Well damn, I wasn't "raptured." Guess I didn't believe in it enough. …cool, that means I get to play more L.A. Noire !

Fresh new IPs vs. awesome sequels

I have a ton of respect for Platinum Games and their continued drive to produce refreshing new titles , and I further applaud Sega's accommodation as a publisher. I also agree that there are too many sequels and spin-offs today. However, very much unlike the movie industry, our franchises tend to get better and better with time. Of course, most of that is due to the ever-increasing quality of the technology, so of course we can always do more with every new iteration of a particular series title. On top of which, if we look at the greatest games of all time, basically all of them are sequels or at least spawned sequels that are – arguably, of course – better than the original. Doesn't a game like Vanquish deserve a sequel?

I mean, do we really want to miss out on Uncharted 2 (and Uncharted 3 )? What about any purists who would've just said, "eh, leave Uncharted the way it is; it's great so try something else now." The vast majority of the best games every year are sequels or follow-ups or boast familiar names. That being said, if we move too far in one direction, we eventually abandon originality. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we need a good balance…if that's attainable.

…and how hard should our games really be?

There was a time when I was amongst the hardcore gamers who complained about interactive experiences getting too casual; too mainstream…i.e., too easy. But I also wasn't the biggest fan of those controller-snapping games of yesteryear; essentially, arcade games that were never designed to be beaten. Furthermore, as I get older, gaming becomes more and more about relaxation. I still get that good old-fashioned sense of accomplishment upon completing a specific challenge, but I'm just not that interested in killing myself to complete a certain level, or something. This is why I'm a little leery about the new Ridge Racer Unbounded , considering what developer Bugbear had to say about gamers wanting tougher experiences . I don't necessarily disagree, but how far will they take it…?

Again, I'm talking about striking a balance. Some will say games have gotten too easy but I don't necessarily side with that viewpoint. For the most part, I find most games to be well-paced with sufficient challenges; enough to keep me entertained, at any rate. No, I don't really need that hair-tearing difficulty anymore. In reality, I don't think we ever "needed" it. We just got used to it.

Personal gaming update

Obviously, it's all about L.A. Noire , which really is one of my favorite games of the year. People can make a variety of complaints concerning the control and driving but in all honesty, I really don't care enough to complain. But I made all that clear in the review; also be on the lookout for my video commentary, which should go up very soon. I kind of want to savor the rest of this game so I'll take my time; in the meantime, I'll see if I can finish Final Fantasy IV on the PSP and try to get a Puzzle Agent review done (now that the PSN is back).

I had plenty of fun with MotorStorm: Apocalypse , by the way. It's recommended if you're an off-road racing fan. Lastly, be on the lookout for new announcements and new features…

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