No, this isn’t a Clerks reference. In the first half of the year, we’ll be treading familiar territory – well, kind of. This week, the reboot of Devil May Cry is released onto the world, and includes some controversial changes to the look of the main character, Dante. I have to admit, I’ve never played a DMC game before, and I’m not too sure why. I was unsure about loved liked Bayonetta, and I understand it’s the same type of action mechanics. Still, I’ve never made the time.

The highly anticipated Tomb Raider reboot is also coming in the first quarter of the year, which begs the question: Are reboots the shit, or shit? In fairness, we don’t have either 2013 reboot in our hands yet, but philosophically,  what do you think about resetting an established franchise?

Friday, 10:12 am – Gavin

I remember when I used to play games.

Sadly, it’s been a very busy couple of weeks, so I haven’t had much time for anything beyond some quick stuff.  I’ve been playing a bunch of NightSky still, which has been entertaining, but an error with the Steam Cloud lost all of my save data so I’ve had to start from scratch.  Not the end of the world, but there were a few levels wherein it was substantially irritating to have to replay them.  Not because they’re bad levels, but because they were mechanically challenging.

When I find myself with a few minutes to kill at lunch at work, I’ve been playing more Continuity.  Continuity is a delightful puzzle platformer wherein you control not only the character in the game, but also the arrangement of the screens through which the character progresses.  A puzzle within a puzzle – puzzleception, as it were.  There are 32 levels, and while it starts out simple as heck, it gets to be hair-pullingly hard by the end of it.  You can finish it in about an hour once you get used to the mechanics and once you’re able to breeze through the easier levels, but you’ll definitely get frustrated the first time you hit some of the harder puzzles.  You can find Continuity at CONTINUITY.  Never mind the annoying music and sounds.  The game plays just as well with those muted.

I’m hopeful that I have some time to jump into something big this weekend, even if it’s something I’ve already played.  If I can find myself with a couple of hours on either Saturday or Sunday, I wouldn’t mind starting one of the AAAs I’ve got in my account – Skyrim, Max Payne 3, Mirror’s Edge, or perhaps Half-Life 2: Episode 2.  Episode 1 only took me about 4 hours to play through, and that’s with several deaths and restarts during the Strider sections.  I’m finding as I get older, while I have boundless appreciation for the quality and scope of games that we see now, level-based games are almost more appealing.  When I played Super Mario Galaxy 2, I had no problem identifying the terminus of my playtime – “I will get that star, and then the level will be over.  I will be back at the main hub, and it will be time to turn off the system.”  Same deal with Portal.  But when I played Deus Ex: Human Revolution or Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, there was no such terminus.  I could just keep going and going.  Which worked well at the time, because I could afford myself the time to do that, but as my responsibilities grow and gaming time shrinks, I’m losing my opportunities to invest myself in a massive open world or massive story.  And considering the beasts I have waiting for me, that’s a pretty scary prospect. 

Maybe Spec Ops: The Line!  Or To The Moon!  Or Driver: San Francisco!  Or Arkham City!  Or Braid!

TOO MUCH CHOICE

Friday, 8:18 am – Ricky

What’s up Friday people!? Another end to another week. The cold will be sticking with us in Canada, eh, but hopefully folks are warming their hands by their gaming platform of choice… you know, without it over-heating or anything… Terrible opening.

Sounds like Metal Gear is delivering – though technically, it sounds like it’s more of an HD remake than a reboot. A Metal Gear reboot would be… interesting. I feel like there’s so much tradition tied to that series now that to rewrite the past would be nearly impossible. Sonic definitely sounds like he’s jumping some classic games, but again, doesn’t sound like a reboot.

In my mind, a reboot is when you take that established franchise, scrap most of what people know to be true about that franchise, and reimagine it. Twisted Metal did a great job of this – bringing back a dormant franchise, reimagining back stories for their major characters, and letting loose a new incarnation. I should really play more of that game.

What’s everyone playing this weekend? Hockey’s back so I know I’ll be watching the Montreal Canadians decimate the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Hopefully we’ll be able to get in a game or two of Hokra. I’m still plugging away at Sleeping Dogs, though I really don’t have a concept of how much I have left to place. Frankly, I’m happy to just keep sitting down and immersing myself in the world United Front created.

Thursday, 12:12 pm – matt

hello.

speaking of reboots i figured i would send in my two cents. ive started picking up the metal gear solid hd remake on the ps vita, and wondering what made me stop playing it in the first place. while definitely not a perfect game, its a great narrative to play. i also picked up a weird one, sonic generations. while it has been generations since i last played a sonic game, it remains a fun title to hack aorund with every once in a while. i believe ricky has a free copy through the ps+ program, and i recommend at least a peek. a mysterious presence sends sonic in a time warp and must navigate classic versions of himself and the levels of past sonic games from the genesis up to the dreamcast. pretty freaking awesome and a definite eye bleeder.

Wednesday, 9:42 am – Ricky

Whoa, looks like we’ve all taken some quiet time this week. Well, I for one will not stand for it!

Looks like we received some more DLC for Borderlands 2. Sir Hammerlock is a good character overall – though certainly not my favorite – and he’s the focus of Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt. Sounds like it’s a bit on the short side, but who can really complain about more Borderlands? I can’t wait to jump into it.

One of the first titles to test my willpower in The Challenge will be Ron Gilbert’s The Cave (love that website). It has a release date of January 22nd or 23rd, depending on the platform you choose, and it looks freaking gorgeous. The thing is, if I want to play an adventure game, I can look at my backlog, throw a pebble and hit 4 of them that I own and have never touched. I have a feeling that one of the side-effects of this challenge will be discovering what genres I truly enjoy playing… Unless I randomize the choice, that is. Either way, I’m still playing sleepy dawgs and won’t be turning my attention elsewhere until it’s done!

Monday, 6:25 pm – Ricky

I freaking loved Return to Castle Wolfenstein. And I never played the original… The funny thing is, I enjoyed that game for the multiplayer. I don’t even recall playing the single player… I’d go so far as to say that RtCW was my first multiplayer FPS, though I can’t quite recall when I played Unreal Tournament. Looks like there was another game in the series, just titled Wolfenstein, in 2009, but I never played it so can’t comment on whether or not this was a reboot.

It’s interesting to think that reboots aren’t the only time when developers need to combat nostalgia or blind fandom. Surely any sequel to a critical darling goes through the same treatment – it’s made even more difficult when it’s a new studio taking the helm. Halo 4 comes to mind, and though I have yet to dive into that part of the backlog, I know it got some rave reviews.

This weekend saw some more SLLEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPYYYYY DAAAAWWWWWWGS time. I’m progressing deeper into the story now and starting to ignore some of the optional missions. I’ve maxed out almost all of my stats, safe for one area, so there’s little drive for me to do further sidequests since they can’t progress my character to 101%. I’m not worried though, still loving the game and actually really enjoying the story.

I’ve also been playing quite a bit of FIFA for Vita while hanging out on the couch. It’s the original one that launched with the Vita, not the latest version. I honestly couldn’t be bothered to pick up the new version (even if it didn’t cost me one of my 3 games for the year) – it’s an incredible pick-up and play game that works perfectly with the kind of time that I have to devote to gaming when I grab the Vita. There were a few occasions this weekend where I looked at the myriad of titles I have on the system and still chose FIFA. Perhaps this is because the other titles are JRPGs or longer games, or games that need sound. I’ve got a list of excuses I guess, but FIFA scratches the itch, so why should I dig deeper? I can see how someone can spend all of their gaming time with only one sports title.

Monday, 2:39 pm – Gavin

I’m predictably of two minds about reboots.  Plenty of times, a franchise goes stale or loses its general direction.  Look at Resident Evil as the most recent example of this.  Resident Evil 1?  Great survival horror game.  Resident Evil 6?  8 pounds of meh in a 3 pound bag.  However, it’s not just about a franchise going stale – you have to let it sit for a while so that people don’t think the developers are getting schizophrenic, or that the reboot itself is rushed.  Rebooting a franchise is risky business – if it’s some IP that people eventually disliked, then you have to overcome the obstacles of “I didn’t like the last one, so why would I like this one?”.  If it’s IP that people liked but it just fell to the wayside and now a new developer wants to pick up the mantle, then that developer will have to overcome the nostalgia that will influence peoples’ decisions.

The Wikipedia article suggests that I haven’t actually played all that many reboots (where I have also played the original).  I’ve played Ninja Gaiden, Twisted Metal, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein.  Twisted Metal didn’t really do anything for me, mostly because I didn’t really care about the original all that much.  Also, my hands are formed perfectly to the weight and layout of the Xbox 360 controller.  I can’t manipulate a PS3 controller.  Don’t know why, I just can’t.

Ninja Gaiden wasn’t a bad game, but it was punishingly difficult when it didn’t need to be.  Yes, Ninja Gaiden for the NES was brutal.  The birds would kill you constantly, and the respawning enemies made the game significantly harder.  There’s no reason to include that in the Ninja Gaiden remake, but they made the game just as hard.  Find me one person who didn’t die at least half a dozen times facing the first boss in the GODDAMN TRAINING MISSION and I’ll show you a liar.  Maybe some people like that – I know that Dark Souls has quite an appreciative fanbase.  But I’ll be damned if I’m going to waste my precious gaming time struggling to make it into the second level.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein was my favourite of the three.  Wolfenstein 3D was always quite self-aware, and RtCW was very much in that realm as well.  I’ve only beaten it once, and I think I cheated to get there, but it wasn’t a bad game by any stretch.  The difficulty curve was acceptable, the enemies were smart, but not hyper-intelligent, and the weapons were fun.  The level where you have to retrieve the silenced sniper rifle was a blast, and that you could pick up a ’42 LeTour was a nifty little addition to the game.  Is it a perfect game?  Far from it.  The supersoldier bosses at the end of the Research Facility level were game-breakingly hard, but on the whole, it was a pleasant break from the shooters of the day, and was eminently replayable as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault took over the WWII-era FPS genre.

I don’t think there are any games I’d like to see rebooted at this point.  I’d love an HD-remake of Illusion of Gaia, with a Fable-type control scheme and art style, but that’s not going to happen.  I could also get behind a reboot of the King’s Quest series – I acknowledge them for the pleasure I got from them, but I also know them to be less-than-perfect.  I think there’s a lot they could do with that series.

Monday, 6:06 am – Ricky

Actual time of writing provided to demonstrate tiredness. Please proceed with making comments on weekly subject. Thank you.

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