Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Today is News Day, Apparently

As per usual, there's an absolute dearth of anything worth talking about (I like the word dearth, can you tell?) for days and I'm scrambling for something to talk about and the one night where I have something that I could probably work out on my own, BLAM, NEWS DAY.  It just gives me more time to get my big post thought out better, so there's no real problem with that, but still it is a little annoying that everything comes out at once, instead of over days.  But then again, that seems how it just goes for everything; I've noticed the same sort of trend in the Playstation Store Updates over the last few weeks.  Very few things come out worth of note for a couple weeks (which isn't to say the things that come out are bad, just not things that -everyone- is waiting for) and then, suddenly, one week pops up where it's like "Hey, here's a bunch of PS Vita games, Mass Effect 3 Demo, Binary Domain Demo, The House of the Dead III HD and the first PSP game you've seen on the store in weeks."  It's like nibbling at little bits of food all day and then eating a four-course meal for a midnight snack - it lacks pacing.

Regardless, let's get into the news rather than listen to me rant and ramble.  As you might suspect, the first piece of news regards Ni No Kuni:  Wrath of the White Witch, pictured above.  It seems that a few wires might've been crossed regarding the North American localization, as far as the date is concerned.  It's still going to happen, let me just assure you of that up-front, but it's going to be considerably later than anyone thought.  The nebulous window of "Early 2012" has been replaced with "Winter 2012" because....I dunno.  Translation is hard business, I guess, or like all Level-5 things, it just takes a really long time for unknown reasons.  My own personal rationalization is that the translation part of the localization is done by a single, dedicated guy who goes to his desk every day, chain smokes a carton of cigarettes and ends up with about two pages of progress.  But it's still progress, damnit, and he's trying.

Late as it is, it'll still be welcome, though I fear we might be exchanging one "oh god, there's too many games" periods for another, what with "Winter 2012" sounding a lot like "Holiday Season" where it, unfortunately, stands the very real chance of getting overshadowed by whatever AAA games are going to be thrust into the world around that time.  I guess we'll just have to see what happens in that time, but I'm still going to be looking into it for sure.  I don't know a lot about the game other than the fact that it is beautiful thanks in no small part to the special brand of magic that Studio Ghibli carries around with it wherever it goes.  Such magic is on the scale of Naughty Dog's magic over technologic wizardry, or Louis C.K.'s magic over being able to make just about anything funny.  That is magic to be envied, and everyone else should take note of these magics to try and develop their own.

Speaking of magic, Capcom seems to have harnessed the magic that allows action game protagonists (Or 'survival-horror' protagonists, wink wink) to shoot and move at the same time which is, as we all know, insanity and never before seen in a video game that involves shooting things that may or may not exist in some sort of grey area between life and death.  Resident Evil 6 is going to sport a greatly enhanced combat system that allows not only the above wizardry, but the ability to "slide, roll in any direction, and take cover" as well as including an 'enhanced melee attack', whatever that means.  Again these are all entirely new things that have never before been seen in a video game of this genre, so it looks like Resident Evil 6 is a hotbed of innovation and is most certainly not just grabbing every element from better, but less successful by comparison, franchises to strengthen its hold on the market and bring itself back up to prominence.

Snark aside, you can look at all this as either "about time" or "Awesome, sounds like it'll be a good game" , so let's just go with the latter opinion for now, if only for the sake of playing devil's advocate here.  Anyone looking to enjoy the next Resident Evil game can look forward to a campaign that takes place in a fictional area of China called "Lanshiang" which is, indeed, fictional and suspiciously not very Chinese-Territory-sounding at all but perhaps that's just me.  The game is also set in 2013, which, I'm not sure if Resident Evil games have been following our timeline fairly well or not, but for people who know more than me, this'll be the chance where we can all see just how long this situation with Umbrella and the fallout from it has been going on.  I suspect it's a little bit around 20 years, but I might be overselling it.  And this is basically with absolutely no knowledge of the franchise beyond reading a walkthrough (with pictures!) of Resident Evil 1 religiously like it was a book as a young'n and playing Resident Evil 2 on N64 like eighteen times.

I look forward to when it comes out to see the debates between whether it's better than the recently released and relatively well-reviewed 'Resident Evil: Revelaitons' [sic] or if the latter is inherently worse by virtue of being on a handheld.  It should be rather amusing for someone who is quite far removed from caring about RE as a whole.  But there does exist the chance that both games will be legitimately good, which is a little bit of a strange thing to consider, yet it is possible.  I probably won't be picking up either game in the near future (lack of a 3DS and all), but if I do, it'll likely be Revelations since it interests me purely because of the Raid Mode, which has been described as PSO (as in, Phantasy Star Online) like, designed solely to get my attention, I suspect.

And, rounding off things that seem tailor-made to catch my attention, Assassin's Creed 3 has just been announced shortly after the time I spent with Brotherhood.  While I haven't played Revelations (huh, two games with Revelations in the title in the same post), nor could I possibly do so anytime soon, I can't help but feel that familiar twinge of curiosity bordering on, but not crossing into, excitement at the prospect of trying that universe again.  At the prospect of seeing if it can recapture the excitement I felt for the first, despite the ever-stacking odds against the possibility.  Perhaps because I haven't played Revelations, I might no be able to fully appreciate just what to expect from 3, but I certainly know what I want, and I, unfortunately, doubt that all that I want will be fulfilled.

I don't know if there's a real reason for Desmond to hop back into the Animus after the events of Revelations (and indeed, after the ending of Brotherhood, I wonder if it would be a good idea), but apparently the internet thinks so, as it has been abuzz with the theories of just where Desmond's family line went after Ezio.  Popular theories include periods set during revolutions, particularly naming the American and the French Revolutions as high probabilities.  Considering the assassin line apparently gets better and/or more important the closer it gets to present time, for some reason, (Never mind that Altair was apparently running around with unbreakable armor and the best weapons seen by man after starting the Assassin order on the path that Ezio would eventually only improve upon) both of those are perfectly viable, I should think.  Unfortunately, both of those periods, in my mind, would involve some sort of gunplay which....well, after making extensive use of the crossbow in Brotherhood because it was basically the "SHUT UP AND DIE" button....I dunno what to think.

I do know that I want and hope, regardless of whether there's an animus element to the game at all, that we finally get to really, really flex Desmond's assassin muscles that we've been building up for four to seven games (depending on if you count the spin-offs as "Desmond did these" or "Only Altair/Ezio did these", though they don't seem very mutually exclusive).  I'm not talking free-running challenges, I'm not talking running around in ruins, and I'm not talking walking around the rooftops of a ghost town using Eagle Vision to track a mysterious red line (that may or may not be tire tracks) from Point A to Point B uselessly and pick up useless artifacts.  I want Desmond to go "Hey, there are dudes in that building, also an Animus or a decent base or something, guess I better go kill them" and then getting to do that.  This has been the entire point of the series, so I would hope three numbered titles or five full titles in, they would do this.  Here's to further speculation that will run rampant as we near October 30th - the day all, most or some of your Assassin's Creed questions will be answered.

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