If you've been reading this blog then you will know that I was quite impressed with the recent Bionic Commando game, updated and re-imagined by Swedish developer GRIN. So impressed, in fact, that I felt motivated to track down someone on the development team and ask them a few questions about their superb effort.
Thankfully, Bionic Commando producer Dan Eriksson was quite willing to chat with me for a bit about the work involved in reinventing such a classic game.
About a month ago, I started getting a serious open-world jones, and being as tight with my discretionary spending as I am, it wasn't really an option to buy both Prototype and inFamous brand-new. Naturally, since both games are basically the same thing in large part, the feverish comparisons began. Which one had more of what I want? Prototype had some killer videos out on the Internet to show the wide range of abilities, but I had total faith in Sucker Punch and have been a fan of theirs since the beginning.
Have I mentioned yet that I love GRIN's Bionic Commando? Love. It.
If you haven't given it a spin yet, don't be scared off by the overly-negative reviews and see what it's got to offer. Despite finishing it a few days ago, I still can't get it out of my head. And the ending? Although it's been categorized as completely random and nonsensical, I didn't find that to be true at all… I'm not going to spoil it, but I thought it was pretty amazing for a few reasons.
Expectations are an important issue to deal with for anyone, but doubly so for a critic. After all, we are supposed to be "neutral and unbiased" when we evaluate, right? Of course, it's absolutely impossible to be without some sort of penchant or leaning—we wouldn't be human, otherwise. But, although it's not realistic to sit down with a game and approach it as a completely blank slate, managing expectations is something that could, and should be done.
Take, for example, GRIN's reimagining of Bionic Commando.
Today brought the Nintendo and Sony press conferences. I haven't had a lot of time to digest the total of what's been announced today between these briefs and the wealth of other information floating around the intarwebz right now, but after keeping up with as many tweets as I could and scanning the online presentations, here are some quick takes:
With the recent birth of my son, Whittaker, I decided to opt out of E3 this year in order to stay home and get some quality time in with the family. I don't regret my decision at all, but it does mean that I've been glued to Twitter all day, and the updates never really stopped coming. Kudos to everyone who tweeted about what they saw, and also to the sites who've been covering it in standard Internet fashion. While events are still unfolding, here are a few quick impressions based on what trickled downstream from the Microsoft press brief today…
After getting about 2/3rds of the way through inFamous, if not more, I basically wrote my entire review in about forty minutes.
I'm going to keep pushing forward and finish it off, but I'd be very surprised if anything in this last section really changes my opinion.
Besides inFamous, I'm putting the finishing touches on my upcoming Crimson Gem Saga review, I've got a few more entries to do for my "Best of Community" feature, and as if all that wasn't enough, I've been toying with the idea of doing the main review for Fallout 3.
So, I told myself I wasn't going to plunk the money down after playing the InFamous demo on the PlayStation Network, but I did. It's just that I've been playing so many RPGs lately that I was starting to burn out of gaming altogether, and I definitely needed something action-oriented to get the juices flowing again. I was weak, I admit it.
So recently, the discussion of innovation versus presentation has been popping up in regard to various titles. Specifically, how should a critic view a game that makes no attempt at breaking new ground, but instead focuses on delivering a very polished and playable experience?
Of course, I think the answer certainly depends on who the critic is and what their personal philosophy is composed of. It really couldn't be any other way, could it? That said, I do think it has to be taken into account that the games industry is a large one, and there are players of all stripes within it.
Keeping this in mind, I think it can be safely assumed that there is room enough for games that push the envelope, as well as those who are content to stay sealed within it.
Been sort of scattered with the gameplay lately… at the moment, I'm still working my way through the excellent CaveIn: Miner Rescue Team on Community, in addition to the also-excellent Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2—Raidou Kuzunoha vs King Abaddon on PlayStation 2. How's that for a title?
As for the rest of the game tidbits I've got under my belt, I'm saving them up for tomorrow night's podcast recording. We've been on hiatus for a few weeks since both Tim (the show's host) and I each had newborn sons enter our lives, but now that things have settled down a bit, we're getting right back to it. If everything goes according to plan, it should be posted before too long, and I’ll have a link to it here when it's ready.
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