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Ben’s Week In Review: June 24

A big week for the PS3 in terms of news, and there are a few other things worth talking about, too. 🙂 But no, I will not be talking about Manhunt 2 . It may not ever come out, and in all honesty, I don't care. I've never cared. Really, with all the great games right around the corner, we're gonna whine about this one? Besides, I'm not even sure I condone such a project in the first place.

PS3 On The "Comeback" Trail

You've probably seen all the news already: U.S. consumers really do care an awful lot about the Blu-Ray feature in the PS3 (and Blu-Ray continues to dominate HD-DVD), Sony expects to see a grand total of 380 games between now and March 2008 (200 standard, 180 downloadable), and Sony chairman Howard Stringer must've enjoyed telling shareholders the PS3 is already making a comeback . So, as many analysts expected, the PS3 appears to be making a resurgence, and if it happens, it'll be attributed to the software. There are so many great games coming out this fall and winter – and not just for the PS3 – that I'm afraid I'll never be able to afford them all. Who could? There are dozens upon dozens !

It's just good to see the console war really heating up, and with the PS3 primed to make a big move, I maintain my reservations about the Wii. The 360 should remain solid throughout, but I honestly think Nintendo's system is going to fall dramatically this holiday season…it just doesn't appear to have anywhere near the software the PS3 and 360 will have. And that's definitely going to matter.

Could someone please clarify this whole Warhawk thing?

The news confused a lot of people, including me. We've known for a while that Warhawk would be released as both a standard Blu-Ray disc and as a download on the PlayStation Store, but we weren't aware of the details. …and clearly, we're still not. The GameStop/EB computers list the game as $59.99 with a release date of August 2 (for tbe Blu-Ray format, obviously). But at the same time, 1Up says the downloadable version will be only $20 and arrive "this fall." Er, okay. If all of this is true, than it can only mean one thing: the Blu-Ray disc contains a heck of a lot more, and we have heard the rumor that a Bluetooth headset will be included as well. If that's the case, I guess I may as well opt for the Blu-Ray. But I would like to know what all these extras are on that format, because if I'm not interested in any of them and I can save $40 with the downloadable version…

Of course, I'm not even certain how often I'd use the headset. I've been playing the beta for several weeks without one, and haven't really felt a need to have one. But I can see how they'd be very useful for setting up strategy when playing with friends, so maybe it's worthwhile. I'd just like a once-and-for-all clarification from Sony/Incognito regarding Warhawk , here.

A little concerned about Hot Shots Golf 5

Game Informer had that interview with Clap Hanz president, Masashi Muramori, and I must say, I don't really understand some of the details. Specifically, the basic numbers: 15 playable golfers, 7 caddies, and 6 courses. Hot Shots Golf: Fore! has 24 playable characters, and about a dozen caddies and courses. Now, I don't care much about the caddies, but why are the numbers basically halved for HSG 5? Only 6 courses? You mean all those courses we loved in almost every installment in the series won't be returning? How come? I would've accepted the 15 golfers thing, if only because you never needed 24 in Fore! ; you basically just ignored half of them, anyway. So no problems there. But having only 6 courses kinda irritates me. There's only one possible reason for this, as far as I can tell-

Later in the interview, Muramori said HSG 5 was the "perfect game" for downloadable extras and content, so perhaps we can expect more characters, caddies, and most importantly, courses as optional downloads on the PlayStation Store. Even so, though, they're not likely to be free, and they're still not factored into the single-player tournaments. I just hope I won't mind as much as I think I will; I love Hot Shots .

Personal Gaming Update

So I've finally completed Kingdom Hearts II , which was a very good game, I thought. It wasn't amazingly great, but it had its moments, and it was an enjoyable experience. The only time I ever died was when I failed to equip my characters correctly (couldn't figure out what was wrong, for some reason), but other than that, I never died once in 35 hours of play. Now, I dislike wicked challenging games, but this was a little too easy. And besides, some of the final bosses did pose a moderate challenge of sorts, and most of the fun comes from the environments. I liked just about every world, and I always adore the 100-Acre Wood, just 'cuz it brings back so many memories of childhood. 🙂 I probably wouldn't play it again, but I'm glad I played Kingdom Hearts II to completion. And for those of you who finished it and saw the final cinema after the credits rolled, you know as well as I: they're definitely doing a third installment.

Now that that's done, I've started on Odin Sphere , and while gorgeous, it's not as fun as I was hoping. This normally isn't my type of RPG in the first place, and I find it very difficult. I also think the controls are very, very unresponsive; I find I really have to jam the buttons to get them to do anything, and Gwendolyn's lapse time between actions is pretty unforgiving. All that bothers me more than the slowdown, which doesn't tick me off as much as it does with other people. I like the game and will probably continue to play it, but I may not finish it…it's just not my thing.

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