Dead Space, Endwar Review, & LE Review

Well, another long overdue blog post, the first one after GameTrailers’ switch over form GTD to GTP. because of the switch I now have some incentive to actual video game reviews, the first of which will be seen here.

Anyways, let’s begin this post like I start each one:

New Games

  •  Sam & Max: Season One (Wii)
  • Sins of a Solar Empire (PC)
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Limited Edition
  • Tom Clancy’s Endwar Limited Wireless Headset Edition (CAN)

In addition, I have the Club Nintendo exclusive Game & Watch Collection for the DS in the mail this week. Unfortunately I’ve been without work for a few weeks meaning I’ve had to severely scale back my video game purchasing to right about none so I’ve had to cancel my pre-orders for the Street Fighter 4 and RE5 Limited Editions. I’ll have to pick them up on the grey market, hopefully at or below MSRP. I’ve also had to cut plans on buying most of my worth it games from my last blog. With luck I’ll at least be able to support MadWorld when it comes out and maybe, hopefully, Sonic & the Black Knight.

Which leads me to:

Job Hunt

Like I said, I’ve been out of work for a while. I wasn’t fired, I just work on an hourly basis and the department I work at only gets budgeted for so many hours, much fewer during the school semester, and I just got unlucky. Still, going on 3 weeks without hours has kicked my job search into gear, as in a real job that I can actually afford to live off of, ie. the future c
Having a degree in Film and Media production, the first places to start were jobs at tv stations and what not, so I have a few applications around town as well as the big networks. Where I’m focusing my search however, is video game production. I’ve applied for jobs at places like Bethesda, Nintendo, Sega, EA, and a few other US-based studios.

Over the course of my search, I’ve learned that my perfect job at this point in time would be as an Associate Producer on at a video game studio. Its one of the positions I’m actually technically qualified for and I’d be working with the actual Producer, so I wouldn’t be jumping face first into the business, but would have someone to sort of learn from. Still, I’ve applied to other jobs I’d like such as localization, Cut-scenes, and a few QA jobs. Most of these jobs require relocating as close as Los Angeles or as far as Maryland but one of the first things you learn when you start off in Film is that you go where the work is, so there I go.

Anyways, that’s enough about me for today. Next up, some of today’s news that caught my, and many others’ eye:

Dead Space: Extraction

The new Dead Space game for the Wii was officially announced today. Since EA said that they wanted to bring Dead Space to the Wii a few weeks ago, most people took it to mean Dead Space, the game, not Dead Space, the franchise. Most people took this as an announcement of a Dead Space port for the Wii and considering the control similarities to Resident Evil 4, one of the Wii’s most critically and commercially successful games, it seemed like a no-brainer: trade in some graphical fidelity for awsome controls; people were optimistic. Today’s announcement would come as a disappointment to many when it was revealed that the game was not a port of the original game, but an on-rails prequel built for the Wii.

I’m personally split on the announcement. On the one hand, I loved Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and it proved that a rail-shooter built for consoles can bring something new and last more than two hours. Umbrella Chronicles got fairly good reviews considering the stigma of being an on-rails shooter and has, itself, sold over a million copies. The game also looks very good from what little can be seen in the trailer and the fact that its an original prequel story built from the ground up by the same team is laudable and the potential is there for a great game in the vein of Umbrella Chronicles. Considering the early footage, it looks like they’re definitely putting some work on this game and I’m sure it’ll play well and that I’ll enjoy it.

On the other hand, going with an on-rails shooter certainly feels like a cop-out and I know many other players feel the same way. It seems that every time the Wii gets a hot video game property it ends up getting a spin-off or something that provides a completely different experience than what we wanted from the property. The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 get Soul Calibur 4, the Wii gets the sub-par Soul Calibur Legends that will likely never again be acknowledged by the series. The Wii gets the hideously ugly Castlevania: Judgement while Konami works on a proper Castlevania for the PS3 and 360. We got the average Dragon Quest: Swords, although Square did decide to bring the next proper game to the system quite some time later.

Granted, not all the spin-offs are bad. Like I said, Umbrella Chronicles is a great game, although it is no substitute for RE5, which I hope gets ported over in the near future and I don’t think any Wii owner will complain that we got Secret Rings instead of Sonic the Hedgehog (Next-gen).

The thing is also that rail shooters have a certain stigma about them. Yes there are games that were born in the genre and thrive, like House of the Dead, but other than that, games just don’t venture into that territory. For one thing, rail shooters tend to be very short. As a genre born on the arcade, many rail shooters can be beaten in literally, a couple of hours, the expectation being that you’ll replay the handful of short levels several times. Also there’s the perception from gamers that rail shooters are just laziness on the part of the developer since you don’t have to build an entire world for the player, just the tram-side attractions on the guided tour that is the game. Fair assumption or not, it does make some sense.

Its also frustrating in that we were told we would get Dead Space on the Wii and the game we get is a different type of experience than what Dead Space represents. Its like saying we’re gonna make a Doom game for the Wii then they deliver a platformer bearing the name Doom. If EA had said they were making a brand new IP for the Wii and it turned out to be a rail shooter, the response would’ve been far less negative. Instead they announce Dead Space and give us, what IGN has dubbed, House of the Dead Space. If they say they’re gonna give us Dead Space, they should give us Dead Space, not something else dressed in Dead Space clothing.

Honestly, if EA is willing to change it up like that for the Wii then they shouldn’t be afraid to go ahead and make Dead Space 2 a rail shooter. After all, if the design works for the Wii, why wouldn’t it work on the next-gen systems? But of course they won’t because the real Dead Space is a third person horror game and it doesn’t really matter what the Wii gets because Wii gamers have nothing better so they’ll take it. Right?

*sigh*

At least there are games like MadWorld and The Conduit that aren’t cutting corners just because its on the Wii.

Endwar Review

I picked up Endwar towards the end of my somewhat brief Clancy obsession where I played through Rainbow Six Vegas, Vegas 2, a few missions in Splinter Cell: Double Agent, and watched the original Jack Ryan trilogy of films. Follow the link above for my review of the latest (until H.A.W.X.) addition to the Clancy brand and look below for my review of the Limited Headset Edition.

Tom Clancy’s Endwar: Limited Wireless Headset Edition

Endwar

 

This is for the Canadian release of the Xbox 360 version. I doubt there are any real differences between this and the PS3 version, except that the PS3 ha a Bluetooth headset, Not reall much to this one, but here we go:

  • Tom Clancy’s Endwar
  • Wireless Headset
  • Box

Tom Clancy’s Endwar: Just the standard version of the game nothing special. It is nice that it comes with quick reference of the paper-rock-scissors relationship between units.

Wireless Headset: Just the retail version of the Xbox 360’s official wireless headset, complete with charging cable.

Box: Yup, a big ol’ box to put the two above items in. Nothing more

To be perfectly fair, this wasn’t really considered an LE by the publisher and was announced right before the game was released. Basically its not so much a different edition of the game so much as it is a bundle. Still, in terms of value, it isn’t bad. The original retail price of the bundle is $89.99 plus tax. If you’d buy both the game ($60) and the headset ($60) seperately at retail you’re looking at $120 so you’re saving $30 by buying this at retail. Of course, who really pays retail anymore? The bundle goes for beteween $50 and $70 on ebay, which means you’re basically getting a free headset.

Although more of a bundle than an LE, its still pretty easy to recommend this, especially if bought online. Most PS3 owners don’t have a headset and this is a decent enough way to pick one up on the cheap (since the PS3 version is a bluetooth headset, you can also use it with many cell phones). Most Xbox 360s come with a wired headset that connects to your controller so most 360 owners probably don’t need a new headset. If you’ve lost or damaged your wired one, or just want to upgrade, this is a relatively inexpensive way to do so.

And that’s it for this week. I’m testing out this news-style approach to my blogs and maybe doing them as a once a week think, since now you only get GTP for one blog and review a week. We’ll see how long I can keep it up. As usual, comments below as well as suggestions for future LE and now game reviews.