren't superior to SC1 as a whole, however certain features were, and Blizzard could have benefited from looking into them.

Take, for example, the ability in the Supreme Commander series (granted, 2 was pretty awful) to zoom extremely far out to get a tactical view of the battle. I played a ton of SupCom 1, (not as much of 2) and I feel positively stifled having a view that ranges from 10 feet off the ground to what feels like 15 feet off the ground.

Another example is the resource gathering in Company of Heroes. The tug of war that you go through guarding and capturing these far-flung points is infinitely more stressful than building an entire base around each mineral or gas deposit you locate. I'm not saying that all resources in SC2 should be handled this way, but it is an interesting play mechanic, and shows that you can be quite successful even when changing a fundamental part of a genre.

So, I don't think Blizzard should have changed everything about Starcraft 2. I went in to the Beta having seen and read that I'd be playing a very similar game to what I played back in the day, and I was actually looking forward to it. But at some point I realized that to me the genre had grown a bit past the confines of the original gameplay design, and it all felt just a bit too samey for my liking.

Or maybe I just want my SupCom tactical view back.

I suppose it comes down to how much you can change a game before it becomes a different game, rather than a development from the original.

To a certain extent SC (1 and 2) does have the concept of territories, but without the explicit capturing and the game showing an area coming up in your colour. Most (all?) maps have more than one spot for resources, so getting a base set down there and harvesting them is the SC equivalent of map control.

There's no right way to develop a game, but each company has to decide what they want their game to be.