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So ANOTHER Assassin's Creed staring Ezio?!?

Why are they insisting that Ezio is a character worthy of so many damn games? They could have introduced two new awesome assassins now in Brotherhood and the upcoming Revelations. The premise for returning to Ezio in Brotherhood was flimsy and weak at best (though it turned out to be a fun game to play.) I would take another game of just Altair but I'm SICK of Ezio! He's just not a deep enough character to warrant 3 games!

Bioshock: Why can't 2K do perspective and sea creatures?

I just finished the new Bioshock 2 dlc, Minerva's Den, and I must say it was very fun and worth the purchase but it was a painful reminder of just how bad the responsible 2K studio/s are about getting perspective right and creating and animating sea creatures! Both Bioshock games suffer from what I have termed "Small Man Perspective" (Bioshock 2 also suffers from "Narrow Shoulders Perspective.") At one point in the new dlc I approached what was supposed to be a waist high reception counter but by the time I got close my perspective had become that of a small child looking up at the counter above. I always feel like I'm scooting around a couple feet from the floor! Certain objects sometimes appear grossly oversized and GOOD GOD MAN...I've never seen such poorly animated sea creatures! They're almost painful to look at, especially the giant squid!

I know that animating background sea creatures is quite low on the priority list of 2K developers but it is this attention to seemingly insignificant details that really makes a game shine. Luckily for 2K both games have enough good aspects to overcome these geeky annoyances (Don't even get me started about some of the plasmids! I mean BEES!?! Seriously, why don't you just have attack dogs shoot out of your arms. And what about those stupid water balloon/internal organs that you throw around as:P so called powers...ug!)

I think Half Life 2 Ep.3 has officially reached fable status...

Well, another E3 has come and gone without a word regarding the fabled Half Life 2 Episode 3 (or even a Half Life 3 for that matter) The minds behind this franchise baffle me. There is obviously a huge devoted following to the Half Life/Portal world and billions of untapped dollars by this seemingly senseless feet-dragging. It flies in the face of creative capitalism! If we were given even a shred of information to sate us it would be tolerable, SOMETHING to let us know that this franchise is still alive, that Dr. Gordon Freeman hasn't vanished into another dimention never to be seen again. At least we got some info on Portal 2 so something is going on. Seriously, they could've been releasing Half Life 4 by now and it would just be getting better and better.

Product placement in video games...a necessary evil?

I'm an older gamer (30's) and as such I am a little more aware of the implications of product placement in a medium that can be ,and is considered by many to be, art. Some games lend themselves more to product placement and advertising than others (racing, sports) because their real-life counterparts are also little more than one gigantic billboard and therefore the game is merely imitating this aspect of it's real-world counterpart. However, after recently finishing Alan Wake I found myself pondering the implications and annoyances of blatant product placement in a game (Energizer, Ford, Verizon.) I consider video games a valid art medium and as such I think the quality of the game should sell the product and by squeezing out a few extra $$$ by allowing blatant product placement it cheapens the game and detracts from it's artistic merits.

Games that are driven by a particular artistic style, either graphically or mechanically, are less likely to be subject to product placement (Okami, Zelda, any Ueda game, etc.) but I would hate to see this practice become common among game developers so that one day even artistic endeavors are whored out to advertisers by their producers. RockStar took a very clever approach and added parody product placement in it's games that critiques real-world products (GTA4). This is obviously not product placement but rather a creative choice to add depth to their games. Other games have added products that exist in the world of that particular game and this contributes to the feeling of immersion in a game.

Most younger gamers will not even take notice of product placement in games and that presents a sad future for a medium that I consider to be art. What about when it advertising begins to make it's way into game dialogue? Ug.

My fantasy Metal Gear Solid game...

I was thinking about the Metal Gear series the other day while replaying MGS3. I find the return to the past refreshing in a strange way and almost long for that instead of seeing the franchise move into the future with MGS:Rising. I'm really excited about Peace Walker but I realized there was no other opportunity to make a game set in the past. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that a MGS game featuring The Boss and her Cobra Squad during their WWII exploits would be PERFECT! There is enough content here to fill a very nice game. All the German secret weapons programs would be perfect backdrop for providing the role of the Metal Gear, perhaps a mobile atomic V2 rocket platform. WWII is a perfect setting for a traditional cast of unique enemy bosses and great environments. Perhaps we'd get to play the infamous fight between The Boss and The Sorrow, ending in a similarly emotional way to the end of MGS3. I can't imagine a MGS game without David Hayter voicing but if Hideo put his heart and soul into it, it could be a very substantial and fulfilling game adding to the MGS saga. The Boss is an important figure and deserves more story after her sacrifice in MGS3! Think about it, Kojima!

P.S. I'd also like to see remakes of MG and MGS with either modernized graphics and controls while keeping the old top-down perspective, or complete 3D remakes. The early days of Solid Snake deserve some attention as well, especially after his premature retirement.

Dr. Gordon Freeman, where have you gone?

The world needs you! You were voted the #1 Video Game hero on Gamespot despite your brief appearance in the video game world. The medium is moving forward and is years beyond where we last left you but you are missed greatly and we long for your return! Dr. Gordon, if you're out there and you can hear me please make an appearance at E3 2010!

How the Ace Combat series can get out of its rut and become exciting again!

So I was watching the trailer for the new Ace Combat coming for PSP and I was very disappointed to see it was just ANOTHER repeat of the same old formula that's been around since AC4. I'm getting so sick of the same old planes and the same old generic SU-27/35/37 badguys. The one thing that kept me going was the unique "superplanes" present in each game but even these are so few and far between that the series is really starting to stall (pun intended.) I think the developers have a couple routes they can take to keep the series fresh and new and appeal to those fans starting to tire of the same old thing being recycled.

First, I'd like to see a return to the direction taken in AC3, that is a "futurization" of present fighter planes. They could take the planes existing today and add design tweeks and future tech and abilities. AC6 did this a little with the introduction of the massive flying fortresses but the planes available for play were the same old boring stand-bys from AC4&5. I'd like to see the introduction of some energy-based weaponry like multi-directional laser bubble-turrents mounted on a plane and redesigns of current gen fighters. I really liked the idea of a enclosed cockpit (used on the Falken in AC5) that was used in AC3.

Another direction I think they could go is into the past, either with historically accurate planes or alternate universe planes like they had in Sky Crawlers and Crimson Skies. The Namco Sky Crawlers adaptation was nice but being released on the Wii was an inherent handicap. I'd like to see a game with the energy level of AC6 taking place in an alternate WWI or WWII era. That would be sweet with fictitional flying battleships, etc. Imagine Blazing Angels done by the AC team! I'm salivating at the thought of how cool they superplanes in this universe could be! Imagine an AC game flying fictitional souped up biplanes!

Back to the Wastelands

I'm officially quiting Mass Effect 2 until significant dlc is released. If I play through that game one more time right now I will be so sick of it. Bioshock 2 was good but without new game+ it's off to the shelf of classics to be played again in a year or so. In the mean time (until Red Dead Redemption or good dlc for ME2) I finished and started a 3rd playthrough of Dead Space (seriously good game!) and I'm back wandering the wastelands in Fallout 3 for the first time in ages! I've officially completed every quest and have NOTHING to do but wander around and shoot things. I'm giving power armor to all npc's that can be killed and searching for the bodies of Doc Hoff and Lucky Harith who have both apparently perished somewhere out there. I still need Lucky's Shishkebab schematic and I'd like to get both of their supply keys. I'm not sure if the game keeps their bodies on the map after they've died or not and nobody seems to be able to give me an answer so in the mean time I'm traveling their trade routes and looking for traces... Dang, Fallout 3 is such a good game but I'm just not up to starting a new playthrough at this point.

There's just no time, man!

With all the good games and dlc coming out I don't have time to play it all! I still have games I love and want to replay or finish from last gen (Okami, ICO, Call of Cthulhu, Odin Sphere, Thief: Deadly Shadows) and now I'm struggling to catch up on the best of this generation of games but the good ones just keep coming! I guess I should be glad though as a game drought is bound to happen sooner or later. I just finished Mass Effect 2 and next week is Bioshock 2 and hopefully more dlc for ME2! Just around the corner is MGS Peace Walker, Red Dead Redemption, and Alan Wake (still waiting to see if the later two will be new milestones or flops) and new dlc for Borderlands that looks SWEET! Keep 'em coming!

Well, I ended up starting a new game of Dead Space in the two day gap between when I got sick of Mass Effect 2 and the release of Bioshock 2 and I must say, after playing an hour of Bioshock 2 I'm actually itching to get back to Dead Space! That game is so good!

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