It's Quiet…Too Quiet

This past week came off with a variety of good news. In fact, it
may have been one of the very few weeks where the PS3 wasn't
blamed for running over somebody's dog, or chopping down an
apple-tree, or stealing Christmas, or robbing a suitcase worth of
Little Mermaid Limited Edition Disney DVDs, or robbing a bank.
Yes, I know, it's hard to believe…but the week of January 28th
seemed soft in terms of firepower. This lack of talking 'ish'
allowed us to concentrate on a variety of new big-name sequels
being announced for next-gen consoles.

2K Pigskin. Kosher?

The week's most exciting news probably comes from the 2K Sports
camp, as Visual Concepts made an official announcement that 2K
Football will be coming back and better than ever. GameSpot's
conducted Q&A session demonstrated an underlying tone from
Greg Thomas that insinuated EA's days are numbered. With the NBA
crown in their possession, the gang at VC has got their sights
set on taking over the pigskin helm once and for all. While we're
uncertain about what sidesteps VC will be taking to deliver a
faithful experience in All-Pro Football 2K8, we have high hopes
for the game and only the utmost trust in Visual Concepts. Midway
proved with Blitz that you don't need to have realism to
sell…but since VC has a bone to pick with EA, you can bet your
bottom dollar that unprecedented realism is what All-Pro Football
2K8 will be aiming for.

Holy Crap! I Made a Hole to China!

The second good news bit is that THQ announced a new Red Faction
title. Now, last week I made some comments about the FPS genre
(that I still stand by), but I have to admit my interest in a
next-gen Red Faction game has been piqued. Red Faction did
something fairly original on the PS2, in that it allowed for the
real-time destruction of the environments around you. But with
the limitations of the PS2, the destructions were also limited in
certain aspects. So with the PS3, the potential for something on
a large scale is quite vast.

Give Me The Bow and Arrow. Hold Onto to the
Flamethrower…

And there's also Turok, which I wrote a preview of some days
ago…if the final product comes out looking as good as the
shots, and playing as well as Buena Vista Games suggests, then
check that as another FPS game I'm looking forward to. The
stealth elements are what really intrigue me, being that they're
a little reminiscent of Far Cry. Besides, who wouldn't want to
snipe some baddies or even dinos behind shrubbery using a bow and
arrow? The whole 'silent killer' concept has me running through
various ideas in my head already, and I can't wait to try out
some of them in the game. Of course if you're all about the
run-and-gun, then meet your friend Mr. Flamethrower.

Spiking the Punch…

People are worried about PS3 sales in Japan, as the console's
performance is landing Sony a mere average of 20k units sold per
week. For reference, the PS2 is averaging about the same, the PSP
is close to 30k units, Wii is roughly 80k, and the DS is
somewhere in the heavens where it doesn't matter for the little
dual screen wonder. Sales of the PS3 hardware should begin to
jump quite a bit very shortly, though. With the upcoming release
of Virtua Fighter 5, and others, new AAA software will finally
give consumers a reason to purchase a PS3. Where as up until now
the PS3 wouldn't have got much use from the Japanese gamers, the
upcoming software boost should surely cure that and spike the
sales of the console. Virtua Fighter 5 will lead off the spike,
and Namco-Bandai/Koei's highly anticipated Gundam Musou will
surely keep that momentum going. Now we just have to wait to see
what each publisher has lined up for March and onward.

My Wallet Hurts. Cure it, Sony!

Sony talking about potential price-drops has got me really
curious. The sales of the console are satisfactory for now, but
being the most expensive one isn't always a great thing. There
are a number of approaches Sony could go with the price-drop. If
they drop it by $50, they can include a free PSN game (GripShift
would be the best), or controller – or both. And they can also
add a nice little label on the box that says something to the
effect of: "Free Online Network: No Need to Pay!" That
alone should drive sales quicker, seeing as how the average
customer isn't aware of things like that. But the ideal situation
would be to drop the price by $100 sometime close to October
(that way early adopters don't feel ripped off), and head into
the holiday season with a new price-tag on the box. Either one of
the two moves should greatly benefit the PS3's sales, and if Sony
ends up catering to the customer's needs more so than Microsoft
and Nintendo can…they'll come out on top immediately.

A Fantasy That Isn't So Final…Har har har.

I've contemplated re-starting Final Fantasy X for whatever
reason. Actually, I told Ben I blamed him for my soon-to-be-made
decision, seeing as how often him and I talk about the franchise.
It's the reason why Final Fantasy has become a re-occurring
staple in each one of our weekly editorials. In any case, I've
suddenly formed an addiction to excessively boosting my RPG
characters' levels just so they could deal as much damage as they
possibly could. I spent countless hours doing that in FFXII (and
I'm replaying FFXII yet again, by the way…) and I want to spend
countless hours doing the same in FFX. I guess it's fun to have
these gargantuanly (yay, made up another new word!) powerful
characters just break through every single foe in a game. And
it's certainly not cheating, seeing as how it's no quick process
amounting the levels. Is it cheating when a boxer trains for a
match much more than a boxer who doesn't? No. Same concept.

Until next week.

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