The Summer Drought
Summer is traditionally a slow period for video games. It marks the end of the the plentiful days of Spring and serves as the quiet before the storm, where the majority of the big franchises battle it out through the autumn and holiday seasons. With the late spring, early summer debuts of LA Noire and Infamous 2 out of the way, things will now go quiet until September when titles like Rage, Resistance 3 and Gears of War 3 will kick 2011 back into gear. For a reminder of what's in store for the remainder of 2011, go here.
With little in the way of new games to interest me throughout July and August, now is the perfect time to catch up with my ever growing backlog and pick-up some titles from earlier in the year. Here is a look at my tentative gaming plans for Summer, which should be just enough to keep me preoccupied without having to resort to socializing with real people and dwelling on the fact that its cold and pissing down with rain outside, even though its July. I swear, British summer should be restructured to include only May and September which every year, without fail, surprise everyone with their pleasant conditions. Come the following year, the whole country has forgotten this summery secret and we get surprised all over again by the joys of May and September, and drenched in-between.
But enough about the weather, here are some games.
1. The Last Releases of Interest
a. Infamous 2
Why I'll play it: I loved the original, which I played in Summer 2009. However, I think my recollection is slightly skewed, as I seem to remember even enjoying the methodical collecting of shards on my way to the platinum. That can't be right.
Why I might not: There is a chance that my wife finally flips-out and throws my PS3 out the window.
b. Shadows of the Damned
Why I'll play it: As flawed as his previous attempts may have been, Suda 51 knows how to make stylish and entertaining games. Shinji Mikami aint no slouch either and Akira Yamaoka's score is receiving rave reviews.
Why I might not: The base humour is likely to grate, though it didn't really bother me with No More Heroes. The main reason I may give it a miss is if it doesn't come down from its high price, to which it has stubbornly stuck over the last month. I don't want to pay £38 for a game full of erection jokes, though I will definitely be on board for £30!
2. The 2011 Catch Up
a. Little Big Planet 2
Why I'll play it: After having so much fun with two-player Portal 2, I'm looking forward to some more co-op action.
Why I might not: It looks a little too similar to the original, which I did enjoy, but it had worn a little thin after a week or two. As much as I love video games, I have minimal interest in the design process, so the community-creation tools aren't going to be enough to keep me playing.
b. MotorStorm Apocalypse
Why I'll play it: I want some mindless arcade thrills, and MotorStorm has them in abundance. I can't even begin to count the number of times I have been driving along and thought to myself "wouldn't it be brilliant if that building fell down and created a stunt ramp, so that I could barrel-roll over a massive ditch". From what I understand, this game should have me covered.
Why I might not: I hate driving and will swiftly move onto something else as soon as this game asks me to parallel park or upgrade my suspension system.
c. Crysis 2
Why I'll play it: It looks the business and I like to play an FPS every couple of months. I find the genre really easy to get into and actually rather relaxing, as I'm able to turn off my brain, suspend my disbelief and let my warrior-like instincts take-over!
Why I might not: I have just finished playing Killzone 3 and Battlefield Bad Company 2 back-to-back, so it may be a case of overkill.
d. Ghost Trick
Why I'll play it: I want a reason to play my DS and I have had a passing interest in Ghost Trick since I first saw it at TGS 2009. Besides, I need something to play on the flight to Tokyo in September.
Why I might not: There is a chance that I will repeat my usual trick where, despite bringing both my PSP and DS and a plentiful supply of games, I spend the entirety of a twelve hour flight staring at the seat in font of me and periodically dipping into movies featuring talking animals and/or Matthew McConaughey.
e. Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection
Why I'll play it: Tactics Ogre reminded me how much I enjoy playing RPGs and strategy games on the PSP, and it should be a perfect adventure for my trip abroad.
Why I might not: Talking animals and/or Matthew McConaughey.
|Ghost Trick or How To Lose A Man in Ten Days? Hmmm|
3. Outstanding Games From the PSN Welcome Back Package
a. The Last Guy
Why I'll play it: It is much like Pac-Man, only with humans, monsters and Google Map. Also, one of the stages is set in my old neighbourhood in Sumida-ku, Tokyo, so I'm looking forward to excitedly shouting "that's my house!" to no one in particular.
Why I might not: Its Pac-Man with Google Map.
b. Dead Nation
Why I'll play it: I may get trapped in my apartment where all of my belongings, with the exception of my TV and PS3, have spontaneously combusted. All the other games on my PS3 HDD have then been corrupted, with only Dead Nation surviving the catastrophe. Suffering from insomnia and faced with the prospect of watching Saturday night TV, I might resort to playing it. As you may have gathered, I'm not particularly fond of Dead Nation.
Why I might not: The above series of events don't occur.
4. Online Action
a. Call of Duty: Black Ops
Why I'll play it: It is pretty immersive once you get stuck-into the multiplayer, and the current and forthcoming DLC has piqued my interest.
Why I might not: I come to realize that the competition has been honing its skills for the best part of a year, and my kill:death ratio hovers around 1:16 over my first ten games. I also remember that I don't like people, and the COD servers are full of 'em.
5. The Dreamcast Vault
a. Jet Set Radio
Why I'll play it: I have criminally underutilized my Dreamcast since buying one for the first time a year ago. Every time I dip into JSR for a quick session I thoroughly enjoy it, and I think it deserves some prolonged attention.
Why I might not: I find the DC controller to be one of the most uncomfortable I have ever used, and JSR seems to be particularly hard on the fingers.
b. Shenmue 1&2
Why I'll play it: All of these reasons
Why I might not: All of these reasons
a. Dragon Age 2
Why I'll play it: I think the platinum is very achievable and I can amuse myself by creating a different character and choosing to be pure evil throughout
Why I might not: I am liable to fail at my attempt at varying the experience, designing Hawke to look identical to my first playthrough and allowing my conscience to override my desire to do very bad things. Oh, and the trophies are broken so, unless there is a patch, I'm not touching it.
b. Red Dead Redemption
Why I'll play it: RDR is one of my favourite games, and I'm so close to the platinum that I can taste it.
Why I might not: There is a good reason why a handful of trophies remain. They are the most time consuming, though not necessarily difficult, trophies on offer and I would probably rather sink the required hours into a newer game.
What games do you have lined-up for the summer?