Just a couple of quick bits here… I'm still trying to get all of my must-reviews wrapped up before Dragon Age hits. I have a feeling that unless it's some kind of catastrophic misfire, the next few weeks are going to be pretty involved with that title.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: So the word is basically out, and the level that has been causing all the commotion has been revealed to be used as a scene-setting device—basically establishing some context for the player's actions in the rest of the game. That was pretty much what I expected, but… it was also relayed that wherever this scene appears in the final retail version, it will be preceded by a warning about "graphic content" and the option to simply skip it and jump right into the part where the player goes back to being a "good guy".
I don't want to shoot my mouth off since the game isn't out and no one really has the full story nor proper context where this controversial segment appears. However, if the content is preceded by a warning and can simply be bypassed with the press of a button, I wonder what value is in including it at all? Although I don't object to the content if it's used in an intelligent way that might spur discussion or cause a player to ask questions on a meta-level, it seems as though any potential benefit is immediately negated by the developer (Infinity Ward) being willing to have players ignore it.
Is it really worth making some kind of bold political or artistic statement if the person making the statement gives the intended audience a warning that it's coming, and the choice to simply not partake of it? At this particular point and in this particular situation, I don't profess to know the answer, though I do admit that it makes me wonder…
… and while that particular question is being pondered, Infinity Ward has put out a brand-new advertisement for Modern Warfare 2 which completely obliterates any confidence I may have had in them to raise the bar. You can see it below, and the juvenile, immature slant of the piece pretty much speaks for itself. (… and what it says isn't good.)
Demon's Souls: Uber-publisher Atlus has just announced that there will be a special Halloween event for players who have their PS3s connected to the Internet. Based on the premise that the "Old One grows stronger" on this particular day, it's been suggested that the game will take on a Pure Black Tendency, weakening players' strength and increasing the attack power of enemies. Also, certain hidden events can only be seen during Pure Black.
Although there has been no specific information other than informing players that they should be online during Halloween, be on the lookout for these things if your world turns Black:
Primeval Demons dropping valuable Colorless Souls appear, Black Phantoms Miralda, Scirvir, Rydell, Satsuki, and Selen appear (all holding rare items to be won) and the gate to the Execution Grounds in the Boletarian palace opens (World 1-1). The likelihood of certain items being dropped by enemies increases as well.
If nothing else, it might be worth it to jump on and pick up some of those Colorless Souls… they're necessary to upgrade the enchanted weapons, and who doesn't need an upgraded enchanted weapon?
Half-Minute Hero: I should be putting the finishing touches up on the review for this little-known PSP title tomorrow. Look for it soon, but at the risk of repeating myself, I will say that I totally love it and anyone who calls themselves a fan of JRPGs or satirically irreverent, intelligent design needs to pick up.
(Incidentally, the latest copy of GamePro arrived as I was writing this, and I was thrilled to see that the staff picked Half-Minute Hero as game of the month over such heavy hitters as ODST, Forza and Mario & Luigi: Inside Story. Fantastic pick, fellows. Kudos.)
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Currently, he's got about 42 minutes a night to play because adulting is a timesuck, but despite that, he's a happily married guy with two kids who both have better K/D ratios than he does.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody at the office is looking, and his favorite game of all time is the first Mass Effect -- and he thought the trilogy's ending was Just Fine, Thanks.
Follow Brad on Twitter at @BradGallaway