I’ve finally pretty much exhausted the games I got over Christmas and New Year; not being an ultra-completist I pretty much play until I feel the fun curve waning beyond what I consider worth my time, and the games I have are now firmly on the plateau. I completed Mass Effect and Super Mario Galaxy (although I only got to just over 100 stars, compared to the rest of this exemplary game, getting the remaining ones seemed more an exercise in frustration rather than fun). I still return to Assassin’s Creed on occasion when I feel like a bit of mindless repetition in lovely environments, but as such isn’t something I can play that often. Skate I can still enjoy as a free-roaming, goalless bit of fun but I’ve done all the events I feel I’m either capable of or enjoy so again it’s a dip-into game. Halo 3 was fun, but since I haven’t gotten into the multiplayer it’s mostly run its course too. Burnout Paradise is my wife’s mostly anyway, I’ve enjoyed playing it but by now the (good) cars are getting so ridiculously fast now that I’m finding it more of an exercise in using the Force than skill.
There are quite a few games on the 360 that I missed because they came out earlier in its cycle, so I decided to use eBay to catch up cheaply. I wanted more co-op, so Gears of War was an obvious one - despite my generally negative autonomic response to grizzled marines with no neck, I keep getting told how good it is to play co-op on, so since I can get it for less than half price now I figured I’d give it a try. Also in the co-op camp was Lego Star Wars II - we played the first one on the Gamecube and it was lots of fun - obviously not that challenging but as a Star Wars fan it always stimulated the chuckle reflex. I also bid on Crackdown and PGR4, not really expecting to get them since I didn’t bid that high, but I ended up with them too. So, that mops up most of the exclusives I was interested in from the back catalogue - I also considered Dead Rising but I’ve been reliably informed that it’s probably better as a borrow/rent than buying. Assuming they all arrive soon and in one (functioning) piece, we’ll have plenty of things to keep us busy until (and probably through) the next round of new 2008 games.
Speaking of 2008, the games that are definites for me so far are:
- Super Smash Bros: Brawl - mostly because I’ve never owned a SSB game before and this is supposed to be the pinnacle
- Rock Band - if it ever bloody well comes out in Europe (*shakes fist*)
- Fable 2 - the GDC2008 footage picqued my interest, I like western RPGs, and it’s another co-op game
Some I’m considering but am undecided about:
- GTA IV - interested, but I’m just not particularly ‘down’ with the whole glorification of gangsterism. I loved the toungue-in-cheek nature of the early GTAs, but the latest one seems stylistically to be mostly for Scarface worshippers and appears to take itself rather seriously. Personally I think Tony Montana was a greedy scumbag and playing a character like him might make me want to shoot myself in the kneecaps. So it depends on whether a general dislike of a character style will inhibit game enjoyment very much. Unfortunately all the trailers are yawnorific cutscene pose-a-thons that tell you basically nothing.
- Alan Wake - kind of interesting, but we know so little
- Too Human - Silicon Knights have done some great work in the past, but the road has been rocky for this one
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - depending on whether Lucas & co can avoid further cheapening a once great institution
- Fallout 3 - has equal potential to rejuvinate a series or urinate all over my treasured memories
- Okami - I still fancy playing it, especially when re-released on the Wii but I’m not sure I’ll have time
- Professor Layton and the Curious Village - I don’t have anything else on my DS list (so many DS releases seem to be JRPGs right now - meh) but this looks weird & interesting
Some I’ve mostly ruled out:
- Mario Kart Wii - looks fun, but I feel I’ve played MK too many times already, beyond the new steering wheel. I’m not sure I need anything after MK DS
- Soul Calibur IV - again, I feel I’ve played SC too much already, I might just wait until Street Fighter 4 (2009?), which benefits from a much longer gaming absence
- Spore - beyond being rather sick of hearing about it, I’m really not convinced that a multi-genre game can ever attain the level of focus for each genre to shine
- Mercenaries/Battlefront/any other contemporary or historical soldier game - yawn. Just, yawn.
- Halo Wars - because I’m not convinced a RTS belongs anywhere but the PC. Not that I play many anyway.
- Lost Odyssey/FFXXXVIII/etc - JRPGs don’t light my fire, because I just don’t identify with angsty teen heroes or giggly girls in short skirts somehow wielding two-handed swords. And I hate long cutscenes.
The best thing is that even being fussy, there’s a ton of things to play. 2008 looks like it will be fun.