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Wallet Abuse Wednesday 4-12-10: 3d Dot Game Heroes, Don’t Buy Lost Planet 2!

Posted by nfinit on May 11, 2010

3d Dot Game Heroes
Publisher:  Atlus
Developer:  Silicon Studios
Platforms:  PlayStation 3

I’m a big fan of the idea that some games should be periodically re-visited to keep them knocking around in the minds of the gaming public– games that maybe weren’t ahead of their time so much as could benefit from periodic re-structuring to keep them relevant with new hardware advances.  New Super Mario Brothers Wii and Bionic Commando Re-Armed were perfect examples of games deserving modern-day retoolings, and the original Zelda is as worthy as any title to receive the same treatment.

Whereas Nintendo itself seems unable or unwilling to do anything with Zelda that doesn’t involve remaking Ocarina of Time every three years, outside developers have taken the Zelda idea from either end and are trying to drag the franchise into something resembling modern-day relevance.  One one end you have Vigil Games who used Darksiders to pool a disparate collection of gameplay ideas into the dark Zelda I’m not sure anyone ever really wanted. on the other end you have Silicon Studios traveling all the way back to 1986 and wrangling the original Legend of Zelda idea from its dusty roots and attempting to make something fresh out of it again.

It’s a brilliant idea– take Zelda and deconstruct it into a 3d spritework sandbox.  What I find issue with is the concept that you can take the original Legend of Zelda and attempt to force it into a compelling gaming experience in 2010.  Silcon Studios is stuck between two basic problems– one, taking the core game of Zelda and pitting it against a market rife with 12-20 hour gameplay behemoths or secondly, stretching out Zelda to the length of a modern-day game without overstaying its welcome.

This problem could have been neatly solved had the game included an actual map creator– at that point you’re just begging the gaming populace to remake as many classic 2d top-down action RPGs as corporate lawyers would allow.  For whatever reason that idea is missing, although you do have the ability do create your own 3d sprite hero  using 3dDGH’s character creation tool.  It just seems like a lost opportunity.

It’s overall a surreal idea.  Here you have the ultimate lovesong to 8 bit Zelda exclusive to a Sony platform, and moreover a platform where it’ll be forced to do battle with stuff like Modern Warfare and Red Dead Revolver.  In a more perfect world Nintendo itself would have bought these guys out the moment screens for 3dDGH hit open air and at this very moment you could download a greyscale 3d sprite map of Link’s Awakening.

That said.  3dDGH currently sits at an 80% overall on Metacritic, which is just on the good side of average.  So the idea at least isn’t terrible, and a good many of the bad reviews are more of an indictment against the original Zelda than 3dDGH’s merits as an actual videogame.  So if you’re interested you probably wont’ be burned, especially as Atlus is only asking forty bucks for the experience.

Batman:  Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition 3d
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer:  Rocksteady Games
Platform:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

I can’t tell if this is a new thing or not, but it would appear that publishers are attempting to undermine used game sales by re-releasing console games well after the original street date complete with all the DLC present from that game’s release.  And while this is a good idea in theory, you run into an obvious problem– if you’re releasing a game this long after it’s release date, there’s simply no real way to match the value to be had via buying used.  Resident Evil 5 had this same problem– yeah, you were getting all the DLC releases for the game in one complete package, but you were also being asked to pay fifty bucks for a game that was being sold for less than half that price if you just shuffled over five feet to the used games rack.

B:AAGotY3d has this same problem, only worse.  RE5 actually had a fair amount of DLC released for it, ranging from multiplayer modes to multiple 2 hour-long added scenarios.  You could at least talk yourself into owning the complete version of RE5 on one disc– or, at the very least, you could talk yourself into buying RE5 Gold when it hit a non-stupid price.  B:AAGotY3d doesn’t have that luxury– only six “maps” (Which turned out to be single-shot challenge rooms) were ever released for the original Arkham, and all six of those were available for free the day the game was released.  Okay yeah, B:AAGotY3d is the comprehensive Arkham experience (especially for 360 owners who will finally be able to play the erstwhile PS3-exclusive maps), but you could get the comprehensive Arkham experience via leaving your connection running for ten minutes after you bought the game.  And Eidos wants to sell you this package for fifty dollars.

Okay sure, B:AAGotY3d comes with a 3d mode– a godawful 3d mode using a pair of those horrible red/green cardboard glasses that tear in half after thirty minutes, but it’s there.  That’s the sole concession to a real value proposition over the original Arkham game and at least if you bought the used game you won’t have to suffer knowing that this box art lurks somewhere on your wall unit

All this said, Arkham is a fine game, an excellent game even, and if for some insane reason you’re opposed to used game sales and you’ve yet to buy it this is as good a reason as any to finally pick it up.  Just be aware that if you’re a PS3 gamer that there’s absolutely nothing new in this box.

Lost Planet 2
Publisher:  Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

I was badly needing Lost Planet 2 to be a good game.

The original Lost Planet didn’t get nearly the amount of love it deserved.  It was a sci-fi 3rd person shooter before Gears of War went and forced large swaths of the industry into this same mold, and I felt that with some polish and an actual attempt at something resembling a coherent storyline it could have even rivaled Gears at least in the hearts of the enthusiast community.  As it was the gameplay was better and even had something of a 3d Bionic Command vibe before GRIN came along and somehow managed to ruin “3d Bionic Commando”

But the point is, the foundations for a fantastic game were laid down by Lost Planet 1.  A little more coherent single-player experience was all that was needed to make the entire package sing.

So naturally what Capcom decided to do was make a co-op 3rd person shooter with no worthwhile single player function to speak of.  Oh, single-player is there– just that much like Resident Evil 5, your CPU co-op partners are wholly useless.  So thanks for ruining that, Capcom!

While we’re on the subject I want to throw this out there– when’s the last time Capcom made a worthwhile single player console game?  I mean something with an actual single-player storyline that wasn’t intended for co-op play?  Monster Hunter, Street Fighter 4, Resident Evil 5, Lost Planet 2, these were all meant to be played either co-op or competitively– they were never intended to be enjoyed by a single player.  Dark Void, Bionic Commando, Chop Til You Drop were all godawful– you have to go all the way back to Devil May Cry 4 and Dead Rising before you find single-player Capcom games that you don’t have to talk yourself into enjoying.  What I’m saying here is that I have very little hope in Dead Rising 2 being a good game.

Skate 3
Publisher:  Electronic Arts
Developer:  EA Black Box
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

The only skating games I’ve ever played was Sega’s Jet Grind Radio stuff, so unless a skateboarding game allows me to take on a main battle tank I can’t really find much to be interested about it.


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