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Friday, March 13, 2009

Are these games worth $60?

My new PlayStation 3 has re-ignited my passion for video games. A new console means new games. And there is nothing quite as satisfying as buying new games! I'm not finished with my Xbox 360 - not even close. In fact, my 360 will be moved to the basement where it will help me get through my upcoming exercise bike routine. Trust me, there's no better way to exercise than with a controller in hand and great games on a nearby HD screen.

As for new games, I've recently purchase Mirror's Edge, Mercernaries 2, and Uncharted for my PS3. But I've also got an EB Games card that holds just enough money to buy one brand new game or a couple used games. I just haven't decided what I'm going to do with my store credit yet.

There are a number of PlayStation 3 titles that I'd like to buy. Dead Space and Prince of Persia are two titles that I've wanted to play for a while. They are both trophy-supported titles meaning that I'd prefer to play them on my PS3 (trophies + levels > gamerpoints + gamerscore, IMO). Tom Clancy's EndWar and HAWX both look pretty good too. Even Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe looks interesting enough (as a $30 title).

But then I look down the road at new releases due out soon for the PS3/Xbox 360. There are a lot of great looking titles coming! I don't mind spending a full $60 on a game; however, the game has to interest me quite a bit and it must have received damned good reviews. In the past, I've paid full price for games such as Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Fallout 3, Oblivion, and The Orange Box.

Which games do I think might be worth my $60 EB Games store credit?

I'll be honest: I didn't think anything of Wheelman when I first heard about the game. But the trailers and featurettes that I've seen for Wheelman look damned good. Gameplay looks fun, fast, and over-the-top. Vin Diesel is a great voice actor because he understands games and he's got a cool voice. Wheelman won't win any G.O.T.Y. awards but it could be a great entry in the list of great GTA-style games. The only concerns I have for Wheelman is that it is being published by Midway and Midway does not seem to put out many great games nowadays. Of course, TIGON studios does put out great games hence my hope for Wheelman.

Game adaptations of big screen blockbusters are typically crap. Look no further than THQ's seemingly endless stream of shovel-ware based on various Disney-Pixar movies. However, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is different. First off, the game is being developed by Raven Software, known for their outstanding superhero-based games such as the X-Men Legends series and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Everything I've read about the upcoming X-MO: Wolverine sounds incredible. Graphics look great and voice acting should be pretty good with Hugh Jackman reprising his role as Wolverine. Of course, gameplay is what really shines in an action title and X-MO: Wolverine looks to have some pretty cool looking features that will take slicing-and-dicing to the next level.

I missed playing The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay on the original Xbox when it came out. It's a shame because I've heard nothing but great things about the game. That's why I've been buying into the hype surrounding the upcoming The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. This title will include a completely revamped version of the original Escape from Butcher Bay along with a new chapter in the Riddick universe - Assault on Dark Athena. Why do I think this title will be gold? For the same reasons that I'm looking forward to Wheelman: Vin Diesel and TIGON studios. And let's not forget Starbreeze studios, developers of Escape from Butcher Bay and The Darkness, are no slouches when it comes to creating awesome games. Seriously - The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena stands a great chance of picking up some awards based on everything I've watched and read about the game.

A modern-day spy-themed RPG? Sounds pretty damned interesting. And Obisidian, the game's developers, know how to make a great RPG (KOTOR II, Neverwinter Nights 2). Obisidian Entertainment was also founded by members of the Black Isle development crew responsible for classic RPGs such as Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale. That's why I'm so excited for Alpha Protocol!

I haven't even started playing the original Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and I'm already looking forward to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Can't wait!

BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams should be good. Of course, sequels very rarely live up to the expectations set by a serie's first game. Can the city of Rapture be milked a second time? My biggest concern is that BioShock 2 will turn into a straight FPS with development guided more by marketing buzzwords (such as online co-op and multiplayer) instead of quality artistic design. I'll know more as trailers and previews become available; I'll play the waiting game until then.

You'll notice that I've excluded such as obvious titles as inFamous, Prototype, and Ghostbusters. I hate to say it but these games all look pretty generic and stand a good chance of being justifiably overlooked by the general gaming population. From what I've seen of Ghostbusters, I'm afraid the game will be crap. I'll still play it because it is Ghostbusters - but I'm just not terribly excited about the prospect.

Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be playing some Mirror's Edge and Uncharted (if my copy's in the mail tonight) for the next couple days.