Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Merciful Indifference

It seemed a while back like games I was really keen to play were coming out in rapid succession, certainly far quicker than my tardy play-rate would ever let me get through them. However, as of late, since Mass Effect 2 came out (which I bought on release day but haven't been able to play yet), there seems to be nothing on the horizon, or in fact for the rest of the year that I feel the need to buy on launch (okay, I have a pre-order in for Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising, but that was placed back in early January).

Final Fantasy XIII? Don't really care

When I took time to consider it, there are actually some really big titles coming out soon, or in the later parts of the year. There's a new Final Fantasy game out now, something which is a huge event in the lives of many gamers. I'm not one of them, however, there are four or five other RPGs I'd want to play first, and even after that I'm not sure I'm that keen on the bizarre Japanese combat scenarios or the fact that the cast seems like it was designed by a cosplay focus group at an Anime convention.

There's also a new Splinter Cell coming out, which many people are pretty excited about, but I probably won't play it because of this bizarre OCD I have which doesn't let me start playing a series with any sort of story on the fifth game when I haven't played the earlier games. I finished the first Splinter Cell, own copies of Pandora Tomorrow (2) and Chaos Theory (3), and could get hold of Double Agent (4) easily enough, but there's no way I'd have time to play through all of them. I'm weird, I know.

Starcraft II? Will probably buy it, but am not really excited

Later in the year, Starcraft 2 will come out, no doubt destroying productivity in South Korea for at least a week. In the Western world, too, there are legions of PC gamers foaming at the mouth at the prospect of their 12 year wait for a sequel to one of the best RTS games ever being nearly at an end. Despite this, I'm not that excited about it. I will probably buy the game, and I'm sure it will be polished and enjoyable as Blizzard games always are, but from what I've seen of it (admittedly not that much, as I haven't been following the betas that closely) it looks like a throwback to the old style of RTS games when the genre has moved on, like Blizzard knew they could not risk alienating the South Korean pro-gamers by messing with the formula. For some, a high-res Starcraft will be all they ever wanted, but I'm also a little concerned that the Blizzard of old is gone, the key staff having moved to different companies over the years as Blizzard became World of Warcraft Inc. It's probably worth remembering that the last RTS Blizzard released was the relatively underwhelming Warcraft III. I have over 800 ranked games of Dawn of War II to my name - I highly doubt I will get anywhere near that on Battle.net.

God of War III? Do want, but not buying a PS3 right now

There are a couple of PS3 games I'm interested in: Heavy Rain, while derided by some as a giant set of quick time events masquerading as a game, sounds like a fascinating new direction for the graphic adventure to me, and is something I'd like to try. God of War III comes out in the next few weeks, too, and there is pretty much no way that it could not be awesome. However, my enthusiasm for these games is damped somewhat by the fact that I don't own a PS3, and I'm not actually in a hurry to buy one so I can have more games I might not get around to playing.

Split/Second? Cars and explosions are some of my favourite things, but not always together

That's not to say that there aren't any Xbox games I'm looking forward to, but none to the extent of counting the days until their release. Black Rock Studio's upcoming racer Split/Second looks very promising, capturing the spirit of the earlier Burnout games, and its blend of breakneck speeds and track-altering pyrotechnics would make it a good foil to the more technical, realistic challenge of Forza 3. Later in the year Halo: Reach is coming out, Bungie's swan-song for the Halo universe. The launch of a new Halo game isn't as big a deal as it was before, I didn't even pick up a copy of ODST, but I am actually more intrigued by something being the last in a series, rather than just another sequel.

I may sound like I'm complaining about the lack of excitement I have over upcoming releases, but that's not the case, I'm actually quite content to be indifferent, as my backlog has built up to the point that I probably don't really need to buy another game for the rest of the year anyway, and a little time to chip away at it will be greatly appreciated.

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