Continued from Part 1.
Devil May Cry 4
I realized when I decided to write about this game that I knew very little about it. What are they doing with DMC4? If you look around the ‘net you will find previews, but fewer than I expected. Leave it to Gamespot to write a classic preview that lays out the entire first five levels of the game, complete with story spoilers for me to read.
As nice as the game looks, I’m getting a bad feeling about the whole project. I have no idea how Devil May Cry stacks up to the competition in terms of sales, but I can’t imagine that its last entry led to numbers comparable to God of War or the numerous Ninja Gaiden revisions. So why not become like Ninja Gaiden and God of War? This is what the game seems to be doing, for better or for worse.
For instance, previews indicate that there will be puzzles in DMC4 that move beyond the simple objective of “find the key to open this door.” This would have been acceptable in the old days when Devil May Cry was an early version of a Resident Evil game, but after the intense and incredibly deep combat of DMC3 I can’t stand the idea of puzzles getting in the way of battles. I only hope they didn’t also give the greenlight to platforming sections.
There is also a definite change in tone here. Devil May Cry 3 had a very different approach to the male power fantasy. Gaiden and God of War made themselves serious fucking business. Running around slicing off heads and being manly and all that jazz, and if you were Ryu Hayabusa, you got to do so while being followed by an anatomically impossible set of boobs, and a 14 year old ninja who makes most models jealous. While NG and GoW were trying to punch you in the face, they were also stroking you down below. Why have one of the above women covered in sticky slimy goo after you rescue her? Why not?
To put it bluntly, Devil May Cry 3 tries to poke a bit of fun at how homoerotic these power fantasies can be, but instead of realizing the joke is on them, most players simply took it as Dante being totally gay. Right. In any case watching Dante prepare to make love to a slice a pizza is laugh out loud funny. Seeing Kratos fuck a whore off screen made me feel like I should close the door. DMC4 seems to be following in the more “serious” footsteps of its competitors. The new game features an angsty looking human hero named Nero, who sports a demonic arm and constantly scowls at Dante. The cheesecake is more blatant than ever before. We all knew Trish from DMC1 was a sexpot. But Lady? I’m not even sure if that is the same character. Dante himself seems to at least be keeping up some of his, um, “flair”, but on a whole this entry looks to be a serious attitude change for the series.
Beyond that, what is there to look forward to? It seems Nero has a crazy demon arm that grants him abilities, while Dante can change between his four fighting styles on the fly. The latter is a small but significant change. Beyond that it is tough to say what major improvements there will be to the combat aside from new weapons. That has me worried; if all this game is is DMC3 combat with better graphics and bigger boobs, it will be a sales hit, but a bit less than what I would have hoped for. They have one of the most interesting combat engines in the genre, minus the bullshit that made Ninja Gaiden such a love/hate experience. The worst thing they could do would be to add that baggage, though if it is for the sake of revenue, I suppose there’s nothing more to say.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
By now we should all know what to expect when MGS4 launches. High review scores, and all the hyperbole that comes with that. Know that this will be the game that “is worth the cost of the PS3”, even if it actually isn’t. Simply put, if MGS2’s twist wasn’t enough for the critics to flip off Hideo Kojima, there is little MGS4 could do to earn a bad score.
The truth of the matter is that MGS4 is going to be an excellent game, one that PS3 owners should all look into (the rest of us should look into it when we eventually invest in the console). But one experience for $500? No way in hell.
Anyway, there are enough previews floating around that indicate this is going to be another good revision on traditional MGS gameplay, and once again Kojima is finding wonderful ways for us to experiment with the environment. There should be a lot of fun, “next gen” stuff to do here. My only question is what Kojima’s big plan for this game is. While it might not be an MGS2 style twist, I am certain he has some big message or idea to convey here before he leaves the series. There is a chance it could be ridiculous (just like his Beauty and the Beast idea), but I can’t see it being anything that completely sours the game.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
After the daily updates to the news site started coming in, it became easier and easier to call this. It’s clear that the original ideas of Melee are still in the minds of the developers, and I’m now certain this will be at least a solid game. A more solid single-player mode and new composers will add frosting to the cake of multiplayer mayhem. I’m also guessing that the coolest characters (like Luigi and Jigglypuff) have yet to be announced. Bizarre side-effects of the physics engine will almost certainly make Captain Olimar the best character. And, after all, the only things that could have made Melee more awesome are more characters and online play – both of which will be in Brawl. Nintendo has yet to do online play quite right, but with SSBB I think they’ll push a bit further than they have in other titles. Unfortunately, speaking of pushing things a bit further, the release date was pushed back yet again.
And the single player mode? Half assed but amusing.
While we already know so much about Brawl, next to nothing is known of my second most anticipated game. If the last game is any indicator, it will have an enjoyable enough plot. Rumors say it may be coming to the Wii. I’m not sure how to take this but if they focus on plot and combat over graphics, it can only be good. The Wiimote could actually be useful in some RPG interfaces. My hunch is that this game will improve upon Suikoden V’s flaws – long load times and overly easy combat – but will not reach quite the heights of the first few games. After all, all of the best games have already been made, right? Oh, and Suikoden VI, like each of its predecessors, will introduce yet another bizarre animal-like race. They’ve already gone through most of the usual cliched types, and even had awesome duck-people, so I’m guessing we will see some sort of cowlike or horselike people. I will be as disappointed as anyone if I’m right.
Have we seen honest to goodness mer-people in a Suikoden yet? Fishmen seem like they should have been done long ago, but for the life of me I can’t remember any. I’m also curious to see what true rune they come up with in the new game. At my count we’ve already seen at least 12 (I never played the forth outing) out of, what, 24? 27? They’re getting worryingly close to having to rewrite series mythology (if this already happened please let me remain in ignorance until I find out for myself).
There were 5 mermaids you could recruit in Suikoden 4, though there was no village of such.
The amount of true runes is kind of fuzzy. There’ve been at least 12, I think, but then you get into stuff like the Night Rune (which has several aspects)… and I don’t remember whether the Dawn and Twilight were just other aspects of the Sun rune in any case. We hear about the Circle Rune in 3, but we don’t actually learn much about it.
I think there are another couple games, at least, before they have to start recycling them.
Thanks for the correction. I should have known a game with so much sailing would include fish people. Maybe Konami will do something really crazy this time around and give us giant talking amebas. If they do decide to take a more tried and true route, I don’t think a cowlike race would be too bad. That turned out pretty good in Soul Nomad, (not to mention WoW) so why not?