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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Guide to Next-Gen RPGs (Part 3)

In Part 1 of my Guide to Next-Gen RPGs, I covered all of the role-playing games that I've played recently on the Xbox 360. Part 2 of my guide covered other Xbox 360 games currently available for purchase that I'm looking forward to buying and/or playing. want to buy.

In today's installment, I'll be looking at some of the upcoming RPGs for the Xbox 360.

Due to the vast number of RPGs making their way to the Xbox 360 in the next short while, I'll cover half of the upcoming releases today and the rest in Part 4 of this guide.

Too Human
Developer: Silicon Knights
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: August 2008

Trailer:




My thoughts:

I loved Diablo and Diablo II for the PC. If things go well, it looks like Too Human might fill the void of quality hack-n-slash RPGs on the Xbox 360. Unlike other RPGs on my list, I'll have to wait and see what's said about this game when released. I think Too Human will either be super-awesome or severely disappointing. Screenshots and trailer look promising but the tale will be told in the story, gameplay, and graphics.



Tales of Vesperia
Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Release Date: August 2008

Trailer:



My thoughts:

Honestly, I know very little about Tales of Vesperia. It's a traditional RPG. It looks incredible. It seems to have the same look and feel as Eternal Sonata with a less artsy storyline and more action. This game should be pretty good!



Infinite Undiscovery
Developer: Tri-Ace
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: September 2008

Trailer:



My thoughts:

Square Enix is awesome! Although I've missed the past couple Final Fantasy games (XI was an MMORPG and I never had the chance to play XII), I'm looking forward to seeing how well Square Enix makes use of the Xbox 360's horsepower. Although I believe that The Last Remnant will be probably be better than Infinite Undiscovery, it doesn't really matter all that much to me: Square Enix makes great RPGs. Period.



Sacred 2: Fallen Angel
Developer: Ascaron Ent. GmbH
Publisher: cdv Software Entertainment USA
Release Date: September 2008

Trailer:



My thoughts:

I was excited about Sacred 2 when I first read about the game. A next-gen Diablo...or so I thought. I've started to notice a correlation between poor games and small-time developer/publisher teams. No matter how near and dear a game's subject matter is to a team of developers, making a solid game comes down to money (ie. publisher) and game development experience.

Sacred 2 appears to fall into the realm of small-time publisher/developer. Judging from the trailer above, Sacred 2 will most likely suck due to poor graphics, lame script, awful voice-acting, and all-round technical faults. I'd love to have Ascaron and CDV surprise me with a quality game but I'm not holding out hope. Much like Arx Fatalis, Two Worlds, and the upcoming Blood Bowl, Sacred 2 looks to be a few steps behind most games out on the market or slated for release. It's a shame: I was looking forward to playing this game when I first heard about it. Unless Sacred 2 gets a major overhaul and rave reviews, this game is a definite pass.

I would also like to take this time to plead with any small or new development houses out there with a solid game idea: get yourselves a good publisher! If your game idea is sound, you could land yourself a solid publisher willing to shell out for a quality graphics engine, professional voice actors, and professional writers.

Want to know how big a difference a quality publisher can make? Compare the games Arx Fatalis and Beyond Good & Evil. Both games were produced by little known France-based developers; however, Arx Fatalis was produced by JoWood Productions (who?) and BG&E was produced by Ubisoft. Can you guess which game was a cult hit, garnered rave reviews [NB: some reviewers liked Arx Fatalis for reasons unknown], and is still talked about today?



Two Worlds: The Temptation
Developer: Reality Pump
Publisher: SouthPeak Interactive
Release Date: Q3 2008

My thoughts:

There is no trailer for this game even though it's due for release quite soon. I'm not sure if that's a good sign or a bad sign. One thing that does bother me about this Two Worlds sequel is GameSpot's comment about "The Temptation":
Once-expansion, now-sequel follow-up to SouthPeak and Reality Pump's 2007 action RPG arriving for Xbox 360, PC this fall.
If Reality Pump was originally planning on releasing this game as an expansion to the original Two Worlds, I can only assume that there's been little done in the way of improving the script, voice acting, or graphics. I hope I'm wrong here. I wouldn't be too keen on spending $70 on an expansion pack to an existing game of dubious quality. The only thing going for Two Worlds: The Temptation is that the crew at Reality Pump really seem to love the Two Worlds universe. If Reality Pump managed to learn from their mistakes the first time round, Two Worlds: The Temptation may end up being a solid RPG and a very special treat for fans of the genre.

But before I get my hopes up, let's just wait for a trailer to emerge. That should tell us everything we need to know.



Rise of the Argonauts
Developer: Liquid Entertainment
Publisher: Codemasters
Release Date: Q3/Q4 2008

Trailer:



My thoughts:

When I first read about Rise of the Argonauts, I was pretty skeptical. However, it looks like we may have a real game here! Although much of the trailer seems to be pieced-together bits of various cutscenes, I thought I saw some gameplay elements in there. My only beef with Rise of the Argonauts at this point is the possible inclusion of nudity in the game. If Liquid Entertainment's gone the God of War route, I won't be playing this game. It's a shame - I always liked all that God versus Man, Clash of the Titans, Xena Warrior Princess stuff.



Golden Axe: Beast Rider
Developer: Secret Level
Publisher: Sega
Release Date: Q3/Q4 2008

Trailer:



My thoughts:

Sega is doing a great job with their games recently. I guess there's more to Sega than just Sonic the Hedgehog: thats' a good thing. I've never been a fan of Mario, Sonic, or any other stupid little mascots (fanboy powers activate). Graphics for Golden Axe: Beast Rider look impressive and the fighting looks pretty incredible. Of course, I won't be playing this game due to the gratuitous amounts of cave woman skin on display...but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't give this game a run when it hits shelves this Fall.



I'll be back tomorrow to cover another batch of next-gen RPGs for the Xbox 360 including: Fallout 3, Fable 2, and Square Enix's The Last Remnant!

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