It's another huge week of relesases for most systems this week.
Never gotten into an MMORPG? Maybe you might want to start with the grandaddy of them all-Ultima Online-the 8th age includes the original game and all the expansion packs so far, for the bargain price of $20. Why only $20? Cause the game is ridiclously dated and most other contenders have far surpassed it, you can tell by the desperation of the packaging-along with all those expansions comes 45 free days, free online items and an advanced character in case you don't wanna start at the bottom cause you know the only people left playing this are Lord British's most diehard subjects.
For some reason, a disturbing new trend this past year is brigning back licenses that were popular a generation or two ago. The latest is the video game take on the cult classic-The Warriors by Rockstar games for the PS2 & Xbox. I haven't played it yet, but judging from all the reviews, other than the plot it doesn't sound much different from Grand Theft Auto. You commit crimes, beat the hell out of rival gang memebers, etc.-The only difference being that you can play with other people. I think a real innvation to this whole genre would be realsitic management of a gang-Recruting menbers, keeping an eye on potential rivals, setting up a relationship with crooked cops, etc. The whole genre just seems to be incredibly stale no matter what era you put it in.
Possibly the last noteworthy Gamecube game of the year also comes out this week-Fire Emblem. It's fairly traditional strategy rpg-It's also the only one on the GC, so if you have one do yourself a favor and pick it up.
3 Huge shooters release this week. Serious Sam II-You like blowing lots of shit up at a insane pace with a good sense of humor thrown in-go with Sam. The graphics and gameplay are about as old-school as you can get, but there's definitely a good charm factor becuase of that. The latest Quake game is out this week as well. You played Doom 3? It's the same crap only they were smart enough to let you use a guna and a flashlight at the same fucking time in this game.
The new big dog is F.E.A.R. for the PC-all accounts say this game essentially captures the feel of being in a Jon Woo style gunfight. I'm not huge into shooters, I haven't played one since Halo 2, but I the reviews are so resoundingly psitive on F.E.A.R. that I may have to at least check it out.
Blitz: the League hits stores as well. It's suppsoedly an alternative to the No Fun League games that EA has a monopoly on now, but I've seen the gameplay and it fails to seem any different from the same rehashed NFL Blitz formula that got old years ago.
But the two games I am really interested in this week are Shadow of the Colossus and Shining Force Neo for PS2. Shadow of the Colossus is the sipritual succesor to a little brilliant cult game called Ico, in which every room was a brilliantly concieved puzzle you had to get through while protecting a mysterious princess. This new title is from the same team, but instead each boss is essentially a huge intricate puzzle. Shing Force Neo is the long overdue follow-up to what is the originator of turn-based strategy console games that started way back on the Genesis. But it's no longer a turn-based strategy title. It's an action adventure where you have a party of AI controlled team mates. It's not the classic return I was hoping for, but as long as the gameplay rocks, I really won't care.
Finally-It has become readily apparent that Ted Turner is out of touch with time & reality even more so than usual. This week-Gametap, a PC online gaming service launched. For a monthly fee you can download classic console titles. Apparently Billioaire ted or nobody that works for him has ever heard of an emulator....