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Ben’s Week In Review: December 9

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far! 🙂

Are expectations actually too high for The Last Of Us?

It was the one thing I really wanted from the VGAs: A launch date for Naughty Dog's hotly anticipated title. But the instant I saw that date, it got me wondering- Has the hype train gotten a little out of hand for this one?

I mean, the developers have already set the stage for crazy hype because they've delivered some of the very best games of the generation. So it's inevitable that when they produce a new IP, the anticipation will be through the roof. Is that fair, though? While there are clear similarities between TLOU and Uncharted , the new title should offer a very different experience. I have plenty of faith in Naughty Dog, but should we all just assume that anything they make will be masterful? Isn't that putting a little too much pressure on the team, in addition to massive over-hyping that could inevitably lead to disappointment…?

I seriously doubt I'll be dissatisfied with The Last Of Us but before it comes out in May, we may have reached a point where the game has to score in the mid-to-high 9s if it doesn't want to be labeled a "flop" by the legions of negative naysayers just itching to joyfully point out that the game didn't meet expectations. I don't think any title should be in such a position going into its launch, that's all.

A spy-themed RPG? That could've been COOL

Not only was there a spy-themed role-playing game in the works that supposedly crossed James Bond with Jason Bournce, it was in development at BioWare . Yeah, they know how to make a pretty decent RPG, yes? But EA wasn't going for it, which I find interesting. On the one hand, I can see why it might give the publisher pause, as there's no proven track record for spy RPGs. Furthermore, they may be thinking- "Bond has historically been a simple FPS; changing it to an RPG will cause us to lose our established fanbase." My take is simple- A role-playing game that adopts a secret spy-type setting would be loaded with possibilities, and the very concept is universally accepted. Who the hell didn't want to be a secret agent when they were kids? What better way to live that dream than by putting it into a modern video game? Besides, EA has taken a few chances this generation; Mirror's Edge was one.

It just bugs me when such promising projects never make it into full development, simply because the publisher says "no." It'd be nice if BioWare had had the option of shopping it around elsewhere but of course, they didn't have that choice.

Personal gaming update

Still playing Assassin's Creed III and I've thought about going back through Journey . Its three VGA wins and that Grammy nomination has reminded me that the game is singularly amazing and well worth experiencing again. I also want to play more of Far Cry 3 if I get the chance, because that game is just tons o' fun from top to bottom. I think it's vastly more entertaining than its predecessor, just because it feels fuller and more robust, with a better-implemented story and more interesting characters.

Oh, and I hope people liked that Ryan Culver interview ; the guy is so much like Nathan Drake, it's a little creepy. He really seems like the perfect fit for the movie, and I'd hope whoever was in charge would give him some consideration. Looking down the road, I've still got several more reviews to deliver, so stay tuned for those.

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Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
11 years ago

Right now, I would say that expectations are not too high for The Last of Us, but they will be by the time the game launches. It'll need to be the best game ever released by May if it is going to match up to expectations. Simple as that. If any team can pull it off though, it's Naughty Dog.

I agree that a Bioware-helmed Spy RPG would be cool. It makes me really want to try out Alpha Protocol just to get an idea of what it would have been like.

Personal Update:
Reading War and Peace. Hard to wrap my head around the different relationships between the characters, and for that alone I can't say that I'm liking it a huge amount, but I can't deny its quality. That being said, I'm not sure if it's just the translation that I've got, but the language seems much weaker than what I expecting…
Finished Catherine. That second to last stage was a monstrous thing, but the game is so inventive and so unique that I can do nothing but recommend it to anyone that is on the fence. Couple the simple, yet surprisingly deep core gameplay mechanics with a mature story that is influenced by a morality system that isn't clear-cut… It's just a brilliant game all around and it's easy to see why it has garnered the incredible critical acclaim that it has.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the game I'm playing now: Dishonored. It ultimately came down to a choice between it and Hitman and I left the decision to my sister because I didn't feel like heading down to the city with her. Anyway, it's probably just that I'm still so early in the game (only done the first assassination), but it feels as though there is a severe information overload and that the developers have just gone, "Look at the lore that we can create" rather than using it to tell a single, cohesive story. It leaves a lot of potential for a sequel, but it isn't The Elder Scrolls, y'know. It's a relatively contained narrative, not some grand adventure of epic scope in a world of unparalleled size.
Besides that, the controls are feeling a bit loose, but not unresponsive. The implementation of the magical powers could have used a bit more work and I don't like that my game glitched, meaning that I couldn't complete a sidequest, but so be it. Right now, I'm just not feeling it as a 90+ rated game, in spite of the fact that the amount of options on offer is amazing and it promises to have a lot of longevity…
Also, documentation for my project is going moderately well, but I need to dedicate more time and effort to it 🙂

11 years ago

I loved Alpha protocol but it had a lot of issues. It has some what of a cult following on the internet. If you can play it as an RPG and not a shooter you wont be as frustrated. If you want to play it like a shooter put all your points into rifles and guns and you can make it basically a cover shooter.

The dialogue choices for the game are what really shine though. I would say give it a shot you can probably find it for 5 or 10 bucks now.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

War and Peace is widely regarded as the greatest novel of all time for a very good reason.

It's actually much easier to read than people think, as you're finding out. The other Tolstoy masterpiece, Anna Karenina, is actually denser in terms of writing, I think. But that aforementioned reason…? It's because in War and Peace, you will find absolutely every possible facet of human emotion and drama. There are a lot of characters, which can be daunting at first, but Tolstoy doesn't keep adding too many characters as he goes. So you become VERY intimate with them through the course of however many pages. 😉

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
11 years ago

xenris, thanks for the advice, I'll remember to keep an eye out for it in the far future 😉

I think the problem that I'm having with it is just the shock of being introduced to so many characters so quickly and not being able to decipher one from the other. That being said, it's starting to grow on me and yeah, Anna Karenina definitely had more flowery writing.

I don't suppose you've seen the adaptation of Anna starring Jude Law and Keira Knightley and, if so, what did you think?

11 years ago

I don't think expectations are too high for The Last of Us. I actually hear more about the idea of ND branching out and trying something different rather than, pure hype about the game. It would seem people understand this is something new, but are merely excited for it rather than expecting too much.

Wish I could get Far Cry 3 buy I've got too many games. And I've already told myself no more until DS3 comes out.

PGU: it's been all Borderlands 2 the past couple weeks. I was wrongly informed about the length of it though and thought it was much longer than it really is and that was disappointing to find out otherwise. I really hope with the next game it's got a longer main story. I never realized how short the chapters were until I realized how close I was to completing it. Thankfully the game is still rather large and there is a lot to do. Also it was a win-win that some dlc came out because the Pirate dlc is like another game. So I've got that to stretch out the game as well. Oh heck why am I complaining? The game is brilliant, my personal GoTY, and despite what I've said it's large enough to keep me an my buddies busy at least a couple more weeks. Then I guess we will have to play through it again! …until some more dlc comes out! 😉

11 years ago

BioWare needs to find a new publisher or EA needs to
losen the leash.

publishers like EA is the reason developers don't try something new.

got my 11th plantium trophy via hitman absolotion.
now, i'm on my secound play through of far cry 3, its soooo
much better than fc2.
i have BioShock 2 waiting to be played once i'm done with fc3.

11 years ago

its hard to say really because we have so little to go off, and thats what has me worried.
the games been out there for a year now, and all we have to go off is a few trailers and the same gameplay demo shown 1000000000 times!
just has me worried why $ony and ND are so reluctant on showing something different.
probably is being hyped up too much, but hey its ND what do you expect?
they could announce a game like naughty bear where the whole game is you a teddy, killing other teddies, and it would by hyped and lorded to kingdom come!

a spy RPG, by THE dady of RPGs!
oh come on, this is TOO good to pass up!
i wish peter more was here again just so i could slap some sense into him!
i really wish developers would go independent next gen, its getting ridiculous how controlling and how much power publishers have over developers!
DICE, a perfect instance you really think they want to be working on BF4 when they just finished up 3, and are still working on DLC for it?
publishers are destroying the industry!

ive given up with zombiu, its such a shame and one of the things REALLY bugging me this year!
there are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many awesome concepts out there, so many brilliant ideas, but there so poorly done it just destroys it.
zombiu case in point.
its been oh so long since we had a survival horror game!
here it is, and at times it truly is scary and suspenseful.
the nursery level is THE creepiest, scariest level ive played in years!
only if the whole game was like that!
but thats the problem, the game has 1 or 2 areas and levels really well designed, the rest are so poorly designed its embarrassing!
im up to the church level and have just given up because its so poorly designed.
halfway through the level you crawl into a vent and come out onto brickwork set out like narrow aqueduct.
zombies start crawling up and because its so narrow you cant go around them so your forced to attack them.
but in doing so again since its so narrow you attack them, they go flying back and fall off the edge.
now that the AI is so dumb they cant figure out how to climb back up.

first time i got to the level that did not matter, there was just 30 zombies sitting down in the water but you dont need to go down there so big deal.
so i walked through to the other side, and now theres these spitting zombies firing at me.
so you have to somehow dodge their attacks, but not move a inch because if you do you will fall off the planks to your death.
great so you have to dodge attacks, but do it without moving.
yea, this games designed so well!
so of course i died, and now the original problem comes back.
since you have to attack the zombies, and in doing so knock them down to the bottom, and that is where my dead character is with all her gear.
so if i want to get it back, i some how have to figure out how to kill 40 zombies with my cricket bat.
and your in water so you cant use a flare or any explosives.
so how the ^%$# am i suppose to kill all the zombies and get my gear back?

thats why ive given up with zombiu, its SO poorly designed and it just PISSES you off!
the AI is dumb as bat sh*t, the levels are so poorly designed, and its probably THE buggiest game ive EVER played!
hop onto the forums and you will see thousands of people complaining about game breaking bugs.
i suffered quite a few having to delete and restart my game 6 times now!
ive had enough, the game is just one MASSIVE time waster!
you spend 6 hours playing the game to get a glitch and have to restart, than x amount of time again then get another glitch and start again, rinse and repeat several times, than finally no glitches but this time spend 8 hours building up your character and gear to see it go down the drain because the games so poorly designed!
sad, one of the best and most fun titles, just has to also be one of the buggiest and most poorly designed games ive ever played!
its funny how every time theres a bad game released, it always has to be a great concept.
we can never have a stupid poor concept with a bad game, it always has to be a brilliant concept but poorly executed.
ie this and alpha protocol.
2 brilliant ideas, poorly done.

which is especially frustrating because that was the only reason i bought the wiiu, so now i have a 430 buck piece of plastic sitting there, which probably wont be touched till this time next year when hopefully will see a metroid or diddy kong game.
what a waste!

oh well at least it gave me time to get back to FC3 allot earlier than what i was expecting!
its such a beautiful game, i wish they had more crocs in it though i saw my first one yesterday and nearly shat my pants!
just was not expecting it at all, than it leaps out and drags you under.
i love the live AI too, its so funny just sitting back and watching a tiger chase around some bore.
until it gets bored and spots you!

espeically love the exploration and creation system.
its funny when they announced this i was like oh jesus tap dancing chirst, why are you wasting your time!?
but im actually really enjoying it, and its just so much fun jumping in a jeep and chasing down the wildlife.
or hopping in a boat and going shark hunting.
one thing i wish they would add to the game is the winch and parachute from just cause 2, that would make traversing the landscape that much more fun!

one thing thats disappointed me though is, well, the whole point of the game.
the shooting.
dunno why, but it just feels so boring and uninspired.
its funny, the burning building.
we would normally go through that with a massive smile, oh this is so cool!
but i think we have just seen so many shooters lately, its become par of the course.
i think its come to a stage that the saturation of the shooter market is really starting to hurt my enjoyment of them.
instead of things being oh wow thats so amazing, its meh been there done that.
its sad.
we REALLY need next gen systems to come out and give that whole thing a restart!
turn games back into the wow factor, instead of the meh been there done that.

Last edited by ___________ on 12/9/2012 4:09:53 AM

11 years ago

Happy birthday to my friend Christian Estrella, who introduced me to JRPG, we are drinking right now with my friend Allan Gacis. So much fun. Hehe.

As for the Last Of Us, it's a f*cking survival horror by Naughty Dog. What else could go wrong? I'm so f*cking excited about this.

PGU: I just finished Dead Space in impossible mode, so hooray for me. Haha. Again Happy Birthday to my friend Christian Estrella.

11 years ago

I think to a certain degree the "hype-train" is an essential part of today's successful marketing of a game (especially a new IP). I'm sure it adds to sales on brand/name recognition alone. However, as Ben says, if the game falls below an average middle 9 rating, the haters will be in full force.
Right now I'm excited for The Last of Us, but will have to avoid watching too many trailers, so as to get the FULL enjoyment or new experience when playing it for the first time.

PGU: I'm ending a hectic week number two with new my baby girl so I've only managed to squeeze in finishing the campaign mode of Blops2 and some multiplayer. Lack of quality sleep is getting to me.

11 years ago

I'm looking forward to Last of us, but there are way too many current & semi-currant games I still want & need to get first.

And as far as my thoughts on hype-trains go, IMO they shouldn't start the push on it any earlier than 6 months, because I think it makes for too high an expectation so that when we actually get to play the game, there's a slight bit of "let-down" that's bound to happen, especially for those with a highly vivid imagination.

The spy game sound like it probably would've been fun so it's a shame that EA wouldn't let Bioware shop it around to other publishers if they didn't want anything to do with it.

Good interview with Ryan, and he seems like a real down to earth easy-going likable fellow.

As for my own PGU:
Just finished Kane & Lynch 1 & 2 within the last week(YAY, I finally, finally, killed that construction dump truck driver in K&L1).

And I just finished Army of Two: The 40th Day last night, so I started up on Just Cause2 again for a couple of hours I had to spare.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 12/9/2012 8:23:38 AM

11 years ago

When I am really excited for a game I do not watch anything for that game, watch reviews or previews. The last of us and Bioshock infinite are two titles I'm avoiding like the plague until I actually play them.


Still playing mostly PC games right now. Waiting for christmas to see what I get for my console. Otherwise I'm just eagerly awaiting Ni No Kuni in january. My excitement for that game is only rivaled by my excitement for Dark souls 2, and really they are different kinds of excitement. Ni No kuni just makes me feel all warm and happy, dark souls 2 makes me feel like rolling up my sleeves and saying bring it on.

Next year is an exciting year for gaming. Hopefully the world doesn't end this year, I want to play some of these 😛

11 years ago

What's your Steam nick? Mind if I add you on my friends list?

11 years ago

Not at all my steam name is Pulse. It might be hard to find, but my Picture is of a lime green pulse beat with a black background. My steam community info should say I'm from canada real name is Jon Marek 🙂

11 years ago

Cool! Wasn't too hard: Popped up as first suggestion. 🙂
I've added you now!

karneli lll
karneli lll
11 years ago

The last of us is going to be a hit. The Uncharted series ended up being successful despite Sony making a mess of the marketing campaign.

11 years ago

May? Godamnit. Im going to have to pick what games i buy carefully now. I'll probably skip most just so i can get whatever 100$ set last of us gets. I know it'll have some cool stuff and i do like steelcased games. Hype is for the dumb masses. People who know what they want to see in something see it and want because of it. Not because "Oh bethseda is making a new game called "Hunted: Demons forge. Its going to be awesome!!!" ND may have made tons of great games but they also have already proven they can change their games. Crash to jak from jak to uncharted. Anything else they made im sorry i dont know about it.

My personal gaming update is kind of strange… My girlfriend has always liked piplup (the pokemon) and decided she wants to try the game. Well she and eve her friends are suddenly into pokemon. When did the cute girls become anime lovers? Anyway, so ive been stuck playing pokemon rpg or whatever on the computer.

I snuck in some Fallout 3 time though. Turns out even after the 90% of trophies i hadn't even delved into the surface of fallout 3. Turns out an HP lovecraft reference is in a creepy cavern with an obelisk thing. Im going to start my search. Played re6 the day of VGA's without even knowing it was going on.

I remember playing pokemon when i was younger but i did not remember pokemon being evil man eating creatures. Drowzy is a pedophile, victoribell is well… he eats you then acids melt your body till he can cosume you. Seriously actual pokemon pokedex entrees. I decided to google this up and see if its legit and i found something worse. The pokemon green version has supposedly fatal music. It makes you feel suicidal and yada yada yada.

I became interested and read up on a ton of other game stuff. Evil demon sonic. Zelda majoras mask now scares me more than it used to. I just imagined that doll appearing behind me in the shadow temple in OFT with the music being played backwards. Gotta love the internet. If theres not trolls theres scary sh*t in your favorite childhood games. I still have nightmares about the ring around the rosie theme. Man… Creepy stuff in children games.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x