We're getting closer and closer to March, which marks the first really interesting month of the year in terms of new game releases. I'm plenty excited to see how 2007 shapes up, being the first full year of the next generation and all, but in the meantime, here are my thoughts on the past week.

Okay, now I have to see MotorStorm

And not necessarily because I think it'll be good, but because I want to see the engine on display. We found out earlier last week that Sony is planning to use the MotorStorm engine for the new Wipeout installment on the PS3. …now, I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the Wipeout series, but if there's one thing those games have always excelled at, it's silky smooth gameplay. I remember playing Wipeout XL on the PS1 and having the time of my life, enjoying the smooth-as-glass and fast-as-hell races, with absolutely no drops in frame rate. It was an amazing accomplishment back then, and one I believe went overlooked.

Now, if they plan to pull that off again on the PS3, they had best use a damn fine engine. Therefore, I now have higher hopes for MotorStorm , and at the same time, more trepidation courses through my brain. Because this almost seems like win-win or lose-lose: if the game turns out badly, than I worry about the new Wipeout . But if MotorStorm hits the mark, I'm all psyched again for Wipeout . See what I mean?

Japan Gets Hot Shots 5 Demo…what about us, damnit?!

Come on, Sony. It's not like we're talking about Gundam , here. I know HSG is more popular in Japan, but it's not like it doesn't sell here in the U.S., so how's about giving us that demo, too? Being a big fan of the series – been playing Hot Shots Golf: Fore! online the past few days – I will certainly be picking up Hot Shots Golf 5 when it's released. But in the meantime, I'd love to get those three holes to play around with. It's one of those franchises that gets a bum rap for looking "kiddie," but in truth, it's one of the deepest and most realistic golf experiences out there. Everything you would have to consider and think about in a Tiger Woods game is included in Hot Shots , believe it or not, and I will always prefer the 3-tap system to the ridiculously inaccurate analog swing setup.

Bring that demo on over, Sony! Please…?

Rogue Galaxy: My Next RPG

Thanks to Arnold's review and the fact I got a chance to see a friend of mine play it, I've decided that Rogue Galaxy will be my next RPG. After completing FF XII (see below), I was in need for another RPG to add to my "soon-to-play" list, and RG seems to fit the bill. After all, Level 5 is responsible for this one, and I adored Dragon Quest VIII , a game I invested 100 hours in and never regretted a second of it. The only reservation I have is that I kinda wanted to get back to a traditional turn-based style after FF XII, but sadly, it seems like my favorite RPG combat mechanic is slowly dying out…

But either way, RG is definitely going to have to wait. I'm taking a break from RPGs for the time being, as I'm about to hook up the 360 and dive into Gears of War and Splinter Cell: Double Agent . Then there's God of War II in less than three weeks time – which I will drop everything for – and Okami still begs to be played. So many games! Whatever shall I do? 😉

Final Fantasy XII is…COMPLETE

Yes, it's true. After 130 hours and beating everything there is to beat – including the very optional and very difficult Omega Mark XII and Yiazmat – I went ahead and beat the game. Obviously, with my super-powered team it wasn't much of a challenge, but that wasn't the point. I just wanted to see how the story turns out, and I was most satisfied with the ending. It gave me a better appreciation of the plot, which wasn't my favorite FF storyline, and really made me like Balthier and Fran even more (but no spoilers here, I promise). The only thing that confuses me is that Penelo narrates the ending sequence, which is very bizarre, as she seemed to be the least developed character in the game. It's like, "hi, I'm Penelo" at the start, then she disappears for a zillion hours, then, "hi, I'm back" for the ending. Too weird.

But like just about every FF experience, I loved the game and the time I spent with it. Looking forward to FF XIII and moving on to other genres in the meantime. 🙂

PAL PS3s Get The B/C Shaft

Well, that's no good. Sorry, Euro gamers, but after learning your PS3s wouldn't exactly be 100% backwards compatible , you might be a bit upset. You're paying more than anyone else in the world, after all, and now you're stuck with an inferior console? Well, the good news is that you're no worse off with the PS3 than you are with the 360, as the emulation will now be approached in much the same way. Sony will "assess" the PS2 library and select the most popular titles to emulate right off the bat, than proceed down the list, just like Microsoft with the 360. Of course, emulation isn't always a perfect process, you're going to have to deal with that, but then again, this shouldn't affect PS1 games. So all those old classics should still play without a problem (or most of them, anyway).

You might also be able to look forward to future firmware updates that allows you to view your PS2 games in a higher resolution, too. So it's not all bad. And if you really don't have a lot of PS2 games, or don't care about playing them again, this shouldn't matter much to you. I still feel for those of you who do have large PS2 libraries, though…I'm just extremely happy I have the PS3 that includes that special chip. Even more happy when I realize the architectural change might affect all regions eventually… Me likey to play the old games! I've got 40 PS1 games and 54 PS2 games, and I'd rather not have to have two consoles to play them.

Thankfully, I still only need one. 'breathes big sigh of relief'

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