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Ben’s Week In Review: January 6

2008 has gotten off to a bit of a wild start; there's already so much to talk about! 🙂

Blu-Ray: Winner winner, chicken dinner

Blu-Ray led out of the gate and continued to widen its lead throughout 2007. However, HD-DVD was holding its own according to a variety of sources, and Toshiba wasn't beaten…but now it appears they may be down for the count, as Warner Bros. has evidently dealt the critical blow. Disney has already vowed to support Blu-Ray exclusively, and now Warner? The end of the format war could be in sight, and if you couldn't guess, this means the PlayStation 3 gets a big boost. Many attribute much of BD's success to the PS3 in the first place, but the door swings both ways. If Blu-Ray wins and HD-DVD bows out, this means the PS3 will be the only next-gen gaming console that also plays current, high-definition movies. It's also one of the cheapest – and highest quality – BD players out there, and if you toss in any of the other entertainment features the PS3 provides, it's an easy sell. Whether Sony planned this all along, I don't know. But what I do know is that Blu-Ray isn't Beta. This format appears to be the winner, and I'm just glad I sided with the victor.

Well, I could always pick up the HD-DVD add-on for the 360, but why do that when my PS3 already plays the best of the best in Blu-Ray? Plus, I already have my first three BD movies ("The Aviator," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Pan's Labyrinth") and they're so goddamn gorgeous on my new 1080p HDTV. 🙂

Think there's enough blood in Dark Sector?

After seeing enough screenshots and new videos, I'm convinced this dark, visceral third-person shooter will be one of the bloodiest games ever made. We see these blood spatters that are just plain sick, and I can't imagine a more insane weapon than that Glaive. The Glaive is like a boomerang with spikes, and the ability to use after-touch (remember doing that with Kai's arrows in Heavenly Sword ?) sounds just plain sweet ! Obviously, there are regular guns as well, but it's all about the Glaive. The only question I have is, how much of the focus remains on the action? Do they go overboard with all the blood? I'd rather have the action itself be the focus, not the result of the action, which is the gore. No game has ever survived on gore alone, and that's a fact. If the control is terrible, for example, nobody's going to care much about the prolific expanses of bodily fluids splashed all over the screen. But despite my questions, I am hopeful that Dark Sector turns out to be a great game.

Besides, the last two third-person shooters I've played ( Gears of War and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune ) were absolutely incredible, so it seems developers are really polishing this genre. Some thought it might be on the way out, what with the trillions of first-person shooters out there, but oh no…the third-person view is here to stay, and we should be thankful for such experiences.

Personal gaming update

So I finished Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and moved on to start playing Unreal Tournament 3 and The Orange Box . Both of the latter two shooters are excellent, and I'm currently playing through Half-Life 2 – for the first time – in Orange Box . But I'm not quite as enamored with it as other people have been in the past, and for a few days, I haven't been able to put my finger on exactly why . I was like, "why am I not having more fun with this game?" I'm sure I'll probably finish it, but something's been bugging me…and I think I finally figured out what it is. I'll leave the brunt of that revelation for an upcoming editorial this week, but let me just say this- there is a distinct difference between something like Uncharted and a game like Half-Life 2 , and it goes way beyond the obvious genre difference. I won't go any further now; I'll explain exactly what I mean in a few days.

As for upcoming games I want, the next must-have title for me is Devil May Cry 4 , which should be here on February 5. I might be interested in Burnout Paradise , but while that franchise is crazy fun, I've never actually finished any one entry. I just don't play it enough. So maybe I'll wait until the price drops later on this year. In the meantime, I'll continue through both Orange Box and Unreal Tournament 3 . I'm fairly certain I'll have a blast doing that. 🙂

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