Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 2.1.08

New game from Parappa masterminds
Well this sounds promising. A new Wii game from the creator and lead artist of Parappa the Rapper. What’s this, Majesco is publishing it? That’ll be ok, a good idea doesn’t need 10 million dollars to work. Err, it’s a marching band simulator? That… sounds cool. I mean, I’ve always despised parades and anyone who likes them and walking around while playing music makes as much sense as reading while performing ballet, but… Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind?

90% of American DS owners pirate games
This comes from the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association and is wrong. It is so wrong it makes normally unbelievable things believable. If you told me the butter on my bagel was not actually butter right after telling me that 90% of DS owners pirate games, I wouldn’t think twice. →  Assassin’s Read

Review – Guitar Hero 3

Guitar Hero 3 does a lot to make me question game reviews. Or should I say, it brings to light many of their problems.

As I expected, it loses out with much of the standard, value driven review sites. While it stays afloat in many reviewer’s minds by adding online multiplayer and more tracks, it has also been grilled for things such as lack of create a character (a criticism I actually agree with, if for no other reason than developer Neversoft has been doing this since 2000) or online co-op play. Once a good game becomes a franchise, the stakes become continuously higher, and nothing short of a disc filled to the brim with their checklist of standard game features will make a reviewer happy. It also makes me question how every tacky addition to each year’s Madden avoids getting clobbered the same way. →  All the lonely gamers, where do they all come from?

Review – Guitar Hero 2

You know the feeling of excitement you got as a child trying to sleep on Christmas Eve? That’s the feeling I got waiting for Guitar Hero 2. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anticipating this game as much as the new Zelda. I don’t think I’m alone, either. With Guitar Hero 1 selling a million copies since its release, there are plenty of wannabe rockers out there who are ready to rip it up all over again. Now the wait is over. No longer do we have to settle for Youtube videos of schmucks who got access to the ten song industry demo laying it down for us. Guitar Hero 2 is here. Are you ready?

You damn well better be, because this sequel waits for no one. The word of the day here is “challenge,” as Guitar Hero 2 challenges both its players and the competition. →  Sounds amazing, I must read it now!

Review – Civilization IV: Warlords

Is that the Great Wall of China surrounding your civilization or are you just happy to see me?

Because I (and most other gamers) am incredibly weak willed, the expansion for the fantastic Civilization 4 was something I was going to buy regardless of reviews, and regardless of quality. Although it won’t win any awards, the Warlord expansion gets the job done and is a worthy buy. And worse, because of fundamental changes to the game setup (much for the better), if you’re a Civ player, you undoubtedly have already shelled out the money to buy the expansion by now (once again making one of my reviews irrelevant within the first paragraph, I’m batting 0 for 2 here these days). But, for this site’s sake, I suppose I’ll write a review anyway. →  The happiest post on Earth.

The most pleasant surprise at this E3

This year’s E3 had a number of surprises, some cool some lame. The games that weren’t there were somewhat surprising so I’ve listed the ones I care about.

Capcom had already used their scariest ideas, so this time they have you fighting zombies in broad daylight.

Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 4 was really great, but controlling it still wasn’t perfectly easy. If Resident Evil 5 can maintain 4’s quality and sharpen controls then it’d be gold in a PS3 case. RE5 not showing up at this year’s E3 was a bummer not just because we all want to see more of it, but because we need to know exactly what systems it’ll be on. I need to know if I should start saving pennies for a PS3 (that’s 60,000 pennies). →  We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we play.

Review – Baten Kaitos

Baten Kaitos
Developed by Monolith Soft
Published by Namco
Released 11.16.04

Fruity woman
This sort of looks like a still life from the 16th century. (My art major girlfriend informs me I’m wrong, nevermind.)

Here’s a tip for designers and translators. One of the words in your title must be in the language of your market. I worked on a game called Elrelis Bled once upon a time and the name worked because the second word of the title is a verb we all understand. We can deduce then that Elrelis is a person, place, or something that can bleed. What exactly is a Baten Kaitos? Does Baten Kaitos or does Kaitos Baten? Are both words nouns or is it just gibberish? Am I ignorant for not understanding Japanese or should the localization team tried a bit harder? →  Fine, but this article then no more.

The Year in Review Reviewed

When I conceived this site I already knew I wanted it to be not just about games, but about the industry and game media. Actually, those high ideas came after my initial idea of, “If I have a site I’ll get rich, famous, and have 12 wives without becoming a Mormon.” But the thing about the different parts of gaming came soon after. To the cynic, which you should be unless you’re one of those brain-dead optimistic people, an article reviewing other websites material is simply a desperate gesture by a bottom feeder. I assure you that while this is true, I really am dedicated to the idea of reporting on reporting. So look forward to more articles on magazines and other sites (or just read other magazines or sites, they’re far better). →  Assassin’s Read