Monday, August 01, 2005

A second chance for the sadly neglected


God of War is the biggest, most brutal, beautifully ugly action adventure game I've ever played. It's already one of my top three PS2 titles, sitting comfortably behind Ico at number one, and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time at two. I'm not that far into it yet, but I am awed by its scale and slightly nauseated by its violence. Nevertheless, I hope to be fully desensitised before supper and swinging my serrated blades like a warped Celtic warrior, fingers slipping on the spittle-flecked coating of my controller. It's an absolutely magnificent feat of world-building – character and level design, architecture, script, backstory, mechanics and music are all in perfect harmony.
 
It's also the last PS2 game I'm likely to buy. It seems like development for the platform is winding down now that PS3 looms, but it's going to take a while for everyone to get a grip on Sony's new console. History teaches us to expect twelve months of shallow, rushed to retail, amateur first generation releases. I for one look forward to using this period for a little reflection and reassessment.
 
Between Vagrant Story on PSX and Ico on PS2, practically nothing was released on either platform worth playing. In the twelve months that sales of Sony's black box were driven by DVD playability rather than games availability I re-visited many of the great PSX games on which I had never actually expended any effort, sometimes because I just hadn't been able to find the hook, or the time. Sometimes I'd moved onto the Next Big Thing before completing what I was doing. I'm fickle like that.
 
After three and a half years in the fabled third place I've amassed several games whose cases I've never even cracked. I can't wait to finally take a run at Project Zero and Metal Gear Solid 2, push further into Dark Chronicle and Broken Sword 3; complete Beyond Good and Evil and Gregory Horror Show. I will at last be able to develop those L337 Rez, Amplitude and Virtua Fighter 4 skills I've always wanted. I predict a period of multiple and utterly joycore "why the hell didn't I play this years ago?" moments.
 
Similarly, on the X-Box, I can't see myself buying anything much until 360's had some time to mature. Far Cry: Instincts looks promising, and maybe the conversion of Half Life 2 will be half playable, but I don't know. I'll be too busy finishing Metal Arms and Stranger's Wrath to pick 'em up.
 
On the other hand, I'm a bit of a gadget whore, so maybe I won't be revisiting these unsung heroes of the current generation anytime soon. Maybe I'll just splash out on a PSP come September. That said, I'm not so convinced there's anything particularly compelling on that platform either.
 
Perhaps I'll spend several months using a cracked PSP 2.0 system to play Link to the Past and Secret of Mana in emulation. That'll be awesome.

Category: Gaming

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