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Ben’s Week In Review: April 15

Well, I'm gonna be on vacation next week, so you had best get your Week in Review fill now, gamer fans. I know you can't live without the update every weekend, but I'm sure you'll survive. …somehow. 🙂

Double Agent is great, but not the greatest

I've been a huge fan of the series ever since the original came out five years ago, so I was more excited than most to play Double Agent . But as it turns out, despite the fact I still had a blast with it – as expected – I must say Chaos Theory remains the best installment in the franchise. Splinter Cell: Double Agent tries a little too hard, I think. All they really needed to do was create another storyline with an accompanying set of missions; this whole "double agent" theme, while a damn good idea in principle, almost seems to get in the way. It's like, just let me play the game I know and love!

Even so, I must say it's fantastic for those who enjoy stealth games. It remains the only true stealth experience out there (unless you want to go back to the Thief games), because I've always considered MGS to be a blend of fantasy, action, an amazing storyline, and stealth. I do believe SC has better and more realistic gameplay, and while a different focus, sometimes that's the way to go.

You just can't imagine how bad it really was…

I'm referring, of course, to SnoCross 2: Featuring Blair Morgan . It was one giant laugh-fest from front to back; I haven't played a game that bad in years. I can think of only two that might've been worse, and those are Driven and Army Men: Green Rogue . It's one of those times when you have to wonder: how on earth can we have something like God of War II one month and something like this piece of filth the next? I understand all about budgets and developer talent and the intentions of the publisher and all that…but even so, just because you're making a "budget" title doesn't necessarily mean it's supposed to be trash, does it?

Sure, I expect lesser production value and polish, but you can still make a fun game for $20, can't you? I know they can. They did it with Katamari Damacy and Beyond Good & Evil . So it can be done. Then again, I would kinda miss trash like SnoCross 2 . Really, I've never laughed harder at a game.

Sony expected to rebound in a big way

So the latest analyst word is that Sony should enjoy an absolutely massive turnaround in the coming financial year. A 500% increase in operating profit? I never really had much doubt the ship would right itself once the PS3 got some decent games – and they're right around the corner – but this is just crazy. Sony stock is higher than it's been in five years, too. I guess the great European launch helped, as did those LCD HD sales in North America, but it's great to learn the games division will also rebound. After all, it's unlikely the entire corporation could ever be in real trouble, but individual divisions can be an issue. Look at Microsoft's game division: they have yet to turn a profit!

But it's all about the long-term. Microsoft expects their game division to turn their first profit in 2008, which is only one year away. And Sony maintains their claim that the PS3 has a ten-year lifespan. So it's never a good idea to guess at the future in this industry…just far too risky.

Okay, now you're just messing with us

So first, you go and tempt us with the anticipation of the Island of Rhodes website. Then, it turns out to be nothing more than some developer commentary (which is kinda cool in its own right, but still). Then , there's this hidden countdown ? Aw, now you're really just messing with us, Sony. What exactly is such big news that you have to be this sneaky and melodramatic? Doesn't the God of War name carry enough "oomph" already? And besides, I'm willing to bet it's not anything we wouldn't normally expect, like the official announcement of God of War III for the PS3. I mean, Jaffe himself has said that's coming, anyway.

Honestly, I'm still basking in the glow of the greatness of GoW II, so I'm not really chomping at the bit to discover the secret. I'm a fan, so I'll be interested, but I'm not planning my week around it.

Personal Gaming Update

Considering I'll be away next week, I won't be playing much of anything, but as I'm basically done with Double Agent , I bypassed the idea of replaying Final Fantasy VII or Final Fantasy Tactics and picked up Kingdom Hearts II for the reasonable Greatest Hits price of $20. I never got around to playing this sequel, but I did enjoy the original (although I wasn't as enamored with it as other people were). I actually never finished it, but there was a reason…no, I swear, there was a good reason! Meh…I don't have to explain myself to you. Anyway, I'm hoping KH II turns out to be good. It was either that or Xenosaga III , but I simply couldn't find the latter anywhere .

I'm also still playing Amplitude and Hot Shots Golf: Fore! here and there, just because they're so much fun. Oh, and Val and I have been playing more of Resistance online. It's great fun. If any forum members want to join us, let me know. 🙂

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